When I first came to Japan in the Pleistocene I met a girl, a 4th-year university student from Kobe Daigaku in the process of job hunting. She was under so much stress that many times she cried for no apparent reason and always looked dismayed. She used to sleep with her cell-phone next to the pillow because night calls from companies hiring new staff were not unlikely, and not answering in time could mean an automatic disqualification. She often went to endless job “seminars” with thousands of other candidates for 大企業 or big Japanese companies where most graduates were willing to work for. That’s the first screen for a multi-phase selection process which, obviously, ends up with a refusal for most of the candidates, gradually undermining their self-esteem.
Strongly advertised in a Japan with a significant population of college student, 何者(Nanimono, Somebody) deals with that process of job hunting through the lives of two young men and two young women struggling to succeed in the marathon-like activity that is called 就職活動 (Shûshoku Katsudô) and abbreviated as 就活 (ShûKatsu). They are college buddies, and help each other in the searching for information, the hand-writing of résumés, printing of materials, etc. But behind the apparent group harmony, through the Twitter microblogging social web we as audience start to feel some dissonance in the middle of that perfect symphony of friendship.
This movie introduces the theme of the theater inside the cinema, and the Calderonian motif of the world as a big theater or play. In the end all characters play different roles, but they are alone with their own miseries, competing with each other but also within themselves.
Eventually they will find something, a group to belong, the same way my Kobe friend entered Japanese society and became Somebody, at the cost of the loss of their innocence.