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Der Große Japaner - Dai-Nipponjin (Big Man Japan, Dai-Nipponjin)
Japan 2007

Opening 17 Jul 2008

Directed by: Hitoshi Matsumoto
Writing credits: Hitoshi Matsumoto, Mitsuyoshi Takasu
Principal actors: Hitoshi Matsumoto, Riki Takeuchi, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Haruka Unabara

Dainipponjin is a super hero in the sixth generation. When electrically charged he turns into a giant with a pompadour and tight purple briefs named Big Man Japan. In this form he battles Stink/Child/Leaping/Evil/Strangling Monsters. On his off days he is a lonely person in a messy house with only his cat for company. He’s not a great conversationalist, although he does manage bits of wisdom such as “all living creatures are strays” and “running away is not Japanese.” He rarely sees his daughter, who lives with his ex-wife. He visits his beloved grandfather, also formerly a super hero, in a senior citizens’ home. He eats alone in restaurants and sometimes meets his agent. The agent worries about his super hero ratings and sells advertising to be written on his chest. Basically, Dai-Nipponjin is a non-animated, very Japanese version of someone who could easily be a member of the super hero family The Incredibles. In fact, in the end he is saved by people who look much like Japanese versions of The Incredibles. I wasn’t the only journalist who wondered what the film was all about. Obviously, many of the references, parodies, and insinuations were lost in translation of cultures. It would be most interesting to watch the film with Japanese friends and see what their reactions are and why. Hitoshi Matsumoto, who is a famous comedian in Japan, directed, wrote the script and plays the lead in this, his first film. (Becky Tan)

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