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Mockumentary Review: Creator’s File: GOLD

English Title: Creator’s File: GOLD

Japanese Title: クリエイターズ・ファイル GOLD

Director(s): Suzuki Tomoyuki (and others)

Screenwriter(s): Minamiyama Yukihiro

Studio: Office Crescendo

Released: 2021

Runtime: 8 episodes, 15m–25m each.

Starring: Akiyama Ryuji


Creator’s File: GOLD

Creator’s File: GOLD created by and starring comedian Akiyama Ryuji is a mockumentary series that satirizes individuals who are considered to be highly creative; for example, an actress or a fashion designer. Each episode focuses on one such individual played by Akiyama.


This may remind some of Australian comedian Chris Lilley who plays multiple characters in his work but Lilley plays multiple characters throughout the entire series—for example, Summer Heights High (2007)—whereas Akiyama plays a different main character for each episode, although he plays a second character in two episodes.


As such, Lilley’s work actually has a story and character arcs and feels more immersive whereas each episode in this series is standalone, in effect a long skit.


The comedy revolves around the type of “creator” and the industry in which he or she works. For example, the first episode is about Orio Yutaka, the concierge of the world’s first 7-star hotel, who has to cater to the requests of his guests that range from ordinary to stupid, including one lady’s request for watery medium-level spicy curry. In any case, these are absurdly treated as a challenge. In addition to the documentary-style camera work, there is a lot of unnecessary rushing down of corridors and tacky piano block chords in the soundtrack.


The series is described as deadpan which it generally is. It’s not necessarily the performances that are deadpan but the overall tone of the show. Akiyama does play his characters in a mostly straightforward manner. By “straightforward”, I mean according to the type of artist and industry—he is not quite David Duchovny deadpan.


The other actors and actresses do likewise (until they lose it and can’t help cracking up). Some of the humor is quite literal, such as wordplay involving the name of the character. Ultimately, it is the on-screen graphics and text, the still shots, and the stereotypical Japanese narrator voiceover and music that really does it.


Each episode also features a guest star, sometimes two, who is basically playing themselves, adding a bit of realism and flavor to the episode.


Like most comedies, there are hits and misses. It is not necessarily laugh-out-loud from start to finish and some episodes are better than others. For what are essentially skits, most of the episodes are too long.


To put it differently, even skits require some sort of structure and the lack of an arc is obvious in anything longer than a few minutes. Since these episodes can be up to 25 minutes long, this problem becomes apparent. As for the comedy, the episodes can use more gags, especially given the runtime.


Overall, the series is nonetheless amusing and fun, and therefore still worth watching. I hope any future work addresses the abovementioned issues.


Below is the list of episodes. What is in my opinion the top three episodes are in bold.


1. Orio Yutaka – Concierge: As already mentioned, Orio is a concierge at a 7-star hotel. He has never said No to a guest. The episode follows him as he deals with guests, and one of them is the actor Yokohama Ryusei who is at the hotel preparing for a new role. Also note that Orio’s given name Yutaka (豊) means “abundant” or “plentiful”.


2. Uesugi Michi – Prodigy Child Actor: Uesugi is apparently a 6-year-old genius child actor. The episode uses silly camera positions, forced perspective and bad editing to make him look small in a deliberately unconvincing manner, which is also part of the joke regarding his school. The episode also features former child actress Adachi Yumi.


3. Yoko Fuchigami – Total Fashion Advisor: The episode is in essence a talk or panel hosted by fashion editor Kojima Mikinori featuring Fuchigami and model Tominaga Ai. The episode makes the predictable jokes that modern fashion designers just try way too hard to be arty and are off the rails. Akiyama also plays a top European male model which, although funny, drags on for too long.


L to R: Kojima Mikinori, Tominaga Ai and Fuchigami (Akiyama Ryuji).
L to R: Kojima Mikinori, Tominaga Ai and Fuchigami (Akiyama Ryuji).

4. Fujiwara Sai – Pure & Innocent Actress: The episode mocks one of those pointless and pretentiously filmed promotional segments that feature young celebrities. In this case, Fujiwara Sai and actress Nagano Mei travel together with Turtle Airlines. The latter is a perfect cast and Akiyama also plays the airline CEO.


Nagano Mei and Fujiwara Sai (Akiyama Ryuji)
Nagano Mei and Fujiwara Sai (Akiyama Ryuji)

5. Shiraki Zenjiro – Professional Hanger-on: Shiraki is the founder and CEO of Torimaki. By the way, Torimaki (取り巻き) means “hangers-on”. The company provides celebrities with an entourage because it makes them look and feel more important. The episode features brief appearances by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Yashiro Aki.


6. Tsuyama Kibun – Theater Director: The episode follows the lead-up to and the opening night of Tsuyama’s latest show. It satirizes the tendency of stage writers and directors to try too hard and also that many are starving artists who must rely on patrons. In this case, Tsuyama milks veteran couple Nakao Akira and Ikenami Shino.


7. Ishimaru Tsuwano – Nursery Rhyme Poet: Unlike the other episodes, this character is actually dead although it does find an excuse to allow Akiyama to play her outside of archived footage. Actor Odagiri Joe visits the Ishimaru Tsuwano Museum as he is to play her husband in an upcoming film. This obviously makes fun of nursery rhymes that barely make sense and that historical figures are not like what they are remembered.


8. Donald C. Damper – Movie Director: American film director Damper does it all. He is dedicated to filmmaking and hates lazy people but never leaves his film buggy. The episode is also intentionally repetitive, basically a lazily produced documentary made to promote the latest cheesy Hollywood production. I don’t know if Akiyama is fluent in English but he acts like someone who is not and is pretending to be by grunting a few words. It works up to a point but it might be better to just speak it even if one can’t do an American accent.

 

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