This episode of Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) began with a ludicrously long VTR showing highlights from the episode – one minute of forty-five seconds in which they tried their best to show all the good parts in case you wouldn’t be able to stick around for the rest of the show. Then again, perhaps they did it that way because the guest is a kabuki star and no one gets tired of seeing highlights like this:
The guest is Ichikawa Ebizou-san – the 11th of that name. That is to say, Ichikawa Ebizou is a kabuki family name that has been passed down since 1660, and the guest is the eleventh person to bear it.
Fortunately, even though kabuki actors tend to have illustrious pedigrees like that, they tend to be conversely very down-to-earth. I guess once you’re the successor to a three-hundred year old line, there’s no need to be snobbish to prove that you’re important.
What kind of fresh experience will he offer the Arashi members this week?
We already saw a clip from his first butai (he started performing on stage at the age of 5) and that’s what they begin talking about – the fact that he was born into his trade.
Sakurai-san wonders if Ichikawa-san is acquainted with any of the Arashi members and, naturally, he knows Matsumoto-kun. Sakurai-san then expresses amazement that there doesn’t seem to be anyone in show business that MatsuJun doesn’t already know.
In fact, MatsuJun is so well-acquainted with Ichikawa-san that he uses informal speech (tameguchi) rather than polite speech (keigo), and refers to the kabuki actor by his real name rather than his stage name, calling him Takatoshi-kun.
MatsuJun’s impression of Ichikawa-san is that he’s amiable but fastidious and meticulous – sounds like the kind of person MatsuJun would naturally be friends with.
Sakurai-san then asks Ichikawa-san about what image he has of the Arashi members, but he said it’s difficult, so they just decided that he didn’t have a sufficient image of them and moved on.
But why did Ichikawa-san decide to appear on Arashi ni Shiyagare? Well, there was something about a blog, comments, and a settling of accounts with Aiba-kun. I didn’t get all the details, but clearly this appearance had a lot to do with Aiba-kun and Ichikawa-san’s frequently-updated blog which has reached 100 million hits.
As a result, Aiba-kun takes the lead for this episode and brings out a special ‘yarisugi’ (overkill/overdone) board which will no doubt highlight the ways Ichikawa-san has managed to garner such attention through his blog.
This is a new corner, so we can expect to see more of it, and I have mixed feelings about it. Obviously, I’ve been saying that they should have a greater variety of segments, and they’ve been fulfilling that wish of mine this year. I also think that Aiba-kun has the best track record with introducing new segments. However, this does seem to tread on Nino-kun’s biography segment a bit – especially with the board and everything – and I also really wanted to see Ohno-san or MatsuJun figure out unique segments, since the other three Arashis already spend a lot of the time leading the show.
Still, it sure looks like this is a segment that relies on the guest to have a very substantial silly side. Consider these images of Ichikawa-san for instance:
When Sakurai-san objects that the Ninomi-ya segment is good for this part of the show, Aiba-kun explains that the purpose of Nino-kun’s segment is to be thorough about the person’s life, while Aiba-kun’s segment is just to highlight the parts of a person’s lifestyle where they overdo things. No shortage of that sort of thing with Ichikawa-san.
Here, they discuss the art of taking selfies, along with the use of trademark poses.
Another area in which Ichikawa-san is excessive is in taking pictures of himself while he’s in the bath/bathhouse/onsen. Aiba-kun makes a really silly pun here, turning bulogu (blog) into furogu (bath-log, if you will).
Ichikawa-san has 251 bath photos on his blog!
He spends insane amount of times in the onsen, spending his time there reading.
Aiba-kun ends up making a huge deal of this – I don’t think any of the other members could have gotten as many laughs from such as simple quirk.
They went to soba next, and Aiba-kun had them guess how Ichikawa-san prefers his soba . . .
. . . and since they were having trouble, he decided to give them a gesture hint. I don’t think this helped, but it was sure funny.
Ichikawa-san takes soba in water, and Aiba-kun has the soba ready so they can all have a taste.
Following that, they went on to talk about Ichikawa-san’s relationship with his wife, Kobayashi Mao-san, using her cooking as a segue.
They married in July 2010, and the marriage party looks very, very lavish, and involved a thousand people:
The two of them met on NEWS Zero, where Kobayashi Mao-san was working as a newscaster. She interviewed him in December 2008, and we actually have their first meeting on tape:
And it sure seemed like they connected, because it was a year-and-a-half later that they tied the knot.
Okay, enough of this biographical stuff! What about the thing he’s going to introduce the Arashis to? What about the challenge?
It’s . . . it’s a kid theme park . . . called Aiba Land.
I don’t think there’s any point in me describing it – the screencaps say it all:
Didn’t we see something like this as a possible VS Arashi/Bet de Arashi game shown at the end of one of the VS Arashi episodes? If not, I’m surprised they didn’t think of it.
So, how about we have some serious races? Well, we only got a three minute taste of Aiba Land here . . .
. . . before they threw in a Tokyo Ii Mise Kudoi Mise segment with Ohno-san and Ninomiya-kun. I’ll give some credit, though: they’ve at least stopped putting it at the beginning of the show, which was a huge issue for me. In this position, it’s not so bad – it’s sort of like the Encounter the Unknown segment in the old format of Arashi ni Shiyagare, except we already know exactly what it’s going to be about.
And frankly, I was very unimpressed this time. I’m very certain that I can make cook up everything this guy made, and probably do a better job of it.
Consider this sad looking carbonara:
And even the best attempts to get good lighting on this dish couldn’t save it from looking like a TV dinner, though it’s sometimes hard with pasta:
Okay, enough of that! Back to kiddie land:
They went on to a second game instead of doing more with those tiny cars . . .
. . . and yeah, this should be interesting.
But on this game as well, they didn’t really have adequate time to give it a good try. I would have liked to see a real obstacle course set up, but I suppose there wasn’t space in the studio.
Anyway, this still provided a fun ending to the show.
Ichikawa-san was an excellent guest with plenty of interesting quirks to talk about, and I think any viewer will be impressed with the way his good-natured personality is combined with an undeniable intensity. He seems like a very solid guy.
The episode was therefore a good one, and if we could get all the humor involved translated, probably a great one. I don’t think I’ve heard so much laughter in an Arashi ni Shiyagare episode in ages.
There’s no question who the Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi for this episode was: Aiba Masaki-kun. He led all the proceedings, was clearly super-excited, and produced most of the humor except at the very end with all the members participating in Aiba Land.