It’s been a while since I got fed up with KisuHama Learning, dropping the only Kis-My-Ft2 show I was covering. Will the group’s new regular show, Kis-My-BUSAIKU, be able to capture my interest and put Kis-My-Ft2 back into my review queue? Unlike other shows, this one has been vetted, having sporadic episodes over the past year, so hopefully all the kinks have been worked out and everything is going to run smoothly.

It begins with a group meeting where they seem to ponder the show’s name. You see, “busaiku” means ugly, and in a sense is an indirect opposite to “kakkoii,” which while usually rendered “cool” literally means “in good form.” So, there’s some consternation that the group’s name is going to be juxtaposed with that insult, but that’s because the show is largely about the members proving that they are, in fact, kakkoii through a variety of skits. Personally, I think the title is brilliant on the grounds that it manages to sound rude in both Japanese and English simultaneously.

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In-studio, there are two members in particular who seem more pumped up than the other members – Miyata-kun and Nikaido-kun – but I’m not entirely sure what that was all about, and it simmered down quickly enough.

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They weren’t as pumped up as the show’s first guest – Udo Suzuki-san – who’s sort of the prototype of a certain style of Japanese comedian. At first sight, you might be worried that he’s going to be obtrusive and annoying throughout the show, but notice how quickly he moderates his tone and blends in to the prevailing atmosphere.

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The main segment involves the KMF2 members individually acting in skits, and then ranked on their performance by a hundred women in their twenties or thirties. The skit prompts are largely romantic in nature, so . . . not exactly my kind of thing. For instance, the skit situation this time is the kiss at the end of a driving date. Still, it’s all in good fun.

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The members will either come out of it acknowledged as kakkoii or dismissed as busaiku. Their performances are revealed starting at #3, then moving on to #2 and #1 before going down the list to the more dismal attempts. I’m not going to include screenshots for anyone except Tamamori-kun at #3 to preserve what surprise I can and to avoid excessive spoilers.

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They all perform the skit in the same car with the same actress as the date. As they do the scene, we see little comments from the women ranking them pop up. These comments are pretty easy to read for anyone with a beginner aptitude in Japanese – most of the kanji and vocabulary was first year stuff. So I really enjoyed seeing those comments, and it really helped the show, since just watching each of the KMF2 guys concluding their mock dates would have felt a bit repetitive.

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The decision to start at #3, go up, and then go down was also brilliant, since it meant that the members who did the worst could express their dismay and outrage at what they were beaten by.

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After the main segment in the last few minutes of the show, there was a corner called “Kisumai Yori Kakkoii Danshi Audition” (Cooler-than-Kisumai Male Audition) in which guys sent in videos demonstrating that they are cooler than KMF2 members. The members then vote whether they agree or disagree.

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A certain alliance between two members that we noticed at the beginning of the show persisted through this segment as well, though I wonder at the logic of it.

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Just the fact that there were real spoilers in this show made it stand out, meaning that it was far more engaging than a lot of other shows. It’s also way easier to follow for those who don’t speak Japanese than a talk-oriented show, since the situations are pretty much universal and we can see the results.

On the downside, the nature of the skits might not be for everyone. I didn’t have trouble with the topic for one episode, but if they’re going to spend episode after episode with kiss-oriented skits, I wonder how long it’ll be before I lose patience – I honestly don’t know.

I guess we’ll find out, because a lot went right with this show – it was energetic, had those little comment pop-ups, and otherwise included a healthy dose of humor – so I do intend to continue reviewing it for the foreseeable future. I’m going to have to figure out exactly how to avoid the spoilers, though. I might have to smudge the screenshots in the corner where they show which rank the member got so I can talk about their performances without giving away too much.

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