[Movie] Yatterman the Live Action

November 28, 2009 at 11:17 pm | Posted in Drama / Movie | 1 Comment

I’m not sure how many people would have heard of this 1977 anime series Yatterman, but I know I certainly haven’t, seeing as how it was broadcasted over 10 years before I even existed. Even so, I decided to check out the 2009 live action remake without knowing what I would be getting myself into. Note that this review is solely focused on just the movie.

Plot summary from ANN (since I’m too lazy to write one myself):

Gan, the only son of the owner of Takada Toy Shop and his girlfriend Ai serve together as Yatterman, the superhero that (along with their mecha dog Yatter-wan) fight the evil Doronbow gang, headed by the sexy Doronjo and her wacky henchmen Boyacki and Tonzura. When the daughter of an explorer brings one of four pieces of the mysterious Skull Stone to them, they must find the other pieces before the Doronbow gang does. The evil force behind the gang, the mysterious Skullobey, wants to use it to steal the world.

I love any show that has a lack of the fourth wall. Yatterman is in short a parody of other super sentei series, with the hero casually talking about how he has to fight once every week, and the lulz villains always using the same ineffective attacks, knowing that they are bound to fail. The gigantic Yatterwan even has a slot for the ETC card as it travels on the Japanese highway, with the heros posing painfully the entire duration while the damsel in distress clings on for dear life.

There are the whacky action scenes, the cheesey romance portions, and the dumb hilarious moments. Seriously, what more can a person ask for? (No, don’t bother with the plot or common sense.) True, this makes the the movie very predictable, but hey, that is a super sentei show for you. And look forward to the transformations too!

The animation in this film is top-notch. In fact, there are times in which I have doubt about whether it is a real life, or animated, scene. The visuals can be quite comically outrageous at times to bring the comedy effects out, and it is done really well. The x-ray/skeleton animations from electric attacks is enough to hint that this is not a show to be taken seriously, and that it was originally an anime. The music is also  obviously from the old days and you would expect the villains to dance along to the ridiculous lyrics, which, to no one’s surprise, they do.

This is definitely not a show for kids though, with a few disturbing moments. I don’t know what most people feel about a person being absorbed through the villain’s underneath, or Boobs Machine attacks, or the dream of serving a dominatrix on top of a hill of high school girls, but I know for sure that robot sex doesn’t go well for me.

An interview with the director Takashi Miike reveals that he made this film because the western studios are making Dragonball Evolution. Though the original material sources for both are Japanese, the target consumer segment is completely different. The western audience finds DBE a success with the typical plot of a weakling becoming a superhero, while the original fans curse it as an utter failure. And while I highly praise Yatterman for its hilarious moments and how it takes not take itself seriously, I can also see how it would not be well accepted in the western culture for being too ridiculous and retarded, when the point is to become such.

PS: 2 of the original 3 villain seiyuus make a cameo appearance in the film. Try to spot them!

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  1. […] mental well-being. I have almost never seen an anime-to-movie done well, with the few exceptions of Yatterman, Nodame Cantabile (whoever casts Ueno Juri as Nodame is genius!) and NANA (the movie was great! […]

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