Zebraman (2004)

DVD Cover (Tokyo Shock)
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Connections: Zebraman

Being a failure as a teacher and a family man, Shinichi tries to escape everyday live by dressing up as "Zebraman", the superhero. Although the TV series was canceled after only 6 episodes, this cannot stop him from acting out his escape fantasy in a self made zebra-suit. He gets more than he could ever wish for, when his black-and-white dressed alter-ego seems to be the only thing to stand between absolute evil and a happy ending. --TMDb
Sh˘ Aikawa
Sh˘ Aikawa
Ky˘ka Suzuki
Ky˘ka Suzuki
Atsuro Watabe
Atsuro Watabe
Yui Ichikawa
Yui Ichikawa
K˘en Kond˘
K˘en Kond˘
Review by Christopher
Added: March 09, 2005
Ichikawa works as a teacher at the local junior high school. He's also a father to two kids and has a wife. At school, none of the students take him seriously. At home, he is a disappointment to everyone. He makes himself a costume that resembles a zebra and calls himself Zebraman. While pretending to beat up villains in his home one night, the suit rips and he's forced to begin work on a new suit. Meanwhile in the news, there's a lot of strange happenings going on in the world. All in which seem the be happening from unidentified human-like things. Two cops are set-up in the town with all sorts of equipment to try and locate the aliens.

A new student is introduced to Ichikawa's class, Asano. He is confined to a wheelchair from an unknown illness. Other than not being able to stand, he's just a normal boy. One day in class, Ichikawa notices him drawing something on the desk. When he goes to see what it is, one of the students inform him that it's time for recess. As the students play soccer outside, Asano shows his teacher what he was drawing. It was Zebraman. Come to find out, it was an old television show that took place in 2010. The show placed Zebraman fighting a bunch of aliens as Crab Man (a man with a large crab for a head) was the main villain.

That same night, Ichikawa finishes the touches on his new Zebraman costume. Being so proud of it, he decides to wear it over to Asano's home to show him. After getting lost, he starts to head home. On his way, he hears a woman screaming off in the distance. When he checks it out, he finds Crab Man cutting the dress off of a woman he just murdered. When the two begin to battle, it seems as if Ichikawa has gained super powers with his newly designed suit. After dodging all of Crab Man's attacks, he brings out the zebra punch that caves in his face, leaving the indention filled green slime.

Asano brings Ichikawa to his home the next day to show him a website that is dedicated to Zebraman. Asano's mother comes home and invites Ichikawa to stay for dinner. After dinner, the two put Asano to bed. While sitting in the living, she spots something coming in the door. Ichikawa turns around to see Crab Man throwing a shoe and then taking off. Ichikawa runs after him while changing into Zebraman. Crab Man grows to a vicious size and cuts off Zebraman's arm with his large claw. Zebraman calls for the power of Zebra Nurse. She arrives in a cloud of smoke, handling a large syringe. Once there was a close up of her face, it ended up being Asano's mother.

Once Zebraman is healed, Crab Man will be no match for him. Which was proven as Zebraman, Zebra Nurse and Asano all gather around the table as they eat large quantities of crab. After tearing apart the crab, Ichikawa wakes up in his bed. The whole fight was just a dream. The next day at school, the principle informs him that all of the kids will be transferring to another school. Ichikawa starts questioning why, then quickly gets distracted by the sense of danger. He runs off to change, but gets stopped by the principle. His secret is almost revealed, but manages to get away.

Several of the junior high kids were infected by the green slime, as a result, they stole a school bus and trashed a local market. One of the kids was Ichikawa's son. Zebraman showed up on the scene, only to grab his son. He managed to get the green slime out of him, but it managed to make the kid very sick. Not being able to bring him home, he brought him over to Asano's house. It was there Asano's mother found out that Ichikawa was in fact Zebraman. Back at the school, the principle opened the basement in the gymnasium, only to be attacked by several small green aliens.

When his body is found the next morning, Ichikawa shows up at his desk to leave a pot of flowers. He finds an envelope with a set of keys and a note. The note informs him that it's up to Zebraman to save the world. The keys unlock the principles's apartment, there he finds all of the scripts for Zebraman. Everything then starts being pieced together. It seems as if the aliens got ahold of other copies of the scripts and planned world domination around them. Crab Man, school stealing a bus, all in the scripts. In the end, Zebraman is written to have saved the world by flying. Zebraman tries for over a week to learn how to fly, but is unable to succeed. The world seems doomed.

Takashi Miike's most friendly film to date. Even though there's typical superhero violence, there's no swearing and the only sign of blood is when a kid falls down and when Zebraman tears himself up trying to fly. Not enough blood to even fill up a tea cup. The story was also insanely easy to follow. An ordinary guy takes the identity of an old television superhero to try and escape reality. But then the show starts becoming reality and he has to save the world from the alien invaders. With so little of interest surrounding the movie, the actual film is a complete riot of fun.

All of the action sequences are nicely done that always end with a special touch of computerized special effects. The deaths of all the bad guys were quite vicious. Even though the ending moment wasn't shown, the outcome was quite violent. The when Crab Man had his face punched in. It looked as if a strong vacuum had sucked in his face from the back of his head. Then when one man was blowing up buildings in the night, Zebraman caught him and broke his neck to the point where his head was touching his back. Then bent his arms and legs to the same point.

None of the special effects were at all life like, which was actually the goal since the movie was basically a tribute to old Japanese live action superhero television shows. Even with that in mind, everything looked really good. The aliens were shorter than knee high, had gigantic heads that formed into a small body, with small arms and legs. The center of their heads had a sort of electric field inside of them. They were very original looking. Zebraman's first two costumes were quite corny, just as the Japanese TV superheros were. But during his final battle, he transformed into a more modern superhero costume that was just amazing.

Final Conclusion: 10/10
Edd #1: Edd - added 03/31/2008, 09:45 AM
More Miike brilliance. 10/10
Chad #2: Chad - added 06/30/2008, 08:53 PM
Loved it / 10.
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