Tokyo Tribe (2014)

Tokyo Tribe
Director: Shion Sono
Writer: Shion Sono
Based on: Santa Inoue`s manga Tokyo Tribes
Cast: Ryôhei Suzuki, Young Dais, Shôta Sometani, Yôsuke Kubozuka, Nana Seino, Riki Takeuchi, Shôko Nakagawa, Yui IchikawaRyûta Satô
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 23.9.2015
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard.]

Hip-hop Gangs rule Tokyo and they’ve each claimed their territories. That has worked quited well for a while but that peace has started to crumble. Bubba (Riki Takeuchi) and his henchmen, above all Mera (Ryôhei Suzuki), want to take over the entire city and get rid of the other tribes, in particular the one led by Tera (Ryûta Satô) and Kai (Young Dais) who talk of peace and love.

A Japanese hip-hop musical sounds fun, but in a sentence, Tokyo Tribe is sexist dreck interspersed with rape and it goes on way too long. I really couldn’t enjoy it.


I understand that a lot of hip-hop culture, at least in the USA, is extremely sexist and relies on tits and ass a lot. Not all of it, definitely not, but probably most of what makes its way into popculture. And Japan isn’t exactly famous for his non-objectifying view of women, so I expected fully that there would be gratuitous nudity. (And there’s even male gratuitous nudity.) But unfortunately the film doesn’t just leave it at that, although there is enough of that as well.

Instead it starts with sexual assualt where Mera grabs a police woman, rips her shirt of and traces a map on her belly. With a knife. And it only goes downhill from there. Maybe my personal low point was when Sunmi (Nana Seino) gets kidnapped and is supposed to be forced into sex work. The rest of the film, she kicks ass, but while she’s at the brothel, nothing of that. Instead she lies on the bed and waits for her (would-be rapist) and when he arrives she starts screaming at him to finally take her virginity. And not in a defiant sort of way, rather in a “even if it doesn’t look like it, I really want this” kinda way.

Tokyo-Tribe1The film does have its moments – the beatboxing waitress, DJ grandma and the high priest with the holograms were particular stand-outs – but it just became an exercise in exhaustion after a while.

I can see myself enjoying it, if the rapiness had been removed and if it had been way shorter than it was. But neither Kai’s nor Tera’s good looks, nor anything else about the film kept me from wishing it was over way before it actually was.

Tokyo-Tribe2Summarizing: so not my thing.

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