A fun Japanese teenpic, "Otakus in Love" is a quick trip into the world of the otaku, or obsessed fan of manga and anime. Otakus, at least as depicted by actor-playwright Suzuki Matsuo, are strange creatures indeed, and he wrings a lot of fun out of their absurdity without offending the practitioners. In the West, pic's market is strictly DVD.

A fun Japanese teenpic that runs on kooky wild energy alone, “Otakus in Love” is a quick and mercifully brief trip into the world of the otaku, or obsessed fan of manga (comic books) and anime (Japanese animation.) The nerd-related otakus, at least as depicted by actor-playwright Suzuki Matsuo in his feature bow, are strange creatures indeed, and he wrings a lot of fun out of their absurdity without (one imagines) offending the practitioners. In the West, pic’s market is strictly DVD.

Cute but painfully introverted, Mon Aoki is the proverbial 20-year-old virgin. His manga artwork is so rarefied (he draws on stones instead of paper) it has no commercial value. No one even likes looking at it. Then he meets pretty Koino (Wakana Sakai), who’s into cosplay (i.e., dress-up in costumes and wigs) and draws extremely popular mangas. Still she’s a girl, and their relationship blossoms amid ups and downs. Matsuo plays a washed-up, over-the-hill manga artist of 40 who has been reduced to running a bar. All-stops-out lensing and production design bring the whole senseless manga world to life in electrifying shades of orange and fuchsia.

Otakus In Love

Japan

Production

A Lotus Film/Asmik Ace Entertainment production (International sales: Lotus Film, Tokyo.) Produced by Shinji Ogawa, Morio Amagi, Makiko Nagasaka. Directed and written by Suzuki Matsuo, based on a manga by Jun Hanyunyu.

Crew

Camera (color), Jun Fukumoto; editor, Souichi Ueno; music, Takeshi Hayama; production designer, Yuji Tsuzuki; costume designer, Michiko Kitamura. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Critics Week), Sept. 10, 2004. Running time: 114 MIN.

With

Ryuhei Matsuda, Wakana Sakai, Suzuki Matsuo, Hijiri Kojima, Shinya Tsukamoto, Sei Hiraizumi, Shinobu Otake, Sarutoki Minagaw, Fumiyo Kohinata.
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