This was great and of course I weeped at many of the moments like everyone else.
Overall the show was very respectful of the culture and only made a few mistakes. Antoni, bless him, unfortunately had one of the bigger ones where the show insisted on him talking far too much in the Yakitori training segment instead of their local expert. Also, aside from that, apparently the Japanese DO have their own existing versions of Apple Pie. Why not do one of those? That one worked out in the end, I suppose, because the actual serving of the tart was flashy and made for good TV, but even still...
I also think that Bobby seemed kind of stubborn about sticking to Western beds. I dunno. It could have just been a coincidence that all of these heroes were okay with, or actually wanted them.
I get why the show used Kiko. They were able to use her to insert narrative about cultural differences at key points without it seeming like insensitive pontification from westerners, if they had the F5 act like they just got it from research. Plus, let's face it, Kiko was eye candy. That doesn't apply less just because the show has both gay and straight viewers. One thing I think they dodged, and it's unfortunate, is that they glossed over any body issues she herself may have had with glib stuff about nameless people theoretically reacting to fashion choices like the pigtails she was wearing. I mean come on. As drop dead gorgeous as she is, she has disproportionately large ears for her society. She rocks it, but don't tell me that never caused her any difficulties or criticism at some point. It might have been nice to have her in 20% less segment-dividing dance scenes and in trade had something on that. In fact, with the celeb they DID have where they explored body issues in Japan, Naomi, I think they did a great job in using her to display an example on how to counter those issues, but even there I think they missed some opportunities on hearing some frank talk. They needed more airtime with Naomi, or less of it with nonsense comedy filler, like the mock martial arts.
It's hard to say if they were misguided with Kan and the coming out storyline. I've read a criticism or two out there that they were, to an extent. That vague statements about still dressing Conservative at work, glossed over a lot of complexity in how to navigate gay life in Japan. Coming out means very different things in different parts of the world, so it's a potential mine field. Once again, the local expert, the monk in this case, was their best asset though. Actually, to be fair, both the monk AND Kiko both had key roles in that. They didn't really go into Kiko's own sexuality, but at the very least it's clear she was well plugged into the local gay culture as an icon and sympathetic champion at the very least.
But overall? Great. They found four very compelling stories, all very relevant and revealing about current Japanese societal problems, and for the most part hit them head on.