The second episode of Maido Jani (まいど ジャーニ~) featured a theme that the Kansai junior hosts were all too familiar with – audition.

As usual, the hosts were the members of Kin Kan (in this episode, Mukai Koji-kun and Kaneuchi Toma-kun) and Naniwa Oji (Nishihata Daigo-kun, Nagase Ren-kun, and Onishi Ryusei-kun).

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After their own introductions, they gave their special guest – manzai comedian Hyoudo Daiki-san (兵動 大樹) – his intro.

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Now, of course, Hyoudo-san had to do comedy auditions for his agency (Yoshimoto, which is to Japanese comedy what Johnny’s is to Japanese male idols), but he also had ties to and has worked with other Kansai Johnny’s like Kanjani8’s Murakami-kun and knows Kotaki Nozomu-kun and Nakama Junta-kun by nicknames. So it’s not as if they’re bringing in some random guest -Hyoudo-san is as well-suited to be on this show as a comedian can get.

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After they settled in and did a brief chat with Hyoudo-san mentioning a Kotaki-related anecdote . . .

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. . . they cut to a VTR of a real Kansai junior audition session from July of 2012, with 700 participants (plus some familiar faces).

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First, the hopefuls have to follow dance instruction:

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Their future senpai Mukai-kun is scarfing down a burger at this point (as fellow Kin Kan member Kaneuchi-kun will be seen doing later).

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The second phase of the audition is singing (we also see the huge lyric sheets pinned to the wall). Since they’re all singing simultaneously, it’s pretty clear that those making the assessment are disqualifying those who are wildly off rather than trying to pick out brilliant voices at this point, though they might give extra points to those who sing with confidence as flair.

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You know, like a certain Naniwa Oji member . . . .

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Something tells me looking like this while singing is not going to win high marks:

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Of course, those combining good singing and dancing will really be the cream of the crop . . .

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. . . and, like Kaneuchi-kun, deserve a burger.

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The third phase of the audition is the special skills section. Here, if there are tremendous singers, dancers, acrobats, or kids with other talents, they can show it off individually. Obviously, anyone who is able to swallow down the nervousness and step forward to show their stuff already has to get some recognition for that.

Sure enough, Onishi-kun shows off his dance skills here:

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Helping the tense gathering of hopefuls to relax, Kin Kan show off an even rarer skill (and one guest Hyoudo-san no doubt appreciates) – manzai comedy.

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Wielding the camera, Shigeoka Daiki-kun tries to get Nagase Ren-kun to show some special skill, but all they seem to be able to come up with for him is bowling and . . . the results without a ball or pins were lackluster.

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The top Kansai juniors danced as well, showing what the young auditioners could someday hope to do.

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And then some of the kids were asked which senpai they admired – a key moment, because how they come off on-screen is almost as important as the singing and dancing. Aside from Onishi-kun, there was also a kid who answered with Yamapi as is admired senpai who really caught my attention. He totally looked like a young Ninomiya-kun, and during the special skills section, he was the only one we saw singing (and he did an Arashi song).

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The VTR was five minutes long, but it was a great look at what junior auditions are like, especially because the pace of the video was quick and everything was well-organized.

The talk after didn’t catch my interest so much, except when Hyoudo-san noted Onishi-kun’s part in the video, and made a joke about Onishi-kun’s age that had all of them cracking up.

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They talked a bit about Yoshimoto auditions, which are probably different from Johnny’s auditions in pretty much every way.

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They changed topics very quickly – spending like thirty seconds on a point, then smoothly moving on (usually with Mukai-kun handling the segue, which he’s remarkably good at). With them going so fast, I could tell it was interesting and engaging, but there was no way I could keep up with what they were saying. Ultimately, it’s shows like this, and certain dramas, that make me want to get better at Japanese.

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A lot of the focus in this episode was on Hyoudo-san , with Mukai-kun asking the guest questions, but the others also chipped in. Nagase Ren-kun is clearly the quiet one. Everyone else spoke up, but really aside from Mukai-kun, the bulk of the participation was from Kaneuchi-kun.

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They wrapped up the chat . . .

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. . . so that the show could end with their performance. Kin Kan and other Kansai juniors kicked things off with “Za ABC ~5 stars~”.

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Onishi-kun pulled off some moves, then all five cast members performed Kis-My-Ft2’s “WANNA BEEEE!!!”.

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And finally, Naniwa Oji performed the song we saw all the hopefuls practicing in the audition VTR – Sexy Zone’s “Kimi no Tame, Boku ga Iru”.

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Kin Kan joined them at the end with some final messages for the viewers.

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I enjoyed the SHOW TIME more in this episode than in the first one – it seemed rather more polished and at the same time even more energetic.

As for the show itself, the VTR was a no-miss look into the inner workings of Johnny’s and what these kids go through as part of a regular day’s work. As they say, every day is an audition. Hyoudo-san was a fun guest, offering a good balance of humor and engaging discussion. The real stars of this episode were the Kin Kan pair, who did a superb job of keeping things moving (though they also benefited from the fact that Hyoudo-san was used to fast-paced banter, which not all guests are). I’ve seen hosts twice their age do worse, so they certainly proved early on that they deserved their own show and could make it work.

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