The VS Arashi (VS 嵐) New Year special on January 3rd might have been a disappointment, but I don’t think this one will be. You see, there’s one surefire way to make things a bit more interesting – have one of the Arashi members on the guest team. And as you can see from the fact that we only have four members at the beginning of this show . . .

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. . . that’s the situation in this time because Matsumoto Jun-kun was on to promote his new drama Shitsuren Chocolatier. It’s an out-and-out romance, so I’m going to pass on reviewing it.

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Among those on the team with MatsuJun was Kato Shigeaki-kun from NEWS, so hopefully we’ll get some extra fun out of that. I was somewhat disappointed that Takenaka Naoto-san didn’t come, since he always puts a lot of humor and goofy energy into things. The rest of the Chocolatier team was Ishihara Satomi-san, Mizuhara Kiko-san, Mizobata Junpei-san, and Arimura Kasumi-san. No Sato Ryuta-san, though. If we’re going to keep it three guys and three women, I’d have probably substituted Ryuta for Junpei.

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Shigeaki-kun got to hold up the poster for a bit to make up for the fact that he’s not actually in it.

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And the plus one guests added to the Arashi team were . . .

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. . . the comedy duo Ungirls! Now we’re talking entertainment! Just watching these two take on the games will be great fun, and they’re both dressed for action.

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So here’s how the teams look. The Arashi team is going to have to work extra-hard if they want to recover from their miserable loss  in the New Year special!

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The first game was Dual Curling – sort of a tradition when one of the Arashi members is on the guest team. Actually, the tradition was to have a one-on-one fight between two Arashis in that case, but they don’t do that anymore.

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For the first round, it was Sakurai-Ninomiya-Ohno (who did a Three Musketeers pose) versus Matsumoto-Ishihara-Mizuhara. Sakurai-san seemed to take the lead in the humor during the pregame talk – something about unrequited love (片思い – kata omoi) with Nino-kun in high school. And then Nino-kun declared the same for Ohno-san. Ohno-san delivered the punchline as usual.

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That seemed to be designed to parallel the chat about the relationships MatsuJun’s character in the drama has with the other characters.

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I think a proper translation of this little talk would be good, though. Looked like an interesting talk, and I could only understand snippets.

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Hmm, where do you suppose Ishihara-san’s stone went to get this expression on her face?

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The remainder of the members of each team got to go up next. You can’t beat Aiba+Ungirls, though – there’s serious unpredictability here.

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Like with the first bunch from the Chocolatier team, this trio’s main contribution was to discuss what sort of love entanglements their characters have. Mizobata-san did offer some French, though – his character is apparently half-French.

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Nothing much from Kato-kun, though. I hope he doesn’t just stay quiet for the whole episode – a tiny bit of self-promotion never hurts.

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Next was Kicking Sniper. The Chocolatier team sent up MatsuJun, Ishihara-san, and Mizobata-san. Ishihara-san seemed to indicate that she’s confident in this game.

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MatsuJun talked for Mizobata-san, saying that his teammate was good at soccer. Then he revealed that Mizobata was only 24, so . . . Mizobata-kun, then, by my usual convention. I thought he was older (remembering him from when he had black hair).

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Arashi sent up Ungirls, Sakurai-san, and Ohno-san. Well, Ungirls are all dressed up in replica soccer uniforms, to they must be good at this, right?

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Sakurai-san’s having a good episode with comments that are getting a lot of laughs from the crowd and he doesn’t quit here.

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Somehow, Ungirls always bring a more relaxed atmosphere with them, and they had the crowd totally cracking up.

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It especially got good when announcer Itou-san asked Tanaka-san to pick between the three women on the Chocolatier team.

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This sequence got sort of epic thanks to the drawn-out way Tanaka-san played it. I

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And don’t underestimate Ungirls in the game, either – they might look scrawny, but they are extremely athletic.

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But what’s this about Sakurai-san and Aiba-kun trading shoes?

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Rolling Coin Tower . . . I think we got enough of this game in the special.

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But the pregame talk brought a little sequel to what we saw before Kicking Sniper, thanks to Arimura Kasumi-san, who convinced Tanaka-san to only play 3-point coins.

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To my great delight, we got Cliff Climb next.

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I’m really hoping that one of the two Ungirls guys goes up for Arashi, but it’s the Chocolatier team’s turn first . . .

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. . . and with MatsuJun in with the other supporters much to everyone’s surprise . . .

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. . . Mizuhara-san and Kato-kun made the climb. Climbing is apparently a specialty for Mizuhara-san, but Ninomiya-kun points out that this is not a tree, which seems to indicate that there’s something well-known about Mizuhara-san climbing trees that I’m missing.

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Shige-kun has to take care of the overhang . . .

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. . . and there’s the usual reminder that he’s a Johnny’s star (this comes from Ishihara-san), so he had better do well!

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Now, Nino-kun had been taunting Shige-kun a bit before the Chocolatier team’s climb, but he had to tackle the cliff next, and do so with Yamane-san. Will Nino-kun find himself embarrassed, or will he fare better facing the Odaiba Jaw (as the overhang is called).

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Yamane-san just doesn’t want to lose to Mizuhara-san.

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As usual, they ended with Korokoro Viking. The Chocolatier team was up first with Matsumoto-kun and Ishihara-san in control of the critical orange zone.

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Some attention was given to the fact that Mizobata Junpei-kun was in the green zone ahead of Matsumoto Jun-kun, forming what they called the MJ line.

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Will the Arashi team lose to MatsuJun and the Chocolatier crew? If they do, they can’t blame the plus one guests, who contributed a fair share. Aiba-kun was paired with Tanaka-san in the orange zone.

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This was an excellent episode, and certainly an improvement on the first part of the special. Each member of the guest team got at least one good scene. MatsuJun, of course, had plenty of interesting moments, but perhaps none more so than his performance in Kicking Sniper. Ishihara-san contributed comments – including that moment with Kato Shigeaki-kun during Cliff Climb. Kato-kun and Mizuhara-san had Cliff Climb (plus Mizuhara-san had some excited reactions that were in good spirit and she got Nino-kun to do a Platina Data thing right at the end). Mizobata-kun had his French during Dual Curling. Arimura-san had her exchanges with Tanaka-san during Kicking Sniper and Rolling Coin Tower.

Ungirls are the best. They always put overwhelming energy into their appearances and I find their brand of humor easy to understand.

On the Arashi side, Sakurai-san was clearly the member most engaged in the first half, though Nino-kun and Ohno-san contributed during Dual Curling. Ninomiya-kun was more dominant in the second half, starting with his comments to Kato-kun during Cliff Climb, then his own climb, and finally the Platina Data thing at the end of the episode. So, I think the Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi should go to Sakurai-san and Ninomiya-kun jointly.