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Film / Zebraman

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Criminals are a fearful, superstitious lot... afflicted with equiferusophobia.

Striping evil!

Zebraman is a 2004 film directed by Takashi Miike.

A satire/homage of Japanese tokusatsu television, such as Kamen Rider or Super Sentai, this funny and touching movie follows Shinichi Ichikawa, a Japanese father and school teacher. Unappreciated by his family and colleagues, Ichikawa finds solace in daydreaming about his childhood television hero, Zebraman, and an Odd Friendship with a young fan, Shinpei Asano. When mysterious sightings of monsters and aliens begin to spread panic in his neighborhood, Ichikawa begins developing supernatural talents of his own and defending the frightened citizens.

In the sequel, Zebraman 2: Assault on Zebra City, Ichikawa finds himself 20 Minutes into the Future, when scientist Kozue Aihara has somehow made use of the Zebraman motif to turn Japan into a Crapsack World, and his daughter Yui is the face of the empire. Fortunately Ichikawa still has allies, like the now adult Asano - except thanks to Laser-Guided Amnesia, he doesn't even remember how it began and why it's his business to begin with...

Not to be confused with Zebra Girl.

Tropes featured include:

Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City has examples of:

  • Badass Longcoat: Zebraman junks the cape in favor of this in the sequel.
  • Church of Happyology: Variant - while Zebra City is not based on any teachings of the Church of Scientology, it is based on the religious cult Happy Science, which is basically Japan's equivalent of the Church of Scientology.
  • Crapsack World: In the sequel.
  • Dystopia: Zebra City.
    • Egopolis: It used to be called Tokyo. An aversion as Ichikawa/Zebraman had nothing to do with it.
  • The Dragon: Yui has the katana-weilding Niimi; Yui herself can be considered one to Kozue until the end.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Turns out Yui Aihara was pulling the strings all along.
  • G-Rated Sex:
    • As the narration states that the corrupt government officials were also guilty of rape, the re-enactment we see has one such official doing a wrestling maneuver on the woman instead.
    • When Zebraman has to take Yui Aihara into himself to reunite both halves of his powers, we have them locked in a tight embrace... then blinding light... then the now-complete Zebraman throws down an empty condom pack.
  • Karmic Death: Kozue Aihara is ditched by Yui in the slums, the very killzone he established, to be killed by his own black ops police.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Niimi certainly believes this, and the fact that he only loses after Zebraman wrests it with a Barehanded Blade Block, and only dies from committing seppuku with it seems to reinforce that.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Invoked with Kozue Aihara and his daughter, Lady Gaga Expy Yui except she's not his daughter, and not even human.
  • Older Than They Look: Sumire, one of the refugees at the White Horse house is a 25-year-old who looks about 10 thanks to experimentation on her alien infection.
  • Painting the Medium: Yui Aihara's music videos shown are apparently broadcasts during Zebra Time.
    • After the 'union' of Zebraman and Yui Aihara, he throws down a condom pack and the slogan Stop AIDS appears on the screen.
  • Patient Zero: Sumire is an inversion, as the last alien infectee who gets captured and experimented on.
  • The Remake: After the events of the first movie, the Zebraman scripts are dredged up, produced and broadcast completely this time.
  • Revenge of the Sequel: Zebraman 2: Vengeful Zebra City
  • Rule of Symbolism: The sequel does a heavy Yin-Yang motif with the introduction of Yui Aihara, a female despite being born of the black half of Zebraman's powers.
  • Shout-Out: Kozue Aihara's Zebra Police have black masks with white lines meant to be a zebra head motif, but may also remind some of the Shocker Mooks.
  • Slept Through the Apocalypse: How Ichikawa wound up at the start of the sequel.
  • Stylistic Suck: The Zebraman remake Show Within a Show. Despite being an updated version, it deliberately zigzags the level of quality, from ropey makeup, an updated Zebraman outfit comparable to Heisei Kamen Rider, and obvious SFX.
  • Typhoid Mary: Sumire, the last alien infectee, is a subversion as The Virus needs to be forced out of her.