It’s always something new in Johnnys’ Jr. Land, and this time the Super Battle Colosseo was . . . blowdarts! Unless you’ve already watched the episode, I bet you didn’t see that coming!

The teams were Miyachika Kaito, Nakamura Reia, and Akiba Ryusei on the blue team, and Kajiyama Asahi, Abe Aran, and Yoshizawa Shizuya. It was Abe Aran-kun’s first time, so he got a chance to introduce himself with a special skill.

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They get a chance to check out the standardized equipment for sports blowdarts – a 120cm blowpipe and a 20cm dart weighing 1 gram . . .

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. . . and also to give it a first try before the instructor arrives. Will any of them be able to hit the target without the instructor’s help?

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Kajiyama-kun and Yoshizawa-kun both look super-dangerous with stuff like this.

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Finally, instructor Usami-san entered and the real training begins.

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First, she has to explain the rules. In the sport (as opposed to ninja training), they shoot five to ten meters away from the target, and I was somewhat surprised it was that close considering the pipe itself is 1.2 meters. I guess breath doesn’t really put much velocity on a dart.

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If you hit the border of two areas on the target, you get the higher of the possible points.

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Usami-san then demonstrated the proper form, which also seems to help signal to other people that you’re preparing to fire before you actually do.

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Newbie Abe Aran-kun was the first one to try it with the instructor giving pointers.

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I thought the pink team was clearly the favorite in this game until I saw Kajiyama-kun so nervous that he had trouble getting the dart into the pipe.

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The blue team tried to show that they weren’t going to settle for second, even in the practice round. Already, the competitiveness was palpable.

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Reia-kun and Kaito-kun look on as Akiba-kun . . . well, he fails in virtually every way.

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We’ll find out next week how the teams do when competing against each other for real.

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The second segment was Junior Debate Island, where they started with a comment about Saneyasu-kun’s air-typing skills. This seemed very different from the debate island segments that aired before – I wasn’t even sure what they were supposed to be debating.

The juniors present were Kawasaki Shota, Yamashita Kazunari, Chida Kyohei, Akiba Ryusei, Matsukura Kaito, and Takahashi Saneyasu. As usual, the JJL team was good enough to provide the romanized form of their names, just to make sure I got them right:

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So yeah, the focus was on Saneyasu-kun, and they seemed to be trying to find his charm points except for air-typing, but I didn’t really feel it was an appropriate topic for this segment. Before this, the topics were generally of broad interest – like whether to brush one’s teeth in the morning before or after breakfast.

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On the bright side, it did put the spotlight on possibly the most unique junior, and one who hardly ever gets attention.

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They noted a whole flurry of things about him, including the way he changes his clothing style and the way he dances. There was also that point in the previous episode where, having to bark for the dog in the dubbing, he literally said “wan wan” (the equivalent of someone in English saying “woof woof” instead of making a realistic dog bark), which highlights Saneyasu-kun’s gift for unintentional deadpan humor.

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It really wasn’t a debate at all, though, so I didn’t think very highly of the segment.

The Junior Dream Live was next, and it featured Sanada Yuma-kun singing “Genkai Meter”, supposed by Yasui Kentaro-kun and Masuda Ryo-kun among others.

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I don’t think I was hearing much of Sanada-kun’s vocals here at all. It was an all right stage otherwise, though nothing to get excited about.

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The last segment was the Junilan Pressure Press Club, and the highlighted junior was . . . Takehashi Saneyasu-kun. Umm . . . perhaps they should give Saneyasu-kun time to shine in multiple episodes instead of putting it all in this one? This seems to be overdoing it a bit.

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Anyway, you can learn all about Saneyasu-kun from this interview, including his favorite Johnny’s song (KAT-TUN’s “Rescue”), how he’s benefited from joining Johnny’s , and the fact that he looks up to Nakajima Yuto-kun (mainly because of Yuto-kun’s smooth dancing style).

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He sees every junior as a rival and feels that the ultimate competition is in dance. Asked to tell a secret about a member, he offered something about Kishi Yuta-kun.

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There’s a lot more than just that, but I think it’s worth pointing out something about Saneyasu-kun that wasn’t said out loud in the show: he’s a lot better when he’s standing up and the camera is centered on him. Sitting down, his posture tends to be horrible (except, presumably, when typing) and he doesn’t show any awareness of how the camera is capturing him. He also looked sharp in this particular outfit:

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Eventually, they got him to show how he would confess love to a girl (with Matsukura Kaito-kun playing the girl) and then checked out his typing skills.

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They were impressed, but I can’t say I was.The program rated him as a 2-kyu level, which is still two shy from a black belt. When I took keyboarding in high school (something that has helped a lot, as you can probably tell), we had to type out page-long passages, and the program would assess both our speed and our errors on those documents, which included formatting (like formal letters). I was no older than Saneyasu-kun at the time, so I don’t know what’s up with this simple program that has him do one word or sentence at a time – that’s not a real test of his skill. It’s especially not a good test in Japanese, which requires you to select the right kanji once you’ve entered the reading of the kanji in – something this program didn’t simulate at all.

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Extra points to Saneyasu-kun for rubbing his hands together in a satisfied way.

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The blindfolding was trivial, since anyone good at typing naturally keeps their eyes on the document they’re entering rather than the keys or the screen where the information is being entered. And again, it was just one word at a time.

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The best part was when they let Yamashita Kazunari-kun give it a try. I was wondering how the others might do in comparison, and this at least gave us a benchmark.

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He rated as a 4-kyu.

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The boys were still messing around with the typing program when Mogi-san signed off.

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This episode was . . . well, it was basically the Takahashi Saneyasu episode of Johnny’s Jr Land after the blowdart segment. I have to say that it was a bit thick, and they really should have picked a different topic for Debate Island – if they wanted to talk about Saneyasu-kun’s charm points, they could have saved it for a different episode.

Saneyasu-kun himself seemed a tad uncomfortable during the Debate Island, but much more sure of himself during the Pressure Press Club, so that was yet another reason to just have the latter segment – it showed a much better side of him.

In short, the blowdart challenge was all preliminary, so there wasn’t as much entertainment value there as there will be in the next episode when they really compete. The Debate Island was very slow an aimless. The Dream Live was okay, but nothing I’d watch twice. The best part of the show by far was the Pressure Press Club, so it’s at least good that they saved it for the end. I’ll give this episode a 7 out of 10.