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The Ending Of Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift Explained

The Fast and the Furious movies have always been about three things: fast cars, good friends, and the franchise-wide decision to forget that they had car-stopping sci-fi guns in the second one. But then, for a brief, glorious moment in 2006, it was about more than that. It was about the world's oldest high school student trying to Last Samurai his way through the seedy world of underground Japanese street racing.

The very old teenager in question is Sean Boswell, an Arizona ragamuffin who gets positively giddy at the prospect of motor carriage mischief. After a particularly destructive attempt to drive so well that a girl will like him, Sean is sent to Tokyo to live with his overbearing military father in a classic case of the justice system sending all of its problems to live on an island.

As it turns out, the old chestnut is true: "You can take the very old boy out of the city that he keeps destroying with cars, but you can't take the destroying cities with cars out of the very old boy." It's not long before Sean becomes entangled with the local street racing scene. As tends to happen in these situations, he instantly butts heads with a young, Yakuza-adjacent man named Takashi. Sean tries to race Takashi, but he doesn't know how to Tokyo Drift yet, so he loses and trashes the car that he borrowed.

The game is on for Han and Sean in Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Forced to work off the cost of the car that he couldn't Tokyo Drift, Sean enters the employment of Han, a pretty cool local who becomes his best friend and teaches him how to Tokyo Drift. The two bond over their love of cars and their shared dislike of Takashi. And through the magic of montage, Sean gets good enough at Tokyo Drifting to beat Takashi's best bud at driving, which gives him the confidence to ask Takashi's girlfriend, Neela, on a date. This adds more tension, basically trashing any chance of Takashi and Sean becoming best buds later. Also, Neela moves in with Sean, which seems like it's taking things a little too fast, if not too furious. She's a teenager, and he's almost old enough to retire also a teenager.

Meanwhile, Takashi's uncle, who is all about being in the Yakuza, is convinced that Han has been stealing from him and his Yakuza pals. Takashi sets off to Tokyo Drift some vengeance into Han and friends, and the ensuing car chase ends when the front of an oncoming car Tokyo Drifts into Han so hard that he explodes — or does he? We'll get to that.

The dispute between Sean and Takashi comes to a standstill when Neela agrees to move back in with Takashi and Sean gets the money to pay off Han's old stealing debts. All is calm in the Japanese street racing scene.

But all of that Tokyo Drifting training wouldn't be worth a bucket of spit if there wasn't a climactic Tokyo Drift race, so Sean throws down the gauntlet.

Sean drifts a drifter in Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Sean points out that Takashi should really race him again, and Takashi is into the idea. The stakes: the loser will have to leave Tokyo, presumably going somewhere without a specific Drift named after it. The place: a very curvy mountain road that only Takashi has ever successfully Tokyo Drifted. Takashi, being a real piece of work and all, tries to ram Sean off the road, but you can't spell "karma" incorrectly without "car," and he winds up flying off the side of the mountain. Sean Tokyo Drifts to victory, sucks on a victory Werthers Original, and is hailed as the new Drift King, which sounds like something we made up but isn't.

The plot gets extra fast and furious in the final act and beyond. First, Sean receives a race challenge from a mysterious newcomer — none other than Dom Toretto, the character played by Vin Diesel, an actor whose name nobody would buy if it had been assigned to one of the characters in the movie. He reveals that he was associated with Han, dovetailing into several revelations over the course of the next few movies. Through Han's un-exploded inclusion in Fast and Furious, Fast 5, and Fast and Furious 6, we learn that Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift took place sometime after 2013, meaning that the glamorous, high-end Japanese street racing scene was inexplicably lousy with Nokia phones and cars from 2006. 

At the end of Fast and Furious 6, we learn that the driver who Tokyo Drifted into Han was actually Jason Statham's character Deckard Shaw. Also, Han is apparently going to show up in Fast and Furious 9, though the details surrounding his escape haven't been delved into just yet. As convoluted continuity goes, the Fast and Furious timeline remains the Terminator franchise of stories about race cars — which is why it's really best to take the whole series a quarter mile at a time.