At the end of my last 2012 review of KisuHama Learning (キス濱ラーニング), I said that episodes involving musical instruments or eating were not going to get favorable reviews from me. Are they going to make me eat my words? Because that looks like a table full of food . . .

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. . . so all they need to do now is find a way to make this more interesting than naming sushi or endless senbei chewing. Can they do it?

It seems like this is all tied to Tamamori-kun’s new drama “Nobunaga no Chef” (信長のシェフ). Hamaguchi-san prompts him to mention it . . .

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. . . but when he starts going into full plugging mode, Hamaguchi-san shouts at him. I guess Tamamori-kun was talking too much like an actor just guesting on the show to promote his drama.

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So, the point of the exercise this time is deciding whether or not each food item could have been eaten in the Sengoku Jidai (戦国時代 – Warring States Period from 1467 to 1600). In the drama, Tamamori-kun plays a modern-day chef who gets sent back in time to that period.

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So, even before they start eating, I think I’m going to have to take back my ultimatum against food-related challenges, or at least make an exception for this one. First of all, the way they tied it into Tamamori-kun’s drama is really nifty. And it wasn’t as if it would make as much sense to do something else related to the Sengoku Jidai, because Tamamori-kun plays a chef, so doing food from that era makes more sense than anything else. Second, I’m a history buff, so I’m genuinely wondering what foods they didn’t have back then. Third, we can definitely play along, since there’s only one question, and we’ll be able to see the different foods.

I’m not entirely sure what they think they’ll figure out by eating the food, though.

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First, they give us an example question: could people in the Sengoku period have eaten nigirizushi?

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No! No, they couldn’t have – it was developed in the Edo period (江戸時代 1600-1868).

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How about soy-broiled eel (うなぎの蒲焼き)?

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Tomato is called “tomato” by the Japanese. Does that mean it was introduced into Japan after 1600?

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What about these sponge cakes? This is the first food Kis-My-Ft2 has to figure out.

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It doesn’t look like any of the questions are going to be easy, unlike previous challenges where they started off on simpler material.

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They definitely don’t come to a decision until they’ve gotten a taste. You’ve got to eat when you can in the idol business!

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On this first question, they guess what most viewers would probably also have – that castellas were not around in the Sengoku period.

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And it turns out they were wrong:

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And so, a specialist appeared to coach them. Or, more precisely, to explain where they went wrong.

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And on it goes . . .

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After multiple subsequent failures, Hamaguchi-san decides to change things up, introducing a rivalry to help spur the Kis-My-Ft2 members.

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The rivals for this episode were the comedy duo Haraichi:

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Now, here’s the thing: what would have happened if Kis-My-Ft2 had done well on the first few questions? Would that have meant that Haraichi would not have been called out? So . . . I guess either the Kis-My-Ft2 members deliberate failed (unlikely) or the director arranged for the first few foods to be difficult/counter-intuitive (more likely).

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Anyway, this is something I said I wanted to see more of in this show in 2013 – Kis-My-Ft2 being challenged by guests instead of just facing the frustration alone.

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The next one is a real puzzler:

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Can you see shogun-wannabees eating apples?

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I’m not sure what drove them to talk about colors, though.

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They tasted the apples as if they had never tasted apples before:

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Hamaguchi-san comes up with the ludicrous comment that the color must have at least been present in the Sengoku period (they had been going on about how their image of the period was mostly brown) because of the Japanese flag. He actually suggests that the red circle at the center of the flag is an apple, which the comedians instantly ridicule:

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Of course, Hamaguchi-san eventually gets corrected by the specialist they brought in, who points out that the circle on the flag is, indeed, the Sun.

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And so it goes . . .

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Haraichi also had their turn, while Kis-My-Ft2 got to watch them and comment:

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I’m going to give away even less about the game than I usually do, since it is possible to play along, and that’s a large part of the enjoyment of this episode.

I still don’t know why the Japanese seem to love watching people eat, and this is yet another episode which taps into that. However, so many things went right with this episode, from taking the opportunity to promote Tamamori-kun’s drama and building the game around it, to making it possible for viewers to play along, to having KMF2 go up against outside opponents, that I’m willing to overlook the fact that they seem to be doing a lot of eating in KisuHama, in sharp contrast to the content in its predecessor HamaKisu.

And that means I’ll have to overlook it in the next episode, as well, since whether they clear the challenge in this episode or not, there will be two episodes of it. I’m a little peeved at that pattern, and it’s eventually going to get tedious. Still, it looks like they’re at least trying to improve the show for 2013. Let’s see what they do after they get through this “Nobunaga no Chef” tie-in challenge.

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