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‘Chibi Maruko-chan,’ S.T. Corp

by Philip Brasor

Vacation is almost over, so it’s back to the usual animated TV show grind. This week’s episode of “Chibi Maruko-chan” — the 1051st! (Fuji TV, Sun., 6 p.m.) — finds the eternal elementary school student coming home from class on Saturday to an almost empty house, which is unusual.

Her grandfather is off on an excursion with a group of seniors and her older sister is spending the day at a friend’s house, so it’s only Maruko and her mother. They eat lunch together in strained silence because the mood in the house is so different. But during the afternoon, Maruko discovers new things about her mother: She finds doodles on the back of a supermarket flyer and realizes that her mother takes a nap because housework wears her out. She finds this new information heartening and by the end of the day grows to appreciate her mother even more.

At the other end of the cartoon-child spectrum is everybody’s favorite smart-mouthed kindergartner “Crayon Shin-chan” (TV Asahi, Fri., 7:30 p.m). In this week’s episode Shinnosuke and his family go to a rice paddy to learn how to plant seedlings. Also there is a slightly older neighborhood friend, Kazuma-kun, and his mother, who are doing the same thing.

CM of the week

S.T. Corp. Monsieur Kumao has been the bug-eyed advertising mascot for household products maker S.T. Corp. since 2007. Though he’s supposed to be a bear, he looks more like some hybrid creature from the “Simpsons” universe. In the latest CM for S.T.’s closet insect repellent, Mushuda, Takeshi Nadagi — dressed in a plush insect costume complete with antenna and tail — competes with Kumao in various sports, including tennis, rock-climbing, cycling and boxing. He loses in each one, but finally wins at Jenga, the table-top building block game, and earns first place (out of a possible two) in the “event.” His prize is a package of Mushuda packets. “Hmmm, it doesn’t smell,” he says, impressed. All the better to kill you with.