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. After a more than a month of either having no VS Arashi or special VS Arashis, we finally get back to a more-or-less normal episode this week.

Even the start of the show was perfectly straightforward. To kick things off, the Arashi members mention the release of their new album “Popcorn”.

Then Sakurai-san notes that they’ve been together for thirteen years.

With that, Sakurai-san introduces the guest team – the cast of “Nobou no Shiro” (のぼうの城 – The Floating Castle).

The lead stars present are Nomura Mansai-san, who we just recently saw in Arashi ni Shiyagare – also to plug this movie, and Eikura Nana-san, who played Takakura-sensei in Kuro no Onna Kyoushi. There’s also Nakao Akiyoshi-san (中尾 明慶). The guy at the end wearing the helmet is the director, Higuchi Shinji-san, who was apparently the director for MatsuJun’s movie “The Last Princess” as well. So . . . I guess we’ll forgive him for the helmet. As for the other two, I didn’t even see them on the cast listing for the movie, so I’ll try to catch their names if they do anything important.

The plus-one guests were the irrepressible comedy duo Harisenbon.

This is sort of a good and bad thing. The upside is that they’re actually very funny. The downside is that Haruna Kondo-san will inevitably get more than her fair share of camera time.

Sakurai-san gets Haruna-san started right away on her famous “ja ne~yo!” gag, where other people imply that they’re confusing her with someone else (usually someone else with the same physique and glasses) and she shouts “00 じゃねーよ!” – “I’m not __ !”

While I generally don’t like set gags, Haruna-san always pulls this one off so well that I never mind it. I will not, however, mention all the times she does it in this episode – she does it a lot, and sometimes to hilarious consequences.

The first game was Pinball Runner, with Nakao-san running for the Nobou no Shiro team, and the two stars and the director acting as commanders. Considering Nomura-san’s phenomenal voice, they should have no trouble directing Nakao-san, right?

Nakao-san reveals that he has recently taken up Muay Thai. The Arashi members start asking questions about Muay Thai, but Nino-kun ultimately butts in to point out that Nakao-san isn’t a Muay Thai athlete – he just started.

After they hear Nomura-san’s voice through the command mike, the Arashi members marvel at its resonance, then after a question from MatsuJun, Nomura-san reveals that this is the first time (in his life) that he’s done a variety game show.

With that, it begins.

For Arashi, Ohno-san handled the running while Harisenbon and Ninomiya-kun were the commanders. This . . . is going to be a disaster, isn’t it?

With Haruna-san shouting the numbers for the yellow balls, yes, yes it is. Ohno-san casts a last worried look at her before he begins.

Certainly, her voice carries, but she hardly ever picks the right number to shout and, worse, the Arashi members on the bench force her to do her “ja ne- yo!” gag in the middle of shouting the numbers, leading to a total mess.

The exchange between Ohno-san and Haruna-san afterward says it all.

The next game was Kicking Sniper with Haruna-san, Aiba-kun, and Sakurai-san up for Arashi.

Haruna-san mentions that she once played basketball, to rising “eh~!”s from the crowd. These just get louder with everything she says.

While Aiba-kun seems to be in a good mood . . .

. . . MatsuJun notes that Ohno-san isn’t cracking a smile at all. Somebody’s still upset by the Pinball Runner thing.

I couldn’t quite get the gist of the exchange between Ohno and Haruna, but nothing appeared resolved as the game started.

After the game, Ohno-san still had his arms folded and a stern look on his face.

Nino-kun proposes the solution – a one-off gag.

Haruka-san has a particular suggestion in mind:

Well, she does it:

Ohno-san can’t keep a straight face, but then shouts that it even embarrassed him.

Then it was time for the Nobou no Shiro team to kick, with Eikura-san, Nomura-san, and Nakamura-san doing the honors.

The talk here revolved around to what degree Eikura-san and Haruna-san are friends. Eventually, Haruna-san’s comments had Eikura-san literally rolling on the floor laughing:

Ultimately, Eikura-san was driven to use Haruna-san’s own gag, saying “Haruna ja ne-yo!!”

The third game was Bank Bowling, with Ninomiya-kun and Haruka-san handling the first frame for Arashi.

They were followed by Ohno-san and Matsumoto-kun. They recall a previous occasion where Ohno-san had great success in this game. Will he be able to duplicate that result?

Eikura-san and Nakao-san were up for the Nobou no Shiro team. Here, Nakao-san boasts that he’s played 27 games of bowling in a day, taking eight hours.

Of course, as we’ve learned over time, this game has nothing to do with regular bowling. How will it turn out for Eikura, Nakao, and the two who have to clean up after them – Nomura and Wada?

After that was my favorite game, Cliff Climb. Sakurai-san and Aiba-kun were the climbers for Arashi.

Sakurai-san is coming off of his first ever perfect climb in the medalist team episode. They decide that Aiba-kun will take care of the easy part as quickly as possible, and leave the rest to Sakurai-san. Has Sakurai really improved enough in this game to make it to the top by the end?

Honestly, I wonder if Aiba-kun handled the quick part because he wasn’t feeling well – he didn’t seem to be up to his normal performance level at all.

The climbers for the Nobou no Shiro team were Nakao-san and Wada-san. Nakao-san has been taking on the brunt of the effort, hasn’t he?

The last game is Korokoro Viking. Unless I’m mistaken, this is the first game that Director Higuchi-san has had a direct hand in. Will that helmet prove lucky or just obnoxious?

The Arashi team has an odd combination for the critical orange zone – Harisenbon and Ohno-san. Considering how badly this combination turned out in the first game, can they redeem themselves, or will it be more of the same?

Sakurai-san points out this problem, but them once again prompts Haruna-san to do her gag:

This time, though, MatsuJun follows up by saying that he actually worked with Kadono-san (the person Haruna-san was saying that she wasn’t) in Lucky Seven, and that Haruna-san is nothing like him.

Haruna-san’s response? Well, of course, she flips it around and actually claims to be Kadono-san:

Then they finally get down to the game. As usual, the Arashi team faces a handicap in the form of a -50 point slot. Will they manage to score negative points?

It was a fun show. Haruna-san dominated, as expected. On the opposing team, Nakao-san stood out.

The Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi was, of course, Ohno-san, who played the straight man to Haruna-san’s craziness.