Okay, so here it is: the last episode of Himitsu no Arashi-chan (ひみつの嵐ちゃん). Naturally, all five members are present, and it’s just going to be a flurry of memorable scenes from the show’s five years in service. In fact, with something worth a screenshot popping up every second, I didn’t get nearly all the images that deserved to be included here. They went through everything quite quickly, going for breadth and mostly trusting that the viewers would remember the moments.

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Of course, they decided to use the share house set for this last gathering, but it’s totally empty – they’re moving out, and have their bags packed.

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Ohno-san doesn’t seem to have much to carry.

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Sakurai-san decided to bang his luggage down the stairs instead of carry it down. What’s up with that?

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Up in the top right corner, it says we can expect final messages from the Arashi guys started at 10:38 p.m., but it beats me why they tell people this – maybe they think that if viewers suspect it’s just a highlight episode they’ll change the channel?

Anyway, they all gather together and start to reminisce, but not without some guidance from the only props remaining on-set.

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In a box marked April 2008 to April 2009, there were two posters which were put up to promote the debut of the new show. The first showed a much younger, more innocent version of Arashi:

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The second undermined that innocent impression completely, as it had secrets (himitsu) hidden under each of their flys and . . . well, I guess people had to go up to the poster and unzip them to find out what the secret was. This seems rather risque, doesn’t it? Did fans really . . .

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Anyway, they try to remember what their secrets were. Just to give you a taste, Sakurai-san guessed his correctly even after five years – that he couldn’t tie a necktie. I liked MatsuJun guessing that Ohno-san’s was “it was a lie that fishing is my hobby” – that would have been a real bombshell. Ohno-san’s real secret was something about Nostradamus, so it was probably a total goof.

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I actually watched those early episodes of Himitsu no Arashi-chan. They were loads of fun because Arashi still went out and did stuff instead of remaining secluded in the studio.

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They even got certifications as childminders:

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This was irresistibly cute.

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And what about some other famous challenges, like when they tried to break the Guinness World Record for wearing the most t-shirts:

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Poor Ohno-san got all the way up to 169 – what a sport!

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Even Nino-kun noted about all the location shoots they used to do.

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Moving on to the next era of HNA . . .

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. . . we got V.I.P. Room, which might have been studio-confined, but it still wasn’t too bad.

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The most famous V.I.P. Room had to have been the one with Sanma-san – a surprising guest to say the least.

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But unlike in Share House, they used to do all sorts of stuff in V.I.P. Room. They had a camel, for instance:

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Can you imagine them bringing a camel into Share House? I think not. No, the most recent year has been completely lacking in surprises like that.

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There was a great scene with MatsuJun and an uncooperative cat:

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And how about crazy cosplay with Aiba-kun as a ballerina . . .

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. . . and in a totally different episode, MatsuJun as a white knight riding a pantomime horse.

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A year before those clips, though, there was a segment that took them out of the studio and into karaoke bars, where they surprised Arashi fans:

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By the way, much to their surprise, the manager of the karaoke joint was a classmate of Ohno-san.

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So , the location shoots didn’t disappear in the era of V.I.P. Room, but diminished.

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In that era of HNA, they also played a game which involved guests guessing which member of Arashi had some stinky stuff placed under their nose (while all the members were pretending that it wasn’t them, of course). But I suppose Aiba-kun must have escaped the fate of actually being the one, since Nin0-kun decided to do it to him now. Aiba-kun insists they do janken to decide who will bear this punishment, but it ends up being him anyway.

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They cut out some clean-up time as Aiba-kun was in no fit state to continue for a while.

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When they continued, they picked up the story with Perfume’s appearance on V.I.P. Room, where the Arashi guys danced along with a Perfume song (and did a great job of it, too).

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During the V.I.P. Room era, they also started Mannequin Five, and Nino-kun pulls out Sakurai-san’s legendary double parka out of the box . . .

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. . . and they recall that Matsumoto-kun honored the legend by wearing a double parka on the final mannequin segment.

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And I think that was a much better look for him than he had in the first mannequin segment in April of 2010, where he also had a bowtie:

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Talking about the mannequin segments, the real events were the specials, right? Who can forget Sakurai-san’s wild outfit, complete with bicycle helmet?

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V.I.P. Room wasn’t as restrictive about guests as V.I.P. Limo and Share House would eventually be. For instance, they once had a mouse as guest – Mickey Mouse.

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And there was the truly amusing Arashi Ranking Derby segment, where we found out what impression certain segments of the Japanese population had of Arashi (while the members themselves dressed in horse outfits).

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At least the horse outfits had special packs to keep them cool:

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Personally, I think things started to go downhill for the show with V.I.P. Limousine. It did offer them a chance to get out of the studio, though, so it wasn’t a lack of location shoots (that would only come with Share House).

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But there were only a few notable moments in the V.I.P. Limousine segment – too much of it was forgettable. Actually, the best episode of the era was the special where Sakurai-san and Aiba-kun went for a trip on their own in August of 2011. There was also an episode with Koda Kumi-san, which featured a physical trainer.

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Aiba-kun was the only member who didn’t eventually have to learn the particular technique espoused by that trainer, so Ohno-san teaches it to him here:

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Other than that, there was a Blackboard Special, wherein Sakurai-san and Aiba-kun visited a classroom . . .

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. . . and Ohno-san went fishing. Really, the V.I.P. Limo episodes were clearly a step down.

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But with the Share House era, we didn’t really get many highlights. Maybe that was because of recency, but I can’t think of much in the past year that could top what they did in the first four years of the show.

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There were some bits from Last Mission, of course, but they actually spent this time getting Aiba-kun to do monomane of Kinpachi-sensei and Rola-san. Not because he can do either monomane well, but because it’s funny how badly he does them since they’re both easy impressions to do.

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With that, they take one last photo, as was the tradition when wrapping up the share house segment . . .

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. . . and then they each left one by one . . .

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. . . giving their messages to the viewers on the way out. Matsumoto-kun was first:

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I’m sure we’ll get subtitles for this, so I’m not even going to venture an attempt to translate – it’s too poignant a moment for me to mess up on.

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Sakurai-san has News Zero to do, so he goes next:

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The ones I’m really interested in are Aiba-kun’s and Ohno-san’s, since the others will all be slick about voicing their thoughts. Aiba-kun comes off as the most reflective.

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Then it was Nino-kun.

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And finally, it was just Ohno-san left to turn off the lights.

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Ohno-san caps it off by getting the audience to do that funny breathing exercise that he taught Aiba-kun in the episode.

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The last five minutes of the show is a cartoon encapsulation of what they did on Himitsu no Arashi-chan over the years, with a few other top moments that weren’t mentioned earlier. See how many events you remember!

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This was certainly a better way to close things out than just turning out the lights, or just having the Arashi members deliver their messages. It also had the added benefit of giving the credits proper time to roll.

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At the end, we also got a commercial for Sakurai-san’s new show, which is replacing HNA in this slot. Looks like it starts on April 11th.

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So, what do you think? Could they have done something to keep this show alive? Should they have done more, or is giving each member some time to pursue independent projects a better idea? After all, we could potentially see five new programs with Arashi members in – we’re already three-fifths of the way there.

Also, were there some favorite scenes that they didn’t include in this episode? I can’t think of any off the top of my head – except perhaps they could have included some more Last Mission clips – but that’s just down to my memory.

It was a pretty remarkable episode as far as packing clips in, and they still had space to end things properly. I think it was a thoroughly successful finale, though I’m sure every viewer wishes they had made it longer.

Thank you for reading, and if you have interest in or news about their new shows, please feel free to mention that in the comments as well.