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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Tokyo Tribe [Blu-ray]


(Shion Sono, 2014)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Django Film

Video: Eureka



Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:56:23.476

Disc Size: 49,158,138,015 bytes

Feature Size: 38,456,481,984 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.39 Mbps

Chapters: 11

Case: Black Blu-ray case

Release date: June 15th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio Japanese 4139 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4139 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio Japanese 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit



English, none



Feature-length behind-the-scenes documentary (1:04:29)
Deleted scenes (3:27)
Trailer (1:44)
Limited edition collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Aaron Hillis along with behind-the-scenes photography





Description: Just when you thought Sion Sono's (Why Don't You Play In Hell?) unique brand of subversive cinema couldn't get any more out there, he's back to explode expectations once again as he ventures even further into uncharted cinematic territory with an ingenious hybrid of Yakuza gang-action and hip-hop musical.

In a futuristic, alternate-world Tokyo, the city is made up of ghetto slums and nightclub playgrounds where gangs of wayward youths 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) and told almost entirely in rap verse (by some of Japan's leading hip-hop talent), 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!



The Film:

Tokyo is at war, the city carved into pieces with each territory controlled by a variety of hip hop street gangs. Left to their own devices the gangs co-exists in an uneasy balance but when the order is disrupted … watch out, because things are going to get crazy. Sion Sono has long been revered among cult film fans as a sort of patron saint of excess, the director never shying away from indulging his grand – and often bizarre, violent and troubling – visions. And with his adaptation of Santa Inoue's manga Sono has delivered on his grandest scale yet. Shot on a massive set to give the director every possible freedom and opportunity to bring his vision to the screen without any concessions to the real world, Tokyo Tribe delivers a sort of ultra-underground West Side Story with the characters bolder, the drugs flowing freely, and the (mostly) playful violence dial cranked up to eleven. Built around a cast of actual rappers, stunt men, first time actors discovered via open YouTube auditions and cult favorites like Riki Takeuchi, Tokyo Tribe is what happens when an in-the-blood maverick is given financial resources to match the biggest mainstream talents without any of the attendant restrictions. This is entertainment on a grand scale with every frame jammed with amazing imagery and every scene threatening to twist off in unexpected directions. Strap yourself in, Sono's bringing the crazy.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

That style has Tokyo Tribe moving forward at a constant fast pace, with jokes and details packed into every corner, more characters than the audience can possibly process, and moments of jaw-dropping insanity that you can almost imagine Sono giggling as he put them into the script for how silly they are (the beatboxing server in the banquet scenes may have been my favorite thing Sono has ever gone for while she was on-screen). There's garish designs, tanks, slapstick, and other over-the-top madness.

What is going on? Well, as narrator MC Show (Shota Sometani) lays it down, every neighborhood in Tokyo is run by a themed gang kept in balance largely by the central Musashino Saru, whose leader Tera (Ryuta Sato) is all about peace and love. Another gang, the Bukuro Wu-ronz, led by Bubba (Riki Takeuchi), is looking to make a move, and by attacking Mera, sets the other gangs at each other's throats, with even Tera's friend Kai (Young Dais) looking to fight despite being hugely outmatched physically by Bubba's son Mera (Ryohei Suzuki). And if that's not enough, there's a kung fu princess (Nana Seino) hiding out in one of the prefectures, and delivering her to her clan for sacrifice would give Bubba the ally he needs to claim all of Tokyo.

Excerpt from eFilmCritic located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Tokyo Tribe appears true to the source on Blu-ray from Eureka Cinema in the UK.  The transfer is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. It was surely shot with the versatility of digital with its hectic and relentless pace floating around the mayhem. There is little depth and very little high-end detail as the camera is so kinetic. Lighting is at a very low level and the image is what the image is. Weak for the format but authentic. This Blu-ray probably looks very much like the film did theatrically.






















Audio :

The audio is as bodacious as the video and we get a robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround track at a healthy 4139 kbps pounding out the music of B.C.D.M.G. like you are at a concert. Effects run the gamut and separation exists both subtly and aggressively. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.



Extras :

Included is a lengthy (1 hour plus) behind-the-scenes documentary which amounts to some sporadic sound bytes with cast/crew, auditions and other aspects of the filmmaking process in a kind of ad-hoc expression that mimics the film. It is mostly in Japanese with English subtitles. There are also some brief deleted scenes, a trailer and the package contains a limited edition collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Aaron Hillis along with behind-the-scenes photography!



Kind of a cross between The Warriors, A Clockwork Orange and... hmmm, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg? This energy and motion-supreme with exaggerative characters throughout have an unbridled charisma. I would, initially, say it is not my type of film, but I was getting wrapped up in the pace and modernity. Eureka's Blu-ray does the best that it can with an authentic 1080P representation and some extras. If you are open to it - this is unique and may be far more appealing than you anticipated. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

June 15th, 2015

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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