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Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012

CHANNEL SURF

Fantasy series 'O-Parts'; documentary on Japan's new budget airlines; CM of the week: Bath Roman

A new four-part fantasy series, "O-Parts" (Fuji TV, Mon.-Thurs., 11 p.m.), based on the popular manga, will air this week. Ryuhei Maruyama plays Kakizawa, an unemployed youth who is abducted by a mysterious man in black.

He awakes in an unfamiliar room with four other young people, all of whom were also abducted. These five are introduced to an assistant to the prime minister, who has a job for them. Recently, there has been a series of bizarre murders throughout Tokyo: The victims have no external injuries but their hearts have been removed from their bodies. The culprit, as the assistant tells them, is a "terrorist from the future," and their job will be to hunt him down using special super powers. But first they have to visit the scenes of the crimes.

Low-cost carriers, or budget airlines, are already established overseas. This year, several LCCs will start full-scale operations in Japan, and the business documentary program "Gaia no Yoake" ("The Dawn of Gaia"; TV Tokyo, Tues., 10 p.m.), will cover one in depth.

On March 1, Peach Aviation will become the first Japanese LCC. Operated by All Nippon Airways, Peach will offer flights on eight domestic routes. Two other LCCs will start this year: AirAsia, a joint venture with ANA, and Jetstar, a joint venture with Japan Airlines. The program will attempt to find out how these airlines cut costs to keep fares low, but also how ANA plans to keep its various air travel services profitable as they compete with one another.

CM of the week

Bath Roman: For years, the maker of the bath salts Bath Roman has used famously "glamorous" (read: buxom) young women sitting in bathtubs to sell its products on TV. A new series of spots uses popular actor Toma Ikuta, who visits an old-fashioned hot-spring resort by himself for some rest and relaxation away from "the showbiz world."

In one, he's sitting in a large bath and compliments the water's fragrance in front of the manager, who is played by the comedian Denden. The manager starts reading the label from the bath-salts package.

"It's Bath Roman?" Ikuta asks. "It's not natural? And the outside bath?"

"Bath Roman, too," the manager says.

When he goes back to his room, it's filled with packages of Bath Roman. So much for nature.



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