Will you save a damsel in distress? [Densha Otoko]

Just how many out of 100 men would be willing to save a young lady from a drunken man?

With all the hype of Densha Otoko, or Train man that gripped Japan (almost) a couple of years back, just how brave Akihabara’s Otaku would be willing to go beyond and show courage and stand up for a stranger?

Densha Otoko, as the name implies means Train Man. It is based on a true story (though it has not been proven) of a young otaku, or geek in Japanese terms, saving a woman who was harrassed by a drunken old man while they were in a subway train. After the incident, it was love at first sight for the man. Inexperienced in love and totally helpless in hooking up with the ladies, the man resort to the internet, posting his message on what has transpired on a message board.

Soon it became a social phenomenon, as strangers who regularly check the boards, contribute thier ideas on how to follow up on the incident, giving him solutions and suggestions on what to wear when he meets her, where to meet, how to strike a conversation and such.

The most amazing thing is that toward the end, they fell in love, and its all thanks to the hundreds of strangers who helped him through the message boards, after thousands of posts.

After it happened, it become really popular, spawning novels that consists of the original message board translations, a manga series, an anime series, and even a real life move and tv drama series, all chronicling the events that took place from the beginning to the end.

I had the novel and its a really unique experience to read it, because you read it not as a series of paragraphs, but as a series of message board posts, posted by different people as well as the man himself. Every time the man encounters a problem, people would chip in ideas. If he made progress in love, people who commend him and post all sorts of congratulatory messages. However, those who do not own the book may read the entire translated version here.

While no one can really prove if this whole incident is based on real events, at one time, it become a national obsession. No longer are otaku or geeks stigmatize by the public as someone who would be a coward and run away from a damsel in distress. This further proves the point that there are good strangers out there who would be wiling to help people within thier own means if that person is sincere enough.

So enough of the basics. A Densha Otoko Trivia seed was done, to determine out of 100 men, how many would actually save a lady in distress. They set up a scenario in particular alley, with a man and a woman in dispute, and targeted otakus to walk through the alley and witness for themselves as the events unfold. Cameras were in place to see if the bait runs, or stand up to the girl against the drunken man. Watch both part 1 and 2, fully subtitled and see the results at the end. It is quite startling.

Part 1:

Part 2:

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