Hey, haven’t reviewed a Takashi Miike movie in a while and with a lot of TV ending this week, we decided to sit down and watch his 2008 tokusatsu spoof, Yatterman. And if you know Miike, you know that his movies are completely crazy. So let’s get started.
In the fictional town of Tokyoyo lives Gan Takada and his girlfriend Ai Kaminari, who work at his father’s toy factory, but in their spare time, especially at 6:30pm on Saturday, they don their costumes and become Yatterman, fighting against the evil plots of the Doronbo Gang. But when the Doronbo Gang teams up with the God of Crime and is tasked with finding the four parts of the Stone Skull, can even Yatterman prevail?
Okay, going into this, you know it’s not to be taken seriously. It’s a Miike film after all. I like to think of him as Japan’s answer to Roger Corman, he does an insane number of movies every year and he’s worked in virtually every genre out there. From horror (One Missed Call and Ichi the Killer) to pseudo-legal drama (Ace Attorney) to gang drama (Dead or Alive) to superheroes (Zebraman) and giant monsters (Great Yokai War), he’s done it all. He just finished a sci-fi flick (Terra Formars) that is still in theaters in Japan as I write this. Lots of people think he’s too silly but I have never once seen a movie of his that I didn’t enjoy and this is no exception. It’s not deep but it’s not supposed to be.
For anyone who loves the tokusatsu genre like I do, this is a love letter to the form. It’s an adaptation of the 1977 anime series of the same name, using the same characters but putting the Miike spin on it. It’s got the bright colors and flashy action that you might expect and a fair amount of immature humor. I’ve seen plenty of bad reviews of the film by people who clearly don’t know what Miike does. The Japanese audience, though, certainly knew what they were getting into and the film was a success, bringing in more than 3.1 billion yen.
Miike set it up as an episode of a longer series, just like the series that it was remade from, but of course, he never really intended to keep doing more. At two hours long, a series of Yatterman movies was never really in the cards. Besides, he’s got so many other things on his plate, he’d never have time!
So if you like garish colors, some bawdy humor and a lot of cartoony action, Yatterman is a great way to spend a couple of hours. It won’t make you think, it won’t break any new ground, it won’t be the best film you’ve ever seen, but for what it is, for what it was intended to be, you certainly can’t go wrong. Go take a look.