Crossdressing in entertainment is somewhat of a time-honored tradition and not really a big deal, but the opening of this episode of ABChanZoo sure tries to make it seem like a big deal and a new phenomenon on the rise. Three guesses what the A.B.C-Z guys are doing in this episode . . . .
But before we get to that, how about a live performance of the group’s new single “Never My Love”?
They started the song next to a mirror this time, so here’s the double-Hashimoto:
The vocals were way too soft in this rendition – a bit lacking in passion.
I do like that, unlike on Shounen Club, they put the Japanese translation for the English lyrics for the benefit of the Japanese viewers. Too often on Shounen Club there’s the sense that the meaning of English lyrics isn’t important as long as the words sound good, but here at least they’re taking the song seriously.
Okay, onto the main event. The victims are Kawai-kun, Goseki-kun, and Totsuka-kun, and they naturally decided to go to Akihabara for their transformation (where else?).
They enter a café and bar which has crossdressing waiters. And of course, since it’s Akihabara, they’re dressing as AKB members or the type.
Frankly, there seem to be more servers than customers, but I’ll assume that the A.B.C-Z guys just picked a time when it wouldn’t be busy.
Without further ado, the A.B.C-Z guys got right down to picking their outfits. I was sort of surprised how quickly they got into it, but one second they looked like this:
And in a blink they were all decked out:
The next step was make-up, and they had expert help for that:
Turns out that the make-up process involves much more than they might have initially expected.
Normally I’d withhold how they looked after their make-over as a spoiler, but in this case they were revealed so early in the episode that I wouldn’t be able to discuss the episode any further without showing you how they looked (or else I’d have to omit all screenshots from here on). So, here was Kawai-kun:
Those glasses are a bit much, aren’t they? He looks too much like a comic character.
Totsuka-kun looks like a character from the 1950s, except they call this the office lady style. I’m not too sure about that.
And Goseki-kun? I’d place his character in the late 1960s.
Well, how are they going to do in public? (!)
There’s going to be a lot of “Where’s Waldo” in this episode, where you have to spot them in a crowd.
This reminds me a lot of what Ohno-san did in the 2013 New Year’s special for Arashi ni Shiyagare. He pretty much did the same thing, including the obligatory visit to the photo booth:
Somehow, Kawai-kun is always very Kawai . . .
. . . but the other two are completely different and rather well-disguised.
Naturally, this called for a street poll on the question of which of the three was the cutest.
Rather than having the respondents point at someone and tallying the result up, this poll actually involved asking everyone different questions and getting more detailed reactions.
Poor Goseki-kun. Then again, I think all three of them faced some harsh reactions.
And of course, when told that the three of them were Johnny’s members, one person tried very hard to figure out who they were, and ultimately pointed at Goseki-kun and asked if he was in Kis-My-Ft2. She ultimately came up with a name: Senga-kun. Saw that coming from a mile away.
Okay, so what do they have to do next? Thanks to the fact that they got dressed up so quickly, there’s plenty of time left in the episode.
After a pre-performance talk . . .
. . . the two not involved sit and watch . . .
. . . as audience members enter the studio . . .
. . . and try to spot Kawai-kun, Totsuka-kun, and Goseki-kun trying to blend in with the fans while in their crossdressing costumes.
Told you there would be some Where’s Waldo stuff.
Unlike Totsuka-kun, Kawai-kun doesn’t try to hide his face at all, so he’s pretty easy to spot.
But where’s Goseki-kun?
They join in as the audience practices the choreography to make sure they can participate during the live stage.
Eventually, one girl spots Totsuka-kun and realizes who he is. We still have no idea where Goseki-kun is, though.
Kawai-kun is still unnoticed.
There’s more to it, but I’ll leave the last two minutes for your enjoyment.
Incidentally, it looks like the program will turn to more ‘manly’ pursuits next time:
Anyway, this was certainly a great episode. Not only did Kawai-kun, Totsuka-kun, and Goseki-kun face a formidable challenge, they actually faced three separate challenges – going out to take a photo in their costumes, getting judged by women in the street, and finally having to mingle with their own fans.
If there’s any critique of the episode, it’s that it was too short – the part where they were preparing their costumes was very much glossed-over and there was a lot that was cut out of the street poll portion. At least having so many activities meant that it was fast-paced.
It really feels like this show has become what I’ve always thought a variety show hosted by a Johnny’s group ought to be. I’m obviously still catching up on episodes, but I’m going to review one episode at a time now.