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Sunday, July 5, 2009

CHANNEL SURF

Teen vampire drama, Kusanagi's return and a vengeful spirit

Because supernatural adolescents are staple features of manga and anime, it's unlikely that the new Fuji TV drama series, "Koishite Akuma" ("The Loving Demon"; Tues., 10 p.m.), was directly inspired by the worldwide success of the teen vampire saga, "Twilight," but that success certainly won't hurt its chances.

Ruka (Hey! Say! Jump's Yuma Nakayama) has yet to mature into a full-fledged vampire. His canines have yet to fully develop, which means he still hasn't tasted human blood — or, at least, human blood that he's drawn himself. In order to get him prepared, he is cast down into the world of humans, where he boards with Jiro (Shiro Ito), the owner of a Chinese restaurant, and enrolls in high school.

His homeroom teacher (Rosa Kato) is a cheerful, though meddlesome, young woman who catches the fledgling bloodsucker off-guard. Is he actually falling in love with a mortal?

After the public embarrassment of his naked romp in the park and the subsequent arrest, SMAP's Tsuyoshi Kusanagi has been professionally rehabilitated in record time. This week he stars in a new drama series that, considering the criminal context of the storyline, takes bold advantage of his newfound notoriety.

"Ninkyo Herupa" ("Chivalrous Helper"; Fuji, Thurs., 10 p.m.) finds Kusanagi playing way against previous type as Hikoichi, a yakuza underling who runs a loan shark operation in Roppongi. Hikoichi is brutal and efficient, and has no compunction about cheating the weak and poor out of their hard-earned money.

When Hikoichi's boss dies, his replacement (Ken Matsudaira) wants the young hood to prepare himself for an executive position, and orders him to get a job in an elderly care facility. Suffice it to say, the position isn't what Hikoichi expected it to be.

"Uramiya Honpo-Reboot" ("Revengers Main Office-Reboot"; TV Tokyo, Fri., 12:12 a.m.) is a spinoff of a previous TV series that itself was based on a popular comic. The heroine of this omnibuslike series is a spirit (Ayumi Kinoshita) who carries out acts of vengeance as a proxy for humans who can't do it themselves.

In this week's episode a junior high school student, Ayana (Haruka Saito), commits suicide after being bullied by a classmate. Her mother, Yayoi (Hiro Komura), demands answers, but the school authorities deny that any bullying actually took place. She wants them to find the bully and then explain what happened, but they ignore her.

In the depths of her despair, Yayoi is visited by the Uramiya. She asks the spirit to find out which student bullied her daughter and take revenge.



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