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Hana Yori Dango

     I've seen the future of television, it's called "Hana yori Dango" It's an animated high school soap opera, with a sort of impressionist style of backgrounds. The color gamut is very muted, and while the main character "Tsukushi Makino" does have the standard anime "big eyes" she is otheriwse pretty ordinary looking. Tsukushi is a poor girl who's parents get her into a very exclusive high school, where she encounters the F-4, a group of spoiled rich boys who run the school. Needless to say, love interests are developed, and lost, you know, its a soap opera.

     The opening and (original) ending themes are great works of pop music and combined with the overlay animation make for better music video than anything I saw on last weeks MTV Music Video Awards.

     What does Hana yori Dango have to do with the future of television? Here's a clue. It runs between 08:30 and 09:00 on Sunday mornings, On "ABC te-re-bi" in Japan. I first saw the show this spring while visiting Kyoto, and when I returned I was able to find all of the TV episodes for rent at a local Japanese Video store. I've rented the first 12 tapes (4 episodes per tape) and I understand the last episode has already run in Japan, so I'm expecting the last tape any day now.

     At the end of "I want my MTV" I asked where we might find the programming to fill all of these new channels made possible by digital compression in the distribution chain. For me the answer Is Hana Yori Dango. That's what I want to watch. For you it might be football from Australia, or comedy from England, or news from Hawaii, or Cricket from India, Or NASA Select, or even chess from Iceland. (Ho-Yes!)

     The point is there is interesting television being broadcast all over the world, and what I really want is the ability to tune it in. Relax, I'm not asking for real time translation, or even time shifting. I'm perfectly happy to watch Japanese commercials (Many of which are better than anything on last weeks MTV Video Music Awwards, --do you see a pattern?) and although I do not speak much Japanese I'm perfectly happy watching the show in its original language.

     (BTW: Last week during a promo for the MTV Music Awards, I saw a blit about MTV-m (or something like that) It's supposed to be a new channel from MTV, A channel that plays music. What do you know...)

Copyright © 1997 Joseph Palmer. All rights reserved.

Comments or Ideas? Mail me at jpalmer@josephpalmer.com.

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