With the new junior variety show, Gamushara, set to start on April 5th, I had better step up my viewing of Johnnys’ Jr. Land just to get a better sense of what they’ve already been up to and who they are. Reviewing the two series side-by-side might end up being very interesting, though the casts are somewhat different with Gamushara skewing a bit older.

In the previous episode, we left the blue team (Miyachika Kaito, Nakamura Reia, and Akiba Ryusei) and pink team (Kajiyama Asahi, Abe Aran, and Yoshizawa Shizuya) in the middle of blowdart training, in preparation for the competition in this episode.

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The format is pretty simple: they get five shots in a round, all of which have to be launched within three minutes. At the end of the round, all the points they get are tallied up.

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First, the teams each got to practice, with the blue team going first. Reia-kun and Kaito-kun did very well here, but Ryusei-kun was . . . well I don’t know where his dart landed, but it sure wasn’t on the dartboard.

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But that was just the first shot, and they each got to try a full round, so Ryusei-kun made sure his next four shots hit.

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While they were at it, we saw some of the excellent photos Mogi-san took of them in action. Gotta love these.

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After the blue team was done . . .

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. . . the pink team that seemed so dangerous with the darts in previous episode showed whether they still had the right stuff.

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Before the match, Mogi-san gives the team captains a chance to say a word, as usual . . .

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. . . then the blue team sent Akiba Ryusei-kun to kick things off.

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As usual, I’m going to omit the final results, though I guess it’s fair to show the first couple of shots to give a taste of things.

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Abe Aran-kun was the first shooter for the pink team.

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Kajiyama-kun was a bit impatient with his shots . . .

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. . . but the opposing captain, Miyachika-kun also got off to a slow start.

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Yoshizawa-kun had seemed like the most formidable shooter all the way through, but will he be as strong when the pressure is on?

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They then went for a second round.

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So, which team do you think won? Well, we’re not actually done with this sport yet – they decided to give it a (unprecedented?) third episode. Each challenge usually only takes two episodes, and I was unhappy to find out they had stretched this one because, honestly, it’s quite boring to watch.

After that competition, it was time for the Junlian Pressure Press Club, and the junior being interviewed was a kid I had absolutely no clue about – Chida Kyohei-kun. And that’s one of the great things about this show – it introduced these guys better than any other source.

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It was up to Matsukura Kaito, Takahashi Saneyasu, Akiba Ryusei, Yamashita Kazunari, and Kawasaki Shota to tease out some information about him. Among the facts we learned was that he admires Yamashita Tomohisa-kun, and he views all the juniors as rivals (the standard answer).

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It was the usual slate of questions, and some of the answers were quite involved. Unfortunately, the more interesting the answer sounded, the less I was able to translate it. When it came to showing how he’d confess to a girl, Kawasaki Shota-kun played the target of his intended affection.

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He’d take her girlfriend to Disneyland for a date. You quickly realize that there are two kinds of juniors when it comes to these questions – the ones who have the obvious answers, and the ones who realize that they should try to be original so that viewers remember them. So far, Chida-kun hasn’t done well on that score.

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He does have a somewhat unusual choice for the Johnny’s song he likes – V6’s “Guilty”. He didn’t do a bad job of singing it, either.

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I’m not sure what he’s doing here:

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The Jr. Dream Live was next and unfortunately I had to settle for a low quality video for this episode, so the screenshots are impossibly blurry. I was able to distinguish Kuramoto Kaoru, Takahashi Fuu, Kishi Yuta, Jinguji Yuta, Haniuda Amu, Nakamura Reia and a few others in the video

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The medley started with “HA-RU-NA-TSU-A-KI-FU-YU” and continued through “Summer x Summer x Summer!”

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We see Jinguji-kun pulling the same moves he continues to do to his day. Kishi Yuta-kun was really in the lead for the performance, but then Takahashi Fuu-kun took center stage to do his breakdancing.

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The last segment was Answer Station, where Matsukura Kaito-kun and Akiba Ryusei-kun helped to address one of Yamashita Kazunari-kun’s concerns. He said his body’s stiff so he’s weak at cartwheels and wanted suggestions to solve his problem. Well, this should be fun.

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One thing we find out pretty soon is that he’s wearing the wrong pants for this. I hate this style of clothing anyway, and if there’s anything I’m glad to see when it comes to the new Gamushara series, it’s that the clothes they’re wearing in the promo image look halfway decent.

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Mogi-san prompts them to check their relative flexibility. Kaito-kun can’t quite touch his toes, Yamashita-kun is way off, and Akiba-kun is apparently the most flexible.

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They do some standard morning stretches . . .

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. . . and really, this seems to be building up to a yoga session.

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Will the stretching help Yamashita-kun to touch his toes? Doesn’t really look like it.

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When I heard the topic, I thought we’d get some cartwheel attempts, but it looks like (perhaps because of the trouser fiasco) they’re just going to see if they can get Yamashita-kun to touch his toes.

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It’s quite a struggle.

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No matter what the suggestion – even after doing the dance to “With You” . . .

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. . . the results are roughly the same:

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He got his best results after drinking Apple Cider Vinegar, but I think it was really just a matter of practice. Eventually, he did get a suggestion that he should do yoga every day, and I think that’s probably the way to go, but Yamashita-kun went with the vinegar.

This was a good episode in terms of variety. The blowdart challenge was a bit slow, and I’m still unhappy with the prospect that they’re going to continue it for yet another episode. I like that the Pressure Press Club focused on a low-profile junior, but I don’t think he made particularly good use of the time. The Jr. Dream Live was fine – good music, but simple dances. Tough to enjoy it with the video quality being what it was, though. The best part of the show was definitely the Answer Station segment, and they once again saved the best for last.

Altogether, I think this one merits an 8 out of 10. I think at some point they ditch the prison outfits in JJL, and I’m eagerly awaiting that blessed episode.