NTV’s “Super TV” focuses on kittens surviving in Osaka’s Shinsekai area and more

Nihon TV’s weekly documentary series, “Super TV” (Mon., 10 p.m.), gets closer to the ground this week with a program about the alley cats who live in Osaka’s Shinsekai area of bars and small businesses. A video crew followed the feline denizens of the mazelike district for a full year, and the result is “Chiisana Koneko no Daiboken (The Big Adventures of the Little Kittens).”

Shinsekai measures about 500 meters by 250 meters, and the residents estimate that about a hundred stray cats call it home. Because the felines are considered an integral part of the community, the residents feed and look after them. The program shows how certain cats get into routines, especially in terms of visiting businesses for food.

As far as adventures go, one cat named Mii gives birth to a litter of five kittens, but the space she occupies is a bit cramped, so she decides to move the whole family to the second floor of an abandoned building. The move takes 15 hours. Other segments include the tale of the area’s big-boss tomcat, and how the cats survived the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995.

Variety show producers have all but exhausted the blood-type craze and therefore must find other forms of blatant stereotyping to satisfy viewers’ hunger for such topics. Fuji TV hits on prefectures this week on “Hometown Ranking” (Tue., 7 p.m.), which purports to arrange different regions of Japan in terms of the behavioral traits of their residents.

Some findings are fairly clear-cut, such as which prefecture has the highest per capita savings rate. The more interesting stuff is less quantifiable. Utilizing a mixture of statistics and subjective speculation, the show attempts to discover which prefectural populations are the most extravagant, the most honest, the most generous, the most industrious, etc. The inhabitants of one prefecture, in fact, are found to be not only the most frugal, but also the most cheerful, most intelligent, and the best cooks. At the other end of the scale, we also learn which prefecture’s citizenry is regarded as the laziest.

Fans of Dan Brown’s international best seller “The Da Vinci Code” might want to check out this week’s “Premium Stage” (Fuji TV, Sat., 9 p.m.), which looks behind the scenes at many of the novel’s surprising revelations. According to the book, Leonardo da Vinci incorporated many clues about Christianity and secret societies in his works. The program looks at one of his most famous paintings, “The Last Supper,” which revealed new details after it was recently cleaned. The smile of “Mona Lisa” is also analyzed, as well as various graphic anomalies in his work that seem to be writing of some kind.

Explanations are provided by Hiroshi Aramata, who wrote a Japanese best seller about the Italian master.