08.02.2011 – Sashiko no Kuseni – # 29 [Link]
In this episode of ‘Sashiko’, Sashihara, a self-professed wota is put into the hot seat in a room filled with a variety of underground, or “live”, idols from Akihabara. Here, she takes their questions and tries to answer them with the best of her ability, but it doesn’t end there. After a couple unsuccessful answers, all she ends up doing is fire up the idols to challenge Sashihara to a showdown.
Here’s the breakdown!
The first battle is a monomane(impressions) contest with an idol who calls herself “Botan”, which is a flower tree native to China. Botan does an impersonation of Tanaka Makiko-san(politician and daughter of a former Japan Prime Minister), to which Sashihara also responds by doing an impersonation of the same person. I’m not familiar with Tanaka Makiko so I can’t say if they were accurate, but I can tell a good impersonation from a bad one, and Sashihara didn’t have the chops for this one. The win goes to Botan!
The next battle put Sashihara against a duo idol force called YunYun, in a drawing contest: The object to be drawn was Micheal Jackson. YunYun proves to be skillful at drawing, pulling out a well-composed anime-style drawing of Michael pulling off one of his signature poses. Sashihara’s drawing just looks like some woman with a long skinny nose, which was actually a relief to me, because it could have ended up looking a lot scarier. Even more hilarious was her second drawing, which was supposed to imitate Michael Jackson’s silhouette from the cover of the documentary ‘This is It’. The win goes to Yunyun!
Next up is an idol named Akiyama Erika, who challenges Sashihara to a wrestling match. But for whatever reason, Erika either seemed to be surprised by Sashihara’s strength, or was trying not to hurt her, and the resulting match didn’t end up being as exciting as I thought it would. In the end, Erika manages to safely trip Sashihara to the ground. The win goes to Erika(see a pattern here?)!
Following Erika is another idol duo named Fice. They were by far the liveliest and loud of all the idols there, and seemed to be among the oldest as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are pretty well-known in the underground idol-sphere. They challenge Sashihara to a henkao(funny/weird face) contest. One of the members from Fice does a face imitating Anago-san(from the comic Sazae-san, you may know this character as the one Watanabe Mayu draws all the time), which ends up looking more scary than anything. In a weird-face battle, two people tend to win versus just one, but they somehow tied! Sashihara may finally have a win on the horizon!
The next battle puts Sashihara against Kinoshita Yuri, someone who is clearly a big fan of the anime series Madoka Magica, as she appeared cosplaying as the main character. To Sashihara’s surprise, Yuri picks up a saxophone and plays a AKB medley of ‘Aitakatta’, ‘Ponytail to Shushu’, and ‘Heavy Rotation’. Sashihara follows it up by picking up the trombone and playing the melody of ‘Aitakatta’. However, her lack of finesse resulted in another loss. The win goes to Yuri!
The final battle of the day pits Sashihara against yet another idol duo named ‘Hibikara’. They have a Japanese comedy-duo feel to them which is pretty funny. The battle is an onigiri eating battle, for whoever can consume their onigiri faster. Sashihara seems to have it in the bag, but loses out at the last second. Sashihara with a onigiri half exploding out of her mouth was a sight to see. The win goes to Hibikara! Better luck next time, Sashihara.
The episode concluded with a preview for the next episode which is a continuation of this week’s. Looks like there will be more challenges that include flexibility, ink brushing, hula-hooping and even cooking! It seems that Sashihara has her work cut out for her.
Overall, a pretty enjoyable episode. Sashihara trying to explain the “idol cycle” in the beginning using bad examples and the drawing battle were probably by favorite moments of this episode. It’s also really interesting to see lots of underground idols and the wide variety of themes and types that are out there.