Thursday, February 5, 2009


Click here. You'll find a video. Don't worry, it won't take too much of your time.

Did you notice the tiny woman on the left about ten seconds in? You know, the one showing off the latest in Japanese corporate homogenization, performing a modeling task one or two small steps above that of your typical Sears mannequin?

Look at it again, if you missed it.

You'd never guess that woman used to be Sailor Moon. You know, one of the most popular Japanese heros of all time.

And now she's pitching suits.

Okay, okay, you're thinking "It's not that bad." (Or "Christ, here he goes with Miyuu Fucking Sawai again. Get a girlfriend, you fucking loser.") It's certainly not the lowest to which Miyuu Sawai has ever stooped. I already showed you the PGSM toy commercials, but even that's not so bad, she was the star of her own TV show at the time.

But the next thing I'm going to show you. . . there's just no excuse.

Just in case it doesn't show, here's the link:

This commercial, first aired in 2007, did indeed star the one and only Homer Simpson. . . in Miyuu Sawai's mouth. The saddest thing is that as weird as this commercial is, it doesn't even have the benefit of being that unique, Japanese sort of weird. It's a bland, commercialist, acultural, boring kind of weird.

But it's not even the corporate aspect that bugs me. I mean, there are plenty of successful actors who do commercials. Like this one:

Denny Crane.

Sure, the Commodore Vic-20 has "a real computer keyboard," but that's not what made it "The Wonder Computer of the 1980s" TM.

No, it was William Shatner. By mere whim, Shatner took some hunk of ugly plastic with a five kilobyte memory and declared that for the remainder of an entire decade, no other computer shall surpass it Wonder-ness. He made the Vic-20.

And that's the difference. The Vic-20 commercial was really an advertisement not of a computer, but of the awesomeness that is Shatner. It's really his way of saying "I made it."

On the other hand, Sawai's commercials seem like a retreat back to anonymity. In both cases she's secondary to the product. The suit commercial's focus is on the spokeswoman, who in turn is directing the viewer's attention not to Sawai but to her clothes. The donut commercial features an extreme close-up of Sawai's visage, and even then, even then, she's upstaged by a freakin' cartoon. IN HER OWN MOUTH!

The weird thing is, before a couple of days ago, I thought I had made peace with donut commercial. The year 2008 was relatively good for Sawai. She landed a small roll in the film Shaolin Girl, a Japanese pseudo-sequel to Shaolin Soccer. She also co-hosted an educational series for NHK called "French TV" (at least I think that's how it translates), which as its name suggests is focused on teaching French to Japanese speakers. I would have loved to have found some clips from the show, but so far I've not had any luck.

On top of this, she did a few TV guest roles. My favourite out of all of these-- and the one for which it was easiest to get clips-- was her appearance as a bicycle delivery girl on the series Tomika Hero Rescue Force, a show that manages to make PGSM look subtle and restrained by comparison.

The episode was uploaded in three parts; I've put up the second part below. The best scene starts at about seven minutes in.

For whatever reason, that scene always reminds me this classic movie moment:

While some people-- those lacking vision-- would call that bike leap scene moronic, you can't deny that it's a huge step up from smuggling an amorphous pirated copy of The Simpson's Movie inside one's mouth. And you can't deny that that clothing ad was a step down. Unless you're talking in terms of good taste, in which case, why are you reading this blog?

I don't know quite how to close this entry in any logical way, so I'll just conclude with another reference to Yor: The Hunter from the Future.

1 comment:

Locations of visitors to this page