VS Arashi (VS 嵐 ) is a game show hosted by the idol group Arashi, who compete against a different team of entertainers every week. Every so often (and a lot more often since the start of 2013), though, those entertainers are actually athletes, as they are in this episode. Before we get to them, though, Sakurai-san mentions that they’ll be doing MMDA on March 7th – that’s Most Most Dame (Useless) Arashi. They’re going to punish the member who was the most counterproductive through the past year. Last year, it was Sakurai-san himself, so perhaps he’s mentioning it with confidence – or hope – that they won’t pick him again.

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Matsumoto-kun thinks that Ohno-san is the most obvious choice, but I didn’t catch the reasoning. Maybe MatsuJun is just trying to deflect blame from himself.

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I also didn’t quite understand Ohno’s response, but it had Sakurai-san saying “kakkoii!” (Cool!)

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Anyway, here the guest line-up for the Athlete-Talent team:

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Their leader is the ever-present and popular Takeda Nobuhiro-san (武田修宏). His compatriots are tennis player Sugiyama Ai-san (杉山愛), beach volleyball player Asao Miwa-san (浅尾美和), badminton player Shiota Reiko-san (潮田玲子), rugby player Ohata Daisuke-san (大畑大介), and the magnificent Obayashi Motoko-san (大林素子) for volleyball. Obayashi-san is the only one of them who can challenge me in height (it would be within an inch), and I always look up to people who are taller than I am.

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Sakurai-san notices that Takeda-san is wearing an AC Milan jersey and wonders what’s up with that (of course, he didn’t play for AC Milan). It has something to do with when he was playing for Verdy Kawasaki in 1994, but I don’t know any more than that.

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The “plus one” guests added to the Arashi team were the comedy duo Peace (ピース). Another comedy duo . . . is this what the plus one guest thing is going to be about from now on?

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It looks like we’re going to get games we don’t see as often. The first one is Jungle Bingo with the Athlete-Talent team up.

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Takeda-san does most of the talking, but at least Obayashi-san has the stature to put him in his place when necessary. The others are a bit more reluctant because he’s a senpai and much more experienced at this sort of thing.

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Takeda, Shiota, and Asao head into the maze first. Can these strong challenges avoid the mishaps that often befall those new to the maze?

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For that matter, can Arashi avoid the pitfalls on their try, consider how much difficulty they’ve had previously despite practice?

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They decide to go for one line in particular, and MatsuJun proposes the diagonal 5-9-Free-17-21. That’s very interesting considering what the Athlete-Talent team did.

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So, can they pull it off? We know some of the members (MatsuJun, for instance) will resolutely aim for the planned-on numbers, but what about the others (you know, like Aiba-kun)?

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The next game was Pinball Runner, with Shiota-san running and Sugiyama, Obayashi, and Asao supporting.

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The supporter/commanders each represented a different decade, and apparently Obayashi-san felt that meant their voices had different tones. Needless to say, she assigned herself the all-important pink balls.

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Ninomiya-kun went up for Arashi, and for some reason he is facing the wall. Do you suppose he’s praying, or is he embarrassed about something?

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It’s not like the supporter situation is that bad. Sure, there’s the pair of comedians, but MatsuJun will keep them serious, right?

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Even when he turns around and declares that he’s aiming for 210 pts., I can’t really tell whether he has confidence or not.

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Well, we’re about to find out:

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After Ninomiya-kun was done, Ohno-san’s bemused look was even more pronounced than usual.

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Now for a game we really don’t see often – Jumping Shooter. It’s pretty easy to see why this game is rare – it really takes a lot of effort and there’s a non-trivial potential for pain, so they try to spare actors and even most athletes. This time, though, the Athlete-Talent team is going for it.

Not only that, but they’re sending their two oldest members – Takeda-san and Obayashi-san – up with Shiota-san (who seems to be involved in everything so far). Takeda-san is in for the first thirty seconds, and Obayashi-san takes over for the rest.

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Arashi’s goalies are Ohno-san in the upper goal and Peace’s Ayabe-san in the lower.

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On Arashi’s turn to attack it’s Sakurai-san and Aiba-kun against Asao-san and Sugiyama-san.

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Aiba-kun is substantially more optimistic than Sakurai-san:

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Neither of the Athlete team’s goalies were real goalies, but in a way, returning serves in tennis and beach volleyball is not so different – especially volleyball.

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For the fourth game, the pressure is on Takeda-san. After all, it’s Kicking Sniper, and he’s the soccer pro:

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By comparison, Ohata-san and Asao-san can always point out that kicking is not their thing (though Ohata the rugby player gives assurances).

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Takeda-san sure doesn’t try to lower expectations – trumpeting his skills before the start of the game.

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For Arashi, its the same three we saw acting as supporters for Pinball Runner – Matsumoto-kun and the two Peace members. Somehow, it feels like the Peace pair have done more than their fair share in this episode. I definitely would have preferred to see at least two Arashis kicking.

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Looks like Ayabe-san really wanted to give Kicking Sniper a try:

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Well, he’d better make good use of the opportunity.

The final game was Korokoro Viking – a game where the athletic talent of the Athlete-Talent team is totally wasted. I have to wonder why they didn’t pull out the new game – Popcorn . . . it’s been so long I’ve forgotten its name . . . Popcorn Hitter, right? Anyway, that would have been much more interesting than yet another round of Korokoro Viking.

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In the end, it was all up to Arashi to secure a win. Will Ohno-san be able to work with the Peace pair in the orange zone to get the necessary points?

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This was an okay episode. The Athlete-Talent team was far more subdued than I expected, and Peace is low-key as far as comic duos go. As a result, the episode felt more dependent on Arashi – which is fine – and they did an okay job of it. No real stand-out moments and no major points of boredom.

There were two contenders for this episode’s Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi  – Ohno-san and Ninomiya-kun. Weighing their contributions, I think Nino-kun narrowly wins on the back of his Jungle Bingo and Pinball Runner work. Ohno-san had that prominent moment at the beginning, the bit after Nino-kun’s run, and his performance at the very end on Korokoro Viking. I also think Sakurai-san and Aiba-kun deserve an honorable mention for Jumping Shooter – that’s always fun to watch.