Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) is an hour-long variety show that normally features Arashi and famous male guests from a range of backgrounds who share their expertise with the five hosts. But this is not a normal Arashi ni Shiyagare. This time, Arashi faces a special challenge.

They enter, unaware of what awaits them, but dressed to kill.

Sakurai-san talks about a New York trip that he apparently made for News Zero.

Ninomiya-kun caught a hint about the guests for this episode from the previous episode’s airing.

We get a glimpse of the magnificent seven.

MatsuJun wonders whether it’s Kanjani8:

The women of the Sora team in the hundred-year-old Takarazuka Revue (宝塚歌劇団 宙組) decide it’s time to give them the surprise:

Naturally, it’s Ninomiya-kun who brings up the topic of whether they’re really aniki (older brothers).

Of course, as MatsuJun points out, they all play male roles on stage. They have in-costume portraits with them:

Their names are Ooki Kaname-san, Yumi Hiro-san, Ozuki Toma-san, Asaka Manato-san, Hasumi Yuya-san, Nagina Rumi-san, and Nanami Hiroki-san.

Some of the Arashi members recall past experiences working with members of the Takarazuka Revue.

The facilitators of this meeting of worlds will be Heisei Nobushi Kobushi.

And so here we are – Johnny’s versus Takarazuka – an epic meeting of two organizations with deep histories and legacies. With so much potential for fun, will they capitalize on it?

First, a bit of a comparison between Arashi and the Sora team. What is an implicit rule that they have? Arashi tries to guess the rule of the Sora team.

Sakurai-san clarifies that it is a rule for the group, not for the organization, then complains that he has no idea. Heck, the Arashi members are surprised when they learn how big the Sora team really is (around 70 members).

Sakurai-san ventures a guess about their implicit rule., then Aiba-kun gives it a try.

Finally, Sakurai-san guesses right – they write their names on their foodstuffs in the refrigerator. Of course, the question of whether Arashi had to follow the same rule when they were juniors, but it seems they were most worried about writing their names on their clothes – especially their most intimate clothing – than on their food.

Arashi’s own implicit rule has to do with seating arrangements.

I can’t figure out everything they decided to talk about, so I once again find myself hoping that someone will sub this episode. I did catch that, to maintain their professional image, the Sora team doesn’t wear skirts on their days off – they don’t even have them:

Arashi’s day-off fashion is labeled T.P.O. (dependent on time, place, and occasion).

They took so long with the first topic on that comparison board that I was worried that the episode was going to be all talk, and that was going to be tough on my attention span because the conversation grew more and more difficult to understand.

Luckily, in the midst of all the talk, there was an interesting moment, starting when Hasumi Yuya-san was named the strongest of the Sora team and demonstrated that she could lift one of her fellow actresses:

Who was dubbed the strongest on the Arashi side? Aiba-kun. Which prompted a request that he demonstrate a lift, as well. Aiba-kun picks Ohno-san as his liftee.

Ohno-san is not confident, saying it’s really scary:

They imitate the move Hasumi-san showed:

And this was really something to watch. Somehow, with every assurance he tried to make, Aiba-kun made himself seem less and less trustworthy.

After that, they just edited out the answer to the last question – it just appeared on the board. That was lucky, because it was already two-thirds of the way through the episode and they really needed to get to something more substantial. For instance, getting Arashi to perform with the Sora team:

Ooki Kaname-san changes things up, asking Aiba-kun to announce the set move. Aiba-kun is appropriately shocked, but does an okay job of it.

It looks like they’re going to do a grand staircase scene – a favorite from the heyday of Broadway (about the time the Takarazuka Revue was formed).

The Sora team then demonstrates what needs to happen.

The result among the Arashi members . . . can’t be what they intended.

The burden of the first try falls on leader Ohno-san’s capable shoulders (thanks to Ninomiya-kun’s prompting):

Heisei Nobushi Kobushi’s Yoshimura-san decided not to let Nino-kun get away with that, and forced Nino to do it alongside Ohno.

And this, too, was hilarious.

Yumi-san and Toma-san demonstrated the next bit:

MatsuJun pushes Ohno-san and Nino-kun back into it:

And finally, there’s シャンシャン (shan-shan). But what is shan-shan, and why does it seem to strike fear in MatsuJun’s heart?

Well, Yoshimura-san gets irritated by MatsuJun’s inquiry, and forces MatsuJun to do part 2 on his own:

Shan-shan is the grand finale of the Revue. For this grand finale, the Arashi members have thirty minutes to learn what they need to so that they can perform it with the Sora team. Cue the dance practice VTR!

They show less than a minute of Arashi practicing, then it was time for the real thing.

It was a real dance, so they did a excellent job getting it down in half an hour. I believe MatsuJun when he says at the end how difficult it was.

I’m sure this is a much more impressive finale on the real Takarazuka Revue stage, but it wasn’t bad for an Arashi ni Shiyagare episode finale.

Altogether, there were slow parts in this episode, but the rest of it – especially the second half – was no-miss stuff. The Takarazuka Revue is fascinating, and its members had the kind of stage presence you’d expect from performers of their caliber and experience. I tend to be favorable to Broadway-style performances, and that’s the Takarazuka Revue through and through.

The Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi for this episode is a tough call. I think that Ohno-san deserves it for a number of reasons – daring to put his life and limb into Aiba-kun’s hands being the first that comes to mind.