VS Arashi (VS 嵐) returns with a regular episode with the members of Arashi in sporty blue-and-greys, looking ready for action. They mention Aiba-kun’s new drama  – Last Hope (which I’m still waiting for someone to sub the first episode of).

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 000 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 0012013.01.17 VS Arashi 002

Then we find out why they’re all suited up – they’re up against members of the Yomiuri Giants!

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 0032013.01.17 VS Arashi 004

They are Miyaguni Ryosuke, Sakamoto Hayato, Chono Hisayoshi, Yamaguchi Tetsuya, Utsumi Tetsuya, and Sugicuhi Toshiya. I don’t watch Japanese baseball, so I recognize precisely none of them.

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 005 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 006

The plus one guests added to the Arashi team are the comedy duo Black Mayonnaise. While they’re dressed in track jackets like Arashi, it’s doubtful that they’ll be able to contribute much physically. Hopefully, they’ve brought some laughs with them, though.

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 007

They last time they appeared on this show was November 22nd, so MatsuJun gives them some ribbing about coming back so soon. There were also other jokes that I didn’t get.

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 008

The first game was Korokoro Viking, with the Giants up first. The announcer asked Chono-san about the Giants’ teamwork and Chono-san was speechless. I guess some of them aren’t used to the variety show circuit.

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 009 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 010 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 011

They also noted that the players in the critical goal-scoring orange zone have some accomplishments to their names – not to mention substantial paychecks. Probably the best-paid orange zone ever.

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 012 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 013

But how will they do?

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 014 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 015

The Arashi team steps up to the plate with Black Mayonnaise’s Yoshida-san joining Ohno-san to take care of the orange zone. Will this unusual match-up work out?

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 016 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 017

Of course, Kosugi-san is the one in charge of silliness . . .

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 018

. . . and it turns out he’s a Giants fan . . .

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 019

. . . so MatsuJun decides it would be best to remove him from his position, and from the game altogether.

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 020

This results in a struggle for that side of the pink zone between the two of them.

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 021 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 022

Surely this doesn’t bode well for Arashi’s chances.

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 023

The next game was the new one – Popcorn Hitter – with Arashi up first. If there’s anyone who I’ll enjoy watching in this game, its Aiba-kun, but he starts off by saying how difficult this game is. Doesn’t sound like he’s got much confidence, or is he just warning Kosugi-san?

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 024 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 025 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 026

The second batter for the Arashi team is Kosugi-san, who . . . well, it’s hard to picture him playing this game, isn’t it? Do you think the hair might help?

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 0272013.01.17 VS Arashi 028

Well, I guess we’re going to find out. Ninomiya-kun will chip in to wrap up the inning (and probably save the day – you know how he is with games). There’s no two ways about it, though – the Arashi team needs to be in top form if they’re going to beat these pro baseball players who have images to keep and huge salaries to justify.

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 029 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 030

And the Giants look somewhere between confident . . .

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 031

. . . and serious. Miyaguni-san, Chono-san, and Sakamoto-san were the three they sent up.

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 032 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 033

Between games, MatsuJun plays catch with one of the Giants members, leading me to wonder whether Arashi is really serious about defeating their opponents this time. We know Arashi is stacked with baseball fans, so are they just focused on having fun in this rare chance to be around the Giants players, or are they really trying their best?

Kosugi-san seems to object to Matsumoto-kun playing catch with the enemy . . .

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 034

. . . but ends up having to apologize.

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 035

The next game was Bound Hockey, with the member of Arashi who is usually the most intense – MatsuJun – looking completely relaxed:

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 036 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 037

Even the Giants see that the Arashi team isn’t really in it, and decide that they can do without the handicap. Will Arashi be able to make them regret that overconfidence?

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 038 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 0392013.01.17 VS Arashi 0412013.01.17 VS Arashi 042

At this right, the show’s title might change:

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 044

Come on, Arashi!

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 045 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 046

The Giants take their turn. There’s really nothing more to say at this point.

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 0482013.01.17 VS Arashi 0492013.01.17 VS Arashi 0502013.01.17 VS Arashi 051

With Cliff Climb next, the Arashi team seems to be in disarray.

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 052

Aiba-kun and Ninomiya-kun are up for the climb (they’ve played the central role in both games that didn’t involve the whole team – what gives?). But even in terms of how they’re going to tackle the climb there’s confusion. Is this really the time to change things up by giving the central portion to the person climbing on the right?

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 053

Believe it or not, the two of them resort to deciding who goes first by janken.

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 054 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 055

Well, there he goes:

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 056

Did the Arashi team do well enough to put some pressure on the Giants climbers?

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 058 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 0592013.01.17 VS Arashi 060

Judging from this expression, my guess would be no, but he always looks like this:

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 062

The final game was Kicking Sniper and its Ohno-san, Matsumoto-kun, and both Black Mayonnaise members kicking to save the day for Arashi.

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 064 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 065 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 066 2013.01.17 VS Arashi 067

On the bright side, the Giants don’t really have any experience kicking balls . . . right?

2013.01.17 VS Arashi 0682013.01.17 VS Arashi 0702013.01.17 VS Arashi 071

With the members of the guest team unknown to me, I was worried that I wouldn’t find this episode interesting. It ended up being interesting to watch because the Giants tried their best, and it’s always good to see people at the top of their game putting such an effort in. Which leads to an inevitable contrast to the Arashi members. Honestly, the Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi is a no-brainer – it was Ninomiya-kun, who seemed like he was the only member there – actually engaged with the games. I’m not sure exactly why they played this way – were they tired, thrilled to have the Giants on and wanting to have fun, intimidated by the professional athletes, or held back by the antics of Black Mayonnaise? Tough to say.

Anyway, the episode felt like a quick watch. By the time they got to Kicking Sniper I was surprised that it was almost over already. Most of the interesting stuff in it is game-related, so the language barrier to enjoying it is minimal.