See this movie and revel in the madness, obey . . . .
Ahh, good old loonytunes Takashi Miike. He’s, without a doubt, simply one of the most astonishing, divisive, talented film-makers out there and if you don’t like his work I get the distinct impression that he doesn’t give a toss.
This film, based on an anime series, is pretty bonkers but it’s also (as I have been told by fans of the original cartoon) pretty spot-on with it’s approach to the material.
Yatterman is actually two people, a boy and a girl (Shô Sakurai and Saki Fukuda, respectively), who always end up having to foil the plans of Lady Doronjo (the highly attractive Kyôko Fukada) and her gang. Everyone has robots, too. Yatterman has some big, mechanical dog and a little, lively bot while Lady Doronjo’s gang always have to build a bigger, and hopefully better, machine after every defeat. And that’s all there is to it, really. Everyone is after a skull stone. The baddies always come up with some mad money-making scheme to finance their latest robot and Yatterman always comes to fight them.
This movie really is all over the place, full of amusingly wild special effects, some hilarious dream sequences, a complete lack of anything resembling reality and a wonderful design scheme full of cartoonish, bright colours for most of the time.
Where it falls down is the repetitive style of the film; it’s easy to break it down into three or four acts simply repeating the actions of the opening sequence. Familiarity doesn’t necessarily always breed contempt but it does make you want things wrapped up when you should be enjoying a predictable finale. Then there is the brand of humour that won’t go down well with everyone. Personally, I really liked what was on show here but I think that’s down to my increased exposure, of late, to more Asian cinema and Miike’s movies in particular.
Get into the right frame of mind and you may well, as I did, find yourself getting a lot of enjoyment from this movie. Just don’t expect to be able to explain the appeal of it to any of your friends.