Director Hideta Takahata’s wonderful take on the youth district of Harajuku is both light-hearted and thought-provoking. There are clever set-ups and romantic interludes, but also some serious points being made about the seamy and exploitative side of Japanese hip culture.

Divided into five episodes which slyly double back and interconnect, each story is complete in itself, which almost makes it feel as if you’ve watched two films. The cute Korean boys from the idol group Bee Shuffle portray the male leads, involved in various scams and legit businesses to make a living in flashy and pop-driven Harajuku. Rina Takeda is well cast as a strict police officer who is somehow seduced by a pretty boy in the gang.

A few of the stories center around the touts on the street, who say they’re scouting for modeling agencies—but that’s sometimes not the case, as in the linchpin who explores the more unsavory side of Tokyo’s boulevard of broken dreams. The film also shows how not only younger people, but also people their parents’ age can get caught up in the web. Entertaining, clever, and fresh, this flick could be a new marker for Japanese film in 2015. (89 min)