I held off on reviewing this episode of Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) and it paid off – mirei-22 at livejournal subbed it (yay! Thank you mirei-22!), so I can present to you a much more definitive review of this 90-minute special.

The members of Arashi are really dressed up this time – in tuxedos fit for a presidential ball. They say that they’re going to air everything in this special – whether they fail miserably or not.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0012013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 002

Their opening talk really impresses their guest (still hiding backstage), Uchimura Teruyoshi-san. Right from the start, Uchimura-san notes Arashi’s coolness, and then he’s amazed when it becomes clear that they really have no idea what’s ahead, and manage to do the show every week without knowing (you get the sense that Uchimura-san is the meticulous type who likes to go onto shows with a plan). When Aiba-kun notices a lone camera set at an unusual distance from the stage, Uchimura-san is totally in awe of his observational skills.

Too bad it leads him to conclude that they’re going to be doing ballroom dancing with Nanbara-san.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 003

No doubt in a state of profound surprise, Aiba-kun has to apologize when Uchimura-san appears. You see, Uchimura-san and Nanbara-san were a comedy duo, so as Nino-kun said, it was a remarkable near-miss.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0042013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 005

Sakurai-san gives Uchimura-san a very subtle prompt (so subtle that he didn’t even realize he was doing it) that allows the director to plug his new movie.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 006

And then Uchimura-san brings out his gifts to Arashi – Mt. Fuji hiking staffs that he actually places around his house to defend against intruders.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0082013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 009

He has the Arashi guys practice using them for self-defense in what is only the first of many funny scenes in this episode.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0102013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 011

Instead of having a normal rumors segment in this special, they decided to get other comedians to making claims about Uchimura-san’s secret side. These tidbits were introduced by Amano Hiroyuki-san.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0132013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0142013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 016

The first claim, from Udo Suzuki-san, was that Uchimura-san is extremely neurotic. I hardly think this is the “other side” of him – I already noted his apparent meticulousness – but Suzuki-san offered specifics. I especially liked the detail that Uchimura-san drives with his hands at ten and two – like a driving instructor. Rather than being a secret, though, it’s exactly in-line with his on-stage personality.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0172013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0182013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 019

Sakurai-san asks about Uchimura-san’s daily schedule, and everybody seems surprised that he wakes up at seven. As someone who wakes up around five-thirty, I yawned at this detail. But Uchimura-san also mentioned that he plays a lot of Anpanman with his daughter – a fact that will have ramifications for Ninomiya-kun later on in the episode.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0202013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0212013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 022

The next claim was from Zun Iio-san, who said that Uchimura-san is “forever a challenger.” Amano-san joked that Zun Iio-san is currently riding the “smallest break in the world”, which is a bit mean but probably true.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0232013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 024

Anyway, this is hardly a surprise, either. If you watch Itte Q, you know Uchimura-san still goes out on location shoots which are often physically difficult, even though he certainly doesn’t need to. In fact, he mentions that he’s got a new one that hasn’t aired yet where he rode a 120 meter free fall amusement park ride in the U.S. He didn’t have to do it, but he likes location shoots and sure knows how to do them right.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0252013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 026

He also talks about his toughest challenge – swimming across the Strait of Dover in relay with Udo Suzuki-san.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 027

But he immediately turns to praising his Itte Q comrade Imoto Ayako-san, who he says is not a talent, but a real adventurer (冒険家 – boukenka).

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 028

But there’s another amazing challenge Uchimura-san has undertaken that’s of special interest to Arashi. He took on the Guinness World Record for the longest distance moonwalked in an hour. The record he went for was around 5 km. That’s 5 km of moonwalking, folks.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0292013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 030

Naturally, they have him demonstrate his moonwalking form. I’ve seen many Johnny’s try to moonwalk, but I think Uchimura-san’s form was better than any of them.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 031

For the rest of the claims, you’ll have to watch the show. Since you can get the episode subbed, I won’t take up more space here detailing them. They get more surprising as the segment progresses – with some interesting revelations about how nervous Uchi

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0322013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0342013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0362013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 037

The best one of all was Degawa-san claiming that Uchimura-san owes him a lot of money, which brought out some imitations of Degawa and also the fact that Degawa has called Uchimura “Chen” since they were kids – so much so that Degawa’s mother thought Uchimura was Chinese. Degawa-san also asked why he wasn’t in Uchimura-san’s latest movie.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0422013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0432013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0442013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0452013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 046

There’s another chance for Uchimura-san to plug his movie and explain what it’s all about. Sounds pretty interesting, actually – about the struggle of a young comedic duo (a subject Uchimura should know all about).

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0532013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 054

But after that we finally got the highlight of this show and the reason why they said at the start that they would air everything, even if they messed up. You see, Uchimura-san directed Arashi in a mini-play . . .

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0582013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 059

. . . complete with script . . .

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0602013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0612013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0622013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 063

. . . and the rich mix of comedic elements from simple gags to irony that Uchimura-san always pulls off so well.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0672013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0682013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 069

We got to see every step of the play’s evolution from script to laugh-riot.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0702013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0712013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0732013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 074

I really cannot say anything more about it than this: you must not miss this. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard during any Arashi show in a long time.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0762013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0772013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0782013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 081

Also, if you didn’t know who Uchimura-san was or why he’s one of Japanese top comedians, you’ll find out from what you see here.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0822013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0832013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0842013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 085

Ultimately, after taking Uchimura-san’s unique directions and rehearing, the Arashi guys have to perform the mini-play in one take.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0912013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0922013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0932013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 094

And after that, we get the Director’s Cut version:

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0982013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 099

The Uchimura part of the show occupies roughly the first hour, leaving half an hour of airtime for a summary of Arashi’s biggest catastrophes over the past three years of Arashi ni Shiyagare.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1002013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 101

Basically, for each member they showed three spectacular fails via VTR with the member commenting during and between clips. I’m not going to discuss the clips, but I will provide a few screenshots to give you a taste.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 102

Sakurai-san’s VTR was first.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1032013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1042013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1062013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 107

Then Nino-kun’s:

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1092013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1112013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1122013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 114

(and Nino-kun actually included a moment for Aiba-kun as well)

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 115

Aiba-kun’s were mostly moments that seemed intentionally funny rather than real fails. Actually, one of his was simply the fact that his part got completely cut out of the Oizumi Yo episode. Through the commentary from Arashi, we found out that not only did Aiba-kun teach Oizumi-san to cook in that episode, but he also did some magic. Too bad it looks like we’ll never get to see either scene.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1162013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 118

MatsuJun’s weren’t really fails, either – they were just really difficult moments to pull off – especially that New Year’s Special triple kiss.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1212013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1222013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1242013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1252013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 127

Ohno-san’s were real fails, though they were somewhat instigated by the other members.

2013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1282013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1302013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1312013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1322013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 1332013.03.23 Arashi ni Shiyagare 134

And there you are – a real special. After they got through the talk bit at the beginning, it was an amazingly entertaining episode, but even finding out about the secret Uchimura was not without its moments. The skit at the heart of the show was just spectacular stuff, though – pure insanity. Even those who aren’t particular fans of Arashi but otherwise watch Japanese variety shows should get a kick out of it.

Of course, the whole episode benefits from having been subbed, so thanks again to mirei-22 at livejournal for all the hard work.