Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) is an hour-long variety show that features Arashi and famous male guests from a range of backgrounds who share their expertise with the five hosts. But the guest this time is DaiGo-kun, a young “mentalist” (read “magician”) who is currently on the rise. Will he really share some of his tricks with Arashi, or will he be stingy with his secrets?

At the start of the episode, the Arashi members take a bow and thank the fans upon their thirteenth anniversary. This episode airs precisely on the date of their CD debut.

Sakurai-san asks Ohno-san about their objectives going forward into their fourteenth year, then they try and guess who the guest will be while DaiGo-kun watches.

Then DaiGo-kun makes his entrance, all smiles. This is his first time meeting the Arashi members.

MatsuJun recalls seeing DaiGo on TV, and his ability to perfectly see into people’s thoughts. DaiGo talks very, very quickly, and I can’t understand much of it. The quick talking is, of course, handy in the misdirection part of the magic business.

DaiGo-kun comes bearing food – always a safe bet if you don’t know what sort of gift to bring for this segment of the show.

But then he says that just letting them dig in wouldn’t be very interesting, and they go on alert. Could it be time for some magic already?

DaiGo-kun tells the Arashi members to pick one of the dishes, and he’ll then guess what they picked. If he guesses the right one, then the staff will get the food.

Ninomiya-kun is immediately unhappy with this plan.

The Arashi members decide who’s responsible for making sure DaiGo-kun doesn’t peek with janken (as usual):

Then while MatsuJun takes care of that duty, the rest of them make their picks by pointing at them, with the majority vote standing.

Can DaiGo-kun really guess what they ended up with? His method seems to be to talk a lot (and quickly), and to watch their expressions (not to mention the responses of the audience members).

Ohno-san looks totally constipated.

The result ends up putting Nino-kun in severe distress. It turns out he was the one who gave it away.

After that bit of fun, it’s time for the talk segment. The mood for this conversation is a bit different, though – it’s supposed to be a scary (怖い – kowai) talk, so the lights dim.

The first one doesn’t seem to be a big deal – he bends 100 forks in a day. Heck, I can do that – not just by looking at them, of course, but still, as a practical matter . . .

I swear, DaiGo-kun talks so fast that they can’t put up enough of those colorful graphics to cover what he’s saying. Sakurai-san asks whether it’s easy and whether he gets tired bending them, but I couldn’t follow the answers at all.

DaiGo-kun explains the difference between magic and mentalism, but I actually oppose the distinction. He says magic is just for fun while in mentalism you get people to really believe. But this goes back to the famous fork-bender Uri Geller, who was exposed as a fraud by James Randi. I’ve seen the way that the Japanese talk about Uri Geller on variety shows, and it’s clear that they never got the memo about him, or just chose to continue believing in those sorts of tricks (for the sake of the shows, probably). So, while DaiGo-kun is a charming fellow, I have a deep animosity toward anyone who tries to get people believe that tricks are, to put it bluntly, miracles.

Ohno-san asks whether there’s a difference between spoons and forks, and DaiGo-kun explains that it’s just because there are more parts to bend on a fork.

MatsuJun checks the fork, but the reason why this is an enduring stage magic trick is because there’s so many ways to pull it off (see the Wiki article on spoon bending here for just a taste, but magicians keep the more cutting-edge techniques a secret, of course), and even someone who knows a lot of the techniques might not be able to check for the exact one that DaiGo-kun is using.

There’s no real way for me to convey the tricks in screenshots, but here we go:

The responses of the Arashi members are sort of cute, especially when Ohno-san shouts “uso da!” (嘘だ – no way!).

The next rumor is about DaiGo-kun’s natural enemy – Kusano Jin-san (草野仁). The reason is that DaiGo-kun can’t read Kusano-san at all. Always good to have one of those.

But they have a real surprise in store – Kusano-san is in-studio! The shocked exclamation from DaiGo-kun and strained smile on his face is great.

Aiba-kun has a wonderful sense of comic timing, handing Kusano-san one of DaiGo-kun’s forks and asking him if he can bend it. Kusano-san doesn’t even blink:

They proceed to ask Kusano-san about what makes it so difficult for DaiGo-kun to read him. I think it has a lot to do with Kusano-san’s poker face.

With both of them there, of course, DaiGo-kun has to try for a revenge match. It’s just a matter of Kusano-san hiding a ring in one of his hands, and DaiGo-kun has to guess which one. But that’s a fifty-fifty chance, isn’t it?

But Kusano-san shows which hand it’s in to Arashi and the audience, so what if DaiGo-kun picks up on it from them instead of from Kusano-san? Well, DaiGo-kun tries to make it as legit as possible, deliberately avoiding looking at the Arashi members and asking Kusano-san to turn so they can face each other directly.

I won’t tell you what happened, but it was a 50-50 chance anyway, so I didn’t think it was much of a test. One thing’s for sure, though – Kusano-san is damned hard to read. I’d hate to play poker with the guy. There’s just no way.

With that, Kusano-san’s time was up . . .

. . . and it was time for the main event, and this time instead of having a comedian as the assistant, we had an announcer – Suzue Nana-san (鈴江 奈々).

Now, if DaiGo-kun thinks his job is to make people believe that what he does is real, there’s no way he’s going to share any secrets, so what are they going to do? The challenge turns out to be a particularly devilish one – the Arashi members have to trick DaiGo-kun!

I seem to remember that Nino-kun liked card magic. Why hasn’t that come up at all? Anyway, the actual setup was less interesting than I was hoping for – wasabi sushi.

There’s sushi packed with lots of wasabi, but the rest of the sushi are normal. DaiGo-kun knows which sushi is loaded, and they have to read him to figure out which one is the dangerous one, and avoid it. They have a choice of three, and one of them is trouble. As long as they pick one of the other two, they’re safe, so the odds are 2/3 in their favor.

The Arashi team plays janken to see who goes first, and it’s Ohno-san. They then have to hide while DaiGo-kun prepares the sushi and shows which one has the wasabi.

I’m going to leave out how this game plays out. Watch to find out! Both DaiGo-kun and Ohno-san explain the logic of their choices after the first round.

They change the game up after the first round, with DaiGo-kun doing the guessing and four out of five plates dangerous.

The next game involved chairs and a hidden whoopee cushion (ブ~ブ~クッション – bu bu cushion).

This, of course, would be embarrassing for the idols because, as Ninomiya-kun points out, idols don’t fart:

The rules for this one are a bit too involved, and I didn’t totally understand what all the ins and outs of it were. In the end, DaiGo-kun was just getting except one member of Arashi to sit on a whoopee cushion, having guessed beforehand who it would be and handing that guess in an envelope to Nino-kun. Since it was only between three members, and DaiGo-kun basically orchestrated which one would sit where (not allowing them to pick randomly), it was hardly even a trick. The expressions from the Arashi members were great, though.

And so was DaiGo-kun’s complaint that Aiba-kun used too much force when covering his eyes.

It was a fun episode and definitely not boring. That said, I’ve seen DaiGo-kun do better tricks on other shows, so I was a bit disappointed with what he did here. Some of his other tricks are truly baffling – these were simple by comparison.

The Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi was definitely Ohno-san, because he had some funny expressions on his face early on, and he had the greatest involvement in the tricks. Sakurai-san was a close second because of his interesting reactions.