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Big Man Japan
     

Big Man Japan

Cast: Hitoshi Matsumoto, Riki Takeuchi, Ua, Ryunosuke Kamiki

 
Director Hitoshi Matsumoto weaves this darkly comic mockumentary about a Japanese giant who continues the long-standing family tradition of facing off against Tokyo's most formidable monsters. Constantly caught in the middle of everyone's battles, Daisato finds his sincere efforts to keep the peace repeatedly belittled; he's divorced

Overview

Director Hitoshi Matsumoto weaves this darkly comic mockumentary about a Japanese giant who continues the long-standing family tradition of facing off against Tokyo's most formidable monsters. Constantly caught in the middle of everyone's battles, Daisato finds his sincere efforts to keep the peace repeatedly belittled; he's divorced, his neighbors have covered his house in graffiti, and he gets nothing but dirty looks when he walks down the street. When we first meet Daisato, he is the subject of a television documentary. Though on the surface Daisato may seem like your average, slightly unkempt salaryman -- completely unremarkable in all respects -- it soon becomes apparent just how deceiving first impressions can be. After lamenting on camera the fact that he never gets any vacation time due to frequent calls from the Defense Department, the camera follows Daisato as he rides his motorbike to a Tokyo power plant, receives the jolt of electricity that transforms him into a hulking superhuman crime fighter, and clashes with a gargantuan leviathan intent on destroying Tokyo. Daisato comes from a long line of heroic heavyweights, yet while his ancestors were once championed with parades for their noble efforts, public interest in giant invaders has waned and Daisato has become something of a joke to the citizens of Tokyo. Not only is the noise generated by Daisato's battles regarded as a public nuisance, the property damage that he causes while defending the city has the citizens downright angry. Now, as Daisato attempts to balance his responsibilities to his ex-wife, his daughter, his agent, and his senile grandfather, the crushing weight of both his personal and professional obligations simply becomes too much to bear.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
If there were an Oscar for Weirdest Film, the award would almost certainly go to Big Man Japan, a mockumentary-style parody of the kaiju genre starring and directed by famed Japanese comic Hitoshi Matsumoto. See Big Man Japan with a crowd of otaku, and the shock waves of laughter may prove as powerful as Godzilla's trademark atomic breath; check it out with a group of average movie nerds who know the tropes, and odds are you'll be in hysterics by the time it winds to its inexplicable, yet sublimely bizarre, ending. Masaru Daisatou (Matsumoto) is the last of his kind, a select breed of heroic giants charged with the task of keeping Japan safe from all manner of invading monsters. When he's not working, Daisatou is your average slacker -- a gentle, soft-spoken soul. Charge him with 80,000 volts, however, and things start to get interesting: a quick visit to the local power station and this meek man is transformed into a hulking hero 20 stories tall. But the public is sick of Daisatou's wildly destructive do-gooding, and things just aren't the same as they were back when his grandpa was welcomed home from battle with ticker-tape parades and an endless procession of adoring geisha. These days, the most that Daisatou gets for his physically exhausting efforts to save the city are a few bricks through the window and some nasty jeers from the disillusioned public. He doesn't earn an impressive income, and when he's not visiting his father in the nursing home or getting caught up in the complications of a nasty divorce, he mainly just waits for the government to call and request his services. The faster viewers get over the fact that Big Man Japan starts off slowly and features special effects on par with the average Nintendo Wii game, the more likely they'll be to appreciate its droll humor and inventive wit. Of course, scenes of giant creatures laying waste to bustling cities are nothing new, but instill that familiar formula with a healthy dose of crude humor and mockumentary-style parody, and things start to get pretty wild. Shock-haired Daisatou is quite a sight as he lumbers through the city in search of his latest foe, but those nasty villains are the ones who really impress; a chicken-legged creature that uses its single, enormous eyeball as a retractable projectile is hilariously disturbing in its disjointed design, and a stubborn stink-monster resembling a limp, fleshy flower proves a comedic highlight as it argues with our hero while surreptitiously trashing a skyscraper. Watching Daisatou alternate between sad-sack mortal and none-too-aggressive savior is cheeky good fun, and considering how long the kaiju genre has been around, a parody was long overdue. But Big Man Japan isn't just any parody, it's a parody that's sharply written and knows its targets. Matsumoto has taken his time to create something that may have special resonance with Japanese viewers (it's fascinating to see the destructive Godzilla archetype inverted and embraced as a savior, for example), and goofy enough to captivate the casual viewer, as well. Though there are bound to be endless debates as to the meaning of the stylistically dissonant ending, the one thing Matsumoto can't be accused of is taking the lazy route to wrap up this story. It's precisely that kind of unconventional, challenging filmmaking that makes Big Man Japan as unique as the many strange mammoths that challenge its unlikely hero, and keeps our eyes glued to the screen in disbelief between fits of geeky laughter.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/28/2009
UPC:
0876964002110
Original Release:
2007
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Magnolia
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:48:00
Sales rank:
14,841

Special Features

Closed Caption; Making of Big Man Japan with commentary; Deleted scenes

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Hitoshi Matsumoto Daisato
Riki Takeuchi Hanerunojyuu (Jumping Baddie)
Ua Manager Kobori
Ryunosuke Kamiki Dounojyuu (Baby Baddie)
Itsuji Itao Female Niounojyuu (Smelly Baddie)
Takayuki Haranishi Male Niounojyuu (Smelly Baddie)
Haruka Unabara Shimerunojyuu (Squeezing Baddie)
Tomoji Hasegawa Interviewer
Daisuke Miyagawa Super Justice
Hiroyuki Miyasako Stay With Me
Shion Machida Daisoto's Ex-Wife

Technical Credits
Hitoshi Matsumoto Director,Screenwriter
Aikou Etsuko Art Director
Yuji Hayashida Production Designer
Yoshiya Nagasawa Associate Producer
Hidenori Nakai Producer
Akihiko Okamoto Producer
Hiroshi Osaki Executive Producer
Mitsugu Shiratori Musical Direction/Supervision,Sound/Sound Designer
Hisaya Shiratori Editor
Mitsuyoshi Takasu Screenwriter
Towa Tei Score Composer
Souichi Ueno Editor
Hideo Yamamoto Cinematographer
Isao Yoshino Executive Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Big Man Japan
1. Meet Big-Sato [5:12]
2. Big Man Japan [4:49]
3. The Legacy [5:46]
4. Transformation Plant No. 2 [7:00]
5. Strangling Monster [3:56]
6. Tamagawa Inn [3:15]
7. The Past [5:10]
8. The Ritual [6:42]
9. Leaping Monster [4:20]
10. Old Friends [3:27]
11. Family Past [5:10]
12. Evil Stare Monster [5:32]
13. Run Away [5:18]
14. Daughter's Gift [4:20]
15. Stink Monster [8:04]
16. Child Monster [6:31]
17. Grandfather [6:29]
18. Evil Red Menace [4:02]
19. Super Justice! [7:15]
20. End Titles [6:12]

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