“Yatterman Night” [2015; DVD 2016]

 

Yatterman Night is a continuation of the classic Yatterman Japanese animated series of the late Seventies. This twelve-episode story is original in its own right, but self-referential enough to make for humourous viewing – especially for fans of Yatterman. This set is released on DVD and BluRay in Australia by Madman Entertainment.

This storyline is strong and packed full of brilliant humour. Although it is a ‘new chapter’ in the Yatterman tale, it stands well enough on its own for anyone who has never even heard the name ‘Yatterman’ to follow. In fact, there is enough explanation throughout the series for new audiences to learn about the series history and traditions and its so entertaining you don’t even need to care about any of it!

Yatterman Night focuses on the exiled descendants of the original Doronjo, Boyacky and Tonzura (named Leopard, Voltkatze and Elephantus, respectively) who discover their ancesters’ questionable past and do a complete about-face to become heroes in their own right. Their mission? To find the supposedly heroic Yatterman and find out why he is now a villain – and give him a ‘finger-flick to the forehead’ for turning away their please for help and allowing Leopard’s mother to die.

That premise alone is amusing enough to get the audience interested, but the emotion and motive behind their reasons is the true driving factor.

This production has been made with the utmost love and respect for Yatterman and brings the classic tale firmly into the modern age – but with many brilliant references to the past (including other Tatsunoko Productions classics, such as Mach Go Go Go aka Speed Racer); a great way to celebrate over 40 years of this classic series.

The characters are so brilliant and enjoyable, and even their worst traits are relayed with such humour and poignancy that you can’t help but love them for it. Even the antagonist’s horde of Yatterman robots are amusing, backed by an arsenal of animal-themed machine-vehicles which are both adorable and true to the source material.

Counter this with Boyacki’s deus ex machina style of invention and even the action becomes a new level of humour.

This is one of the most enjoyable and amusing series I’ve seen, and the nods to the production house’s history just adds to the rewarding experience. The ultimate conclusion deepens the plot and offers a future for the series, should it ever want to continue and become as inspiring as the rest of the series has been entertaining.

Without worrying about the history of the series or the production house you can still guarantee that this series is pure entertainment at its best.

This is a well-made production with design elements faithful to the original Yatterman, but with enough modern style and skill to keep it fresh.

The DVD contains the usual textless opening and ending animations, being a ‘lite’ series. This is one DVD that might have benefitted from having something extra included – perhaps a retrospective of Yatterman from its origins up to this latest incarnation.

Despite that, this package remains strong due to the quality of the story and the great humour employed.

4.5 out of 5 cats.

 

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