2023 / 90m - UK
The Contestant poster


July 07, 2024


The origin of the eggplant emoji. I was somewhat familiar with the story of Nasubi, but not so much the finer details. It's certainly a story worth telling and a documentary on the subject sounded like a good way to catch up. Like most documentaries though, the result is a little lackluster.

Nasubi wanted to make it as an entertainer and became the primary contestant on a Japanese game show. He was put in a room and could only survive with prizes he won from magazine sweepstakes. It's a show that would last 15 months and would make Nasubi famous, but the toll on his mental health was tremendous.

The documentary highlights some of those mental problems, but sticks mostly to the facts, mainly providing a recap of 15 months of questionable TV moments with commentary from the principal participants. The Everest finale feels out of place and the doc fails to dig deep, but the story remains quite crazy. It's not a terrible watch, but this could've been a lot more interesting.