TV | CHANNEL SURF

The shock of the old; boy band melodrama; CM of the Week: Kirin Beverage Co.

by Philip Brasor

The shock of the old and abandoned is the theme of the late night “road movie” documentary series “Haikyo no Kyujitsu” (“Holiday in the Ruins”; TV Tokyo, Fri., 12:52 a.m.). Two teams of TV personalities — one in the United States and the other in Japan — explore man-made facilities that are no longer in use.

The team in the U.S. is designer Masanori Sumi and actor Seiichi Tanabe, who are in Buffalo in western New York State, where they come across the old city central train station. Though empty and in disrepair, the building strikes them as eerily beautiful, and using high-definition 4K cameras and a drone, they attempt to do it justice. In Japan, director Teruo Noguchi and actor Ken Yasuda seek out “beautiful ruins” in Hyogo and Nagasaki Prefectures.

This year’s edition of Nihon TV’s annual charity extravaganza, “24 Hour TV,” is hosted by boy bands V6 and Hey! Say! Jump. In the middle of the marathon they present a two-hour stand-alone drama titled, “Kaasan, Ore wa Daijobu” (“Mother, I’m All Right”; Aug. 22, 9 p.m.), which the producers promise will bring everyone to tears.

Ryosuke Yamada plays Ryohei, a second-year high school student obsessed with soccer. He has just been promoted to assistant captain of the school team when he is struck down by a brain tumor, which doctors determine is inoperable. He refuses to accept their opinion, however, and pledges to fight the disease and return to the pitch.

Ryohei is helped by his strong-willed mother (Narumi Yasuda), his older brother (Takahisa Masuda), who quits his job to care for him, and his younger brother Shohei, who himself is confined to a wheelchair due to a childhood disease.

CM of the Week: Kirin Beverage Co.

Satoshi Ono and Masaki Aiba of boy band Arashi stand atop a mountain of discarded furniture surrounded by a ragtag, begrimed army of the hoi polloi, singing boisterously in the style of the musical “Les Miserables” that they, “Want Mets!” No, not the New York Major League baseball team, but the line of carbonated soft drinks made by Kirin. This “revolution” is meant to introduce a new sparkling water called Mets Plus. They are challenging the conventional mineral water concept as exemplified by a matronly Marie Antoinette-type clutching a madeleine and staring out the window in horror. Perrier, bow to the masses!

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