Tokyo Tribe, directed by Shion Sono, is an action packed rap-musical based on the manga Tokyo Tribe2 by Santa Inoue. The film revolves around a bunch of differently themed Tokyo gangs battling each other. There are a lot of pop culture references, e.g. Biggie Smalls and Snoop Dogg, which is quite humorous to us westerners. This is based on a manga, so expect some really over the top cartoon style logic and sequences.

It’s honestly a visually spectacular movie. I’d like to add emphasis on “visually spectacular” aspect of the film. This film has some of the most vibrant cinematography since Enter the Void by Gaspar Noé.
I know it feels like there’s no way you can not not have a colourfully vibrant cinematography when shooting Tokyo, but Shion Sono’s directing really brings the film to another level with the use of wide angle lenses that blatantly distort at the edges and the extremely packed imagery. When I say packed imagery, I mean, holy shit packed. There is so many elements, props, objects, characters on screen, and all of it is captured with a grotesque wide angle lens, it’s extremely overwhelming, but it gives it so much style. However, the problem is that… I don’t speak or understand Japanese, so it becomes extremely difficult to read the subtitles and fully admire the cinematography at the same time.

Now, again, I’d like to put emphasis on the fact that this film is “visually spectacular”, because the film is somewhat lacking of a coherent or interesting narrative. I don’t want to get too into the details, but towards the end of the film, their explanation for all of the prevalent violence is basically because there is no need for a good reason. This is a sort of social commentary on how there are so many wars, fights, battles and violence in our society and the majority of us have no clear or definite idea of what’s going on or why. People fight for fighting. However, I find that they poorly convey this social commentary in the film. I find that this social commentary is heavily underworked.

Also, I would like to mention the grossly misogynist aspect of the film. There is a heavy amount of inappropriate sexual abuse towards women. So, beware feminist viewers, I don’t recommend this film for you.

In conclusion, you basically need to smoke a joint, expect the worst and pretend it’s a Michael Bay movie and you’ll have a good time. It’s satirical, gory (Tanrantino styled glamour violence), and full of really great action sequences.

So if you’re looking for a deep serious film, PLEASE avoid this film.

If not, you’re definitely going to have a good time, I promise.

I imagine this becoming a cult film in Japan.

You can catch the last FNC screening of the film
Friday oct. 10 at Cineplex Odeon Quartier Latin B at 4:30pm


Tokyo Tribe Trailer

About Author /

Born and raised in Montreal Ashutosh K Gupta is cynical kid studying in Film Studies with music and photography as hobbies. Check out for more.

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