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Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013

CHANNEL SURF

Ueto stars as ex-con in NHK drama; a Japanese spin on "The Brothers Karamazov"; CM of the week: Parco

Strange casting decisions are often explained by advertising prerogatives, so we're not sure what prompted NHK to cast Aya Ueto against type to play an ex-con in the 10-part drama "Itsuka Hi no Ataru Basho de" ("In a Place Where the Sun Sometimes Shines"; NHK-G, Tues., 10 p.m.).

Ueto plays Tomoko, who is released from prison after serving seven years for killing her lover. Her family reluctantly lets her live in her late grandmother's vacant house in the Yanaka section of Tokyo. She finds peace of mind hanging out with Ayaka (Naoko Iijima), the only friend she made in prison, who now works at a bakery. One day her brother stops by and asks her to remove her name from the family register because he plans to get married.

A new Japanese translation of Dostoevsky's classic "The Brothers Karamazov" was published in 2006 and sold 1 million copies. This week, Fuji TV starts airing a multipart adaptation of the novel that is set in Japan, even though the title is still "Karamazov no Kyodai" (Sat., 11:10 p.m.).

The brothers Kurosawa — Misao (Hayato Ichihara), Mitsuru (Takumi Saito) and Ryo (Kento Hayashi) — all have issues with their overbearing and rich father, and when the Kurosawa patriarch is murdered, suspicions fall on all three. The drama is divided into three sections: a recap of each brother's desperate situation leading up to the killing, the events that happened on the day of the murder and the police investigation and court trial. The drama attempts to incorporate Japan's current economic and social problems into Dostoevsky's philosophical tale.

CM of the week

Parco: The New Year's commercials for retailer Parco's annual Grand Bazaar sale have become something of a tradition. They're usually simple, short and insufferably cute.

This year's is a little more involved but insufferably cute nonetheless. Aoi Miyazaki and Osamu Mukai are eating a meal in a virtual setting. Mukai asks Miyazaki what the thing sitting on her shoulder is. "It's the Parkoala," she says in a little girl's voice, referring to Parco's cartoon koala mascot, and then says to the creature, "But we like elephants better." The koala then turns into a yellow cartoon elephant. The title of a new movie starring Miyazaki and Mukai is "Kiiroi Zo" ("The Yellow Elephant").



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