Animals proved superheroes in TV Tokyo’s “Sekai Bikkuri Daihakken” and more

Animals are cute and all, but on TV Tokyo’s special documentary program, “Sekai Bikkuri Daihakken: Dobutsutachi no Kiseki no Power (World Surprising Discoveries: The Miracle Power of Animals)” (Monday, 8 p.m.), animals prove they are also superheroes.

The show will present amazing news stories about animals from all over the world and attempt to explain scientifically how they did what they did.

In the United States, for instance, the pet dog of a Pennsylvania man continued licking a mole on his leg for weeks. The man finally took the hint and visited a doctor, who examined the mole and found that it was early-stage melanoma. Had the man waited much longer, the skin cancer would have spread to his lymphatic system, endangering his life. Can dogs detect cancer?

In Australia, research has been carried out on the immune systems of crocodiles, which seem to be very effective in fighting off certain strains of bacteria. Scientists believe it may point to a vaccine for AIDS. In addition, the program will attempt to explain how elephants can predict natural disasters and the restorative properties of goat’s milk.

One of the more interesting ironies of the Pacific War was the fact that the man who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor that started the war believed beforehand that Japan would surely be defeated by the United States. NHK’s special two-part history program, “The Road to Pearl Harbor” (NHK-G; Nov. 30 and Dec. 7, 9:15 p.m.), will examine the life of Isoroku Yamamoto, an important naval hero who eventually became admiral of the combined Imperial fleet in the years before the Pacific War. Yamamoto understood through firsthand study the reach and power of the U.S. war machine, and knew that Japan would never be a match for it.

However, Japanese leaders had embarked on a strategy to make Japan a world power through the might of its navy, which was to be centered on huge, supposedly unsinkable battleships.

Yamamoto went ahead with the plans for the Pearl Harbor attack because he believed that these hawkish leaders in the government would have him killed if he didn’t.

In the past, if you lived in Tokyo and wanted to head to a hot-spring resort for the weekend, you’d have to travel out of town for at least two hours. But in the past few years, more and more hot springs have opened within Tokyo, sparking a local tourist boom. Even people from outside Tokyo come to the capital for a soak. This week, TV Tokyo’s neighborhood variety show, “Admatic Paradise” (Dec. 3, 9 p.m.) will count down the city’s top 30 onsen facilities, including hot springs at amusement parks in Odaiba, Korakuen, and Toshimaen.