Densha Otoko TV – If Looks Could Kill

Tsuyoshi Yamada is an otaku… a lonely otaku. He throws away his free time watching anime and surfing the net, dreaming of one day falling in love, but alas, he is merely an awkward, shy bloke who lives in his bedroom with nothing but dolls and figurines for company. One non-specific day, riding the train on his way back home, Yamada protects a beautiful woman (Saori Aoyama) from an abusive old drunk. Of all people, an otaku came to rescue of this damsel in distress. And so begins the romance of Densha Otoko (“Train Man”); advised by his message board buddies, the clumsy and unconfident Yamada (already in love with Saori) begins his quest for love.

Densha Otoko has been a phenomenal success in Japan; based loosely on a true-story of one otaku’s discovery of romance, it is a franchise that began life on an internet message board but went on to spawn a live-action TV series, a live-action movie and a manga series too. The subject of this review, the TV series, is quite fantastic- although some of the acting is atrocious (Mistake Itou’s Saori is as wooden and clueless a female lead as I have seen for a while), a lot of Densha Otoko is inspiring and touching; it gets right to the heart of a lonely otaku, chronicles his every fear of love and rejection, without degrading him as stupid or pitiful.

It’s an innovative story in the way that it depicts the internet; Densha often turns to an anime-themed message board in search of advice and we are regularly shown the people who respond, people from every profession, every walk of life, who are supporting, and are in turn being inspired by, Densha’s search for love. It’s the first time I’ve seen the internet depicted on such a human level.

This is a funny and touching story exploding with heart warming sentiment; an almost too-close-to-the-bone examination of otaku culture, Densha Otoko is an ultra modern romantic fairy tale.

Author: bateszi

A huge bloody nerd. I apologise in advance. I live in Cambridge, England. That's not an excuse, by the way.

2 thoughts on “Densha Otoko TV – If Looks Could Kill”

  1. I heard some tid-bits here and there about Train Man, I haven’t see it though. I guess, sometimes seeing ones self portrait can be a little disturbing, especially when one doesn’t take the time for self examination. Of course, I mean physiologically….I’ll leave the other implications to the reader.

    On another note:

    >> "He throws away his free time watching anime and surfing the net, dreaming of one day falling in love, but alas, he is merely an awkward, shy bloke who lives in his bedroom with nothing but dolls and figurines for company"

    I’m not the only one that doesn’t see a problem with this am I? A hopeless romantic dreaming of love, while the whole time devoting himself to his one true devotion…almost brings a tear to mine-eye.

    [or it could be a coping tool to avoid any type of interpersonal relationships]

  2. I never really got the whole allure of anime figurines or models, especially the female fan-service ones… They just look scary, muchos scary when collected by the dozen and mounted in bedrooms staring down at their otaku collectors.

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