Train Man: Densha Otoko
Directed by Masanori Murakami
September 22 through 28, ImaginAsian
Adapted from a Japanese bestseller that's apparently based on true events, Train Man: Densha Otoko is a lot like its protagonist: sweet, weird, and likable despite some irritating quirks. The title refers to the online moniker of a nerd (Takayuki Yamada) who intervenes when a cute girl is drunkenly harassed on a train. When the nebbish hero receives a thank-you gift from the girl, he turns to his chat room buddiesseen almost exclusively in annoying split screens for advice on how to win her over. Despite a makeover that reveals the hapless otaku ("geek") as a heartthrob in hiding, the pitiful Mr. Train can hardly speak to his lady love without hyperventilating. A winning effort for the most part, Train Man could do without the treacly "true love" sentiments that stink up the last third, but no matter. The movie's really a paean to the joy of busting out and taking a chanceeven if that just means asking a girl on a date.