Revenge of the Zebra Miniskirt Police
aka Zebura Minisuka Porisu no Gyakushuu aka ゼブラミニスカポリスの逆襲
Directed by Nishiumi Kenichiro
Revenge of the Zebra Miniskirt Police is a spinoff prequel to Zebraman 2. In the future of 2024, Tokyo is a crime-ridden cesspool, but Governor Kouzo has just come to power and has turned the town into Zebra City. He’s formed Zebra Police to clear the streets of criminals (and anyone else) with lethal force during Zebra Time, and just because we need to get 1000% more fascist, now Governor Kouzo is setting up his personal bodyguards, the Zebra Miniskirt Police!
The Zebra Miniskirt Police are three chicks in identical miniskirt uniforms that are way more fetish-driven than the normal fascist police military industrial complex uniforms used by the rest of the Zebra Police. Their black skirts are so short you see their white panties when they kick, because the black uniforms with white panties are zebra stripes…I guess. It’s hard to say that it’s symbolism, because Revenge of the Zebra Miniskirt Police is way more black and white than Zebraman 2 (pun both intended and not intended), but the uniform designs are probably from the parent film Zebraman 2 and not this spinoff. In any event, I’ve mentioned white panties often enough I’ll probably get some weird Google referrals. Hello, pervos, welcome to the site!
This is an origin film for the Zebra Miniskirt Police, because that is a story that demanded to be told. By someone. His name is Jerry. Go bother him. The three actresses chosen to star got the roles through a reality television series where Zebraman himself, Show Aikawa, choose the three women from 776 applicants. Thus they are mostly unknown models who have done little and will probably continue to do so.
Being a low budget direct to video affair, it shows blatantly. The makeup and production values are not up to par to the original film. The video even looks different, as it was shot on a different type of camera. Most of the money seemingly went into the action choreography, which is never a bad thing. The film is helmed by Nishiumi Kenichiro – Miike’s assistant director on Zebraman 2, but while Miike could have turned this low budget affair into something fun and excessive, Nishiumi Kenichiro plays it more straight and similar to a lot of the low-budget Japanese flicks I’ve seen in tone and in content. I don’t know if that was the order, or if Kenichiro just hasn’t learned enough from Miike. It basically turns into one of the hundreds of direct to video Japanese films produced each year for specific fetish audiences, this one for those who like seeing women beat up and have large bruise makeup all over them. That’s the only reason I can figure for the excessive bruise makeup. The tone is a mix of the depressing Cool Dimension and the blatant exploitation of Sukeban Fighter Misaki.
And once again, at TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles!
Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City
aka Zeburaman: Zebura Shiti no gyakushu aka ゼブラーマン ゼブラシティの逆襲
Directed by Takashi Miike
Written by Kankuro Kudo
Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City is Miike’s followup to the 2004 film Zebraman, and like Zebraman before it, the sequel takes what could have been a straight story about a guy dressing up as a tokusatsu hero to find himself and takes it in unexpected directions. Zebraman 2 goes far beyond its predecessor, and has so many things going on it that you will be blown away by the result. Miike takes inspiration from the black and white stripes of the zebra and spins it into a yarn about the duality of man, good and evil, but sets it in a futuristic dystopia with fascist imagery and an MTV sensibility. The film is just frakking crazy. And brilliant. Brilliantly crazy.
Miike has a lot of fun inverting color schemes while still keeping up the black and white dichotomy. Governor Aihara Kouzo dresses in an all-black version of Alex the droog’s costume from A Clockwork Orange, his footsoldiers wear mostly black (with a stylized white zebra face on their masks – both showing their zebra origins and showing where George Lucas got the design for General Grievous!) as they stomp their way through town. In contrast, the hospital that serves the victims of the Zebra Police is the White Horse at white horse, all white, everyone dresses in white. Zebraman becomes whiter and whiter, beginning with his hair, while ZebraQueen becomes increasingly blacker in costume as the film commences, even commenting on how she wants more black. As their powers develop and they become more of a threat to each other, the characters are threatened with becoming more striped, a sign of weakness as they strive for their more purified forms.
The video direction is great, the pop star videos of ZebraQueen are indistinguishable from the stuff that should be playing on MTV (if garbage like Jersey Shore and Teen Mom wasn’t polluting the airwaves and forcing us to retreat to YouTube to watch actual videos!) Zebraman 2 is like a hyperactive music video at times. The songs aide you in throwing you right into the crazy world of the future, making you just as disoriented as Ichikawa as he wakes up in a world he doesn’t know. The violent imagery of the video matches the violence he encounters in the street.
aka Zeburaman aka ゼブラーマン
Directed by Takashi Miike
Written by Kankuro Kudo
If you know anything about cult cinema, you know Takashi Miike is awesome. Miike is always firing with all cylinders, and even on his weaker efforts he never does a half-assed job or sleepwalks through a film. Miike hops genres like Q*bert down a pyramid, able to make the most disgustingly violent film you’ve ever seen and follow that up with a kiddie flick. Zebraman is a love letter to tokusatsu heroes, particularly those from the 70s and 80s on Japanese television. Miike takes a fictitious hero and series and turn it into much more than just a simple tokusatsu film. It becomes a tale of finding yourself, of destiny, of belief, and about doing what’s right because you’re a hero. And it also has a guy riding a flying zebra while battling a giant goo monster. Zebraman takes these conventions and has fun with them, turning some deadly serious and others into more ridiculous fare than they’re treated by the real tokusatsu shows.
The fun with Zebraman is how all these different conventions and story bits add up to create a good story, despite the difference in tone and style. It’s a testament to Miike’s talent that he can take so many differently shaped parts and put together the puzzle with no missing pieces. My biggest fault with Zebraman is that the sequel outshines it at every turn. But I’ll worry about that when the review of the sequel goes up. For now, let’s learn about the man, the myth, the hero, Zebraman!
Cool Gel Attacks
aka Kradeub aka กระดึ้
Directed by Jaturong “Mokjok” Phonboo
Alien goo monsters from space crashed into the Earth and start sucking the moisture/warmth from people. It’s up to two rival families to put aside their differences and save the planet. Cool Gel Attacks is a cool, refreshing burst of fun scifi monsterism in a world where fun romps are sorely lacking.
The cool gel monsters look like cool gel packs that you wear when you have fevers to cool down your body temperature. This method isn’t that common in the US, but at least according to this film, is the bee’s knees in Thailand. Ask anyone there, and they’ll tell you that they’re gellin’ like a felon. They eat melon because they’re gellin’. Magellan wishes he was as gellin’.
The beginning is a montagy showcase of a bicyclist who finds a mysterious gel thing on the road, which becomes a national phenomenon until scientists figure out it is just the insides of one of those cool gel packs. But by then, people are touching it for good luck and trying to determine lottery numbers.
You might think this is all fun and games, but it is 100% true! One woman even cooked up one of the gel packs and fed it to her kids to make them more intelligent. No word on what horrible brain damage eating the gel packs did to those poor kids. And now we know how the Thailand ET film will end! Just kidding, I have a Thailand ETish film that will get reviewed soon, and no one eats the alien. UFO interest has spiked up since the national headlines, and Thailand is becoming a minihotspot for alien activity. Aliens will even call you on the phone or communicate with you telepathically, as the many totally true alien stories from that link tell us.
Director Jaturong “Mokjok” Phonboon is a comedian who directs films on the side, and gets a bunch of his comedian buddies to star alongside him. Thsu, many of the goofy, silly Thai films you see when you go search on eThaicd have his fingerprints on them.