The members of Arashi started out this episode talking about the way they spent summer vacation when they were kids. I suppose there was no point talking about their horrendous record over the last three months of VS Arashi (VS 嵐) again, though it certainly hasn’t gotten any better. They were beaten by kids last time, but that wasn’t the real scandal. Why wasn’t there a Most Dame Arashi in the past two episodes? Have they abandoned that measure of accountability for their failures?

Anyway, summer vacation talk. Baseball, curry . . . etc.

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Oh, and Ohno-san doing an onee voice to bring out the guests.

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Speaking of the guests, it was the Team Shizuoka, which was comprised of Kakei Toshio-san (筧利夫), Katsumata Kunikazu-san, Iwasaki Kyoko-san (岩崎恭子), Oishi Mitsuki-san (大石参月), Takeda Nobuhiro-san, and the comedy duo Total Tenbosh (トータルテンボス). One thing’s for sure – between Katsumata-san, Takeda-san, and the owarai pair, this team will not go quietly. Make sure not to miss Takeda-san’s Mt. Fuji nail ornamentation.

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The Shizuoka team is the ninth prefecture-based team Arashi has faced since 2010. Unfortunately, they didn’t show us what results Arashi got against each team.

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We do know that there’s some soccer talent on the Shizuoka team, though. Kicking Sniper is going to be interesting this time.

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Of course, the plus one guest is an extra-special helper to get them out of their slump – newlywed fellow Johnny’s member Kazama Shunsuke-kun.

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Kazama-kun is an Arashi contemporary – the same age to the day as Ninomiya-kun – so it’ll be sort of like having a sixth member of Arashi.

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The first game was Shotgun Disk, with Team Shizuoka up first. Shotgun Disk is a lot like Rolling Coin Tower in that I really have nothing to say about it unless they do something really funny during it, and there were a few things this time.

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We met the Shizuoka mascots (of course, there had to be a Mt. Fuji one – if you were left in any doubt which prefecture Mt. Fuji is in, now you know) . . .

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. . . there was some shouting up top from the receiver . . .

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. . . and Ninomiya-kun decided to fire his bazooka at the shooters:

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I was sort of hoping Arashi would put Kazama-kun as the receiver, but Sakurai-san took that role, and Kazama-kun ended up as a shooter next to Aiba-kun.

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There’s good chemistry between Aiba-kun and Kazama-kun. After all, they’re soubusen nakama (総武線仲間 – Sobu Line Friends) along with Nino-kun and Kamenashi-kun. That is, they all ride the rail line between Chiba and Tokyo.

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Kazama-kun had a story about Sakurai-san to tell, related to when they both went to watch the Takarazuka Revue.

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Ohno-san seems to be totally prepared. Is Arashi in a winning mood this time?

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Actually, I have to say that this was the worst Frisbee action I’ve ever seen. You’ll have to watch just to see how bad it is – it’s amazing that they got the points that they did, so kudos to Sakurai-san for some good reaches.

Next was Pinball Runner with Kazama-kun running for Arashi. Can they recover from their Shotgun Disk performance?

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Well, with all five of them on the supporter platform, there seem to be too many cooks in the kitchen. Who’s going to be shouting numbers? All of them!?

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They took up what they called the five-person recording position, ready for the new Arashi single – “Pinball Runner” (well, if The Who had a hit with “Pinball Wizard”, why not?).

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Kazama-kun said something about a six-person Arashi, but Nino-kun rebuffed him by saying he couldn’t hear and asked Kazama-kun to repeat it one more time.

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Honestly, I mainly heard Sakurai-san’s voice calling out the numbers I think, so it wasn’t too bad with conflicting numbers being called.

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The Shizuoka team was more of a mess in the number-calling department. Kakei-san handled the running, and Katsumata-san tried his best to shout numbers away from microphone while the two women on the team handled the bulk of the numbers at the mike.

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Kazama-kun got to do some plugging, but only after getting on his knees because the Arashi guys were making it tough for him – pretending to walk out on him.

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To my surprise, Kicking Sniper was the next game. I thought they’d do it last with former soccer star Takeda-san in the mix, but it looks like Korokoro Viking will be the final game.

Kazama-kun, Ohno-kun, and Matsumoto-kun kicked for Arashi. The Arashi guys continued to needle Kazama-kun, expressing surprise that he was part of the same agency because he didn’t give the impression that he could dance (the basic requirement for all Johnny’s). He assured them that he did dance – a long time ago – but that led them to prompt him to show them what he could still do.

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He had to go out front where the targets appear (with the conveyor belt moving), protesting that it’s been ten years since he’s done anything of the sort. How did his dancing go? You’ll have to watch to find out! (He danced to the song “A-ra-shi” by the way).

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After that, Ohno-san continued to catch criticism for his Shotgun Disk performance. Will he be able to make up for it here?

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The Shizuoka team sounds totally prepared for soccer. Takeda-san is even wearing a genuine Brazil jersey . . .

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. . . but the name on the back is “Washigton”. Now, I don’t know the player, but when they say the name it sure sounds like it was meant to be “Washington”, and simply misspelled. Don’t know for sure, though.

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Doesn’t matter – if having a Brazilian jersey could help people in this game, everyone would be in yellow and green.

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The fourth game was Rolling Coin Tower.

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Finally, they mentioned the fact that Nino-kun and Kazama-kun were born on the same day. I knew they’d have to do that at some point, and I’m surprised they waited this long – announcer Itou-san was saving it for when they had nothing else to talk about, I guess.

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With that, Rolling Coin Tower happened (the way it ended was sort of a surprise, but I will refrain from saying anything more) . . .

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. . . and as expected, the show ended on Korokoro Viking.

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The end result of the day may well be in Takeda-san’s hands even though Katsumata-san and Kakei-san are taking care of the critical orange zone.

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In what’s become a tradition when a prefecture team starts their round of Korokoro Viking, they had to since a prefecture song:

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Will the Soubusen nakama be able to win the day for Arashi? Kazama-kun and Ninomiya-kun had control of the orange scoring zone, but despite sharing the same birthday, there’s been some friction between them all day (or it might have just been Nino-kun being his normal prickly self).

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Certainly, any lack of chemistry won’t be the fault of good-natured Kazama-kun (ネアカの狼 means, roughly, happy-go-lucky wolf).

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As usual around this time of year, Arashi promoted VS Arashi’s part in the Odaiba Gasshukoku (お台場合衆国 – the United States of Odaiba) – an expo put on by Fuji TV.

2013.07.18 VS Arashi 069I have to say that this was a yawn of an episode. I never had a good feel for the Shizuoka team. Takeda-san did his normal thing, but the other members (even Katsumata-san) left little impression. There weren’t any truly striking moments from them, and I can’t say they did spectacular work in the games, either.

Of course, part of the problem there was that we got an extraordinarily boring slate of games. I’m not a fan of Shotgun Disk, but at least we don’t see it often. Unfortunately, they put it first, and after that it was all the usual stuff, including the most boring of all the games – Rolling Coin Tower. There just wasn’t the opportunity for the guest team to pull off anything amazing.

Nor was their much opportunity for Arashi. Having Kazama-kun in was fun, and by far the best moment of the episode was when he danced to “A-ra-shi” before Kicking Sniper. Actually, his kicking during that game was probably the gameplay highlight of the episode, too. But Kazama-kun is a low-key guy, and there really wasn’t anyone taking up the slack and injecting crazy energy into the proceedings.

I’m tempted to give the Most Omoshiroi Arashi to Kazama-kun, but let’s play it straight. Ohno-san had an early lead for his misfires in Shotgun Disk, but then sort of faded out for the rest of the episode. Sakurai-san was the loudest throughout the show, and often did the prompting for the most entertaining moments. There was an interesting dynamic in the Soubusen trio, with Aiba-kun showing good chemistry with Kazama-kun and Ninomiya-kun . . . I really don’t know what to make of his attitude this time around.

I’m going to give the MOA to Sakurai-san. He simply gave me the best impression throughout the show, and seemed to be the one having the most fun.