Some things occasionally surprise me like Viz Media’s screening of Train Man: Densha Otoko two weeks ago at Comic Con. The movie is based on a true story of a dorky computer programmer who tries to win the heart of a girl he met on the train. After he “rescues” the woman from a drunken business man, the mysterious woman gives him a set of Hermes teacups. The Train Man, played by Takayuki Yamada, doesn’t have a clue how to respond to the woman who is nicknamed Hermess after her tea set. So he turns to the internet… yes the internet and posts a help message on 2ch. With the help of the anonymous collective he gains the courage to call up Hermess, get a date with her and perhaps change his entire life.
The movie cuts between the main story of Train Man and Hermess with clips from the people talking to Train Man via the net. His advisors are a group of three fellow otaku, a heartbroken nurse, a quiet wife, a businessman and a young man who never leaves his room. He asks them basic questions like how to dress and where to take Hermess (Saori) to dinner. With their help he picks a restaurant and switches his image up. By the end of the movie there is a strong sense of character development for the Train Man. He starts out as any ordinary geek, but by the end he gains enough confidence in himself to present his feelings towards Saori.
The people helping him end up having their lives changed to by his inspirational story. The group of otaku brave the outside world and the nurse opens her heart up again as seen by her folding a picture of her previous love into a paper airplane. It’s a feel good movie at the end of the tale with bits of humor to keep the story interesting. Train Man is also complimented by the primary two actors and the group of otaku’s comic interjections. The actor who plays the Train Man also makes the character incredibly believable. He’s naturally nervous and jittery when he’s around Saori. Miki Nakatani who plays Hermess has a gentle feel to her and portrays herself as someone who understands how the Train Man feels. If you haven’t caught Train Man yet, Viz Media is bringing it over to the Imaginasian Theater in New York City and on DVD in early 2007.