30 November 2008

Hyakushiki-Ou 09SEP2008 sideB

Another quiet JE news day so I'm doing more Hyakushiki-Ou.

This is just a clips show so there is very little in the episode that's new. In fact the only new footage is of the boys trying to be 'bad boys.' I believe there are subs out for those parts though I can't remember where to find them, but the segments are amusing to watch. Since I've more or less already done summaries for all the past clips they've shown I'm not going to bother going through them again so this will be my shortest Hyakushiki-Ou write up.

And instead of screen caps here is one of the new footage segments where the boys 'come up with' a dance fit for their 'bad boy' image.

And on another note, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Chinen Yuri!

29 November 2008

Tegoshi in Nakushita Kioku movie

Earlier this week fans caught Tegoshi filming for a movie and finally the press has released something confirming that he does have a role in the movie Nakushita Kioku. He will play the friend of the main female character Naomi, played by Horikita Maki. It's also mentioned that he will have to speak English for his role as it is set at an international school (which is basically a school that teaches in English rather than Japanese in Japan).

This movie is directed by American director Hans Canosa, who picked Tegoshi for the role based off of seeing him in the My Boss, My Hero drama. There is also speculation that this movie actually stands a chance of getting a North American release.

I'm really happy for Tegoshi and I hope this does get a North American release and that a nearby theater will have ti so I can go see. It should be interesting to see how Tegoshi does with the English, though I've heard it mentioned that Tegoshi has rather good English skills for a non-native speaker at least.

Sponichi article (Japanese only)
news_jpop entry with English translation of the article

Also on another note, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Taguchi Junnosuke!

Hyakushiki-Ou 02SEP2008 Sleep

Well I need a break from studying Japanese as finals are coming up and being a language class the final is a mix of different tests that all lead up to the final. And I figured I might as well try to get back on track with writing Hyakushiki-Ou episode summaries as I'm about a quarter of a year behind. I think I will be able to catch up before the end of the year as the one good thing about finals is that there's a long school break after they're done.

So picking up from where I left off, this episode's theme is about sleep. The first quiz segment goes over the science of sleeping, like what parts of the brain it uses and the stages of sleep. Then it goes to Inohara reading off some information about dreams and how it's believed that you can get messages from them as he stands next a bed that's been brought in to the studio. Then a expert at reading dreams is brought in followed by the boys in PJs.

Takada, Shoon and Sanada all each get a turn lying on the bed and talking about a recent dream they have had that the dream analyst then deciphers for them. They make it overly dramatic but the boys seem to enjoy laughing and acting amazed at each other's answers to why they dream what they dream.

It's then a return to the quiz segment as it continues to go over more sleep facts. Then it's Keito and Fujigaya's turn to have their dreams analyzed. I have to admit I think it's pretty spot on about Fujigaya being a narcissist, but really what else was to be expected when he said his dream that he won the Best Jeanist award. (Which is actually a real award in Japan.)

And then it's back to another quiz segment. It segues into on location footage of Fujigaya at a mattress store to learn more about the mattresses there as they use sensors to figure out how to make a mattress customed to what you need depending on how you sleep. Then it's back to the quiz segment that now focuses on beds and pillows.

Then it's another class segment, this time using fancy high tech alarm clocks to 'wake' Sanada, who gets to 'sleep' in the bed, as everyone else watches.

The final clip is a take of Inohara doing the early introduction by the bed and messing up.

28 November 2008

Uchi returns to Shounen Club

Johnny's net has updated with information about the Shounen Club recording on December 15th, so it would be for the January SC episodes. Unlike the usual listings for SC recordings they put up information about the guests which will be Takizawa Hideaki and Uchi Hiroki.

There's no doubt that Tackey will be there to promote his butai that will start on January 1st, so I expect him to be performing Ai Kakumei and maybe doing something with A.B.C.-Z and Kis-My-Ft2 as they will be performing with him for the butai.

Of course Uchi Hiroki's return to SC club is rather big news since it will be the first time he will be on since he was suspended. As he's listed as a guest it's probably safe to assume he won't be becoming a regular and is there to promote his Osaka concerts as the Yokohama ones would be over by then. I wonder if that means we'll be seeing some of the Kansai Juniors with him as well. But of course what I really want to see is him interacting with Koyama and maybe performing a NEWS song. Even though it's quite apparent that he won't be returning to his previous groups I don't think his connection to them should be ignored.

I'm kinda surprised at how excited I get nowadays about SC as I can remember earlier in the year not being so enthused. Probably because there was so much uncertain about the Juniors after the Hey! Say! JUMP debut and that HSJ had such a strong presence despite being debuted it was difficult to get to know or get used to all the new Juniors that Johnny's began to give chances to sing on the show. Of course there was always Yamashita Shoon, Kis-My-Ft2, A.B.C. and Question? still there and they became the Juniors I would watch the show for until TOP3 and most recently Tanaka Juri and Nakajima Kento.

It'll be interesting to see how the next debut will affect SC, but if it's a Uchi re-debut (that I'm still hoping will be a group to give some of the older Juniors a chance for a debut) then it probably won't be much, though if it's something with Kisumai and/or A.B.C.-Z I could see another void being created with them leaving as there really aren't any younger groups to take their place.

27 November 2008

KAT-TUN to debut in Korea (or at least their cds)

Well it seems that Johnny's is indeed serious about entering the Korean market with their groups, but it looks like it will be still some time before they may even think about actually doing more than releasing cds or having concerts over there. It has been announced that KAT-TUN will be the first Johnny's artist to have a cd released in Korea with a 17 December release of their latest single White X'Mas.

There are no plans for KAT-TUN to actually go to Korea to promote the single and I don't think they'll be recording a Korean version either. I think this will be like most Korean releases of Japanese cds in that it will be exactly the same as the Japanese version but will most likely come with a translation sheet for the lyrics.

I'm kinda surprised it's KAT-TUN that will be the first to have a release in Korea, as it was Arashi's huge concert success that was credited for Johnny's interest in entering the Korean market. But I guess they are the only group with a single release in December and they are still one of Johnny's top selling groups, coming only second to Arashi. But this can be considered good news to international fans as Korean cds are cheaper than Japanese, so if you want to save some money and don't mind waiting a bit as I'm sure they will all have a later release date than the Japanese versions to try to stop reverse importing, getting the Korean versions just may be the way to go.

Allkpop.com entry

Koyama Keiichi's solo butai and Tackey's single update

Johnny's net has updated with some information about NEWS' Koyama Keiichi's solo butai next year. It's titled コール which translates to Call, and will be a stage play based off the movie Phone Booth. The dates have it begin January 30th and end on March 1st and there is at least one show scheduled for most of those days between those dates. From January 30th to February 22nd the butai will be at the Tokyo Globe-za and from February 26th to March 1st it will be at the Osaka Sankei Breeze.

Also Tackey's solo cd is up for pre-order and will be out on January 7th. There will be three versions, two limited editions that come with two song tracks and different DVDs and a regular edition that has three song tracks and the karaoke versions. The Jacket A LE DVD will have the PV for Ai Kakumei but it looks like what's going to be on the DVD for the Jacket B version is unknown at the moment. But even the titles of the other songs besides Ai Kakumei are unknown still so I'm sure they just wanted to make sure there was enough time before the release to get in pre-orders which is why they put up whatever confirmed information they had for the release.

Ai Kakumei [CD+DVD / Jacket A] / Hideaki Takizawa

Ai Kakumei [CD+DVD / Jacket B] [Limited Edition] / Hideaki Takizawa

Ai Kakumei [Jacket C] / Hideaki Takizawa

I have to admit with Tackey's single coming out on January 7th it looks like there won't be a Hey! Say! JUMP album in December or it would have already been announced. Though I won't completely give up hope until the end of the week as any later than that than there's just no way they'll have enough time to release something within the year.

26 November 2008

Nagase Tomoya Unplugged

Nagase Tomoya will be the sixth Japanese artist to do a MTV Unplugged session. Of course this is MTV Japan so the chances it will ever air outside of Japan is slim to none. But Nagase will also be the first Johnny's artist to do this so it's still pretty impressive. It seems to be tied in to the movie that Nagase will star in called, Heaven's Door. The title of the film is inspired from the song Knockin' on Heaven's Door, which will be one of the songs Nagase will sing for the session.

It's set to be filmed on December 8th and it's open to the fan club members to attend if they apply and are selected. I have to confess I'm a bit jealous of whoever gets to go as these Unplugged sessions has the audience get really close to the artist. Not to mention the fact of how rare a chance this is so it's not something you can count on ever happening again.

MTV Japan Unplugged site. (Japanese only.)

25 November 2008

Kohaku teams announced + a Matchy single release

Kohaku (Kohaku Uta Gassen), a popular TV event aired on NHK that happens once a year on New Year's Eve, has announced their line up of artists. The program is a contest between two teams Red, which is comprised of female artists, and White, which has the male artists. Each team gets votes from a panel of judges as well as the audience and from that a winning team is picked each year. The only way to get onto the show is to be invited so it's seen a very big deal to get on the program.

This year is was announced earlier in the month that SMAP's Nakai will be hosting the program with popular actress, Nakama Yukie (probably known best for her role as Yankumi from the Gokusen dramas). Like as in past years SMAP and TOKIO will be the only Johnny's performing on Kohaku.

Being a newer Johnny's fan I know I've missed out on the Daisenpai, like Shounentai, Otokogumi, Hikaru Genji, and Kondo Masahiko. The Juniors cover their songs but I know I really don't know much about them and I kinda feel like I should as they still do have a bit of a presence within Johnny's, though it seems to be much different than the younger acts. And I know for me it's easy to forget that not all of the Johnny's Daisenpai have stopped their careers with the agency.

I mean I can remember that Shounentai is still active with Playzone but it surprises me to see Kondo Masahiko releasing something new, even though he did a collaboration single with Junior group Question? earlier in the year. But on December 23rd he will be releasing a new single.

Banka - Otoko Tachi no Banka - / Masahiko Kondo

24 November 2008

Some news and new KAT-TUN concert DVD release

The Code Blue Special, which Yamapi has a starring role in, has had an air date announced for January 10th, 2009.

Also Tackey has had his first performance on Music Station of the song he will be releasing for his first solo single. It's called Ai Kakumei, and has a Latin sound to it.

And cdjapan just sent out an e-mail announcing that the concert DVD for KAT-TUN's Queen of Pirates tour will be released on the 1st of January, 2009.

The cdjapan description: New live DVD release from KAT-TUN featuring footage of their August 5, 2008 performance at Tokyo Dome! Includes all single tracks, songs from the new album, and solo-tunes. Also includes mult-angle version of the tracks "Ai no Command" and "Six Senses."

I guess the good thing about this release is that there is only one version and it's actually a pretty decent price for something that is two discs long. I'm actually kinda tempted to buy it, even though I'm not a big KAT-TUN fan, but I feel I should at least have one of their concert DVDs.

KAT-TUN Live Tour 2008 Queen Of Pirates / KAT-TUN

23 November 2008

Scrap Teacher mid-season impressions

Well since it was announced that Scrap Teacher will only be nine episodes long I figured episode five would be the best point to do my mid-season review.

Honestly I can't really say Scrap Teacher is all that great. It's a fun watch but nothing really special, IMHO. I mean I can pretty much tell what's going to happen and it uses a lot of plot points other school dramas use, which it seems to be well aware of as almost every episode brings up how a situation is just like other dramas and school stories.

I think I've come to like the super junior high students more though as they're finally getting more focus on developing their characters a bit. Takasugi of course gets the most screen time as he's played by Yamada. I think I'm really beginning to like him though because of how jealous he obviously is about anyone getting more attention or being more popular than he is.

With episode five it seems like the writers were thinking the same thing as I did when I wrote my first episode impressions and that they need to really explain the super junior high students more. Yoshida, Chinen's character, is the first to have an episode dedicated to having Sugi-sensei win him over (I'm sure Irie, Arioka's character, will be next with Takasugi being the last to be won over). In fact with only four episodes left that's probably where the story will focus, that and perhaps some plot to save the school or something of the ilk to give an excuse to go overly dramatic for the end.

I'll continue watching as I do enjoy the cast, but I don't think it's a series I could recommend to anyone who isn't a fan of the actors, or one that I will be re-watching anytime soon. I hope if Johnny's wants to get Hey! Say! JUMP in another dramas they will spread them out more. I mean it's fun to see so many in the same drama but at the same time I feel like the story suffers from being forced to show off the group's members.

21 November 2008

FNS line up, Tegoshi's Uso Uso TV promotions

Fuji TV has come out with the list for the FNS line up for this year's program that airs on December 3rd. It's basically about four hours of performances from a horde of Japanese artists. And of course there are quite a few of the Johnny's groups that participate in this. This year the Johnny's that will be performing on FNS are, Arashi, Kinki Kids, SMAP, TOKIO, NEWS, V6 and Hey! Say! JUMP. Or in other words everyone but KAT-TUN and Tackey & Tsubasa.

With the airing of the Uso Uso drama coming up at the end of the month, November 29th, Tegoshi will be doing some promotion for it. On the 26th he will be a guest on Haneru no Tobira, then on the 28th there is an hour special to promote the SP, then on the 29th leading up to the drama show time he will be on VS Arashi and IQ Safuri.

Also the first Shabake drama SP is up for pre-order at cdjapan. It doesn't come out until January though, which comes off as a weird decision to me as it makes more sense for it to come out before the SP so people can re-watch the first SP before seeing the second. And I feel bad for Takaki as cdjapan misspelled his name in their description as Takagi. (laugh)

Shabake / Japanese TV Series

Japanese TV Series

20 November 2008

KAT-TUN & V6 new release updates

I keep forgetting to put up the fact that the covers for KAT-TUN's upcoming single, White X'mas, are out. They're probably the best covers for a KAT-TUN release all year even if they are a bit on the boring side, but at least they don't look like cheap photoshop jobs and the difference between editions is more than just a change in color.

Also V6 has a concert DVD coming out for their last tour, V6 Live Tour 2008 VIBES. They even have the cover art out already for it, but that's about it as otherwise information is sparse. cdjapan does have the listing up though. It doesn't give any new information though it seems to have some erroneous info, other than misspelling tour as tout, as it lists that the LE has five discs while on Johnny's net it says it has four, though they both list the RE edition with having two discs.

V6 Live Tout 2008 Vibes [Regular Edition / Jacket B] / V6

V6 Live Tout 2008 Vibes [Limited Edition / Jacket A] / V6

Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Sanada Yuma!

Ryusei no Kizuna First Impressions

Well it seems like sub groups are catching up with the new season of J-dramas and the first episode of Ryusei no Kizuna, starring Ninomiya Kazunari, Nishikido Ryo and Toda Erika, is out subbed.

I heard that they made it lighter in tone than the novel, which I like because I don't really like dark. What I didn't know about the story was that it began before the siblings became con artists, which while not that much of a big deal still threw me off as all the PR for the drama made sure to mention they were con-artists, which had me assume that's what they would be from the start.

I love everyone in their roles. I had only seen Nino in Letters from Iwo Jima and loved him then and it's no different for in Ryusei no Kizuna. I think he's great in his role and pulls off Koichi's unwillingness to really react or care about anything outside of his family and the murder of his parents. I really get the feeling that without his siblings he would be completely lost.

I haven't seen Ryo in an acting role but had heard good things. I think he plays the role of Taisuke well. It's easy to over do the stupid in a character like that but Ryo seems to be able to draw the line to keep the stupid fun and charming instead of overdoing it and taking it to the level of annoying.

Erika is another one of the leads I've never seen in a role, but I enjoyed her in the episode as the sister, Shizuna. Her character completes the trio well and I can easily see how she will become a problem for her brothers in their goal to get revenge, as she's definitely the heart of the group as Koichi is the brains and of course Taisuke the brawn.

Honestly I'm not too interested on the storyline itself but I love the siblings, especially their interaction, and want to keep watching for them. So it's really a series if not for the actors I probably wouldn't continue watching, even though I have a feeling this just might be one of those dramas that just takes time to warm up.

The flow of the episode seems off, though it's hard to tell if it's because of the jumps in time that were used to give the back story. I'm hoping now that they don't need to fill us in on the past so much this problem won't show up in the other episodes.

19 November 2008

Hey! Say! BEST and Tackey news updates

Three members of Hey! Say! BEST, Takaki Yuya, Yaotome Hikaru and Inoo Kei have been selected to appear in commercials for a new Nintendo Wii game, Hataraku Hito. The commercials will feature the three boys going against professional weight lifters (as that is what the game is about) playing the game.

I'm personally really happy about this news as BEST hasn't done much in comparison to 7 even though when JUMP debuted it said that BEST would be the more active subgroup. And I really miss seeing more of Takaki as he really doesn't seem to be doing anything nowadays, though I guess the airing of Usouso just around the corner, but who knows if his part has been expanded from Shabake and it will be mainly Tegoshi doing the promotion. I think Johnny's needs to get him in another drama so I can get my Takaki fix. (laugh)

Daily Sports article. (Japanese only.)

Also on Johnny's net filming listing has Takizawa Hideaki is listed for the live stage filming for the Hi! Hey! Say! episode that will be recorded on November 27th, with Hikaru and Yabu. This is probably more promotion for his solo single and butai in January.