Afternoon soap operas are getting racier. The hook of the new half-hour series “Tengoku no Koi” (“Heaven’s Love”; Fuji TV, Mon.-Fri., 1:30 p.m.) is a 41-year-old female protagonist having steamy love affairs with two men half her age.
Itsuki (Yoshiko Tokoshima) and Goji (Dankan) run a used bookstore together but their marriage is running on fumes. One day Itsuki sees a young man trying to shoplift a book and tries to stop him. When she discovers the book is a pornographic novel she is intrigued. Later she will have a love affair with the man, whose name is Motoharu, as well as with another youth named Ushio, who resembles her first crush.
Motohara is played by Sho Takada and Ushio by Hiroki Uchi, both with Johnny & Associates. Sex scenes are promised, so we’ll see how boy idols really perform.
The recent arrest of super-emcee Monta Mino’s son has brought attention to the fact that many celebrities’ progeny work for TV broadcasters as full-time employees. One such person is — or was — Maasa Takahashi, the daughter of veteran actor Hideki Takahashi. She was hired a few years ago as a staff announcer by Fuji TV but soon quit because she could make more money freelancing as Hideki’s daughter on variety shows. In fact, they often appear together on such shows, since Hideki isn’t getting many acting gigs lately.
They will appear this week together on the travel show “Nippon! Ii Tabi” (“Japan! Good Trip”; TV Tokyo, Wed., 8 p.m.), which goes to Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture. The Takahashis will visit Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine and Kegon Falls, two tourist attractions that have been covered ad nauseam, so the main appeal will be seeing how father and daughter interact.
CM of the week: Tokyo Gas
To promote its Live Val (for “value”) campaign, Tokyo Gas has employed actor Yutaka Takenouchi to play Gas no Kamen (Mask of Gas), a mysterious figure who not only fixes your home-energy problems but does it in the guise of a masked ballet dancer. In the latest installment he visits an average home dressed as a Tokyo Gas service representative. In the living room, a girl is practicing her arabesques and he gruffly corrects her posture. During her next ballet lesson she is so improved the instructor partners her with a handsome Russian dancer. Who says gas can’t be romantic?