Hello & welcome back. Today, we once again continue our look at Cars Toon: Mater’s Tall Tales as we take a look at Tokyo Mater. This is the first of these shorts to not premiere on TV, rather this short debuted in front of Bolt and it was also the first piece of animation from Pixar to be presented in Disney Digital 3-D and the first Pixar short shown in front of a non-Pixar film. If I’m not mistaken the next Pixar short to be shown in front of a non-Pixar short was Small Fry in front of The Muppets.
Okay, this can’t just be me but this short felt like it lifted it’s inspiration from The Fast and The Furious franchise. This short opens at Flo’s, when we see the drifters from the first film doing just that and Sheriff goes after them and for some reason, I don’t know, McQueen calls them imports and Mater goes on to tell Mater about his time in Japan and how he became King of the Drifters. This comes after Mater takes Ito San, who was stuck in Radiator Springs back to Japan and there Mater accidentally touches Kabuto, the then King of Drifters and they race and the loser is stripped of their modifications. From there, it is just a race to get to Tokyo Tower. It’s a fun watch and I love that one point, we get a cameo from Mike & Sulley in their Cars form as at one point Mater and Kabuto race through a restaurant and even though the name is Japanese, it apparently translates to HaryHasuen’s. That was a nice touch in my opinion.
Also yes, Mia & Tia do once again appear in this short but I have to say that I do not like their look in this short. I guess they were trying to make them look anime-ish with the big eyes but it is just creepy.
Yeesh, that is creepy looking. I’m so glad that they are not prominent characters in this short as their look is just so distracting.
Okay I’ll be breaking this down into Main, Supporting, & Rival. With that out of the way, let’s begin.
Tokyo Mater voiced by Larry The Cable Guy
Once again, I love the look of Mater in this short and there really isn’t much in the way of character to talk about here but that is sort of true for most of these shorts. This short is rather just one large racing spectacle that s a treat for the eyes and I think that comes in part from the fact that this short was made for the big screen and it shows as the scope and depth for the animation feels bigger and wider then the other shorts. Still, it was a fun watch.
Ito-San voiced by Robert Ito
Ito-San is the reason that Mater ends up in Tokyo in the first place and at first, I was going to describe as being a Mr. Myiagi type character but the more I look at it, he wasn’t in the short long enough for that to be apt. I feel as though that he was supposed to be a mentor type character but at the same time, I don’t know if his stuff was trimmed because it seemed like he was supposed to have a larger role in the short.
Dragon Lighting McQueen voiced by Keith Ferguson
Going back to this seeming like it was supposed to imitate Japanese animation, I got that feeling with McQueen as well with him having these absurd powers and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was intentional but one of his powers was called Dragon Ball. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are Dragon Ball fans working at Pixar and that when they found out they were doing a Mater short set in Japan, they knew that they could throw that reference in there. Also I think McQueen has the better look as I love the lighting streak and that’s where his powers seem to come from and he uses them against ninjas that work for the main villain. It was a fun watch with McQueen and to be honest, I think that he was the best character in this short.
Kabuto voiced by Mach Tony Kobayashi
Kabuto is not a character that I would call a villain but rather a rival as he doesn’t come across as evil but rather more or less like a bully or gang leader. He is very serious and set on winning and nothing will stop him. Save for the fact that Mater won. I do wish that he got some more time with Kabuto as I think there was an interesting character in there somewhere but he just wasn’t fleshed out enough. Not a bad character mind you but I don’t think that he was fully realized either. Though I do love seeing him stripped at the end as that is a pretty funny humiliation.
Also Kabuto makes a cameo appearance in Cars 2 and I may be incorrect but I do believe that is one of the few times that a short character from Pixar pops up in one of their films.
My Final Thoughts
Overall, this is not a bad short but parts of it do feel underdeveloped. It just comes across as this short is not reaching it’s full poetnial with some of the characters and it just feels that the story was trimmed a bit. Don’t get me wrong there is a good story in here but I think that it could’ve been better than what the final product was. I still enjoy it but unlike last week’s short, I wouldn’t put it near the top of my list of favorite Mater shorts.This one falls somewhere in the middle as it’s not bad but I just think that it could be so much better. It certainly isn’t the worst in this series. Oh, no we have a ways to go before we get to that one but at the end of the day, it’s just okay. I’d still say that it’s worth a watch though. Join me next time as I look at…