(I’ve made a single question survey regarding Japanese ability – if you are interested please check it out here. Thanks!)
As things have been the last few years, I haven’t spent much time watching Japanese dramas, and finding one that is good enough to keep my attention past the first episode is even rarer.
“素敵な選Taxi” is one of the few great ones that kept me looking forward to the next episode. Firstly, it stars longtime actor Yukata Takenouchi (see detail here) who helped make classic 90s dramas like Beach Boys and Long Vacation classic. I’ve seen him in many serious roles, but this time his deadpan delivery just perfectly fits the comedic role. When I hear his lines I tend to laugh out loud, which is surely a combination of good scriptwriting, delivery, and the funny premise of the drama.
As for the premise itself, it involves the “sen-Taxi” which is a magical vehicle that can take you back in time as far as you’d like to go. Of course, the farther back you go the higher the price is. For example, 30 minutes into the past costs something along the lines of 30000 Yen (roughly $300 USD).
In all honesty, the drama is quite formulaic after the first episode and things fall a pretty predictable pattern, though the twist at the end isn’t always that predictable. But seeing how people would go back in time to “make things right” (thats a reference to Quantum Leap, one of my favorite American series, which has a vaguely similar concept) is at times funny and poignant, whether they return for love, vengeance, or some other reason.
Now that you have a rough idea of the plot I can explain the show’s title which is essentially a cheesy wordplay. The word 選択 (sentaku) means ‘choice’ in Japanese, and so ‘sen-Taxi’ is a shortening of 選択＋タクシー(taxi). It’s pretty much impossible to translate directly to English and keep the pun, but the literal meaning would be something like “Wonderful choice Taxi”. If I had to make a slightly better non literal translation I’d try something like “The Amazing Taxi of Choices”.
Part of the shows formula is a short scene at the beginning and end set in a bar, capping the ~45 min show. It’s usually quite funny it it’s own right, as the bartender and Takenouchi interact with the various customers and employees. Here is a bit of sen-Taxi trivia: the bartender is played by Bakarhythm (a crazy name that translates to “stupid-rhythm”, surely not his real one) who happens to be the show’s creator.
I can’t guarantee you have the same sense of humor as me, but this one is definitely worth watching at least the first episode of to see if it catches your fancy. I think it is still being aired so you’ll have to wait a while until it is released, though if you search around you might find it online somewhere.