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Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo is a made-for-TV movie based on the popular 2003-2006 Animated Series Teen Titans, produced for Cartoon Network by Warner Bros. animation. It was the last original Teen Titans material to air on Cartoon Network before the show went into reruns.

After Titans Tower is nearly destroyed by a sentai-esque, paint-themed assailant, apparently for no reason, the Teen Titans decide to get to the root of the problem and head for Japan, where they believe the villain came from. Once there, they hear word of a fantastic underworld figure named Brushogun, who may be behind the unexplained attack...even though a team of Japanese troopers whose job it is to keep Tokyo safe from threats too great for the regular police insist that such a person is nothing but folklore and doesn't really exist. Discouraged, the Teen Titans put the matter aside and explore the city, until, unexpectedly, an attack by a group of bizarre monsters leads them to believe that there may be much more to the Brushogun "myth" than they have been told.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Alliterative Title: Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo.
  • Almost Kiss: Twice, between Robin and Starfire.
  • Affectionate Parody: One of Japanese kids' shows/films from yesteryear, such as Astro Boy and Spirited Away.
  • Always on Duty: A long-term variant; Robin believes that because they're heroes, that means "we don't take vacations".
    • Averted at the end, where Robin admits that Beast Boy was right about the whole "even heroes need a vacation" thing.
  • And I Must Scream: Brushogun under Daizo's imprisonment.
  • Animesque: You don't say.
  • Animeland: In more of a parodic Sense.
  • Art Attacker / Art Initiates Life: Brushogun's ability.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • Beast Boy, in-context. "When do we get to see the Great Wall?"
    • Tokyo Tower is white and orange, not some shade of blue. And it would be lit up at night.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The team faces this twice: once when first arriving, and again as the climactic final battle.
  • Ax-Crazy: As mentioned in Bilingual Bonus below, Nya-Nya is a bloodthirsty minx.
  • Batman Gambit: Brushogun sending the first Saico-Tek against the Titans to lure them to Tokyo.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Brushogun's origin.
  • Big Bad: Brushogun turns out to simply be a prisoner being used by the real Big Bad Commander Daizo.
  • Big Eater: While the main series shown that Cyborg can put away lots of food, the movie shows Cyborg nearly putting a sushi bar out of business by taking advantage of the "All-You-Can-Eat" sign.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Robin and Starfire finally get theirs, after five seasons of the show's Ship Tease but not until the last few minutes of the movie.
  • Bilingual Bonus: It takes place in Japan, so you can expect for a few Easter Eggs in Japanese.
    • Nya-Nya, the pink-ink Catgirl, never speaks a word of English in either of her forms.
    • "Otaku" is the Japanese equivalent of "geek"...not cute, which Beast Boy seems to think it means.
    • "Nya-nya" translates to "meow-meow".
    • During the battle, when Nya-Nya is riding pterodactyl-BB:
      Nya-Nya: I love to hurt cute little animals. I look forward to tormenting you.
    • After kissing BB on the cheek:
      Nya-Nya Close your eyes. This will hurt.
    • With the poster image above, yes, those are the Titans' names in katakana.
    • There are signs with the Titans' names in katakana throughout the city as well—and one that even says "Robin <3 <3 <3 Starfire"!
  • Body Horror: Every time Brushogun makes more paint minions. Heck, the artist's first transformation into Brushogun is one: his skin turned into paper and his blood turned into ink. Also, the final fusion between him and Daizo.
  • Break the Cutie: Before Robin and Starfire could kiss, Robin realizes that they are still on a mission and says how they're only heroes and nothing else, which sends Starfire to tears as she flies off thinking they couldn't anything else other than heroes.
  • Brick Joke: Super Twinkle Donkey Gum is first given to Raven when she asked for something she can read in a language she can understand. At the end of the film, she ends up becoming a mascot for the gum.
  • The Cameo: Aqualad briefly appears as the Titans fly over the Pacific.
  • Cat Girl: Nya-Nya is a female humanoid feline.
  • The Chew Toy: Beast Boy gets a lot of abuse handed to him in the film.
  • Clear My Name: After Robin seems to accidentally kill Saico-Tek.
  • Cool Shades: Robin, when he impersonates a Japanese street thug.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right:
    • When Saico-Tek somehow totally vanishes right in front of Robin after kicking open the sprinkler systems, Beast Boy jokingly suggests that he "just wasn't waterproof". As it turns out, he was made out of paint, so he really wasn't!
    • When the gang first arrives in Tokyo, the one place Beast Boy really wants to visit is Wakamono Shuppan, a manga publishing house. Wouldn't you know it, that's where the Big Bad's hideout is.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The Titans have a hell of a time defeating the first Saico-Tek. Robin then faces the second Saico-Tek one-on-one evenly, while the others get curbstomped in their respective one-on-one fights. At the end, they're taking out hordes of the same enemies at once. Justified, as in the horde fight, the Titans are now aware the enemies aren't real and thus they don't need to hold back.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: Played with. When Brushogun is finally revealed, he looks like this. When this is revealed, it also turns out that Brushogun is not the real villain and was only being used by Commander Daizo for his own ends.
  • Dead All Along: In retrospect it becomes evident that the first Saico-Tek, who motivates the Titans coming to Tokyo, would have been erased by the sprinkler he set off, when all of that time they assumed he’d just escaped and was out there.
  • Deranged Animation: Bits of it within the movie.
  • Denser and Wackier: In comparison to the much more serious and mature final season, especially its uniquely somber final episode, this ends the 2003 series on a much more goofy and upbeat romp, focusing more on parodying various Anime and the Titans misadventures through Tokyo; to the point that the movie uses the series' (translated) absurd Japanese theme, which was used for Filler episodes.
  • Distress Ball: Starfire. She actually forgets that she can fly and has to be snatched out of the air mid-drop by Robin, who has no super-powers. Ironically, one fan once remarked on a forum that if such a thing ever happened she would be called out on it, as it would be an obvious ploy to attract Robin's attention. Instead it was played painfully straight. However, given that an early-season episode shows that her powers are linked to her emotional state, including flight, and that a later-season episode also acknowledging this by causing her to be grounded in an episode where she was too unhappy to fly, this might be justified given the event of the movie.
  • Dope Slap: Raven does this to Beast Boy twice. First when he said he wanted to visit the manga publishing house when they first arrived in Tokyo, as it turns out to be the Big Bad's hideout. And in the end, just before the credits.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: From beginning to end, Raven mostly abuses Beast Boy, though he did start it when he was pestering her while she was sleeping.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: After diving into his printing press and taking full control of Brushogun's powers, Daizo goes full-on villain, even indulging in Evil Laughing.
  • Eat That: The Chef, trying to discourage Cyborg from eating everything in his restaurant. One of the things he gives Cyborg is an old shoe full of wasabi.
  • Engineered Heroics: Commander Daizo uses Brushogun to create all the criminals he will catch, making him look like a hero for the people of Tokyo.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: After all their investigating points to Brushogun being a mere myth, Robin and Starfire share a tender moment. Just as Robin and Starfire are about to kiss, Star says "Then, we have nothing to fear." The word "fear" makes Robin realize Brushogun must be real since Saico-Tek was completely terrified of the man.
  • Fallen Hero: Implied with Daizo once he's revealed to be a Fake Ultimate Hero. Robin notes that he caught Brushogun, who was once a menacing supervillain, suggesting that Daizo used to be a genuine crime-fighter. However, after capturing Brushogun, the attention from stopping him apparently went to Daizo's head and corrupted him, causing him to imprison the man to create fake criminals so that he could engage in Engineered Heroics and remain Tokyo's hero.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: While he initially appears to be a respected law enforcer, Commander Daizo is later revealed to be a fraud who uses Brushogun to create the criminals he catches.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Saico-Tek uses a pair of jitte, a weapon commonly associated with the police.
    • After Saico-Tek sets off some sprinklers and escapes, when they try to figure out what happened Beast Boy suggests he wasn’t waterproof, and sure enough Saico-Tek was one of the ink constructs and their shown to come apart when hit with water.
    • Daizo tosses one of the Wakamono Shuppan-brand manga for Robin to read in prison. It’s eventually revealed that Daizo is the true Big Bad and his hideout is the manga factory.
  • Flanderization: Beast Boy is an even bigger hyperactive goofball than usual, lacking all the development he gained in seasons 2 and 5, to the point of going back to womanizing and falling for yet another Honey Trap, played completely for laughs no less, disregarding all the trauma he went through with Terra.
  • Frame-Up: Saico-Tek was sent after Robin in Tokyo to battle him to make it look like Robin killed him, resulting in Robin and the other Titans becoming fugitives. Saico-Tek, like the other ink-creatures, had regenerative abilities and could not actually be killed by Robin.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: Brushogun framed himself for the attack on Titans Tower, in a desperate attempt to draw attention to his own imprisonment.
  • Gamer Chick: Starfire proved to be very proficient in playing a music arcade game which seemed to be a combination Guitar Hero/Dance Dance Revolution/Whack-a-Mole game, and getting a perfect!
  • Gibberish of Love: When Robin's stuttering at the end, before the kiss.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: In addition to the usual ones of Starfire and Raven, Brushogun toward the end as Daizo forces him to use his powers.
  • Group Reacts Individually: When Starfire kisses a random passerby (in order to learn the Japanese language), Beast Boy and Cyborg are surprised, her Love Interest Robin is horrified... and Raven, The Stoic, just raises an eyebrow.
  • Identical Stranger: During the scene in the arcade when Starfire starts to draw a crowd, one of the people present is someone who inexplicably looks exactly like Beast Boy with a regular human skin tone.
  • Jackass Genie: The artist who became Brushogun used dark magic to bring his creations to life, but the price he paid was that he was transformed into a being able to create living creatures made of ink.
  • Joke and Receive: When Saico-Tek somehow totally vanishes right in front of Robin after kicking open the sprinkler systems, Beast Boy jokingly suggests that he "just wasn't waterproof". As it turns out, he was made out of paint, so he really wasn't!
  • Kaiju: The first threat the Titans encounter in Tokyo, eventually beaten by the Troopers. This was obviously intended to be a Godzilla stand-in, but actually resembled Gorgo more.
  • Karaoke Box: Beast Boy during the movie, and the whole cast during the end credits. The lyrics are due to Rule of Funny.
  • Language Barrier: None of the Titans knows any Japanese when they first arrived in Japan. Only Starfire can become instantly fluent using her Tameranean ability to learn languages via kissing.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: After endless teasing in the series, Robin and Starfire finally kiss at the end of the movie.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Beast Boy sings the show's theme song during one segment (well, the Japanese version).
  • The Man Behind the Man: It turns out that Brushogun is merely a pawn of Commander Uehara Daizo
  • The Man Behind the Monsters: Brushogun started out as a human being, while most of his living ink creations are non-human.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Well, technically magic-ink-construct mooks, but still...
  • Moment Killer: Robin ruins the first moment himself. The second time Robin and Starfire are just about to kiss, the rest of the Titans walk in and interrupt that moment. Funnily enough, they don't seem to suspect a thing.
  • The Movie: What do you think?
  • Mugged for Disguise: A Shinjuku mugger confronts a recently-escaped Robin in a dark alleyway and demands he hand over his money. Robin subdues the criminal and counter-mugs him for his clothes.
  • Mugging the Monster: A gunman confronts Robin in a dark alley and demands his money. The outcome is what anyone would expect.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Robin does this to one of the ink Mooks which leads to his imprisonment. May come off as Nightmare Fuel to some because the atmosphere was so tense, and then it gets to you: Robin actually starts to look like the criminal to both the police's AND THE VIEWER'S EYES.
  • Not Hyperbole: When Robin demands the name of Saico-Tek's boss, Saico-Tek panics, saying he can't tell Robin because "he will erase me!" This isn't a case of Never Say "Die"; Saico-Tek is made of ink, so destroying him would mean erasing him.
  • Occidental Otaku: Beast Boy is definitely this in spades.
  • Official Couple: Robin and Starfire. About time.
  • One-Winged Angel: Commander Daizo jumps into his magic printer, fusing himself with Brushogun's magic and turning himself into a gigantic ink monster.
  • Orbital Kiss: Starfire and Robin have this twice.
  • Palette Swap: The villain summoned several Palette Swapped copies of previously created villains for the final battle.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Beast Boy of course.
  • Police Are Useless: Double-subverted. The Tokyo Troopers are introduced easily defeating a Kaiju the Titans had trouble fighting. Later though, they become obstructive when Robin is framed of murder And it turns out Daizo, the head cop is the Big Bad and all of the other troopers aren’t even real but are just creations of Brushogun.
  • Portmanteau: Brushogun is a combination of the English "brush" and the Japanese "shogun".
  • Potty Emergency: During the montage of the Titans traveling to Japan, Beast Boy at one point has to go to the bathroom, and his yelling about it over the other Titans' arguments causes them to make a rest stop. Unfortunately, the other Titans occupy all the bathrooms, so Beast Boy ends up resorting to turning into a dog so he can relieve himself behind a tree.
  • Pummeling the Corpse: Robin to the first Saico-Tek, though subverted as it's not exactly a 'corpse'.
  • Raised Hand of Survival: At the end, Starfire is buried under ink. An arm rises up, prompting Robin to start getting her out.
  • Recursive Translation: The version of the theme song Beast Boy sings at the karaoke bar? That's actually a rough translation of the Japanese version of the show's theme song.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Take a wild guess.
  • Save the Villain: While he's not really a villain anymore, the plot is triggered when Brushogun sends out Saico-Tek to bring the Titans to Tokyo and save him. It also ends up being the key to stopping Daizo, as once Robin frees Brushogun, his spell his broken and everything created by his powers turns back into ordinary ink, including Daizo's blob form.
  • Scenery Porn: The cityscapes of Tokyo are very pretty.
  • Shipper on Deck: The Titans smile in approval when Robin and Starfire become a couple. Cyborg himself says, "Well, it's about time."
  • Shout-Out: There are tons of them for Japanese pop culture.
    • The blob monster that attacks Raven resembles No-Face from Spirited Away.
    • Mecha-Boi is...guess who?
      • His blue color scheme indicates...Mega Man?
      • His stocky stature resembles Rusty as opposed to Astro Boy's more slender figure.
    • Uehara Daizo throws himself into a machine, similar to the Joker's origin, albeit an intentional version.
    • Commander Uehara Daizo closely resembles Lupin III's famous Inspector Zenigata.
    • There seem to be numerous references to the AKIRA anime movie:
      • Kaneda, Testuo, Yamagata and the rest of the Capsule gang appear in a crowd scene watching a sumo match.
      • The design of the bike Robin "borrows" looks very much like those in Akira, and has taillights that leave momentary after-images, just like in the movie.
      • The explosion of the villain's giant ink construct at the end is very similar to the grisly scene of Tetsuo mutating into a giant blob in Akira.
      • The shot of Robin walking downstairs to enter the biker bar is straight from Akira.
    • Saico-Tek is similar in design to numerous Kamen Riders, and his split-down-the-middle color scheme resembles Kikaider.
    • The yellow robot that fights Cyborg is noticeably similar to Boss Borot
    • Nya-Nya is based on the Puma sisters from Dominion Tank Police
    • A little less noticeable, but the story of how Brushogun and the ink monsters came to be is terribly similar to the Painter who tried to use ink dissolved with a Shikon Fragment to create his own personal version of the Hime that he was in love with in chapters 56-58 of the Inuyasha manga. Inuyasha defeats him, though. The other similarity is that whenever one of his Ink Oni are killed they collapse in an explosion of ink, blood and guts, much like Brushogun did when killed by the Titans...minus the blood and guts.
    • Raven becoming a spokeswoman for Super Twinkle Donkey Gum mirrors the practice of hiring American actors to star in Japanese commercials.
    • In the arcade, there are references to DanceDance Revolution and Super Mario Bros..
    • Also, in the second half of the movie, Robin gets a Shout-Out as well. Both on the TV and the magazine, his prison picture has DC#38-04-40. Robin's first appearance in comics? Detective Comics #38, released in April of 1940.
    • Starfire pulls out a packet of mints with the "A!" symbol from Azumanga Daioh on the lid.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Subverted. It turns out that Daizo was the one responsible for the film's conflict in the first place.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Robin after he apparently kills Saico-Tek. That is, until we learn about the victim's true nature.
  • Tragic Monster: Brushogun is little more than a tired old man who's been enslaved to a complete and total Narcissist who uses him to create false threats for him to defeat. He's more than happy to finally finish dying after freed from his bindings.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Duh!
  • Tonight, Someone Kisses: Robin and Starfire
  • Unwanted Harem: Beast Boy gets one of these. He has no qualms about being Covered in Kisses at first, but then the mob of fangirls gets too clingy.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Commander Daizo, it turns out, is a Fake Ultimate Hero who has enslaved Brushogun and has been forcing him to create super-powered criminals for him to defeat. When the Titans show up to investigate Brushogun, Daizo has them framed as criminals in order to protect his ruse.
  • Wham Line:
    • When Robin escapes police custody after apparently killing Saico-Tek, Cyborg delivers one to him.
      Cyborg: That wasn’t blood on your uniform. It was ink.
    • After learning the truth about Brushogun, Robin deduces who’s really behind everything.
      Robin: There’s only one person who stands to gain from creating criminals; the hero who catches them. Isn’t that right, Commander?
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Robin gets called out on this after he apparently killed a villain though the villain was made of ink:
    Robin: He wasn't human.
    Inspector: Neither are most of your friends.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Robin and Starfire finally hook up.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Daizo pulls a rather clever one when he sends a version of Saico-Tek to attack Robin. Either Saico-Tek kills Robin, or Robin 'kills' Saico-Tek, which would give the Commander probable cause to arrest him.
  • "You!" Squared: a variation occurs in this exchange:
    Cyborg and Beast Boy: [Screeching halt] Who's chasing you?!
    Beast Boy: Girls!
    Cyborg: Chefs!
  • Your Mom: Robin yells "Hey! Over here! Your mother was a salamander!" to a giant, ink-created Godzilla-like monster in order to distract it from Starfire.


Video Example(s):


Brushogun Origin

Brushogun, the first supervillain of Tokyo, was once an ordinary artist who longed to see his drawings alive. Using Japanese dark magic, he attempted to make that dream a reality. It worked, but in the process, the darkness stained him and transformed him into the ink generating villain he is today.

How well does it match the trope?

4.58 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / ArtInitiatesLife

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