Said to be a sensation in Japan when it was originally published in the late 1990s, the manga about hip-hop–influenced Japanese gangbangers, provides audiences with a look at the impact of African American culture on Japanese youth.
Here’s how Amazon describes it: “Ornate with hip-hop trappings and packed with gangland grit, ‘Tokyo Tribes’ paints a vivid, somewhat surreal vision of urban youth. Rival gangs from various Tokyo barrios press each other for turf, leaving many a foot soldier bereft of life in the violent clashes. When the heat between two of the clans waxes personal, a bitter rivalry explodes into all out warfare. Santa Inoue’s hard-hitting yet fantastical tale of Tokyo street gangs battling it out in the concrete sprawl of Japan’s capital raises the bar for manga storytelling, transcending genres and conventions, and East-West competition.”
The filmmakers call the Japan setting created in the manga series, “frenzied and hyper realistic,” and intend to represent the project for television, with Cunningham, Wharton-Rigby, and Inoue collaborating and producing.
Long-time readers of this blog will remember that, 2 years ago, controversial Japanese director, Shion Sono, announced plans for a live-action feature adaptation of Inoue’s “Tokyo Tribe 2,” a sequel to his 1993 manga “Tokyo Tribe,” which was published from 1997 to 2005.
“Tokyo Tribe 2” was initially adapted as a 13-episode animated TV series in 2006. Sono made a live-action feature film based on the serial, which was released last year, although not in the USA.
I’m no manga expert, so I’m going to have to lean on all you pros to chime in with thoughts on the printed series. As I recall, it’s a rather violent piece of graphic work, as you might expect, which made it a good choice for Sono to direct (take a peek at his past work, which is full of gory, grisly violent films).
About this new development that will see the manga as a TV series, producer Cunningham said, “This project represents the first of many wonderful manga creators we look forward to collaborating with here in Japan.”
Cunningham is currently in post on an untitled Gabe Klinger project that’s exec produced by Jim Jarmusch. And Wharton-Rigby is currently in post-production on his latest directorial effort, an indie feature film titled “Stay,” which was filmed entirely in Tokyo.
Both Cunningham and Wharton-Rigby currently reside in Tokyo, Japan.
Check out a recent Japan Times profile featuring Wharton-Rigby, titled “Black filmmakers ‘find their edge’ in Japan” – http://bit.ly/1ch7Hf4.