Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Big Man Japan

(Image borrowed from I Watch Stuff.com)

My cousin, Bob Aho (yes, for you Japanese speakers, his name really is Aho) e-mailed me about this movie: I rented a movie called "Big Man Japan" this weekend, about a washed-up super hero, who battles giant monsters. His neighbors wrote "AHO" on the wall just outside his home, and people kept throwing bricks through his windows, etc. - brilliant!

Here's what Rotten Tomatoes says: BIG MAN IN JAPAN is the latest in a burgeoning genre of films combining documentary aesthetics with fictional content, but it is by far the funniest and most creative of this group. The film depicts the everyday life of Daisatou, a man who periodically transforms into Dai-Nipponjin, a Godzilla-sized behemoth who fights off an odd mix of monsters who are constantly invading Japan. These battles are broadcast on television, and Daisatou generates additional revenue by sporting tattoos of various companies on his torso. But the market for mega-superheroes is bottoming out, and his show has been relegated to a late-late-night timeslot, causing the interviewer to comment, "Even the weather gets better ratings than you." It gets worse--everyone hates Dai-Nipponjin, claiming he causes more damage than he prevents, uses up too much electricity (needed to make his transformation), and disrupts their lives with noise and traffic jams. His wife has left him, not wanting their daughter to be forced to follow in his giant footsteps. His grandfather (and mega-sized predecessor) suffers from dementia from the massive amounts of electricity he ingested. But through it all, Daisatou does his patriotic duty by battling a memorable assortment of "baddies," including "Mean Look Baddie" and "Smelly Baddie." The film is filled with parodies of familiar documentary moments, such as the prolonged awkward silence that ensues when the subject does not want to answer a particular question, and the inevitable scene where the cameraman is told to turn off the camera but continues surreptitiously filming anyway. This intelligent cinematic satire is offset by the hilarious ceremonial logistics required for Daisatou to transform, and the outrageous computer-generated monsters he encounters. The climactic final confrontation between Dai-Nipponjin and his nemesis ranks among the funniest closing sequences of all time.

Sounds very interesting for visual anthropologists. Here's the trailer:

Has anyone else seen this? I'll be ordering a copy from Amazon.com soon...

1 comment:

Brad Rice said...

Watched it with some friends a few months back -- really enjoyed it. It was also screened at Otakon, the East Coast's largest anime convention. I remember it being one of the top titles at Tsutaya Rental the whole time I was there in Japan.