When your super heroes do not pop out from some Marvel Comics but right from your local combini ! This could be the motto line for one of the weirdest, funniest and totally underrated Japanese comedy in recent years.
A pair of young guys become partners to fight crime in their area, then they are three when some ojisan joins them and eventually they become a fab four with a little help from some nerd-looking girl. They don’t have any superpowers: Ojisan with his cheap hammers is a very low key version of Thor, Toshida simply knows how to kick and fight and uses a few Peter Parker inspired gadgets, Kaori is just a smart girl and Nakatu, their leader, shows absolutely no skills whatsoever.
On the surface, the film might look like a succession of comical situations and dialogues, a series of farcical if not absurd incidents but there’s much more to it. Comedy, action and drama get all mixed to show a side of Japan you don’t find in tourist guides and more importantly there is an interesting political message that is delivered: a group of vigilantes can become a dangerous tool in the hands of ill-intentioned demagogues.
Mark Shilling from The Japan Times (2016):
Based on Shigeyuki Fukumitsu’s alternative manga “Seikatsu” (“Life”), the film is funny in smart off-kilter ways, while making astute observations about Japanese society in particular and human nature in general. Also, though produced by the major Japanese film companies — Nikkatsu and Toei — “Hero Mania” has an indie, even anarchic sensibility.
Acting wise, everyone does a fine job, Masataka Kubota is all punch and nerves and Nana Komatsu is a monument of dry wit. In the film, her character evolves from archive and plan making geek to hyper sexy secretary and that is fun to watch too.
Kaori Phase 1
Kaori Phase 2
Blu-ray and DVD from CD Japan
The ‘panties incident’ scene
Toshida is a nice guy on top of being an awesome fighter but as everyone has a dark side, his is a fetish on girls’ panties which he steals from balconies. In this particular scene he gives back what he thinks it was. (subbed scene)
This musical sequence (Days of Turusima- If you want love) from the film is also available as a stand alone video on the Bluray edition.
5′ from the making of