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“A wild, goofy, unapologetically entertaining romp” - Mark Schilling, JAPAN TIMES
Director: Takashi Miike
Screenplay: Masashi Sogo
Cast: Sho Sakurai, Saki Fukuda, Kyoko Fukada, Kendo Kobayashi, Katsuhisa Namase
Producers: Yoshinori Chiba
© Tatsunoko Production © 2008 Tatsunoko Production / Yatterman Film Partners
A massive dayglo blast that hits your brain like a bullet train and kickstarts your pleasure centres, YATTERMAN is far smarter than it has any right to be and it pops the pip all over your pipple. The original Yatterman was a goofy ’70s television anime considered slightly risque and trashy for the times. Every week, toy-shop owner Gan and his cute assistant Ai battled the evil Doronbo gang, led by femme fatale Doronjo and her assistants—pig-nosed muscleman Tonzra and rat-faced mecha genius Boyacky—for pieces of the mystical skull stone, and every week the Doronbo gang failed (usually due to incompetence). Then there was a mushroom cloud, Gan and Ai did their Yatterman dance and the gang regrouped the following week to do it all over again.
Takashi Miike takes these basic elements and injects a heaping helping of self-awareness, and some razor-sharp CGI that’s far better looking than anything Hollywood is putting out these days. Watching YATTERMAN is like getting Candyland poured in your eyes. Attack sushi, the Funny Bunny Club, Titty Missiles, two mecha getting hot for each other and humping in the middle of a battle, a pile of all the schoolgirls in Japan—YATTERMAN offers up something shiny, new and nutty in every frame. Miike’s idea-cup is more than overflowing—in this flick it’s practically a geyser. The heart of the movie, however, is Doronjo, played by Kyoko Fukada, the sugar princess from KAMIKAZE GIRLS. She’s a preening, prancing, pretty-pony prima donna who just loves to be evil because, well, she’s a genius. What else is she going to do? But Fukada also brings adult shading to her cartoon character and maintains her essential humanity.
This flick is kid-friendly but a Miike movie through and through. By embracing the repetitive nature of the original show, Miike’s telling us that it’s the things we do over and over again that keep us immature and stop us from growing up, but they’re also our protection against a tough old world. And in a world that feels like it’s rapidly spinning down the toilet, it’s nice to have an adult come in the room and tell us, hey, don’t worry, no matter what we do, everything’s going to be just fine.