VS Arashi (VS 嵐) is a game show hosted by the idol group Arashi, who compete against a different team of actors or comedians every week. It’s a team composed mainly of comedians again this week, making it three weeks in a row. However, the Jinrikisha team (人力舎 – human power house, also a play on rickshaw, which is pronounced the same way in Japanese) was a sedate and focused team of comedians. Unlike the garden-variety owarai geinin, they aren’t the type to pull out signature gags, but rather represent the wittier class of Japanese comedian. The downside of this is that appreciating what’s going on is translation-heavy. The upside is that Arashi faced a tough challenge, as their competition too every contest seriously, and did their best instead of goofing off.

The Jinrikisha Team

On the Arashi side, there was significant pressure to take the games seriously as well, because the “plus one” guest added to their team was:

Sakamoto 1Arashi Reaction

The screenshot doesn’t do him justice. That’s V6’s leader Sakamoto Masayuki (坂本 昌行), Arashi’s senpai (senior) in the Johnny’s agency. Here he is with them when they debuted twelve years ago:

Twelve Years Ago

So, Arashi is under enormous pressure not to fail miserably in front of their senior. At the same time, their interactions with Sakamoto-san drives the between-games conversation.

The first game is Korokoro Viking, and with eight members, there’s a lot of crowding on the right side for the jinrikisha team.

Crowded Right Side

Meanwhile, at the start of the Arashi team’s turn, Aiba-kun says they should play seriously to avoid mishaps with Sakamoto-san participating.

Time to Play Seriously

Since Sakamoto Senpai's Here Today

Sakurai-kun then pointed out the irony of Aiba-kun being the one to say this:

You're Saying That!Aiba Sheepish

Sure, Aiba-kun looked sheepish after that rebuke, but he kept talking, and eventually put a broad grin on my face with this:

High Risk High Return

He literally said “high risk, high return” (ハイリスク ハイリターン), and to a trader like myself, that has special meaning.

The focus then turned to Sakamoto-san, and some required senpai-kouhai banter.

When I was 16 . . .

Has all this talk distracted Arashi enough to cause a massive fail, or will they be able to summon up their best?

After that was Shotgun Disk, in which a member of the jinrikisha team insisted that he had enjoyed playing with frisbees in his youth:

Playing Frisbee Alone When He Was a Kid . . .

Though running to fetch the frisbee afterward was a pain:

It Was Tough to Fetch the Damned Thing

When Matsumoto-kun said he’d aim his bazooka at frisbees thrown by the guy with glasses, we suddenly noticed that five of the eight members of the jinrikisha team were megane-kuns or megane-chans.

Megane Majority

It was then Ohno-san’s turn to have a bit of Sakamoto-san reminiscence:

For Senpai, when I was sixteen . . .

But really, we’re more concerned about whether Sakamoto-san will survive Aiba-kun’s furious throwing:

Aiba and the FrisbeesAiba and the Frisbees 2

Well, he does, so he gets rewarded with a chance to do a plug:

Sakamoto Gets to Plug

Then we’re on to Bound Hockey, the highlight of which comes when Matsumoto-kun tries to do his bit with Sakamoto-san, and Sakamoto-san says “who said?” in a profoundly peeved tone:

Who Said?Matsumoto Backing Off

What did Matsumoto-kun say to make Sakamoto-san react this way? I have no idea – haven’t gotten a chance to translate the exchange yet. Anyway, they got over it and played the game.

Cliff Climb came after that, with an expression of strength from the jinrikisha team’s first climber,

Stoic Expression

And we begin to see that one of her team members has been losing hair:

What's With the Hair?Progression Through the Episode

Surely the games haven’t been that tough!

Sakamoto-san and Ninomiya-kun climb for Arashi, and Nino brings up something about Sakamoto-san’s use of the internet:

typing http

And Sakamoto-san doesn’t look nearly as amused as Nino-kun does:

Sakamoto v Nino

The last game is Kicking Sniper, and we find out that the guy who was slowly losing hair was actually turning into the guy on the 1000 yen note:

Turning into Noguchi

That’s Noguchi Hideyo, a bacteriologist who specialized in discovering the causes of diseases, including syphilis.

To sum up, the humor this time was subtle and the main focus was either on Sakamoto-san or on the games. I always like it when both the guests and the members of Arashi take the games seriously and try their best, and I think we got that here.

The Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi member was Aiba-kun, for his attempt to play the games seriously.

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