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Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010
Hiroshi Tachi in Monday night mystery; the birth of Ultraman; CM of the week: Suntory's Boss
Veteran actor Hiroshi Tachi, who often plays police detectives, makes his first ever appearance on TBS's Monday night mystery drama. In "Keibu Tsuge Kyosuke — Chokoso Hoteru no Chikaku" ("Inspector Kyosuke Tsuge: High-rise Hotel's Dead Angle"; 9 p.m.), Tachi plays the title character, an unconventional cop whose temper has gotten him suspended indefinitely.
However, his supervisor (Hiroki Matsukata) brings him back secretly to help with an old case. Three years ago, a murder happened in a locked room in a high-rise hotel and it remains unsolved. There was only one witness, a hotel employee, and Tsuge interviews the employee's colleagues. However, while he's doing this, another dead body is found in a bathtub in one of the guest rooms. As it happens, the hotel is hosting a stockholders' meeting. When the previous murder occurred, there was also a stockholders' meeting going on.
The sci-fi action hero Ultraman is one of Japan's most enduring pop culture phenomena, and the birth of the character is the subject of NHK's "Rekishi Hiwa Historia" ("Secret History Historia"; NHK-G, Wed., 10 p.m.).
Ultraman was the brainchild of writer Tetsuo Kinjo, who lived in Okinawa when it was under U.S. control. In 1960, he left the island and moved to Tokyo to try to make it as a scriptwriter.
Though it took a while, by 1966 the character had been made into a popular TV series. Kinjo's idea for the superhero was to create a bridge between still-occupied Okinawa and the Japanese archipelago. He was more successful than he could have imagined, but he died in a tragic accident in 1976, and thus didn't live to see Ultraman become one of the most indelible icons of the Japanese imagination.
CM of the week
Suntory's Boss: In the never-ending Boss canned coffee saga, Jones the Extraterrestrial, played by Tommy Lee Jones, continues his research into the habits of Earthlings (i.e., Japanese).
In the latest episode, Jones is working as an elevator operator in Tokyo Tower. Using a tourist telescope and his sensitive hearing, he eavesdrops on a conversation in a distant high-rise between two salarymen. The older one says he's going to visit a client, but his younger colleague tells him it is "more correct" to send an e-mail first.
Later, the older salaryman is in Tokyo Tower, looking out across the city at the new Tokyo Sky Tree when his younger colleague runs up and says the client responded to the e-mail and wants them to come for a meeting. "It worked," the older colleague says, impressed.
Jones sips from a can of Boss coffee, and ponders what he's learned as the two towers are shown in tandem: On this planet, the old and the new can coexist.