CATCHING UP #10 – “Big Man Japan”

“CATCHING UP” #10

THE MOVIE:
Big Man Japan (2007)

DIRECTED BY:
Hitoshi Matsumoto

WHY I SHOULD HAVE SEEN IT:
Japanese imports were a big part of my childhood. Between watching the Hanna-Barbara “Godzilla” cartoon in the early days of Cartoon Network and the barrage of butchered “Super Sentai” series’ (better known in the States as shows like “Power Rangers”, “VR Troopers”, “Masked Rider”, and “Big Bad Beetle Borgs”)*, men in strange costumes destroying cardboard cities were very common to my generation and demographic**.
A few months ago, I was introduced to a clip of the very end of this movie (having not seen the movie, I’m mostly certain the clip didn’t spoil anything). Instead of the traditional back-and-forth of giant monster battles, what I saw was a very one-sided battle between members of a family of Ultraman clones and your typical big bad monsters. I remember those sorts of fights usually ended with the good guys, nearly beaten and barely hanging in the fight, use some sort of crazy ultimate weapon, defeating the monster and saving the day.
Instead, the battle drags on, and the aforementioned family savagely abuses their antagonist using every superweapon at their disposal.
After seeing those five minutes of ass kicking, I desperately needed to find Big Man Japan. I have, and my inner eight-year-old is excited.

THE TWITTER REPORT:
(To subject yourself to the virtual equivalent of me talking in the theater jammed into 140 characters, follow me @stuffbyed. Note: I have my account blocked to keep those pesky spambots out. Send me a request and regret it when you sober up.)

-“They only get big when you need them to.” That’s what she said! BABABOOSH
-I’m pretty sure that was only a minimart, but the the door said “Merry Christmas” with a smiling and waving Santa.
-“Department of Monster Prevention”? Awesome. I’d like to work there.
-Black coat. Long hair. Dirty, leopard print hat. Hanging out at a park near the playground with a man with a camera. No, of course that doesn’t look weird.
-What? Power up here? In front of all these kids?!
-Security’s not too great at this power plant. I guess they’re counting on any would-be intruders getting bored in the long driveway.
-I’m going to have nightmares about the “strangling monster”. And Big Man Japan’s purple manties.
-The human heads on the monsters is probably the creepiest part of this movie.
-Aside from the slew of “That’s what she said!”‘s that I could throw in at every mention of “big”, it’s kinda hard to make fun of this movie.
-Sweet christ! The monsters get weirder and weirder! This one is headless, but has an eyestalk/penis combo?!
-…and then the anal baton rape happens.
-She named her dog “Delicacy”. Oh god. I…I can’t comment.
-That hat was the most recockulous thing I’ve ever seen, to the point where I’m surprised I haven’t seen any hipsters wearing it.
-Little girl. Pixelated face. Aforementioned bunny hat. Voice modified down by several octaves. HILARIOUS.
-I like how they use “10,000 human feces” as a point of comparison, as if “feces” is some sort scientific unit.
-Seeing two Japanese monsters in heat is officially creepier than when a friend’s dog violently tried to hump me.
-“Nipples are important.” That phrase wins movies forever.
-Those pants are atrocious. I want a pair.
-Suddenly it’s live action. WTF!?
-Is the “Super Justice” family supposed to represent America’s bastardization of an element of Japanese pop culture?
-YES! The monster has a zipper! This movie is now officially on my list of Top Ten Most Awesome Things Ever.
-“I LOVE MY BEAM!” …That’s what she said…?

AFTER THE FACT (may contain spoilers):
Fucking. Awesome.
We’ve seen the “grown up” telling of a super hero story, about the real-life trials and tribulations of an alter-ego, and even comparisons between different members of a “legacy”.
This is all of those things, but from a Japanese point of view. I’m sure I missed a lot of the references, but I still knew enough of the pop culture to understand and thoroughly enjoy the movie.
Watch it now.

*There was one show where the villain was some broody kid with a trench coat and a British accent. The fight scenes would happen “inside a computer” and the monsters were drawings that the moody kid would scan in. I’d be greatly appreciative if anyone were to e-mail me the name of that show at [email protected]

**4-to-40-year-old males who would very much buy the action figures inspired by the show

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