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Oh! My Zombie Mermaid

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    Ian Jane
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  • Oh! My Zombie Mermaid

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    Released by: Discotek Media/Eastern Star
    Released on: 7/28/2009
    Director: Naoki Kudo, Terry Ito
    Cast: Shinya Hashimoto, Sonim, Shirí´ Sano, Nicholas Pettas, Urara Awata
    Year: 2004
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    The Movie:

    Naoki Kudo and Terry Ito's bizarre and genre bending wrestling-horror-romance movie Oh! My Zombie Mermaid starts, oddly enough, and a party to celebrate the new home of pro-wrestler Kouta Shishioh (Shinya Hashimoto - an actual Japanese wrestler), who fights under the name the King of Beasts and his seemingly perfectly normal wife Asami (Urara Awata). Things are going swimmingly for the couple until Shishioh's arch-rival, Mark Ichijo (Nicholas Pettas), arrives on the scene. After insulting the host of the party, the pair winds up fighting though. Shortly after the brawl ensues, however, a bomb goes off and levels the new house entirely, wounding poor Asami in the process. Over the next couple of days, as Asami should be healing, she instead grows fish scales and starts to change into a mermaid.

    While Asami is dealing with her metamorphosis, Shishioh teams up with her sister, Nami (Sonim) and a pair of would-be wrestlers to try to figure out how to get enough money so put his house back together. Shishioh is concerned that his wife has grown disillusioned with the world and hopes that rebuilding the home she loved so much will help. He's unsure how he's going to pull this off until a shifty business associate of his named Yamaji (Shiro Sano) proposes the idea of having him fight against a group of the league's most dangerous combatants, and to the winner goes a brand new home, that kind that Asami would definitely love.

    If you dug the similarly nutty The Calamari Wrestler that Pathfinder put out on DVD a few years ago, you'll have a good time with this film as it follows the same sort of loosely scripted 'everything but the kitchen sink' mentality that made that earlier picture as much fun as it was. While the title might make the picture sound like it's got a lot to do with mermaids and zombie, that's really not the case as the film plays more like Game of Death albeit with strange wrestlers representing each layer of the tower that Shishioh is metaphorically climbing. The movie also borrows from The Street Fighter (think Chiba and not Van Damme) and The Story Of Ricky, but despite this obvious cribbing from other, better films Oh! My Zombie Mermaid manages to carve out its own bizarre niche.

    Performance wise, the film is anchored by Shinya Hashimoto and Nicholas Pettas enjoyably odd rivalry. Both men bring that sense of self imposed grandeur to the screen that you don't see so often in the movies but which tends to dominate professional wrestling matches. If you don't believe these guys are some of the best brawlers around, they're going to convince you whether you want them to or not. It's that kind of movie, the kind that plays itself straight despite its ridiculous concept and which is all the better for it. There is some character development here and some interesting tender moments between Shishioh and his beloved Asami, but these play second fiddle to the brawls and the battles that comprise much of the picture's running time. And so much the better. The fights are great, the dramatic bits, not so much.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The anamorphic 1.85.1 widescreen progressive scan transfer on this disc looks pretty good. Color reproduction is nice and while there is some fluctuation in the black levels, generally this isn't a problem or a distraction. There isn't much in the way of print damage or heavy grain to note, the picture is clean and stable throughout.

    Audio options are supplied in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, both tracks in Japanese with optional English subtitles. The 5.1 track is a little more involved and preferable for that reason as it spreads things out nicely in the rear channels. The action sequences benefit from this the most, and while this isn't going to wow you the way a big budget action movie blockbuster film might, it's a well balanced effort that's free of any hiss or distortion.

    Discotek/Eastern Star have wrangled up a few featurettes to include on this disc, starting with the seven minute Making Of The Explosion Scene. This is a fun look at the effects work that was designed and created for one of the more interesting moments in the film, while the shorter three minute Sonim's Stunt Training featurette shows us what the actress had to go through to train for her role in this picture. The fourteen minute First Screening Talk is a question and answer panel that the cast and crew hosted after the film's premiere in which they field questions about the picture. None of these are really super in-depth but they do offer some insight into what it was like working on this picture and what the filmmakers were going for with this project.

    Aside from that, look for an amusing 'special announcement,' a trailer and a TV spot for the film, trailers for a few other Discotek DVD releases, animated menus and chapter selection options.

    The Final Word:

    Oh! My Zombie Mermaid is as strange as its title implies. It's a hodgepodge of different ideas and genres thrown at you without much rhyme or reason, but it's definitely entertaining and unpredictable and that has to count for something. Discotek has done a fine job on this release and if the extras aren't all that impressive, the transfer and audio quality make up for that.
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