Once upon a time, prolific Japanese auteur Takashi Miike was barely represented on Region 1 DVD shelves. Now, thanks to companies like Arts Magic DVD, more and more of his prodigious output is coming to light.
“Regarded as a milestone in cult maestro Takashi Miike’s career, Osaka Tough Guys (Naniwa Yuuky-den) is the bridge between his work as an apprentice director and as an auteur,” in the advertorial words of Arts Magic. “It also displays the two distinct themes that he would explore in later work. Here, bonded together for the one and only time is an affectionate look at late youth that he would later develop (Young Thugs) together with the magic realist dive into yakuza life and rituals (Full Metal Yakuza, Fudoh) for which he is best known. When two street punks, Makoto and Eiji, run out of drinking money, it seems they have no choice but to look for work. But when they find an extremely well-paid job that requires no experience, they don’t realize that they’re about to be conscripted into the yakuza!”
Here’s a review by Twitch’s Todd Brown in which he concludes: “In the grand scheme of things Osaka Tough Guys stands as a relatively minor film in Miike’s canon, it is however a mightily entertaining one.”
The disk includes two Japanese-language audio tracks (DD 5.1 and 2.0), English subtitles, an interview with Miike, and an audio commentary by Tom Mes (Midnight Eye).
It hits the street today and should be available at better Region 1 retailers.