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. This week’s guests were actors from the movie “海猿 Brave Hearts” (Umizaru/Sea Monkeys Brave Hearts), hereafter referred to as the Umizaru team.

ArashiUmizaru Team

The team includes Satou Yuuta-san (佐藤隆太), who has been on VS Arashi a whopping six times:

Satou Yuuta

That ties Bananaman’s Himura-san:

Tied With Himura

The plus one guests added to the Arashi team were, unfortunately, not the top-notch comedians we’ve been getting recently, but COWCOW, a second tier comedy duo.

COWCOW

It’s easy to tell the difference between the best Japanese comedians and the rest. The best come up with humor within the natural flow of things – situational humor that at least seems improvised even if it isn’t. Sometimes they’ll throw in some set gags, but they’ve got a lot more to offer. The rest, like COWCOW, rely almost solely on set gags which have little or nothing to do with what’s going on, and they have to interrupt everyone to perform those set pieces. Why the Japanese love these gags, I have yet to figure out. After noticing that there’s a certain style coordination between Ninomiya and COWCOW’s Tada-san . . .

Nino and Tada

. . . COWCOW is allowed to perform their famous gag:

Gag 1Gag 2

Well, what can I say? The audience loved it, and I didn’t see how it required any talent at all.

Gag 3

The first game was Dual Curling, with the one-on-one match between Ohno Satoshi-san and Satou Yuuta-san first.

Satou

But why does Ohno-san look like this?

Constipated?

Well, he seems relaxed, and is apparently running at 100%:

100(%)!!

After that was the three-on-three version, with Itou-san, Kato-san and Naka-san for the Umizaru team, and Ninomiya-kun, Matsumoto-kun and COWCOW’s Tada-san for the Arashi team.

3-on-3 13-on-3 2

Tada-san was again prompted for a gag, and frankly, Ohno-san’s expression from minutes earlier was funnier.

This isn't funny

Can we get some real humor before Arashi enters the maze for Jungle Bingo? Yes, yes we can, thanks to Aiba-kun trying to explain his strategy:

Aiba: Comic Genius 1Aiba: Comic Genius 2Aiba: Comic Genius 3

You have to watch to understand what’s happening there. The beauty is that Aiba-kun just comes up with this stuff naturally, and he’s a comic genius compared to the COWCOW pair, who accompany Ninomiya-kun into the maze first:

Entering the Maze

For reasons I can’t explain without giving too much away, the games have been very exciting so far, and to a great degree continue that way up to the end.

We continue with Kicking Sniper, which is maybe the least predictable game on this show, and there’s some serious competitiveness in the air. Unfortunately, before we get the competition, we have to pause for COWCOW to do a VS Arashi version of the same gag they did at the start of the show, this time in-costume.

Not Again 1Not Again 2

They did particular poses for each of the Arashi members, so at least it had a vague connection to the show. The one for Sakurai-san was funny, especially if you’ve followed Arashi for a while.

Sakurai's Weak Point

The kickers for the Arashi team were Aiba-kun, Ninomiya-kun, and COWCOW’s Yamada-san.

Arashi's Kicking SniperWhat Did Aiba Do Now?

Up for the Umizaru team were Itou-san, Satou-san, and Ihara-san, with Ihara-san having soccer experience as a goalkeeper. He certainly looks the part:

Ihara the Goalkeeper

Miura Shohei-kun ran for the Umizaru team in Pinball Runner, but the focus was elsewhere.

Miura Shohei

COWCOW’s Tada-san has a set gag for the name “Shohei,” which Sakurai-san dutifully prompts him to do. I end up laughing – not because of the gag, but because Itou-san up on the platform interrupts the gag with a fake mike check, then again on “take 2” with a loud “hey!!”, and lastly on the third take by not doing anything.

Itou Messing Around 1Itou Messing Around 2

While Itou-san did a great job grabbing some laughs, I think he ultimately left Miura-kun frustrated during the actual game.

A Tough Run for Shohei, but He Did It With a Smile

Arashi’s Matsumoto-san is up as the runner, but he has no confidence, insisting that he’s weak at this game.

Matsumoto Says It's Impossible

Unfortunately, up on the control platform, his three helpers are too busy with another gag.

Another Gag 1Another Gag 2You Guys Done?

Finally, we’re in the final frame with Korokoro Viking. At the start of their turn, Itou-san decided, with Satou-san, to imitate the gag COWCOW just did, but with a much funnier variation to the ending.

Itou-san Again Messes with COWCOW

Because there are seven people on the Arashi team, Aiba-kun is once again doubling up with another member – this time, Sakurai-kun. But they come up with a novel way to manage the situation – they’re going to do it row-boat style, in tandem:

In Tandem 1In Tandem 2In Tandem 3

Will this work? It had better, since even Matsumoto-kun think that the arrangement of the holes and blockers probably makes this the most difficult Korokoro Viking so far.

It's Going to be Rough

I think you can guess how I felt about this episode: too much COWCOW. There really wasn’t as much room for everyone else, with only Itou Hideaki-san (伊藤英明) really standing out in the episode. Oh, except for Aiba-kun during the Jungle Bingo bit, which is why Aiba gets this episode’s Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi.

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