After the mayonnaise malaise of the last two episodes, KisuHama Learning (キス濱ラーニング) turns to something a bit more striking – xylophones.

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As with the recorder challenge, the Kis-My-Ft2 members have to perform some grade school standards, each taking a couple of measures. They clear the song if they all do perfectly (well . . . they seem to get a lot of allowance for messing up the tempo, but hitting the wrong note is an absolute no-no).

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There are eight songs ranging from about the fourth grade level to a couple of high school pieces.

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Oh, and much to the dismay of the Kis-My-Ft2 members, Hamaguchi-san will be joining them again to make a round eight instead of seven (since just having the seven of them do it would require one person to take an extra part). In the recorder challenge, Hamaguchi-san not only did very badly, but also had an infuriating habit of laughing when he made a mistake. On top of that, it’s tough for the KMF2 members to get angry with him.

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Recognizing that he did a bad job last time, Hamaguchi-san reassured them that he’s had recent practice – doing another xylophone challenge earlier this year.

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The instructor for the day, Ishikawa-san shows them how it’s done with a rendition of Khatchaturian’s “Sabre Dance” – certainly a piece with a very prominent xylophone part.

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They all get practice, and have to employ both hands effectively to play the tunes smoothly.

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The first song is “Donguri Korokoro” (Rolling Acorns) – a popular children’s song.

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It’s about as simple as songs get . . .

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. . . but Nikaido-kun continues to be Mr. Fail, messing up even on this round, playing entirely the wrong notes:

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As they reset, we’re introduced a bit more to the layout of the instrument, which has three and a half octaves to play with.

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Okay, let’s try this again:

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It was Yokoo-kun’s turn to mess up, from a combination of tension and pressure. Looks like it’ll be a long slog after all.

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After they finally managed to get it together on that one, the second song was “Ookina Furudokei” (Big Grandfather’s Clock), which should be fairly familiar.

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Tamamori-kun gets the hard part. That’s good, because he’s proven quite reliable with musical instruments. If I remember correctly, he performed flawlessly in the recorder challenge.

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But that leaves seven other people who might mess up – albeit on easier parts.

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In the next song, “Sanpo” from “My Neighbor Totoro”, they face chords (和音 – waon). In this case, that just means striking two notes at the same time. From the way they reacted, though, you’d think this was a dangerous novelty. Did they think they were going to get thought this playing one note at a time?

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Fujigaya-kun is poised stoically, but his outward confidence might not :

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But Nikaido-kun can’t even pretend:

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When surly Fujigaya-kun makes a mistake, though, Hamaguchi-san doesn’t waste the opportunity to snap back at him:

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It doesn’t take long before Hamaguchi-san himself commits a fault, though. He blames it on the fact that all the keys are brown (I guess he’s used to color-coded xylophones?).

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Innocuous-sounding “Sanpo” turns out to be a major roadblock.

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By the end of it, we get stats as to how many fails each member has. Only Miyata-kun and Tamamori-kun are in the clear. Hamaguchi-san, Fujigaya-kun, and Nikaido-kun are tied for worst with two mistakes apiece.

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And so it goes . . . .

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Two hours and six minutes have passed from the start, and they finally get to their fourth song . . .

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. . . which is the “Mickey Mouse March”.

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Sounds easy, right? Well, there’s a new musical element for them to practice in this one – the tremolo:

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While they practice, Ishikawa-san treats us to a rendition of “Winter Wonderland”.

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How long will it take them to master the “Mickey Mouse March”, keeping in mind that they still have four tougher songs to deal with after that?

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Will Tamamori-kun have to take over as teacher, as Ishikawa-san can’t stop laughing when they mess up?

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Well, I can tell you that this doesn’t end in this episode (it would have taken painful editing to fit eight performances into twenty minutes of airtime, anyway). As usual, the challenge continues next week.

This episode was . . . okay. It was certainly better than mayonnaise, but xylophones are still not the most exciting focus for a variety show, and a far cry from the more impressive challenges in HamaKisu. The previous series was dominated by physical challenges. This one has kept them in rooms and studios, and it seems like a waste of potential. I hope they find better challenges soon.

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This past Friday, December 14th, there was a one-hour special in which the comedy duo Oriental Radio did the 100 yen shop English challenge against KMF2. As before, some of the English looks like its on solid ground, but some of the examples they flashed on the bottom of the screen (especially the one where the English choices were “first lucky bag” and “handsel bag”) will probably leave me scratching my head.

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I’ll review it in a few days, but since I’m going to be heading out for Christmas in a couple of days, it might take me a bit longer to get to it, as I settle into my vacation location.

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Looks fun, though, and understanding the show won’t be as difficult as it normally is.

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