Archive for August, 2013
Reviewing an episode of Nazotoki Batoru TORE! (謎解きバトルTORE! – Riddle-Solving Battle TORE!) is really difficult because the Japanese comprehension level necessarily to appreciate the questions in the games is very high and then I have to turn around and make sure I don’t ruin the results of the games for those who want to watch. Solution? Focus on whether there were great highlights in the show and point out which games were exciting, and which ended up sort of dull.
I’m reviewing this episode because both Ohno Satoshi-san of Arashi and Yamada Ryosuke-kun of Hey! Say! Jump are participating to promote their 24-hr TV telethon drama special (and I probably would have had trouble getting my hands on it if they weren’t in it), but that doesn’t mean I’m just going to focus on their parts. No – highlights come in all shapes and sizes. Take this screenshots for example:
Now, I’m not a big fan of Kintaro-san’s act, but she did do well in the VS Arashi games, and that always wins points with me. The real fun part of this opening game is, of course, the mascot Funasshi:
What’s so great about having a mascot in this game? Why is it a highlight? Well, it’s because the game involves naming seven items belonging to a category (in this case, Tokyo Disneyland Attractions) before the two of them get wrapped up as mummies and, as you can see from the pics, the way the mascot got pinched by the mummy wrapping was a great laugh at the start of this episode.
One of the troubles I have with TORE! is that there is an overabundance of guests and most of them don’t contribute much. So, rather than trying to look everyone up, I’ll tell you who I recognized on-sight and name the rest as they participate. The red team was the 24 hr TV team, and it included Ohno-san, Yamada-kun, Kintaro-san, Funasshi, London Boots’ Ryo-san, Degawa Tetsuro-san, and NTV announcer Masu Taichi-san. The blue team was the Rakugo team with Kanjani8 regulars Yokoyama Yuu-san and Murakami Shingo-san, the comedy pair Audrey – Kasuga-san and Wakabayashi-san, three rakugo storytellers (I think they’re Shoten’s Kikuo, Koraku, and Enraku), and Sugi-chan (been a long time since I’ve reviewed something with him in it).
On Aiba Manabu (相葉マナブ), the focus this time is on dining troubles and ways to cure them.
For instance, pouring soda onto ice and finding that you’ve got a glass full of foam:
There is a solution! I think it had to do with making sure the ice was damp because the bubbles form because of bumps on the ice (I never put ice in my soda).
And before we even get to Aiba-kun and his buddies, we get a second tip – this time about solving the annoyance of seeds in watermelon by slicing it the right way – cutting it in half and then noticing the v-shaped patterns the seeds form, then cutting along those.
After an August where we had a lack of strong album releases (especially late in the month), September seems to be full of new albums. On the downside, I don’t see anything I’m particularly excited about.
This list has selected single and album releases for the month, not all of them (i.e. releases from groups that I’m interested in tracking). My apologies if I missed a significant release – please mention the artist and title in a comment and I’ll update the list.
More complete listings are available on merchant websites (I use CD Japan’s list).
Sonar Pocket – Sonapokeizm SUPER BEST (album)
HKT48 – Melon Juice
AAA – (Title TBA)
Tohoshinki – Scream
Nishino Kana – Love Collection – pink – (album)
Nishino Kana – Love Collection – mint – (album)
Cute – Queen of J-POP (album)
Chris Hart – Heart Song -Special Edition- (album)
This was a remarkably straightforward episode of Kamen Teacher (仮面ティーチャー). It was so focused on the central story about Kinzo (Kikuchi Fuma) that they didn’t even have time to have a café/Kinpatsu-sensei scene. This is really the second part of the story from the last episode, so the writers didn’t feel the need to add the regular scenes – there wasn’t even a consultation between Araki (Fujigaya Taisuke) and Bon (Kyomoto Taiga).
We last left Kinzo enraged and about to fight the dark Kamen Teacher . . .
. . . and because there are a bunch of teachers watching, we can pretty much rule out everyone except the guy at the department of education (Sato Takumi) and Keigo (Jesse) as the dark Kamen Teacher. So, those rooting for Keigo to be the one are now much closer to seeing that twist come about.
As you might expect, Kinzo’s battle with the dark Kamen Teacher does not go well for him . . .
The first two episodes of ABChanZoo didn’t really inspire me with much excitement. The best part of both of them was definitely the performance at the beginning of the show, and in both cases A.B.C-Z wasn’t doing their own songs. The teaser at the beginning of this episode makes it look promising, though.
The start of the live stage (this time they sang Shounentai’s “Kamen Budoukai”) filled me with doubts because they were starting in a small room in front of a mirror instead of on stage,
But the vocals were still superbly crisp and once they got moving it was clear that they would end up back in front of the studio audience soon enough.
Instead of screaming at the sight of the idols entering, the audience was ready with a dance move, and that was a nice unexpected touch. While I don’t much like surprises in life, I take great delight in them in TV shows.
This VS Arashi (VS 嵐) was a Bet de Arashi special. It was a somewhat unexpected special since normally Bet de Arashi is featured as the second half of an extended episode – two hours or more – but this is a stand-alone one hour feature.
Even before Sakurai-san explained the premise of the show for those who haven’t seen Bet de Arashi before, he assured everyone that there will be new games. In fact, all the games will be new. That’s sort of a shame, since I really enjoy watching them play cards, and I don’t think we’re going to get that. Perhaps the new games will make up for it?
Sounds like there’s some relief among the Arashis that there won’t be canoes this time, but surely with that pool available they have to do something there. Sakurai-san says that there will be a new water game.
The idea behind Bet de Arashi is that the six guests, arranged in three pairs, pick which Arashi they think will win each game. They get points it they are right, and which ever pair gets the most points by the end gets a prize (and these haven’t been meager prizes – I think they’ve generally been vacation trips. I’m not going to go through the guests because, even though they’re familiar faces, their contributions to the show are minimal. This is very much an Arashi-centered affair.
With so much to do, they don’t waste much time (a minute and a half) before getting to the first game. It’s Whack-a Mole between Ninomiya-kun and Aiba-kun. In the screencap, you can see MatsuJun’s shocked expression – it was a good idea for the members not to know what the other members had been up to. Looking at them standing ready, your first reaction might be to Aiba-kun’s huge cartoon shows and mallet, but then you’ve got to ask: where’s the mole? And why is the set so big?