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Sunday, March 30, 2008

CHANNEL SURF

Office sitcom, family drama special, superhero adventure

Last year, TBS and publisher Kodansha teamed up to solicit original stories for a television drama. The winning story was adapted as a teleplay and the finished drama will be broadcast Monday at 9 p.m.

The title, "Torishimarareyaku Shinnyu Shain" is a play on words. Torishimaku means company director or executive, but by injecting the passive voice (-rare) into the word, it takes on the meaning "to be controlled."

Shinnyu shain means new employee. Nobuo (Mirai Moriyama) has been hired by a high-powered advertising agency, but he soon learns he may have been hired for his meek personality, which attracts bullies. His boss, Kawasaki (Ken Utsui), gives him a special assignment and a new name, Hakeguchi, which means "scapegoat." His job is to join teams that are having difficulty completing projects, the idea being that with a designated scapegoat the team members will have an outlet for their frustrations and work together more effectively.

It was only a matter of time before popular Miyazaki Gov. Hideo Higashikokubaru's story was given the TV biography treatment.

The special two-hour drama, "Yukkuri Aruke, Sora wo Miro (Walk Slowly, Look at the Sky)" (Fuji, Tuesday, 10 p.m.), is about his early childhood in the 1960s. Hideo lives with his mother, Tami (Maki Mizuno), and his sister. His father, Eiji (Baijaku Nakamura), is a rich entrepreneur with his hand in many businesses. The father is not married to Tami, and, in fact, has a wife. Consequently, Hideo is constantly taunted by schoolmates who call him the son of a "concubine." Hideo hates his father, but loves his mother who, despite her position, is always cheerful and strong. However, matters become more complicated when Eiji loses a great deal of money on a circus he's promoting.

Anew sort of superhero is introduced in the "kick-off special" for the series "Keitai Sosakan 7 (Cell Phone Investigator 7)" (TV Tokyo, Wednesday, 7 p.m.), which is overseen by film director Takashi Miike.

Masaka Kubota plays high-school student Keita, who leads a secret life as a "network investigator" for a secret organization. In this week's introductory episode, Keita has moved to a new school in Tokyo but doesn't like it. His best friend from his previous school comes to Tokyo and they run away together. Passing through a construction site the pair are attacked by a robot, but are then saved by a man named Takimoto and his strange sidekick — a cell phone with arms and legs. This Buddy Keitai cell phone with "human intelligence capabilities" will go on sale in Japan in April.



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