Pro wrestling done in a campy style by people who love the industry can make for an enjoyable way to pass 100 minutes.
What They Say
Kouta is the leader of Zero, the smash-hit pro-wrestling organization. He's having a house warming party at his brand new palatial palace when things get out of hand. Ichijoh has a grudge against Kouta and decides to crash the party. Ichijoh provokes Zero's young wrestlers into a fight.
Things get heated as Kouta erupts into a rage of anger; the skirmish escalates into a tremendous battle royal that leaves the mansion in shambles. Kouta's wife, Asami, is injured in the assault and must seek medical treatment that backfires and causes her to contract a strange disease that turns her into a zombie mermaid! Kouta needs to rebuild his house and save his wife. The only solution is a multi-stage fight to the death shown on live TV!
The feature contains no English track but does feature both Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio tracks. For the purpose of this review the Japanese 5.1 track was used and the track was effective in its presentation. There were no dropouts or distortions notice and all speakers got a good work out as the track took care to use the rear speakers to help add depth to the music and effects.
Originally created in 2004 the feature is presented in anamorphic widescreen. It is a fairly decent presentation with the exception of noise (which the grain almost but not quite covers when looking closely) and a few instances of aliasing. There is some softness to the picture as well but overall colors come across in a variety of fashion from vibrant to faded where appropriate and the blacks come across very solid as well.
The front of the cover features the titular mermaid (though it is Eastern Star's title to play off Oh! My Goddess and the Japanese title references pro wrestling instead) as well as the lead Shishio down in the right corner looking like he is spoiling for a fight. Just behind him is the castle where the final showdowns take place and there are also pictures of the opponents he fights that appear in some of the white circles on the cover that look like air bubbles. The bottom of the cover is a dark grey that changes to black the higher it goes. The back contains three shots from the film as well as another shot of the mermaid faded beneath the box copy.
The menu is a static affair with Shishio standing in the lower middle of the screen and the right hand side having a shot of the mermaid from the film and the left a scale like pattern with the castle from the film at the bottom. The Language screen has another shot of the mermaid and a better shot of the castle whit the extras has a still from an explosion early in the film as its backdrop. The menus are quick to move with selections and to engage the selections chosen.
Extras: There is a good selection of extras on this title which include Sonim's Stunt Training, a making of the explosion scene, and a special introduction from the cast at the premier screening. The feature does not have the commercial or special announcement listed on the back of the case however.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The film starts with the main character's (Shishio) wife Asami inside their new home playing the piano as the family welcomes their friends to their house warming. As Shishio is a pro wrestler so are the majority of the guests who arrive. Trouble appears as a foreign wrestler (Mark Ichijoh) arrives to confront Shishio about his brother's death in the ring at Shishio's hands. When Shishio tells Ichijoh to leave a fight breaks out which in pro wrestling fashion turns into a mad brawl of people fighting each other and doing massive damage to the house. The fight moves outside just as the house explodes-with Asami still inside.
Shishio's children and his sister-in-law Nami visit at the hospital to try to find out news on Asami and find Shishio in shock over the events. Things get worse for him when the doctor tells him even if she does live she likely suffered massive brain damage. Shishio remembers when he started dating Asami and how she was reluctant to love a pro wrestler as her father had been a famous on but couldn't provide for her or her sister Nami. Shishio recalls the pledge he made to take care of her and to provide her a house which he becomes fixated on. As he is leaving his latest event two scrawny fans named Toru and Shota announce their respect for Shishio and their desire to join his Zero promotion.
All is not well in his stable however as rather than paying the other wrestlers under him Shishio is pouring all the earnings the group makes into building a new house under the obsession that the act will somehow cause his wife to heal. Nami tries to convince him otherwise but Shishio isn't listening. To get money he even agrees to star with his family in a reality TV program which will document his families days-including Asami in the hospital. Things take a final turn toward the horrible for him as his wife awakes-but her skin starts peeling off and she has scales growing underneath. The doctor says it is a rare disease that is turning her into a mermaid.
When Shishio's group leaves him and his wife attempts suicide Shishio is left in a corner where the only thing he can think of to survive is to accept an offer from a shady TV producer who arranges for a new dwelling to be built that Shishio can have-if he can win a series of matches with a dangerous organization called DDD which is known to kill people. When Shishio's friends in his group are attacked he is left to face the dangerous and bizarre individuals in matches to win his new dwelling, avenge his friends and try to save his wife. He will also need to rely on the actions of his two fans Toru and Shota and hope they can help protect his wife and unravel the mystery of her illness. Can even one of the most dominant wrestlers in Japan win in the face of such odds? And who are the shadows in the background who have set all these motions into play and for what reason?
Oh! My Zombie Mermaid is all the fun of pro wrestling meets the standard martial arts 'work one's way through the tower of death' with plenty of camp thrown in. The tower has some gorgeous scenery and comical traps and the film is simultaneously a send up and love letter to professional wrestling. The down side is a lot of the characters are a bit underdeveloped and the enemies at the end cross the line and tries to make a number of them enemies seem actually like undead monsters rather and stretch the story in a direction it didn't really need to go. The mermaid aspect is also a weird throw in that really doesn't advance the story any plus there is very little interaction between the main character and his wife which does cut down on the sympathy factor a bit.
Oh! My Zombie Mermaid is a camp fest for lovers of pro wrestling who don't need to take it seriously and wonder what a movie playing off some of the story lines from the business could look like. It plays most of the time as a straight story but never tries to take itself too seriously with actions. The film almost plays out like a spin off from the old Hulk Hogan's Rock and Wrestling cartoon but never tries to insult the industry or the fans of it as other movies have. It isn't a film for everyone as some pieces like the mermaid aspect seem to happen just because the studio could do it but fans of camp and those who can enjoy pro wrestling while also laughing at its absurdities will find a picture worth their time.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Interview, Photo gallery, Making of Featurette, Sonin's Stunt Training, Trailers.
Samsung 50" Plasma HDTV, Denon AVR-790 Receiver with 5.1 Sony Surround Sound Speakers, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080.