VS Arashi (VS 嵐 ) is a game show hosted by the idol group Arashi, who compete against a different team of entertainers every week. And this is a special episode of VS Arashi. It’s not special because it’s any longer than usual, or because the guest team is particularly noteworthy. No, it’s special because of the plus-one guest added to the Arashi team – KAT-TUN’s Kamenashi Kazuya-kun, who is on to promote his new movie, “Ore Ore”.

But before we get to him, we have to go through the preliminaries. In particular, there’s the issue of Arashi having five straight losses since the beginning of the season in April. A side-effect of this losing streak is that they haven’t done the 10-second challenges at the end of the show, and therefore haven’t been using the equipment that’s always brought in just in case they need it.

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Of course, that just brought to mind all the sets they aren’t using – especially the one for the new game Popcorn Hitter, which they’ve played . . . has it only been twice or three times?

Moving right along, the opposition to Arashi this week was the AB blood type team. That’s right – a bunch of TV talents (mostly comedians) who happen to share the same blood type. Like I suggested at the start, it seems like one of the standard filler teams they have between the drama/movie teams or the sports teams.

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The members of the AB team were Yanagisawa Shingo-san, DAIGO-san, Kikukawa Rei-san, Fujii Rina-san, Nakayama Kinnikun, and Tsuchida Teruyuki-san.

There’s some discussion about whether Aiba-kun should be on their team, since he’s an AB type while the rest of Arashi is type-A, but that doesn’t happen. In case some readers don’t know, the Japanese take the association of blood type to personality type a lot more seriously than we do in the United States, sometimes to a jaw-dropping extent. Arranging teams by blood type is just the tip of the iceberg.

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Anyway, after they get a laugh out of it (and Shingo-san does one of the annoying gags that we’ll see too much of in this episode), Arashi decides to keep Aiba-kun . . .

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. . . and to bring on the aforementioned Kamenashi-kun, who immediately apologizes for being a type B. This is his first time on an Arashi show, by the way.

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To start the games off, Shingo-san is up to run for team AB in Pinball Runner, with Tsuchida-san, Fujii-san, and Kikukawa -san supporting.

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At least this time, Shingo-san cracks some jokes instead of doing a set gag.

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Arashi sent Kamenashi-kun up there, of course – if their kouhai wants to promote his movie on their show, they ought to make him sweat a little for it – and he got the narrowed basket Arashi usually run with to make the game fair to the other team. The Arashi guys wondered why he got the more restricted basket, and announcer Itou-san explained that it had to so with Shingo-san, but I’m not sure of the circumstances.

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Ninomiya-kun and Ohno-san were the supporters, and we found out that Ohno-san did a portrait of Kamenashi-kun for Kamenashi’s birthday.

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There’s a question of why Ohno-san did the portrait, but it strikes me as an entirely traditional gift – especially if the one who’s giving it is the artist – so I don’t really understand the question.

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By the way, it seemed really hard to hear the numbers being shouted over all the fans this time.

After Kamenashi-kun’s run, he had more work to do, as he was up with Aiba-kun and Ninomiya-kun for Kicking Sniper. If I’m interpreting their conversation right, the three of them all ride the same rail line, and they talked about eating ramen along the line.

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Somehow, during the conversation, Kamenashi-kun lost the left shoulder of his jacket. Yes, the move comes that naturally to him. Kicking, however, does not –  he’s a baseball guy, not a soccer guy.

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The AB team had DAIGO, Kinnikun, and Fujii-san kicking.

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Last time DAIGO-san appeared, he came up with a legendary rocker kick. Will he do it again here, or is he not up to it?

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Bank Bowling was next, with Kikukawa-san and Tsuchida-san handling the first throws for team AB.

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I don’t know why Tsuchida-san prompted her to do it, but Kikukawa-san did what sounded like a bird caw.

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Will that end up giving them luck on their throw? If they get a strike, will everybody start doing crow caws when they get up to bowl?

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Well, Shingo-san has his own way to inject amusement into things. This time, it was half joke, half gag.

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Sakurai-san just stole Kinnikun’s “power-!” gag when he went up there with Kamenashi-kun.

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Finally, they managed to bring up Kamenashi-kun and baseball, but I’d need subtitles to get a definite sense of Sakurai-san’s story. I think he got Kamenashi-kun to teach him how to pitch for a drama role, and things got interesting from there.

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Bowling is sort of like pitching, right?

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MatsuJun and Ohno-san batted cleanup, but they had a little dispute that served as a setup for Shingo-san to pull out a set gag in which he acts like a police officer.

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If it hasn’t been obvious, the games have been sort of a shrug so far, but at least Cliff Climb should be fun to watch. Nakayama Kinnikun and DAIGO-san took on the wall for Team AB, and DAIGO played it seriously. Actually, it seems like he decided to aim for cool in this episode, leaving the funny stuff to the actual comedians.

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Kamenashi-kun and MatsuJun were the climbers for the Arashi team. Kamenashi-kun is sure trying hard in this episode – he’s been at the center of things in every game.

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Before the start, the question was whether the two climbers had any recollections to share.

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After the talk, MatsuJun handled the quick right side, leaving the center and left to Kamenashi-kun. How will the KAT-TUN member do?

They gave him a chance to plug his movie after the climb. It’s out now, and just the sheer number of roles Kamenashi-kun plays in it warrants plenty of interest. I’m definitely curious about how it’ll turn out.

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The last game was, of course, Korokoro Viking.

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I thought we might get through an episode without it, but Nakayama-san decided to so his Kinnikun Roulette gag, where he . . . I’m not going to try to put it into words – you’ll have to watch to find out, if you don’t know what it is already.

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The Arashi team had the final crack at it. Will they be able to end their losing streak, or will this end in yet another disappointment? Surely, they would be even more embarrassed to lose than usual with their kouhai doing his best to help out?

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There were three main angles to this episode. There was the Kamenashi angle, which was a strong positive, the Kinnikun “power-!” angle, which was a mild distraction everyone tapped into as a running gag, and finally the Yanagisawa Shingo angle, which was really irritating. Well, Shingo-san was irritating unless you enjoy his brand of humor, of course.

Otherwise, the games were the same old stuff again, so I can’t avoid complaining about the fact that the producers seem reluctant to use all those other sets they’ve produced. Why not mix things up a bit more?

While there were plenty of Kamenashi-related moments from the Arashi members, the one that seemed the most involved was Sakurai-san’s story. That, combined with his “power-!” moment and other comments designed to set things up made him the Most Omoshiroi Arashi for this episode. The runners-up were Ohno-san and Matsumoto-kun. Each of them had their own Kamenashi moment, but they also had that little fight to set up Shingo-san’s gag. That would have gotten them more points if I thought much of the gag itself.

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