Queer Eye - We're In Japan

by Tony Pinizzotto

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday November 5, 2019

'Queer Eye - We're In Japan'
'Queer Eye - We're In Japan'  

Fans of the Emmy Award winning reality series "Queer Eye" can now indulge in a 4-episode mini-installment of the Fab Five Tokyo-style with "Queer Eye: We're In Japan!" now streaming on Netflix.

Nothing has changed about what fans love about this series. Antoni, Bobby, Karamo, Tan, and, especially, Jonathan have packed their bags and headed far East to Tokyo and Harajuku, sharing their words of wisdom and transformation magic with four of Japan's "case studies" in need: Depressed health care worker Yoko; young gay Kan, struggling with his femininity and its place in the Japanese culture; bullied manga artist Kae; and shy radio director Makoto. This time, though, the Fab Five become the Fab 6 and Fab 7 as they are joined, in part, by model and actress Kiko Mizuhara and comedian Naomi Watanabe, acting as ambassadresses for the Fab Five's sojourn to Greater Tokyo. Both are delightful and fit in seamlessly with the boys.

"Queer Eye: We're In Japan!" is a global offering from Netflix and ITV Entertainment. Looking across all four episodes, as a whole, "Queer Eye," in the world of how we Americans know it, one might think that the format for this entertaining series wouldn't translate well, and wouldn't work outside of the U.S. (or in a country like Japan), but, surprisingly, it does.

An offshoot such as "Queer Eye: We're In Japan!" makes me questions of what is the current exposure of the "Queer Eye" franchise to the country of Japan? Is it shown there and translated with subtitles? Also, is there an underlying mission for the producers to ultimately bring the series to Japan with another group of style-guiding gay men?

In "Queer Eye: We're In Japan!" our main heroes do what they do best: Take their listening skills and expertise to transform the lives, hearts, and minds of their subjects. And they do an excellent job. Emotions and strife that the four transformees are experiencing are universal. Sadness, low self-confidence, and fear are all human emotions, crossing international borders. The cry for help is universal. These are genuine people needing genuine help. Where the Japanese culture does differ greatly is the lack of motivation to share their feelings with their loved ones. It's crippling to watch how some of our subject have to negotiate with their families and loved ones just to schedule a time of the week to say "I love you," or "I am proud of you." Surprisingly, some of our subjects have never really hugged each other before, even though they are the most important people in each other's lives.

Kudos to the editing team for "Queer Eye: We're In Japan!" The Fab 5 uses an off-screen translator and editing is carefully executed as to not hear the English or Japanese translation being relayed in the background. Outside of the bilingual abilities of the subjects, subtitles are used so we can follow the action. It's cleanly done, but must've been a huge challenge for the technical team of this mini-series.

"Queer Eye: We're In Japan" is also visually stimulating, showing us much of a fast-paced city life in Tokyo, the perfect backdrop to rival its standard New York City setting. It leaves me wanting more and I encourage LGBT viewers, as well as anyone who enjoys "Queer Eye" to savor this new Japanese flavored version of an American appetite whetting indulgence.

Queer Eye: We're In Japan!
Now Streaming on Netflix