As with so many episodes of VS Arashi (VS 嵐), we started this one focusing on Ninomiya-kun’s choice in apparel. As always, it looked comfy, but I would definitely not be caught wearing it in public.

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The guests this week were the cast of the movie “Irai naru, Shurara Bon” (hereafter the Shurara Bon team). They were led by Hamada Gaku-san (濱田岳), and the other members of the team were Okada Masaki-kun (岡田将生), Fukada Kyoko-san (深田恭子), Watanabe Dai-san (渡辺大), Kanjiya Shihori-san (貫地谷しほり), and Kashiwagi Hinata-san (柏木ひなた) from Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku. I think this is the first time I’ve seen someone from Shiritsu Ebisu Chugaku, though it might just be memory loss.

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They’re relatively young, but I don’t think there’s much team cohesion. One of the member prompted Kashiwagi-san to lead a cheer, which was already a bit awkward, and then the actual cheer was sloppy. The Arashi team shouldn’t have any trouble dealing with this bunch . . . right?

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The plus one guest was the formidable Takada Nobuhiko-san (高田延彦) – former mixed martial arts fighter and pro wrestler. Well, if Arashi doesn’t win in this episode, Takada-san is going to have to give the boys a serious talking to . . . .

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There’s a bit of a complication, though – Takada-san was actually in the movie the guest team is representing! His character was the father to the characters played by Watanabe-san and Kashiwagi-san. That’s a bit . . . awkward.

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Well, here are the teams:

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At least Takada-san wasn’t doing the same silly pose the Shurara Bon team were, or that would guarantee that he was a double-agent.

The first game was Korokoro Viking, which means the last game will be Kicking Sniper. If it isn’t Kicking Sniper at the end, I’ll be a very happy viewer, because it would mean that they were finally breaking the pattern that has persisted for . . . seems like as long as I’ve been reviewing these VS Arashi episodes.

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Hamada-san asks Takada-san to do his “Detekoiya!” shout if the Shurara Bon team wins today. There was hardly any chance that Takada-san would fail to do it at some point, but presumably this means that he can only do it at the end.

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Announcer Itou-san asks Okada-kun whether the Shurara Bon team has good teamwork, and Okada-kun gives a rather weak and nervous reply, and had the audience laughing because he was messing with a piece of the set and eventually broke it:

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The Shurara Bon team isn’t much for talking, so Takada-san has to help out. He speaks extensively about how close-knit the team is, giving examples and telling stories. During this, Hamada-san said something and Takada-san couldn’t resist shouting “Deteikeya” – so he didn’t technically should “Detekoiya” ahead of time, but he’s found a way around the restriction.

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By the way, Okada-kun has appeared on VS Arashi before and has played Korkoro Viking twice previously, but he looked like a total novice in this one.

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Arashi tackled the game next, and Ohno-san brought up what happened during the pre-recording practice – apparently, because he’s paired with Takada-san in the orange zone, he was unable to control the orange zone at all. I think he didn’t have the strength to overcome the resistance produced by Takada-san’s manipulations, if I heard right.

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So, will that be a serious impediment? I’ll tell you one thing: there’s a strange ending to this one.

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Bank Bowling was next with Okada-san and Kanjiya-san starting things off for the Shurara Bon team. The talk revolved around their characters in the movie.

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Poor Okada-kun is still a bit nervous, and said “entertainer” when he meant “entertainment.” Not only did everyone laugh and Nino-kun tell him off for this, but the graphics person decided to make a point about it as well:

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Glad to know they’re at least expected to get the distinction between those words right.

Announcer Itou-san brought up the issue of teamwork again, and the matter of an argument that broke out during filming. Hamada-san told the story because he ended up being the mediator.

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Strangely, the issue was that Okada-kun was accusing Watanabe-san of being an airhead and Watanabe-san got offended. Based on Okada-kun’s behavior so far, isn’t this sort of the pot calling the kettle black?

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Finally, they decide to give those bowling balls a toss . . .

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. . . and Watanabe-san and Kashiwagi-san went up to clean up the remaining mess.

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Hamada-san had another story about an argument, this time between Kashiwagi-san and Watanabe-san. I’m not sure what this was about, and not sure I believe it.

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Okada-kun didn’t seem to show much team spirit after their throw. I’m telling you – whatever Takada-san might say, this team doesn’t have much cohesion.

Speaking of Takada-san, how well will he do bowling alongside Sakurai-san? From what he said, he was more concerned about being able to get his fingers out of the holes in the bowling ball!

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Itou-san asked Takada-san what he says when his fingers are stuck in a bowling ball, prompting Takada-san for “Detekoiya!” (which roughly means “Get out!”). For a moment, I thought Takada-san might resist the temptation to say it, but he did it. Considering the applause he got for it, I can’t blame him.

But what about the bowling?

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You know, when Takada-san sits with a smile and crossed arms, he sort of reminds me of the genie of the lamp, or if he shaved his head maybe Mr. Clean.

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Aiba-kun and Matsumoto-kun took the second throw for the Arashi team . . .

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. . . but there was sort of a problem because Aiba-kun wanted to aim for a certain line, and it led him to stand relaly close to MatsuJun – so close that MatsuJun was perturbed.

That doesn’t explain how Aiba-kun ended up on the floor without his ball while MatsuJun still had his ball in his hand. This might have been the most chaotic Bank Bowling attempt ever.

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The third game was Cliff Climb. The Shurara Bon team was up first, and the climbers were Okada-san and Hamada-san. Hamada-san is sort of . . . short . . . so is it really a good idea for him to be the one to tackle the overhang? Seems like a long reach would help, but I guess we’re about to find out.

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Is it just me, or does Takada-san sit with his arms crossed constantly?

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The climbers for Arashi were Aiba-kun and Nino-kun, with the former handling the tough part. In Bank Bowling, Aiba-kun was apparently in klutz mode. Has he gotten that out of his system, or was that a sign of things to come?

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They note that they both have an issue because they’re wearing shorts. At first glance, it’s not so bad with Aiba-kun’s, but Ninomiya-kun’s shorts are definitely broad enough to reveal his underwear as he climbs. Nino-kun’s shorts are also long, though.

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When Aiba-kun checks, though, he decides that he’s in danger, too. Watching them look up their own shorts was funny, but what follows is bound to be even crazier. Clearly, Aiba-kun is still in silly mode – he asks to wear Nino-kun’s hat during his climb.

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My hope that the youthful vigor of the Shurara Bon team would save us from having to sit through Rolling Coin Tower was dashed:

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Nothing much to report from the pre-game talk, so let’s just move on to . . . to Kicking Sniper, of course.

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Yup, the pattern continues. As you can see, Okada-san, Hamada-san, and Fukada-san took the three positions for the guest team. This is the first time I’m mentioning Fukada-san, and except for Okada and Hamada, the members of the guest team really haven’t distinguished themselves – they made no impression at all.

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It all comes down to this: can Matsumoto-kun, Ohno-san, and Takada-san secure a victory or will they be responsible for a shocking loss?

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Just to make things harder for themselves, they decide that one person will be responsible for each target – taking all three kicks for that target. They rotated so Takada-san was responsible for the first target, MatsuJun for the second, Ohno-san for the third, Takada for the fourth, and MatsuJun for the last one. Can you sense that the guys on the bench are relieved that they’re no part of this one?

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With every kick, Takada-san shouted “Shurara Bon” to promote the movie.

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This episode was very average – there was nothing about it that was particularly memorable. Only two members of the guest team – Okada-kun and Hamada-san – made any impression at all, and the two of them were not engaging enough. It would have been better if Takada-san had been part of the guest team, they had left one of the other four members out, and a different plus one guest was booked.

Takada-san is very much a known quantity in Japanese entertainment, and he basically did his thing. He was certainly more interesting than any member of the guest team, but if he had been their team leader, I imagine he would have been able to engage them in more banter that would have helped them to make more of an impression. He tried even though he was part of the Arashi team, but opportunities were limited.

There were scattered moments for the Arashis, but it really boiled down to the Bank Bowling fiasco, Cliff Climb, and then the Kicking Sniper madness. The last of these felt sort of contrived and didn’t end up being very interesting, anyway. In both of the other cases, the memorable happening was primarily due to Aiba-kun, so even though I hesitate because it seems like I’ve been naming him Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi a lot lately, I have to give it to him again this time. I guess it’s just his season.