Two weeks is a long time between Sexy Zone Channel episodes – especially when we have to wait those two weeks before getting to see the result of a challenge. Last time, we found out that SZ really could make a double-dutch challenge very interesting to watch, but if they really want to do a double-dutch performance set to “Lady Diamond”, they might have to dispense with the humor this time and really get focused.
While the university double-dutch team makes the routine look easy . . .
. . . it’s a lot trickier for the SZ members, who only learned the basics of double-dutch that day.
On the bright side, they have the university team members holding the ropes – don’t underestimate how much that’s helping to smooth the rough edges . . .
. . . but after all the basic training they did last time, the boys must have some pretty sore muscles, and they’ve already had to change tee-shirts since their previous ones probably reeked.
Starting this review, I wonder if I’ll have much to say in the midst of the pic spam.
How about a leap-frogging Kento?
I’ll say one thing – the quality of the video is excellent despite the quick movement, just as it was last time.
They began with each member practicing their own parts with the specialist they were paired with. While Kento-kun leapfrogging was impressive (though full credit to the rope-turner who supported his weight), the part that was most fun to watch was Shori-kun’s because he had some fancy footwork. The most difficult part, though, seemed to be Fuma-kun’s because of the speed.
A funny scene was when Marius-kun and Shori-kun each tried out Fuma-kun’s part to see if it was really as difficult as he made it look. Marius-kun’s “zen zen wakannai~” will make me laugh every time, and Shori-kun couldn’t even start it. So yeah, it wasn’t just Fuma-kun.
It was a very thorough and compelling portrayal of their practice. We saw them fail a lot, and only occasionally get it right.
Oh, and excellent background music by the way – they had “Congratulations” playing behind most of it, and I like the song precisely because it’s so easy to use in this way – as theme music for any impressive exertion.
After around an hour of practicing their specific parts, they took a brief break to talk it over, and asked the university students to show them the full performance one more time.
After that, it was time to start putting everything together – to fuse together all their parts. On the first try, they didn’t even get past the initial eight counts.
And that’s probably when they figured out it was going to be a long afternoon, after all.
It was tough on Marius-kun, since his was the last part and he had a huge amount of pressure. If they even got to him, that meant all the others had gotten it right, so if he failed . . . well, you get the picture.
Whenever a member messed up, they tended to pick up with that member again, to allow for practice where necessary. Along the way, everyone tripped up at one point or another, even Kento-kun.
Fuma-kun might have had the toughest part, but Sou-kun had the most wear-and-tear on his body with those backflips. At this point, though, Fuma-kun is doing quite well and he’s not the one who’s causing Sou-kun pain – Marius-kun is.
There are a few times when they seem inches away from getting it done, but at that point it’s all about Marius-kun’s ability to get his kirakira move right and exit the ropes. On the best of these Marius fails, everyone drops to the floor in dismay – including all the university students – and then Kento-kun shouts “kirakira shiro yo!!”
I really like how the university team is fully into this – their enthusiastic help is a huge part of what makes this enjoyable to watch.
The other part are the little touches, like when Marius-kun tries to get the others to do a “yay!” at the end once they start trying to do the moves with “Lady Diamond” playing – at full tempo – without the ropes. The “yay!” is a good idea, but none of the other SZ members seems to be listening when he says it, and his response to that fact was cute.
Around twenty-two minutes into the episode, they try a full fun with ropes swinging and music playing. Sou-kun is the first to fail in this final phase, but that’s all right – they’ve got a lot of episode time ahead of them, so he’s definitely not the only one who had trouble.
It was mostly Fuma-kun at this point – if doing that quick step move was tough before, it’s even more challenging now that he’s tired and the full tempo of the music is determining the pace.
Fuma-kun needs some extra practice . . .
. . . and two hours have passed since we checked the clock near the start of the episode.
The question isn’t so much whether they can do it or not – they’re not going to leave until they get this routine done at least once. The real question is how long they’ll take to do it, and I’ll leave that answer for your viewing pleasure.
The staff asked Shori-kun how this challenge compares to the cliff climbing in the first episode, and he noted that in that one, they were facing it alone. If they succeeded, it was just their own success. This is the first time they’re really taking on a challenge as a team in Sexy Zone Channel, so it has a different feel to it.
There are a lot more screencaps . . . .
Poor Sou-kun is really hurting at this point – especially his wrists as they bear the impact of his hands on the ground and then his entire body weight.
There’s no question that their instructors are impressed with their determination, though.
Eventually, the staff tells them that they’re only going to get five more chances before they have to call it a day. I don’t know how seriously to take that ultimatum, though – it’s possible that the staff wanted to give them a deadline so that they would get more focused.
They look focused, don’t they?
Eventually, there was some measure of victory in this challenge, and there was a huge celebration between the SZ members and the university team . . .
. . . and each of the members had time to reflect on the experience, just as they had with the previous challenges.
Matsushima-kun got a lot of praise from the university students as well as the other members for his back flip efforts. I wonder how many flips he managed to do during this ordeal.
Some time was given to how wonderful their instructors were, of course, as well as how much fun double-dutch was. Fuma-kun reflected that he’d like to take a breather in the next episode.
And there you have it. Honestly, the two April episodes really had to be watched together, just to see the full progress the members made over the course of one day. The effort displayed in each episode was striking enough – see it all as one picture, and it’s even more impressive.
I don’t actually know how they managed to make this so much fun to watch, considering it was a whole episode devoted to them practicing the same thing over and over again. As expected, there wasn’t as much humor in this one as in the last one. I guess they just generated a strong rooting interest – I don’t know if viewers who weren’t fans would have the same reaction, but it’s possible.
As has been true for every episode so far, the structure of the program has been pretty much flawless. Doing things so well . . . they really make it hard for me to review this!
I checked the official site, and they’re keeping the topic for the May 7th episode a secret. Will Fuma-kun get his wish for a challenge that isn’t so physically taxing, or will the staff have another sport lined up for them? I guess we’ll have to wait to find out.