This episode of VS Arashi (VS 嵐) began with the Arashi guys discussing Matsumoto-kun’s new drama starting in January, and with Ohno-san wondering in his usual way if it involves a kiss – in this case, a chocolate kiss/kiss with chocolate (since the drama is Shitsuren Chocolatier).

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The guest team this time was the Second Generation (nisei) team – composed of members with parents (or in two cases grandparents) who were in the entertainment business.

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The members were Otsuru Gitan-san (大鶴義丹), Azuma Takahiro-san (東貴博), Hanada Masaru-san (花田虎上), Takahashi Maasa-san (高橋真麻), Osawa Akane-san (大沢あかね), and Akai Saki-san (赤井沙希). Of these, I recognized Takahashi Maasa-san, who has appeared on VS Arashi before, and Hanada Masaru-san, who was a former Yokozuna – sumo champion – and is familiar as well. Otherwise, I didn’t know any of them other members, which is somewhat remarkable and worrying.

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The plus one guest was a surprise – singer-songwriter Moriyama Naotaro-san. Moriyama-san is very low key, but also quirky. He was one of the last few guests on Arashi ni Shiyagare before it changed format, so we got to know him a little bit better from that. He also seems to have a sporty build, and confesses to playing soccer throughout his schooling.

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It’s also true that his mother is in the entertainment business, so he’s a second generationer as well, and the guest team wonders why he isn’t with them. Well, I’ll leave that be.

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The first game was Korokoro Viking with the Nisei team up. The conversation seemed a bit choppy . . .

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. . . but then Itou-san revealed that Akai-san is a pro-wrestler . . .

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. . . and she demonstrated one of her moves on the former Yokozuna! As long as you understand that she’s doing this to a former sumo champion, this is sort of an epic moment.

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After that, the talk was sort of banal, though Takahashi-san did provide her characteristic “ganbarimasu!”

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The Arashi team had Ninomiya-kun and Moriyama-san in the orange zone. That combination should be a good one, but Moriyama-san sure seems like he’s in an eccentric mode – approaching Aiba levels of goofy energy.

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Right after that, he was up as the runner for Arashi in Pinball Runner. During this, Itou-san delivered a message from Ogiyahagi’s Ogi-san, who’s apparently been married to Moriyama-san’s elder sister for seven years.

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MatsuJun called the pink balls and Aiba-kun handled the yellow ones.

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Akai-san had the best moment during the Korokoro Viking, and she also did the running here for the Nisei team. She and Moriyama-san are in the early lead as the main drivers of the show. She expressed confidence based on her stamina and training.

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When she notes that she does a hundred squats, Moriyama-san says she’d like to see it. (Don’t worry, they don’t actually have her do it – there wasn’t enough time.)

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Takahashi-san decided to offer up some background music for the occasion:

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The third game of the episode was Rolling Coin Tower, and the talk once again revolved around Moriyama-san. I swear, he’s totally dominating this episode now.

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Takahashi-san did get the audience to go “fuu~”, though, so score one more good moment for her (I didn’t catch a screenshot of that moment, though – she’s just standing there innocently in the image below).

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After that game . . .

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. . . they played Bank Bowling with Sakurai-san and Moriyama-san up first. Moriyama-san did a totally weird move for the camera – no clue what it meant. He had so many other mannerisms for them to spend time on that they totally passed on making any point about this one.

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So, what sort of a bowling combination will Sakurai-Moriyama be?

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However it goes, Moriyama-san gets another note from Ogi-san . . .

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. . . and Ohno-san and Ninomiya-kun tried to take care of any pins that remained standing.

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For the guest team, Takahashi-san, and Azuma-san bowled first, and then Otsuru-san and Osawa-san tried their best to get the spare (after which they apparently made drinking arrangements with the Sakurai-Moriyama pair for reasons you’ll have to watch to understand).

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It was all down to Kicking Sniper after that with Akai-san, Hanada-san, and Otsuru-san up for the Nisei team. At first, I wondered whether Akai-san really needed the ‘ladies zone’ thing, but as it turns out, she’s really got zero soccer acumen despite her training in other areas.

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I have to say, I’m not much of a fan of Takahashi-san’s cheers, but I’ll concede that they add a touch of variety to the normal run of events.

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The kickers for Arashi were Moriyama-san, Ohno-san, and Matsumoto-kun.

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Will Moriyama-san’s soccer skills help the Arashis win the day?

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There’s no question about it – this was the Moriyama Naotaro episode. He was the most entertaining person in the studio, though Takahashi-san and Akai-san made solid contributions. Otherwise, the other participants only had significant moments when bouncing comments off of Moriyama-san.

On the whole, it was a below average episode with the least engaging set of games and lackluster performances in those games.

I’m tempted to give Aiba-kun the Most Omoshiroi Arashi just for the neon yellow shorts, but I think this is one of those times where none of the Arashi members really stood out. That said, Sakurai-san doesn’t get enough recognition for the way he engages with guests and offers up comments, and I think I’ll give him the M.O.A. for doing an excellent job with that in this episode. Sure, he does it in every episode, but I don’t generally give him credit for it. Also, he did have the bowling moment with Moriyama-san.