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Karate-Robo Zaborgar

DVD front DVD back



Directed by Noboru Iguchi
Screenplay by Noboru Iguchi


Character Actor/Actress
Yutaka Daimon Itsuji Itao
Dr. Akunomiya Akira Emoto
Younger Daimon Yasuhisa Furuhara
Dr. Daimon Naoto Takenaka
Chief Inspector Nitta Hiroyuki Watanabe
Akizuki, Gen Miyashita, Yuuya


    


You probably have to be a fan of Denjin Zaboga to enjoy this movie. I'm not sure I'd call it a parody but it does have a dark sense of humor. I didn't see the humor in the flash back to Dr. Daimon's death. Those scenes just seemed dumb to me. The movie version of Yutaka is even more manic than the TV version.

Chapter 2
The movie is divided into two chapters. Chapter 1 is set in 1982. 

DAIMON, YUTAKA
Yutaka Daimon Denjin Zaboga
Daimon, Yutaka: Date of birth: February 29, 1960. Blood Type: O. Height 180cm, Weight 67.5 Kg. A Secret Police agent whose father created the titular robot. Daimon dedicated his life to karate to escape the feelings of being rejected by his father. It was only after Dr. Daimon's death that he discovered Zaborgar in his father's basement laboratory.  A lover of justice, he is nevertheless prone to confusing duty and revenge, and his anger easily overtakes his judgement. Unlike in the TV show, it does not  seem like Daimon's anger fuels Zaborgar. To deal with depression, Daimon becomes addicted to cream puffs, which cause him health issues later in the movie.

POLICE DETECTIVES

From left to right: Inspector Nakano, Chief Nitta, Detective Matsue, Ken.

In this version, Chief Nitta, Daigoro only has a daughter. He does not have a son called Hiroshi like he did in the TV show, played by the JINZOU NINGEN KIKAIDA Masaru actor Kamiya, Masahiro. However the daughter is also only ever spoken about and never seen. Instead, he is a father figure of sorts to Daimon, Yutaka, in the first half of the movie that takes place in 1982. He praises Daimon for his skills while admonishing him for confusing duty and a desire for revenge. Although he is as righteous as Yutaka, Chief Nitta has his hands tied by burocracy and in particular he is held back by Minister Wakasugi. This further frustrates Daimon and drives him to disillusionment.  

Detective Nakano is more manic than his TV counterpart, while Matsue, Ken shares his name with a major character of the TV show's second series, but nothing else. 

MINISTER WAKASUGI

MINISTER WAKASUGI

Your typical politician and the requisite evil burocrat. Ungrateful, philandering, whiny, power-abusing, two-faced and cowardly, this type of villain represents a shift in Japanese attitude towards government power, which was also a theme in the movie SHIN GODZILLA.  He is original to this movie.


SIGMA

As in the TV series Yutaka Daimon and Denjin Zaboga battle the terrorist group SIGMA,
Dr. Akunomiya
led by the human hating cyrbog Dr. Akunomiya who seeks to use human DNA mixed with the metal Daimonium to create a giant robot.

Miss Borg
The primary foe of Yutaka Daimon is Miss Borg, the first agent of SIGMA to appear in the film. 

SIGMA Executives

The Sigma executives shown in chapter 1 are male cyborgs. In this version they are depicted as arrogant, sexist and stupid.
male cyborgs
  From left to right: King Africa (Kingu Afurika), Burner 8 (Baanaa 8),  Electric Andes (Eleki Andesu), Apache Drill (Apachi Doriru), Baron Eyepatch (Gantai Danshaku). In the original, Burner 8 was a simple Sigma Mecha Borg and appeared in episode 19. In this version he has been elevated to Sigma Executive. Apache Drill's drill has been inexplicably replaced by a nunchaku, rendering his name meaningless and confusing since Electric Andes has a drill. Baron Eyepatch is the equivalent to Pirate Jack from the original. The Sigma Executive costume design is mostly unchanged, with King Africa retaining the original Ping-Pong ball eyes.

SIGMA SOLDIERS

Of course, those guys appeared to get into fights with Daimon, Yutaka. Changes were made to the Sigma Soldiers (Shiguma Dan Setoin).  These changes may have had something to do with the low budget. All the Sigma Soldiers lost their customary leather jackets, which were replaced with security guard-style black shirts, and were given masks in order to further conceal their faces. The budgetary impact is that not only shirts are cheaper than leather jackets, but with all of them masked to look exactly the same, they can be multiplied by CGI and less stuntment need to be hired. This is just a theory. What is puzzling is how in some scenes they use M16 automatic rifles instead of their traditional Pole Rifles, which in the series behave pretty much the same way.

SIGMA MECHA

Samurai Robot 
 

Zaborgar has to fight Samurai Robot Yoroides. Yoroides is original to this film. He possesses a pig-like snout which is supposed to extract the DNA from his victims through a stolen kiss. The effect is similar to that of the plunger weapon used by the Daleks in DOCTOR WHO.

SIGMA MECHA ANIMALS

Acid Ant Robot

Acid Ant Robot Arizairaa is brought back from episode 1 of the TV series.  While the design is not like the original, it captures the feel of the show and would not have been out of place in any episode of DENJIN ZABOGA. In the official English-language release, it is given the absurdly ridiculous name "Diarrhea Robot". Those subtitles in general are only a few steps up from HK "engrish".

Bull Dog Robot

BULLGUNDER originally appeared in episode 26. Here he is presented with a different color scheme than in the series. A number of smaller versions, "Mini Bullgunders", appear later on, with a color scheme closer to the original's.  The large Bullgunder was built on a truck borrowed from a friend of the director's who worked at a shipping company and took a whole 25% of the monster molding budget for the film. The arms and hands were animated in CGI.

 Black Hawk Robot
Black Hawk Robot, a female version of the TV show's Machine Hawk. The gender change was a letdown for fans who wanted to see the real thing finally henshin into a robot. It was done mostly to extract cheap hentai "jokes" that weren't funny.

MISS RUGGERS
3 female cyborgs
In the movie the three yellow, red and blue male androids ("Ruggers") from episode 17 of the TV series are replaced with "Miss Ruggers", three female cyborgs. They call Miss Borg "sister" but warn her that the team has no place for mavericks and that they will destroy her if she betrays their mission.  Rugger Red is the leader and has the better comedic instincts. Rugger Yellow briefly disguises herself as a human, and Rugger Blue...well, it has to be seen to be believed.

SIGMA CASTLE
SIGMA Castle
Sigma Castle is given the ability to fly in a manner reminiscent of the Comet Empire from SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO. It appears as a giant fortress built upon what looks like a giant brain.

Chapter 2


eye catch Chapter 2
After the defeat of Miss Borg the movie jumps forward in time 25 years to Chapter 2. Famous Japanese comedian Itao, Itsuji takes over the role of Daimon, Yutaka.

Daimon has acquired diabetes from eating too many of his favorite cream puffs when depressed. And the older Daimon, Yutaka faces a new foe, Akitzuki, Gen, and a new ally Miss Borg's daughter Lady Borg/Akiko. 

From this point on, the movie takes a complete turn away from canon and re-imagines even more than before. At this point in the movie, it suffers a change in style which is very perceptive in how tokusatsu has changed over the years. The first part had a few jokes that didn't work, but it nearly perfectly captured what it was like to watch tokusatsu in the 1970's. In part 2, there are no karate fights against hordes of Sigma henchmen in quarries, no rubber-suited kaijin, and the entire atmosphere has more in common with modern-day shot-on-video shows such as KAMEN RIDER WIZARD (which came out a few years after this movie).   Although classic characters are brought back, their histories are completely changed.

AKITZUKI, GEN
Gen Akitzuki 
This version of Akitzuki, Gen is well done but not as intense as the original.

Akitzuki, Gen's personality is retained and he is spiritually recreated  by RUN&GUN rock star Miyashita, Yuuya. The characterization follows the blueprint laid down by Kazato, Ken. But Miyashita's Akitzuki seems to derive a bit more pleasure from the thought of defeating Daimon, Yutaka, whereas Kazato's Akitzuki's rage didn't allow him to feel joy in what he did. 


As in the show, Dr. Akunomiya was able to bend Akitzuki, Gen to his will through Akitzuki, Gen's head band, which Akitzuki could not remove. However, before finding out about his own true identity, he appeared to look up to Dr. Akunomiya as a father figure, even showing concern for the SIgma leader's health.

LADY BORG AKIKO
Lady Borg
Lady Borg's story is also changed and made more interesting. In the original she survived only for 3 episodes (37-39) and was in no way connected to Sigma's Jumbo Mecha plan. In this, she drives the entire plot of Chapter 2. In her normal cyborg form she is given a sailor dress for no good reason. The performance is a tad more driven than that of Yoshida, Taeko from the series, but the sense of dread is retained. She is played by the KIKAIDER REBOOT Mitsuko actress Satsukawa, Aimi.

THE LEAGUE OF SMILES 

The out of work cops are worn down by the direction their lives have taken as Wakasugi's rule breaks them into submission. Chief Nitta's wife and daughter leave him. Detective Nakano is paralyzed in a wheelchair. Together with Matsue, Ken, they form "The League of Smiles", a positive-thinking cult that smiles in the face of all adversity, without actually taking any action to make things better. They approach Daimon, Yutaka to join them but he doesn't feel like smiling. Later they allow the homeless Daimon to crash in their small apartment. Inspired by Daimon, they decide to wear costumes designed to bring a smile to the panicking population during Mecha Borg's attack on Tokyo. The costumes are not random insanity on the part of the director, they are replicas of the one worn by Matsue, Ken in the second part of the TV series. After years of simply smiling at disaster and chaos, they finally decide to take action and make the ultimate sacrifice to save the people of Tokyo from Sigma's weapon. 

JUMBO MECHA

Giant robot
SIGMA's giant robot Jumbo Mecha is finally completed. It is based off the Jumbo Mecha from episode 11 but much larger and it is also given a surprisingly different identity. 

The director had scripted it to be about 45 meters in height, but the VFX supervisor explained that this would make it too small for the motorcycle chase to the top to make sense. It was then increased to 160 meters, making it about three to four times the size of the average Ultraman, and about half size as the final form of the garbage monster Dustman from SPECTREMAN.

Strong Zaborgar
And Zaborgar is upgraded to Strong Zaborgar. The bazookas used as weapons on TV are used to make Zaborgar fly. This version does not merge with Machine Baja to transform.  Director Iguchi, Noboru, says he was influenced by the IRON MAN films of recent years, and it shows. The fight in the skies was entirely CGI, with models created in Maya 2010 and virtual cityscape backgrounds put together in Autodesk Stitch.


The Dinosaur Army of the second half of Denjin Zaboga does not appear in this movie, though a reference is made to them via the Miss Ruggers' built-in weapons (which also reference GODZILLA in design).

SPOILER BELOW

PARALIN ZABORGAR

A third form of Zaborgar is PARALIN ZABORGAR (Wheelchair Zaborgar). It is viewed in a flashforward to 2050 along with a 90 year old Daimon, Yutaka. He is played by Kikuchi, Eiichi, the original Inspector Nakano in the DENJIN ZABOGA TV series, and also the ULTRAMAN JACK suit actor.


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