TV | CHANNEL SURF

'Sotai 2'; 'The New Conspiracy'; CM of the week: Garigari-kun

by Philip Brasor

Staff Writer

Fifty-four-year-old Kenichi Endo has been a reliable character actor for years, but lately he’s graduated to leading man status. On Wednesday, he stars as police detective Susumu Nihonmatsu in “Sotai 2” (“Organized Crime Countermeasure Division 2”; TV Tokyo, 9 p.m.).

Nihonmatsu is assigned to Roppongi, where he investigates drug smuggling operations. His supervisor orders him to carry out a raid on a suspected drug-manufacturing site. The raid is a success, but the man running the factory gets away. After Nihonmatsu’s partner, Mari Hiyagon (Shiho Toyota), returns to the office to make a report, he finds the getaway car, has been abandoned, and there’s a dead body in the trunk. As Nihonmatsu follows the drug trail, another detective, Megumi Hara (Rino Katase), investigates the killing.

Endo also stars in a new drama called “Arata no Inbo” (“The New Conspiracy”; TV Asahi, Fri., 11:15 p.m.) as the prime minister of Japan, Taizan Muto, who, after being elected to a second term, is determined to make a difference with his bold foreign policy. Muto is on a flight to meet with the president of Uzbekistan when suddenly he suffers convulsions and wakes to find himself in the body of his son, Sho (Masaki Suda), who has just started his dream job on a farm. Meanwhile, Sho, who was working a field, has the same rude experience and wakes up to find himself in his father’s body on the official government airplane.

Sho tells his father’s secretary, Kaibara (Issei Takahashi) to turn the plane around, since he has a hot date this weekend. Meanwhile, back in Tokyo, a Diet session ends in chaos when the Cabinet starts acting like little children.

CM of the week


Garigari-kun is the most famous “ice candy bar” in Japan. Immediately recognizable by its grinning package mascot, designed to represent a gaki-daisho —the “big kid” in your elementary school clique. The treat has been available since 1981, and for the past 25 years the price has stayed at ¥60. In fact, the low price was always its main selling point. No more. Garigari-kun’s maker, the dairy company Akagi Nyugyo, is raising the price of its original soda-flavored bar to ¥70, and has released a commercial with the president and most of his staff bowing in a combination of remorse and gratitude. It truly is the end of an era.