Shot within a three year time frame, this documentary takes a look at the inner turmoil involving NYC-based Japanese punk band Peelander-Z.

Since its inception in 1998, Peelander-Z has had quite the following in New York City. The members are Japanese ex-patriots who came up with new names and have created a story that they came from the Planet Peelander. However, despite an original member’s departure, Peelander Yellow and Peelander Red have continued the band with members Green and Purple. Things however are truly about to change when original member Red has decided after their latest tour to leave the band.

Yellow finds himself in a bind with the eventual departure of Red, as he feels he has lost one of his best friends after fifteen years. Determined to keep the band going, Yellow finds a new member in bassist Akiteru Ito, who is renamed Peelander Purple. However, things get worse for the band when drummer Peelander Green decides he is leaving the band due to his feelings of not making ends meet within the band. To make matters worse, Yellow feels disillusioned when Red refuses to answer his calls. Red eventually makes amends with Yellow but Yellow feels even shocked when Red shows up on the debut of his replacement Purple, which is the final show of Green.

Peelander-Z has been around since 1998 and have quite a following with their eclectic stage shows, elaborate costumes, and all out fun. Formed by Kengo Hioki and Kotaru Tsukada, the band has released nine albums and have been on compilations and more. This documentary from directors Jonathan Yi and Michael Haertlin can be said to be quite an introduction to the band, despite its depiction of inner turmoil within the band, which starts with the announcement of Tsukada formally announcing his departure. The reason is that he would like to open his own bar in New York City and Kengo Hioki, despite being somewhat supportive of his friend’s decision, really has a sense of betrayal and illwill towards him.

Hioki, the leader of the band also known as Yellow, gives insight to his personal life as well outside of the band. As we see him paint a van, he describes how he originally came to New York from Japan to become a painter. However, as time passed, he was no longer happy with his love of art and went as far as one day “killing” all of his artwork by painting everything white. It was then he found his love of music and would form Peelander-Z. Hioki is truly the heart and soul of the band as he is determined to keep the band going. He went as far as replacing his best friend but was in shock and has accepted the resignation of the original Green. To this day, Green is replaced by anyone willing to play the drums while new member Black joined the band.

Despite the documentary showcasing the inner turmoil of Peelander-Z, it is clear that this band is Kengo “Yellow” Hioki’s baby and despite going through some downers, he still keeps the steam going with the band.

Mad Tiger takes a look at a band and delves into inner turmoil all culminating with the continuation of the band as Peelander-Z still rocks to this day. However, this is quite an interesting look at the band.


A Film Movement production. Directors: Jonathan Yi and Michael Haertlin. Producers: Jonathan Yi, Josh Koury, and Michael Haertlin. Cinematography: Jonathan Yi and Michael Haertlin. Editing: Hisayo Kushida.

Cast: Kengo “Peelander Yellow” Hioki, Kotaro “Peelander Red” Tsukada, Akiteru “Peelander Purple” Ito, Yumiko “Peelander Pink” Kanazaki, Akihiko “Peelander Green” Naruse.