The talk at the start of this VS Arashi (VS 嵐) was about how Ohno-san went to the same middle school as one of the guests. Who could it be?

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The guest in question was Honda Tsubasa-san, who is among the actresses I follow. Obviously, she and Ohno-san didn’t go to the middle school at the same time, but apparently they know the same teacher, so that’s something.

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Anyway, Honda-san was part of the Shomuni 2013 team, promoting the fourth season of that popular drama. Esumi Makiko-san has been the lead actress in it since the first season in 1998. I was disappointed to see that Becky-san, who is also in the cast for season 4, didn’t make an appearance in this episode. The rest of the cast present were Miura Shohei-san, Katase Nana-san, Suzuki Kosuke-san, and Yasuda Ken-san.

Esumi-san noted that the audience seemed to have eyes only for Miura Shohei-san.

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Honda-san got to talk about going to the same middle school as Ohno-san, and how proud people at the school are of the fact.

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The plus one guests were the comedy duo Slim Club (スリムクラブ) and it doesn’t look like the results have been good with them as the plus one guests. Still, they’re certainly pros and won’t do any egregiously silly gags.

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What they will do a lot of, though, is tell jokes off to the side that we won’t be able to hear. So, expect to see people laughing without any explanation for what’s so funny.

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The first game was Dual Curling with Ohno-san, Aiba-kun, and Ninomiya-kun facing off against Suzuki-san, Honda-san and Esumi-san. Honda-san had a bit of trouble with her mike at the start, but that just gave her a chance to win everyone over with her embarrassed laugh.

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The rest of the talk was mostly on the Arashi side with Nino-kun having a bit of fun with Aiba-kun, and then bringing Ohno-san into it by referring to him as ‘Oh-chan’, which Ohno naturally objected to. Slim Club also got into the act.

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Honda-san had another air-head moment as Itou-san tried to get the game started. She’s definitely a natural.

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The remaining members of the Shomuni team played against Sakurai-san and the two members of Slim Club in the second round of the game. Katase-san compared this trio – herself, Miura-kun, and Yasuda-san – to the band Ikinomogakari. That had Yasuda-san laughing his head off, and also led to his first comment of the show, which the little graphic at the bottom of the screen noted came 8 minutes and 7 seconds in. That’s nothing – Ohno-san had gone through practically a whole shoe before saying anything.

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As usual, I didn’t understand all the humor in the exchanges, but the best part was watching Honda-san’s reactions to everything, anyway.

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Kicking Sniper was next, and Arashi sent up Matsumoto-kun, Slim Club, and Sakurai-san. Uchima-san has some youth soccer experience at his disposal – will it help?

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Itou-san notes that there are a total of 550 points available and asks Sakurai-san how many perfects they’ll get.

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Will his prediction prove correct?

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Esumi-san, Suzuki-san, and Miura-kun were the kickers for the Shomuni team.

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Esumi-san has volleyball experience, and says that she’s no good with kicking. She looks like she could give it a strong try, though (at least, better than Suzuki-san, who’s wearing totally the wrong pants for this – I hate that style, by the way).

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If the other two fail, the team’s last hope is Miura-kun. Unfortunately, he favors basketball, so not much kicking acumen there, either.

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The third game was Rolling Coin Tower. The pregame talk, focusing on Esumi-san and Honda-san, was certain fun to watch, but I wish I had subtitles for it – couldn’t really understand what was going on here. Something about the radio exercises (you know, the ones we see Sakurai-san’s character do in Kazoku Game).

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Itou-san asked Ninomiya-kun who the key person on the Arashi team was, and Aiba-kun pointed vigorously at Uchima-san. It seems like Uchima-san had been doing some side jokes and he decided to share his latest one with everyone – he said that if he shaved and had a bit more hair up top, he’d look like AKB48’s Shinoda Mariko-san. Not even close, of course.

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Looks like we’ve got the low-impact game sequence this time, as they followed Rolling Coin Tower with Bank Bowling. Honda-san and Miura-kun were up first for Shomuni. First, Honda-san kept me amused, continuing to be her energetic yet bewildered self. Then Miura-kun gave us a Shimura Ken impression and an impression I didn’t recognize. There had been another impression from him during Kicking Sniper that I didn’t find particularly interesting. Just like during Kicking Sniper, they got Aiba-kun to do an impression in response, and this time he attempted Rola-san, but . . . well . . . Aiba-kun isn’t really good at doing monomane at all. You might say that it’s funny because he’s so bad at it.

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Here, Esumi-san and Katase-san react to a truly remarkable throw from Honda-san and Miura-san – half disaster and half brilliant.

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Yasuda-san and Katase-san handled the clean-up duties.

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Honda-san continues to be fun to watch as she react to everything.

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Maeda-san and Ninomiya-kun bowled first for Arashi. Can they pull off something even more noteworthy than the first Shomuni combo?

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Ohno-san and Uchima-san tried for the spare. There’s never been a spare in this game, and it’s practically the only thing that could happen in these games that we haven’t already seen on VS Arashi.

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The last game was Korokoro Viking and the Shomuni team had the first crack at it.

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Esumi-san and Miura-kun had the critical goal scoring orange zone, which was fine, but what about all the other characters on their team?

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All that remained was for the Arashi team to either clinch victory or fail.

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Well, not quite – Matsumoto-kun decided to add a new rule about them losing points if the ball falls into a hole. Well, that sure makes this game more detrimental to their chances of victory, but did they really need to do that? I didn’t think their record in this game was that good anyway – not with that -30 point slot there. Remember how it used to be a -50 point slot but they were failing so bad that they had to reduce the penalty?

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So, will the Arashi team end up regretting MatsuJun’s new rule?

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The Shomuni team was great fun to watch, with each member presenting a unique personality that came through during the course of the games. Honda-san made me grin whenever she was on screen – she simply has a delightfully quirky personality, and I defy anyone to say they didn’t get a kick out of her after watching this. There was also a wonderful contrast between her and the stoic and intense Esumi-san, who I also gained a great deal of respect for because of her poise. Then there was Miura-kun, who decided to treat us to monomane – above and beyond the call of duty for an actor promoting a drama.

As expected, the Slim Club members contributed some humor directly, but mostly did their work when the camera wasn’t looking, lightening everyone’s mood. Uchima-san in particular seemed to be at the top of his game.

Some of the best Arashi moments came when one member or another was interacting with a Slim Club member. Other than that, the members who played the biggest role in terms of camera time in this episode were Aiba-kun and Ninomiya-kun. MatsuJun had the bit at the end, introducing the new rule on Korokoro Viking, and Ohno-san did some good work getting angry at him for it, but that was just at the end. Between Aiba-kun and Nino-kun, I can’t really point to anything specific Nino-kun did (possibly the Dual Curling conversation?), but Aiba-kun had a number of definite moments including the monomane fails, so I think I’ll give the Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi for this episode to him. There’s a good argument to be made for MatsuJun, though.