Dainipponjin

Directed By: Hitoshi Matsumoto


A surreal, unique monster film, a Man Bites Hulk mockumentary about a hapless individual who is called upon by his nation to be electrocuted on a regular basis. This process causes him to become a giant, fated to fight the enormous monsters that plague Japan, following in the giant footsteps of his father and grandfather.

The public, who in years past feted these protectors of the nation, have now soured on the entire idea. Placards denounce the copious amounts of electricity involved, as well as the inevitable property damage that results from every battle. Shinto rituals that proceed each transformation have become mere rote formalities, and even the technicians have become bored with the whole mess.

Creating this sense of melancholy is what the film does best, making even the most amazing even seem boring and pedestrian. Towards the end, when the flick has clearly run out of ideas, it turns into a full-blown 70s TV show, the formerly CGI creatures now clearly men in suits with underscale models for them to trample. A final My Dinner With André cap to the whole affair ups the surrealism by a notch or two.

It’s a cerebral and sardonic monster flick, slower than a Midnight Madness ought to be, but a genuinely unique picture that sustains interest even at the latest of hours.

Grade: B


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