At Flo's V8 Cafe, Sheriff pulls up when three of the Tuner Cars, Boost, DJ and Wingo drift past. As Sheriff races after them, Mater says that he used to be an import. He then tells Lightning McQueen what happened.
One day, Mater was driving along the road when he spotted a car named Ito San sitting by the side of the road. Mater offers to tow him somewhere far away and he 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 backs up and accidentally taps 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. Kabuto then tells Mater 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, "you was there, too."
Back in Tokyo, Lightning is a dragon power expert who defeats the ninjas. After the ninjas are defeated, 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 pull himself up to the top and wins the race. As Kabuto is laughed at by his ninjas after he is stripped of modifications and Mater celebrates his victory, Mater says, "And that's how I became Tow-ke-yo Mater, king of all of 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.
- Lightning McQueen
- Kabuto's Ninjas
- Mia and Tia
- Teki & Paki
- Ito San
- Kaa Reesu
- Bye Bye Kar
- Fillmore (cameo)
- Sarge (cameo)
- Ramone (cameo)
- Flo (cameo)
- Luigi (cameo)
- Mike Wazowski (cameo)
- James P. Sullivan (cameo)
- Chuki (cameo)
- Larry the Cable Guy as Mater
- Keith Ferguson as Lightning McQueen
- Michael Wallis as Sheriff
- Mach Tony Kobayashi as Kabuto
- Robert Ito as Ito-San
- Lindsey Collins as Mia
- Elissa Knight as Tia
- Guido Quaroni as Guido
- Lori Alan
- Jack Angel
- Carol Bach-Y-Rita
- Torbin Xan Bullock
- George Carlin - Fillmore
- Josh Cooley
- John Cygan
- Paul Eiding - DJ
- Jess Harnell
- Karen Huie
- Julia Kato
- Sonoko Konishi
- Henry Lee
- Angus MacLane
- Danny Mann - Wingo
- Mickie McGowan
- Laraine Newman
- Teddy Newton
- Bret Parker - Boost
- Bob Peterson
- Steve Purcell
- Jan Rabson
- Bob Scott
- Peter Sohn
- Jim Ward
- The graphics and plot seems to be based on Tokyo Street Racing movies, along with The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift.
- Snot Rod is the only Delinquent Road Hazard absent in this short.
- In one scene, Mater slides in a restaurant which says Harryhausen's (from Monsters, Inc.) in Japanese on it. Mike and Sulley from Monsters, Inc. appear in their monster truck forms as Mater slides out of the restaurant.
- When Mater is celebrating after winning the race, we see DJ dancing to the music.
- Koji from Cars Mater-National is one of the cars that watches Mater start the race.
- The light on the police car that chases Mater says "Police" in Japanese.
- The police car says the same thing Sheriff says in the beginning of the short ("Get back here, you import punk").
- The cops love donuts as a food, and the donut is a drifting move in which to spin in a circle.
- This is the first Mater's Tall Tales in which Lightning McQueen doesn't get in trouble. Unidentified Flying Mater is the second.
- 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".
- Before Kabuto challenges Mater, a large screen has a news report on. It shows Chuki reporting something, in the same shot as she did in the movie 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.
- Several brands that sponsored Piston Cup teams in Cars appear in Tokyo Mater on advertisements. These includes RPM, N2O Cola, Easy Idle, Vitoline, Nitroade, Mood Springs, Gasprin, No Stall and Gaskits.
- There is a Dinoco building seen when Mater comes out of the water.
- Parts of Tokyo shown during the short reappear in Cars 2, which is also partially set in Tokyo.
- Kabuto, Yokoza, and several female characters briefly appear in Cars 2.
- The House of Donuts was seen in Cars 2: The Video Game in the Ginza Sprint race. You could drive through it as a shortcut, but if you hit one of the police cars making donuts, the police car will sound its siren, and you'll be reset.
- The cranes closely resemble Frank from Cars.
- This is the only Cars Toons episode in which Mater does not prove that his story is real. However, when Guido had put the wooden crates on Mater, he had the same shape as his modifications in his story.
- When Boost drives by at the start of the short, he for some reason is colored orange.
- The donuts and House of Donuts sign are in the shape of a wheel.
- When Mater is going the wrong way through traffic, one of the cars uses the same scream, "Ow!" as the Sedan tourist from Cars: The Video Game.
- Tokyo Mater and Dragon Lightning McQueen appear in Cars 2: The Video Game as downloadable and playable characters.