I thought this episode of Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) was going to be a simple continuation of the June 15th episode with Himura Yuki-san, but it turned out they had something extra-special for us first. That is to say, they only had about twelve minutes of surplus material from that episode and needed to do something else to fill the time.

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What they ended up doing was to assemble a panel of comedians led by Bakarhythm-san (who we just saw on a recent episode of VS Arashi – comedians all seem to have their particular busy seasons) to analyze each of the Arashi members in turn based on their performances on the show. The frame put on this was whether Arashi’s all right doing as they have been or if they need to make certain improvements, but really it was just a highlight special filling up the first half-hour of the show.

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The guests besides Bakarhythm were Hakata Hanamaru-Daikichi, Savanna’s Takahashi-san, COWCOW, and UNJASH’s Kojima-san.

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After entering the studio, MatsuJun justifiably wonders . . .

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. . . what the call center off to the side is for:

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I’m sure the reason given was completely contrived. My bet – Apple product placement.

Anyway, the first Arashi up for discussion was, of course, leader Ohno Satoshi-san. The point they decided to make about him was his propensity for making funny faces.

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The panel discusses whether his displays are excessive. There weren’t enough of the helpful graphics at the bottom of the screen to help me figure out what points they were trying to make, but I’m sure it was all just good fun.

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They did get a little live demonstration from Ohno-san as part of a competition between him and Kojima-san.

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Next was Sakurai-san, whose interactions with onee guests drew attention:

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They point out that it used to be Ohno-san who was more associated with that end of things, since he was dispatched to gay bars in the C/D no Arashi days and even in the 2013 New Year’s Special crossdressed.

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So, they looked into whether Sakurai-san or Ohno-san was really the favorite of the onee.

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Ninomiya-kun was criticized for the way he addressed senpai, as he referred to elders in familiar and even diminutive terms even if they were twice his age.

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He even had a wisecrack for the 76 year-old, 47-year MC of the venerable show Shoten. Shocking.

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We got a detailed account of how he transformed the names of senpai to suit his whims, rarely adding any honorifics (-kun, -san) at all and often just using their first names.

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Higashiyama-san got “Higashi”. Even the ultimate Johnny’s senpai – Kondo Masahiko-san – wasn’t beyond this treatment. Nino-kun called him by the diminutive “Kon-chan”.

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What about Aiba-kun?

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Well, he seemed to have the opposite problem – his image is such that everyone else calls him by the diminutive – either Aiba-chan or just Aiba without any honorific.

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Even little kids said he had a baka (idiot) image:

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Since Aiba-kun wants to build a cooler image after years of cultivating the baka image, this was probably a bit of a blow to his morale toward that effort.

Still, it turned out that even he used more familiar terms for senpai – especially his co-host in Tensai Shimura Doubutsu-en, the legendary Shimura Ken-san, whom Aiba-kun calls Shimura-kun.

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Frankly, I find Aiba-kun funnier than any of the comedians assembled (especially COWCOW), though they all seemed eager to give him advice.

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What about the stoic MatsuJun? Well, it seems like he’s less than reserved about trying to find out who the guest is even though it’s supposed to be a surprise. With a keen eye for information about who it might be, he also goes around the studio frantically hunting for clues before the answer is revealed.

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His guesses are also often right, but shouldn’t he just respect the premise of the show and quit trying to bust the efforts of the staff to conceal who the guest is?

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In exchange, they have a special guest – one just for MatsuJun who has a special connection to him. MatsuJun has to guess who it is, and we’ll find out the answer at the end of the show. I’m not going to reveal it since it’s the biggest spoiler in the show. I can tell you one thing: Matsumoto-kun’s guess was way off – he thought too hard and neglected that the guest must have had a connection to Arashi ni Shiyagare.

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Okay, on to what I was waiting for – the continuation of the Himura madness.

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The Arashi members have two more challenges to work their way through . . .

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. . . and the first one is the humorous reaction to a girlfriend who wants to break up. Basically, they have to start out cool and then jump into a childish temper tantrum.

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Surely, such a gap would be a fitting challenge for MatsuJun.

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But Himura-san doesn’t want to let them off so easily – he wants another person to do the same scene . . .

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. . . and picks Ohno-san.

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Ohno-san can’t ever just copy something. It’s his geis – his heroic obligation – to put an unexpected spin on things, and he did so here.

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It was so good that Himura-san picked on Ohno-san again to start the third scene. Here, Ohno-san would play the hero (the serious character) while Himura-san acted the part of the whacked-out villain.

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But we didn’t get to see the Arashi members attempt to play the villain. Instead, the third challenge was for the members of Arashi to be the busaiku backdancers while Himura-san sang his own version of Arashi’s “Love So Sweet” – “Himu so Sweet”.

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And this is something you’re just going to have to see – the screencaps can’t do anything to convey how funny this was.

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Certainly, it was the freshest rendition of “Love So Sweet” we’ve seen in a while.

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Oh, and the backdancers had to do their funny faces as Himura-san introduced them after the song:

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So, who do you think Matsumoto-kun’s special guest was?

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Again, it’s definitely not Miyagawa Daisuke-san – Matsumoto-kun’s guess. It is, however, someone who will ensure this episode will end on a laugh.

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This was a brilliant episode of Arashi ni Shiyagare – truly a great way to end the season. The highlight section was way smoother and more amusing than the normal rumor segment that would have run for that portion of the show. And things just got funnier with the crazy Himura scenes and the performance of “Love So Sweet”. MatsuJun’s guest gave us the grand finale.

There were two clear contenders for the Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi for this episode – Ohno-san and Matsumoto-kun – and I think it’s fair to give it to them jointly. Ohno-san’s highlights got the show off to a great start, and then his participation in the Himura scenes was spectacular. MatsuJun was the only other member who did a Himura scene, and then had the finale at the end.

I also have to hand it to Himura-san – he showed us what a good guest can make of this show, providing so much hilarity that they couldn’t contain it in one episode.