This episode of VS Arashi (VS 嵐) begins with the members of Arashi reflecting on their four straight losses to start the season, and Ohno-san’s declaration in the last episode that he was operating at 40% tension. Will he give 100% this time to make sure his team avoids a fifth straight loss (and to ensure he avoids the penalty for being the Most Dame Arashi)?

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The guest team was Team Kintaro, which included Kintaro-san, and the comedy duos TKO (Kimoto Takehiro-san and Kinoshita Takayuki-san), Masuda-Okada (ますだおかだ, which included Masuda Hidehiko-san and Okada Keisuke-san), and Ojino-zubon (オジンオズボーン, with Shinomiya Akira-san and Takamatsu Shinichi-san). With the possible exception of TKO, the rest are all TV B-teamers (including some silly gag comedians like Okada-san) who are appearing together because they’re all part of the same agency. I am, in other words, not thrilled with the line-up.

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The plus one guest was Otake Shinobu-san, and there was widespread surprise when she appeared. I don’t know much about her, but from the reactions, I guess she’s not considered the type that would normally appear on VS Arashi. Well, so much for that impression.

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Otake-san apparently has some association/friendship with Ninomiya-kun and Matsumoto-kun, but hasn’t appeared on Arashi shows before.

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The first game was Korokoro Viking – a change from having it as the last game. The Kintaro team were up first, and the spent an absurd amount of time doing gags before actually playing. The best they seem capable of is one-line monomane (impressions).

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With the Arashi team up, Otake-san and Nino-kun were in the goal-scoring zone. They’ve known each other since working together on the drama “Yasashii Jikan” in 2005, so will their chemistry be good?

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Otake-san sure has an amusing character, and MatsuJun comments that her mannerisms are a lot like Aiba-kun’s. While they play, her boisterousness and laughter in the face of everything seemed reminiscent of Aiba-kun’s high-tension moments.

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After that, they went on to Cliff Climb, with Matsumoto-kun and Sakurai-san going up for Arashi.

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They decided that Otake-san alone would be responsible for tossing them the grips. Will her aim be true, or will she collapse in a fit of laughter on the first miss?

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Actually, there’s no point hiding the fact that Otake-san did very well. To celebrate, Sakurai-san did a gag to upstage the comedians, saying “flying get” (Kintaro-san does an AKB48 monomane of the song “Flying Get”, so he sort of preempted her attempt to do her thing).

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Unfortunately, that meant that when Kintaro-san went up with Shinomiya-san for Cliff Climb, she insisted on doing her “Flying Get” routine. On the bright side, the people controlling the safety rope for her decided to have some fun with the situation.

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To her credit, I think Kintaro-san did an okay job on the climb – she’s clearly in good physical form.

Bank Bowling came after that, and Aiba-kun paired up with Otake-san first. Otake-san continued to be amusing – commenting that she had absolutely no confidence and giving Aiba-kun a funny look after their throw.

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Nino-kun and Ohno-san batted clean-up. Ohno-san admitted his tension meter had reached 50%.

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For the Kintaro team, Kinoshita-san and Masuda-san went first. They’re baseball teammates, and have played against Aiba-kun’s team. Masuda-san had a story to tell about Aiba-kun’s air-headedness.

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Okada-san and Takamatsu-san tried to knock down the remaining pins to get a spare. To my surprise, the announcer said that the spare bonus was only 50 points. Considering how rare it is (that is, it’s never happened), I would have thought it should come with at least a hundred.

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At this point, Otake-san really impressed me, deciding to run for the Arashi team in Pinball Runner. I think this is probably the game involving the second-most physical exertion, next to Cliff Climb, and Otake-san looked much more confident tackling this than doing Bank Bowling.

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Kintaro-san chose this moment to do her Otake-san impression. But it wasn’t an impression of Otake-san now – it was based on something Otake-san did all the way back in 1986. I didn’t think much of the monomane (and neither did Otake-san), but at least it reminded us that Otake-san is fifty-five years old. I wonder who the oldest Pinball Runner was.

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Kintaro-san did penance for her monomane by being the runner for her team. Or was it because she wanted a chance to do her Maeda Atsuko impression?

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Her supporters had a really interesting way of calling out numbers, doing it chorus style – with one of them shouting and then all the others shouting the same number in unison. It’d be interesting to see the Arashi guys try the same thing one time.

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The last game was, of course, Kicking Sniper (the other common ending game, alongside Korokoro Viking). The Arashi team sent Otake-san, Ohno-san, and Matsumoto-kun.

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Ohno-san increased his tension level to 80%. His announcement of that prompted Otake-san to ask what tension level he had during concerts and musical performances, and he said 0% during the solos of the other members and 180% during his own.

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Evaluating this episode of VS Arashi is really easy – Otake-san was a delight to watch, and pretty much the only reason to see the episode – aside from the usual interest driven by the Arashi members themselves, of course.. This was the first time I’ve seen Kintaro-san, and she earned some points in my mind with her spirit – especially when tackling the games – but the rest of her team was quite mediocre.

The mix of games was entirely typical. They didn’t mix in any of the games we rarely see, even though there’s many more of those than there are regularly-played games now.

Who was the Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi of this episode? That’s really tough to say. The Ohno tension meter thing went on through the entire episode, but this time he didn’t really do anything else interesting. He just kept the running gag going and didn’t initiate anything new in this episode. Sakurai-san did spark some interesting moments, especially around Cliff Climb, where his performance in the game was good, too. So . . . are we going to end up with the same two that have been trading the MOA back and forth since the start of the season?

Taking a look at the other members, MatsuJun was also a part of the Cliff Climb, and also had an interesting part to play in the end. The best moments for Aiba-kun and Nino-kun both involved their interactions with Otake-san (Aiba-kun during Bank Bowling and Nino-kun during Korokoro Viking).

So . . . yeah, I think I’ll go with Ohno-san and Sakurai-san as the joint Most Omoshiroi Arashis of the episode, but I wouldn’t say there was a huge gap between the members in this one.