Cheesy MIDI version of the "suspense music" from the show!


The Stewardesses:

We are introduced to the heroines of this series in the First Class section of JAL Flight 61, en route from Los Angeles to Tokyo. A trio of eccentric, yet curiously captivating, stewardesses (I guess the P.C. term "Flight Attendant" just won't make as catchy a title):

Asuka Kawakami, our lead Stewardess Detective. She claims her name means flying bird (seeing as how I don't speak Japanese, I'll have to take the subtitles at face value). Her late mother, who was also a stewardess for JAL gave her that name "with the singleminded hope" that Asuka would be a stewardess one day. She lives with her father, who owns a sushi parlor, somewhere in Tokyo. Asuka is 30 and single by choice, or at least she claims she doesn't have time to get married because she has other things to do. She did have a relationship a year ago, but that didn't work out. She had just flown in from Brazil and immediately went on date with the guy, even though she was dead tired. Just as things were heating up, she fell asleep. Asuka is also studying to be a sommelier (look it up, it never hurts to build your vocabulary).
 
Yukiko Okamura is our second Stewardess Detective. Asuka indicates that Yukiko moves slowly because she came from a wealthy Osaka family (no, I don't know what that's supposed to mean). She's a good cook, masseuse, and can also sew. Yukiko is 25 and currently "broken" because she's just been dumped by her boyfriend. Actually, Yukiko called her boyfriend just before the Tokyo-L.A. leg of their flight and a woman answered the phone. Stewardess flight schedules are set ahead of time so I guess it's fairly easy to be fooled around on. Yukiko seems to have perennial man trouble. She constantly laments the fact that in the 5 years that she's been a stewardess, she's never had the chance to ask for a doctor in-flight. (Her fantasy is to meet a handsome young surgeon 10,000 feet over the Pacific -- hey, I don't write this stuff, I just report it.)
 
Ruri Kato is our third Stewardess Detective. Born in New York and raised in Hong Kong, she speaks 5 languages fluently. Ruri seems to be the techno-geek of the group (she's got her own PowerBook with her name stenciled in flowery print on the cover) and was instrumental in bringing up the Internet connection on this case. She's 21 and also apparently single.


The three share a fondness for travel (duh), good food, and good drink (good men may be in there somewhere, I wouldn't know. You never know if you're only getting the parts that are good for you subtitled). They often hang out at a wine-bar somewhere in Tokyo. I guess they're quite the bunch of gastronomic dilettantes as they've been nicknamed "The Big-Eater Sisters."

Asuka and Ruri shovel it in!





The Victim:
Mrs. Nobuko Yamanouchi is the unfortunate subject of the first Stewardess Detective case. She's in her mid-30's and has quite a demanding personality. Mrs. Yamanouchi inherited a sizable fortune from her deceased parents. She also seems to be somewhat of a free-spirited playgirl (she was doting on some younger man on Flight 61 -- and he wasn't her husband). Speak of the devil...

The Victim's Lover:
Masahiro Tanabe (aka "Ma-Kun") is Mrs. Yamanouchi's young lover, a struggling enka (not Anka!) singer. As the victim's traveling companion on Flight 61, he's immediately suspected by our heroines. The police, however, have verified that he was in Obihiro on Hokkaido at the time of the murder. It appears he has an "iron-clad alibi"; although, who doesn't on this series? 

The Sommelier:
Ryoko Izumi is the sommelier at the Saint Amour restaurant. She won the International Grand Prix (don't ask me, I haven't a clue) and may be the best sommelier in Japan, no, the world -- well, according to Asuka that is. Asuka recognized her on the flight, even though Ryoko was apparently travelling incognito. She came from a poor background and struggled with restaurant jobs while studying wine; she would steal sips from bottles left by her customers. Ryoko is an idol to Asuka in the same way rock stars or celebrities are to some people. Asuka informs Ryoko that she's about to take the sommelier exam herself and would Ryoko have any words of advice for her. Her response? Never regret any wine that you drink. 

The Grieving (?) Husband:
Dr. Hisao Yamanouchi is the victim's husband and the subject of a crush by Yuki, the lovesick stewardess. Originally named Hasegawa, he grew up "starved for love and money" and worked desperately to become a doctor. He admits to marrying the victim for her money; the family fortune is estimated at 4.3 billion yen! His younger sister apparently died at a young age of an illness that could have been treated if she had received proper treatment. He insinuated himself into the victim's family, where his father-in-law made him Assistant Director of Yamanouchi Hospital. He claims to want to take over the hospital and help people who can't afford health care. Despite his scheming, the one he supposedly really wanted to "save" was his wife… from what, it's not clear.

The Police Detective:
Keiji Bando is the police detective that works with (and argues a lot with) the Stewardess Detectives. His first name actually means "detective" in Japanese (as he explains, "My name and my job is 'Keiji!'") - but that's only the beginning of the wild coincidences associated with him! He's mistaken for a thief and tackled on the street by Asuka, wins a trip that places him on the fateful JAL flight, shows up again and exposes himself at the Ureshino Hot Springs, and appears on another flight on his way to Hong Kong! (Gotta love those fringe benefits on the Force.) There's also an unresolved romantic link with Asuka.