I think I’ve figured out where I went wrong in my intended coverage of this telethon. Back in the review for part 1, I said “I don’t really intend to critique the show, but rather focus on highlights that, if you get the chance to see a saved copy, you won’t want to miss.” Instead, I’ve ended up giving a tedious minute-by-minute account. Well, no more of that! Back to doing the highlight reel!

If you have no idea what this is all about, take a peek at the post on Part 1 here. Here are the links to Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7.

I think the really long string of small kites is an appropriate highlight to start things off with, especially as it grows past 5000 kites long, and must stretch almost a mile.

The main event for this segment was the high school dance team battle – one of the best events in the whole telethon. I often say that I enjoy seeing young people try their best, and this certainly fits that bill. We get a little preview, introducing some of the teams.

Before the main dance competition, there is another sad story, this time with Aiba-kun visiting the woman with the illness. It’s about fifteen minutes long and, while Aiba-kun does a great job with these sorts of segments because he has the perfect personality for them, it’s still not something I’d care to watch twice.

Unfortunately, it was followed immediately with another human interest story, this one involving a little girl, with Becky-san doing the visiting. That was another fifteen minutes, during which the highlight was Becky-san doing some singing.

The kites reach 6000 as we check on all the little side-projects going on . . .

. . . then we turn to a story we started to hear in an earlier part – that of Imoto Ayako-san helping little girl Yuka-chan to achieve her dream of flying with the birds in an ultralight plane.

As far as the human interest stories went, I wouldn’t mind seeing this one again. First of all, there was a positive goal, and the segment wasn’t burdened by morbid thoughts. Perhaps more importantly, it was framed with the same spirit as an Itte Q adventure.

The on-stage part was just a gratuitous attempt to elicit tears, of course. It wasn’t too bad, though, and it was followed by Arashi performing “Love Rainbow”:

Checking in with Hokuto-san and Miho-chan, both of whom look like they’re in their own particular form of distress:

If you weren’t impressed by 6000 kites strung together, how about 7000?

Morisanchuu, Imoto-san, Tendo Yoshimi-san, Oomasa Aya-san, and another woman then sing “Tsubasa wo Kudasai” (翼をください – Please Give Me Wings). That sort of sums up the segment so far, doesn’t it?

Then, as promised, we started the dance tournament, with a VTR introducing Michael Jackson dance specialist Kento Mori-san (ケント モリ). He’ll perform a special collaboration with Ohno-san later on.

As far as the dance battle is concerned, you really have to watch it to appreciate it. This is some of the most energetic dancing you’ll see on Japanese television, so even if you’re not interested in the rest of the telethon, it might be worthwhile to catch this part.

Unfortunately, the side-effect of having really good dancing is that taking screenshots is nearly impossible – they always get blurred.

Ohno-san was deeply involved in all aspects of this segment, from introducing the teams to participating in a performance of Michael Jackson hits with Kento Mori-san.

The dance tournament extends for about half an hour of program time, and at the end of it, viewers get to pick between the six teams. There was a very, very clear winner, with nearly 300,000 votes cast altogether.

My recommendation for this part is to skip the first half hour or so, pick up with the Imoto-Yuka bit if you think you might like that. Catching the performances of “Love Rainbow” and “Tsubasa wo Kudasai” is a plus, but the dance tournament at the end is a must-see.

There we go, that was the kind of review that I was supposed to be doing for the other parts. If I had only done it this way in the first place, I would have gotten through all of it in a week. Look forward to reviews of parts 9 and 10 shortly.