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.

Info : http:// www.imdb.com/title/tt1534568/
Quality : DVDRip
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Release Date: 1 May 2010 (Japan)
Filming Locations: Tokyo, Japan
Genre : Action

Download Files : Part 1 - Part 2
Subtitle : N/A



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