Every year, Japan throws out one or two oddball films that cause critics the world over to scratch their heads and clap their hands vigorously. Dainipponjin
(a.k.a. Big Man Japan
) is one of those films, except even by Japanese Cinema standards, it's in a category all its own. Popular manzai comedian Matsumoto Hitoshi - billed by the deliberately misspelled name Matumoto Hitosi - directs and stars in this giant-sized, singularly bizarre comedy. Matsumoto spent five years preparing for this debut feature, and it was certainly time well spent because Dainipponjin
is as wildly imaginative, outlandish, and insane as they come. A mockumentary about a loser superhero, Dainipponjin
takes an absurd premise and runs with it, presenting ridiculous characters, outrageous storylines, and over-the-top CGI in completely deadpan fashion. Hilarious beyond words, Dainipponjin
is madcap comedy at its most genius.
Dai Saito (Matsumoto Hitoshi) may look like your average middle-aged chump, but he's actually a superhero. When electrocuted, Dai Saito transforms into the gigantic, boxer-wearing Dai Nipponjin, doing battle against unsavory super-sized monsters like Jumpy Baddie, Baby Baddie, and of course Smelly Baddie. Saving Japan over and over again is all well and good, but Dai Saito doesn't get much in return. Estranged from his ex-wife and daughter, he ekes out a boring life with a stray cat in a rundown house, waiting for the Department of Defense to call him to superhero action (for middling pay). All his battles are broadcasted on television, but the public couldn't care less for his patently unstylish look and his neighbors all-out hate him. With plummeting TV ratings and bleak prospects ahead, can this superhero save himself?