Kiss My Fake is the newest variety show from Kis-My-Ft2. Somewhere along the way, I stopped watching Kis-My-Busaiku, which really wasn’t my thing, and KisuHama Learning, which just got repetitive. Will Kiss My Fake be able to keep my admittedly short attention span?

Partly in order to catch up, I’m going to review the show’s first two episodes in this article. At least this way I won’t be guilty of coming to a snap judgment after a single episode.

An immediate positive in the first episode was that the guests were top-notch. The host is Yahagi Ken-san, and the leader of the guest team is his comedy partner Ogi-san. In this episode, Ogi-san was joined by Honda Tsubasa-san and Koyabu Kazutoyo-san

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The point of the show is that the guest team and Kis-My-Ft2 are going to be presented with things and have to decide whether they’re real or fake. It’s as simple as that, so it should be easy to play along.

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There are real penalties for losing. I’m not sure about the translation of the guest team’s penalty, but I think it’s that they won’t ever be allowed back if they lose (except for Ogi-san, who will always be present). If Kis-My-Ft2 loses, then one member will have to sit out the next week, and this will be chosen at random with a spin of a wheel. I like this format so far.

The very first round turned out to be way complicated – much more so than I think they were expecting. The question was whether each of four individuals were really Akasaka performers who do impressions, or whether they’re just doing the impression for the first time here. In other words, whether they’re real fakes or fake fakes. But they’re not just doing their acts – I think the signs at the bottom say that they’re pretending to be candidates for the office of Tokyo Prefectural Governor. Now that is difficult to figure out!

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Each right answer would get a team twenty points.

The first potential Akasaka performer was pretending to be an alien. But does he really pretend to be an alien, or is this his first time?

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The two leaders are taking this very seriously.

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In the end, both teams think that the guy is the real thing (ホンモノ – 本物 – honmono). Are they right?

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That was followed by a person doing an impression of a monk . . .

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. . . a baby . . .

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. . . (I love these shots of Ogi-san and Kitayama-kun looking almost grim after we saw a grown man pretending to be a baby) . . .

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. . . and finally a guy pretending to be a medieval knight, who was excellent thanks to a prop trick that didn’t get old even though he used it repeatedly.

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It’s no fun when both teams agree . . . .

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The next round was bound to be embarrassing for the losing team. They had to figure out which of three songs that were supposedly from three famous groups – B’z, Mr. Children, and TUBE – was a fake song made up by this program’s staff.

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Of course, they couldn’t have the real artists performing the songs, so they had monomane specialists sing them. I’ve seen the first guy do B’z in practically every monomane special of the past few years, so no question that they’ve got the best.

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Umm . . . would Sakurai-san of Mr. Children really write a song called “Oppai” (おっぱい – breast)? Incidentally, the B’z  song title “もうかりまっか” means “Are you making money?” . . .

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. . . and the TUBE song was simply “Winter Present”.

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First of all, let me say that the impressionists were really great. Beyond that, I think it’s pretty obvious which song is the fake just by the title, and the only reason one of the teams would get that wrong is if they were thinking too hard about it – suspicious that it was too obvious.

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Now, this is where the first episode ends (and wow did it go by fast!) and, if you don’t want to know who won, you shouldn’t read on. You see, because of the penalty, even a screencap of the next episode will make it obvious whether Kis-My-Ft2 won or lost, because if they lost they’d be missing a member and if they won they’d all be there.

Okay, I’m assuming that anyone reading on doesn’t mind knowing the result from the first episode. The guests were once again familiar faces – Chiaki-san and Nankai Candies’ Yama-chan (Yamasato Ryota-san).

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But there’s something wrong with this picture of Kis-My-Ft2 . . . .

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Unfortunately, the team lost the first episode and the wheel of fortune led to Yokoo-kun’s removal for this episode. No one seems to recognize his replacement:

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Even Yahagi-san says “dare?” Apparently it’s 63-year-old Yokoo Saburo-san – a fake Yokoo.

The first round this time was completely different from what we saw in the first episode, and that was nice to see. If we had people doing impersonations again, that would have been disconcerting. Instead, the two teams had to decide which of a number of items were real or fake mail order goods (called ‘idea goods’). I think these are sort of like those infomercial/home shopping network goods. Again, a really tough thing to figure out.

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This, though, looks like a bad idea:

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See what I mean?

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And again later:

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But just because it’s a bad idea doesn’t mean people didn’t produce it in bulk and try to sell it. It seems like the sort of thing someone would come up with. But what about the other items?

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That round was a real toss-up, but the next one was only marginally easier. They had to figure out if a talent appearing in-studio was really the child of a famous person.

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Does this guy look like he has his father’s eyes? I was never good at stuff like that.

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Ken Naoko-san was a singer and actress with a very distinct image. Is this her daughter?

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Considering how well she sings (from what we saw in an all-too-short clip), it might not matter. I really hope this appearance gives her a bit of a boost.

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And it went on like this, with the two teams trying to decide on the potential parentage of one candidate . . .

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. . . after another . . .

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. . . after another.

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You’ll have to watch to find out why Ogi-san gets a slap on the head from Yahagi-san’s notes.

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And there you have it – the first two episodes of Kiss My Fake.

The positive points are easy to enumerate – it’s easy to play along, the guests are solid talents, the ratio between guests and Kis-My-Ft2 members is good (I’m glad they didn’t try to make the teams of equal size, which would have been horrible), and the penalty is one that should keep both teams trying their best. Oh, and it looks like the format also allows for enough variation to avoid seeing the same stuff episode after episode.

The downside to this format is pretty obvious, too – there’s less of a focus on the Kis-My-Ft2 members themselves than in any of their shows so far. In fact, in all of their shows before this one, the format revolved around them with only sporadic competition from guests.

I’d say that the positives clearly outweigh the negatives, but it depends what you’re watching for. It’s certainly an entertaining and well-paced half-hour from what I’ve seen so far, so I’ll definitely be keeping tabs on it. I might continue reviewing it in two or three episode blocks to make sure I can fit it in my schedule (I’m planning to do the same with Aiba Manabu and some other series, too).