Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) is an hour-long variety show that features Arashi and famous male guests from a range of backgrounds who share their expertise with the five hosts. In this episode, though, the guest is Okada Junichi-san from V6 – Arashi’s senior in the Johnny’s talent agency. In other words, he shares their background (to a reasonable approximation). So, what does he have in store for his kouhai?

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0002013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 001

Sakurai-san starts the show reflecting on a difficult question he gets from reporters – “recently, what sorts of things have you gotten interested/involved in?” – and decides to ask the same question of the other members. Aiba-kun’s was high school baseball. At least they didn’t talk about who the guest might be – could be especially embarrassing for them in this case.

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0022013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 003

When Okada-san steps out of his undisclosed location and onto the stage, MatsuJun exclaims “shinsen!” (新鮮 – fresh), which is a pretty accurate description of Okada-san’s look on this occasion, not to mention the fact that he’s on this show.

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0042013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 005

After that, they get a key point straight. Ohno-san thought that Okada-san was his senpai in Johnny’s, but actually Ohno-san joined Johnny’s before Okada-san, so technically he’s the senpai (though not when it comes to debuting, of course – V6 is still senior to Arashi). Ohno-san takes on an amusing posture when he realizes this.

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0062013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0072013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 008

In the end, they settle for saying that they’re contemporaries. After all, they both celebrated turning twenty at the same time (at the Coming-of-Age ceremony in January of 2001).

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0092013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0102013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 011

Next, it was time for Okada-san to bring out his gifts to Arashi, and these were entirely particular to the members – not just varying by color on the same theme, but totally different from person to person. I want to leave them as a surprise, but can’t resist giving away the first one for flavor. Okada-san gave Sakurai-san a pair of books written by Yamada Muneki-san. I’m not too sure what they’re about, but Sakurai-san somehow looked younger while flipping through it.

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0122013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0132013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0142013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 015

Otherwise, I thought his gift to Aiba-kun was especially nifty, but Ohno-san was probably the one who came away happiest.

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0162013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0172013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 018

Okada-san’s assistants for the evening were classmates of his in middle school – the comedy duo COWCOW. I’m not at all a fan of COWCOW, but at least there’s a good reason from them to be appearing in this episode.

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0192013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0202013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0212013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0222013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 023

The plan for is to take a trip through time, starting with 1995 and NHK’s rehearsal room 709. They even have the set populated with people in 90s style, complete with a guy talking on a cell phone with an antenna fit for transmitting to Mars (apparently Ohno-san had something similar at the time) and a woman dressed in the fashion popularized by Amuro Namie-san.

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0242013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0252013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0262013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 027

Through their trip through time, Okada-san has apologies for each of the Arashi members. In 1995, the member he addresses is Ohno-san, and the topic seems to be the senpai thing again. The audience can’t muster much of an “eh!” for this, but some still do it despite the fact that it’s already been talked about and therefore not a surprise.

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0282013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0292013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 030

Basically, Sakurai-san explains that, while they were juniors, Ohno-san was the senpai, but once Okada-san debuted with V6, he became the senpai. Well, it’s not nearly as awkward as the senpai-kouhai situation between Sexy Zone’s Marius-kun and most of the juniors right now, right?

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0312013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 032

There are some other background stories to all this, and I hope someone subs this episode. I’m sort of surprised it hasn’t been subbed already, but that’s probably because of the flurry around the Popcorn DVD release.

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0332013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 034

Okada-san moved on to Aiba-kun next, and this one was a real apology. Apparently, Okada-san has not recollection of Aiba-kun – to the point where, when Arashi debuted, he wondered who Aiba-kun was, recognizing the other four but not him. Nino-kun notes that he’s never seen Okada-san and Aiba-kun speak with each other.

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0352013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0362013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0372013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 038

This led to the question – was Aiba-kun ever really a V6 backdancer? Well, they decided to find out by having all the members of Arashi try to perform the key parts to the choreography for “Music for the People”, “Ai Nanda”, and “Made in Japan”. Can they remember the dances after all this time?

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0392013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0402013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 041

Actually, they do remarkably well considering how long it’s been and how many dances they’ve had to remember in the interim. But what about Aiba-kun? Did he prove he was really a V6 backdancer?

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0422013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0432013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0442013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0452013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 046

To Nino-kun, Okada-san apologizes for not knowing what’s good to talk with him about. It was probably the least exciting of the five parts.

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0472013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0482013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0492013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 050

Nino-kun sure had an interesting sequence of mannerisms, though:

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0512013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0522013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0532013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 054

If I’m translating it correctly, Okada-san’s “gomen” to MatsuJun was because he has no confidence to respond to Matsumoto-kun’s glare. Unsurprisingly, MatsuJun looked quite pleased with himself after hearing this. Okada-san cited a particular scene from the 2005 film “Tokyo Tower”, in which both of them acted.

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0552013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0562013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0572013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 058

At this point, we got the best part of the episode, with Okada-san deciding to demonstrate some action scene techniques – especially throwing techniques (投げ技 – nagewaza). The unlucky bad guy was played by COWCOW’s Tada Kenji-san in probably the best work I’ve seen him do so far. The first move eventually had Tada-san crying uncle – actually, he was shouting that he was the senpai.

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0592013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0602013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0612013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0622013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 063

After demonstrating the move, Okada-san had MatsuJun, Sakurai-san, and Ohno-san battle it out. Ohno-san looked ready to object on senpai grounds, too, but didn’t.

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0642013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 065

Finally, it was time for Okada-san to address Sakurai-san. He didn’t apologize – instead, the blurb basically said “you’ve gotten big, haven’t you?” (お前、大きくなったな – omae, ookiku natta na), which was sort of an anticlimax. Okada-san talked about how Sakurai-san has changed since the days they worked on Kisarazu Cat’s Eye in 2002, when Sakurai-san played the character nicknamed Bambi. The particulars will require translation that is beyond my meager powers.

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0662013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0672013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 068

To round out the episode, Okada-san and Sakurai-san did a talk in the style of a scene from that 2002 drama.

2013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0692013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0702013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0712013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 0722013.04.20 Arashi ni Shiyagare 073

With two significant exceptions – the V6 backdancing part and the fight scene part – this was a talk-heavy episode that will be tough for English-speakers to follow without subtitles. Those two exceptional bits, though, are definitely worth watching the episode for. Oh, and the gift bit at the beginning, too.

It was a good episode, though not as boisterous as I was expecting. I had calibrated to other occasions when Johnny’s members were the guest, but Okada-san is much more laid-back than Nagase Tomoya-san, for instance. Okada-san blends in well with the prevailing tone of Arashi and they were clearly comfortable around him, but I prefer guests to get the guys a bit more excited.

The Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi? Okada-san certainly made sure all the members got some time in the focus, but I think Ohno-san, Matsumoto-kun, and Sakurai-san had the best parts. Of those, I think Ohno-san had the best collection of moments from his outrage at not realizing he was the real senpai at the start to his reluctance to get into a three-way fight with Sakurai-san and MatsuJun late in the episode, so he gets the MOA. Then again, Sakurai-san had that moment when he opened and read from his new book and also the special scene with Okada-san at the end. So . . . call it a tie between Ohno-san and Sakurai-san for this one.