Disappearing-father drama; Swindling in Osaka; CM of the week: Bandai Namco

by Philip Brasor

Osaka is the setting for the bittersweet two-hour drama “Saiko no Oyako” (“The Best Mother and Child”; TBS, Sun., 9 p.m.), which stars Naomi Fujiyama as a single mother raising a daughter, played by Riisa Naka, who has just graduated from university with a degree in architecture but is having trouble finding work.

Midori (Fujiyama) is proud of Sayumi (Naka), but Sayumi’s frustrations cause conflicts that always lead to fights. Then one day, Midori’s izakaya (drinking establishment) is covered by a local TV station, and the program is seen by Shuichi (Takaaki Enoki), Sayumi’s biological father, who hasn’t seen Midori since she disappeared from his life right after she learned she was pregnant. He goes to her restaurant to reconcile, but Midori wants nothing to do with him and tries to keep Sayumi from finding out about him.

Also set in Osaka is new drama series “Manee no Tenshi” (“The Angel of Money”; Nippon TV, Thurs., 11:59 p.m.), about a restaurant manager named Risa (Nana Katase), who is studying to become a lawyer so she can help people with financial problems.

In episode 1, which aired last week, Shigeru (Kazuto Koyabu), a bumbling unemployed young man, came to Risa’s place of business to ask for advice, since he still hadn’t been paid for his former job. In this week’s episode 2, Shigeru is now an employee at Risa’s restaurant, and she’s visited by another acquaintance named Miu, whose no-good boyfriend borrowed money from her and won’t pay it back. The two come up with a plan.

Naoto Takenaka is also on hand as a money-grubbing veteran lawyer.

CM of the week

Bandai Namco: Masahiro Nakai, leader of veteran idol band SMAP, has been known to admit that he can’t sing or dance, and he proves it in the new ad for Bandai’s smartphone game “Idol Master Cinderella Girls: Starlight Stage,” which features a quintet of animated female singers. Nakai is seen earnestly performing one of Cinderella Girls’ songs from the game, but way out of tune and probably out of step as well. The impression is of a singer isolated from his group and the spectacle of live performance, secure in his own bubble of self-delusion. The catch copy for one of the ads is “Idols never quit,” which is another symptom of self-delusion.