This is the second regular episode of Kis-My-BUSAIKU  (キスマイ ブサイク), a variety show which features the members of the idol group Kis-My-Ft2 trying to prove that their cool instead of, as the title suggests, unappealing. To do so, they will each be put in a situation where they have to show their coolness (all seven members face the same scenario in each episode) and then will be ranked by a panel of a hundred members of the opposite sex.

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Throughout the show, they annoyingly put the rank of the member we’re watching in the bottom right corner. To avoid spoiling things too much, I’ve blurred that bit in each of the offending screenshots. I’ll discuss the members in alphabetical order to avoid giving away anything by preserving the order they appeared in the show. If anyone knows about any free software that can batch-blur a bunch of image, please mention it in a comment. Doing them one-by-one is tedious.

Miyata-kun and Nikaido-kun are hoping to avoid being the losers again, but I wouldn’t place any bets on them up front. Here, they face the perennial top three of the group – Tamamori-kun, Fujigaya-kun, and Kitayama-kun. Will we at least see someone else break into the top three?

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Will anyone be able to take Fujigaya-kun down a notch?

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The guest was Yahagi Ken-san of Ogiyahagi, and after he got the point of BUSAIKU down . . .

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. . . it was time for the members to hear from the judges.

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The scenario this time is the way to steal a kiss while watching a movie DVD.

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The movie in question provides plenty of scenes to do what they have to, and it’s up to them to pick the scene they prefer.

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It didn’t take long for Yahagi-san to figure out who the previous losers were and to start picking on them. I guess it’s always convenient for a comedian to have an obvious target. Poor Nikaido-kun. I don’t know how the comparison to Degawa-san came about, but that’s not the person you want to be compared to when you have to do a love scene.

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Taking a look at how they did, Fujigaya-kun starts out quite close to the girlfriend . . .

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. . . and get closer . . .

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. . . and gives all sorts of contact signals to indicate that he’s planning to move in. There are times, watching him at work, that I think the shark leitmotif from Jaws might be appropriate background music.

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Kitayama-kun started out more distant from the girlfriend than any of the others, but quickly remedied that situation.

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He picked a straightforward love scene during which to make his move.

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Somehow, it’s always the placement of the hand that’s the tricky part, isn’t it? Just a slight difference in the way a guy rests his hand on his loved one, and it can turn a scene from tender to cringe-worthy.

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Miyata-kun made the all-time most puzzling first move – in a misguided attempt to be considerate about the temperature, he found something to cover up the girlfriend’s legs. As Fujigaya-kun could tell him, there are other ways to warm up a loved one. This move just gave the opposite signal, increasing the symbolic distance between them.

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Of all the members, Nikaido-kun is the one who most needs a boost. Will the panel give him a chance?

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Well, even I can see that his eventual choice of seating arrangement was awkward:

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It’s always better to play it as naturally as possible, and that move from Nikaido-kun violated that rule. It also wasn’t very practical in that it actually made it more difficult for them to kiss.

There was a striking gap between Senga-kun and the girlfriend, and that space remained unfilled for an extraordinary amount of time.

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The arm move might have been smoother if he had moved in closer to her first.

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Tamamori-kun also decided to go with a humorous scene for his kiss (and wasn’t the only one to pick this scene). How will this unconventional strategy turn out?

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I think the screenshots tell you all you need to know about Yokoo-kun’s performance – notice his arms:

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Who begins a romantic scene with arms folded like that? Is there a more forbidding pose? It looks like he’s totally not interested.

In between the videos from each member, there’s some token discussion, but it’s mostly about Yahagi-san attacking the easy targets.

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Yahagi-san did end the show with a little anecdote of his own, including a word about his partner in comedy – Ogi-san.

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There weren’t any other segments this time, so that was the entirety of the show.

I feel a bit odd critiquing the romantic attempts of other guys, but it’s also oddly instructive to be able to see what works and what doesn’t from a third-person point-of-view. Might even help me out in my fiction-writing. The comments from the hundred-woman panel are interesting, too, though I wonder to what extent there are cultural differences. I also wonder whether how many of the women are Kis-My-Ft2 fans or otherwise have preconceived notions about the members. Broadly speaking, though, I think they ranked the members with reasonable fairness +/- one rank.

I know the group and the show has “kiss” built into their names, but I hope this isn’t going to be Japan’s first kissing variety show (assuming it would be the first). It looks like the next episode doesn’t involve kissing, but it’s still romantic in nature. Comments on the first episode reassured me that there’ll be a range of scenarios, so I’ll continue to hope. The format of the series is great and has a lot of potential, but they’re going to have to be inventive with the situations to retain my interest.