28 February 2009

Tackey's upcoming butai is named and new single announced

The title for Tackey's upcoming butai in late March through April has been announced Takizawa Enbujo '09 Tackey & Lucky LOVE. It was also announced that for the butai Tackey will be releasing another solo single, which is still untitled, for the theme song.

Daily Sports article. (Japanese only)

It seems to be some bitter sweet news for Tackey & Tsubasa fans. As they will have a release from at least one half of the duo but then there's the fact that T & T haven't released anything after Tackey began releasing these solo cds, so it can be seen as a bit worrisome. Especially since Johnny's wanted them to be solo artists in the first place and their sales haven't been the most steller compared to the other groups around the time they did. Hopefully they release something together soon to put their fans' minds at ease.

26 February 2009

New Kanjani8 album announced

According to reports on the Recomen radio program Yoko and Hina announced that Kanjani8 will be releasing an album next month, on April 15th, and that it will be titled Puzzle. There seems to be two versions of the album, an LE with a DVD that will have PVs of special sub units for the album and then a RE with solo songs for all the members.

Kanjani8 LJ community with the news. (English)

Not a big Kanjani8 fan, though I liked the songs off their last single, but it's nice to see one of the other non-Arashi/KAT-TUN groups finally announce a new release for 2009. Hopefully Tokio, NEWS and Hey! Say! JUMP won't be far behind now. Especially since Russ-K has updated their website for their next campaign so hopefully that means a new single from NEWS for that.

EDIT: cdjapan has the album up for pre-order.

Puzzle [Regular Edition] / KANJANI8

Puzzle [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] / KANJANI8

23 February 2009

Group Review: NEWS

I want to try something different for this blog, as I don't want to get stuck if there isn't any news to report or I haven't watched an episode of something yet. So I came up with an idea to do a group review of sorts, which will be me just going through the Johnny's groups and giving my thoughts on them and the members of the group. Beginning with the group that got me into Johnny's, NEWS.

I didn't get into NEWS until they had just made their comeback with Hoshi o Mezashite being their latest single at the time. They have always retained the top spot for my favorite Johnny's group though they now have a couple of close seconds.

For group favorites, it took me a while to settle on one, which was Kato Shigeaki. Even though he isn't the best singer or dancer of the group and looks the least idol like, I love him the most of the group. I think a lot of it is because he is un-idol like so I feel I can relate to him easier than the rest. That and he always seems ready with a story to tell about his day or his past experiences and he does a good job with keeping them interesting. And he has a great smile, which for me is a big thing as one of the most attractive things to me is a smile.

After Shige everyone else just rotates positions constantly. Though Nishikido Ryo, Tegoshi Yuya and Koyama Keiichiro tend to stay near the top more than Yamashita Tomohisa and Masuda Takahisa.

I like Ryo because he's a gap kind of person. I mean he looks cool and can act cool but really he's a nice guy at heart. His smile is still a bit scary looking to me but there's something earnest about him that I've come to like it over time.

Tegoshi I liked early on because he has a good voice. And when he was younger he was just adorable looking. I'm not sure if I can get used to the 'sexy' Tegoshi as he's stuck with a bit of a babyface so 'sexy' doesn't seem to suit him much at all. But I think he's probably come the furthest in the group since their debut.

I don't think one can like either Koyama or Shige without liking the other as they spend so much time together you just have to follow one of them to get updates about the other. Koyama took me a while to form an opinion of but because I was following Shige as a fan I eventually came to like Koyama by approximation. Also as a regular Shounen Club viewer I got a regular does of him there and I love how he's like the caring older brother to all the younger Juniors.

Yamapi has the 'cool' look to him but it's taken me some time to really begin warming up to him. I think its mainly because he doesn't seem to be able to express himself well and comes off as guarded most of the time. But he seems to slowly becoming more and more relaxed nowadays and is looking more like his Junior days where he looked truly happy to be doing what he was doing and being with the people he was with.

I still haven't figured Massu out yet. He seems so reserved so I don't think I know enough about him to form an opinion just yet. He does seem like a genuine nice guy though and I like his smile so he has that going for him though.

And in a nutshell those are my current thoughts about NEWS. I think the only other thing that I want to say is that a new release from them is well overdue. Johnny's needs to remember they have other groups outside of Arashi, KAT-TUN and Kinki Kids that they need to release something for this year. But that's a rant for another day.

And to finish ending this completely off topic, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kamenashi Kazuya!

Sakurai Sho news

A couple of news bits for Arashi's Sakurai Sho.

First off, from a casting list for the 7th episode of Uta no Onii-san it looks like Sho will have a guest appearance. Of course since this information is just a list of people in the episode it's hard to tell how large or small this guest role will be for now.

arashi_on LJ post (English)

And then it's been announced that Sho will host the Music Lovers Dream Live 2009 program on NTV. The program will air on March 24th and will run for about two hours. There isn't much more information about it beyond that yet.

NTV official website (Japanese only)

22 February 2009

J-Rock Live Tour '09

I know this time last year I wasn't paying much attention to all the Johnny's concerts, but I have the feeling that the rock groups are doing more this year than they had last year. Not only do they have the concerts with Matchy this month, but they have a one-off concert next month for White Day, and then now a new concert series has been announced over at Johnny's net, J-Rock Live Tour '09, from March 29th to April 29th.

It is listed to be six concerts in total with Question?, FiVe, and Flat Five Flowers listed as the performers. And this time it will be in four different cities in Japan, Hokkaido, Tokyo, Aichi and Hiroshima.

This makes me wonder if Johnny's is trying to amp up these groups for an eventual debut or just feel like that they have enough fans that they might as well let them have their own concerts. I guess time will tell in the end.

21 February 2009

Koyama and Shige to appear on Kiseki no Kizuna

I know I'm a bit late to report on this, but I really do want to advertise it. But Koyama and Shigeaki will be on the program Kiseki no Kizuna on March 13th. Koyama will be the MC for the program while Shige gets to break into the world of overseas reporting as he talks to Yamaguchi Eriko, a woman in Bangladesh who is working to design bags that the people there can make and sell to bring in income for themselves.

LJ entry on news_jpop

I'm rather excited about this as I love to see celebrities using their ability to hold people's attention to help give them insights about things they may never think or know about otherwise. Not to mention giving some of their spotlight to the people that are working hard to make a difference in the world I think is rather admirable as well.

I think this is a good match for Shige as he seems like the kind of person that could really appreciate what is trying to be achieved from the kinds of things he writes his essays about. I hope he writes an essay or two at least about this experience as I find them thoughtful and sometimes rather insightful.

19 February 2009

Uta no Onii-san first impressions

As I realize that I'm only a couple of episodes away from getting about halfway through this drama I figure it's about time I wrote up my thoughts about the first episode of this drama. (laugh)

This is the kind of drama I tend to like on default on the fact that it's light and fun. And seeing Ohno look so grumpy in such a bright and cheery looking costume amuses me so.

The cast overall I think is good, except for one person, the girl playing the ex-girlfriend of Ohno's character, Yano. She's a singer by trade and this is her first acting role and it really shows as she comes off stiff and I find it hard to take her seriously. Especially in any seen where she has to cry as it looks so fake. But other than that I enjoy everyone else. Ohno does well and I can see why people liked him so much in his previous drama, Maou.

The 'kids love Yano though Yano says he doesn't like them' theme does well with showing how uncomfortable Yano is with being on the program. But you can tell that once you get past his apathetic and 'oh woe is me' exterior he's a good guy and does care about others. Which I think is where his character development in the drama will be, learning that he should like about others more. The other thing will be the heavy handed theme of 'everyone has to deal with hardships so you should always do the best you can no matter what you are doing.' And while I can agree with the ideology I wish they didn't through it into the audience's faces so blatantly.

Overall I've liked what I've seen so far of the series and will be sticking with it until the end unless it somehow goes offtrack from it's current progress, which I really don't see happening.

18 February 2009

Belated Birthday Wishes, again.

Ok, I feel like a complete failure now that I release that over the weekend that I completely forgot to say anything about Kusano's birthday on the 15th. I mean it's not like I completely forgot it as there were posts about it on the LJ comms but it just slipped my mind when it came to posting for that day. And since I do like Kusano I feel terrible for it.

But from a little snippet from Yamapi's blog, that even without the name mention just has to be about Kusano, those who did remember made the day worth it for him. Which makes me so happy to first hear that he is back in Japan and that he's still hanging out with the News members.

Hopefully soon we can get some official news for him, like his own series of concerts. (This I would die for and sell a kidney if I had to for a ticket.) So come on Johnny's, don't let this fangirl down and give me another reason to hand my money over to you. (laugh)


17 February 2009

Hey! Say! JUMP Spring Concert 2009

Johnny's net has updated with information for the spring concerts for Hey! Say! JUMP. The most eye catching thing about this news is that Hey! Say! 7 will have their own concerts. I only hope that later BEST also get to hold their own concerts sometime after these concerts. I mean I like HS7 but I want to see more of HSB.

One thing I noticed is that there's a sizable gap of time between the Osaka concerts, the last on April 5th, and the Hiroshima concert, April 19th. It's a bit odd to see such a gap unless there's something planned for that time, and I'm personally betting that it will be a new cd release (finally!). I mean it makes sense to have new material to promote with a new concert, most of Johnny's other acts have their concerts based off their albums. HSJ has yet to release an album but they have tended to time their concerts so far after a new single at least.

Because of the dates and locations in the end I won't really have a chance to see them this time. But I'm not as heart broken about it as I thought I would be, but I think that's mainly because I figure at least I'll be in the right place at the right time for a HSB concert, which I'd die to see. And I'm still hoping that if I'm right and that gap is for a new release promotion it won't be just a new single, but rather a new single and their debut album. Johnny's can't posibbly make us wait much longer for that, or at least that's what I'm hoping.

16 February 2009

Drama news

A couple of bits of upcoming drama news.

First off the Gokusen 3 special has been given an air date of March 28th. Being a big Takaki fan this makes me happy to hear as I'm really looking forward to seeing more of him. Now only for him to get another drama role sometime soon hopefully...

NTV Official Gokusen website.
(Japanese only.)

Secondly, another spring drama starring a Johnny's has been announced. This time it's a TBS drama and will star SMAP's Nakai Masahiro.

Yahoo!Japan news article.
(Japanese only.)

And lastly, the winter drama, 33pun Tantei which starred Kinki Kids' Domoto Tsuyoshi, is getting a sequel for the spring season. So I guess it won't be hard to guess when the next Kinki Kids single will be released. >.>

Yahoo! Japan news article. (Japanese only.)

14 February 2009

Uchi concert update and shameless self-promotion

The second part of Uchi's solo concert series has been updated on Johnny's net. There are three more concert dates added. Two in Osaka and one in Nagoya. Still no ward on which Juniors will be with him, but I'd be surprised if there's a major change from the Juniors that were a part of the concerts last time weren't there for this new leg.

And because I've decided to be a bit shameless as I need to work on earning some money to attend these concerts and butai I've been saying I can go to, I've begun a sales post over on my LJ account, here. It'll be mainly Johnny's items and I'll continue it on once I'm in Japan and can find those Johnny's goodies one really can't find outside of Japan easily.