Atypical Avengers

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

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