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Film / Big Man Japan

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Dai-Nihonjin, released internationally as Big Man Japan is a tongue-in-cheek 2007 Japanese Toku film written and directed by Hitoshi Matsumoto (of the Downtown comedy duo fame), who also stars as the somewhat-eponymous protagonist. The film utilises a number of styles including Mockumentary, Kaiju and mild satire to build its laughs.

The story follows Masaru Daisatô, an almost-ordinary middle-aged man, and a documentary being made about his life. Why is such a seemingly non-descript man deserving of the effort? Because he is able to take in great electrical surges to become a gigantic warrior whose purpose is to defend Japan from some truly bizarre monsters, that's why.

Sadly, this inherited superpower is no longer treated with the same public appreciation as it once was. Daisatô's senile grandfather is spending his last days alone in a retirement home, and Daisatô himself has been forced to have his fights televised and criticized by the unpleasable populace while he lives alone in a rather decrepit house. He rarely gets to see his daughter and it seems he's a target of green activists and others for the collateral damage he tends to cause. Of course, he doesn't have much of a choice in the matter and by the end of the film, it seems his time has come at the hands of a particularly dangerous monster.

This film provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: Matsumoto is an avowed fan of Toku/Kaiju movies and shows and the film deconstructs and parodies many tropes within the genre.
  • America Saves the Day: The America-themed Super Justice Team shows up out of nowhere and defeats the Devil Monster.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Big Man Japan is destined to protect Japan... but who cares about that when the (televised) fights are so boring?
  • Beast with a Human Face: Most of the Kaiju have human faces, yet have varying degrees of intelligence.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Daisato's senile grandfather suddenly appears giant sized to help Daisato fight the Devil Monster. Unfortunately, he fails.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Daisato still has his stresses in life and got the tar beaten out of him by the devil monster whilst being upstaged by another superhero force. But he does have some friends in the Super Justice Team who treat him to dinner afterwards.
  • Blessed with Suck: Daisato and his lineage have the power to turn into mighty giants when zapped with electricity, which sounds pretty cool, but for Daisato it's quite the burden. He is obligated to fight every giant monster that invades Japan simply because no one else can do it, and the public is completely ungrateful to him.
  • Children Are Innocent: The public gets angry at Daisato for accidentally killing an infant kaiju.
  • Combination Attack: The Super Justice Team invite Big Man Japan to join hands with them in order to fire a beam at a monster he couldn't beat. BMJ moves his hand away briefly and notes that the beam isn't any weaker without him.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: In-universe, Daisatô is forced to have adverts plastered all over Big Man Japan to gain revenue. He's even told by his agent to be careful when fighting a monster so as not to have an advert obstructed.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Big Man Japan takes a one-sided ass-kicking from the Devil Monster. Later on the Devil Monster is defeated by the Super Justice Team, who spend a solid four minutes beating him up with no resistance and then explode him with their rainbow-colored beam.
  • Deus ex Machina: When all seems lost for Daisato at the end, the Super Justice Team comes out of nowhere to defeat the Devil Monster.
  • Eagleland: The Super Justice Team is a comedic version of type 1. They wear red-white-and-blue costumes, have blonde hair, speak Gratuitous English, and defeat the villain for justice while saying "Peace!"
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Daisato has long, straight hair down to his shoulders, which looks fairly tame and suits his mild-mannered civilian identity. Whenever he transforms into Big Man Japan the electricity causes his hair to stand straight up, contributing to his superhero form's wild and ridiculous appearance.
  • Expy: The Super Justice Team are basically the Ultra Brothers with an Eagleland flavor.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: One of the monsters has its one eye in what's otherwise a more... private area.
  • Gainax Ending: The CGI animation is replaced with People in Rubber Suits, an American superhero family shows up and beats the tar out of the devil monster, and he has dinner with them over the credits. It's supposed to symbolize the decline of Japan's place in the world or something but... What.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Daisatô is inundated with criticism, from insulting graffiti outside his house to a candlelit vigil for one of the monsters he killed.
  • Kaiju: Japan is attacked on a regular basis by skyscraper-sized monsters, hence the need for Daisato's giant form. This movie is a tribute to and Deconstructive Parody of the Kaiju genre.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The Devil Monster is the only serious monster of the film that is a genuine threat to Daisato's life and the tone becomes intense when it enters the scene. Until the ending, where against the Super Justice Team it gets a cuter appearance and is unable to defend itself.
  • Magic Pants: Defied. The purple briefs Daisato wears when he fights as a giant cannot grow or shrink with him, meaning that before growing he has to stand inside the giant briefs while they're stretched out by tall poles. He slips into the giant garment as he grows.
  • Mockumentary: The movie is presented through the framing device of it being a documentary about Daisato's life as Japan's protector, with the film crew being a visible part of the story. Comedy is often created through contrast between the serious, ostensibly "real-life" framing on one hand, and the fantastic, inherently absurd subject matter on the other.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird
    • The Strangling Monster: What looks like the unholy offspring between a giraffe and the Michelin Man. It has a comb-over and two arms conjoined by cables, which it uses to squeeze stuff. Also, it defecates harpoons.
    • The Leaping Monster: A human head with one reptilian leg. It leaps around yelling "Sei!"
    • The Evil Stare Monster: It's best described as a headless tarsier with an eyeball on its... earthworm penis.
    • The Stink Monster: Actually two monsters. One looks like a mutant jellyfish with a human head. The other is just... creepy.
    • The Child Monster: A talking fetus with a full head of hair
  • Pokémon Speak: The leaping monster. SEI!!!
  • Stylistic Suck: When the Super Justice Team arrives to save the day, the special effects gets a deliberate and obvious downgrade from CGI to people in cheap costumes doing battle on a tacky-looking miniature city set.
  • Think of the Children! :
  • Women Are Wiser: A husband and wife monster duo attack midway through the film. The wife is an lazy but intelligent Deadpan Snarker, the husband an energetic Keet who does not speak.