Densha Otoko – 01, 02
Aoyama Saori and Yamada Tsuyoshi are from completely different worlds. She is from an affluent high society family while he is a middle class otaku. One day, Tsuyoshi defends Saori, a beautiful stranger to him, from a drunkard on the train. She gets his contact information afterwords and sends him some gifts, including one on his birthday (which was otherwise a horrible day). Tsuyoshi ends up mustering the courage, through the urgings of his message board friends, to call her.
Tsuyoshi and Saori play phone tag for a while, until they’re able to actually get in contact. They eventually agree to meet once more. Tsuyoshi, with the help of his message board friends again, gets a makeover in Shibuya. In his new self, he waits for several hours before she shows up behind him.
OP: Twilight by Electric Light Orchestra
ED: 世界はそれを愛と呼ぶんだぜ by サンボマスター
The OP sequence is a parody of the GAINAX opening for DAIKON4 way back when in 1983. It even uses the same song, Twilight by Electric Light Orchestra. I rather like it, having never heard the song (it’s from before I was even born lol). The ED is by a little known (at least by me) band, but it’s also a good song.
According to what I’ve read, the story goes that early last year there was a guy who asked for advice on the infamous 2ch message boards concerning a women he had met on a train. And so, Japanese culture has spun us a modern Pygmalion story of an otaku who changes himself based on the suggestions he gets on the message board. It started with a best selling novel, which has turned into a manga, a movie, and this drama.
I first heard about this a while back, but never looked into it until last week, when I heard the tv-drama had started. I found that the drama is very good. We’re mainly focused on Tsuyoshi’s point of view, as he’s the train man, but we do get some bits of Saori’s story. The opening sequence (and in fact the first half of episode 01) scares the crap out of me because it shows we get to see otaku-dom at its best (or worst). There’s quite a few funny scenes, from otaku-dom to Tsuyoshi’s clumsy and hapless behavior.
I’m not sure how much I like Tsuyoshi’s character. That’s not to say that Itoh Atsushi (who plays Tsuyoshi) is doing a bad job. It just seems that he’s a bit too naive about social behavior for his conversations with Saori (mainly on the phone so far) to be believable. I feel like warning flags should be going off in Saori’s head because of his stuttering and frequent long pauses. But maybe that’s just me. We’re supposed to feel for Tsuyoshi and (in a way) relate to his character.
I think one of the best parts of this series is watching the back and forth between the denizens of the message board and Tsuyoshi. Especially some of the wierder characters and their suggestions. A good bit of that adds to laugh value, and the rest adds to a more dramatic/serious overtone. Plus, the little CG animations of messages traveling through cyberspace are great.
All in all, this is a series that I will be following. I’m not sure how they’re going to stretch the story for 13 episodes, but I’m sure they’ll do a good job.
Edit: Being the idiot that I am, I never noticed that I was reading his name wrong. It’s Tsuyoshi, not Takeshi.