I’m facing a bit more difficulty than usual getting to episodes of this show and Arashi ni Shiyagare thanks to issues from my usual source, so please forgive the unusual delay.

This VS Arashi (VS 嵐) began with talk about Arashi’s new single “Dare mo Shiranai”, and the obvious joke with the title. “Dare mo Shiranai” means “No one knows”, so if someone asks what the name of the single is and the answer is “Dare mo Shiranai” . . . you get the picture.

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Well, that’s probably not the pinnacle of the humor that we’re going to get in this episode because the guest team – the Kyoto team – is quite an illustrious and familiar bunch of comedians.

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Led by Miyagawa Daisuke-san, best known from Sekai no Hatemade Itte Q, there was also Savanna, Black Mayonnaise, and the only person I haven’t seen much of before is Yasuda Misako-san. She’s in good company, though. All of these guys have plenty of Arashi experience, not to mention experience working with Johnny’s members in general.

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They decided to bring some of the distinctive flavor of Kyoto to the show, and we got some liner notes at the bottom of the screen to explain the particular Kyoto trait.

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The plus one guest added to the Arashi team was Sawamura Ikki-san – another veteran (though an actor rather than a comedian/talent) who dressed for action. If I understood correctly, he even got into shape, so hopefully we’re going to see some games that will test that.

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Matsumoto-kun also looks prepared for a fight . . .

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. . . as the first game was Bound Hockey with the Kyoto team up. This is a pretty good sign. Heck, starting with anything except for Rolling Coin Tower is a good sign.

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Miyagawa-san’s voice was a little bit off, and when MatsuJun pointed that out, he said that he had gotten caught up in a Tequila Festival (tequila matsuri) the previous night. Since he’s the guy making the final shots into the goal, his teammates were naturally worried about whether he was fit for this most critical position.

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Eventually, though, there began to be more concern about Kosugi-san’s ability to move, since he’s been loading up on donuts.

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They covered a lot of ground in this pregame talk, actually. They even mentioned that Savanna were senpai to Black Mayonnaise – entering their agency a year earlier.

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There was even a shocking anecdote about Kosugi-san from their early days in the agency:

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This is good, because if they’re throwing all this out really early on, they probably have a lot of other stuff to draw laughs with through the rest of the episode.

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With the Arashi team up . . .

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. . . Ohno-san was the one trying to get the goals. Seems like it’s been a long time since he’s been in this role, but he seems to recall doing well in the past. He reflects, though, that the present is what’s important.

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Sakurai-san tossed it to Sawamura-san, who talked about wanting to become a member of Arashi – always fertile ground for humor. He didn’t really milk it for much here, though.

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The next game was Bank Bowling, and the comedy duos in Team Kyoto decided to mix-and-match. First up were Yoshida-san and Takahashi-san. Announcer Itou-san asked Takahashi-san about being teamed up with his kawaii kouhai (this was all exaggerating the senpai-kouhai thing) and Yoshida-san said something about changing his name from Yoshida Takashi to Yoshida Takahashi – playing the eager-to-please kouhai.

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I couldn’t quite decipher what Takahashi-san said about his middle school days and bowling, but when Yoshida-san said his best score was 110 points and Takahashi-san said “kawaii~”, that was hilarious.

Well, let’s see if he can knock down more than 110 points worth of pins here.

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Can Kosugi-san and Daisuke-san manage to score the first ever spare?

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For the Arashi team, Sakurai-san took the first shot alongside Sawamura-san. Sakurai-san called his partner “member Ikki”, implying that Sawamura-san was indeed an Arashi. Aiba-kun and Itou-san followed suit by calling Sawamura-san “Ikki-kun”.

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Will someone from the Arashi team steal Kosugi-san’s “Hee-haw” gag?

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Aiba-kun and Ninomiya-kun attempted to get the spare. Before that, they tested whether they could toss the bowling balls in tight tandem . . .

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. . . and decided against it.

Sawamura-san got to promote his drama . . .

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. . . then it was time for Cliff Climb. As I had hoped, Sawamura-san (or now, Ikki-kun) tackled the wall with Matsumoto-kun. In fact, he was going to do the hard part – the awkward overhang that has caused so much trouble for so many. Such audacity deserves a special reward, so Sakurai-san starts to call him Ikkun. That’s . . . sort of a reward, yes? It means he’s really part of the group, right?

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Sawamura-san doesn’t like heights, but he says that whenever he has trouble, he thinks about the Dome Tour. Good one.

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So, will Sawamura-san show the Arashis how the overhang can be overcome? Will they decide to let him join to group as a Cliff Climb specialist?

Team Kyoto sent up Yasuda-san and Yagi-san. Yasuda-san mentioned that she was only recently married and carried with her the best wishes of her husband, so that will give her strength here. As it turns out, both Yasuda-san and Yagi-san have the same wedding anniversary date – March 14th – though Yagi-san got married in 2012. Popular date for a wedding, of course, since it’s White Day in Japan.

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Korokoro Viking was next, so at least they’re not going to end with it this time.

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There was more Kyoto-related talk during the guest team’s turn.

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And then on Arashi’s turn, the conversation mostly revolved around Ninomiya-kun, who was paired with Sawamura-san in the critical orange zone.

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Now, we know that Nino-kun is the game master, but how will he do when paired with Sawamura-san?

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The final competition was Dual Curling, and I very much like the idea of making this the last game. First of all, it’s a direct confrontation between the two teams, unlike any of the other games so far.

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Secondly, the scoring is somewhat unpredictable and potentially very high (theoretically without limit), so a team that’s behind by a lot can at least mathematically make a comeback. That’s unlike Korokoro Viking, which has a limit of 450 points.

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Anyway, the first round pit Sakurai, Ninomiya, and MatsuJun against Yoshida, Takahashi, and Yasuda. Everyone else got a chance in the second round.

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As usual, the comedians made sure to get some laughs before starting on the game.

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No matter the score, it all came down to the final round for both teams.

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Okay, so I think this was a very good episode with one caveat: it really needs subtitles. I hope someone will translate this one, because most of the fun had to do with the words traded by members of the guest team, and there was a lot there that I couldn’t understand.

The guest team members were great and clearly well-prepared with material, as expected. None of them really dominated, and there was minimal reliance on gags.

Sawamura-san was a total professional – he not only brought some entertainment, but I have seldom seen a more competent plus one guest in terms of the games. He put in an awesome effort throughout.

So the Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi was Sawamura-san, right? Well, he might have been the most interesting member of the team, but among the five members . . . I guess it has to be a tie between Matsumoto-kun (mainly for his part in Cliff Climb) and Ninomiya-kun (mainly for Korokoro Viking). But really, the Arashis all had minimal work to do aside from playing the games thanks to the guests.