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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Giant Monsters > Horror > Japan > Big Man Japan (2007/MagNet DVD)

Big Man Japan (2007/MagNet DVD)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Feature: B-



Daisato is, by all appearances, an extremely average guy, perhaps even bordering on pathetic.  He’s separated from his wife who only lets him see their daughter twice a year, he lives alone with a cat, and he visits his senile grandfather in the nursing home whenever he can.  But when giant monsters threaten Japan, Daisato, as the last scion of a family of heroes, grows hundreds of feet tall to defend his country.  It might be nice if he got paid a little bit more for it though.


Shot mostly in a faux-documentary style, Big Man Japan is fueled by absurdity, irony, and an achingly wry and awkward humor.  The story never really congeals into a plot in the strictest sense of the word, but blends a PBS documentary style with creatively executed CG monster battles.


Big Man Japan is not like anything you’ve seen before.  Though it lampoons Japanese superheroes and Kajiu (giant monster) films, it’s so steeped in it’s own skewed, absurdist view of Japanese life that it remains fresh even for an audience unfamiliar with Ultraman, Godzilla, and the other source material that Big Man Japan draws from.


The picture quality is not the best and the sound is very obviously recorded on set, but these are stylistic choices to emphasize the faux-documentary style of the film.  Even so, the Dolby Digital 5.1 (or 2.0) audio is surprisingly clear.  The film is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio in Japanese with English or Spanish subtitles.


The extra features on the disc are few, but long.  The deleted scenes total over fifty minutes and the “Making Of” stretches over an hour.  This Making Of has the added option of a commentary track, though why Magnet thinks that anyone would watch an hour-long special feature more than once is a mystery.  On top of that, the Making Of has very distinct high and low points ranging from, “This is very fun and informative,” to, “Why have I spent the last ten minutes watching five different development meetings with no audio?”


Whether you decide to sit through the special features or not, the film itself is excellent and a lot of fun for anyone with a healthy sense of irony, an interest in Japanese cinema, or preferably both.



-   Matthew Carrick


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