Tokyo Tribe / トウキョウ トライブ
In some not too distant future, 23 different youth gangs control the streets of Tokyo. Soon an all-out war is going to break out. Sono Shion’s adaptation Santa Inoue’s manga, Tokyo Tribe 2, takes its rather flimsy source material and turns it into a backhanded tribute to all things trashy and enjoyable about Tokyo. Plus, turning the whole thing into a rap musical definitely deflects the illogical, vapid and flimsy story. What matters here is the action, the nutty situations and the several stunning sets that turn the future Edo into a cross between a Colonel Kurtz wonderland, a graffitied warzone and pan-Asian marketplace where anything is for sale. There are plenty of broad, grotesque and hilarious stereotypes, so who needs character development. This Tokyo of the imagination is anything but the sterile, modern metropolis it is. It seems a bit of wish fulfillment on Sono’s side, which makes the whole thing so enjoyable. Through all the violence, cannibalism, perversion and guignol, there’s a whacky, fun and ultimately positive vision of a possible future.
Originally published in EL Magazine, September 2014.