Anyone else watch NHK’s annual Kouhaku Utagassen this New Years?
It was certainly a mixed bag. They trotted out the same decrepit Enka acts whose performances seem each successive year to be less about the songs than the garish costume oneupsmanship. But if anything the show belonged to Ohashi Nozomi who is just about the most angelic child performer I’ve ever seen. She opened the show and it was a smart choice. Also smart? Bringing on Nakama Yukie for hostess duties, although neutered of her usual character humor, she was competent and easy on the eyes. Her co-host Nakai-kun was also a cool choice because he spent most of his time ragging on the fly-by-night acts of the evening, suggesting in his dry manner that their fifteen minutes was up. Speaking of which…. the humor was painful. It’s hard to jump in when you haven’t lived with the trends for a year but, even still… this year seemed even more lowest common denominator than usual. Does Japanese comedy not evolve anymore? Is it just catchphrase after catchphrase combined with some kind of ridiculous furitsuke? I can’t choose the worst offender but the Gentlemen, or The Trannies (not the acts real names) were both unwatchable even in their limited roles. Again, thank you Nakai-kun. Now if only I could get you to stop singing.