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Sunday, Dec. 16, 2007

CHANNEL SURF

Comic child-detective, comedians visit the poor, blind singer docu-drama

One of the longest-running comic series is "Meitantei Conan (Famous Detective Conan)," about an elementary-school-age private eye named Conan Edogawa who was once a high-school-age private eye named Shinichi Kudo before the evil Black Organization (Kuro Soshiki) used some kind of "chemical" to make him younger.

In the live-action drama special "Kudo Shinichi no Fukkatsu (The Resurrection of Shinichi Kudo)" (Nihon TV, Monday, 9 p.m.), Conan is living in the home of his old girlfriend Ran, who doesn't know that Conan is her former boyfriend Shinichi. They go to a hotel where a beauty pageant is being held. The winner of the pageant is being blackmailed. At the reception, Conan eats some cake that makes him sick, but when he recovers he finds he has been restored to his old self, Shinichi Kudo. He starts investigating the blackmailing, which seems to be the work of the Black Organization, but the winner is killed.

On TV Asahi's popular variety show "Zenigata Kintaro," whose title is a parody of Zenigata Heiji, a famous fictional hero, comedians visit the homes of people who claim to be poor and learn how they get by on very little money. On each program, four contestants are profiled and a panel of judges chooses the most interesting or original survival story and awards the winner ¥200,000.

The situations are played for laughs, even though some contestants make do without running water or electricity, others live in spaces that barely give them room to sit down, and almost everyone survives on diets that wouldn't nourish a gnat.

On Wednesday at 7 p.m., there will be a two-hour special revisiting the best of of the 577 "Binbo-sans (Mr./Ms. Pauper)" covered during the last five years. The comedian "supporters" will drop in again on contestants they covered in the past to see how they are faring, and they will give a "Final Binbo Award" to the most creative poor person in Japan.

Fuji TV will present a two-hour dramatization, "Mada Minu Chichi e, Haha e (To the Father and Mother I Still Haven't Seen)," on Friday night of the life of the blind tenor Tsutomu Aragaki, who was born to an American father and a Japanese mother. Aragaki has been blind since birth owing to a human error that occurred right after he was born.

His parents separate when he is young and he is raised by his grandmother (Ayumi Ishida). Aragaki is fortunate to meet people who encourage his love of music, and he is accepted at a music institute where he studies singing.

Then, just before his grandmother dies, she reveals that she was his real mother.



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