VS Arashi (VS 嵐) is a game show hosted by the idol group Arashi, who usually compete against a different team of actors or comedians every week. We begin the show with some unrest within the ranks of Arashi, as Sakurai-san accuses three of the members – Aiba, Matsumoto, and Ohno – of sneaking to New York.

They Went Where!?

In New York

When asked what he did in New York, Ohno-san answered that he took a noon nap in a plaza/open space . . .

Napping in a Wide Space

. . . to which Matsumoto-kun explains that what Ohno means by “a plaza/open space” (広場 – hiroba) was actually Central Park.

It's Central Park

The guest team this week was the Charismatic Housewife Model Team:

That's About as Charismatic as They Get

Why do I really, really not like this? Ah, yes, their footwear isn’t suited to athletic competition and neither are their personalities. There will be extreme handicaps given at every turn, and even then Arashi will have to try hard to under-perform to keep the games close. That means the games won’t actually be interesting, but that would have been fine, if we could have counted on these guests to be entertaining. Unfortunately, we can’t. I’m not being unduly harsh here – I know exactly what’s coming because I’ve seen this sort of thing before.

Talk About Not Ready for Action

Fortunately, the “plus one” guests added to the Arashi side were a pair more suited to this show. It was Nankai Candies (南海キャンデイーズ)- frequent Arashi guest Yama-chan and formidable athlete Shizu-chan (山崎静代 – Yamasaki Shizuyo).

Nankai Candies

Arashi congratulate Shizu-chan on her impressive (though unsuccessful) attempt to make the London Olympics. She was defeated in the third round of the women’s world boxing championship. She would have secured an automatic berth if she had been the top ranked Asian. Her exploits are chronicled in a documentary.

Greeting Shizu-chanPlugging the Documentary

For laughs, the Arashi members are quick to embrace Shizu-chan into their team (as if they needed her considering their competition – this is way overkill), and they ignore Yama-chan, who gets a snap demotion to camera assistant:

Yama-chan demoted

Nankai Candies get back together, and Sakurai-san rightly says it’s nice to see the two of them. Shizu-chan questions the “charisma” part of the housewife team’s name:

What Charisma?

The response from the housewife team is that it’s because they can do anything. Saying that to Shizu-chan took some guts. Shizu-chan notes that they’ve never beat up a German before.

No, no they haven't

We begin with Pinball Runner, and the runner for the housewife team thankfully changed her shoes to something more appropriate and took the opportunity to prompt Yama-chan for some laughs before starting:

Pinball RunnerPrompting Yama-chanYama-chan ObligesLaugh Scored

After the run, Shizu-chan doesn’t hesitate to strictly criticize the runner’s weak legs:

Sharp Critique

When the runner retorts, Shizu-chan gets even sharper:

This Damned Woman

The runner for Arashi is Ohno-san, who has the normal basket-reduction handicap:

Ohno Ready to Go

The comedy team of Nankai Candies + Aiba-kun are the supporters:


Aiba-kun always fits right in with comedians, doesn’t he?

Peas in a Pod

Yama-chan gets the job of calling the pink balls because of his voice (among other things, he’s known as the announcer for the game show TORE!).

Yama-chan's Voice

We get an unnecessarily enthusiastic intro to Rolling Coin Tower:

Too Much Energy for Rolling Coin Tower

Rolling Coin Tower is, in my estimation, the most boring game on this show, partly because it’s the only game that’s more a matter of luck than skill. But . . . what’s Yama-chan doing to Ninomiya-kun?

What's He Doing?

That’s a brief curiosity in the middle of tedious talk about the housewife team’s children and what grade the kids are in. Yama-chan was trying his best to inject some entertainment into it, as did Sakurai-san. Onto the game . . .

Rolling Coin Tower

. . . and soon enough someone collapsed the tower, bringing us to Jungle Bingo. To give the housewife team a chance, they were given three free spots after sucking up to Yama-chan:

Yama-chan Gave InThree Free Spaces

I swear, without Nankai Candies, this episode would be hopeless.

Yama-chan 1Yama-chan 2Yama-chan 3

And so it begins:

Beginning Jungle Bingo

Can Arashi overcome this handicap? Well, they felt it was enough a handicap so that they could take this game seriously and play it with full effort, so that was good. I often feel they don’t do as well as they’re capable of in Jungle Bingo, but that was not a problem here.

Ready to Go

Korokoro Viking was next, and the housewife team . . . well, they needed another handicap. Now, this isn’t a particularly athletic game, and it’s certainly not a game where you necessarily think women are at a disadvantage to men. But, this housewife team is . . . why are they here, anyway? What can I say – they plead with Yama-chan and get three 50 point slots instead of just one, replacing the two lower point slots:

Korokoro VikingMore Handicaps

After that, they still complain that there are too many holes in the orange zone, so one of the holes is closed up.

More WhiningEven More Handicaps

This is just sad. Shizu-chan is not amused.

Shizu-chan is Not Amused

With the housewife team’s turn complete, she again has some sharp words for them, saying that the old women didn’t try their best:

Only Shizu-chan Can Get Away With It

Shizu-chan always hits the right chord. I think a lot of the audience was thinking approximately the same thing, and it’s always funny to hear your rude thoughts actually coming out of someone else’s mouth.

On Arashi’s turn, MastuJun is really getting carried away with the handicap thing, since it seems like Arashi can give away practically anything without falling behind. He proposes a negative 50 point slot for Arashi’s own turn. Now, I’ve mentioned that Korokoro Viking seemed to be getting too easy for Arashi, but this . . .

MatsuJun Makes It More InterestingArashi Gets Negative 50

Sakurai-san points out that if the golden (x2) ball hits that -50 point slot, it’ll be -100 points. These are the lengths to which Arashi has to go in order to keep the games interesting in this episode. Can Arashi give away enough handicaps to engineer a loss? If they do, will the Most Dame Arashi be Matsumoto-kun for suggesting the -50 point slot?

After Korokoro Viking, we get an update from the middle schooler VS Arashi competitions:

Middle School VS Arashi 1Middle School VS Arashi 2Middle School VS Arashi 3

I hope the winning middle school team gets to compete against Arashi. Of course, it looks like they’re just playing Rolling Coin Tower which is . . . well, you know my views on that already.

The last game is Kicking Sniper, and the housewife team gets the usual “ladies’ zone” handicap, kicking for closer positions.

Kicking Sniper 1

Shizu-chan also gets the “ladies’ zone” handicap, but she doesn’t need it. She really doesn’t need it. She was in her high school soccer club, playing midfield.

Kicking Sniper 2Kicking Sniper 3

And that’s that. Did the Charismatic Housewife Model Team get enough handicaps to win?

I’ve made no attempt to hide my contempt for the guest team this time, and that’s because they were one of the worst teams I’ve seen. Why come on this show if you’re going to need so many handicaps to get through the games? And what’s with the “charisma”? I didn’t see charisma. All six women put together didn’t have the charisma of either Yama-chan or Shizu-chan, much less any of the Arashi members. I know the Japanese have a somewhat different definition of the word “charisma” than I’m used to, but unless the word means “lame” I don’t think it applied.

Thank goodness for Nankai Candies. Arashi also helped move things along a bit. But nothing can save the episode if Arashi isn’t facing a proper challenge. This is a game show, after all. This episode was like Jeopardy with a trivia master versus competitors that need to start with ten thousand dollars just to end up at zero. Sometimes, I wish they’d give up trying to keep the scores close and instead let teams completely embarrass themselves.

The Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi? Matsumoto-kun, of course, for proposing a slot with negative points. I’m sure that was prepared as an option ahead of time because the staff realized that Arashi was getting too good at Korokoro Viking, but I’ll still give credit to MatsuJun because he introduced it to the show.

Now, back to the Olympics where I can see women who try their best (and who could easily put Arashi to shame).