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Nostalgia often results in an image of the past that isn’t quite right. For example, I’m pretty sure Ayumi Hamasaki’s rise to the top of J-pop didn’t involve nefarious secretaries sporting eyepatches.

“M: Ai Subeki Hito ga Ite,” a drama series based on the life of the pop titan made jointly by TV Asahi and AbemaTV, and which airs every Saturday night, isn’t really concerned about getting history right, which isn’t a bad thing. Rather than try to turn the story of Hamasaki’s ascent to the top into prestige TV, the folks behind this show are embracing spectacle. Disciplinarian teachers throw buckets of water in flailing performer’s faces, board meetings collapse into screaming contests, rainbows appear in the sky at climactic moments and we’re introduced to an agency employee who employs an eye patch to maximum sinister pirate effect.

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