Photo:すしぱく on Pakutaso

4 Japanese Comedy Series Worth Watching

Video rental stores (at least back in the US) are all but extinct; however, in Japan there are still a few chains operating. The biggest chain and probably my favorite is Tsutaya which is like a combination video rental/book store. As long as you have a T-point card and an address in Japan, you can rent dvds and cds for 110 yen a disk. Depending on the movie or show that can be way cheaper than renting or streaming, and there are a lot of Japanese shows you can’t stream anywhere (although the following series can be streamed in some places). Today I’m going to talk about four comedy series I found at Tsutaya.

Show 1: エラいところに嫁いでしまった! (Eraitokoro ni Totsuideshimatta!)

Erai tokoroni Totsuidesimatta! (I’ve Become the Daughter-in-law of an Elite Family!) opens with the wedding of Kimiko (Nakama Yukie) and Isojiro (Tanihara Shosuke). During the ceremony, Kimiko managed to fall asleep until awoken by the priest at the "I do" part. She's a bit happy-go-lucky with the whole marriage thing and does not seem too worried about traditions. Kimiko works as a freelance writer and always takes on new projects no matter how time intensive they might be.

She’s so focused on work that she’s never actually met Isojiro’s family, so when they go to meet them after the wedding she’s shocked at how "established" they are. Giant walls, an inner garden and shrine, servants, and SO many strange family traditions. Her mother-in-law Shimako (Matsuzaka Keiko), a kind and gentle proper lady, thinks Kimiko is excited to participate in the traditions because her son told her so, without warning Kimiko, because he doesn't want to disappoint his mother.

These traditions involve introducing yourself with your mother-in-law to the neighboring estates (all 37 of them) without saying a single word, cleaning out the town mote, sealing an old (potentially cursed) well, helping a family cousin win an election, aiding a sister-in-law with an at-home birth, and she has to do all of these while pleasing her boss and getting articles ready.

Show 2:  不機嫌なジーン

Fukigenna Gene (Humorless Gene) stars Takeuchi Yuko (竹内結子) as Yoshiko Aoi (蒼井 仁子) who is a doctoral candidate researching ladybugs (tentou mushi). Due to the kanji of her name, she’s been teased as “Gene” and “Gene-ko” from a young age. Ladybugs always seem to keep moving towards the sky, hence the kanji "heavenly road bug", and she's trying to find out why. She studied in England for awhile before returning to Japan after finding her professor who she had been going-out with cheating on her in his apartment. While she’s working on her research, there’s an announcement that a new head of her department will be coming, all the way from England. Its none other than her ex-boyfriend Dr. Minamihara (Uchino Seiyo), and she has to try to finish her research and manage his crazy antics, like catching a rare flying squirrel or missing a hawk, in this romantic comedy/drama.

Show 3: 不便な便利屋

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Fuben na Benriya ⛑ 不便な便利屋 Inconvenient Benriya Drama 2015 Episodes: 12 Matsui runs a benriya (odd jobs for hire) in a small nameless Hokkaido village. Umemoto has divorced 3 times. Screenwriter Takeyama (Masaki Okada) wants to go to Furano, but the bus to Furano becomes stranded due to a snowstorm. Takeyama stops at a bar to eat something, but at the bar he loses his wallet and cellphone. Takeyama is now obliged to stay in the small and nameless village. Matsui, Umemoto and Takeyama are now all at Matsui’s Benriya. I'll say that I watched because there was Masaki Okada in it.. so idk.. it was fun in the end.. but nothing special. Rating 6.8/10 #masakiokada#okadamasaki#igers#fubennabenriya#不便な便利屋#reinatriendl#岡田将生#kenichikendo#jdramasreview

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Jyun (Okada Masaki) was an award winning author, and his book was being made into a movie but the lead actress didn't match his vision. He rage quits on the project and tries back home. He just wants to get back home in Hokkaido, but gets stranded in the small town of Akabira when a snow storm stops his bus. He’s stuck in the weird town and tries to find place to sleep, but ends up in a cosplay izakaya called the Happy Yellow Neckerchief where the town is holding his welcome party. They think he’s Batsu’s (Endo Kenichi) son, Batsu being the local handyman, but Jyun tells them all his dad died a long time again. Batsu isn’t convinced and totally believes Jyun is his son.

At his welcome party, he gets super drunk and wakes up next day in a pink bunny suit in the handyman’s shack at the edge of town. His backpack, and consequently his wallet is missing, and he can’t pay for another bus ticket. He’s not sure where his pack ended up, but he reluctantly works with Batsu and his manager Matsui (Suzuki Kosuke) to find out where his stuff went.

Along the way he meets a mysterious woman in white selling matchboxes, a strange man in black, and keeps finding himself in stanger and stanger situations. There’s a yeti, yuki onna, the yakuza, and an insane number of snowmen. Jyun starts out as a kind of conceited character, but through the episodes he matures as he helps out around town.

Show 4: TRICK (トリック)

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📺 . むーちゃんのつぶやきコーナー✨ . 名作ドラマプレビュー🎵 『トリック』 2000年テレビ朝日系 自称・天才マジシャンと日本科学技術大学物理学教授のコンビが、超常現象や奇怪な事件に隠されたトリックを解決していくミステリー❗ 脚本/蒔田光治 ほか 演出/堤幸彦 ほか 主題歌/鬼束ちひろ「月光」 出演/仲間由紀恵 阿部寛 生瀬勝久 野際陽子 評価 ★★★★ . . #ドラマ好き #ドラマ好きな人と繋がりたい #トリック #蒔田光治 #堤幸彦 #仲間由紀恵 #阿部寛 #映画鑑賞 #映画好き #映画好きな人と繋がりたい #ドラマ みてね☺️

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Something like a comedic take on the X-Files and probably the best Murder-Mystery-Comedy I’ve ever seen, my favorite series on this list, TRICK tells the story about an aspiring magician, Yamada Naoko (Nakama Yukie), following her acclaimed father’s footsteps. She wants to be a world-renowned magician just like her dad (who tragically died during a performance), but alas, no one comes to her shows except one REALLY weird fan. Her boss fires her, her crazy landlady comes demanding back rent, and everything looks bleak until she sees an ad posted by Ueda Jiro (Abe Hiroshi) in the paper. He’s a physics professor at the Japan Institute of Science and Technology. His ad is simple: "Come to the university, prove you have supernatural powers, and receive a huge check".

Using her skill as magician, she tricks Ueda into thinking could …. This starts off a series of adventures solving murders and mysteries all over Japan. Along the way they run into Naoko’s mother Satomi (Nogiwa Yoko), an acclaimed calligrapher who believes that "There’s mysterious power in symbols". She’s a kanji master while her daughter can barely write hiragana. They also run into the Tokyo police officer Yabe (Namase Katsuhisa) who almost always comes to the conclusion that Naoko did the crime. Also, he wears a toupee but can never admit it, leading to weird situations.

This show is filled with "lame" and weird jokes (ダジャレ), parodies of famous Japanese mystery and horror series (like the works of Yokomizo Seishi), and a never ending stream of quirky secondary characters. They solve mysteries involving a mystical beauty who can seemingly teleport instantaneously by slicing a "slit" in the air, a man who makes a whole village disappear, a deadly forest that kills anyone who enters and also makes the hair on one part of your body grow (all to find a mystic shaman who can levitate giant stone moa-heads naturally), a child who delivers "divine punishment", fortune tellers, con-men, and so many more. There are three seasons, three tv-special movies, and four theatrical films, the theatrical films being available on Amazon-prime Japan too.

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