I've only been to few early screenings in my life. This one was at 10:30 AM. I usually don't bother to go that early in the day if I didn't care so much about the show. I've realized that I tend to make early screenings for anime and live-action Japanese features. Interesting personal trend.
Despite leaving my house early, I still managed to arrive at the screening a few minutes late. Ironically, it had to do with transferring from train to train to get to my stop. The screening was at the ImaginAsian Theatre on E59th St between 2nd & 3rd Aves.
I'm not going to give too much away and I'll try to avoid writing up a spoiler. But the movie was quite refreshing and managed to retain an anti-Hollywood ending. The story is based on true events that took place on a Japanese BBS site called 2ch where someone actually sought dating advice from virtual strangers. The twist to this movie is that the person seeking advice is an Otaku (nerd/geek/fanatic) who rescues a lovely young woman (Miki Nakatani) on the train from being sexually harrassed. With this act of heroism, the Otaku a.k.a. Train Man (Takayuki Yamada) saves the day and suddenly finds himself falling in love with the woman he just saved. Thus the fairy tale begins.
I really can't go into detail but just trust me when I say, "See the movie. It's that good." The movie manages to touch on several issues that are prevalent in modern Japan. The various chat members range from the working class nurse, the Otakus at the manga cafe, the business man, the housewife and the teenage shut-in. What I found myself thinking throughout the movie was, "What a strange, wonderful yet fucked up society." The locations made me remember my Otaku moments in Akihabara (nicknamed Electric Town) and when I went gaga over buying my very own gacha ball prize (it was a Sgt. Keroro mobile phone charm - SWEET!).
Sure the movie was about love - geek love - but what the movie was really about was courage. All the characters had this invisible wall that prevented them from moving forward or being honest about their feelings. Train Man managed to bring that to the forefront and it made the movie that much engaging.
In the end, the movie shows a twist (and I won't say what that is) but its a twist that still makes people think after the movie is over.