This episode of Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) was the “One Week Before 24 hr TV Telethon Special”, though the actual composition of the show was rather complicated. First, the hosts took note of the strange set . . .

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. . . and then went through the special projects they did for 24 hr TV. MatsuJun took on tap dancing – getting ready for a performance with a youth dance group. Aiba-kun supported the (or a) Water Boys synchronized swimming team. Though this didn’t actually involve Aiba-kun doing synchronized swimming, it did leave him with a tan darker than Ohno-san’s, as they verified:

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Sakurai-san apparently prepared a piano performance. Ninomiya-kun interviewed foreigners living in Japan about the country. Ohno-san, of course, had the drama (and they had a bit of fun about his hair, which a clip showed him shaving off).

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Their first guest was recently married Kaname Jun-san. Now, there’s a lot they could have talked to him about (and they very briefly tried to talk about his marriage, but he seemed oddly unprepared on that topic)  . . .

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. . . but all he was there for was udon. We even saw an ad he did for something called Udon-ken (Udon prefecture?).

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At one point MatsuJun asked whether they would actually be doing anything regarding 24 hr TV in the episode – a question that got solid applause from the audience. The Heisei Nobushi Kobushi assistant (who had entered eating udon) deflected the question, and we ended up with around fifteen minutes of udon.

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It was a completely missable segment, and I ultimately viewed Kaname Jun as the equivalent of an Encounter the Unknown guest rather than a real aniki guest, because we’re going to get an aniki guest who’s actually going to make a real 24 hr TV contribution.

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Anyway, the segment felt really redundant. The Arashi guys expressed surprise at stuff they already knew. For instance, they acted surprised when the udon chef said how long it took to make the noodles, but just a few weeks ago on a Tokyo Ii Mise Kudoi Mise segment they got essentially the same information.

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Aiba-kun got to eat:

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Then they all got to eat:

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And that’s enough of that. The real aniki guest, as far as I’m concerned, was Moriyama Naotaro-san. I last reviewed a show with Moriyama-san in it all the way back on April 8th 2012, when he appeared on Shin Domoto Kyoudai. He’s really famous for one song (which we’ll hear a lot of during this show), but is at least a good-natured fellow with a sense of humor.

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And he’s going to need that sense of humor. You see, Moriyama-san has some onee-like (effeminate) mannerisms, and the rumor segment about him (he got one while Kaname-san didn’t) had various people bringing up concerns about him including that one.

The first person with concerns was his mother, and it was great how he burst out laughing as soon as he say her. She’s pretty good at delivering punchlines with a straight face.

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The other people with concerns were pros at precisely that – Ogi-san from Ogiyahagi and Tanaka-san from Ungirls.

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I’m not going to go into details about what they all said – the only really fun one was the onee criticism from his mother because that became a running gag. Tanaka-san basically said that Moriyama-san is too nice (based on a time when they shared a room on a Hawaii trip).

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Moriyama-san addressed the issue of his effeminate mannerisms, but they continued to point out when he, say, lifted up his pinky finger, later in the show.

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But this rumor stuff isn’t what he’s really here for. After they did a little mock promotion for a new single as a six-person group named “Morishi” . . . (Moriyama-san’s face when Ohno-san announced the name of the single was great, and more evidence of his sense of humor)

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. . . it was time to cut to the chase. For that, they needed to bring in Morisanchuu, because Oshima-san is the marathon runner for the 24 hr telethon. Moriyama-san’s main purpose on this show is to write a song for her.

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Oshima-san is going to attempt an 88 km run, and she tells everyone that when she makes it to the finish line at the Budokan, she’d like to drink tapioca milk tea with everyone from Arashi. It’s really funny how nervous she seems when she proposes this modest request – she could have probably gotten away with asking for a kiss from MatsuJun, or at least a hug.

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Moriyama-san immediately gets to work, going through a workshop to write the song. First, he asks everyone to pick a name to be called.

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I was most surprised by Aiba-kun, who picked “Michael” for Michael Jordan – a famous person he likes, though Nino-kun’s choice was funny, too.

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Oshima-san picked Miyuki.

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It went on like that, with Moriyama-san gathering material for the song by asking questions.

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It’s interesting to see his methodical approach to constructing the lyrics (he even writes the stuff on a white board), but it could be a bit slow for viewers, especially because it’s 100% dependent on understanding the language.

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Oshima-san is impressed by even a single line taste Moriyama-san offers before they send him to the back room to work on it further.

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With Moriyama-san busy with the song, Arashi and Morisanchuu had a chat – a rumor segment for the Morisanchuu trio. Honestly, by now I had reached my limit as far as being able to pay attention to people chatting.

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The only thing that kept my interest was the little box that occasionally popped up in the bottom right corner which showed Moriyama-san’s progress.

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The second-most interesting point in the Morisanchuu talk was when Murakami-san demonstrated her inability to bend her knees, which causes a bit of trouble when she tries to use traditional Japanese toilets. On the other hand, there’s the curious fact that though Oshima-san stands 20 cm above Murakami-san, they’re the same height when they are in seiza – the traditional Japanese sitting pose. It almost seems like an optical illusion when they sit down and get up again.

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I think that Oshima-san confessed that she really doesn’t want to appear with Arashi – I think it might have something to do with her nervousness/excitement.

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After all, as she readily admits, Arashi is her favorite group in the world, and out of all entertainers, MatsuJun is her favorite. She can’t meet Matsumoto-kun’s eye, though.

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Then came the best moment in the talk, where they decided to freeze time so that Oshima-san could show her true excitement at sharing a stage with Arashi and MatsuJun. The Arashi members and the other members of Morisanchuu had to remain frozen so she wouldn’t feel intimidated.

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That was epic, and if you wonder why I think Oshima-san is a brilliant comedienne . . . .

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Checking back in with Moriyama-san . . .

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. . . they have to wake him up. But he’s pretty much done except he needs everybody but Oshima-san to come to the back room to practice their parts in the performance.

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After a minute of that, Masu-san introduced the song . . .

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. . . and it was an impressive five minutes long, peppered with clips of her notable exploits (especially from Itte Q or while training).

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It’s difficult to imagine how thrilled Oshima-san must have been through all this. It was one of the best Arashi ni Shiyagare moments ever.

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And even though he’s something of a one-hit wonder, Moriyama-san sure showed why they consider him a songwriting genius.

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But Moriyama-san also has his sense of humor, so he dropped a little bombshell at the end – he won’t be able to see Oshima-san’s run live because he’ll be on a family trip.

This was a very slow Arashi ni Shiyagare, but once we got through the udon segment, it at least had some focus. My recommendation is to skip everything before Morisanchuu appears (39 minutes in on the 1 hour 11 minute video), since that’s the part that was most interesting unless you’re a food fanatic, in which case the udon segment might be worth watching.

Despite being slow, it was a good episode, primarily because of its strong, poignant ending. Also, seeing Oshima-san like that sure encouraged me to review the 24 hr telethon (I was going to watch it anyway, but I was borderline about whether I’d cover it).

The Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi for this episode is a tough call, but I think I’ll give it to Aiba-kun because he had two interesting responses – one to Kaname-san, and another when asked to pick a name and he decided to tip his hat to Michael Jordan. He also had some interesting comments as he got to taste-test the udon. In a very close second was MatsuJun for raising the implied question of what the udon segment had to do with the 24 hr TV special. Nino-kun also won points for his choice of nickname.