The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Tokyo Tribe 2

Title: Tokyo Tribe 2
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Madhouse Studios
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 11 Nov 2006 – 17 Feb 2007

When the sun sets and the businessmen go home, Tokyo becomes a different city. Thrill seekers, prostitutes and drunks fill the streets in a neon laced blur. In this chaos, the gangs or “tribes” stand on top. Though there has been peace among the major tribes for several years, this balance cracks when the leader of a fun-loving faction known as the Saru is killed by a member of the Wu-Ronz.

The Highlights
Character Designs: An interesting mix of the West meets East.
Story: Not bad, but not great.
Presentation: Madhouse unleashed on WOWOW.

As of this review’s publication, there is no tangible form of an animated Tokyo Tribe 1, so disregard the “2” at the end of the title. This anime is self-contained production about various Japanese gangs that have a very strong sense of territory and are even willing to kill to maintain it. Western influenced gangsta rap sets the mood, and the bright, neon colors paint the visuals. With Madhouse at the reigns of production, Tokyo Tribe 2 is an ambitious show that oozes attitude.

For a moment, forget about the common staples of greatness like a compelling story and strong character development. What makes Tokyo Tribe 2 amazing is its manic presentation. In Death Note, Madhouse has managed to make something as benign as writing names on a piece of paper look mindblowing, so imagine what it can do with topics such as megalomania, murder, prostitution and rape.

The story of Tokyo Tribe 2 follows the parallel stories of two best friends turned enemies. The “antagonist” is a harsh realist who has experienced the brutality of the streets firsthand. The protagonist is a coolheaded leader type who wants everyone to get along, and here lies one of my two biggest gripes of the show: it feels too clean. Sure, the show digs deep into the very underbelly of human society, but by the end, the show has too many convenient revelations, and it stretches the notion of gangsters a bit too far.

My second gripe is more of a double-edged sword. The action for the show is quite exciting to watch, but the writers have a tendency to become retarded during the fights. After a character knocks out an opponent, he does not follow the unwritten manual of how to survive in any situation, ever, and sits around talking to other characters giving the said opponent the time to recover. This would have been forgivable if it were a rare occurrence, but such slips happen too frequently to be overlooked.

Despite some rough edges, Tokyo Tribe 2 is a competent anime about Japanese gangsters. It’s fun, at times shocking, and actually creative. The show provides a good amount of style and substance if you can ignore the fact that the latter tastes a bit funny.

The Rating: 7

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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