VS Arashi (VS 嵐) is a game show hosted by the idol group Arashi, who compete against a different team of entertainers every week. I don’t think we got an episode on August 29th, so the guys are back after the arduous 24-hr TV telethon and they’re all kitted out:

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I have to admit that there’s something about seeing them in soccer uniforms that makes me hopeful that this will be a good episode and they’ll be in a more active mood. But there’s no explanation of why they’re in the soccer kits just yet. They apparently had a choice between the usual tall soccer socks and regular length socks, and after opting for the tall socks because he thought they’d be cooler, it seems Ninomiya-kun is regretting the choice and rolls them down. Try wearing shinguards under them! That really leaves a mark on your lower leg!

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The opposing team was the cast of the Gatchaman movie – Matsuzaka Tori-kun (松坂桃李), Ayano Go-san (綾野 剛), Gouriki Ayame-san, Hamada Tatsuomi-kun, Suzuki Ryohei-kun, and kabuki actor Nakamura Shido-san (中村 獅童). I wonder what  Nakamura-san thinks of the drama Pin to Kona – he was born into a kabuki family himself (his father is Nakamura Shido I, he changed his name to Nakamura Shido II at the age of nine when he took over after his father’s retirement).

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Anyway, I trust that since they’re in a superhero movie, the Gatchaman team will put on a strong effort in the games. It was interesting to see Hamada-kun and Gouriki-san standing in the middle at the same height. Aside from them and Nakamura-san, I’m not as familiar with the other three, though I know I’ve seen them all around.

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We got the explanation for the soccer uniforms when the plus one guest appeared. It was Matsuki Yasutaro-san (松木安太郎) – a former soccer player and manager, and current soccer commentator. Basically, the guy lives and breathes the sport. He was a defenseman in his playing days.

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The first game was Bound Hockey with the Gatchaman team up.

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When Hamada-kun gets his turn to talk, Sakurai-san notices immediately (as did I) that his voice has changed. Sakurai-san tosses it to Kaibutsu-kun (Ohno-san’s lead character in the drama that Hamada-kun also had a big role in), and Ohno-san basically asks Hamada-kun “who the heck are you?”, since Hamada-kun has changed so much since that drama (he was nine years old there and has just turned thirteen).

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Sure enough, Gouriki-san is not the only person Hamada-kun has caught up to in height:

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They should definitely do another drama together, but it probably won’t be Kaibutsu-kun.

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After that, the talk was all the usual teamwork/confidence/nervousness stuff.

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So, is the Gatchaman cast really good at teamwork?

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Well, the Arashi team is certainly dressed to score goals. In a rarity, Ohno-san is in the scoring position and plus one guest Matsuki-san is the one passing to him. So . . . was Matsuki-san known for assists and passing in his playing career?

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If Ohno-san pulls this off, he’ll take the early lead for Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi.

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Next was Shotgun Disk, and it was interesting to see Hamada-kun as a shooter – good thing he’s grown some. The receiver was the guy with the cool, deep voice – Ayano Go-san.

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Ohno-san and Aiba-kun tried their best to shoot down the frisbees en route.

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On the Arashi team’s turn, the receiver was Matsuki-san. Oh . . . dear. Is he really up for this? I mean, even the young and trim Ayano-san was huffing and puffing after his attempt. Sakurai-san and MatsuJun were passing to him . . .

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. . . and Nakamura-san joined Gouriki-san in attempting to shoot down all their chances.

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I have to say that Matsuki-san actually did great, and he said afterward that he was delighted that he could still play in good form at this age.

Now, with Arashi all dressed up in Japanese national team soccer kits, they’d better do well in Kicking Sniper . . .

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. . . but it’s the Gatchaman team up first. Hamada-kun is the first shooter, followed by Ayano-san and Matsuzaka-kun. Hamada-kun is feeling the pressure of going first, and I don’t think his teammates are helping the relieve the pressure – Ayano-san says something about Hamada-kun knocking down everything.

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Ayano-san also has a story about Ninomiya-kun to share. I love this look from Nino-kun when he hears that:

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The story itself didn’t seem to be that interesting.

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Sakurai-san chatted with Matsuzaka-kun and found out that he was a basketball player and weak at soccer. Apparently he was the goalkeeper in elementary school, so Sakurai-san offered his yellow and green keeper uniform.

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While Matsuki-san was giving some advice on how to approach the game, the three members of the Gatchaman team weren’t paying any attention . . .

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. . . so he broke off. But will they do well after ignoring Matsuki-san’s advice, or will he get the last laugh?

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Of course, it’s not just about how they do, since he has to go up there and kick for the Arashi team. He was last, and preceded by Ninomiya-kun and Ohno-san.

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They had better do well in those uniforms. They should have had two rounds of this game so that everyone could get a chance to kick.

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Again, it’s wonderful to see Matsuki-san in such good shape – gives hope to us all.

The fourth game was Cliff Climb (yay!) and the Gatchaman team deployed Gouriki-san and Suzuki-kun. A flashback reminded those who didn’t know that Gouriki-san is quite athletic and has done well in this game before. So, this is a strong pair that the opposition is putting up.

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Suzuki-kun expresses total confidence.

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Can they get a perfect climb?

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For the Arashi team . . .

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. . . it was the rather unpredictable pair of Sakurai-san and Aiba-kun. This could go very well, or Sakurai-san could end up stuck on the wall somewhere when time runs out.

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Sakurai-san will head straight up the overhang after Aiba-kun clears the rest of the area.

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Sakurai-san has been improving at this game. Can he redeem himself further by summoning the spirit of Yatterman and conquering the overhang?

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The last game was, as you might expect with Kicking Sniper already done, Korokoro Viking. The Gatchaman team got the first shot at it. Matsuzaka-kun and Gouriki-san had control of the critical orange zone.

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After they had their turn . . .

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. . . all that was left was Arashi’s final attempt to win the day.

This was a great episode. There were a lot of good contributors. The Gatchaman team clearly came to play, but on top of that, Ayano-san was excellent about tossing in comments with his distinctive voice and the moments with Hamada-kun were all memorable.

Cliff Climb was the clear highlight of the episode and Kicking Sniper was great viewing, too.

Matsuki-san turned out to be an excellent guest as well as a positive contributor to Arashi’s attempts to win. His efforts in Shotgun Disk made it worth watching, and he didn’t stop there.

Turning to Arashi, I’m tempted to give the Most Omoshiroi Arashi to Sakurai-san because he got the biggest laugh out of me. Ohno-san and Nino-kun had the best game performance, and I think that Ohno-san deserves a consolation prize for discovering that he’s shorter than Hamada-kun. This is a tough one . . . . I think I’ll give it to Nino-kun and Sakurai-san, because they had the two polar opposite moments of the day. As usual, you’ll have to watch to see what I mean.