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Sunday, May 13, 2012

CHANNEL SURF

'Where are they now' special; celebrities battle it out; CM of the week: Tokyo Gas

The variety show "Bakuho the Friday" (TBS, Friday, 7 p.m.) expands from an occasional special to a weekly series. The title is a mashup of Bakusho Mondai, the comedy duo who act as hosts, and jōhō, which means information. The theme is in-depth information about showbiz people, in particular those who used to be famous. Several months ago, the show looked at the career of Toshihiko Tahara, who in the 1980s was one of the biggest artists managed by Johnny's & Associates, but who rarely appears on TV since leaving the agency in 1993.

Tahara is now a cohost of "Bakuho," which this week looks at lesser stars of the famous Takarazuka all-female musical theater company and school, which opened in 1914. Top stars of the troupe go on to successful mainstream careers, but a few have opted for work outside of show business.

Fuji TV has already seen success with "Tosochu" ("On the Run"), which adapts video-game ideas to live-action settings, and the same team has devised a new game, "Sentochu" ("In Battle"; Sat., 9 p.m.).

Seventeen celebrities, each with ¥300,000 in cash strapped to his or her person, battle it out to the death. Contestants carry balls, and if one "captures" another person's ball they get that other contestant's cash. Players can use cash to purchase weapons. The last person standing after 100 minutes takes home all the remaining money.

"Stamina and strategy" are the most important aspects, but as it turns out, some contestants' strategy is to hide until the end.

CM of the week

Tokyo Gas: Taking advantage of the electric utilities' anxieties over power supply, Tokyo Gas is pushing its Ene-Farm home fuel cell cogeneration system, which uses gas to not only heat homes but also generate electricity.

In the latest ads, enka (Japanese balladry) superstar Aki Yashiro says goodbye to her "son," who is leaving home. Yashiro breaks into song — complete with fog machines and glittery costumes — about how her cogeneration system will conserve energy even though she's now living alone. It's setsuden (conserving electricity) by means of hatsuden (generating electricity). It's also using a patented dramatic art form, enka, to express her loneliness and will to endure.



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