Now, those who know me well are generally aware of my fondness for the tokusatsu genre. I will save a more elaborate description of what that is for a later post, but roughly speaking "tokusatsu" translates to "special effects" and tends to feature costumed heroes fighting monsters in suits. It can be silly, yes, but there are exemplary gems in this genre, and frankly there is just something cathartic about watching anthropomorphic bug men kick monsters in the face until they explode.
Now, Zebraman, is a 2004 movie directed by Takashi Miike, (otherwise known for such gorefests such as Audition, and Ichi the Killer) which, uncharacteristically for him, is a complete and utter love letter to the genre that is tokusatsu. It is fun, it is action packed, it is heartwrenching. So let's begin.
Zebraman tells the story of middle aged Shinichi Ichikawa, an elementary school teacher and something of a shlub. Shinichi is stuck in a loveless marriage, his daughter solicits herself to older men, and his son and students do not respect him.
Shinichi soon meets Shinpei Asano, a young wheelchair bound boy who transfers into his class.
Asano, as it turns out, is also a fan of Zebraman, and the two bond over their love for the series.
From this point on, the story switches gears, from a sweet, slice-of-life-ish sort of story, to full on action. All of this leads up to a climax, which I just cannot bring myself to spoil for you, but I can say without irony, that it may just be the most awesome thing I have ever seen in a film. Watch the movie and you will know just what I am referring to.
|Black and White ecstacy! ZEBRAMAN!|
|Don't stand behind me...|
Very fortunately for you all, Zebraman was licensed in the US, and it is easy enough to find a subtitled dvd on amazon.
Zebraman was followed by a sequel, Zebraman 2: Vengeful Zebra city, which adds in dystopian cyberpunk elements, and overall made very little sense. It was interesting, but I wouldn't give it as big a recommendation as I would for this move.
Zebraman (and Kamen Rider) are both property of Toei Entertainment.
In other news, I have recently aquired a pair of Safari Carnegie collection dinosaur figurines. I will share them here, since I am a great big nerd:
Anywho, cheers, and goodnight to you all!