A supposedly true combination of a romance and a Pygmalion story, Densha Otoko
began as an on-line tale that captivated audiences in Japan: there's a novel, a TV show, and a manga series, in addition to this feature. The title character is a textbook otaku
, an anime and video game nerd who divides his time between the electronics stores in Tokyo's Akihabara district and the computer in his cluttered room. One day on a commuter train, he prevents an obnoxious drunk from bothering a pretty girl. She sends him a set of Hermès teacups as a thank-you and a tentative romance begins. Train Man has no idea how to behave with a girl, so an on-line posse tells him how to dress and what to say. Ultimately, his example inspires them to go out into the world. Director Masanori Murakami effectively uses a split screen to create the on-line community. Takayuki Yamada makes a wonderfully maladroit Train Man: when he calls Hermès for the first time, he holds the phone as if he were about to commit seppuku
. Miki Nakatami infuses Hermès with a winning mixture of gentleness and independence. This touching romance will delight Gen-Y and -Z members, whose lives are bound to the Internet. (Unrated, suitable for ages 13 and older: minor violence, alcohol and tobacco use)--Charles Solomon
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 his 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...