SEVEN DAYS IN JAPAN

SEVEN DAYS IN JAPAN
4 Stars
Year Released: 2005
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 37 minutes
Click to Expand Credits:

Congratulations, folks. You may well be getting a look at one of the best short documentaries on the face of the earth. And it’s all available for you in “Seven Days In Japan”

So what we have here is the story of Joe Doughrity, Anime Super Fan.

And for those twelve people on the North American continent who don’t know what anime is, anime is the common term for Japanese animation, which to its fans is its own genre. In fact, to many of its fans, anime is its own way of life.

And though I count myself as a minor-league otaku at best (otaku is the Japanese word for “obsessed fan”), I’m as familiar as most people are that there are way, way too many people out there who take anime joy way, way too far. Some of whom you’ll get to see here.

See, Joe stumbled on a website that offered a special travel package over at www.popjapantravel.com. I offer this link as a service to my readership, all four of you, and not because I got paid for it.

Though I wouldn’t mind.

But anyway…Joe’s off on the Neo Tokyo Tour, Spring of 2004 genus, to spend the titular Seven Days In Japan. But he’s not alone…he’ll be hanging around with guys like Aka-san, Masami, the Lopez Brothers, and several other characters, all of whom are probably feeling pretty happy that they got to be in a movie that was covered on Film Threat.

The really interesting thing about “Seven Days in Japan” is that you can tell Joe is REALLY into the culture. He’s got clips from probably dozens of anime, stuff I can’t even recognize in some cases, interspersed throughout his film.

It’s like listening to Weird Al’s “Albuquerque”; while Al’s thirteen minute song centered on his hatred of sauerkraut, Joe’s thirty seven minute “Seven Days in Japan” centers on his love of all things great and Japanese.

And damn, do you feel good watching these guys. They’re having the time of their lives, and their enjoyment is positively infectious. You’re not even with them an hour, and you feel what they’re feeling.

This may well be the truest sign of excellent filmmaking. To make you forget that you’re watching a movie and instead feel like you’re RIGHT THERE with the tour group.

I genuinely felt like that. For the first time in a long time.

And in these days of “Everybody Hates America” (okay, maybe it just FEELS that way sometimes, and sometimes it’s deserved) it’s nice to see that the Japanese positively freaking LOVE US.

The special features include a music video for the song they’ve got running over the title credits and throughout the movie, though I couldn’t find it identified anywhere. But it’s a great song. Also, we get footage from the premiere party at a sushi restaurant, plus some deleted scenes around vending machines and other assorted short subjects.

All in all, wow. For a thirty seven minute documentary, “Seven Days In Japan” is positively exquisite stuff. Anyone with even a vague interest in Japanese culture will just plain love this. I can’t recommend it much higher than I am right now.



Posted on December 2, 2005 in Reviews by
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