Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 8th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 2004
Director: Takashi Miike
Writer: Kankurô Kudô
Cast: Sho Aikawa, Kyoka Suzuki, Atsuro Watabe, Yui Ichikawa, Koen Kondo
DVD released: February 19th, 2008
Approximate running time: 115 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 & Stereo Japanese, Dolby Digital 5.1 & Stereo English
DVD Release: Media Blasters/Tokyo Shock
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: Tired of his boring life, Shin’ichi Ichikawa a third grade school teacher obsessed with a short lived TV series assumes the identity of the series lead character Zebraman. Shortly thereafter Shin’ichi is unwillingly thrown into the spotlight when aliens start terrorizing the city he lives in. To further complicate matters the scripts for the unaired Zebraman episodes become reality and the series finale has Zebrman being defeated by the Alien menace. Will Shin’ichi give up or will he find a way in which Zebraman can save the day?
Zebraman was directed by Takashi Miike who is most known for his more visceral films like The Audition and Ichi the Killer. One thing that is present is the majority of Takashi Miike’s films his unique ability to infuse subversive humor. Content wise Zebraman is one of Takashi Miike most accessible films as the violence is toned down and as in your face as it is in most of his films. Visually this film does a nearly flawless job of recreating the look of the Japanese superhero TV series that it is imitating. The films greatest strength is the way its lead character Shin’ichi Ichikawa evolution into Zebraman. Watching him fumble as he tries to figure out the ins and outs of being Zebraman is sublime. All around all of cast are all very good in their respective roles. Ultimately Zebraman is an offbeat comedy that will appeal to young and young at heart.
Tokyo Shock presents Zebraman in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This progressive flagged transfer has nicely saturated colors and details look razor sharp throughout.
This release comes with four audio options, two audio tracks in Japanese a Dolby Digital 5.1 and a Dolby Digital stereo mix and two audio tracks in English a Dolby Digital 5.1 and a Dolby Digital stereo mix. There really is not a significant difference between the four audio mixes as they all sounds clear and at times dynamic. Removable English subtitles that are easy to read and follow have been provided.
Extras for this release include an extensive photo gallery, a TV spot, a theatrical trailer and a special announcement promo clip for Zebraman. Also included with this release is a promo trailer for the 1978 TV series and a two brief segments titled “Singer of Zebraman Theme Song” and “Hero Show”. Rounding out the extras are trailers for other films also available on DVD from Tokyo Shock. The extras are lacking and they are nothing more than filler. Overall Zebraman gets a good DVD release from Tokyo Shock that is highlighted by its strong audio/video presentation.