This episode of VS Arashi features one of the most interesting drama/movie-cast teams we’ve seen appear this year, but before we get to them, the members of Arashi wonder what Aiba-kun will do with his free time in Golden Week. His answer is that he wants to play some baseball in his off-time.

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This is funny because Nino-kun’s dressed for the part:

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After Aiba-kun does Golden Bombers a bit of a favor, they call out the Toshokan Sensou (Library Wars) movie team. Led by V6’s Okada Junichi-san (who we just saw on Arashi ni Shiyagare), the team also has Eikura Nana-san, Tanaka Kei-san (who we saw in Biblia Koshodou, so he’s been closely tied to books recently), Fukushi Souta-san (福士蒼汰), Namioka Kazuki-san (波岡 一喜), and Ide Takuya-san (井出卓也). At first glance, the movie cast clearly brought out the strongest competitors from their ranks.

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What sort of help can the Arashi guys expect from the plus one guests?

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Well, they won’t have to worry about keeping the show interesting – the three members of Morisanchuu are all ready for action. They’re total pros, and always welcome, but they’re not going to be much help on terms of scoring points. Ooshima-san was, of course, totally nervous because she’s an Arashi fan as well as a devotee of this particular show.

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The first game was Bound Hockey with the Toshokan Sensou team taking the paddles. Okada-san starts out by saying he doesn’t want to lose, and talking a bit about playing soccer with his buddy Tanaka Kei-san . . .

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. . . but the real fun started when Ide-san revealed that he’s a big Johnny’s fan in general, going to concerts on his own (the “eh!” from the audience on this one was especially loud, and if you’ve ever seen Johnny’s concert footage, you probably understand why). He said that, win or lose, he’s just thrilled to be there, sharing air with Okada-san and Arashi. He then asked for a concert ticket. A fellow after my own heart.

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Ooshima-san wasn’t going to let that pass.

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Ide-san’s confession really put smiles on everybody, and the Toshokan Sensou team continued to be interesting. Fukushi-san had a word as well, and whatever he said had Okada-san breaking down going “kawaii! kawaii!” Can the Toshokan Sensou team refocus and get serious about the game?

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On Arashi’s turn, Kurosawa-san and Murakami-san of Morisanchuu took the first, least critical, spot, while Ooshima-san teamed up with Sakurai-san at the third spot. Aiba-kun was the goal-getter. Ooshima-san is a MatsuJun fan, though, and she soon abandoned Sakurai-san in order to stand behind MatsuJun.

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How will Aiba-kun do? Will the Morisanchuu-fortified team even be able to feed him the pucks?

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If Ide-san’s confession and Aiba-kun’s faces hadn’t guaranteed it already, the next game ensured that I would rate this a great episode. That’s because the next game was Falling Pipe.

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I like Falling Pipe for so many reasons, but perhaps the fact that we see it so rarely is biggest factor in my excitement. The first match-up was between Ohno-san choosing the pipes and Okada-san attempting to catch them.

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Of course, Ohno-san is still on the whole senpai-kouhai thing. Even though Okada-san’s group V6 is older than Arashi and therefore Arashi’s senpai, Ohno-san entered the Johnny’s agency before Okada-san did, so he wants to clarify the record. But will he be able to beat Okada-san in the game and demonstrate his primacy?

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After that, Eikura Nana-san was the pipe chooser, and MatsuJun was up to do the catching. They worked together in the movie Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru (I Love My Younger Sister) in 2007.

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From that, they went to Kicking Sniper. Okada-san, Tanaka-san, and Eikura-san kicked for the Toshokan team. Okada-san seems to be prone to untruths, as he says something about a soccer club and Tanaka-san corrects him by saying basketball club. Okada-san is sure doing his part to make the show interesting.

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For Arashi, the kickers were Morisanchuu, Sakurai-san, and Ninomiya-kun. Kurosawa-san referred to the performance from TOKIO’s Joshima-san in the April 4th episode, citing it as an ideal counterexample of how to play this game.

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With so much young blood in the mix, it’s no surprise that we got to see Cliff Climb in this episode, continuing the string of good, active games. Okada-san and Fukushi-san were up for the Toshokan team.

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Fukushi-san was clearly nervous, and asked what the grips were called, and then proceeded to say that he wouldn’t use any (additional ones tossed by the helpers – he did use the ones that were already up there). Can he put on a solid performance so Okada-san will have enough time?

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There was another good moment when the Toshokan team saluted the climbers, and the audience joined in with the salute. None of the screenshots caught it very well, so you’ll have to see it to get a sense of the moment. It had Okada-san cracking up again.

Aiba-kun and Ohno-san were the climbers for Arashi. Ohno-san continued to target Okada-san, but Okada-san was ready for it this time.

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Once again we wonder – how will Aiba-kun do? Will Ohno-san have enough time for his part of the climb (keeping in mind that he’s around the same age as Okada-san)?

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The last game of the night was Korokoro Viking. While it’s the least intrinsically exciting game they played, it benefited from the fact that it was absolutely critical. I guess that’s why they put it last so often.

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Don’t miss Ide-san saying that he’s sad because this is the last game and then Okada-san challenging him to do a sort of goodbye rap for Arashi. Okada-san claims that Ide-san likes Sakurai-san in particular, but is that the truth, or is this one of Okada-san’s fabrications? Listen to the rap to find out.

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Eikura-san decided to help Ide-san out with a tiny encore.

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So yeah, it was an excellent episode – a don’t-miss episode, even. The guests were all great – well, except that I don’t think I even noticed Namioka-san after the start. Okada-san was really on top of things, Eikura-san had some good moments, and Fukushi-san did, too. The unexpected star, of course, was Ide-san.

By the way, don’t miss Ooshima-san’s little performance after the games end. She was also fun to watch in this episode, though we didn’t see much from the other two members of Morisanchuu.

This was a particularly good set of games with none of the slow stuff like Rolling Coin Tower. Of course, the highlights were Falling Pipe and Cliff Climb, but even on the other games the pregame talks tended to be interesting.

The Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi definitely goes to Ohno-san, who was involved in both Falling Pipe and Cliff Climb to humorous effect, and also seemed totally engaged instead of distant. He continues to bounce back after being declared the Most-Most Dame Arashi at the end of last season. Second to him was Aiba-kun (mostly for game performances in Bound Hockey and Cliff Climb). The other three mostly acted as foils for the other people (especially Ooshima-san and Ide-san).