‘Stranger’; ‘The World’s Most Astonishing News’; CM of the week: Rohto


The TV Asahi drama special “Stranger” (Sun., 9 p.m.) is based loosely on “The Poe Family,” the award-winning 1970s girl’s comic by Moto Hagio, which is about vampires.

“Stranger” takes the form of a modern-day serial-killer mystery. Two murders are discovered simultaneously in Tokyo. Both victims were strangled to death, but police find small punctures on the neck. Detective Saiki (Seito Hagiwara) obviously believes that the murders were done by the same person and expects the killer to strike again.

Meanwhile, a man named Misugi (Shingo Katori) arrives in the capital by midnight bus with a large suitcase and a mysterious companion named Maria (Ayami Nakajo). They visit Maeshima, the proprietor of a secondhand bookshop, who warns Misugi that he must be careful, because his form does not produce a reflection in mirrors.

Nippon TV obviously has a lot of time to fill on Wednesday night because it is expanding the variety show, “Za Sekai Gyoten News” (“The World’s Astonishing News”; 7 p.m.) to four hours.

What easier way to pass the time than with homemade videos from overseas? Some of the shocking footage includes CCTV tape of a female shoplifter in Costa Rica who skillfully pilfers a 16-inch television from a store in a brisk 30 seconds. Then there’s the Florida man who has been in and out of prison numerous times and breaks down in front of a judge.

There is also some original Japanese material, including a segment featuring several women who endeavor to lose weight. Each of the four subjects has a different motivation for slimming down, as well as a different method.

CM of the week: Rohto

Teasers are a common strategy in advertising. The idea is to pique the viewer’s interest with a hint of something to come. In a CM that aired last week for pharmaceutical company Rohto, a besuited man stands with his back to the camera in a dimly lit, empty room facing a panoramic view of the city. The music is low and portentous. Brief flashes of text suggest he is a “skincare detective.” The camera zooms in slowly as the music builds. He starts to turn and his identity is revealed: Mr. Oxy. Oxy is Rohto’s face cleanser, but the word is also slang for addictive opium-based painkillers, which makes the dramatic CM feel more like a preview of a thriller about drug dealers.