In this edition of Gamushara (ガムシャラ), we continue to follow the four teams as they practice for their various performances. Thankfully, they decided to switch up the order, so we didn’t start with the basketball trick team this time, and instead began with the breakdancing team – Iwahashi Genki, Takahashi Fuu, Takahashi Kaito, Matsuda Genta, and Hayashi Ren.

It looks like everyone is together on the basic choreography, but as the announcer said, they’re Johnny’s after all.

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It was three minutes of very quick footwork, though, so they’re all spent by the end of it.

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The staff notes that they’re a bit short on the muscle (and certainly weight training is not part of the normal Johnny’s regimen) . . .

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. . . and after consultation with the sensei . . .

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. . . it was decided that they would get a special task, just like the basketball team in the last episode. I was wondering whether we were going to get another one of these side tasks, and the answer is luckily yes. It turns out that the team has to do some community service:

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Will team leader Iwahashi-kun make up for his lackluster performances in the previous episodes by showing his leadership skills here? Even youngest member Hayashi Ren-kun wonders if Genki-kun has the stuff of a leader when he complains as he did during practice.

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We didn’t hear anything from Genki-kun during phase 1 of their cleaning work . . .

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. . . but there were four more tasks after that.

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The staff asks Takahashi Kaito-kun who their rival team is out of the other three, and he singles out Jesse’s basketball team. That’s a curious choice, because in terms of style their challenge is more like the double dutch team’s, but it seems like Hanzawa-kun and Jesse-kun made specific comments to Kaito-kun that have him riled up.

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I’m surprised by how quickly their tasks are declared complete – we hardly see them do anything before they get the stamp of completion. I’m sure they actually did more than we see, but the way it was portrayed didn’t give a sufficient impression.

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For instance, the time they spent on the fourth task, the staff room, was twenty seconds. That’s . . . not much, and I think I heard one of them speak for a second, but otherwise the audio was all the announcer.

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It was only when they were preparing for their last chore – cleaning the huge floor of a studio – that they finally got a speaking role in this thing. Iwahashi-kun decided who would mop the floor and who would scrub it clean. Genki-kun volunteered himself for the hard scrubbing, with Genta-kun and Ren-kun joining him. The other two, who are both a bit more experienced on the breakdancing, got the mops.

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And so we got this:

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I’m not entirely sure how effective this method of cleaning is, but it can’t be good for their backs during these critical formative years.

The director decided to overinflate this trivial example of leadership, but I guess that’s fair considering how they over-emphasized Genki-kun’s less positive points in the previous episodes.

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The storyline for this team seems so forced that I have trouble crediting it. I didn’t think Genki-kun was so weak or overly prone to complain in the first place, and I certainly wasn’t surprised by him showing some maturity here, so I have to just roll my eyes at their attempt to make a mountain out of this.

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This special challenge was clearly not as good as the haunted house that the basketball team got. And, whereas each member of the basketball team got highlighted individually, here again we were almost exclusively focused on Genki-kun with some words from Kaito-kun and Ren-kun. The other two didn’t have much of a speaking role.

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We also didn’t see them practicing the . . . the more rotational aspects of breakdancing. So that was a disappointment. This wasn’t much of a progress report.

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They turned to the basketball guys – Jesse, Hanzawa Akatsuki, Masuda Ryo, Fukusawa Tatsuya, and Iwamoto Hikaru – next. They have had ten days of practice so far.

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Hanzawa-kun collapses to the floor and says its impossible, which leads Jesse-kun to complain to the sensei about him. Hmm . . . that’s not really leadership, is it? Well, maybe Jesse-kun was just delegating the responsibility to the sensei.

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Fukusawa-kun is dripping with sweat.

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In fact, they’re all complaining – including Jesse-kun. So, why doesn’t the director lament Jesse-kun’s lack of leadership?

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Instead, they jump to four days later, where they’re looking much better . . .

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. . . except this time they say Iwamoto-kun is struggling.

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But really, if the practice sessions are sufficiently long, everyone is going to struggle at one point or another, if only because they’re getting tired. They could have probably shown a clip from any member to claim that they were having trouble. I guess it’s good that they at least gave Hikaru-kun some time, and he even got a significant speaking role out of it.

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It’s a bit difficult to see what sort of performance their practice will turn into, especially since what we saw here was just dribbling between the legs. That’s not easy, but also not enough to impress an audience.

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I guess we’ll just have to wait to find out.

Next up was the percussion team – Jinguji Yuta, Nakamura Reia, Matsukura Kaito, Tajima Shogo, and Inoue Mizuki – and it’s pretty clear what their performance will look like. Or, more exactly, sound like.

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They’re also making a lot of very visible improvement, in contrast to some of the other teams.

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But just when I thought they were just going to do stuff with snare drums . . .

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. . . they broke out the cymbals! Oh . . . this could be bad.

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Ah, it’s this sort of pattern, is it?

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Perhaps more than the breakdancing team, this team is getting a real arm workout. Those things are heavy, and their movements have to be precise – holding the cymbals steady at the right angles.

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After watching them practice, the sensei has decided who will be the center for the performance. Apparently, it wasn’t a given that the leader would be the center, so who will it be?

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The double-dutch team was once again the last one we got an update for. Matsumura Hokuto, Morohoshi Shoki, Morimoto Shintaro, Tanaka Juri, and Kyomoto Taiga seemed to figure out how to turn the ropes last time, so now they’re on to more complicated things.

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This episode continues to be a reflection on leadership, as they ask Hokuto-kun about his role.

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Then the sensei introduced a new skill they would have to master . . .

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. . . and I’ll admit that this challenge looks like the craziest and most difficult of the lot. The basketball guys are so lucky, it’s not even funny.

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For the omake segment at the end of the show, they had Takahashi Fuu-kun’s corner again . . .

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. . . and he was trying to make himself sneeze, I think.

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I don’t even know what to say about that. It wasn’t quite the end, though, as we got a J’s Party clip during the closing credits . . .

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. . . as well as what seemed to be a preview of the next episode. And that latter bit was somewhat shocking, since I thought this show preferred to keep what was going to happen the following week a surprise.

This was not as good an episode as last week’s for many clear reasons. First, the special clean-up duty segment in the first half, while at least vaguely connected to the breakdancing challenge, wasn’t as interesting as the haunted house. Not by a mile. The basketball challenge has always been the least engaging, and this time that segment wasn’t helped out by an alternative activity. The percussion team was very business-like this time, and not quite as fun to watch even though it’s still the best of the four. The only segment of the four that seemed more engaging this time than in the last two episodes was the double-dutch challenge.

A lot of the problem is how choppy the editing makes each part, preventing the viewer from really getting into the story. Rather than getting a first person account from the participants, we’re more often fed the third-person summary from the announcer, who is almost giving a weekly report on the situation. When we do get to hear from the juniors, it’s like quotes in a news article, while we have to rely on the announcer-journalist to give those quotes context. It’s tolerable within certain bounds, but not when there are so many activities in a single episode. Since the special challenge at the start had five different tasks in it, and we got updates on the four challenges already in progress, and there was also Fuu-kun’s segment at the end, there were no less than nine different transitions necessary. That’s a lot for a show with twenty-two minutes of program time.

Anyway, hopefully after we get through this four-challenge phase, we can go back to having just two challenges to focus on in each episode.