The Train Man
One of the hottest things to come out of Japan recently is not actually an anime at all - although it does have an animated opening sequence which is a homage to Gainax's original Daicon films. It's "The Train Man" ("Densha Otoko" or 電車男 in Japanese), and it's a live-action drama about an otaku who encounters a girl on a train and attempts to protect her from a drunk old guy. After filing the police reports, she asks for his address (so that she can send him a thank-you gift; a practice which is common in Japan), and so begins an unlikely romance.
Being an otaku, Densha (as his Internet friends refer to him) turns to a popular web forum for support when his lack of social skills fails him. In the series, this forum is called "Aladdin Channel" but it bears more than a passing similarity to the notorious Japanese bulletin board 2ch. The posting style on this forum is markedly different from Western forums and typically involves lots of font size changes and inventive ASCII art.
Rumour has it that "Densha Otoko" is actually based on a true story, and an archive of the alleged real forum posts can be found here (Japanese-capable browser required). However, whether it's actually true or not, it's a wonderful drama that chronicles the attempt of a lonely, socially inept guy to connect with someone else on a human level, and is well worth a look - whether you're an anime fan or not.
At the time of writing, "Densha Otoko" is not currently licensed for Western distribution and has been fan subtitled by D-Addicts. Please support the creators of this drama by purchasing legitimate DVDs if they become available in your territory.
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