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22 June 2011

Tokyo Zombie (2005)

You know those moments where you just don't know what to be doing with yourself? That was me today as I was agonising over tonight's DVD selection. What was it to be? Horror or Humour? Zombie or Mutant?

Well, in the end I opted for Zombie Humour in the form of the Japanese film: Tokyo Zombie.

Zombies in Toyko Zombie, Manga 2005
Zombies in Toyko Zombie, Manga 2005


The story starts with Black Fuji - an imposing mountain that has been turned by local residents into a dumping ground for everything from toxic waste to dead bodies. Hey! Hold on a second! That's a bad combination isn't it? Surely Toxic waste + Dead bodies = Zombies? Yep - you got it! But don't be fooled...

Despite the well-worn opening premise, this film is anything but predictable. It isn't your run of the mill zombie film, and it's not your typical comedy either. It seems to have a bit of everything in it. There's martial arts, romance (of sorts), and the ending is touching in a way that I can't even begin to describe.

The Black Fuji Mountain in Toyko Zombie, Manga 2005
The Black Fuji Mountain in Toyko Zombie, Manga 2005


The stars of the show are the inept afro-toting Fujio played by Tadanobu Asano, and Micchan his balding hypercondriac Jujitsu master played by Sho Aikawa. I'll be honest and say that I wasn't sure about this pair at first, but they soon won me over as they accidentally kill their boss and proceed to dispose of the body at Black Fuji. Check out the bit where they're shouting 'Hello' off the mountain-side, listening to their echoes. Well, it tickled me! The film wouldn't have been anywhere near as effective without these two guys in it.

Tadanobu and Micchan in Toyko Zombie, Manga 2005
Tadanobu and Micchan in Toyko Zombie, Manga 2005


Whilst this film is very much a clever character-driven comedy, it does have its over-the-top moments of farce. Most of it works and once the story gets started, we discover that most of it is for a reason. The hallmark of a great story!

I've just been watching a bit of the 'making of' extra on the DVD and it doesn't surprise me to learn that the film is based upon a comic (by Yusaku Hanakuma). I'm not a huge fan of comics per se, but I think I'd kind of like to give this one a go. I'd have to find an English version though! As an aside, there were times in this film where I just wished I could understand Japanese - I felt I was missing some of the fun of the visuals as I raced my way through the subtitles.

Zombies ate my girlfriend in Toyko Zombie, Manga 2005
Zombies ate my girlfriend in Toyko Zombie, Manga 2005


So... you might have guessed that I dug the film. It was a nice little surprise... Not what I was expecting at all. The sleeve compares Tokyo Zombie to Shaun of the Dead. Don't believe it. These are two very different films... and both great for their own reasons.

On the Triple-B I'm going to hold off 7 zombies while you hunt for the keys to the truck. And while you're at it, can you pick me up a packet of Heart Chipples...


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