Box Office - 02/13/2009 3 stars out of 5 -- "This outlandish, wickedly funny, giant monsters-filled, Japanese superhero, faux-documentary surpasses any mockumentary you've ever seen."
New York Times - 05/15/2009
"[A] deadpan mockumentary with a lively sense of the perverse....Part characters study, part media satire and, by its finale, altogether bizarre, BIG MAN JAPAN plays like a quieter, weirder version of HANCOCK."
Hollywood Reporter - 05/15/2009
"Defiantly offbeat...this low-budget comedy is about as cult as they come....Matsumoto nails his premise, finding a perfect balance between deadpan and absurd."
Chicago Sun-Times - 06/24/2009 3.5 stars out of 4 -- "The movie, which is very funny in an insidious way, takes the form of a slice-of-life documentary about Daisoto, the latest generation in a Tokyo dynasty of monster killers."
A.V. Club - 07/29/2009
"[The film] gets points for intelligence and imagination, and for a pop-art final sequence that pays tribute to the Ultraman aesthetic..."
BIG MAN IN JAPAN is the latest in a burgeoning genre of films combining documentary aesthetics with fictional content, but it is by far the funniest and most creative of this group. The film depicts the everyday life of Daisatou, a man who periodically transforms into Dai-Nipponjin, a Godzilla-sized behemoth who fights off an odd mix of monsters who are constantly invading Japan. These battles are broadcast on television, and Daisatou generates additional revenue by sporting tattoos of various companies on his torso. But the market for mega-superheroes is bottoming out, and his show has been relegated to a late-late-night timeslot, causing the interviewer to comment, "Even the weather gets better ratings than you." It gets worse--everyone hates Dai-Nipponjin, claiming he causes more damage than he prevents, uses up too much electricity (needed to make his transformation), and disrupts their lives with noise and traffic jams. His wife has left him, not wanting their daughter to be forced to follow in his giant footsteps. His grandfather (and mega-sized predecessor) suffers from dementia from the massive amounts of electricity he ingested. But through it all, Daisatou does his patriotic duty by battling a memorable assortment of "baddies," including "Mean Look Baddie" and "Smelly Baddie." The film is filled with parodies of familiar documentary moments, such as the prolonged awkward silence that ensues when the subject does not want to answer a particular question, and the inevitable scene where the cameraman is told to turn off the camera but continues surreptitiously filming anyway. This intelligent cinematic satire is offset by the hilarious ceremonial logistics required for Daisatou to transform, and the outrageous computer-generated monsters he encounters. The climactic final confrontation between Dai-Nipponjin and his nemesis ranks among the funniest closing sequences of all time.
An outrageous portrait of a pathetic but truly unique hero. Daisato is entrusted with defending Japan from a host of bizarre monsters by transforming into a stocky, stick-wielding giant several stories high. But while his predecessors were national heroes, he is an outcast among the citizens he protects.
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