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Dai-Nipponjin (Big Man Japan) (2009)



Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 32
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 7

Hitoshi Matsumoto's indescribably odd mockumentary is undeniably inspired.


Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 11
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 3

Hitoshi Matsumoto's indescribably odd mockumentary is undeniably inspired.



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Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 29,832

My Rating

Movie Info

Director Hitoshi Matsumoto weaves this darkly comic mockumentary about a Japanese giant who continues the long-standing family tradition of facing off against Tokyo's most formidable monsters. Constantly caught in the middle of everyone's battles, Daisato finds his sincere efforts to keep the peace repeatedly belittled; he's divorced, his neighbors have covered his house in graffiti, and he gets nothing but dirty looks when he walks down the street. When we first meet Daisato, he is the subject

Jul 28, 2009

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All Critics (32) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (7) | DVD (1)

Somewhere there is a stranger film than Big Man Japan, but it would be hard to find.

June 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This inspired 2007 send-up of the atomic-monster genre gets a fair amount of comic mileage from Daisato (played by the director) being anything but a big man.

June 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Very funny in an insidious way.

June 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comment (1)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film, written, directed and starring stand-up comic Hitoshi Matsumoto has, like most superheroes, a tragic flaw: It isn't funny.

May 29, 2009 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Comments (2)
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At nearly two hours, Big Man Japan is clever (in a sick sort of way) but overlong. It needs judicious editing -- more mockumentary, fewer superhero antics.

May 15, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As in life, the nonmonster stuff goes on too long. But wait until the giant baby shows up.

May 15, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An affectionate parody of Japanese giant-monster hero shows to make points about the unraveling of Japan's cultural heritage.

July 5, 2011 Full Review Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Honolulu Star-Advertiser

The movie's shambling, matter-of-fact approach to pulpy material is funny, as is its steadfast avoidance of visual hype.

October 11, 2009 Full Review Source:

Big Man Japanis built around a funny concept, vaguely akin to Hancock: its title character is a superhero who is a bit of a loser.Unfortunately, the concept is not enough to sustain entire the film.

September 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinefantastique

The movie doesn't get truly weird until the Power Ranger-style superheroes show up, and the special effects get even more low-rent. Then it really takes off.

August 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Big Man Japan shows a good mockumentary needs more than killer concept to make us howl.

July 31, 2009 Full Review Source: What Would Toto Watch?
What Would Toto Watch?

This is Matsumoto's first feature (he's a famously odd Japanese comedian), but it's a distinctively bizarre piece of work. Remember the name.

May 30, 2009 Full Review Source: MTV

If Christopher Guest made a Japanese monster movie, the end result might be Big Man Japan.

May 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Sci Fi Wire
Sci Fi Wire

Smart spoof of the Japanese giant-monster genre.

May 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Dearest
Movie Dearest

A cheesy B-movie that's initially refreshing, funny and a guilty pleasure, but eventually sinks into tedium while its comic energy and imagination concurrently diminish.

May 17, 2009 Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru
NYC Movie Guru

Goofy sci-fi satire aimed at a narrow audience.

May 15, 2009 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Deflation--not delight--is the rule, and the key to enjoying the B-movie fights is to accept that even when Masaru wins, we're not meant to feel triumph.

May 15, 2009 Full Review Source: I.E. Weekly
I.E. Weekly

Audience Reviews for Dai-Nipponjin (Big Man Japan)

Movies don't come more oddball than this. Japan's version of "Hancock" is also a loving tribute to the 60s live action kids shows. Big Man Japan is a "mockumentary" following the life of Masaru Daisato, a seemingly ordinary, middle-aged and divorced loser who's having trouble making money and yet seems to be very famous (and disliked by the general population). People throw rocks through his window and write critical graffiti on his wall. Masaru however, is a super hero and must be on call 24 hours a day, for he never knows when he must leap into action to defend the country from giant monsters. It's these bizarre monsters that are the true stars of the movie, from the giant, "hugging" monster with the comb-over to the "evil stare" monster with the cooked chicken body and the phallic eyeball. Masaru grows great big and then chases down these creatures and confronts them (generally he doesn't defeat the monsters so much as they clumsily take themselves out). Everytime a monster dies, it's soul floats up to heaven on a beam of light. The clumsy battles are broadcast on television, albiet to very low ratings (Masaru must cover his body in advertisements just to keep on the air). Every scene involving the monsters is disturbingly surreal and funny all at once. Unfortunately, the documentary portion of the film takes up a great deal of the time. It's not that these scenes aren't compelling in their own right (while furthering the plot), it's just that they aren't very entertaining for the most part. The ending throws out the very premise the film is based upon (the notion that all these creatures are real), and gives us a cheaply done Power Rangers-type production of bad costumes and a badly choreographed fight scene. Yes, I realize this was supposed to be parodying that type of Japanese superhero program, but it feels tacked on and lazy, as if they didn't know how to end it so they went for something easy. Plus, it sort of negates the entire film they just made. I suppose it could be construed as a slightly political jab at the US (what with the red, white and blue super family coming to save the day) but even that is heavy-handed and not very funny. In any regard, it's not a great film, but it is for the most part, an entertaining one (marred, if slightly by a less-than-witty ending).
December 18, 2009
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

More than just a homage to kaiju flicks, you can feel Matsumoto is meditating a lot about the routine of living in Japan for a middle age man. A clever approach with a dead-pan comedy style that suits the whole thing very well. The final act was unpredictable but quite fun, and seeing Riki Takeuchi as a big jumping monster is always a plus.
November 8, 2009
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

I know a lot of people hated this one, but I for one thought it was hysterically funny. The monsters are totally outrageous and the ineptness of the 'hero' makes him completely identifiable. Highly recommended for the visuals and the creative "bizarreness" (just don't take it too seriously).
October 6, 2009
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Der große Japaner (DE)
  • Big Man Japan (Dai-Nipponjin) (UK)
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