Directed by: Takashi Miike | 115 minutes | comedy, science fiction | Actors: Show Aikawa, Kyoka Suzuki, Atsuro Watabe, Teruyoshi Uchimura, Yui Ichikawa, Koen Kondo, Akira Emoto, Ryo Iwamatsu, Ren Osugi
“Zebraman” is a film that contains elements of so many genres that it is difficult to categorize. The story is a mixture of science fiction, drama, comedy, action and a bit of horror. But there is no doubt that Takashi Miike, who made a name for herself with films such as “Ichi the Killer” and “Audition”, successfully brought these elements together.
Show Aikawa is memorable as the wimpy teacher Shinichi Ichikawa. He is the walking definition of the word “loser”. As a viewer you sympathize with him as the drama in Shinichi family unfolds: his daughter can no longer be controlled and is even encouraged by her mother in her dissolute behavior, his wife barely sees him and stops another. na and his son is the shit of the school. Fortunately, underdog Shinichi gets a chance to turn the tide. As Zebraman, he is clumsy and insecure at first, but once he has discovered his hidden powers, he is unstoppable.
After the somewhat slow, dramatic start, “Zebraman” becomes more and more an action movie. But the comic element is also getting stronger. For example, in his self-made zebra costume, Schinichi looks more ridiculous than tough. The phantom characters are grotesque, not very scary and seem to have walked out of a comic strip. The secret agents don’t look very professional. In short, “Zebraman” is a film that pokes fun at the genre of superhero stories in an entertaining way.
Director Takashi Miike deviates with “Zebraman” from the kind of films that have become his trademark. Extreme violence and sadism are almost omitted, along with the undertone of sadness, desolation and pessimism that is so characteristic of Miike’s work. There is room for moving scenes and the end of the film can even be called euphoric. Time will tell whether Miike has definitely taken a different path with “Zebraman”.