The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Densha Otoko / でんしゃおとこ / The Train Man





2005 Fuji TV drama that starred Itoh Misaki, Itoh Atsushi, Shiraishi Miho, Sato Eriko, Oguri Shun, and Hayami Mokomichi, to name a few.

Apparently, there is another version of the same story as well:



But, I don't know about that.

The version I saw is based on an anime about a red-headed chick with carrots up her ass.
Or, our Otaku-san, Yamada Tsuyoshi (Itoh Atsushi), is in love with the anime chick with carrots coming out of her ass - I really don't know, and it's totally beside the point of this drama.

Tsuyoshi is a nerd living in a fantasy world of anime, video games, and everything geek when he ends up sitting across from a beautiful, young woman on a subway train and she ends up getting harassed by an old, drunk man.

Tsuyoshi, being a nerd, has no strength of body but a modicum of strength in character to want to come to fair damsel's rescue - so in stereotypical, timid fashion, he stands up and meekly asks the drunk man to leave yon maiden alone.

Now, before I get to the punch line here, it needs to be noted that the credits listed this one as 'a fake story based on actual events' - and if you know me by now, then you'll know I have to say that this doesn't make a damn bit of sense.

Tsuyoshi goes back home to his father's modest apartment and goes online to the Aladdin Bulletin Board in search of help to overcome his nervousness about what he did on the train.

Aladdin is a place for single men who want to talk about their singleness (I guess).

Of course, I'm being totally facetious here, but then so was this drama.

Perhaps the bulletin board existed or still exists in Japan, I don't know.

Perhaps some nerdy dude experienced an incident on a subway train that had a major impact on his hum-drum life, I can't be too sure.

Why didn't the synopsis just say that, though?

Bifurcation and confusion aside, this was a mighty entertaining piece of work!

Tsuyoshi annoyed a lot of people who watched this at aznv.tv, and I, for one, would agree that Itoh overstepped his boundaries by turning Tsuyoshi into a sniveling, blubbering, overly anxious geek afraid of his own shadow and unable to s-s-speak a complete s-s-sentence without tripping over his own tongue.

I mean, I can see the guy s-s-stuttering on occasion from fear or anxiety, but not all the damn time, and what was the point of blubbering every time he tried to apologize to Tess Trueheart or tell her how he really felt?

Heck, at least now I know more about the separation class in Japan and that the distinctly divided sects each has their own 'district' for crying out loud.

How cool is that?

Geeks hang out in this part of town, the trouble-makers hang out here, and this is where you go if you want to be seen with the totally rad cool people.

!! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !!

I love it!

It's also totally cool that I can now get away with saying such things as "Baka!" and "Otaku!" to people and they'll have no idea what I mean.

So anyway, our nerdish gallant ends up becoming the hero of this bulletin board (created by none other than Oguri 'Shunkerbelle' Shun - not at all nerdy for a number of obvious reasons).

Everyone who chats at Aladdin is rooting for Tsuyoshi to succeed in winning the heart of the pretty lady aboard the subway train, and they band together to help him every step of the way.

Bulletin Boards were once the norm over here, and watching Densha Otoko made me sad to think that it doesn't work the same way for us as it does for Japanese computer geeks.

They have blog followers who make the blogger famous, and we just have blog followers who like to think that by following, they are somehow as important as, if not greater than, the blogger himself.

Over there, you can access any type of board that handles any type of situation, and suddenly you are connected with people who share your interests or issues with a modicum of interest, and they are actually rooting for you to succeed.

Gambatte!

Over here, we have thousands of useless or broken links to still, more useless web sites that offer little in the way of interaction - and if you say Facebook, I'll scream.

Ok, so our minuscule geeky boy starts to transform himself in order to prevent our prize-winning catch from discovering the fact of his loathsome Otaku-ness.

Hilarious thing was, all he had to do was to get a haircut and he was already more than halfway there to --- normal, if you will.

There's just something about Itoh Atsushi that makes one want to squeeze him to death, pat him on the head, or pinch his cheeks.
The first time I saw him was when I watched Umizaru and he portrayed a squat geek wanting desperately to become a Sea Monkey.
He made me cry then, and he made me cry again when I watched him standing in the pouring rain with a birthday present for his girl, and she failed to show.



The story had good flow, it was beyond an interesting concept, and fake in a true kinda way or not, I sat spellbound for the duration and rooting for our unlikely hero every step of the way.

SHE turned out to be slightly as awkward and nerdish as he was, being timid and afraid of dishonesty because her parents divorced due to infidelity, and an ex-fiance ended up being a married man.




And, her BROTHER was Hayami Mokomichi !!!!

I don't know why, but aside from Tokyo Tower 2007, he has always been bathed in shadows and darkness in these dramas, and I can't figure out why.

Well, yes, there was Zettai Kareshi, but it's nearly impossible for me to capture a great shot of him onscreen because he's either moving too fast, on camera for a split-second, or in a dark, smoke-filled nightclub.

WHY??

So, if you're fortunate enough to have an entire day to yourself, and it's pouring rain outside or your boyfriend stood you up, or you just, don't feel like going anywhere - I recommend you watch Densha Otoko.



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