VS Arashi (VS 嵐 ) is a game show hosted by the idol group Arashi, who compete against a different team of entertainers every week. The guest team this time was an athlete team – representatives of the Yokohama F. Marinos (横浜F・マリノス) – a J-League Division 1 soccer team. But before we get to them . . . .

The show began with Sakurai-san hinting at the proximity of Ninomiya-kun’s birthday – June 17th (happy belated 30th birthday to Nino-kun!).

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But Ohno-san took the hint to be referring to Kazama Shunsuke-kun’s birthday – he’s also turning 30 on June 17th.

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Nino-kun points out the change in the length of his shorts by age.

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Then the Marinos descended onto the stage. The team’s representatives were Nakamura Shunsuke-san (中村 俊輔), Nakazawa Yuji-san (中澤 佑二), Tomisawa Seitaro-san (富澤 清太郎), Hyodo Shingo-san (兵藤 慎剛), Nakamachi Kosuke-san (中町 公祐), Amano Takashi-san (天野 貴史), and the team mascot. As usual with athletes, I’m looking for them to be strongly competitive in the games, but perhaps not as entertaining otherwise. Some athlete teams have proven to be engaging TV personalities, but this line-up . . . probably not.

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With a soccer team present, there’s no doubt that the last game will be Kicking Sniper, though.

The plus one guests were the Ogiyahagi comedy team – Ogi Hiroaki-san and Yahagi Ken-san. They work with Arashi often, so I expect they’ll chip in with humor appropriately and will otherwise be unobtrusive. Solid comic pros.

Yahagi-san calls Ogi-san the “Marinos Murdering Ogi”. Could the mild-mannered Ogi-san possibly live up to a nickname like that?

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The first game was Korokoro Viking with Arashi up first.

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This time, instead of a -50 point slot, they had a -30 point one. Announcer Itou-san prompted MatsuJun to explain why the handicap has been modified, and the Arashi member just came straight out with it – since April, Arashi has had 1 win and 8 losses. And let’s face it, out of all the games they play, they’ve been most disappointing in this one – hitting the -50 point slot with depressing consistency.

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Itou-san wonders whether that’s the reason why MatsuJun is wearing a SORRY tee-shirt today.

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After an Ogiyahagi moment . . .

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. . . we found out whether the Arashi team would start the day on the right foot. Ogiyahagi and MatsuJun had the goal-scoring zone, but all the action was actually in the pink zone controlled by Nino-kun and Aiba-kun.

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The Marinos were up next. Whenever Itou-san addressed one of them, a graphic dossier with their name, position, number, height, weight, age, and significant details popped up. That was handy. No graphic when they spoke up spontaneously, though.

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I think they had fun with the game:

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Next was Cliff Climb (with Ogi-san stealing the title call from MatsuJun), and Aiba-kun and Ohno-san were the climbers for the Arashi team. But this wasn’t a normal Cliff Climb . . .

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. . . but a new version with a piece jutting out, begging the climbers to do something crazy.

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The supporters looked up at it in awe or with furrowed brows of concern when it was revealed. Already, they were trying to formulate plans on how to tackle it.

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But with Aiba-kun climbing, it was his unique approach that we got treated to in this episode. Will it be Genius Aiba or Dame Aiba taking on this new challenge?

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No matter how you look at it, it seems totally crazy.

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Were the Marinos prepared for something like this? Were Amano-san and Tomisawa-san confident in their climbing abilities? You’ll have to watch to find out!

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Except for Kicking Sniper, when you think of goal scoring games on VS Arashi, it’s natural to think of Bound Hockey. It’s another one of the games that has been getting less play in the era of Korokoro Viking-Pinball Runner-Cliff Climb-Kicking Sniper, but we got to see it this time. Arashi left the scoring to their ace Ninomiya-kun, who was ready to do his last great work as a twenty-nine year old.

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But will the others be able to get the pucks to him, or will they prove a bit rusty at this game?

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I must have missed how Ogi-san got 45 degrees associated with his name. He didn’t do any passing or shooting in this game.

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They wrapped up the day with Kicking Sniper, as expected, and it took sixteen minutes – more than a third – of the show. The extra length was due to the fact that they played two rounds of the game so that all the members of the guest team could get a crack at it.

Up first for Arashi were Matsumoto-kun, Ohno-san, and Aiba-kun.

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MatsuJun prompted Ogi-san to give them advice, and he suggested that Ohno-san should be substituted out. Ohno-san tried to say something sharp, but just ended up laughing.

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The pros went up with their first three. Nakazawa-san pointed out that this is their profession, and if they can’t do it, they might as well quit. To which Ogi-san immediately piped in that he’d like them to quit.

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Nakazawa-san was actually pretty good with the humor during this game.

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Sakurai-san, Ogi-san, and Ninomiya-kun took the final round for Arashi. Sakurai-san had changed out of his original sneakers and into soccer cleats – actually, he traded with one of the Marinos. Clearly he’s taking this seriously and wants to avoid yet another loss in this season . . . right?

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How will Ogi-san do? And will Nino-kun do well in this last game of his twenties even though he’s not much of a soccer guy?

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All that was left after that was the Marinos’ turn.

This was a very game-oriented episode. There weren’t many side antics, but the games themselves provided good entertainment, so it ended up being a very satisfying episode. As expected, the soccer players mainly contributed by the way they played the games, though Nakazawa-san had those good moments near the end. Ogiyahagi did a well-balanced job of injecting healthy doses of humor.

The Arashi guys also all had their moments. Nino-kun had the birthday bits and his role as Bound Hockey goal scorer. Sakurai-san had the shoe swap. Ohno-san had both unique Cliff Climb situation as well as the exchange with Ogi-san during Kicking Sniper. Matsumoto-kun had the explanation during Korokoro Viking including his SORRY tee-shirt.

But for Arashi, the Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi was Aiba-kun, entirely for his game performances including the Cliff Climb attempt and his Kicking Sniper effort. The birthday boy Ninomiya-kun was in second, but Aiba-kun’s work was simply more . . . monumental. The Cliff Climb is must-watch stuff.