This was the last VS Arashi (VS 嵐) of 2013, and we were promised a tough fight with a strong team upfront, so the Arashi guys had better be ready for some physical exertion.

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Unfortunately, one member seems to have come prepared for a talk show instead of VS Arashi.

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I mean, what’s with that sweater over the collared shirt? That’s not sporty!

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You can be sure that the guest team didn’t wear clothing inappropriate for the show – they were the INAC Kobe Leonessa soccer team, and they naturally showed up in uniform.

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Led by the incomparable Sawa Homare-san, the guest team included Kawasumi Nahomi-san, Kinga Yukari-san, Takase Megumi-san, Minamiyama Chiaki-san, and Nakajima Emi-san.

Sakurai-san naturally brought up the previous times the soccer players have been on, including the 2012 New Year special.

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And the plus one guest who absolutely needs to be able to help the Arashis this time . . .

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. . . was Okada Junichi-san from V6! I think Arashi caught a lucky break here. If they had gotten a comedian, this episode would be all over right here. Okada-san was totally fired up and gave them all high fives despite still trying to carry his promo poster in his hand.

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And Okada-san definitely wanted to show that he was into this, getting everyone into a huddle. I remember him being rather laid-back (though very active and successful in the games) in his previous appearance, so maybe he wanted to show his more vigorous side. Combining Arashi and V6 into ‘Arashi6’, though, didn’t seem to fly with the Arashi guys.

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The first game was Korokoro Viking with the INAC team up, and the reason we’re getting this game first rather than last is obvious – they’ll save Kicking Sniper for last with soccer players as the guests.

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Announcer Itou-san calls three of the members the ‘Ikemen 3’ in reference to the fact that they look like handsome young men. And I certainly see that point – if they’re up for it, they should definitely be considered for drama roles where a woman is disguising herself as a man. Too often those roles go to people who can’t cut it at all.

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A CD début, though?

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Anyway, they’re all lovely, and when Kawasumi-san admitted she’s thought Okada-san was cool all the way back in middle school (and sounds like she still has a thing for him), I’m sure he had a brief dokidoki moment.

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Well, looks like the INAC team is fired up. How will they do in this game, which uses few of their skills except teamwork?

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On the Arashi team’s turn, Aiba-kun was paired with Okada-san in the orange zone. This could be brilliant or disasterous.

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Aiba-kun looks to be in good form, though. The guys got him to do some impressions that are very popular right now. The o-mo-te-na-shi one practically won the 2013 Monomane Grand Prix for Fukuda Ayano-san (I hope I’m not spoiling that show for anyone).

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Anyway, Aiba-kun doing Monomane is always hilarious because he’s really bad at it. I mean, everyone’s going around doing Hanzawa Naoki these days, but Aiba-kun managed to sound nothing like Hanzawa – practically an accomplishment.

The exchange between Aiba-kun and Okada-san after the impressions was great, too.

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Actually, even their gameplay was fun to watch (even though I don’t particularly like this game), with Aiba-kun shouting “ima desho!”

The next game was Pinball Runner with the Minamiyama-san running for the INAC team. She said that she wants to get all of the balls in the game (I think).

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Her teammates started to talk about her character, calling her a “スネ夫” which I have no idea how to translate. All I know is that she’s clearly soft-spoken.

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Okada-san ran for the Arashi team with Sakurai-san and Matsumoto-kun calling out numbers for him.

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There was a memo from the V6 leader, Sakamoto-san, who was apparently asked about Okada-san’s weak point. He answered that Okada-san’s weak point was that he had no weak point. By way of apology for this comment from his group’s leader, Okada-san said that Sakamoto-san was a bit strange.

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Okada-san and Sakurai-san shared a brief reminiscence of Kisarazu Cat’s Eye, the drama they did together in 2002.

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MatsuJun also has a connection to Okada-san – they were senpai-kouhai in the same high school.

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Okada-san then said something comparing MatsuJun’s cuteness to Aiba-kun’s, but I didn’t really get that. The reactions were funny, though.

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During the game, Aiba-kun rushed in to give Okada-san close-in assistance. You’ll have to watch to see how distracting that assistance ended up being.

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Bank Bowling was next. I was really hoping for a more athletic game considering the participants (still haven’t seen Popcorn Hitter in ages, Jumping Shooter should have also been a possibility, and it turns out we won’t even get Cliff Climb in this episode).

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Sawa-san and Takase-san went first for the soccer team . . .

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. . . and Kinga-san and Kawasumi-san handled the clean-up.

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There was another Sakamoto Memo at this point, but I’m not sure of the translation.

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Sakamoto-san joined Ohno-san to bowl for Arashi. Of course, they went to the fact that Okada-san technically entered the agency after Ohno-san, and is therefore Ohno’s kouhai. We’ve heard all that before, though.

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The clean-up crew for Arashi were MatsuJun and Nino-kun. Can they manage a spare?

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I’m not too sure what was going on between Ohno-san and Okada-san here.

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The penultimate game was Bound Hockey Well, I guess there’s goal-scoring involved at least.

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Kinga-san got a chance to talk here – more than I’ve heard from the team members except for Sawa-san and Kawasumi-san, who are the TV veterans.

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Don’t get fooled by Sawa-san’s smile . . .

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. . . she’s fierce in battle.

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This guy’s the same way, I think:

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Ninomiya-kun had a very . . . characteristic look about him:

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Nino-kun also took a shot at the INAC team’s performance, predicting an . . . well, frankly an impossible number of goals for this own team.

But Okada-san is the goal-scorer for the team. What sort of player is he? Well, we’ll only be able to find out if the Arashis can feed him the puck. There was a lot of Okada-san shouting “Aiba!” in this game, but I’m not sure Aiba-kun was the person he should have been shouting at.

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The final game was, of course, Kicking Sniper. For some reason, all the team members are up – what’s this all about?

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Well, probably they realized they didn’t have time for two rounds of Kicking Sniper, but it wouldn’t be fair to only allow half of the soccer team a chance to kick, so this alternative was devised. As an additional adjustment, there were six targets rather than five so that everyone would be up three times.

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In the end, though, it was all about how the INAC Kobe team would do.

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This was a very solid way to end VS Arashi’s 2013. The INAC Kobe team was lots of fun and its members were each memorable in their own way – they each got the focus at some point. Their in-game performance was, of course, formidable, but even during the talk bits they did better than many of the actor teams we see. Of course, Sawa-san and Kawasumi-san have both done VS Arashi before and clearly came prepared to help things along.

Oh, and I like the little monomane gag that the INAC team did at the very end – nice touch.

Okada-san was spectacular this time. He definitely came with the right frame of mind for the show in terms of providing some entertainment and led the Arashi team’s antics.

On the Arashi side, there was an obvious Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi – Aiba-kun. He really started off the fun with his monomane and exchange with Okada-san in Korokoro Viking, and then drew plenty of attention right through to the end. The other significant Arashi contribution was Ninomiya-kun during Bound Hockey.

Okay, just barely managed to sneak this in before the Jan. 3rd special airs. On to VS Arashi 2014!