This episode of Maido Jani (まいど ジャーニ~) was a special one because while the five junior hosts we’d been used to seeing started the show . . .

2012.10.31 Maido Jani 000 2012.10.31 Maido Jani 001 2012.10.31 Maido Jani 002 2012.10.31 Maido Jani 003. . . they made their introductions quick (just saying their names) so that we could get to the new member of Kin Kan and sixth host of the show – Hirano Sho-kun.

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So, for the first time, the gang’s all here. After a silly little pun on the term for fifth episode (第五回 – daigo-kai) and Nishihata Daigo-kun’s name . . .

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. . . everyone settled in and got ready to introduce the guest.

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The topic of the show was ‘senpai’ – something all the young hosts should have plenty to say about, as usual – so it was only natural that they would bring on the Kansai junior senpai, Kiriyama Akito-kun.

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I’ll admit to being of two minds about having Kiriyama-kun on here, though. After all, it was only two episodes ago that he was the topic of the show and there were plenty of others they could have had on instead – Nakama Junta-kun, for instance. On the positive side, Kiriyama-kun is always an engaging character, and there should be no concerns that this will be a boring episode.

Kiriyama-kun started by talking about a certain pose he was shown doing in the October 17th episode.

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Once they settled down, the first topic was naturally the senpai each of them admire.

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Kaneuchi Toma-kun was the first one to speak up, and he did so excitedly, speaking so fast that all I could understand was that he was talking about SMAP. He ultimately singled out Kusanagi-san as his admired senpai.

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Mukai-kun then prompted newest member Hirano Sho-kun to present his choice and for some reason he started out by laughing, and then seemed completely caught off-guard as if he was somewhere else completely. Actually, there was a definite sense that he had been daydreaming, and was laughing at whatever he was thinking about. You’re on TV man, get it together!

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After saying “maido” as sort of a reset button (and giving Kiriyama-kun a laugh in the process), he picked Yamashita Tomohisa-kun and got a high-five from Nagase Ren-kun for that choice. Among other things, he cited the drama Proposal Daisakusen, which is one that I haven’t watched (I don’t generally do romance).

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I wish I knew what Kiriyama-kun was on about after Hirano-kun had his say.

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Onishi-kun picked his elder sister, who is in her third year of middle school. No Sato Shori-kun this time? Well, it’s probably better not to go with that pattern too consistently, anyway.

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Mukai-kun went with KinKi Kids’ Domoto Tsuyoshi-san. Whatever he said brought some funny remarks from Onishi-kun and Nagase-kun.

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Daigo-kun’s answer for admired senpai was Mukai-kun, which got him a hug. Enough said, right?

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Kiriyama-kun had something to say in response to this choice, but I couldn’t follow it. As expected, they all have plenty to say on the topic, but they speak way too fast for me to even get a hint of what’s going on, and the little graphic text they usually have at the bottom that can give me a hint were almost completely absent during a lot of the talk. Was the usual guy who does those on vacation or something?

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We already know that Nagase-kun would have picked Yamapi, but since Hirano-kun already took that one, he went with his admired Kansai senpai instead – Kiriyama-kun. When Kiriyama-kun expressed some discontent, Nagase-kun said that Kiriyama-kun was the Kansai Yamapi, which got a good hearty laugh.

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With all of them having their say, they went on to the flipside topic – caring for kouhai.

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Unlike the first part, this wasn’t about specific individuals, but more about the relationship between senpai and kouhai.

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Mainly, this was just Kiriyama-kun offering his expert views on the topic.

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After that, they talked about greeting a senpai for the first time, aiming to make a good impression (or, as they said, impact). Kiriyama-kun played a dai-senpai and each of the members went up to show how they’d handle the first encounter.

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Daigo-kun’s approach was the highlight of the show, but the others didn’t do badly, either. They all seemed to be playing it for laughs, which was good since we know how they’d do it seriously.

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Mukai-kun’s ended up taking the form of a manzai sketch, as did Hirano-kun’s.

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Toma-kun did it more straightforwardly.

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Nagase-kun protested that he was in a bind – I think he had the same plan as Toma-kun. He also went with the more straightforward introduction, but as the sketch starting going on too long, Daigo-kun interrupted Monty Python style.

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Those little introduction sketches were a great way to wrap up the main body of the show. To be honest, it was quite boring for the first half, since I couldn’t understand most of what they were saying and it was totally talk-heavy. But those sketches at the end made up for it and put a grin on my face.

The performance segment began with Naniwa Oji performing “Sexy Summer ni Yuki ga Furu”.

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This was actually sort of a disappointing performance of the song because their voices were either not coming through or excessively smoothed in post-processing. The music had to be thinned out to make their voices audible.

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After that, they did “PLEASEx3”. The vocals were less processed, but the music was still too thin.

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For the first time on this show, Kin Kan performed as a trio, and their first song together was “Koi no ABO”. By this point, I had come to the conclusion that the whole problem with this SHOW TIME was the background music being too light.

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Just to annoy me, they decided to go back to “Sexy Summer ni Yuki ga Furu” with both Kin Kan and Naniwa Oji singing it to close out the episode.

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Actually, there was also a half-minute of Kiriyama appreciation after the credits rolled.

While I can only judge from the standpoint of someone with my limited language abilities, I imagine that the first half of the episode would have probably seemed slow to Japanese fans as well. After all, the admired senpai question is probably the one juniors get asked most frequently, and ardent fans are probably well aware of what the guys have to say about the topic.

The real fun was in the second half, but the weak performance at the end sort of ruined the comeback. I’d be willing to call this an average episode of this show.