I am a HUGE fan of Train Man and Takayuki Yamada who plays the title role. Train Man, released in 2005, is allegedly based on a true story of a young otaku (can be loosely translated to "geek") who saves a woman from harassment on a train. He develops a liking for her and wants to date her. The problem is, he is painfully shy. He decides to turn to an internet forum known as 2channel to ask for advice. On the website, he is known as the "Train_Man" while the woman he saved is referred to as "Hermes". His thread has become so popular that books, manga, a movie, and a TV series came out from it. Yamada reprises his role in the series.

As a shy person and a bit of an otaku myself, I can easily identify with Train Man. He has low self-confidence and doesn't fit in. He wears wire-rimmed glasses and a long hair that covers half of his face. Since this is the first movie I saw Takayuki Yamada in, his makeover was a total surprise. I love Yamada's portrayal of Train Man.  Japanese movies and dramas are known to focus a lot on facial expressions. Sometimes, the emotions are a bit exaggerated that some foreign viewers may find them weird. In this movie, Yamada had done it just right in my opinion. His depiction of a man who is struggling to overcome his extreme shyness is very powerful. He instantly became one of my all-time favorite Japanese actors.

There are 40 million people who take the train everyday in Tokyo alone. I've seen pictures and videos of Japanese commuters squashing into trains. Unfortunately, some malicious men take advantage of this situation. News about women passengers being harassed is quite prevalent (though this is also common in other countries). Train Man's standing up for a girl he doesn't even know is something to be admired of. It sure takes lots of guts to do that, even for a "socially normal" person.

A recent study shows that as much as the internet can harm users (especially at-risk teens) through cyberbullying, the net also has its benefits. For some people who have no one to talk to, the internet can serve as their sanctuary. There are existing forums that are kind and supportive to people needing help. While I think that it's best to talk to someone you personally know or can see face-to-face, asking advice from strangers may be some people's last resort. I appreciate that the film has shown the internet's good side. It is quite refreshing to see a group of strangers giving encouragement and support to Train Man and helping him reach out to the girl he likes.

The movie Train Man has become a huge success in Japan. If you're looking for something different, you can try watching this. I have greatly enjoyed this film and I have recommended this to my friends. No one knows if this so-called Train Man is for real. In any case, his story inspires us to step out of our comfort zone. This is one of the most remarkable Japanese movies that you shouldn't miss.
Train Man Rainy Kua 2014-09-25 5.0 0 5
Train Man : Densha Otoko
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Watch the trailer here.