Cult Movie Essentials

Cult Movie Essentials: Zebraman (2004)

Directed by Takashi Miike, Zebraman follows Shinichi Ichikawa (Shô Aikawa), a man whose life is unravelling before his eyes. At work he is a failing school teacher and at home he is a failing husband and father. His wife is cheating on him, his teenage daughter is dating older man whilst his son is being bullied because his dad is a teacher.

To escape the pressures of his life, Ichikawa dresses up as a superhero called Zebraman at night. It is revealed that Zebraman was a show he loved in the 1970’s but unfortunately it was cancelled after seven episodes.

Later at school Ichikawa meets a transfer student named Shinpei Asano (Naoki Yasukôchi) who is in a wheel chair. Asano is also a huge fan of Zebraman and helps encourage Ichikawa, who gains confidence in his teaching and soon develops feelings for Asano’s mother (Kyôka Suzuki). 

Soon Ichikawa becomes aware of a series of strange crimes that appear to be taking place around the area of his school. One night Ichikawa decides to surprise Asano by showing him his Zebraman costume but on the way runs into a crab-masked serial killer. A battle is fought with Zebraman triumphant. More shocking though is that Zebraman displays actual superpowers during the battle!

Soon more enemies appear possessed by alien slime for Zebraman to battle and he learns that the Zebraman series was actually a warning prophecy of an actual alien invasion written by the school’s principal, revealed to be an alien who refused to go through with it…


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