Archive for May, 2012
Kodomo Keisatsu (コドモ警察) is a half-hour drama centered on cops who are turned into kids by a chemical, but who continue about their daily business anyway, fighting the all-pervasive evil organization “Red Venus.” The previous three episodes have been quite weak, with the novelty of the first episode wearing out quite quickly, but this one takes some steps in the right direction, reviving some hope for the series.
The episode begins with one of the kid cops (Nabe-san) meeting an old acquaintance who looks like trouble:
I will hereafter refer to him as the rough-edged fellow.
Last week I said that I thought that ratings had leveled out and would be pretty uninteresting except for the battle for the top between Ataru and Kagi no Kakatta Heya. Boy, was I wrong! I had failed to account for one very significant variable: sports events. In particular, the pivotal event which is Women’s Volleyball Olympic Qualifications with major matches on the past Friday and Sunday. You remember those tall athletic women who soundly defeated Arashi in VS Arashi a few weeks ago? Yeah, them. They got a 23.3% rating (I think this is for the final match on Sunday in which they clinched their qualification), which played merry havoc with everyone else.
For a full listing of dramas and all sorts of wonderful details, please visit TokyoHive’s article here. I’m just going to summarize the carnage for the shows I’ve been keeping track of.
Prime Time Shows
Kagi no Kakatta Heya (01) 18.3%, (02) 16.5%, (03) 14.4%, (04) 15.5%, (05) 15.6%, (06) 15.4%
Ataru (01) 19.9%, (02) 16.9%, (03) 10.9%, (04) 13.8%, (05) 14.5%, (06) 17.4%, (07) 13.5%
Mikeneko Holmes no Suiri (01) 15.9%, (02) 12.1%, (03) 12.7%, (04) 13.1%, (05) 12.9%, (06) 12.4%, (07) 10.2%
Papadol! (01) 11.6%, (02) 8.1%, (03) 8.1%, (04) 8.0%, (05) 7.1%
Mirai Nikki (01) 9.9%, (02) 5.8%, (03) 6.1%, (04) 6.7%, (05) 7.0%, (06) 6.6%
Kazoku no Uta (01) 6.1%, (02) 3.6%, (03) 3.4%, (04) 3.1%, (05) 3.3%, (06) 3.8%, (07) 4.1%
Late Night Shows
Kodomo Keisatsu (01) 2.3%, (02) 1.4%, (03) 2.5%, (04) 1.7%, (05) 1.6%, (06) 2.5%
Shiritsu Bakarea Koukou (01) 3.3%, (02) 3.8%, (03) 2.1%, (04) 3.9%, (05) 3.0%, (06) 3.0%, (07) 2.3%
Well, it’s all about AKB48 and friends this week. Honestly, I haven’t heard “Manatsu no Sounds Good!” (真夏のSounds Good!) yet. Does that make me a bad person? Probably. I mean, 1,616,795 copies of it were sold in its first week – how could I have possibly missed hearing it? I must not be watching enough Japanese TV. I should watch AKBINGO (the mainline AKB48 variety show) as penance.
The rest of the AKB family continued in the top 30 as well. In its second week, SKE48 held #4 with “Aishite Raburu!” selling 49,031 for a total of 521,358. Those second week sales are stronger than what Arashi managed with “Face Down” in week 2, but SKE might be riding some AKB coattails. NMB48’s “Nagiichi” has a total of 404,505 in three weeks, at #14 this week. Nogizaka46 actually ticked up to #16 with “Oide Shampoo” scoring a total of 193,583. So, the AKB family of groups (not counting solo acts) sold 2,736,241 copies in May by my calculations (which could be off).
Significantly, that’s only a bit ahead of Mr. Children‘s combined album and single sales for the month, with their best-of albums pushing 2 million copies sold combined and their single still in the top 30 at #29 in its sixth week. Apparently, rock lives.
Kodomo Keisatsu (コドモ警察) is a half-hour drama centered on cops who are turned into kids by a chemical, but who continue about their daily business anyway, fighting the all-pervasive evil organization “Red Venus.” While I still feel odd about criticizing young actors less than half my age, I am less forgiving toward the writers of this show, who have shown very little inventiveness about how they make use of the talent at their disposal. While the premise alone can keep a viewer interested for an episode, and appreciation of how talented the kids are can maybe carry it for one more, things started to go a bit stale in the third episode, with so much of an already short show taken up by set-piece scenes.
At the start of the episode, I was struck by how earnest Suzuki Fuku-kun can look sometimes, and I think that quality probably has a lot to do with his success:
Not long after that, Marius Yo-kun walked in, again a bit too stiffly, though he seemed a bit angrier today, which broke the robotic feel he had in previous episodes.
Every week, Sekai no Hatemade Itte Q (世界の果てまでイッテQ – Going to the Ends of the Earth Q) sends cast members to different locations around the world to do fascinating and bizarre things, making it a uniquely interesting variety show. You do not need to know Japanese to enjoy this show. In fact, you can learn some Japanese from it. Alongside VS Arashi, it’s among the most accessible shows to those who don’t speak Japanese. That’s fortunate, since it’s also difficult to find entire episodes subtitled.
There were two segments this week. In the first, the comedy trio Morisanchuu was sent to Germany to partake of three regional meat specialties. Before getting the food, though, they’ll have to face challenges. In the second half, Tegoshi Yuya, member of Johnny’s Entertainment idol groups NEWS and Tegomass, goes to China to learn how to pour tea the martial arts way.
Morisanchuu is totally excited about the prospect of meat (肉 – niku):
Papadol! (パパドル!) is a comedy in which Nishikido Ryo of Kanjani8 plays himself as an idol who falls in love with a divorced woman with three children. He is struggling to gain acceptance from her children while simultaneously facing an ultimatum from his agency to either divorce or retire.
When we last left our hero, his new family had discovered a magazine article with a photograph of him apparently being kissed by his co-star (i.e. not the mother he’s marrying – Haruka). Haruka (played by Yuka) apparently ignores the article, knowing Nishikido-kun and accepting his explanation, but this can’t help him with the skeptical eldest daughter Mei (played by Kawashima Umika).
At the same time, his agency is hardly thrilled about the article, either – they’ve already shown a desire to tightly control the image of their idols. Was this incident just a one-off thing, or will there be more opportunities for the paparazzi to catch Nishikido-kun with the woman? It sure seems like there’s something brewing:
Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) is an hour-long variety show featuring Arashi and famous male guests from a range of backgrounds. The premise is that the guests are supposed to be like big brothers to the Arashi members, and teach them something during the course of the show. Lately, though, they’ve been trying to mix things up a bit and this week’s episode is part of a new segment in which Arashi has a showdown against a group of five guests – in this case, a cooking showdown.
Which brings me to an observation: hasn’t Arashi been doing a lot of cooking lately? I mean, they’re cooking when they have a “share house” segment on Himitsu no Arashi-chan and then there’s this segment on Arashi ni Shiyagare. I’m not complaining – it’s better than watching them eat or just talk the show away – but it’s a definite trend. I remember the odd things they used to put in their mouths in the D no Arashi/G no Arashi days (twenty year old curry, anyone?). I guess they’re . . . growing up?
Anyway, I hope you like cooking shows, because that’s what we’ve got. The dish that they’re competing on is winged gyoza:
Since it’s a showdown, Arashi and the opposing team (the “Music World’s Cooking Western” team) were dressed in some semblance of cowboy garb: