Posted: 11/25/2011


Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City


by Ruben R. Rosario

Available in a DVD/Blu-Ray Combo Pack from Funimation on 11/29/2011

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Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City is absolute movie madness, in ways that only Takashi Miike can only deliver. This film picks up years later after the first Zebraman, in a dystopian future where Tokyo has now become Zebra City. Shinichi Ichikawa aka Zebraman (Sho Aikawa) has amnesia and can’t remember who he really is and what’s going on. Everyday for ten minutes, Zebra Time is enacted and the police and the upper class of society is given free reign to kill people as they wish, in order to create balance. This was created by the new Mayor (Guadacanal Taka) of Zebra City and also carried out by his daughter Yui aka the Zebra Queen (Riisa Naka). Amidst all of this chaos, it’s up to Zebraman to gain his memory back and stop the Zebra Queen, in order to stripe evil once more.

The most interesting thing about this sequel to Miike’s original film Zebraman, is how much has changed in his career and his approach towards filmmaking in general. In 2004, when the first film was made, Miike was still operating as a cult figure in Japanese cinema. It was a low budget affair, with great sensibilities of the sentai shows of the past. Around 2007, Miike started to make movies with much more general appeal, like Crows Zero and Yatterman. Many fans have cried out, feeling as though Miike has lost his edge strictly because he doesn’t make overtly violent movies or with bizarre and grotesque imagery. This is not the case and in fact quite proves how Miike’s body of work can’t be simply placed in a box. Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City is direct proof of this and shows how there’s only one set of rules when watching one of Miike’s films, his rules and his alone.

Zebraman 2
does what any good sequel should do, build upon what has already been set up and do it much larger than the first film. The dystopian setting elevates the film as well as immediately challenges Zebraman. The inclusion to give Zebraman a true villain with Riisa Naka’s Zebra Queen is genius on Kankuro Kudo’s part as a screenwriter, as well as Naka’s performance as the evil queen. Full of insane plot twists, absurd characters and nods to great sentai shows of the past, that make Zebraman 2 a fantastic and mesmerizing experience by Takashi Miike.

The Video on the Zebraman 2 Blu-Ray comes with an AVC 1080p encoded video that looks absolutely fantastic. This is Miike on a much bigger budget than the first film and every single frame of Zebraman 2 is a to die for. With the introduction to the Zebra Queen, shot very much like a music video, the film opens with a bang in the visuals department and doesn’t let up until the very end. The audio is presented in a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track that sounds just as good with the video track. The mix is solid and does a great job at utilizing all of its channels to create an immersive experience.

There’s a great amount of extras on this disc as well on Funimation’s Zebraman 2 BD/DVD Combo pack. There’s an in depth 90 minute making of the film, as well as various interviews with the cast, as they relate their experience working on the film. Zebraman 2 is zany, funny, action-packed and a fun time, whether you’re a seasoned Miike fan or not. With all the materials included in this set, in terms of the film and the wealth of extras in it, there’s plenty to chew on from Funimation’s offering. Whether you love superheroes, crazy Japanese cinema, new or old to Takashi Miike, do yourself a favor and check out Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City because you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t. Highly Recommended!

Ruben R. Rosario is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Audio for Visual Media. He works as a freelance location sound mixer, boom operator, sound designer, and writer in his native Chicago. He’s an avid collector of films, comics, and anime.

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