Shimauma | Zebra (2016)

Shimauma “Zebra” is based on the manga of the same name. It’s a hyper violent story of revenge and the dark underworld that exists– the collection agencies – where people are paid money to take revenge on others by any means necessary.

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Dora (Ryo Ryusei) is a young man, with a small gang, who runs a “love” scheme to extort victims out of money and believes that people are just slaves and cattle. The product of a broken home, Dora’s mantra is that to survive you devour others before you get eaten. One day, his fortune changes however when he scams an ordinary businessman who turns out to be yazuka. As retribution the man calls the “shimauma” – a mysterious boss of a collection agency.

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Trapped and then captured, Dora is tortured by the sadistic leader of the “collection agents” a young man named Aka, who gets both sexual pleasure and enjoyment hurting people. However, in a weird twist of fate Dora and Aka are old school classmates, Aka previously bullied by Dora. Happy to see his “friend” again, Aka saves Dora against the contract from his boss Shimauma and instead gives permission for Dora to kill the yazuka. After which Dora is forced to step into a far darker world than he ever imagined; one below even the slaves and the cattle of the world, the job of a collector.

Now the movie isn’t as violent as the manga, and the sex is downplayed between Dora and Ki (a female collector), however its still not a movie for the the sqeamish with nudity, torture scenes, violence and rape. Cases from the  manga are cherrypicked and adapted to the screen (including the most disturbing “human hedgehog”) but some have small changes such as Aka being the one to torture the rapist with the blowtorch instead of Shimauma or the time sequence around Aya’s arc, yet in the end the outcome is the same. As Dora begins to adjust as a collector he is faced with the question “has he begun to enjoy it” not the same as Aka who is insane and a pervert, but like Shimauma – his boss and the man he wants to surpass.

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