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The Asian ApertureDensha Otoko: The Series (2005)
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, February 11, 2013    Share

The opening credits begin as Styx sing Mr. Roboto against background images of Akihabara, Tokyoís electronic district and the go to place for anime, manga, video games, maid cafes, and so much more. A shy otaku, (i.e. nerd, geek, fanboy) is quietly walking down the main street, lost in his own thoughts about which video game to buy featuring some cute anime girl, when he is interrupted by a salesman selling a cutter for cutting up vegetables. The boy tries to walk away but the salesman is persistent and eventually the gathered crowd starts chatting buy, buy, buy until our weaken hero is forced to part with his cash. Thatís one less video game. So begins Episode 1 of the Japanese drama called Densha Otoko or the Train Man.

It tells of a shy nerd who mumbles when he talks. He happens to be on the train one evening after spending all his money on toys at Akihabara. His sees a pretty girl, sitting alone, reading a book and bothering no one. Then an obnoxious drunk begins randomly yelling and slapping people with a rolled up paper. He spots the girl and brushes up against her. He tells her to touch him and he will show her how big his manhood really is. She cowers away from him to no avail. Finally the nerd canít stand it. He jumps up and tells the man to stop it and the lady is not interested in being bothered. The elderly drunk man attacks the young man and quickly a strong salaryman steps in and subdues the old guy. A train worker appears and together they take the man into custody. Train Man is lying on the floor of the train, his glasses have been knocked off and he has a nosebleed. He is hardly the hero that anyone would expect. Then his life changes for the better.

While writing his statement to the police at the next station, the young woman he was wishing he could be with wants his address. He canít believe it. Reluctantly he writes down his name and address, never expecting to hear from her again.

The next day at work just happens to be his birthday and his boss tells him he can be replaced. A young girl loses her balloon in a tree and he promises to get it down but falls down and hurts his ankle. She calls him an idiot and throws his important business papers in a canal. He is forced to wade through the water to get his papers back that are now useless and wet. Somehow he climbs up and after an agonizing struggle arrives at the companyís building that needs the papers but he canít get inside because he is too late. A young woman appears and chastises him for being such a loser in life. On top of it all, today is his 23rd birthday and no one cares, his parents donít even buy him a cake. So he climbs to the top of a tall building and eats a piece of cake that he had to buy, alone, crying the entire time, he steps up to the railing and briefly considers jumping off but something inside him makes him want to climb back down. He returns home in total misery only to discover that the woman he helped out on the train has delivered a package to him that contains 2 cups from the expensive store, Hermes. He is so awkward with women that he must sit at his computer and go to a BBS forum for single men. They help him overcome his shyness and he finally works up the nerve to call her and thank her for the gift. After agonizing for 15-minutes or whether to call her or not, he finally types her number into his cell phone, the phone is ringing and just before she answers the episode is over. You just have to wait until episode two to find out what will happen.

Train Man is a funny romantic TV series that aired in Japan back in 2005. Supposedly it is based on a true story. There are 11 episodes total and 2 special episodes, making the series 13 episodes altogether. With Valentineís Day coming up this week, it seemed appropriate to watch the series.

There is a movie version but the series is so much better. Atsushi Itou does a better job of playing the shy otaku and he has the nerd look that was missing from the movie. Misaki Ito plays the young lady that Train Man rescues and she is cuter than Miki Nakatani from the movie. Overall the movie just wasnít as good as the series, which allowed the characters time to develop and wasnít rushed like the 105-minute film.

So if you are that shy and retiring nerd boy looking for a pretty lady to help you out of your awkward self then give Densha Otoko a watch on Daily Motion and allow it to slowly build up your self-confidence.

Highly Recommended

5 out of 5 Stars based on Episode One.

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2013 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2013 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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