Do you ever get the feeling Japan’s older generation can be a bit oppressive? Then the 2020s is the decade for you. Rebranded for a brand-new era, the TW Pop Culture Weekly continues its original mission of bringing you the most pressing news from the world of Japanese entertainment, like so:
A Battle of the Generations
First released between January 5 and 7, the MBS/TBS show Sedai Wars (~”Generation Wars”) has all the makings of a political satire that’s actually just an excuse for over-the-top group fight scenes. So why give his obvious Battle Royale rip-off a chance? Because it comes at just the right time. On Sedai Wars, the Japanese economy is tanking and society is collapsing as every generation blames each other for the crisis. Seeing no other alternative, the Japanese prime minister orders two representatives from each generation (Boomers, Gen Z, Millennials and many more.) to fight each other in a simulated VR environment.
While the “OK boomer” catchphrase never really caught on in Japan (though they had a pretty succinct explanation of it on TV), generational tensions have been an issue in the country for some time. So no matter where you’re from, there is probably something in Sedai Wars to catch your attention. The show also boasts a stellar TV cast including the likes of the former Takarazuka Revue star Sei Matobu and the Ultraman veteran Tokuma Nishioka, known for playing the popular Ultra Father. Sadly, his Sedai Wars character’s catchphrase is not “Daddy spank!” What a wasted opportunity.
Rio Uchida is Driven to Sexy Roles
Originally a gravure idol (a softcore model primarily for men’s magazines/DVDs), Rio Uchida got her first big break on the show Kamen Rider Drive… where she didn’t really escape her past all that much. While her character Kiriko Shijima was thankfully more than just a damsel in distress and had no bikini scenes, she is mainly remembered today for her policewoman outfit, which over the years gained a fetishistic following. Suffice to say, if you google the character, you’ll find more close-ups of her skirt rather than pictures of her fighting the bad guys.
Fans are set to get even more viewing pleasure, judging by Uchida’s latest TV Tokyo show Raise de wa Chanto Shimasu (~”I’ll get it right in the next life”), which premiered on January 8. An almost nihilistic softcore-erotic comedy, the show focuses on the life of Uchida’s character and her five casual lovers. Drifting through life, Uchida’s Momoe doesn’t seem to have a plan for life and resorts to casual sex as something to kill the time, which is never judged harshly by the show.
Hollywood Women Take on Japanese TV
NTV’s Shiranakute Ii Koto (~”It’s better if you don’t know”) and Fuji TV’s Alive – Gan Senmoni no Karte (~”Oncologist’s Medical Record) are different on the surface but in the end they share a few key themes. The former focuses on Keito (Yuriko Yoshitaka), a successful reporter that stumbles upon a potential mystery involving her father, who might be a famous Hollywood star. The Fuji TV show, on the other hand, deals with an oncologist (Nao Matsushita) dealing with her husband’s serious accident and befriending a fellow doctor played by Japan Academy Award winner and Showtime’s Masters of Horror actress Yoshino Kimura. Two dissimilar stories which nonetheless both tackle the issue of having someone who brings a little sunshine and meaning into your life.
In Shiranakute Ii Koto, Keito is professionally successful but has no real connection to other people besides her mother, who passes away. Similarly, once the oncologist’s husband falls into a coma, it’s the friendship she forges with Kimura’s character that keeps her going. The message in both shows is strengthened by them focusing on driven, capable, independent women, and showing that even the best of us sometimes need another person to lean on.
Feature image by jdwfoto / Shutterstock.com