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Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009

Channel surf

The new animated TV series, "Kaidan Resutoran" (Ghost Story Restaurant; TV Asahi, Tues., 7:30 p.m.), is set in a suburb of Tokyo, where the heroine, Ako Ozura, attends elementary school. She makes friends with a new boy, Sho, who grew up overseas and collects scary stories from all over the world. He is interested in an old house on the edge of town called the Kaidan Restaurant and asks Ako to take him there.

Every week, the program presents three ghost stories, an "appetizer," a "main course," and "dessert." The main course this week is about Ako's classmate Yoshio, who hates milk and fish and is persecuted by class bullies Yuma and Takuma. One day, Ako notices that Yoshio is acting very strange. He moves and acts much like a cat. During lunch break Yuma and Takuma again pick on him for his aversion to milk and fish, and something very odd happens. Freelance reporter Mitsuhiko Asami is one of the most famous characters in Japanese fiction. Yasuo Uchida has written more than a hundred books about his adventures, and Kazuki Sawamura becomes the 14th actor to play him in the new series "Asami Mitsuhiko: Saishusho" (Mitsuhiko Asami: Last Chapter; TBS, Wed., 9:10 p.m.).

In the first episode, Asami is asked by a magazine editor to go to Aomori to cover a cooking competition. He's accompanied by his mother, Yukie (Yoshiko Sakuma), who happens to be one of the competition's judges.

While Asami is covering the contest, Yukie becomes increasingly impressed by the culinary skills of one of the contestants, Shoko. In fact, Shoko's cooking makes a big impression on many of the participants, and the head of the jury and a visiting master chef get into a very heated argument over her dishes. The new lay judge system has provoked interest in Japan's legal workings, an interest that's exploited for laughs in the new series "Bocho Mania 09" (Observers Gallery Mania 09; Nihon TV, Thurs., 11:58 p.m.).

Kita (Osamu Mukai) has always had a blase attitude toward life, which is why he drifts from one part-time job to another. He gets a one-day job waiting in line for tickets for seats to the first lay judge trial at the Tokyo District Court, but he has no interest in the trial itself. He isn't able to get seats for the person who hired him, but he meets a young man named Yamano, who's a court fanatic.

Then, suddenly, he spies a young woman entering the court building and it's love at first sight. Yamano says she's a student who is trying to pass the bar examination so she can become a prosecutor. Kita finally has a goal in life, which is to meet this woman, and in the subsequent pursuit he himself become obsessed with the drama of the court.



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