It continues to be an unusually busy summer for me, so please forgive me for the delay in posts. I’m especially mortified at having left this two-hour special of Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) for so long, since the segments each seem like they’ll be really interesting.

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This is the “It’s Summer! Shibuya Harajuku Deluxe Arashi ni Shiyagare Summer Fest 2-hour special.” See:

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Ah, those obnoxiously crowded titles, how I’ve missed them! Anyway, before we get to Matsuko Deluxe, the Arashi guys tackle the Harajuku portion, and naturally when you think about Harajuku and who might appear as a guest to represent that district of Tokyo, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu immediately comes into mind.

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Now, there are many things I don’t rate Kyary Pamyu Pamyu highly for, but there’s no doubt that Harajuku fashion is her specialty, and that’s what she’s here to share. Get ready to see the Arashis in some totally ridiculous clothing.

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The goal isn’t to come up with the sharpest coordination, thankfully, but rather to get as close to a total cost of 100,000 yen ($1000!) as possible. The items they have to choose from range in price from 500 yen to 200,000 yen.

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Now, I’m not going to spoil the surprise, so I’ve included no screenshots of their chosen outfits. Kyary-san, Nino-kun, and Ohno-san went first in picking out their choices.

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During all this, we got little hints about how much things were worth which sort of prevented the viewer from playing along with the game, though it was still possible to wonder who would win.

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In the middle of all this was, of course, announcer Masu Taichi-san. He always seems to be involved in Arashi ni Shiyagare specials. 2014.07.05 Arashi ni Shiyagare 013

Do you suppose a jacket that looks like a ton of money actually costs a ton of money?

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I can’t resist giving Sakurai-san credit for this one – he guessed within ten cents of the cost of this turban-ish hat.

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He, Aiba-kun, and Matsumoto-kun got to pick in the second round after seeing what the first three contestants did. Might seem like an advantage, but it’s also a disadvantage because they have less of a selection.

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It was then time for the fashion show . . .

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. . . and just as a benchmark, the second-closest person got within 5800 yen ($58) of the target – 5.8% off.

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Who had the most reasonable outfits among the Arashis? Probably Aiba-kun and Ninomiya-kun. The craziest? Ohno-san and Sakurai-san. That’s just my opinion, though. The penalty for getting farthest from 100,000 yen in this game, by the way, was to wear the tight leather outfit with the button that pops which Aiba-kun pioneered in a previous episode.

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Since most of that segment is spoilerish, I have to move on to the next thing . . .

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. . . which is the five Arashis walking in on Matsuko Deluxe in the green room. The Arashis seemed incredulous when the staff told them that, for the special, they were going to go to the green room – they were probably expecting some sort of location shoot (and there will be one – that’s coming up later).

Before the Arashi members even get to meet Matsuko Deluxe, there’s a ton of hype from the announcer and director, making it sound like Arashi is walking into the lion’s den.

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Now, apparently Matsuko-san wasn’t aware that Arashi would be intruding, but I’m not too sure I buy that.

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The initial talk was about make-up and whether Matsuko-san arrives and leaves in-character or not. I believe the answer is not.

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To my disappointment, this segment was mostly just talk, and I still need subtitles to fully appreciate a discussion like this.

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Question: why does Ninomiya-kun keep carrying a camera around when there are plenty of cameras aimed at all angles already and we hardly ever see the footage he records? Does he keep a special Nino collection of everything?

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I’m pretty sure all of this would be really fun to watch if I understood all of Matsuko-san’s jokes, considering the way all the Arashis were laughing.

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One question was “what sort of girl/woman is cute?” and the topic of gaps came up. It’s a commonplace for people to talk about gaps between impression and character when discussing this topic, but it has a unique relevance when it comes to Matsuko-san.

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Another question was what Matsuko-san does, spending two hours in the green room.

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They also wondered what Matsuko-san enjoys doing and does at home. At this point, the pace was dragging a bit.

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The nature of the talk changed somewhat when Matsuko-san noted a certain kinship with Ohno-san, in that they’re both odd/eccentric people. On hearing that, Nino-kun suggested that they sit next to each other, and this was the start of a pattern with Matsuko-san reflecting on each of the Arashi members.

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Aiba-kun is an easy one. First of all, the two of them are sort of a comic pair, but more importantly they’re both from Chiba Prefecture. They talked about shared Chiba experiences.

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Ninomiya-kun, of course, has the same sort of manner as Matsuko-san – sharp-tongued and sarcastic.

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What about MatsuJun? Matsuko-san calls him “high society” and I don’t know how it happened, but the conversation eventually turned to cosplay and nurse uniforms. Again, don’t ask me how they got there.

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Last was Sakurai-san, who Matsuko-san admits to being completely different from and at the same time totally charmed by. There’s a definitely sense that Matsuko-san deliberately saved Sakurai-san for last – mainly from the way Matsuko-san held Sakurai-san’s right arm.

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They look distant here, but they they eventually got cozy.

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This eventually expanded to more Matsuko hijinks:

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But that was really enough talk, and it was time for the Shibuya portion of the show with special guests Yamada Ryosuke-kun and Arioka Daiki-kun from Hey! Say! Jump, here to promote the new Kindaichi series.

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Ninomiya-kun had some fun with a Shibuya-style entry.

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Anyway, first they went shopping for some Shibuya-appropriate clothing. I’m not sure I approve of two clothing segments in a singe episode, even if it is a two-hour special, but at least the nature of the fashion was very different. Still expensive, though.

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Here’s how the two HSJ members looked after their Shibuya transformation:

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We haven’t had a food segment in this episode, so I was entirely unsurprised to see one here.

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Fortunately, they made a bit of a competition out of it, seeing how much chili they could each take. They decided ahead of time the level of chili they would have in their ramen, and this is ultimately going to be a case of reaction comedy.

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Sakurai-san and Ninomiya-kun each went with the lowest level of chili, and Ohno-san was the most daring member, though the HSJ guys were both close behind. Even level one seemed quite red with chili, so I don’t blame any of them for being cautious.

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I have to say that the way the chili was just dumped on was a bit dodgy. Daiki-kun had the best facial reaction to the chili, though the fact that Sakurai-kun was having trouble with his level one ramen was funny, and Aiba-kun’s sweat was impossible to fake.

Enough about food, though. There was the obligatory Chinen-Ohno mention, Nino-kun fielded concerns from his two kouhai . . .

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. . . and then they arm-wrestled. Or more specifically, Yamada-kun first wrestled Ohno-san and then Aiba-kun.

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Now, Ohno-san is primarily a dancer – I don’t know to what extent he uses his arm muscles except during Cliff Climb, where he’s reasonably competent. On the other hand, Aiba-kun is an avid baseball player. How will this go?

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After that, there was some Kindaichi talk, as they recalled how MatsuJun played the part thirteen years ago (with a fraction of the budget of the new incarnation).

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While we’ve covered Harajuku, Shibuya, and Deluxe, it turns out there’s one more segment in this episode, and it has to do with the marathon runner for the 24-hour charity telethon – TOKIO’s Joshima Shigeru-san. As with all the marathon runners, he is busy practicing for the run, so his Arashi kouhai decided to prepare an onigiri treat for him.

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But this was all in the name of dokkiri – playing a sort of prank – and hence the wigs.

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They spot Joshima-san running . . .

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. . . and pounce:

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Joshima-san seems too surprised to even react.

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Whose onigiri will Joshima-san prefer?

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I enjoyed the mix of activities and personalities in this episode. Starting with the clothing challenge with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu was a good choice – much better than starting with the slower talk segment with Matsuko Deluxe. While the final third of the show wasn’t as crazy as in some other Arashi specials I’ve seen, it was nice to see the Arashis first with two of their kouhai (a relatively rare occurrence), and then with their senpai Joshima-san. And really, the Joshima-san segment sold the entire show – it really seemed like he was delighted to see them.

In general, this was a don’t-miss-it Arashi ni Shiyagare, but without the ability to understand Japanese or some sort of subtitles, the center portion with Matsuko Deluxe might require extraordinary patience to sit through.

As for the Most Omoshiroi (Interesting) Arashi, I think we saw contributions from everyone. While it’s possible to pick the top one or two Arashis for each segment, ultimately they would all have gotten roughly equal credit. So, this time, I’ll forgo trying to decide who was the most entertaining.

It looks like Arashi ni Shiyagare took a long break and returned on July 26th, so at least I haven’t missed too many episodes. Let’s see if the new season brings some new ideas to the show.