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At Flo's V8 Café, Sheriff pulls up when three of the Delinquent Road Hazards, Boost, DJ and Wingo drift past. As Sheriff races after them, Mater says that he used to be an import, and then tells Lightning McQueen what happened.
One day, Mater was driving along the road when he spotted a car sitting by the side of the road. His name was Ito-San. He asks Mater to tow him somewhere far away and Mater ends up taking him all the way to Tokyo. As Mater drops him off, he notices two modified cars resembling DJ and Wingo. As he follows a group of ladies, he accidentally bumps into a gang leader resembling Boost, named Kabuto, who challenges him to a race at midnight. After extreme modifications, Mater comes to the starting line. Ito-San tells them that they must race to the top of Tokyo Tower and the winner will become king of all drifters. Then, he tells them that the loser will be stripped of all modifications and become stock. The race then starts. After Kabuto mocks him saying that he can't drift, Mater ends up sliding through the lobby of a building and being chased by a cop. After he loses Kabuto, he eventually catches up with him, but is slowed down by his posse of ninjas.
Lightning asks Mater what happened next and Mater tells him that "he was there, too".
Back in Tokyo, Lightning is a dragon power expert (nicknamed Lightning Dragon McQueen) who defeats the ninjas. After he defeats them, Mater notices that Kabuto is almost to the tower. Lightning takes Mater through a shortcut through a building site where Mater learns how to drift. After Mater notices that the road is out, Lightning shoots him into a pipe that blasts him ahead of Kabuto. As they race into Tokyo Tower, Kabuto knocks Mater off the tower, but Mater uses his tow hook to spring him to the top and wins the race. As Kabuto is laughed at by his own ninjas after he is stripped of modifications and Mater celebrates his victory, Mater says, "That's how I became Tow-ke-yo Mater, King of All the Drifters."
Back in Radiator Springs, Lightning doesn't believe Mater, but then Mater appears with wooden boxes resembling his drifter form. Then, Guido slams a box down on his hood. Mater then drives away with Lightning looking on, confused.
- Larry the Cable Guy as Mater
- Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen
- Michael Wallis as Sheriff
- Mach Tony Kobayashi as Kabuto
- Robert Ito as Ito-San
- Guido Quaroni as Guido
- Elissa Knight as Mia and Tia
- Pete Sohn
- Bob Peterson
- Sonoko Konishi
- Bob Scott
- Henry Lee
- Mickie McGowan
- Jess Harnell
- Jan Rabson
- Danny Mann
- Julia Kato
- Karen Huie
- Lori Alan
- Main article: Tokyo Mater/Staff
- When Mia and Tia shout "Drift-a race!" and "Modify!" their tires are white. But when they gasp at Kabuto's phrase and in the rest of the short, their tires are green instead of white. Possibly they got their tires changed
- Mike and Sulley were meant to look at Mater drifting, but they looked at where Mater was going to drift before he got to that location.
- Boost turns orange after Sheriff catches them.
- For this subject's image gallery, see Tokyo Mater/Gallery.
References to other media
- Cars: Before Kabuto challenges Mater, a large screen has a news report on, showing Chuki reporting something about Kabuto, in the same shot as she did in the film when Lightning went missing, only Kabuto is in Lightning's place, despite that Kabuto was in the city and challenging Mater to the drift race. Additional, several brands that sponsored Piston Cup teams in Cars appear in Tokyo Mater on advertisements. These include RPM, N20 Cola, Easy Idle, Vitoline, Nitroade, Mood Springs, Gasprin, No Stall and Gaskits. A Dinoco building can also be seen.
References in later media
- Cars: Race-O-Rama: A minigame based around this short is included, in which Mater and Kabuto have a race to the top of Tokyo Tower. Lightning McQueen appears in his "Dragon" attire as the playable car for the second player in multiplayer mode, in Kabuto's place.
- Cars Toons: Mater's Tall Tales: The Video Game: There are many elements, including minigames, based around this short.
- Cars 2: Tokyo is seen again, along with many of the characters and locations that were first seen in the short. Kabuto is seen driving next to Lightning and Mater during the scenery montage, and he is later seen on a bridge at the World Grand Prix welcome party, along with Yokoza, Suki, Harumi, Ichigo, and Chisaki.
- Cars: Fast as Lightning: The 1.3.0 update adds decorations from Tokyo, along with Yokoza and Komodo as playable characters.
- This is the only Cars Toons episode where Mater didn't prove that his story was real. However, when Guido had put the wooden crates on Mater, he had the same shape as his modifications in his story.
- The stereotypical American cop loves donuts as a food, and the donut is a drifting move in which to spin in a circle, and the cop cars are seen executing this move.
- The light on the police car that chases Mater says "Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department" in Japanese (警視庁).
- The police car says the same thing as Sheriff in the beginning of the short ("Get back here, you import punk!").
- This is the first Mater's Tall Tales in which Lightning McQueen doesn't get in trouble. Unidentified Flying Mater is the second.
- The graphics and plot seems to be based on Tokyo Street Racing movies, along with The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift.
- Even though there are Japanese songs, the last song is Korean. However, the DVD subtitles show the song being Japanese.
- Buy N Large from WALL•E appears as the company selling "Lugnut in a Cup".
- When Mater whizzes past the cars, one of them possibly did the Wilheim scream sound effect.