Drams focused on the classroom and weight loss; CM of the week: Suntory

Classroom dramas have more to do more with teaching values than with teaching subjects, and “Suzuki Sensei” (“Teacher Suzuki”; TV Tokyo, Mon., 10 p.m.), based on an award-winning manga, is no exception. With his severe glasses and string tie, Suzuki (Hiroki Hasegawa) telegraphs his unconventional approach to public-school teaching, an approach he developed while studying issues such as vandalism and bullying.

In episode one, Suzuki quietly manipulates the system so that a particular female student named Somi (Tao Tsuchiya) is assigned to his homeroom class for the new school year. He also starts dating a woman named Asami, and their relationship goes smoothly until the usual problems flare up at work.

Weight loss is the main topic of Nippon TV’s new comedy-drama series “Rebound” (Wed., 10 p.m.), which uses prosthetics to change normally skinny actresses into overweight characters.

Nobuko (Saki Aibu) is an editor at a magazine. Through hard work and willpower she has lost weight and attained the svelte figure she has always dreamed of. Keeping fat at bay, however, turns out to be even more difficult, owing to the stress she’s under at work. Her editor-in-chief, Ran (Mayumi Wakamura), is a tyrant. Moreover, she hates “fat people.”

In the first episode, Nobuko has to write an article about a cake shop, and there she meets a handsome pastry chef (Hayami Mokomichi) who uncannily resembles her first love.

CM of the week: Suntory

Many advertisers are running commercials that, either obliquely or directly, refer to the earthquake and tsunami of March 11. In most cases they offer emotional support to victims and encouragement to the rest of us.

Probably the most oblique is the series of Suntory ads featuring Japanese celebrities in a recording studio singing two songs, “Ue wo Muite Aruko” (also known as “Sukiyaki” in the West) and “Miagete Goran Yoru no Hoshi wo,” made famous by the late pop star Kyu Sakamoto, who died in the 1985 crash of JAL flight 123.

The words to both songs are by Ei Rokusuke, and impart a feeling of hope for the future. The ads are edited in such a way that each celebrity sings one phrase; some of them are not professional singers and miss their notes, but that’s OK. It’s the feeling that counts.