Yu Aoi Film Discussion – Tokyo! – Shaking Tokyo

November 16, 2009 — 8 Comments

Woah, long time~ Has it been two months already? Well, I thought since One Million Yen has come out (finally!) with English subtitles on an “official” release, that I’d give this a push. I know most of you would have seen Tokyo!, Hyakuman-en and Honokaa Boy by now, but we’re trying to space them out because there hasn’t been any new project announcement since Otouto, which opens this coming January.

In the meantime, you’ll have to enjoy these things.

Here we go~~~

Something about the film:
Tokyo! Is the short film anthology by Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Bong Joon-ho, in which they tell three different stories related to the city.

Genre: Drama
Starring: Ayako Fujitani, Ryo Kase, Ayumi Ito, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Denis Lavant, Julie Dreyfus, Teruyuki Kagawa, Yu Aoi, Naoto Takenaka
Segments: Interior Design (Gondry), Merde (Carax), Shaking Tokyo (Bong)
Duration: Nearly 2hr

Below, overall film and Shaking Tokyo minor spoilers~


When I first heard about Tokyo!, I couldn’t help but spazz thinking about a Michel Gondry project relating to Yu Aoi. Then the spazz went away, because Yu never got the chance to meet Gondry, LOL. But I was still excited over this, if only for the international exposure of it all.

The three short films don’t really work together as a cohesive film, and you just sort of feel that these segments are too long for their own good. It feels this way because many went into this thinking it would be just like the “X City, I Love You” anthology films, in which we saw 14 segments of five minutes each.

Separately, though, they seem like more interesting pieces. While I didn’t particularly find Merde good, it was my friend’s favorite, so I guess it all depends on what you like. I found Gondry’s Interior Design quite good, if only to see Fujitani and Kase (and Ito) on screen. I also thought the concept of Fujitani’s character turning into a useful piece of furniture was intriguing, but at the same time scary – and kinda funny. Did anyone else thought “pirate with the wooden leg” on that scene?

I can’t really comment too much on Merde, since I feel it went totally over my head and I don’t get it. Also, my friend keeps pointing it out. I’ll say it again, it’s weird.

I’m still battling it out between Interior Design and Shaking Tokyo as my favorite segment, though. I didn’t know anything about Hikikomori before this, and I must say I feel kinda like one from time to time, so you could say that I actually connected with that. There isn’t really much dialog on this segment, and I can’t really recall if Yu ever spoke, but there were a few good scenes.

I thought the scene in which Yu faints, and Teruyuki Kagawa presses her tattooed buttons was genius, but the whole earthquake scenes that make people go in and out of the Hikikomori state is just too much of an anvil for me.

I decided to do two separate ratings. One for the whole film, and one for Shaking Tokyo alone.

Yu Aoi Participation:★½☆☆☆ 
Yu Aoi Performance:★★★½☆ 
Yu Aoi Participation:★★★☆☆ 
Yu Aoi Performance:★★★½☆ 

Favorite Scene: Hmm… tough one to choose because the one with the buttons is more like a reaction, I guess. How about that scene where she does that separating the thumb trick people do.

Here’s some posters, and check out the captures~

8 responses to Yu Aoi Film Discussion – Tokyo! – Shaking Tokyo

  1. Hey,

    SHAKING TOKYO is really great, imho. It builds up lots of suspension, although not much happens. It’s just this loner guy whose hikkikomori-world gets shaken by a pizza-delivery-girl. It’s the small details that make this movie so fantastic, and it’s funny aswell (the bicycle-scene!). Probably it’s the genius of Bong to not having stressed the depressive aspects of the story – one recognizes them anyway…

    :-) , Micha

  2. Michael, I wish I could read your website. xD

    I think Tokyo! doesn’t really work together, but the three segments just stand on their own. Just like my friend liked Merde, and you liked Shaking Tokyo, and I’m undecided… it’s pretty safe to say that the shorts work, just not together.

    My friend is going to a show of Mother, and there’ll be a Q&A with Bong — I’ll get her to ask something about Shaking Tokyo. xD I already made her promise hahaha

  3. Hey Amy,
    I don’t like the MERDE-segment either, actually I skipped it when I showed the movie to some friends. All in all the idea of approaching a city through the eyes of foreigners (by telling stories) is a concept I really like…even if the short films don’t work together… :-)
    I really can’t wait to see MOTHER! But, as always, there are a lot of films on my shelf waiting to be watched. Movies like DON’T LAUGH AT MY ROMANCE, …. :-D

  4. Well, Hito is out already as a HK release ;P
    I can’t wait to see Air Doll. My friend just told me she left
    the theater feeling weird and sad hahaha.

  5. I didn’t know what to make of Tokyo! to be honest. I like the first film the most, but it didn’t seem to be specifally about Tokyo, and I noticed in the credits it was based on a short story set in New York. The middle bit was okay, I suppose. The last one was interesting – I liked the way it was shot with the outside being this oppressively hot place. But yeah. Not bad.

  6. Oh, really? That kinda beats the purpose then… as an anthology Tokyo film. I still think that Interior Design works better as a separate short film, than as a part of all of it. And Shaking Tokyo is the one that fits better the whole theme…

    I’m sure I should give Merde a second try, but I need to be in the mood for it.

    Thanks for commenting, Andrew~

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. personal.amy-wong.com – A Blog by Amy Wong. » Blog Archive » Yu Aoi’s Updated Wiki Entry - May 16, 2011

    […] the Japanese World-War-II-jury-themed film Best Wishes for Tomorrow, as well as the international Tokyo! – a three-short-film collection by Michel Gondry, Leo Carax and Joon-Ho […]

  2. Yu Aoi Films Ranked *Fancy Edition* | personal.amy-wong.com - A Blog by Amy Wong. - January 7, 2014

    […] Tokyo! […]

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