Dai-Nipponjin (Big Man Japan)

Critics Consensus

Hitoshi Matsumoto's indescribably odd mockumentary is undeniably inspired.



Total Count: 34


Audience Score

User Ratings: 29,920
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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 of a television documentary. Though on the surface Daisato may seem like your average, slightly unkempt salaryman -- completely unremarkable in all respects -- it soon becomes apparent just how deceiving first impressions can be. After lamenting on camera the fact that he never gets any vacation time due to frequent calls from the Defense Department, the camera follows Daisato as he rides his motorbike to a Tokyo power plant, receives the jolt of electricity that transforms him into a hulking superhuman crime fighter, and clashes with a gargantuan leviathan intent on destroying Tokyo. Daisato comes from a long line of heroic heavyweights, yet while his ancestors were once championed with parades for their noble efforts, public interest in giant invaders has waned and Daisato has become something of a joke to the citizens of Tokyo. Not only is the noise generated by Daisato's battles regarded as a public nuisance, the property damage that he causes while defending the city has the citizens downright angry. Now, as Daisato attempts to balance his responsibilities to his ex-wife, his daughter, his agent, and his senile grandfather, the crushing weight of both his personal and professional obligations simply becomes too much to bear.


Riki Takeuchi
as Hanerunojyuu (Jumping Baddie)
as Manager Kobori
Ryûnosuke Kamiki
as Dounojyuu (Baby Baddie)
Itsuji Itao
as Female Niounojyuu (Smelly Baddie)
Takayuki Haranishi
as Male Niounojyuu (Smelly Baddie)
Haruka Unabara
as Shimerunojyuu (Squeezing Baddie)
Tomoji Hasegawa
as Interviewer
Daisuke Miyagawa
as Super Justice
Hiroyuki Miyasako
as Stay With Me
Shion Machida
as Daisoto's Ex-Wife
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Critic Reviews for Dai-Nipponjin (Big Man Japan)

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (8)

Audience Reviews for Dai-Nipponjin (Big Man Japan)

  • May 10, 2013
    Dai Nipponjin is a perfect spoof of the kaiju genre from Japan and is absolutely hilarious. Not an easy film to find but it is wonderful. What do kaiju do once they have outlived their usefulness?
    John B Super Reviewer
  • May 04, 2012
    If there was ever a movie that was an acquired taste, this would be it. I can't really describe this movie, because it just simply wouldn't do justice to the insanity this movie presents. I've seen MANY strange Japanese movies, but, seriously, this has to be right at the top of the list. And you know what, I enjoyed it tremendously. It doesn't have a concept that's unheard of, especially for a country that practically invented the giant monster genre, but it takes this monster concept and adds its own little unique touches and odd charm to where you can't really compare it to anything. There's nothing out there that comes close to this movie, whether good or bad. The movie, very obviously, pokes fun at Japanese monster movies, the culture and just the abject apathy the citizens feel for this poor man. I think the movie does a good job at looking at how Daisato deals with being a complete joke to the citizens and having to live up to the fame of his more famous grandfather. So yes, in a way, there's a small semblance of a narrative here. It's not what's important really, but it is there. What is important, however, are the monsters and goddamn if they weren't ever, as with the rest of the movie, odd. For a movie featuring so many monsters, it's really impressive that they were all memorable. And just how they were designed to have human traits added a far more surreal (and in some cases disturbing) touch to the proceedings. And they do catch the sense of scale for these monsters. The special effects, while unimpressive by U.S standards, are good enough that they never distract from the experience and, in fact, add to it. Now then there are the last 15 or so minutes of the movie (including the credits). The last monster fight, filmed like it was an Ultraman episode, was fucking HILARIOUS. Just absolute and utter surreal absurdity. You almost felt sad for the monster for the fucking SHELLACKING this family (supposedly the good guys) gave him. They really beat this poor fucker. And then during the credits the family, at their home at the dinner table with Daisato as their guest, discussing everything that went wrong during the last fight was amazing. Seriously, the ending to this movie was tremendous. I think it's funny EVEN taken out of context. So overall, I really quite enjoyed this movie, it drags in the middle and it's definitely not for everybody but goddamn did I have fun watching this. Oh and I forgot to mention this but, apparently, there is a remake in store for this movie and that's really dumb to me. Firstly, Americans are really running out of ideas because for every movie I see there seems to be a remake in the plan. Secondly I don't think I've ever seen a movie that is as tied to its culture as this movie. This is the most Japanese movie I've ever seen, and that is really the charm of the movie, well that and how utterly absurd it is. You simply can't do a remake that's exactly the same shot for shot, because it simply wouldn't make sense to a lot of the American audience. So what is in America that can garner the same amount of insanity that should be a must when remaking this movie??? The fucking Kardashians??? The obsession with Justin Bieber??? Glee??? There's absolutely nothing here, at least that I can tell, that would guarantee that the remake would have the same absurd charm that this movie had. If there was ever a movie that shouldn't be remade, it's this one. Not because it's the best movie ever but because it truly is a one of a kind movie. No matter how much they try, it simply won't compare.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Feb 17, 2011
    7.9/10 Hilariously awesome in that super-odd and super-endearing sort of Japanese way, "Big Man Japan" is the monster movie that we've all been asking for; and the mockumentary that we never thought we'd see. The Japanese have always been known for their weird cultural aspects, and "Big Man Japan" wants to create a satire out of Japanese politics and culture; but in a non-offensive way. In fact, "Big Man Japan" does not aim to offend; it simply wants to make us laugh. And if you're the right kind of person, you will laugh. If you're like me, you'll actually find yourself laughing a lot. I'm the kind of person who can appreciate weird cinema at its weirdest. I have no doubt seen even weirder than the likes of "Big Man Japan", but it's still pretty odd; even by my extremely high "weirdness" standards. And that's saying something, oddly enough. If I have one major complaint about this movie, it's that it has a bad advertising campaign. The trailers suggest a full-out monster movie filled with brawls. Yes, this film is about the "big man" fighting the monsters and demons out of Japan, but it's also a smart mockumentary with a central character that we care about. In fact, the hilarious, CGI generated fight scenes come secondary to the character and his personality for most of the time. I can't believe on saying this, but that works to this film's advantage. It makes "Big Man Japan" a better-than-average monster flick; and a damn good satire as well. The most I can say is that I haven't laughed at a movie send-off sequence this much in quite some time. Believe me, this is funny stuff. It's an ingenious little film that should not be avoided; and will probably end up being one of the weirdest movies you ever see. It is for certain a cult classic if not a classic of the "odd cinema". It's probably a classic of both, but it's made for those who can enjoy it. For what it is, "Big Man Japan" is spectacular. And you really need to take it for what it is to enjoy it, and that's what I did. So maybe that explains why I enjoyed this delightfully camp-filled action-comedy. It's one of the best I've seen in a while. It's guaranteed to make you laugh. The film is presented as a mockumentary one moment; and a giant hell of a monster movie the next. The story follows a man named Daisato, who has a strange and unique ability. His ability is that of growth; and expansion comes from shock. He consistently shocks himself so he can become "Big Man Japan"; the titular character who fights off the monsters that forever terrorize his country. There have been many "big men" before this one, and out of each and every one of them, Daisato is the lamest. He has trouble balancing his celebrity life with his personal life; as he also has a daughter who he is seldom allowed to see due to his odd jobs. He has a history; and therefore he is a character worth following. And strangely, his best scenes are not the hilarious fight scenes, but rather the sequences in which we learn a little more about him. That is what I liked about this film; it had a story and it had characters. Sure, a lot of the high points of the story involve something really crazy and ridiculous happening, but it's not that bad for a movie like this. It offers something that manages to be more than you probably bargained for. You get a good monster movie, a good comedy, and a good mockumentary all in one. It's not very often that we get a movie like this, yet here we are. I think there is reason to see "Big Man Japan"; one of the bigger reasons being because the film exists. And why not see it just because it exists? It's funny, fresh, and accessible to just about anyone. It doesn't take much to appreciate the uniqueness of the film, and there's not much "wrong" with it as it is. It's pretty damn good as a campy action flick, and as one of those, it's one of the best out there. I say give it a go. Hitoshi Matsumoto puts on an eccentric and surprisingly engaging leading performance in this film. Somehow, the crafty bastard manages to make a presumably disposable character interesting through giving him a likable personality. You wouldn't expect a movie like this to be anything but superbly entertaining, but "Big Man Japan" also features plenty of substance; one thing out of the whole being Matsumoto's performance as an actor. He also works well as the director of this film. I guess that's how weird directors and weird films work best; working together every moment. This film is really, really funny. And as a monster film from Japan, it kind of should be. This ain't "Godzilla" we're talking about here; we're talking about a unique spin on the monster genre that lets itself loose when it comes to humor and ideas. This film is pretty darn creative for what it is; and it delivers one of the most singularly entertaining films I've seen in quite a while. I've laughed hard in many films; but this one has made me laugh out of its campiness (all of which is surely intentional). I laughed in the CGI fight sequences (which were ridiculous to the max). I even laughed in the final sequence (which is virtually unexplainable aside from the fact that it includes a league of very strange super-heroes and one big devil-monster). There is a LOT to laugh at here; and the film gives you many options to which things you really want to chuckle at. You see; I like that. If you understand Japanese political themes, then you will laugh at the references. If you laugh at pure absurdity, then you will laugh at the film's fight sequences. This if not a film for everyone per se, but it's a film for many people none the less. Most will probably have fun with the film; but only if you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the hilarious Japanese ride. It's not regrettable, and it's a film worth seeing. At least now I have seen one of the best Japanese monster movies since the original "Godzilla". And that's a big achievement for me. Seriously, how can you NOT find a film as bat-shit crazy as this HILARIOUS? Sure, some won't like it. Some don't like having this much fun; and then some just won't find such silliness "funny". But I do, and I like the weirdness of Japan (for the most part). There's a lot to look at here, and while it's mostly just funny and absurd, I also like the effort and craft that was put into the script of this film. It's actually funny, and it takes a big film- or in this case, a big man- to make that aspect work for a film like this. I have seen many monster films; and I have seen many of them fail. This one is funny and fresh; just the kind of antidote I've been looking for. In fact, I'd love to give Matsumoto a big, fat high-five just for making this flick. He should know that MANY people enjoy his work here. And apparently, he's the guy to go to when it comes to campy monster movies. He has made a parody, a homage, and a satire all in one big movie. This is the kind of film that shouldn't work. Why it does is beyond me, but I think it has something to do with the amount of ridiculousness contained in the thing. If it hadn't been for Hitoshi Matsumoto's extremes, then this film's appeal and success would not have been possible. And while it's no classic, "Big Man Japan" is definitely going to be a cult hit one day. Just you wait; one day, this thing will be considered great. Maybe it will even be considered big.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 25, 2011
    Interesting premise, yet it moves at a snail's pace and the CGI makes this film look like a live adaptation of the old Rampage games. I would like to see America take this premise and stretch it out, make it amazing, but we already have the Hulk (and Ang Lee's version is better than you remember). Eh, I guess wanted a cult classic and got stuck with boredom 20 mins in.
    matt s Super Reviewer

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