TW Pop Culture Weekly: Noriyuki Makihara Learns That Crime Can Pay

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Who knew that an entertainer with an album titled Pharmacy would ever turn to drugs? Not only did that happen once, it happened twice. On February 13 popular singer-songwriter Noriyuki Makihara was arrested on stimulant-related charges, 20 years after he received a suspended sentence for possession of amphetamines.

Makihara’s Drug Charges Prove Lucrative

As soon as the news of the singer’s arrest broke, Makihara fans (or Makihanatics for short) rushed to Amazon to buy everything the artist ever released. In short order, albums like Bespoke, The Best of Listen to the Music and Smiling: The Best of Noriyuki Makihara, shot to the top of the charts, with the rest of his discography climbing to the top 25. That’s because, unlike Makihara, his fans learn from the past. Take the case of popular musician Pierre Taki whose music was taken off online and physical shelves after his cocaine arrest last spring. Predicting that history will repeat itself, Makihanatics are stocking up on his music while there’s still time.

It will be awhile before Makihara has his day in court, but unlike Erika Sawajiri, who was arraigned for the possession of MDMA and LSD, it’s doubtful that the author of the giant hit “Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana” (~ “The One and Only Flower in the World”) will receive a suspended sentence. There’s a good chance Makihara won’t see “Home Sweet Home” for awhile and will learn that prison isn’t “Such a Lovely Place.” OK, I’m done now.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Opening Trailer Drops

The Venn diagram of people who decry the number of remakes in modern pop culture and people getting excited for the Final Fantasy VII Remake is a perfect circle. But that can be forgiven because the original Square Enix 1997 RPG was kind of revolutionary. Its themes of eco-terrorism, criticism of corporations and endearing characters were what made gamers believe that video games can truly be art.

Then again, the limitations of the original did make the characters look barely a step above Minecraft models, so a remake has been in the works for a while now. The remastered game will be released in episodic installments, the first of which will come out on April 10. In the meantime, though, you can watch the opening trailer for the game and see if it brings back any memories:

New Drama Series is an Emotional Gut-Punch

Spring is a time of rebirth, but since it’s still about a month away the TV release schedule is pretty slow. Thankfully, the AbemaTV streaming network decided to step in with a new, original show. Unthankfully, it’s going to try and make you cry.

Premiering on February 20, Boku Dake ga 17-sai no Sekai de (~ “In the World Where Only I am 17”) tells the story of childhood friends Kota and Mei who lose touch after Kota comes down with a bad case of the death. However, seven years later, while visiting a winter-cherry blossom site, Mei meets Kota once again, unaged and only able to communicate with her as long as the flowers remain in bloom.

Cherry blossoms have long served as a handy metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life, so although the theme of the show isn’t exactly subtle, it is effective. The show is sad but in a sort of beautiful way that emphasizes the need to live life when there’s still time. It’s helped along the way by the fantastic work of Hayato Sano (Little Love Song) who portrays Kota. Check the show out yourself, and keep a few tissues nearby.

Two Questions: How and HOW?!

Everyone who’s lived in Japan knows about the shisen support cables used to stabilize utility poles etc. They’re hard to miss, what with their lower portions being bright yellow. That’s why the Japanese internet is currently asking HOW a driver in a video posted to Twitter by @pokorin_2019 managed to hook their car on the shisen cable like a prize fish. Nearly 215,000 likes later and we still don’t have the answer.

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