Hit show was the cure for Mr. Sato’s quarantine blues.

As we saw earlier, Mr. Sato had recently become quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19. While we’re happy to report that he’s doing just fine physically, the isolation our normally social reporter has had to endure has been taking a mental toll.

Elden Ring, though a great game, did little to alleviate his lack of human contact, so he decided to see what was playing on Netflix for a bit instead. This lead him to Talk Survivor, a new series that’s titled Last One Standing in English. First released on 8 March, it quickly became the number one show on the streaming service in Japan, and stars the comedy duo Chidori while also featuring a diverse cast of both comedians and celebrated dramatic actors.

That’s because the show itself is an unprecedented mash-up of comedy and drama in which groups of actor-contestants made up of both veteran and up-and-coming comedians must act seriously in eight episodes of a very realistic Japanese TV drama covering genres such as crime and high school.

However, at some point in the drama the serious actors will suddenly prompt the comedians to come up with a funny anecdote on the spot. When this happens all of the performers drop character and become themselves while the story is told, and once it’s complete they return to the scripted scenes. The catch is that throughout the episodes the comedians will also face judgment and the least entertaining members of the group during the free talking segments are eliminated, and in this show “being eliminated” means their character gets unceremoniously killed off in the dramatic portion of the show.

It’s these abrupt swings from drama to comedy that heighten the tension and relief of each and make Last One Standing quite unlike other shows out there. It is an admittedly confusing premise though, and even Mr. Sato wasn’t sure what to make of it when he first started watching, but by the final episode had trouble containing his laughter from echoing through the halls of the quarantine center.

He enjoyed every episode but his personal favorite was number six titled “Escape from a Labyrinth,” especially because of the quick wits of comedians Hidetaka Kano and Toshiaki Kasuga during the free talking segments. Although all of the comedians here can be frequently seen on Japanese TV, the looser content and language restrictions on Netflix allow them all to express themselves in different and sometimes surprising ways.

▼ A clip from episode 6 of Kano breaking into a funny story in the middle of a police procedural. The YouTube clips only have Japanese subtitles, but the actual episodes on Netflix also have subtitles in English, Chinese, Korean, and Portuguese.

So if you’re in the mood for a series completely different from anything else out there, be sure to check it out and even use it to help study Japanese if you’re so inclined. It really helped Mr. Sato deal with his confinement, so it might just help brighten your day too.

Source: Netflix/Last One Standing
Top image: YouTube/Netflix Asia
Inset image: ©SoraNews24
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