Director and writer Sion Sono (Why Don’t You Play In Hell?, Guilty of Romance) is back with the Tokyo Tribe (2014) musical, an “ingenious hybrid of Yakuza gang action and hip-hop”.
In a futuristic, alternate-world Tokyo, the city is made up of ghetto slums and nightclub playgrounds where gangs of wayward youth rule the streets. The city is carved up into ‘hoods, and the crossing of territorial lines quickly leads to riots and rumbles. On the turf ruled by the savage yakuza Big Buppa, the simmering tension is about to boil over into all-out war. Who will emerge victorious? Territory, friendship, pride, love… Everything is put on the line in a desperate struggle for supremacy!
Based on a popular Manga series (Tokyo Tribe 2 by Santa Inoue -12 volumes between 1997 and 2005), and told almost entirely in rap verse (by some of Japan’s top rappers), Tokyo Tribe has to be seen to be believed. The aggressive assault of the beats and rhymes wreaks havoc as a massive ensemble cast shocks, excites, and incites an unparalleled sonic war!
Tokyo Tribe is due out in Japan on August 30 2014 and will have a limited theatrical release starting on October 23, 2015. It comes out on DVD on November 30, 2015.
Cast of Tokyo Tribe
Ryohei Suzuki – Mera (leader of Bukuro Wu-Ronz)
Young Dais – Kai (Musashino Saru)
Nana Seino – Sunmi
Ryuta Sato – Tera san
Shoko Nakagawa – Kesha
Mika Kano – Erendia
Yosuke Kubozuka – Nkoi
Riki Takeuchi – Bubba
Takuya Ishida – Kimu
Shunsuke Daito – Iwao
Yui Ichikawa – Norichan
Denden – high priest
Shota Sometani – MC Show
Bernard Ackah – Zandakinsu
Joey Beni – Kamekichi
Aki Hiraoka – Mai
Arisa Sakamoto – Usagi
Kokone Sasaki – rookie police officer
Hideo Nakano – veteran police officer
Yoshihiro Takayama – guard
James Takeshi Yamada
Variety Film Critic Dennis Harvey says about Tokyo Tribe (2014)
Cult Nippon helmer Sion Sono’s gangland rap-musical fantasia is too much of a good thing. Equal parts “The Warriors” and “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,” Sion Sono’s rap musical “Tokyo Tribe” is also self-referential Japanese genre exploitation movie to the marrow, meaning there’s plenty of pinku-style nudity and threatened rape, martial-arts action and the occasional blood geyser. If that sounds like fun, it is, although the latest from the culty maker of “Suicide Club,” “Love Exposure” and last year’s TIFF Midnight Madness audience-award winner, “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?,” is so insistently over-the-top from the start that the results are just fairly amusing when they ought to be exhilarating. Already in release in Japan, “Tokyo Tribe” should sell in other Asian markets where hip-hop has made strong pop-culture inroads. Elsewhere, it will have campy appeal as a niche home-format item. (Read More)
The film is wild in its visual style, with gorgeous cinematography… neon lights, rain and outrageous colorful costumes for every character. The sets are beautifully constructed. So yes, it’s without a doubt the biggest budget that Sono has ever had, and it shows in the way that he constructs a world that feels so vivid you could drop right into it.
Filled with one liners that will make you laugh, bloody violence and great acting (using real rappers, artists, DJs, tattoo designers, etc.), Tokyo Tribe is a film to see with an audience; they will sing and chant, and move their feet around. So, yes it is a very, very fun movie. It might be the most fun that Sono has ever put on screen. It’s also a revelation of how musicals can be executed. Filmmakers, take note, hip hop is not dead. (Read More)