TOKYO TRIBE: The Manga In The Madness

Sion Sono’s Tokyo Tribe premieres tonight and it looks to be a swell affair all around–gangs, fights, musical numbers. Like West Side Story if it were set in a near future, dystopian Tokyo with by Japanese hip-hop artists like Young Dias, Simon, Y’s, MC Sho, Ego and Loota instead of Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein (aka, MC Double S and DJ Lenny).

But Tokyo Tribe got its start in the silent world of manga. It’s adapted from Santa Inoue‘s manga Tokyo Tribe 2, also called Tokyo Tribes in TokyoPop’s English edition. But there is a Tokyo Tribe 1 (aka, Tokyo Tribe). It’s a one volume story published in 1993. (I hope that clears up any confusion). Tokyo Tribe 2 (aka, Tokyo Tribe Deux) carries on the story of a hip-hop influenced, dystopian, gang-controlled Tokyo after riots in Shibuya. Inoue completed Tokyo Tribe 3 in 2012 so if you’re just starting, there’s still plenty to read. And you can read and watch in style wearing his Inoue’s line of Santastic! clothes and accessories.

When you’re a Hand, You’re a Hand all the way
       

Tokyo Tribe isn’t the first live action manga adaptation to play Midnight Madness. Fudoh: The New Generation (1997) was Takashi Miike‘s first of many films at Midnight Madness. It was also adapted from Hitoshi Tanimura’s manga Fudō: Gokudō Sengokushi. High school student Riki Fudoh (Shosuke Tanihara) is looking to avenge his brother’s death with the help of his highly trained high school assassin friends.

Riki Fudoh politely asks you to help him with his social studies homework.
 

There have been subsequent live action films about Riki Fudoh’s high school hijinx, and by “hijinx,” I mean organized crime capers and assassinations. But Miike didn’t direct them.

Miike’s Ichi The Killer (2001)was also adapted from Hideo Yamamoto‘s manga. Ichi  (Nao Ōmori) is a very talented, incredibly brutal contract killer conflicted about his desires. As so many people often do, he ends up in trouble with the Kabukicho yakuza. Ichi is pursued by yakuza lieutenant Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano) who is as masochistic as Ichi is sadistic and would very much like to know who killed his boss.

Ah, love.
 

(Incidentally, Miike doesn’t have a film at Midnight Madness this year, but his new movie, Over Your Dead Body is playing the Vanguard program. Just sayin’).

In 2008, Toshio Lee‘s Detroit Metal City brought the full power of Metal to Midnight Madness.  Soichi Negishi wants to play adorable Swedish-influenced pop songs, but finds fame as the front man for Death Metal band DMC, Johannes Krauser II. There are shenanigans and a music battle with Jack iLL Dark (Gene Simmons) as Negishi as comes to terms with a talent he doesn’t want. Negishi is played by Kenichi Matsuyama, who also starred in live action manga adaptations including: Death Note; Gantz; and Kamui Gaiden. Detroit Metal City was adapted from Kiminori Wakasugi‘s story.originally serialized in the magazine, Young Animal. Go to DMC!

“And for our encore–Swedish-influenced indie pop songs!”
 

Shimako Sato‘s Wizard of DarknessEko Eko Azarak played Midnight Madness way back in the Olden Times of 1995. It’s based on the manga Eko Eko Azarak by Shinichi Koga. As in Fudoh, there are high school hijinx as Misa (Kimika Yoshino from Miike’s Gozu) investigates mysterious happenings and tries to save herself and her classmates from ancient evil. By hijinx, I mean, graphic, horrible murders that might be human sacrifice.

Misa takes no guff from ancient evil.
 

Tokyo Zombie (2005) didn’t play Midnight Madness, but I’m including it because I like it and it stars MM Alumni Tadanobu Asano (Ichi the Killer) and Shō Aikawa (Gozu; Zebraman) as Fumio and Mitsuo, a pair of jiujitsu afficionados in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. It’s based on Yusaku Hanakuma‘s eponymous single volume manga.

Taking care of business in a the grocery store.
 

So sharpen up your evil-smiting sword, plot your revenge carefully, ready your most awesome moves and show up for the latest live action manga to enter into the Madness, Tokyo Tribe!

[Really, leave your swords at home. And please take your righteous revenge elsewhere. People are just trying to enjoy a movie here. Bring some manga to read in line instead. ~The Editor].

TOKYO TRIBE screening times:

Thu. Sept. 4th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON

Fri. Sept. 5th, 10:00 PM, SCOTIABANK 8

Sun. Sept. 14th, 3:30 PM, LIGHTBOX 3

And the screening times for Takashi Miike’s OVER YOUR DEAD BODY:

Thurs., Sept. 11, Ryerson 6:00 PM

Fri., Sept. 12, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 9:00 PM

Sat., Sept. 13, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 6:30 PM

Originally published on the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness Program Blog.

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