This episode of Johnnys’ Jr. Land continued the challenge introduced in the April 22nd episode, in which the two teams took on ajata (アジャタ – an acronym for All Japan Tamaire) – trying to toss bags into a basket on top of a pole. After the challenge, there was the usual Jr. Dream Live as well as an Answer Stations segment.

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The pink team was Yamashita Kazunari-kun, Kajiyama Asahi-kun, and Akiba Ryusei-kun. The blue team was Tanimura Ryuichi-kun, Kobayashi Mizuki-kun, and Wakiyama Rei-kun.

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The record-holding team gave them pointers in the last episode, so this time it was up to them to show what they could do. Last time, they could barely get the bags up there, so have they improved enough to record a decent time?

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Normally, teams have six members, so each team had three members of the championship team supporting them, but those experienced players will only gathered the bags up for them – the juniors had to do all the tossing. Each team went three times, and there was peripheral play-by-play and commentary from Mogi-san and the leader of the champion team.

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There’s no real substitute for watching them give it their best try. Of course, I’m not going to ruin it by saying how things turned out, except to say that they did fairly well, but with huge time variations between tries – getting the last couple in seemed to be a particular pain. It’s a good thing each team got three tries, just so that we could see the best they could do.

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After the three attempts, the teams awaited the announcement of the result. They were judged on the sum of the three times.

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But that wasn’t where the challenge ended.

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Instead, the teams joined forces to take on the Japanese record of 10.91 seconds – a time which is an order of magnitude faster than they managed to do on average during the blue vs. pink competition. How close could they get?

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You will, of course, have to watch to find out. They plugged away at it for what looked like a while (with most of it edited out). Mogi-san did get some of his excellent photos, though.

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Ah, to be young! I bet I’d be sore after an hour of playing this game, and it looked like they were at it for much longer than that, including the practice from the previous episode.

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After the challenge segment, we got an extremely long Answer Station segment – so long that they interrupted it with the Dream Live, then went back to it. Takehashi Saneyasu-kun and Kawasaki Shota-kun supported Matsukura Kaito-kun as he read fan responses to two of his concerns.

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Matsukura-kun’s first concern was that, because of his shyness, it takes him time to make friends. His second was that, despite being in his third year of middle school, he keeps getting mistaken for an elementary school student. Both very legitimate difficulties.

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I’m not going to detail the responses to his worries (which would surpass my translation abilities) except to say that the segment took around twenty minutes . . .

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.  . . and Kaito-kun did some dancing, and his subsequent attempt to introduce himself while dancing led to much mirth:

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The Dream Live featured Kinki Kids’ “Boku no Senaka ni wa Hane ga Aru”, “Misty”, NEWS’ “Kibou ~Yell~”, “LOVE together” with lyrics from Domoto Koichi-san. It was a pretty standard junior medley, in other words.

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Somehow, the camera work and staging on this show seems so much better than on Shounen Club. Is it just because of the smaller stage? Maybe they just don’t have enough cameras for the NHK Hall stage when shooting Shounen Club.

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Anyway, the result is that we seem to get a better look at how each of them is performing, and this seemed to be a rather balanced stage, with at least six of them getting prominent camera attention.

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Back to the concerns of Matsukura Kaito-kun, they went on to concern number two.

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The first highlight was the expressions on Kawasaki-kun’s face, and actually the contrast between his expressiveness and Saneyasu-kun’s lack thereof (Saneyasu-kun was delightfully un-idol-ish through all of this) . . .

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. . . but then a recommendation to wear a hat to seem a bit older led Kaito-kun to try some amusing looks of his own.

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Do you think this hairstyle makes him look more like a middle-schooler? I think it could work.

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And there you have it. Normally, such a long talk segment would leave me bored, but it ended up reasonably fun, especially because the topics being discussed were straightforward and focused. Obviously, the challenge segment was fun to watch because the juniors were trying their best this time. The performance was above average with good songs and broad participation.

So, call this a step up from the last episode, deserving of an 8 out of 10. The main fault was in the challenge, which wasn’t as interesting to watch as some of the more creative things they try (like the false perspective photography before it).

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