Grade-school teacher Shinichi just can’t get any respect. His wife treats him like a nuisance, his daughter ignores his every word, his coworkers think he’s pitiful. His students regard him as a bore and an imbecile, and mercilessly bully his son, who wants nothing to do with him as a result. The only place Shinichi can find any confidence and self-esteem is alone in his room, where he’s secretly sewn together a costume. It’s a perfect replica of the suit worn by Zebraman, the hero of a third-rate 1970s superhero show that nobody remembers except Shinichi –- and much to his joy, the new, wheelchair-bound student at his school.
At the same time, strange things are occurring throughout the area. The citizens are nervous, and the military has dispatched agents to uncover – or perhaps cover up –- the source of the danger. Shinichi’s urge to sneak out and prowl in his costume, to feel what a hero feels when guarding the night from evil, soon has him dragged into an increasingly bizarre mystery.
It’s taken a couple of years, but Fantasia didn’t give up. Finally, the festival proudly presents the amazing Zebraman from Japan’s hyper-productive, super-diverse, ever-unpredictable Takashi Miike. Though best known for twisted shock-fests like Ichi the Killer and Izo -- never to mention Gozu and the Dead or Alive series, which starred the always-engaging Sho Aikawa, also front and centre here –- Miike’s imagination spins out in many other directions too, though he can always be counted on for a perverse, highly insightful quirkiness. Zebraman, like The Great Yokai War and contribution to Ultraman Max, has Miike putting his weird, wise and witty stamp on the beloved fantastical entertainment of his childhood, and further reveals a surprisingly tender heart not always evident in his darker works. A riotous parody, a heartfelt homage and a sneaky excuse for deadpan weirdness, Zebraman is a hilarious sci-fi adventure freak-out of a different stripe!
“Miike subverts this amiable, nearly family-friendly parody of Ultraman with heaps of extraterrestrial goo and a neutron bomb. Consider it the nuttiest episode of Mighty Morphing Power Rangers ever made” – Jason Anderson, EYE WEEKLY
“Funny, inventive and enjoyably bizarre…” – Simon Hill, CELLULOID DREAMS
Director: Takashi Miike
Screenplay: Kankurô Kudô
Cast: Sho Aikawa
Producers: Akio Hattori, Makoto Okada
Distributor: Media Blasters