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'The World's Human Body Mysteries'; 'The Flickering Drawing'; CM of the week: Recruit

by Philip Brasor

Most people understand the limits of their bodies and live their lives accordingly, but some don’t recognize those limits and they are the subjects of the two-hour special “Sekai Chojintai Mystery” (“The World’s Human Body Mysteries”; TBS, Tues., 8:57 p.m.).

The program travels the world looking for people whose physical abilities are not just out of the ordinary, but downright unexplainable. However, a team of specialists is on hand to explain the phenomena on display in medical terms. One of the subjects is an American stuntman whose main gig is to set himself on fire, usually for uncomfortably long periods of time. Then there is a tribe of people in the South Pacific who live in houses on stilts in the middle of the sea. They subsist on fish that they catch after diving 40 meters underwater and walking on the seabed for very long stretches. Finally, another American man can control his body so as to feel no pain, even when needles are thrust through his arms.

Seicho Matsumoto is one of the most famous mystery writers in the annals of Japanese literature, but he did write a few “historical suspense” novels, too. One of them, “Kagero Ezu” (“The Flickering Drawing”; Fuji TV, Fri., 9 p.m.), has been newly dramatized for TV.

Ryoko Yonekura plays Nui, a young woman during the Edo Period (1603-1868) whose father becomes the victim of government corruption. In order to bring the venal court adviser, Sekiyo (Hayato Kunimura), to justice, she poses as a maid and infiltrates the inner sanctum of the palace where Shogun Tokugawa Ienari’s concubines reside. She makes friends with two ladies-in-waiting, the young, pregnant Otaki and the older Omio, who hates Otaki.

CM of the week

Recruit Hot Pepper Beauty, a free app from publisher Recruit that lists beauty salons and the like, tries to gain male users with a new series of TV commercials. Actor Masaki Suda sits in a coffee shop eating lunch and staring at his smartphone. Voiceover narration explains that Hot Pepper, usually used by women, is also useful for men, and suddenly the owner of that voice appears and gets intimate with Suda. The sexual charge is uncomfortably real as the intruder wipes some stray ketchup from the corner of Suda’s mouth. Apparently, this rude stranger is a hairdresser.