This time on Gamushara (ガムシャラ), it’s finally time to see how the pole dancing challenge will go.

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No, Nakajima Kento-kun is not one of the participants in the challenge, though it looks like Sexy Zone will get to try it out for laughs, which is a step in the right direction if they’re going to keep having SZ on. I think letting them try challenges out to see how hard it is would be a good role – they should have had them try to make spray art, too.

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No, the challenge features Matsumura Hokuto-kun, Morimoto Shintaro-kun, and Nagata Jiei-kun, and it’s time for them to take what they learned to the stage.

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The “Parental Advisory Explicit Content” tee shirt Jiei-kun was wearing in this next shot was especially amusing in context:

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But before we get to the main event . . .

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. . . they brought a pole in-studio so the three challengers could show what they could do in front of their fellow juniors and SZ. They didn’t do the full performance (since that would ruin things for later), but instead showed of specific moves.

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Hokuto-kun went first, then Jiei-kun, and finally Shintaro-kun.

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Then Hokuto-kun started looking for victims, and said that he thought Sato Shori-kun would be able to do the spin.

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So, since they’re Johnny’s, they have to give it a try. Hokuto-kun gave him specific instructions on how to do it, but do you think he was able to?

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Kento-kun had a go at imitating Jiei-kun’s flexibility, which was the most straightforward to the featured moves.

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Finally, Kikuchi Fuma-kun tried out Shintaro-kun’s power move – the flag.

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After that, they turned to the VTR with the final practice sessions – dress rehearsals – before Hokuto, Shintaro, and Jiei took to the stage during the J’s Party Live.

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They spent 45 days learning how to do this, and the first session we see is from a week before J’s Party, and they’re trying to get the choreography down – stringing together the moves.

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At this point, they’re far from synchronized.

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It’s hard enough just to perform the moves (and these are way more advanced than what they did in-studio), but extraordinarily taxing . . .

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. . . and painful . . .

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. . . to practice everything repeatedly to get the timing right.

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In particular, they had to learn three special finale moves – Hokuto-kun took on the “windmill”, Shintaro-kun had to do the “spinning top”, and Jiei-kun tackled the “fireman”. The windmill looked especially difficult, though I can’t be sure which one was worse. Jiei-kun continued to show that a background in ballet helps with this sort of thing.

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Massages might help keep them going, but clearly the resiliency of youth is the most important factor allowing them to do this.

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The day before the big event . . .

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. . . Hokuto-kun and Shintaro-kun get some (too little) time to talk about the experience . . .

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. . . and then their sensei REIKO-san commented on their effort.

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So, will they make their sensei proud? I’m sure, but there’s no way to convey what the performance was like in screenshots – you’ll definitely have to watch this for yourself.

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I’ll tell you one thing – the VTRs of the practice sure didn’t give much of a hint about what the final product would be like.

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The staff asked them how they felt after the performance, but again it was way too short . . .

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. . . and then the announcer informed us that the challengers for next month’s big performance will be Takahashi Fuu-kun, Jesse-kun, and Morohoshi Shoki-kun, but we don’t know what the challenge will be yet (unless you’ve already seen the next episode).

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I’m grateful that they at least spent most of the episode on the pole dancing thing, but the director inevitably wanted to squeeze in something else – he or she is simply not satisfied with episodes focused on one thing. So, we got the segment where the juniors get to show off special talents. We saw it with Takahashi Fuu-kun in the first episode when he did his headspin, but this time the first junior up was Tajima Shogo-kun.

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His talent is the ability to turn his eyelid from single to double:

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Didn’t we already see this in an opening or teaser? How long ago was this recorded?

Anyway, next up was Jesse-kun, who donned a black belt and karate outfit to break some wooden boards.

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Hmm . . . Jinguji-kun does karate, too, doesn’t he? Perhaps a board-smashing competition would be interesting to watch. I wonder why they didn’t give that a go this time.

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As it was, it took Fuma-kun to point out that breaking one board with a kick seems like something anyone could do, and it was Morita Myuto-kun who took on the challenge with Fuma-kun holding the board.

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Do you suppose he managed it without the black belt?

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No, no he couldn’t.

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I still think the Jinguji-Jesse karate battle is a must.

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By Gamushara standards, this was a pretty straight-forward episode: either you want to watch the result of the pole dancing challenge, or you don’t. For my part, I was in awe of the effort they put into it. Sure, it’s a skill that they’re unlikely to use more than this one time, but the muscle control they needed will no doubt serve them well. Hokuto-kun might be look tired and sore, but perhaps his dancing will benefit from this – who knows? I think Shintaro-kun already went in with sufficient muscle and Jiei-kun with his ballet background, so it was really Hokuto-kun who seemed to be making the big leap.

A resulting downside to the episode, though, was that it put fewer juniors in the spotlight than usual, and a lot of time was given to the two most familiar faces – Jesse-kun and Hokuto-kun.

Anyway, it was a fine episode, and I’m looking forward to find out what the next big challenge will be.