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Train_Man: Densha Otoko, Volume 1
Densha Otoko, Volume 1

Manga Review

For those of you who have never heard of Densha Otoko (Train Man), this is a modern day Cinderella story with a twist, involving a hardcore anime otaku, a beautiful woman, an Internet chatroom, a train, and a pair of Hermes tea cups.

A supposedly true combination of a romance and a Pygmalion story, Densha Otoko began as an on-line tale that captivated audiences in Japan: there's a novel, a TV show, a bevy of different manga series, and a blockbuster movie.

This is the "could-be-true" story of your basic, never-been-kissed geek who, prompted by an uncharacteristic act of courage and fairy godmothers in the form of an Internet chat community, finally manages to score a date.

Train_ManThe title character is a textbook otaku, an anime and video game nerd who divides his time between the electronics stores in Tokyo's Akihabara district and the computer in his cluttered room.

He encounters a pretty young woman on a commuter train and saves her from a lecherous molester, falling in love with her at first sight. A few days later he receives a thank-you message from the woman along with a set of Hermes teacups. Having never had a girlfriend or received a gift from a girl in his life, the Otaku seeks out his pals on his BBS website for advice using his codename Train_Man (Densha Otoko): "How should I ask her out?" Deeply interested in Train Man's first love, his BBS pals eagerly supply him with advice.

Of course, there's a happy ending to all this, which makes this the ultimate geek 'feel good story', and a pop-culture lengend with widespread appeal. But the story is so well laid-out and engaging that you'll be captivated following the adventures as Train Man finds his true love. The story's silly sweetness, as conveyed by Hara's efficient, uncluttered drawings, makes it a fast, fun read.

Below: Panels from the Train_Man manga.

Panels from the Train_Man manga

Panels from the Train_Man manga

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, May 2007


Train_Man Website Links:

Train Man Movie Official Website

Densha Ototo at Fuji TV (Japanese)

Densha Otoko (manga) at Anime News Network

Densha Otoko (live-action TV) at Anime News Network

Densha Otoko (live-action movie)
at Anime News Network

Wikipedia Entry for Densha Otoko

Below: Cover art from the Japanese manga Train_Man.

Cover art from the Japanese manga Train_Man.

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