This show is titled “Johnny’s Journey – Hey! Say! JUMP Takaki Yuya & Chinen Yuri Futarikki France Juudan Kakuekiteisha no Tabi (縦断各駅停車の旅 – flying through/cutting across local trains trip). It features two members of Hey! Say! Jump traveling across France in trains without any guidance. So far, they haven’t really needed much guidance, but perhaps that will change this time.

In the previous episode, they finally reached their first goal of Mont St. Michel, and enjoyed a nice dinner and night’s stay at the island. Now, they begin their southward trek towards Nice.

Day three begins with their departure from Mont St. Michel.

But that means they have to pick where to go, and after consulting the map, they decide to aim for Tours.

Time to communicate:

It seems sufficient just to repeat “Tours.” Unfortunately, the result is not what they expect – does that ticket say that they have to go all the way back to Paris to get to Tours?

Yes, yes it does. Needless to say, Takaki-kun is a bit dumbfounded by this, and says “wait” while he thinks about it.

Ultimately saying “local train”, he was provided with an alternate route: Pontorson-Rennes-Nantes-St.Pierre-Tours. That’s right – they’ll have to switch trains three times.

Chinen-kun notices that their stay in Nantes will be six hours long.

Boarding their first train, they help a woman up:

On the train, they reflect on how it is without their manager, handling everything themselves.

The transfer at Rennes goes without a hitch – so smoothly that we just stay in the map view as they proceed to Nantes, where they have the time to take a proper picture with the sign.

With six hours to spare, they start wandering, and fortunately stumble upon an amusement park.

Out of all the fun stuff, their eyes are drawn to the trampolines.

Chinen-kun pulls out the wallet. The price for this attraction is five euros – a bit hefty, no? I think the guy in charge says that Chinen-kun is fine for the weight limit, but Takaki-kun isn’t. This leaves Takaki-kun shocked and feeling bloated.

Takaki-kun keeps trying to insist, but to no avail. Maybe he should have mentioned his weight.

Anyway, Chinen-kun gets to have all the fun. You’d think he’d get enough of it already in performances, but he shows his youthfulness by being enthusiastic about this chance to take flight. The narrator pointedly reminds the audience that he’s eighteen years old.

With that, they move on from the amusement park, and end up spotting some basketball courts. Takaki-kun has some history with basketball, so he decides that this is his chance to have some fun in Nantes.

We haven’t seen Chinen-kun and Takaki-kun interacting with anyone except service personnel – people selling tickets, hotel clerks, waiters, and trampoline attendants. This will be their first encounter with French people who aren’t at work. How will they do?

It looked like siblings playing with their mother supervising – at least, the age spread looked too wide to make them classmates – and the young girl obligingly tossed the ball to Takaki-kun once he and Chinen had put their bags down. Surprisingly, Takaki-kun missed his free attempt at the basket, but Chinen-kun, who has no basketball experience, nailed the same shot.

Takaki-kun proposes a 3-on-3 match with understandable English. They get one of the younger boys on their team, and name him the captain.

Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun play a measured game. Takaki-kun in particular showed good restraint, playing rather like a father would with his kids – tossing the ball to the “captain”, not blocking shots that he could have easily knocked down, and aiming to be amusing. I wonder, though, if they weren’t too obvious with this.

The game ended with thank-yous and handshakes. Oh, and a photo.

It was amusing, but there was something lacking – I would have liked to see a bit more competitive spirit, and also to see the French kids enjoy themselves more in the midst of it. It had the feeling of a chore. Still, Takaki-kun and Chinen-kun were brave to approach people they couldn’t communicate with like this, and it gives hope for the future.

Something seems to have caught Takaki-kun’s eye:

What is it? A . . . a mechanical elephant?

Well, whatever it is, it has them running:

As it turns out, it’s a meticulous construct in every respect, including a snout that spews water like a firehose.

They simply must board it.

After all that excitement, it’s time to grab a bite to eat – in this case, a form of crêpe they haven’t encountered before – one that isn’t sweet.

They realize that they’re getting late, and so start scarfing it down quickly. At least they make a point of clearing their plate.

Then they have to run, but they make it (barely).

Wanting to nap on the train, but realizing that their destination is not its final stop, they have to flip a coin to decide who will get to sleep.

Takaki-kun won . . .

. . . and Chinen-kun’s expression throughout this was great – there’s a lot of frustration hidden behind that smile.

As night begins to fall, we see Chinen-kun’s eyelids start to grow heavy . . .

. . . until finally . . .

I love how, when he wakes Takaki up, Chinen totally doesn’t tell Takaki that he fell asleep and that they’re probably at the wrong station.

It’s only when they finally see the “Orleans” sign that the realization slowly begins to dawn.

Takaki-kun doesn’t say a word against Chinen-kun, of course. And it’s in that situation that we leave them.

Well, that was much better! The key is that they ended up doing things that aren’t just in the normal run of events – eating, sleeping, taking trains, and seeing the occasional impressive building. Between the trampoline, basketball, and mechanical elephant, that was what I was hoping to see in this series. And we even ended on a cliffhanger!

So, will they take advantage of their unintended visit to Orléans?

While I railed against the Yabu-Hikaru segments in the previous episode, I was surprised to see no sign of them in this one. Obviously, it was a timing issue because this episode had a lot of activity to cover, and I hope for similarly busy episodes in the future, but I also wouldn’t mind some Yabu and Hikaru sprinkled in as long as they talk about the trip. I didn’t want them to disappear altogether.

I think we’re starting to get more sense of both personalities at this point. Takaki-kun is clearly a softy – a kinder, gentler idol. And, as I already pointed out, he actually has some parental instincts that show up when he’s dealing with young people (though it turns out he should have probably let Chinen-kun take the nap). He also definitely took the lead in driving the action this time. Meanwhile, Chinen-kun is really a lovable brat. Playing on the trampoline made him look like he was no more than 13. The way he dozed off on the train was priceless. And then do you suppose he’ll ever take any responsibility for them ending up at the wrong station?

That does, however, lead to a question that I can’t answer: do you think that their accidental detour through Orléans was actually planned?

In any case, let’s hope for more episodes like this one.