HamaKisu (濱キス), completely to my surprise, has been thoroughly entertaining ever since I started watching it two months ago. While there have been some soft episodes (like the second senbei-eating episode), I can’t say there’ve been any boring ones. It’s strength is, to put it simply, variety. Kis-My-Ft2 takes on very different challenges every couple of episodes, and that keeps things fresh.

In this episode, the challenger isn’t Kis-My-Ft2, but one of its members: Miyata Toshiya-kun. Hamaguchi Masaru-san, the variety show master who is instructing Kis-My-Ft2 in proper variety show techniques, meets his victim – I mean, student – in a cafe for the briefing:

Hamaguchi and Miyata

As it turns out, Tamamori-kun is already in the midst of a challenge for Hamaguchi-san’s main show, Ikinari! Ougon Densetsu (いきなり!黄金伝説) in which he’s living on 10000 yen (about $120) for a month. Miyata-kun’s challenge is to secretly do the same for HamaKisu in a competition with Tamamori-kun (even though Tamamori-kun will be completely unaware of it).

Hamaguchi Explains the Plan

Miyata-kun will be living two doors down from Tamamori-kun, so he’ll have to be discreet:

Perilously Close

To help him maintain secrecy, he’s got a live feed of what Tamamori-kun is doing:

Watching Tamamori's Room

Sort of voyeuristic, isn’t it?

Hamaguchi-san demonstrates the proper way to engage with the camera:

Variety Show Basics

And so the challenge begins.

The MatchupHamaguchi Departs

The first camera visit of the morning for Miyata-kun:

Day OneMorning Camera Visit 1Morning Camera Visit 2

If you think he looks bad, get a load of Hamaguchi-san when he took on this particular challenge himself:

Hamaguchi, for comparison

Miyata-kun peeks in on Tamamori-kun and finds out that his fellow group member has already hit the road:

What's Tamamori Doing?Nobody's Home

Time to break out this week’s allowance, so some budgeting, and go shopping.

Week's AllowanceVenturing Forth

If I was on this kind of budget, I think my first thought would be exactly the same as his: instant ramen (インスタントラーメン).

Instant Ramen, etc.Ramen Packets

But then there’s an announcement: there’s a special time sale of a box of tomatoes for 100 yen! That’s incredible! So, naturally, there’s a mad rush to get tomatoes.

Mad Rush 1Box of Tomatoes

Well, that would certainly make grocery shopping more exciting, wouldn’t it? Will Miyata-kun be able to get to the tomatoes in time? Will he be able to manage his tight budget by grabbing the special deals as they become available?

What a Jam

Back home, he cooks up his meal, but receives a failing grade on camera presentation:

His Head's Not In Frame!

Hamaguchi-san is going to be so pissed with him! By the way, just in case you were wondering, he has to pay the gas, electricity, and water bills daily – a guy comes to collect based on his usage for that day. His total for day 1?

Total for Utilites

55 yen is about (allowing for exchange rate fluctuations) 70 cents. I don’t know if that’s good or bad for a single room apartment in Tokyo, but it’s going to be a significant part of his 10000 yen budget after a month – around fifteen percent of it.

I skipped over a few things that you should see for yourself, but that was pretty much day one, and we get a very interesting teaser about day two at the end of the show. I don’t know about you, but I love the concept. I like to think of myself as pretty frugal, but living on $120 a month? Heck, I think my internet and cable package is more than that. I always like watching people do things that I consider difficult but practical.

I was able to pick up the May 31st, June 7th, and June 14th episodes of Ikinari! Ougon Densetsu, in which Tamamori-kun is doing his part of the challenge. If I get the chance, I’ll comment on those here as well, because Miyata-kun’s part of it was fun, and I have no doubt Tamamori-kun will be just as interesting.

Speaking of which, it was nice a whole episode devoted to one of Kis-My-Ft2 members who gets less exposure. Giving Miyata-kun some time to show what he’s all about will help viewers in their future enjoyment of the show, not to mention Kis-My-Ft2’s other activities.