Alternative title: Channel wa Sonomama!!
Manga Adaptation by HTB Hokkaido TV/Netflix Japan.
Streaming on Netflix.
After somehow making it through a disastrous interview, Hanako Yukimaru is now an employee at HHTV, a news broadcaster in Hokkaido. Her eccentric and ditzy personality were enough to get her the job, but will it be enough to keep her there?
Euri’s verdict: Have I Got News For You
Back when we looked at Million Yen Women, I mentioned that Netflix was doing a pretty good job of releasing their Japanese dramas overseas, albeit slowly. Well, it seems like Netflix aren’t content with that, as Stay Tuned! released worldwide a mere week after it launched in its home country. That’s pretty impressive for a five episode series at 45 minutes each, and one that’s not relying on hugely-popular source material to get it that kind of treatment. The show does start with a message about real-life broadcaster HTB Hokkaido TV’s 50th anniversary, so there’s a possibility of that having a hand in this speedy release. At any rate, it’s nice to see it come out so fast when j-drama is far from Netflix’s most popular content.
Stay Tuned! centres on Hanako Yukimaru, an eccentric and clumsy woman who wanted a job writing dramas, but mistakenly interviewed at a news-only TV channel. Despite her mistake she continues through the interview process, and even though she shows up late for the final round, successfully manages to land a job. She’s energetic on the news floor, despite proving herself a nuisance in most cases, but she tries her best nonetheless.
One thing about this show that I liked right off the bat is that there were no incredibly familiar faces to be found here. That’s not to say that everyone here is an unknown actor, but having a news floor filled with people I don’t recognise really helped to sell it as genuine. Even the two characters I do know took me quite some time to place.
The first is Yamane Hajime, a young man who was employed at the same time as Yukimaru and who serves as a secondary protagonist, who is played by Iijima Hiroki aka Kamen Rider Ex-Aid. We also see Yasuda Ken right at the end of the episode heading up a rival news station, who you may recognise as the actor who portrayed Hideaki Anno in Blue Blazes.
The first episode was a lot of fun, and particularly I enjoyed the slow, building sense of humour it has. That’s not going to be for everyone, as I can imagine that more than a handful of people will find it too slow, but I thought it was a perfect match for its news setting.
Stay Tuned! also appears to accurately portray the operation of a news studio, and even in this single episode it goes a long way to show who is responsible for what, and the order and processes behind collecting and airing the news. At the end of the episode we see a rival news channel staring at charts and seeing Hanako’s work as an outlying success, so it seems pretty easy to spot where this show is going to go in the next four episodes.
What I do hope to see, in the three hours of episode runtime remaining, is a satisfying progression to Hanako and Hajime’s working relationship. The first episode spends a lot of time showing how irritated Hajime can get with her, so I hope their arc comes down to more than “she’s successful now so I guess she’s alright actually”. We’ll see.
Unfortunately, there is something I didn’t like, but it’s something that Stay Tuned! isn’t responsible for. Remember when I said that the show was released outside of Japan only a week after its initial release? Well, it shows, as there are quite a significant number of typos and instances of bad grammar that crop up in the subtitles. It’s incredibly unfortunate given the subtitles are mostly fine, and a final pass on all episodes would take a day or two tops. I’m sure Netflix will sort them out in due course, but at time of writing, expect to see some head scratchers.