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Tax investigator dramas; CM of the week: Toyota minivans

Popular actress Ryoko Shinohara returns to the airwaves in the new series “Ogon no Buta” (The Golden Pig; Nihon TV, Wed., 10 p.m.), in which she plays an unconventional investigator for the National Tax Agency.

In last week’s premiere, Shinko (Shinohara) was introduced as a young woman who resorts to petty swindles in order to get by. One day she tries her luck with a man on the street who is not fooled. However, instead of calling the police he offers her a job. He works for the National Tax Agency and thinks she might make a good investigator.

In this week’s episode, the investigating team is looking into reports of a police slush fund. Shinko’s aggressive colleague, Suguru (Masaki Okada), discovers that the handwriting on most of the expense receipts is the same. The evidence seems irrefutable, but Shinko is reluctant to get involved since she’s already had dealings with this particular police station.

Another Ryoko stars in another new series about tax investigators called “Nasake no Onna” (A Compassionate Woman; TV Asahi, Thurs., 9 p.m.). In this show, the hero, Matsuko (Ryoko Yonekura), specifically targets tax evaders.

Matsuko started out working for a regional tax office on the Izu peninsula, but her superior results gets her transferred to the main bureau in Tokyo, where she becomes part of the national investigation division. In the first episode, which aired last week, she infiltrated a host club suspected of under- reporting its revenue.

This week, Matsuko and her colleagues attend a seminar by a business consultant named Madoka. The new investigator had been following Madoka’s Twitter postings and feels that she lives a peculiarly luxurious lifestyle considering what she earns. She challenges Madoka to her face, but the confrontation is leaked to the press, which starts branding Madoka as a tax evader.

CM of the week

Toyota minivans The pudgy comedian known as Zakiyama (real name Hironari Yamazaki) shills for Toyota’s latest deal, which offers a ¥30,000 rebate on purchases of minivans with car navigation systems made before November 30.

The promotion is presented with a florid, Latin-style torch song, “Ima Nanja Nai” (Why Not Now?), which is a direct ripoff of “Dancing All Night,” a huge hit for Monta and Brothers in the early ’80s. Only 15 seconds long, the spot contains dozens of edits that give the performance a hilariously irresistible momentum, making the most of the comedian’s rubber-faced expressions and awkward Tom Jones stage poses.

The CM has gone viral and there’s even a version on YouTube that looks like a standard music video but still ends with the Toyota promo.