Computer engineer Otaku (the Japanese term for "geek") is an average young man, dressed in unstylish clothes and dorky glasses. But as luck would have it, he encounters a pretty young woman on a commuter train and saves her from a lecherous molester, falling in love with her at first sight.
A few days later he receives a thank-you message from the woman along with a set of Hermes teacups . Having never had a girlfriend or received a gift from a girl in his life , Otaku seeks out his pals on Internet Bulletin Board (BBS) website for advice using his codename Train Man (Densha Otoko) : "How should I ask her out?" Deeply interested in Train Man's first love, his BBS pals eagerly supply him with advice. Encouraged by their support, Train Man undergoes a total makeover for his first-ever date with "Hermess." Little does he know that he is about to ignite an Internet phenomenon ... -asianmediawiki
Cast & Credits
I am someone who appreciates cultures. Especially getting a sneak peek, almost "fly on the wall" glimpse into niche sub-cultures. This movie definitely gives you that feel. Welcome to Nerd-Dom! Land of the introverted and not particularly brave. The filming of this movie makes you feel as if you are literally transported right into Akihabara, Tokyo. BAM! You are suddenly walking among the otakus, sitting in the manga cafes or browsing the loud, blustering computer hardware stores. I swear it's an almost magical experience.
The story is fast-paced and witty. There are moments that will have you falling out of your chair with laughter, other moments that might bring a tear to your eye, and yet some moments that will have you shouting at your screen! All of the actors involved do an excellent job of balancing between these emotions--especially Takayuki Yamada, who pulls off a believable, yet gradual, transformation of the main character. All of the sub-characters play into the story line so well that you don't feel as if this is a story about one person or two people. It feels like it's everyone's story! It's the story of many people being impacted by the actions and courage of one brave nerd. :)
If ever you're looking for a different kind of love story, this is it! Without giving too much away, this is a story about courage and being bold. It's about how if you want something in life, you have to be unafraid and take a chance, no matter how difficult it might be. Even if you might think you're undeserving, in life, you have to at least try.
It's a universal and simple message, but this movie succeeds in presenting it with a lot of heart.
The story is an odd twist on a common trope: a nerd falls in love, and has no idea what to do, and needs a makeover. When it comes to romcom tropes, there's no real "evil" rival character that does horrible things to get the guy/girl, so if you're the type to hate such characters (me!), you have nothing to fear! It's about the Densha Otoko improving himself as a person in order to get the girl, which is always a nice thing to see.
The scenes where the Densha Otoko asks the Internet what to do are well-executed, and the scenes where Internet commenters read his updates are small stories all on their own. (If you're well-versed in Japanese entertainment: a fun game to play is to see how many unnamed actors/actresses you know playing these commenters.)
The characters aren't too complex, but they're sweet and endearing; you can't help BUT root for them. Hermes (the woman's nickname) is essentially the sweet and cute lady character, and the Densha Otoko is the "resorts to the Internet for advice to move forward via his tablet" character that's been gaining traction in Japanese entertainment (before tablets were a thing, of course). However, he isn't haughty and I'm-so-smart-y as the stereotypical tablet-dependent character; if anything, he's like a little boy asking his big brother for girl advice. He's a ON (Original Nerd) that learns from nice people on the Internet on how to socialize, and [spoilers].
Takayuki Yamada is one of the best actors in Japan--maybe in the world, given his forays into film festivals with a couple of his recent movies--and his portrayal of the Densha Otoko is no exception. As attractive as he is, he was able to convince me of Densha Otoko's pure, unadulterated ON-ness. More than convinced, I truly believed he was the Densha Otoko. Hermes's character isn't too special, but Nakatani Miki showed her capability of playing a Sweet Lady character (so I wouldn't watch this movie to see her acting chops).
I'd recommend this to the socially awkward, nerds, fans of Takayuki Yamada, those who've been single all their life, and people who like using the Internet.