This is the second episode of Nino-san (ニノさん), and I’m basically looking for one thing: minimal use of VTRs. The first episode was so heavy on the inserted videos that it made the show drag. Thankfully, Nino-san is in the prototype phase – they’re trying out ten different formats, and will ultimately pick one to run with. So, will the format we see this time rely on VTRs like a crutch, or will it show more faith in Ninomiya-kun’s ability to keep the show interesting? My limit is one-third of the show as VTRs – or seven minutes and forty seconds.

The show begins with the corner where the main guest slaps a critique onto Ninomiya-kun. Kondo Haruna-san had the honors this time, and her complaint (translating badly) was that they can’t be seen as the same age (or some variation thereof – I’m not clear on the grammar). Technically, Kondo-san turned thirty, but Nino-kun will do so as well in a month and a half. I’m not too sure about the point of this.

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She had a second complaint to stick on him, but that was just a way to make him prompt her to do her famous gag.

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The main segment starts after that, and I’m ready to jot down how long the VTRs take. I hope there aren’t any, but that’s a pipe dream.

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Actually, whenever you see a panel like this, you can bet on VTRs:

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Joining Ninomiya-kun and Haruna-san were Haruka-san (Haruna’s comedic partner in Harisenbon), IKKO-san, and Yamamura Momiji-san (山村紅葉).

They had hardly appeared when the announcer told Nino-kun to start the VTR. So, here we go . . . .

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The topic is おネエ (onee), men who deliberate try to appear like women, including transvestites and transsexuals, and to narrow that broad category down, they’re specifically going after those in the northern-most prefecture (Hokkaido) and the southern-most (Okinawa).

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Unfortunately, instead of sending Nino-kun himself into their dens (like they used to do to Ohno-san in the old days), the show sent a staff member.

As you can see from the screenshots, some of the onee look pretty convincing:

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Most of them are obvious, especially when they start speaking . . .

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. . . but presumably the ones who will appear in-studio will be the most convincing.

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This graphic attempt to impress us with the significant journey between Hokkaido and Okinawa. For some reason, 2,300 km doesn’t look like very much when you’ve been watching Johnny’ Journeys or, to go to even more extremes, Itte Q.

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Is there a difference between Hokkaido Onee and those in Okinawa?

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Deviating a bit from the topic, the staff member heads into an Okinawa gay bar, where he finds forty-year-old Akira-san, who the little graphic at the bottom says is like Tanoshingo-san. You be the judge.

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How long was that VTR? I have it at six minutes and sixteen seconds, so we’re already pretty close to my limit.

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They bring out the onee beauties from Hokkaido and Okinawa.

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And they also brought on this guy:

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An interview ensues, but rather than being interested in the guests, I was more attentive to who was interacting with them.

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While Nino-kun made some comments, he did so to Haruna-san. Haruna-san was the one who engaged with the guests.

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But they weren’t going to let Nino-kun get out of the episode that easily, forcing him to have a little scene with one of the onee guests. He looked quite reluctant, and didn’t really run with the scene for comic effect. It seemed like he was just trying to survive it.

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Thankfully, the director had some more craziness planned with this guy . . .

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. . . but I have no idea how to describe the ‘game’ they played, except that Nino-kun didn’t want to do this, either.

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But at least it was funny. Is Nino-kun’s role in this format going to be the reluctant participant in crazy things? That wouldn’t be too bad . . .

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But then he cued another VTR, but don’t worry – it was just 24 seconds. Still under the limit. It was meant to introduce two new guests – a super rich entertainer and a super poor entertainer.

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Here, it was nice to see Nino-kun start the discussion, but why was he leaning so much toward Haruna-san?

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Another brief VTR explained the rich entertainer’s way to success (12 seconds).

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We find out that the guy’s rich because his father is a sports doctor and his mother is a descendant of Bach, which the Japanese humorously and confusingly pronounce “Ba-ha”.

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This lucky guy got a recording studio as a Christmas present. In a sheer fit of jealousy, I’m not going to talk about him anymore, but here’s some screenshots:

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Just when there was hope that we would stay under the limit I set in the beginning, they started another VTR, this one about the best and worst mascot characters.

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Have you noticed that there doesn’t seem to be much of a theme to this show? That could be a good thing or a bad thing, but having to introduce each item with a VTR really makes the show choppy.

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I think I’ll leave the best and worst mascots as surprises – it was certainly the cutest segment of the show.

Okay, so I said that my limit on the VTRs was seven minutes and forty seconds, and I genuinely drew that line before I started watching and timing them. How long were the VTRs in total? Well, according to my tally, they took seven minutes and forty-one seconds. But I could have easily been off a second or two. So . . . yeah.

I’ll let the VTR issue go on this one, but I really hope they do something a little more innovative with the other formats. This one felt a lot like many other shows – much like a half-hour version of Sakurai-san’s “Ima, Kono Kao ga Sugoi”, in fact. There was some craziness worthy of a variety show, but nothing to make this format stand out. The content was also depressingly haphazard.

The preview for the next episode makes it look like we’re going to get a lot of VTRs again. I’ll keep the same limit for the rest of the test formats, and we’ll see how they do.