Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo

Teen Titans Trouble in Tokyo

With the Teen Titans animated series now cancelled after a 5 season-long run, Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo is meant as a last hoorah for the cast of characters. In some ways, yes, it achieves its goal, as you get to see the Titans fighting crime one last time, and anything is better than nothing, I suppose. But, at the same time, it falls short of everything it *could* have been, being a stand alone one-shot story rather than tie-up the numerous loose ends left after the end of season 5. You can’t help but feel a little let down, that even with this extra movie, all those nagging plot threads remain untouched.

Titans Tower is attacked by a mysterious ninja named Psycho-Tech. The Teen Titans (Robin, Starfire, Raven, Cyborg and Beast Boy) apprehend and interrogate the ninja, but only manage to get a name and a location from him before he escapes: Brushogun and Tokyo. Intrigued, the Titans head to Tokyo to investigate. There, they meet up with Commander Daikyo, the head of the Tokyo special police force, a legion of highly-trained quasi-futuristic soldiers who have reduced crime in Tokyo by 200%. The Titans feel like a third wheel at first, as Commander Daikyo’s forces outshine them, and decide to spend their time in Tokyo as a little vacation. Robin, however, continues his detective work which leads to a rematch with Psycho-Tech. The rematch is bittersweet, as Robin unintentionally kills Psycho-Tech and the Teen Titans become wanted criminals all over Tokyo.

As I mentioned, all the plot threads from the last season are completely ignored, such as Slade’s schemes or Terra’s amnesia. This is a completely self-contained adventure requiring little knowledge of the television series other than who the characters are and what powers they have. So if you were expecting any significant story development or closure, you won’t be finding it here. The only plot thread they approach, I suppose, is the relationship between Robin and Starfire. Though, truthfully, they’d already taken care of that in the last season. This was just annoying and redundant.

They manage to cram in every single Japanese stereotype and anime cliché known to man in an hour and a half. There’s catgirls, giant robots, karaoke, sushi bars, Dance-Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, homages to Lupin III, Astro Boy, and Akira…the works. It’s cute at first, but soon you realize that the whole *point* of the movie was to cram in stupid anime references to satiate slobbering otaku Asian-wannabes. It goes downhill from there. Teen Titans has always been about pumping the septic tank of hackneyed anime conventions, but this was just overkill. As a person who knows Japanese, it was also irritating to read the stupid “Easter Eggs” all over the Tokyo buildings and billboards (characters names as well as utter gibberish were smattered all over the place in katakana). There were also a few spelling and grammatical errors in a few important places that could’ve been avoided with a little more research. True, this won’t bother anybody who can’t speak or read Japanese, but it shows a sign of laziness on the part of the creative staff.

Thankfully, there is no Pufi Ami Yumi music through any of the movie, which was something I was truly dreading (they represent the worst kind of J-Pop Japan has to offer). There is one bit where Beast Boy sings the Teen Titans theme song karaoke-style (he actually sings the translated lyrics of the Japanese version, rather than the standard US theme), but I thought that was kind of neat.

The animation on the part of Dong Woo is as fluid and stylish as ever. While I hate the annoying anime reactions and tired old sight gags (characters turning into midgets with giant heads and running around in circles yelling at each other), the animation-itself was very good. The fight scenes maintain their typical high-standards and the battle choreography is excellent. The fight with Psycho-Tech at the beginning, as well as the final battle against the gigantic Brushogun monster, are the film’s highlights animation-wise.

I wouldn’t call Trouble in Tokyo a “waste of time” but I would say it was a bit of a let-down, not to mention somewhat creatively bankrupt, relying on so many stupid anime references and Japanese stereotypes. Still, the animation was quite good and the villain was rather unique. It’s worthy of a C. It’s about the same kind of experience as “Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman”; entertaining but totally unnecessary.

Grade: C

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3 Comments on “Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo

  1. Pingback: Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island - Movie Reviews Blog

  2. I agree…it’s not breath-taking..but I think it’s better than nothing…(season 6 will be a BIG help)….and Puffy Amiyumi pretty much represent what the Teen Titans is…not J-pop…but what else could it be?…

    Anyway..if you don’t really fancy hardcore anime (like me) but DO watch it….the movie is actually great..considering it’s finely polished on the animation. I think the goal is more on bringing J-Cult into America or introducing it….

  3. The last season of teen titans was a joke. It was bad enought that they ended such a popular show after only 65 episodes but they had to disgrace the characters by having them almost killed by the most pathetic group of villians we’ve ever seen.

    All the great and powerful adversaries they defeated and they get taken down by a sickly old man, a brain on wheels, a talking gorilla and a female mr fantastic?? This last season must have been intended to be funny cause it certainly didnt make any sense whatsoever.

    Miss fantastic (as i call her cause her name isnt worth remembering) is the only one of them with any kind of power at all, if you can even call that power. And maybe the gorilla was only 99% useless. But beastboy alone could decimate him.

    If all this wasnt bad enough, they had to throw in just one last slap in the face to all the fans. Many people think it was stupid to have one more episode after the battle had ended. This is true, however its not the worst of it.

    It was kind of sad what happened after they fought with terra but at least we knew that maybe one day, somehow, she could come back. But they couldnt leave that be.

    They figured that it wasnt bad enough that she could never come back (cause of them ending the show so early) so they did something even worse, they bring her in right at the end just to tell you that she remembers nothing and wants nothing to do with beastboy or the titans at all :)

    Wow, did that really have to happen? Was there really a reason to put that in there? A very sad (and very pointless) ending.

    Then of course theres the movie which really does nothing but finally show robin and starfire kiss. As you said, basically nothing gets explaind. You would think they would at least have one last battle with slade but no. You get some new villian no one cares about just for the sake of having a movie.

    What a horrible end to a great show. It doesnt surpirse me at all with the total garbage cartoon network has turned into.

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