|Index||7 reviews in total|
Sequels are often poorer when compared to the originals. Zebraman is an
exception. The second movie builds an entire world around the Zebraman
concept to the point that the color scheme is almost entirely black and
white. Instead of weaving the superhero aspect into present day Japan
Zebraman 2 takes place in a strange future with plenty of Orwellian
vibes. Dystopia matched with oppression of the vaguely Fascist kind are
brought to life with flashy visuals and fast paced scenes.
The movie takes Zebraman and turns it into a mythology of sorts with a strong polarity between good and evil. The campy aspect of the franchise is upgraded to include a lot of sexiness and tight music videos spliced into the video and even connected with the plot. At points this sequel's main point seems to be to promote the music but strangely enough it works remarkably well.
There is still plenty of corny humor but the overall tone is serious with even something like social critique with 'Zebra time', five minutes per day in which any violent act is permitted. The greatest innovation has got to be the new villain, a very attractive girl with black latex outfits worthy of any dominatrix worth her salt. She is also responsible for delivering the song around which so much of the story revolves. Her performance adds a flair of traditional comic book evilness and spices things up.
Some points do not seem to jive all that well with the original, back is Asano, the little kid befriended by Zebraman, now all grownup but for some reason Zebraman's family is never of again nor does he even ask about it. The final battle is as epic as it to be expected but followed by an hilarious conclusion.
Zebraman 2 is everything that the first one was and then much more. It is bigger, louder and maybe even crazier. Recommended for fans of the original but avoid the spin-off at all costs.
It is interesting to see this title got less points than its prequel.
It should have been the opposite.
First movie was not very Miike-like. It looked just a movie for children. However, the second title was very different, and it was very Miike-like. You don't need to watch the first one and don't do so if you don't have time to waste. But watching Zebraman 2 is really fun.
Now, the reason I wanted to write a few things about this movie was Riisa Naka. There are a few roles that fit perfectly to its actor or actress. Or shall we say, there are few players who can carry a role perfectly and after watching, you can not think of anyone else acting that role. Riisa, playing Zebra Queen is one of those. Just like Brando as Godfather, Hopkins as Hannibal.
Zebraman 2 can not be compared with these movies definitely. No way! You will not even miss anything by not watching this movie at all. However, you will be sorry to miss Riisa in her Zebra Queen role. Watch the movie and you will be disappointed if you are a Miike fan, but you will become a Riisa-fan.
The Italians have "The Leopard," the French "Major Blueberry," the US
has "Spiderman 2," Germany "The Tin Drum," Russia "Alexander Nevsky"
Britain "Monty Python Live!," Sweden "Smiles of a Summer Night," India
"Bandit Queen" and Japan "Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City." I find it
quite pathetic that most moviegoers are unable to experience anything
remotely original in terms of cinematic style or content. I'm appalled
by the mere thought of feeding upon the commercialistic trash of
mainstream American Superhero cinema almost all of which is
completely worthless, unimaginative, boring, and unintentionally
hilarious. In like manner, I simply cannot understand why so many
people indulge in studio controlled, mass-produced garbage on a whim,
yet find it so difficult to appreciate a strikingly original, well-made
horror film. "Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City" is one such film, and
its current 0 rating is more a condemnation on IMDb voters than the
I don't like to include a long plot synopsis in my reviews, but when other reviewers insult the film for being a "mess", I am forced to explain things to persons who apparently have a prescribed limit to the number of brain cells they're willing to use while watching a movie. I certainly hope that these people aren't quite as stupid in their daily lives.
In a nutshell, Sho pukes up black and white mud as a foreshadowing of his interactions with the 1000-year-old zebra's spirit, which was preserved in the same kind of mud (and possibly drank the mud during its lifetime to preserve beauty). Cynthia Cheston (the Foreigner reporter) takes the zebra to the deserted house because it causes side-effects to those around it (Hino describes his nightmares and Makoto himself drives his pony off the road). The ghost zebra is the spirit of the zebra as manifested through the identity of a girl who was killed a few months earlier. Sho witnessed the murder, but the zebra's spirit possessed his body, thereby forcing Cheston to kill him again in self-defense. Plagued by these images, Sho suffers a fractured psychology and begins to believe that his act of murder was a hallucination.
Only a truly masterful filmmaker could pull this off with such perfection. Welcome to the world of Takeshi Miike.
Now that the dim-witted have been enlightened, I'd like to discuss other elements of this film. As far as style is concerned, I've heard some fans of Dario Argento who claim that his set designs and lighting are practically "characters" in his films. It's interesting to note that Miiki's location settings and architecture are employed in the same manner. I have no idea where he finds these places, but his films are driven forward by mesmerizing environments, decrepit buildings, natural settings, and expert use of lighting. Ironic, it seems, that someone such as I (an anti-snob to the grave) would be captivated by Miike's atmosphere as much as I am. Props to the filmmaker indeed.
While true that "Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City" panders to lovers of slow-paced atmospherics by having Sho walk slowly through moody environments, the fact remains that I need more than a pretty painting if I'm to be entertained for two hours, and "Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City" provides much in the way of entertaining events. The aforementioned murder scene is an obvious choice, but Sho's interaction with the zebra's spirit is good stuff. The gradual disintegration of the zebra girl on the foggy dock flies in the face of your typical Onryo, the ghoulish teleportation scene from one side of the room to the other is devilishly nice, and the creaky ceiling scene was well-executed. This is not pretentious tripe like "Akira Kurosawa's Dreams." On the contrary, this is expertly crafted, highly enjoyable cinema that is destined to be promptly insulted and trashed by those with no taste in film of which there are many.
This is not a perfect endeavor, mind you. Some of the acting is hokey at times, but there are so many positives here that they far outweigh any negatives. Yet somehow this film has not met the ultra low standards of your typical IMDb mainstream moviegoer. This film has been trashed to the point where I have seriously questioned the sanity of the world. Have you people really devolved back into a primordial state where quality execution of originality is not only ignored, but derided and insulted? Perhaps the conflicts were not explicitly referenced and explained to the point where a person with an IQ of less than 50 could understand them. Perhaps the pacing should have been sped up and supplemented with a few dozen jump scares to keep viewers awake. Perhaps the characters were too old for teenie-boppers to identify with, and should have been revised to include a bunch of pot-smoking, sex-crazed highschoolers.
Well, whatever this film was "missing", I certainly didn't miss it.
I watched this latest Miike movie at Independent Movie Festival of
Istanbul ( IF Istanbul 2014). As i mentioned this is typical Miike
movie with lots of laughs or surprises. Some scenes have been made very
absurd consciously, but i really liked the first part especially. The
only minus of Reiji is the length, it is more than 2 hours and the pace
of it gets lower minute by minute. If you are a Miike fan like me, give
it a try, you probably like it. If you don't know anything about Miike,
this movie may be one of the best starters, before entering his darker
and more disturbing movies.
P.s. Not exactly spoiler; but at the end it will be shown that there will be definitely sequel movie, which i will be glad to see.
Zebraman sequel is just as weird as the first, but you can tell it was
made on a bigger budget than the first one. There're lot more CG scene,
on this one.
Tokyo has been renamed Zebra city. The world is an apocalyptic place where corruption and violence rules supreme. It's a dog eat dog world where its survival of the fittest. Zebraman gets put on a centrifuge machine to get his black and white parts separated. The result is good white Zebraman, and evil black Zebra Girl.
The plot is still like something done by an elementary school kid, but there are lot more actors, and staged shots in this one compared to the first movie. I've seen other weird movies, but this one takes the cake. First Zebraman was cheese and you can easily dismiss it as just another campy movie, but this one has lot more resources behind it making it a seriously weird movie.
I love Zebraman for its weirdness. If you're aboard with the first Zebraman, this one will entertain you too.
Okay so Zebraman became a zero to a hero in the first movie and in this
one it's about watching the developed hero in action. This time there
is more action and much better special effects, probably because this
movie had a bigger budget than the previous Zebraman movie. As silly as
the first one was, the plot takes place in the year 2025 and takes
place in a area called Zebra City. The main conflict is a reform called
"Zebra Time" where police are allowed to commit any crimes they want
for 10 min a day on a specified time, mainly shooting random people.
But this just doesn't apply to the police but other people as well, so
they can commit any crimes and get away with it. This time the
antagonists actually sort of stands out, especially Zebraqueen(Riisa
Naka) who is a idol singer in this story and also the evil governor's
daughter. Also seemed to be influenced by the style of Lady Gaga,
except Zebraqueen is more real. Riisa Naka played this psycho girl
character pretty well in this and actually made the character
believable for the most part. Even if the villain's so called master
plan is just plain stupid, especially when it comes to the motive
behind it. Takashi Miike is known for using pop culture references in
some of his movies and that applies to this movie as well, but it's
done in a way where it doesn't feel forced. The plot isn't better this
time around but it's a bit more entertaining than the first movie. The
action sequences actually gets pretty good after a hour into the movie
although the build up is kinda slow and boring in some aspects.
Everything is more ridiculous this time around and it really isn't a
great sequel, but it's still much better than the first Zebraman movie.
This sequel fixes some of the flaws from the previous movie, but it
isn't a amazing sequel or anything like that.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There's little doubt that Takashi Miike's films are always fun to watch
and unconventional to be sure and his latest "Zebraman Zebra City No
Gyakushu" (Zebraman - Attack on Zebra City) is no exception. "Zebraman
2" is an enjoyable and entertaining superhero adventure that definitely
outshines the original.
The original "Zebraman" (2004), which was adapted from Yamada Renji's popular "Gekka Spirit's" manga series, told the story of middle-aged school teacher, Ichikawa Shiinichi (Aikawa Sho) who dreams of becoming a costumed superhero similar to the ones he watched on TV as a youth. Creating a makeshift costume, Ichikawa soon becomes the hero "Zebraman" and desperately tries to impress his wife and win back his children's approval by fighting criminals and in the course of his adventures gains real super powers and inadvertently stops an impending invasion of slimy green invaders. Very much like Matthew Vaughn's recent "Kick-Ass", Miike's film was a tribute to American Comics and Japanese Tokusatsu TV (Live Action Sci-Fi TV) and combined the best elements of Superman, Batman, Ultraman and Kamen Rider to come up with a crowd-pleasing and surprisingly poignant superhero film.
"Zebraman - Zebra City No Gyakushu" (again adapted from Yamada Renji's manga series) takes place soon after the events in the first film. After defeating the alien invasion, Ichikawa becomes a media phenomena and is celebrated as a hero but the constant hounding by the news media has taken its toll and Ichikawa soon finds that the stress has caused him to lose the ability to turn into Zebraman. A renegade government scientist Aihara Shinzou (comedian "Garadunakanu" Taku)takes advantage of the situation to kidnap Ichikawa and subjects him to a series of torturous experiments to "extract" Zebraman's power from Ichikawa in an attempt to create an evil doppelgänger which he can control. After five years, he succeeds and a portion of Zebraman's power is extracted and gives birth to a teen-aged female life-form which Aihara adopts and names "Yui" (gorgeous fashion model Naka Lisa). Yui's powers aren't fully developed yet but Aihara hopes that in time she will become even more powerful than Zebraman. The experiments leave Ichikawa weakened and he soon loses all memory of his past identity. Ichikawa is left to die but is rescued by former student and now medical intern, Asano Shinpei (Kamen Rider Decade actor Inoe Masahiro). The year is now 2025 and Aihara Shinzou and his "daughter" have taken control of Tokyo (which they rechristened "Zebra Town"). At precisely 5 p.m. each evening (Zebra Hour), Aihara's armed battalion (the Zebra Army) go into town to slaughter and kill any resistance to their rule. Yui has also adopted the Lady GaGa like persona of "Zebra Queen" to taunt and lull the Tokyo citizenry with her hypnotic vocals. Asano brings the dazed Ichikawa to Shijou Junichi (Tanaka Naoki of the comedy group "Kokorico") who is the leader of a rebel resistance sworn to overthrow Aihara and who coincidently was the suit actor of the show "Zebraman" that first inspired Ichihara to become "Zebraman". Shijou has assembled a small army of rag-tag rebels to oppose the Zebra Army including a young girl named Sumire (cute Nakano Mei) who is the human host of one of the alien invaders from the first movie. Together they join forces to take back Tokyo and stop Aihara from expanding his forces across the globe.
Like "Spider-Man 2" and "The Dark Knight", "Zebraman 2" is definitely a sequel that tops the original. Director Miike definitely knows how to please the fan-boys and he pulls out all the stops here with everything a movie geek could love - aliens, a beautiful femme fatale, a cool henchmen character, lots of mayhem and destruction and nice SFX visuals.
I love all the visual gags that Miike includes in "Zebraman 2" and all the references to other cult shows. In one part of the movie, villain Aihara introduces us to his bodyguards, the "Mini-Skirt Zebra Police" who are parodies of the "Mini-Skirt Police" stars of the cult 90s TV series.
Aikawa Sho again does good work at making Ichikawa/Zebraman an interesting hero character. Ichikawa is very much in the same vein as Peter Parker and Clark Kent, and Aikawa definitely succeeds at making Ichikawa a very human character to counterbalance the superhero alter ego of Zebraman.
Stunning model turned actress Naka Lisa steals the show as the sinister villainess Yui/Zebra Queen. She definitely seems to be inspired by Lady Gaga in her outrageous look and reminded me of another model actress Anna Tsuchiya who Naka seems to also be channeling in her performance. While a bit over-the-top in her actions and behavior, Naka's performance brings an evil charm to Yui/Zebra Queen that is hard to resist and she makes for a very cool villain.
"Takeshi Gundan" member (Beat Takeshi collaborator) and Comedian "Garadunakanu" (Guadal Canal?) Taku AKA Iguchi Takahito AKA Taka-Chan) is hilarious as the villainous Aihara, self proclaimed mayor of "Zebra Town". Looking like a cross between Malcolm McDowell's iconic Alex character in Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" and 70s Japanese androgynous singer Sawada Kenji, Taku is at his campy best.
Abe Tsuyoshi (Hana Yori Dango 2; Rough) is great as Niimi, Yui/Zebra Queen's lead henchman and enforcer and has great charisma in his limited role. He makes for one cool bad guy.
I was very surprised at how good the sequel was as the original "Zebraman" was good but not great. "Zebraman 2" is great entertainment and hopefully Miike will consider another sequel.
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