On April 6, 1974, the Fuji Television Network debuted the first episode of DENJIN ZABOGA (電人ザボーガー), a live action superhero series from P-Productions (THE SPACE GIANTS, SPECTREMAN). Created by manga writer Kazuo Koike (Lone Wolf and Cub, Crying Freeman), the show starred Akira Yamaguchi (KAMEN RIDER V3) as Yutaka Daimon, a secret police agent who battles sinister organizations with the help of his transforming robot Zaboga (played by Yoichiro Tajiri). The series ran for 52 episodes through June 29, 1975. The first 39 episodes were also broadcast in Hawaii with English subtitles as DENJIN ZABORGER.
Now, as DENJIN ZABOGA approaches its fortieth anniversary, the story has been reworked and updated for the new movie KARATE-ROBO ZABORGAR (電人ザボーガー劇場版, Denjin Zabogaa: Gekijoo-ban, 2011) from director Noboru Iguchi.
Produced by Nikkatsu Corporation’s genre label Sushi Typhoon, KARATE-ROBO ZABORGAR will make its world premiere this Friday, January 28th at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Iguchi will be present for the premiere, and for the first encore screening on January 29th. A promotional event for the film is also planned for late February at the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival in Hokkaido. Later in 2011, KARATE-ROBO ZABORGAR will play at various film festivals around the world, though exact locations and dates have not yet been announced.
The following press notes and images are courtesy of Sushi Typhoon…
PART MOTORCYCLE, PART KARATE EXPERT, ALL ROBOT! WHEN THE SAFETY OF THE WORLD IS AT STAKE, ZABORGAR WILL SAVE THE DAY!
After the death of his scientist father, secret police officer Yutaka Daimon inherits a mighty robot warrior named “Zaborgar.” Equipped with an array of super weapons, an expertise in karate, and the power to transform into a motorcycle, Zaborgar assists Daimon in his fight against Sigma, the evil organization responsible for his father’s death.
After uncovering a plot by Sigma to steal the DNA of Japanese politicians and use it in a giant robot weapon, Daimon faces off against Miss Borg, a beautiful female robot under the control of Dr. Akunomiya, the twisted leader of Sigma. Despite being on opposite sides of the law, Daimon and Miss Borg fall in love— a development that spells an end to the once inseparable crime-fighting team of Daimon and Zaborgar.
Twenty-five years later, the now-disgraced Daimon has been reduced to working as a chauffeur for corrupt Prime Minister Wakasugi. But Sigma, having at last finished its giant robot, is now preparing to unleash it upon the world. With no one left to oppose them, a worn, middle-aged Daimon is forced out of retirement and into service as a crime-fighter one last time. But will Zaborgar forgive and forget, and aid Daimon in his quest to maintain righteousness and save the world from total destruction?
From director Noboru Iguchi, creator of the cult hits THE MACHINE GIRL and ROBO-GEISHA, comes a hilariously over-the-top tribute to the transforming robots of 1970’s Japanese television, and an exciting action/comedy that will stir the heart of anyone who longs for justice dispensed at the short end of a swift robot karate kick!
KARATE-ROBO ZABORGAR Credits
Itsuji Itao as Yutaka Daimon (modern day)
Yasuhisa Furuhara as Yutaka Daimon (young)
Mami Yamasaki as Miss Borg
Naoto Takenaka as Daimon’s father
Akira Emoto as Dr. Akunomiya
Asami, Cay Izumi, Yui Murata as Miss Ruggers girls
Written & Directed by NOBORU IGUCHI
Executive Producer TOSHIMICHI OOTSUKI
Producers SHINICHI IKEDA, YOSHINORI CHIBA
Associate Producers NOBUYO NOMURA, HIROYUKI YAMADA
Music by YASUHIKO FUKUDA
Original Music by Shunsuke Kikuchi
Line Producer RYO UCHIYAMA
Director of Photography YASUTAKA NAGANO
Gaffer CHIKARA ABE
Production Designer NORI FUKUDA
Sound Mixer YASUSHI EGUCHI
Re-Recording Mixer NORIYOSHI YOSHIDA
Edit Director TAKESHI WADA
Assistant Director YOSUKE TOKI
Production Manager NOBUYUKI GOTODA
Character Designed, Special Molding & Make-up YOSHIHIRO NISHIMURA
Action Director ISAO KARASAWA
VFX Supervisor TSUYOSHI KAZUNO
Running time: 101 minutes
Available formats: HDCam, NTSC Digital Betacam
About Writer / Director Noboru Iguchi
Born in 1969 in Tokyo, Noboru Iguchi is practically a one-man genre film factory, working in a genre known as “Noboru Iguchi movies,” which marry a fetishistic personal vision with a remarkably self-assured filmmaking method, and a complete unwillingness to self-censor any crazy idea that comes into his head. He began filmmaking in 1996, and shot his first professional feature, A LARVA TO LOVE, in 2003. He works frequently as an actor, and has also worked in Japan’s A/V (adult video) industry as a director, but his international career really took off with the release of the Tokyo Shock production THE MACHINE GIRL in 2008, followed by ROBO-GEISHA in 2009, and hasn’t slowed down yet, with work currently underway on a second season of the TV series ANCIENT DOGOO GIRL (which he created), plus his Sushi Typhoon titles MUTANT GIRLS SQUAD and a live-action update of the 1970’s transforming hero TV show KARATE-ROBO ZABORGAR.
About Sushi Typhoon
Born in 2010, Sushi Typhoon is the the upstart, wild offspring of respectable parent, Nikkatsu Corporation, once home to legendary 1960′s action stars like Joe Shishido, Akira Kobayashi, Tetsuya Watari, Meiko Kaji and Yujiro Ishihara. With a long history of genre films and violent gangster epics, the company was also the leader of Japan’s erotic renaissance of the 1970s with their Roman Porno line and now, Nikkatsu’s latest offering, Sushi Typhoon, takes their century-old extremes to the next level.
The brainchild of veteran producer Yoshinori Chiba, The ushi Typhoon seeks to satisfy audiences who crave the good taste of bad taste, and for whom too much is never enough. A tour-de-force of inventive, boundary-pushing entertainment, the first phase of Sushi Typhoon’s films began release in late 2010 and early 2011, with the company self-distributing their titles in North America with the assistance of FUNimation Entertainment. FUNimation will begin releasing Sushi Typhoon titles to DVD and BluRay in early 2011.
For more information on Sushi Typhoon please see the earlier coverage here on SciFi Japan:
- FUNimation Entertainment Partners with Sushi Typhoon
- Interview: Sushi Typhoon Founder Yoshinori Chiba