Tag (2015 film)

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Tag (film) poster.jpeg
Directed bySion Sono
Screenplay bySion Sono
Based onRiaru Onigokko
by Yusuke Yamada
StarringReina Triendl
Mariko Shinoda
Erina Mano
Music byMono
Sedic Deux Inc.
Distributed byShochiku
Asmik Ace Entertainment
Universal Pictures Japan (via NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan)
Release date
  • July 11, 2015 (2015-07-11)
Running time
85 minutes

Tag, known in Japan as Real Onigokko (Japanese: リアル鬼ごっこ, Hepburn: Riaru Onigokko), is a 2015 Japanese suspense action horror art film directed by Sion Sono and inspired by the title of the novel Riaru Onigokko by Yusuke Yamada.[1][2][3] It was released in Japan on July 11, 2015.[2] The film's theme song, "Real Onigokko", was written and performed for the movie by the rock band Glim Spanky.[4]


A quiet high school girl named Mitsuko survives a gust of wind which slices through her school bus, bisecting everyone else on board. She manages to escape the gust of wind, which chases her and kills all the other girls she comes into contact with. Dazed and surrounded by numerous dead high school girls, she cleans herself off and changes into another schoolgirl's uniform and stumbles onto a different high school campus. She is greeted by girls named Aki, Sur (short for "Surreal") and Taeko. Not knowing who they are, Mitsuko confesses to Aki that she cannot remember if she ever attended this school and believes that she had a nightmare about girls being killed by a gust of wind. Aki reassures her that it was just a nightmare and proposes that they all cut class and go to the woods to cheer her up.

In the woods, the girls muse about whether destiny is truly predetermined and whether there are multiple realities with multiple versions of themselves. Sur illustrates predetermination with a white feather, stating that it would mean the time it takes for the feather to fall and where it will land are all decided already. Mitsuko wonders if there is nothing she can do to escape destiny, but Sur suggests that fate can be tricked by simply doing something one would never normally do, thus changing the outcome. The girls happily return to school. Aki and Mitsuko's homeroom teacher begins class, but suddenly brandishes a machine gun and opens fire, killing all the girls except Mitsuko. Before she can fire another round, Sur and Taeko burst in, grab Mitsuko, and the three hide. Another homeroom teacher, who has just killed her own entire class, finds and kills Taeko and Sur. Mitsuko and the remaining girls flee the grounds, running for their lives as they are gunned down. One of the girls recognizes Mitsuko and pleads for her to do something and think about why this is happening. The remaining girls are then sliced apart by a gust of wind.

Mitsuko continues to run, and then finds herself in increasingly surreal situations where her identity and appearance change: first, as a bride named Keiko on her wedding day, who is forced to marry a grotesque groom with a boar's head while her guests (all girls from the previous school) jeer at her, then later as a student named Izumi in the middle of a marathon, flanked by her friends and well wishers (again, made up of the girls from the school and wedding ceremony). In each scenario, she is supported by a version of her friend Aki, who either readies her for combat or distracts her attackers, made up of the groom and the two homeroom teachers from before. In every scenario, she must flee while the surrounding girls are slaughtered in various ways.

After encountering a group of revenant girls who try to kill her after stating that so long as she lives, they all will continue to die, she is once again rescued by Aki. Aki tells her to focus and remember that although she is both Keiko and Izumi in these scenarios, she is ultimately Mitsuko. After returning to her original appearance as Mitsuko, Aki tells her that the two of them and all the girls are in a fictional world being observed by "someone" and that they will continue to hunt Mitsuko down and try to kill her while slaughtering the other girls unless Mitsuko, as the "main character", does something to change it. Each of the scenarios she encountered is a different world, and to reach the final one, Aki tells her that Mitsuko must brutally kill her. Urged on by Aki, Mitsuko reluctantly kills her and a portal opens up before her.

She finds herself in a lewd, dingy city called "Men's World" filled with only men who pervertedly enjoy a poster advertisement for a "legendary" violent 3D survival horror video game called "Tag," depicting Mitsuko, Keiko, and Izumi as playable characters. She passes out and awakens in a temple where all the girls from the various scenarios are showcased like mannequins. She arrives at a room where a decrepit old man is playing the game on his TV, showing the various trials she went through. Mitsuko is horrified to see full size models of herself, Keiko, Izumi, Aki, Sur, and Taeko behind a glass display case. The man tells her that she is in the future and that 150 years ago, she was a girl he had admired as a fellow student. When she died, he managed to take her DNA and that of all her friends and make clones for his 3D game. A younger version of the old man appears beside a bed and strips down, beckoning her to come to bed with him. The old man tells her that the final stage is the fulfillment of his deepest wish and he tells her to succumb to her destiny. Instead, Mitsuko attacks the younger man, screaming at him to stop playing with girls like toys. She rips one of the pillows, showering the room with feathers. Remembering what Sur said about tricking fate, she then commits suicide by stabbing herself, to the shock of both the old man and his younger self. Finding herself once again in the beginning of each of the three game scenarios, she simultaneously commits suicide on the bus, at the wedding chapel, and during the marathon before any of the violent scenarios can begin. Mitsuko then awakens alone in a field of white snow, gets up, and runs away, realizing that "it's over now."



Tag has an 88% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[5] In Variety, Richard Kuipers described Tag as "grindhouse meets arthouse", praising the acting and photography.[6] Clarence Tsui of The Hollywood Reporter lauded the work as "by turns absurd and affecting, bloody and beautiful, carnal and cerebral."[7] Both critics noted the film's feminist undertones.


Year Organization Award Result
2015 Fantasia Film Festival Best Film Won
Best Actress


  1. ^ Todd Brown (April 24, 2015). "Sono Sion Declares War On Schoolgirls With TAG". Twitch Film. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
  2. ^ a b リアル鬼ごっこ(2015). allcinema (in Japanese). Stingray. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
  3. ^ 「原作読まずに映画撮っただって!?」園子温版『リアル鬼ごっこ』が大炎上! 一部では"逆に"期待の声も(おたぽる、2015年7月11日)
  4. ^ "GLIM SPANKY、園子温版「リアル鬼ごっこ」に楽曲提供". Natalie (in Japanese). 2015-04-23. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  5. ^ "TAG (RIARU ONIGOKKO) (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
  6. ^ Kuipers, Richard (August 10, 2015). "Film Review: 'Tag'". Variety. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  7. ^ Tsui, Clarence (July 24, 2015). "'Tag' ('Riaru Onigokko'): Bucheon Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 15, 2017.

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