Gamushara (ガムシャラ) is a new variety show in which Johnny’s juniors – the trainees of the Johnny’s Entertainment agency – take on challenges to show that they have the right stuff. After all, the Japanese entertainment industry likes versatility in its stars.

The juniors participating are the same ones who appear in the concert program Gamushara J’s Party, though the cast for both might change from month to month.

It’s possible to view this series as the conceptual successor to Johnny’s Jr. Land, but what will it really be like? First of all, it’s just a half-hour show while JJL was a full hour, but the portion of JJL where they actually did the challenges was only about half the show, so it’s possible to compare that segment in particular.

Well, let’s find out. The opening sequence is much cooler than JJL’s, that’s for sure. They’re definitely aiming for kakkoii rather than kawaii here.

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The main challenge looks like shampooing patrons at a salon – certainly a nerve-wracking undertaking for someone who has never done it. There seem to be two other segments as well, so they’re really packing it in. Are they really going to be able to give each part enough time?

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Yasui Kentaro-kun is the MC for this show . . .

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. . . and the best part of the boisterous opening is when the juniors who are bouncing around in front clear up and we see Iwahashi Genki-kun somewhat meekly clapping.

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Kentaro-kun speaks very quickly and introduces supporters Sexy Zone. Fuma-kun couldn’t resist injecting some humor here.

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It didn’t take long at all to start the main body of the show – the Gamushara! Maru Maru (OO)! segment where the juniors will be tasked to master some skill.

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Kentaro-kun gives the three participants – Jesse-kun, Hanzawa Akatsuki-kun, and Nakamura Reia-kun – a chance to express some initial thoughts about how difficult the task was . . .

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. . . and then they cue the VTR, in which the three juniors first find out what they’re task is going to be. As usual with VTRs, we get to see some reactions from other cast members in the upper left corner. In JJL, of course, the challenges weren’t presented via VTR and post-analyzed.

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Considering how little time they have in this show, I thought the VTR introduction of what shampooing is and their instructor was a bit unnecessary.

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Also, a lot of this segment was interrupted with graphics cards like these, which were typically redundant:

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The VTRs with the three steps shouldn’t have even been there – we should have just seen the sensei telling them each step and the key points instead of constantly having the announcer pipe in. I got fed up by minute six, hearing the announcer every five seconds, often repeating what the sensei just said. I guess they figure the audience needs to be told everything twice – the announcer sure didn’t contribute much otherwise.

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So, while we get to see the juniors, we sure don’t get to hear them much, and the announcer says more than both the sensei and the juniors combined. This needs to be fixed.

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On the bright side for fans, we definitely got to see the juniors at work . . .

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. . . and their particular strengths and weaknesses. Hanzawa-kun went first, then Reia-kun and finally Jesse-kun.

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And for this, we got double the reaction scenes – one in the top left and another in the bottom right.

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I’m not going to tell you all the details – it’s more fun to watch it anyway . . .

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. . . but I will say that Reia-kun gave me a huge laugh as he mixed up which way to turn the water temperature control knob, making the situation progressively worse.

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Perhaps after watching the other two, Jesse-kun seemed extremely careful.

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In the end, the sensei decided which member did the best. That member will get a special button added to their uniform – sort of the equivalent of a scout badge or mission patch, I guess.

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I really want to talk about the result, but I must resist . . . .

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That segment took ten minutes of program time, which was a lot less than it should have (by my estimate, they had at least six times as much footage). Factor in the choppiness because of all the mini-VTRs, graphics, and the announcer, and it was a very choppy ten minutes. That said, it was fun and funny to watch – all I’m really saying is that I wanted more.

The SZ members asked the three challengers about the experience.

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There was an ad for the Arpil 16th and 17th J’s Party live events, which were sold out . . . so why didn’t they take this time to promote next month’s on-air shows instead? On J’s Party, they never miss a chance to promote this show.

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Anyway, the next segment involved Kentaro-kun, Haniuda Amu-kun, and Suzuki Shunei-kun. That was interesting, because not only are Haniuda-kun and Shunei-kun not part of the advertised cast for this show, but I don’t remember them in this month’s J’s Party, either, so . . . I have no idea who’s going to be in this show anymore.

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They had to master “quick spray art” (hayawasa spray art). Good thing it’s quick, because there isn’t much show time left.

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The artist in charge was YOSHI-san – good name.

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The results he got with his technique were impressive, and he turns it into sort of a performance. Maybe the juniors can do this as part of their stage act . . . .

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Once again, it was heavily edited, there was a lot of narrator, and very little audio from the juniors. They each had to imitate one of YOSHI-san’s works.

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It’s a good thing that they showed some interesting details of how it’s done, because I really, really want to learn how to do this . . .

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. . . especially since the pieces were space-themed and the results the juniors got weren’t bad at all. I don’t know about using spray paints, but I can definitely translate what I saw here into Photoshop skills.

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Don’t get me wrong, though – it wasn’t easy for the boys. While the sensei did his pieces in 3 minutes, they took around 20 minutes, and the results didn’t satisfy.

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So, it looks like they’re going to have something about this challenge in the April J’s Party live events, and that’s why they mentioned the sold-out events at the start. I guess that’s fair.

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The final corner was sort of an oddball one featuring just Matsumura Hokuto-kun. Hokuto-kun is billed here as the number one cool-guy junior, and so . . . he gets a gourmet segment . . .

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. . . in which he eats a bun.

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I’ll give him one thing – he’s got a lot more to say than just “umai” and “oishii”. I’m not entirely sure whether he thought up these lines or whether they were written for him, but they sure seemed prepared.

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Anyway, that was only a couple of minutes – you can think of it as an amusing omake segment, if you’d like.

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Oh, they had Takahashi Fuu-kun do his head spin at the end of the show because . . . why not? He shouted the fact that he could do a head spin because if anyone watching didn’t know he could do one already, they probably need it shouted at them.

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In the end, I think the show was amusing but way too choppy for the reasons I’ve already mentioned. The juniors were great and energetic, the challenges were solid, but the director/editor of the show needs to allow more time for them, and to let things flow a bit without constantly rushing with cut after cut.

It might be that they really are tailoring this to a broader audience, and that’s why they’re trying to keep up the quick pace. Maybe they just had trouble figuring out how to get as many juniors as possible active in the episode.

Still, there’s lots of potential here. There’s also the fact that they snuck in a food corner, though . . . . Basically, this show could go either way at this point. I’ll adopt a wait-and-see attitude. On the unambiguously bright side, the cool feel is good, and it’s nice that they didn’t make the juniors wear silly outfits.