If you’ve watched and enjoyed any of the Gamushara (ガムシャラ) episodes in the past month or so, you’ll probably want to tune in to this one and the next one, because we finally get to see the results of all the effort the juniors have been putting in during that time.

It is all in the auspices of the Gamushara Summer Festival, which also got its own special on August 16th. I’m not going to review that special, though, because we will be seeing most of the action in these regular Gamushara episodes anyway.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 000 2014.08.10 Gamushara 001

This episode covers the breakdancing team (Iwahashi Genki, Takahashi Fuu, Takahashi Kaito, Matsuda Genta, and Hayashi Ren) and the basketball trick team (Jesse, Hanzawa Akatsuki, Masuda Ryo, Fukusawa Tatsuya, and Iwamoto Hikaru), while the August 17th installment will deal with the other two groups.

We start with the breakdancing guys, and find out that Iwahashi-kun has been nursing a fever (if you recall the previous episode, Matsukura Kaito was also ill, so apparently something was going around). As a result, he wasn’t able to attend the practice two days before the main event. The staff noted that his temperature was at 39.5 degrees Celsius – 103 Fahrenheit.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 002 2014.08.10 Gamushara 003

The team rallies in the absence of their leader.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 004

And there’s an obvious side-benefit to his absence – the other members finally get some time with the camera. Of course, they all decide to use it by talking about Genki-kun and expressing support for him. I don’t know if that was deliberate, but I have no doubt that they could all read the atmosphere and knew what they should say in this situation.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 0052014.08.10 Gamushara 0062014.08.10 Gamushara 007

A lot of what they’ve said has been edited out, though, as we saw most clearly from Takahashi-kun’s words to the camera, in which he went on talking, but we didn’t get to hear what he said. Editing had a pretty clear idea of which words they considered important enough to air.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 008

Genki-kun was back in action for the performance day, but as they all practiced for one last time . . .

2014.08.10 Gamushara 009

. . . the windmill move was all over the place and there were other issues.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 010

They’re all pretty beat-up at this point.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 011 2014.08.10 Gamushara 012

Genta-kun seemed especially disappointed by his miss.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 013

We also get an update on the progress of Genki-kun’s backflip, which I was happy to see. This, at least, was a storyline worth giving some time to.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 014 2014.08.10 Gamushara 015 2014.08.10 Gamushara 016

Genki-kun was especially good in this scene, practicing just four minutes before the scheduled start of the show.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 017 2014.08.10 Gamushara 018 2014.08.10 Gamushara 019 2014.08.10 Gamushara 020

The huddle:

2014.08.10 Gamushara 021 2014.08.10 Gamushara 022

But wait! We need to check in with the basketball team before we see what they do on stage!

2014.08.10 Gamushara 023

We see them at work the day before the performance, and they end up with a benched member, too – Hanzawa-kun has to sit out because of a sprain. You know, it is rather improbable for three of the four teams to have a single member who has to sit out for part of the final week, but I guess they’ve been taxing their bodies quite a lot and this is where the stress is at its peak and they’re most susceptible.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 024 2014.08.10 Gamushara 025

The members are concerned about their inability to do – or even practice – the special dunk move without Hanzawa.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 026 2014.08.10 Gamushara 027 2014.08.10 Gamushara 028

Eventually, Hanzawa decides to take a chance, with the possible risk that he could aggravate the issue and be in trouble for the main event. It’s a lucky thing he’s a young guy with a resilient body – this sort of thing doesn’t work out quite as well once you pass thirty.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 029 2014.08.10 Gamushara 030 2014.08.10 Gamushara 031

Indeed, it looks like Hanzawa-kun is present and ready to go on the day of the event:

2014.08.10 Gamushara 032 2014.08.10 Gamushara 033 2014.08.10 Gamushara 034 2014.08.10 Gamushara 035

And the first final product we get to watch is the basketball team’s performance. Obviously, you’ll have to watch for yourself to decide how they did, but I’m willing to say that it started out fairly slow, and picked up the pace where they attempted to show off their individual skills.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 036

Of all of them, I was most impressed by Fukusawa-kun, who we haven’t seen or heard much from through the past month and a half. He seemed the smoothest with his moves and acrobatics.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 037 2014.08.10 Gamushara 038

Overall, I think they managed to work some good stuff in . . .

2014.08.10 Gamushara 040 2014.08.10 Gamushara 041 2014.08.10 Gamushara 042

. . . but did they manage to get that final dunk in? I’m not going to say.

After seeing them backstage following the performance, we turned to the breakdancing team. In a way, this team faces a pretty big hurdle, since this is a form of dancing and therefore technically within their area of specialty (unlike any of the tasks the other teams had to deal with). Also, this team has one member – Takahashi Fuu-kun – who is already well-known for his breakdancing skills. Will that mean the audience will judge them more harshly?

2014.08.10 Gamushara 048 2014.08.10 Gamushara 049

I preferred this performance over the basketball one, but that was pretty much a given, since it had a faster pace all the way through. Besides that, though, I think they had comparatively fewer mistakes, though it was also tougher to make calls on some moves (since we don’t know exactly what the move was supposed to be and there isn’t the clear indicator of a basketball going awry.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 050 2014.08.10 Gamushara 051 2014.08.10 Gamushara 052

I was disappointed that the camera was deliberately placed in a low position during most of the windmill so that we could really only see two members doing it. They did briefly change camera view so that we could see the struggles of the other members, but they should have just consistently given us a full view of what was going on – just be honest about it.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 053 2014.08.10 Gamushara 054

Did Genki-kun manage to do the backflip? Well, that’s the big question for this one.

All the members got to express their thoughts afterward.

2014.08.10 Gamushara 055 2014.08.10 Gamushara 056 2014.08.10 Gamushara 057

And that was that – no extra corners this time, and it was all very business-like and focused on the matter at hand. Spending time on just two teams instead of all four was like blessed relief after the past month of squeezing twenty juniors into around twenty minutes of program time.

We didn’t get any results this time – we’ll find out who wins in the next episode, I think. I’m rooting for the breakdancing and percussion teams – especially because they’re younger than the other two – but the most visually and physically impressive team will probably be the double-dutch team.

Anyway, aside from some questionable camera and editing choices, this episode did what it was supposed to do, and I’m happy to have seen the conclusion to these two challenges. I’ll probably watch the August 17th episode tomorrow, just to finally get some closure on all this.