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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. 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.
Not to be confused with Zebra Girl
Tropes featured include:
- Animal Stereotypes: A zebra makes no more sense than a bat, if you think about it.
- Animal-Themed Superbeing: Zebraman is probably type II since his animal identity is more of an alias.
- Art Shift: The quality of costumes, choreography, and special effects changes through the film, with a few surreal surprises. Ichikawa grows into the role and the look and tone of the movie change accordingly.
- Ascended Fanboy: Ichikawa's sad life revolves around the unpopular superhero whose television show was canceled after only seven episodes.
- Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever, with a touch of Make My Monster Grow, because this is the sort of Japanese story where the boss grows in size at the final battle, for no reason other than to step on buildings and force the hero to come up with a new plan of attack.
- Badass Biker: A zebra-themed motorcycle looks badder than you would think.
- Body Horror: Though it's brief, it's intense... poor Segawa.
- Calling Your Attacks: Zebra Kick! Zebra Screw Punch!
- Catch Phrase is "Don't Stand Behind Me," followed by a predictably zebra-like defensive attack.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe drives a majority of the action in this movie.
- Crowning Moment of Awesome: Like an album cover for a progressive rock band. This finale deserves to be immortalized in air-brush on the side of a van.
- Genre Savvy: Ichikawa has some idea of what kind of superhero he is, having dreamed about it his whole life. Being a fan of the original show turns out to be strangely helpful.
- Hello, Nurse!: Shows up during a dream sequence... complete with a big-ass needle to heal Zebraman!
- I Believe I Can Fly: It's too bad zebras can't fly.
- People in Rubber Suits
- Revenge of the Sequel: Zebraman 2: Vengeful Zebra City
- Show Within a Show: Scenes from the canceled show are mixed throughout the film.
- Spider Sense: Called "bed head" by jeering students, the hero's hair stands erect like a faux-hawk, in the shape of a zebra's mane, when danger is near.
- Super Mode: First, there's a more streamlined, awesome version of his costume with tornado powers. Then, he turns into a fucking zebra pegasus.
- Theme Music Power-Up
- Throwing Off the Disability: A wheelchair-bound child provides just the inspiration a hero needs.
- Twenty Minutes Into the Future: The film takes place in 2010. Its sequel which came out in 2010 takes place in 2025.
- Zorro Mark Literally. Zebra starts with a Z, too, you know.