30 June 2009

Uta no Onii-san final impressions

Ok, I've put off finishing this drama for a while because I was just too busy with other things and I kept forgetting about it. But over the weekend I finished off the final episode so I just need to finish Engine (I only have the final episode of that to watch), and I'll be ready to start back up with new dramas. But on to the final Uta no Onii-san review.

While only eight episodes may seem short for a drama, it seemed to be too much for this drama. While I liked the first half the second just seemed to rehash the same thing over and over again. And characters that learned the lesson of the day returned to the next episode pretty much the same before. And while I don't mind repetitiveness, I would like to feel that the story to leading to something, but Uta no Onii-chan seemed to have gotten to the point of its story within the first couple of episodes.

The costumes were amusing and the guest spot with Sakurai Sho was fun to watch. A pity he was only there for one scene though. But on reflection for the full series it started out fine and carried on alright for a while before it's failings just became harder and harder to ignore and/or forgive.

I think the problem with Uta no Onii-chan was that it took itself too seriously at times with the, no matter what you do as long as you do it with pride it's good, message. I really think it should have just tried to be more fun and not throw a message like that in the audience's faces so much. And even though I didn't really enjoy the sub-plot with Yano's ex-band mates, it seemed rather necessary to have it, as it helped lenghten the series. Because honestly near the end I was thinking this would have done better as a special rather than a series.

I did like most of the actors though, which is probably the reason I chose to stick with it to the end, even though the last few episodes felt like they were dragging. I wouldn't mind seeing more of certain cast members, Ohno especially, in other dramas to see what they can do with a better series.

I guess though if you're just looking for something fun to watch where you don't have to think too much, Uta no Onii-san is good for that. It does start out rather well but it just doesn't really go anywhere after that.

29 June 2009

9th Poll Results

Sorry for not posting the past few days. I've been sick and busy with school. I ended up going to the doctor today and have some medication to help me get over the bug I picked up. It was also recommended for me to stay home for a couple of days so I'll have quite a bit of free time tomorrow to make up for the recent lack of posts.

But enough about me, the poll has ended so it's time to report the results and start up the next one.

Favorite Hey! Say! BEST Member:

Yabu Kota: 39

Arioka Daiki: 38

Yaotome Hikaru: 34

Takaki Yuya: 25

Inoo Kei: 20

I'm really surprised at how well Daiki did in the poll. I didn't realize he had so many fans. I expected Yabu and Hikaru to be at the top, as they have a lot of fans from their Ya-Ya-Yah days though. A bit sad Takaki didn't do better, as he's my favorite member. But that's okay, I love my airhead who's really a nine year old trapped in a nineteen year old's body. XD And I'm not surprised to see Inoo where he is, he's the only member that really hasn't done anything yet, but at least with Johnny's you know if you stick with a group long enough everyone will have a chance to shine. I mean look at how long it took some members of Arashi to start doing dramas and the like. So I'm looking forward to the day when Inoo gets his moment.

Since I did HSB, I figure it's only far to follow up with Hey! Say! 7, though I don't think I have to guess about who'll top that one. (laugh)

26 June 2009

My Summer Drama Early Look

Today I picked up the recently released issue of TV Life as it has early looks at a lot of the upcoming summer dramas. There's a lot of Koishite Akuma coverage in this issue but other dramas, especially the ones with Johnny's didn't get completely short changed either.

I am a bit disappointed that only Nakayama Yuma, Morimoto Shintarou, Kondo Masahiko and Kato Rosa are really the only cast members that are in the photo shoots. But that's probably my bias for Nakajima Kento at work there. I still don't think the drama will be anything special, but I'm willing to give it a shot, and it'll give me something to do with my free time during the summer.

One of the dramas I'm looking forward to is Ninkyo Helper, starring Kusanagi Tsuyoshi. I've always liked the yakuza comedy series, and I'm curious to see Yabu Kota in a drama. Especially since is seems his character, Yozan, is a bit of a player.

Then there's Orthros no Inu which holds the place as most anticipated drama for summer for me. There looks to be a lot of mysteries and events that connect everyone, as it has one of the most complicated character charts in the magazine. And then there's the fact that it has Nishikido Ryo, whom I've come to like as an actor from Ryuusei no Kizuna. And of course Yaotome Hikaru has a role, and I really want to see how he does acting. From the little blurb in TV Life, Hikaru's character, Kumakiri Masaru, is a suspect in a drug related murder and is the son of one of the men connected to Takizawa Hideaki's character, Ryuzaki Shinji. So he definately hasn't been given an easy role to play.

I was also really excited to see some coverage on, and it looks like there will be even more with the next issue of TV Life, is Nagase Tomoya's drama, Karei Naru Spy. Which does indeed mean it's finally been given a name, which I believe translates to Becoming a Magnificent Spy. And it has Nagase in a dorky suit and shows the shoe phone, which looks pretty much just like the shoe phone from Get Smart. I really can't wait for this drama to air, as it looks like it'll be a lot of fun. And from the preview for the next issue it will be getting a good deal of coverage in that.

I can't remember the last time I tried to follow so many dramas in one season. Hopefully none of them give me a reason to drop them part way through.

24 June 2009

Arashi's 10 year anniversary best album

I know quite a few fans, myself included, were expecting this best album to be announced sooner or later this year. I don't think anyone expected it to be the monster it is, with the RE having two cds long and the LE three. But considering all things this will probably be the perfect best of album to release for the 10th anniversary of the group as they have really shot up in popularity in the recent years and for the newer fans this will be a good way to get familiar with not only their new songs but all their music as it will contain every single A-side from their debut in 1999 up to their latest release Crazy Moon - Kimi wa Muteki -, plus having a brand new song that is still untitled, putting the track count up to 32. And the LE has a third disc that the members of the group have picked their favorite songs from their discography (that are of course not on the first two discs).

While the die-hard fans that already own everything the group has put out may not be getting much from the release, unless they go for the 40-page booklet of the LE and to get the new song, more casual fans, like myself, or as I mentioned newer fans are sure to find this to be a very welcome addition to their collection.

All the Best! 1999-2009 [Regular Edition] / ARASHI

All the Best! 1999-2009 [Limited Edition] / ARASHI

And I expect this to get amazing sales for a Johnny's album, as most of the time their albums don't sell nearly as well as their singles, but I think this might be the exception to the rule.


It looks like the album wasn't the only thing announced today as Johnny's net has information for Arashi's anniversary concert tour up. I can only imagine the ticket bidding for these concerts will fierce, and if I wasn't so sure that the tickets will be insanely expensive I would think about trying to catch a show.

23 June 2009

Matsuoka Masahiro to reprise role in third Shin Oishinbo SP, plus some drama ramblings

It has been announced that there will be a new SP for the Shin Oishinbo series, which Matsuoka Masahiro has starred in. He will once reprise his role as the lead character, Yamaoka Shiro. As the series revolves around food the theme for this SP will be beef.

Tokyo Graph article (English)

With all the recent drama news it has reminded me that there are a couple of series I need to finish up before I can move on to other dramas I have on my list to watch. And the list has been getting much longer with the summer drama season approaching.

Then there's also the fact that before seeing the Gokusen movie I want to rewatch all of that series. So I'll probably just finish the two dramas I need to finish and move on to Gokusen and maybe watch The Quiz Show 2 and/or Battery on the side, and hope I can quickly get through all of it in time for the new drama season.

21 June 2009

Yabu to star in musical & A.B.C. to share roles

Yabu Kota has been selected to star in a musical for the winter season. The musical is She Loves Me, which is an American musical that has been around since the 1960s, and the American movie You've Got Mail is an adaption of the musical. Yabu will be playing the lead, Georg, in what will be his first solo starring role. And the play will run from December 12th to January 31st, Yabu's 20th birthday.

Fellow Johnny's that will be a part of the play are A.B.C. (so no Hashimoto Ryosuke) as they will play two characters, with two members sharing a role. Most likely they will trade off from performance to performance. Also, Yabu will have the support of stage veterens, Higashiyama Noriyuki, whow will playing a role himself, and Nishikiori Kazukiyo, who will be directing the musical, from Shounentai.

For those curious about what the muscial is about the wikipedia entry has a plot synopsis that you can read.

Official annoucement page. (Japanese only)

I think I'm going to try about making a show. Yabu isn't my favorite member but I want to support Hey! Say! BEST the most I can.

Domoto Koichi new releases and concert

It looks like Kinki Kids are taking a bit of a break from group work since Domoto Tsuyoshi had his cd release for his birthday followed by concerts and Domoto Koichi is getting ready to release new solo material.

Koichi's new cd release will be a single with three versions, one LE, a First Press RE and a basic RE, with each RE having a different track on them and the FP coming with what sounds like a photo booklet.

Ayakashi [Regular Edition] / Koichi Domoto

Ayakashi [Regular Edition (First Press)] / Koichi Domoto

Ayakashi [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] / Koichi Domoto

Also Johnny's net has the information up about the newly announced solo concert tour for Koichi, which will begin in August and run into September.

20 June 2009

Various Johnny's Related News

Here's the second post of the day. Just a few bits of news that I have let collect, as I've had other things I wanted to blog about.

First off is some SMAP related news. Katori Shingo will be doing more than just playing the character Kankichi Ryotsu in the upcoming Kochikame drama. He will also be lending a had to the police in Japan by appearing in posters and making public appearences as the character in a summer campaign to help prevent traffic accidents involving children.

Tokyo Graph article

Also a couple other bits of drama related news the theme songs for Yamashita Tomohisa's upcoming drama, Buzzer Beat, and the upcoming Gokusen movie have been announced. Neither are going to be done by any Johnny's though. B'z (whose guitarist Tak Matsumoto wrote the music for KAT-TUN's Real Face), will be doing the theme song for Buzzer Beat. And Aqua Timez, the group that did the outro theme for the Gokusen 3 TV series will have a new song for the outro theme of the movie.

Tokyo Graph article

Tokyo Graph article (English)

8th Poll Results

I just realized that this poll has closed, so it's time for me to make the usual result post. Later today I will another post with a few new news articles that I have yet to talk about here. But first, the poll.

Favorite Yuma w/ B.I.Shadow member:

Nakajima Kento: 55
Nakayama Yuma: 30
Kikuchi Fuma: 23
Matsumura Hokuto: 18
Kochi Yuugo: 7

I had a feeling that Nakaken would be the winner of this poll. He's one of those lucky Juniors that have been popular pretty much since he joined the agency. With all the negativity directed towards Yuma I wasn't sure how he would do, so it's nice to know that people do like him, as he's slowly growing on me. I plan on watching his dramas, Battery and the upcoming Koishite Akuma, so I'll have those to see whether or not he can win me over. And I'm happy that Hokuto isn't too far behind Kikuchi, though not surprised at all that Yuugo got so few votes. Hopefully if this group ends up being a permenant debut Johnny's will give them a program or something so people can get to know the fresher members of Johnny's.

With Hey! Say! BEST finally getting more active with projects, I figured I would celebrate with a HSB poll.

19 June 2009

Yuma w/B.I.Shadow & NYC Shibuya promo ads

After finding out that the usual promotional ads Johnny's puts up for it's new releases, have been put up for Shibuya yesterday I made my way there today after class. If you exit the Hachiko Exit at the JR Shibuya Station then it's hard to miss not of the promotional billboard for the single but also for Nakayama Yuma's upcoming drama, Koishite Akuma. I ended up taking pictures of them all, so here they are.

Also to note Johnny's net has put up the covers for the Akuma na Koi / NYC single. Each single will have a front and back cover, with each group then getting a side of the cd. Honestly I think the back side covers look much nicer than the front covers. Especially since I don't think I could get myself to buy the RE edition with the front cover it has. I guess because I'm far from being in my teens I find the whole shirtless teenage boys thing that Johnny's does from time to time rather creepy. So I will be adding the RE to my preorder of the LE editions with cdjapan.

And the extra non-related PV video on the LE DVDs has been revealed to be footage from the Junior concert earlier this month. One will be the NYC performance and the other an Akuma na Koi performance. Which, IMHO, makes the LEs really worth getting.

17 June 2009

Morimoto Ryutarou's phone stolen, culprit arrested

Out of all the members of Hey! Say! JUMP, Morimoto Ryutarou would honestly be the last one I would think of to have trouble with an obsessive fan. But the most recent news reports about HSJ say otherwise.

I'm sure everyone in the HSJ fandom has already heard about Ryutarou getting his cell phone stolen. It occurred as he was meeting up with a fan, a 17 year old boy, who had been stalking him for some months now. The boy threatened him by saying he had a knife and when Ryutarou left to call his parents the boy stole his cell phone. The police were able to trace the phone and caught the boy.

Tokyo Graph article (English)

I have to say it wasn't the best of ideas for Ryutarou to have gone alone to face this boy. If he wasn't going to bring one of his parents he should have at least brought a friend or two. I guess this will be a lessoned learned, though I think the police really should have done something after the Morimoto's reported the boy back in December.

After reading some of the reactions to the news article I would like to point out that it is not uncommon for there to be children walking around Tokyo by themselves. As I commute to and from the city almost daily I've seen children alone on the trains several times, and not all of them looked to be commuting from school either. And IIRC, there was an English article about Johnny's that I read where someone from the Johnny's Agency was asked about the age limit for boys to join and instead of an age he answered that they had to be old enough to travel on the trains alone. So from that it can be assumed that from nine years old and older it's considered safe for children to travel without a guardian in Japan. So it would not really seem out of place for Ryutarou to be out in the city alone, especially as it was only as far as a restaurant near his home.

In the end though like all good fans, I'm happy to hear that Ryutarou is safe and sorry that he had to deal with something like this. Especially since he's still so young.

16 June 2009

A couple of new release updates

While browsing Johnny's net I found that the track listing for Yuma w/ B.I.Shadow/NYC boys upcoming single is now completely up. The previously unknown B-sides will be Dial Up for both of the limited editions, and the B-side for the regular edition will be 蒼い季節 (Aoi Kisetsu).

While Aoi Kisetsu looks like a new song, Dial Up is actually a Yuma w/ Hey! Say! 7 WEST song. YuBIS performed it at the Junior concert, which seems like a painful blow to HS7W, to have a song taken from them, especially for a temporary group like NYC boys. I guess that's just the kind of thing Kansai Juniors just have to deal with, being pretty much the red haired step children of Johnny's.

Also pre-orders are open at cdjapan for the upcoming KAT-TUN Live Documentary photo book. I think I'm personally going to pass for now, but I have the feeling I'll see the previews and up getting it anyway.

Kat-tun Live Documentary Photo Book "BREAK the RECORDS" / KAT-TUN

15 June 2009

Shounen Club July Filming Report

I'm back from going to see the Shounen Club tapings for July's episodes. Honestly with the huge lack of Juniors, most were at the KAT-TUN concert tonight, and the amount of stage time Hey! Say! JUMP had I think it's better to think of next month's episodes as the Hey! Say! JUMP Club instead.

I was able to get a seat on the second floor, but a ways back. Though thankfully the hall isn't too big so I could see everyone, though the binoculars I used were rather helpful at some parts. Of course things seemed to zip by and I know I'm not great at catching song names unless they're written down somewhere I can see, so I'm probably missing some thngs here and there. But I will try my best to report everything I can remember.

The taping was definitely not set up to be one episode after the other, as the game segments were all done in the second half. Also all the older performers had the focus of the second segment, with the younger boys doing all their performing in the first half.

I believe it's just Hey! Say! JUMP showing up on stage at the beginning and then Yuma w/ B.I.Shadow following after. Hey! Say! JUMP are all wearing various costumes, none really matching each other. Yuma has a nice white and red costume while B.I. Shadow have similiar costumes but their's is mainly yellow, which doesn't look good IMHO. Then Koyama comes on stage. IIRC, Koyama explains where the usual Juniors are and mentions that Yabu and Hikaru will be helping him host. Though Hikaru seemed to have problems saying his lines all trough the recording.

The first talk segment was with Okamoto, Ryutarou and Yuto. Okamoto got to be the lead for the talk segment. I was so amazed with how completely comfortable Okamoto was talking and cracking jokes. The boy really has come a long way since his debut.

There was a HSJ medley, which began with a Yamada solo, with the rest of Hey! Say! 7 being his back up dancers, followed by a Chinen solo. Then Takaki does his solo, Kumo no Ito, then it's Yuto with his own solo. I believe it then moves on to NYC boys singing NYC, which sounds better when it's more than just the chorus. Though I had to laugh when in the lyrics they do call themselves 'New York City boys'.

Then it's another talk segment with Nakayama Yuma, with Yabu and Hikaru there to read a letter. Hikaru messes up the introduction to the segment and he gets teased a bit for it. After the talk YuBIS perform Akuma na Koi, without Shintarou which makes it sounds a bit strange without anyone singing his parts.

For the HSJ single hit medley the only time the full group was on stage was for the beginning and end segments when they sang Ultra Music Power. Dreams Come True was sung by the bleach brown trio, Yabu, Hikaru and Takaki. Your Seed was Yuto, Inoo and Ryutarou, and Mayonaka no Shadow Boy was Chinen, Yamada and Daiki. Okamoto got to play the guitar for the end part with UMP. I believe it was with this song they had a costume change into orange costumes, with Hey! Say! 7 with red scarves and Hey! Say! BEST with blue.

I think there was another MC segemnt here. There were a few of them so they're kinda getting meshed together in my mind. But this one was Yamada, I think Chinen, and Yabu and Hikaru. Yamada got to read the postcard this time. Then he got to show off his recent impressions, I think. Though I'm not sure what/who they were impressions of. The first looked like he was sitting on a chair in mid-air then the second he struck a pose and Koyama then stepped out in front of him to block people's view.

And I think it was after this that B.I.Shadow came out and sang their song. Don't remember a name but it had a lot of 'lala's and 'lucky's in it.

HSJ also get to sing a song that I don't believe I've heard before. I rather like it, and just about everyone has a solo line. I think this was the song they made another costume change into costumes that looked like track suits, with an orange top and black bottoms. Each member having their own different t-shirt on.

The first final song is Bouken Rider sung by HSJ, who are joined by YuBIS during the middle. Yuugo was flanked by Daiki, and I believe it was Inoo or Hikaru, can't remember clearly. But they both decided to show Yuugo how to act during these songs by taking his arm and slinging it around Daiki as the other slun his arm around Yuugo. Yuugo looked like he had no idea what to do but to go along.

After the long break Koyama came back on and introduced Tegomass. The yukata the duo were wearing looked like Massu picked them out. His was part black with a red/pink sash, part white with white and black stars and Tegoshi's was red with white stars with a white and blue zebra striped sash. Both had big sparkly stars on the top half.

They gave Koyama a couple of group hugs when they came on stage. Then Koyama revealed a photo of all three of them plus Kato Shigeaki. It looked like a pretty terrible photo as Shige had a bizarre look on his face, almost like he was in pain, and Massu was all but hidden in it.

After the talk Tegomass performed their upcoming single song, Tanabata Matsuri. It was a nice simple performance, with no Juniors on stage at all.

Yuto appeared by himself in the seating area and read a letter requesting that Hey! Say! BEST get an abake segment, ala NEWS. He also holds up a stack of postcards that request the same thing so the next segment is Hey! Say! BEST wo Abake. Like with the NEWS wo Abake the boys all put on blind folds and have their voices modified when they talk. This was really fun to watch, though I really wish I knew Japanese better to get more of what was said, but I did pick up a few things here and there. But the boys all easily got riled up as the others talked about them, so it was funny to see them try to defend themselves.

Right after putting the blind folds on Yabu uses his hands to search out his neighbors and ends up putting his hands all over Takaki at one point. The first question is about who is the biggest scaredy cat of the group. Everyone puts their hands up to respond and Koyama picks Yabu to go first but Takaki gets confused and thinks he was the one picked instead so there's a small exchange to clear that up. Takaki, Yabu, Daiki and Inoo all get picked as the biggest scaredy cat. Hikaru is the one that nominates Yabu and tells a story of how on an amusement ride Yabu was so scared he was hugging him. He is also the one to say Daiki is a scaredy cat but I couldn't follow the story about him.

I believe the next topic was to just say anything you want to say to someone else in the group. Takaki began this one by scolding Inoo for his habit of lying. I can't remember who went next after that, but after a bit Koyama began making motions of 'come here' to someone off stage. Then Tegomass came on stage. They of course didn't have blindfolds but their microphones had the distorted voices so Koyama had them have turns, and they picked on Yabu and Hikaru. None of HSB could tell it was Tegomass talking so Yabu and Hikaru kept trying to figure out who were saying things about them. Also Tegoshi took to pinching Yabu's side, which looked like it really confused Yabu, as he probably thought it was Koyama doing it.

Koyama eventually told HSB to take off their blind folds and they were all surprised to see Tegomass there. Yabu and Hikaru got to then say their peace about their senpai, with Yabu jokingly complaining about what a bad senpai Tegoshi is. HSB then leave the stage and Tegoshi begins to pinch Koyama's side at random before being made to leave the stage.

After they were done, Hey! Say! BEST came on stage and performed a song, which I'm assuming is new as I haven't heard it anywhere before. From what I could catch from the lyrics I'm guessing the title is My Angel.

Even though there are almost no Juniors there is a Junior Colliseum segment. There is a HSJ team of, Chinen, Yamada and Takaki. When things are getting set up the three do a group hug. And then to represent the Juniors there is Nakajima Kento, Yuma and Akun, who is appearing for the first time for the filming. In fact Koyama even asks what Akun is doing there and Akun replies it's because he is a Junior.

The game is the one where the boys have a box they stick their hands in and have to guess the thing that is in the box. It is the most amusing thing to watch these boys freak out at the slightest touch of anything when they have their hand in their.

The first match up is Chinen versus Nakaken. Nakaken made the best freak out faces I have seen for this. But it was Chinen that ended up winning, though I couldn't tell what the thing was, it kinda looked like some sort of cucumber.

Second match is Yamada versus Yuma. Both at different points had to have help from someone to actually find the thing to touch, as it was a stag beetle. Yuma screamed like a girl so many times even though he rarely touched anything. Yamada was not much better though with freaking out and screaming at the slightest touch of anything. Yamada had to be asked to stop blindly patting in the box by Koyama, as I'm sure he was afraid Yamada would crush the bug. Yuma took forever to actually touch it, and when he did it was with help. But after that he was able to guess the answer correctly after Yamada guessed incorrectly twice.

The last was Takaki versus Akun. Both looked terrified at the idea of what on earth they would get. What they get is a fake head of a Japanese ghost, which means it has a white triangular piece of cloth on it's head. Both the boys are no better than their younger teammates at first. After a few touches they don't seem to mind too much. In fact Akun gets the cloth off the head and guesses "panties," near the end. They take a long time and the countdown for time's up begins. Before it reaches the end Takaki finally guesses the correct answer. So HSJ team wins the game.

I believe it's after this that Yara Tomoyuki shows up for a talk. Yabu gets to read a postcard and adds in sound effects to the reading. Then Yara performs a song with the members of They Budou.

Then there's one final talk segment as the stage is set up with aucostic guitars and a drum set. It's Daiki, Inoo, Yabu and Hikaru talking with Koyama. They bring up the new song Hikaru and Yabu wrote together. Then Yabu and Hikaru leave to take their places on stage with four out five members of Question?, as Ishigaki is at the KAT-TUN concert with the rest of FiVe. They all sing Star Time together.

Koyama afterwards comes on stage and announces that they're at the end. Hikaru ends up patting his head telling him to do a good job. The final end song is Nami, IIRC. Koyama sings it solo at first but by the end everyone who performed, minus Ryutarou, BIS and Tegomass sing it with him.

The recording ends then after the boys take their time waving to the audience.

I'm really happy I decided to go. Even though it was disappointing that I couldn't see so many of my favorite Juniors it was a lot of fun to watch as a Hey! Say! JUMP fan. Especially since Hey! Say! BEST got a lot of stage time for a change. But I think they just had Japanese child labor laws working on their side for this. In any case, I can't wait to see the episodes to see what they kept and hopefully someone will sub the episodes, or at least the abake segment.

14 June 2009

Masuda stars in a play & Shounen Club taping musings

It has been announced that Masuda Takahisa will be starring in a play for the first time this November. The title of the play is Ame no Hi no Mori no Naka (Rainy Day In the Middle of the Forest) and will run at the Tokyo Globe Theater from November 4-23 and then move down to Osaka for a November 26-30 run at Theater Drama City.

Tokyo Graph article

While browsing Johnny's net I noticed that they've added yet another guest to the Shounen Club filming for tomorrow, Nakayama Yuma. So it's going to be a guest heavy month with him, Tegomass and Hey! Say! JUMP all there. Though I guess they have to as a good portion of the Juniors will probably be at the KAT-TUN concert tomorrow instead, which is why Nakamaru Yuichi will be absent from the filming, leaving Koyama with solo MC duties. I'm rather curious to see which Juniors will actually be there, but with Yuma there I think it's safe to say B.I.Shadow will be present so they can perform to promote their upcoming single. And it's probably safe to assume that the groups listed for being at the KAT-TUN concerts won't be at SC, so no Kis-My-Ft2 or A.B.C.-Z, and Question? will be down a member. So I wouldn't be surprised if HSJ takes over quite a bit of the episodes to make up for them not being there. Which is fine with me as long as the complete group, as they haven't done much as a full group in a while.

13 June 2009

Hikaru to join Orthros no Inu drama

At the taping of Hi! Hey! Say! it was announced that Yaotome Hikaru will have a role in the upcoming summer drama Orthros no Inu. The drama stars Takizawa Hideaki and Nishikido Ryo, so Hikaru is in good company.

While there is no official report of this information the Japanese blogs are abuzz with the news. I'm sure sometime this weekend the online news sources will pick this news up.

I'm really excited about this. This looks like it'll be a good summer to be a Hey! Say! BEST fan. As Takaki Yuya has the upcoming Gokusen movie that begins playing in theaters next month, and now both Yabu and Hikaru have drama roles. And hopefully once these projects are over Johnny's will keep these boys active and working, and perhaps give Arioka Daiki and Inoo Kei something to do as well. Though with the last two in school I wouldn't be surprised if they don't do much for a while so they can concentrate on that.

Still overall I'm really happy with this news, as it's another clear signal that Johnny's hasn't given up on these boys. Now all they have to do is announce a new cd release and I'll be a completely content Hey! Say! JUMP fan again.

12 June 2009

Ninomiya's upcoming butai

Ninomiya Kazunari's upcoming play Mishiranu Joukyaku, which is an adaption of the English language novel, Strangers on a Train, has had a press released put out for it. The novel the play is based on was also used by Alfred Hitchcock for one of his movies that shared the same name as the book.

The basic story is that two strangers meet on a train and make an agreement to kill off somebody for each other, one an unfaithful wife, the other a father.

The play will be at the Tokyo Globe Theatre, and will run from July 18th to August 11th.

Tokyo Graph article. (English)

11 June 2009

Speculation on some of the recent Junior happenings

There's been a couple of things about recent Junior shuffling that I'm been thinking about recently and thought I'd share my thoughts about them.

The first I wasn't going to think too much about at first, which is Takahata Masaki quitting the agency. That was until I realized that he seemed to be a bit MIA before the Yuma w/ B.I.Shadow announcement. I say this because IIRC, he wasn't at a Shounen Club recording earlier in the year. This in and of itself isn't suspicious though, as there are other Junior that miss a taping every once in a while too. But it did bring up some suspicion with me that perhaps there might have been something more to that. Though even if there wasn't some more recent evidence that Takahata was perhaps already on his way out at least about a month ago, if not sooner, or at least officially out of the B.I.Shadow group.

The first being the newly released magazines, Wink Up, Duet and Potato. Magazine shoots are normally done a couple of months in advance, somethings more, which is why it normally takes a couple of months for changes in looks and groups to appear in them. In all of these magazines, the B.I.Shadow group is made of Nakajima Kento, Kikuchi Fuma and Matsumura Hokuto, without Takahata in sight anywhere.

The next is this month's airing of SC. The BIS group is only down to two members with both Takahata and Hokuto missing, though in Hokuto's case it's probably one of those issues where he had to do something else that day. For Takahata on the other hand, this could be another sign that he had left/was leaving around this time, about a month ago.

Also, as I mentioned in my report of the Junior concert they had a studio recorded version of Akuma na Koi playing before the concert began. Studio recordings aren't things that are usually done in a couple of days, so it had to have been made probably a couple of weeks ahead of time. So the new YuBIS group had to have known for a while what the line up would be, maybe not so much about the debut, but the fact that Takahata would no longer be in BIS would be evident. And with the date of Takahata's leaving was about a week before the YuBIS announcement in the papers, and the concert was just a few days after that, so if Takahata quit because he was disappointed about being passed over for fresher Juniors the times would just about match up.

The other recent change with the Juniors that has me thinking is what's happening with Hip Hop Jump. In the last couple of SC episodes the group has been MIA, and Jesse Luis was even brought out as a fresh Junior (o_0). But at the latest Junior concert the group was there and even at one point introduced as Hip Hop JUMP. Though one thing about that was that they went through the member names before hand, I couldn't catch them all as they were going through them rather quickly, but I thought they had skipped a name or two. And I'm thinking that perhaps I was right and there's been a change in group members. In the three above mentioned magazines there is a page with all five members, one with only three (Tanaka Juri, Hagiya Keigo and Jesse Luis) and one without a HHJ page at all. The group is still MIA from the SC stage for this months episodes so far as well. So I'm wondering if instead of disbanding the group, as I thought Johnny's had, they were instead deciding on how to reshuffle the members.

If the current group is the one in the three member photo shoot, I won't be too heart broken. Camu Cade seemed like a weird fit to the group as he is a couple years older than the rest of the group and I would rather see him in a group of Juniors more around his age. Morita Myuto getting dropped from the line up doesn't really surprise me, as he seems to be one of those Juniors that just gets shuffled around a lot. And while HHJ has been missing from SC, they still have been pairing Juri and Keigo together on the show, so it's no surprise they would remain. I'm a bit surprised that it looks Luis was kept, but happy as he's an adorable kid and Johnny's really should do more with him. Much like I feel they should do more with Anderson Casey, whom I'm very glad to see becoming active again recently.

I'm hoping that HHJ will remain. I mean I don't think it's a group that will last a long time, but I think as long as Johnny's wants a group for Juri to be in it'll stick around. I just hope they can get back to performing together again as a group soon on SC. But that is assuming that they really haven't been disbanded. I guess we'll have to wait for next month's magazines to see what their fate is.

10 June 2009

Yabu to join cast of Kusanagi's new drama, plus Hey! Say! 7 returns to Minna no Uta

It has been announced that Yabu Kota will be joining the cast of Kusanagi Tsuyoshi's upcoming summer drama. In the drama Kusanagi's character is a yakuza boss and under directions of the higher up of the organization must work at a nursing organization for training. Yabu will play one of Kusanagi's underlings. (At this I can't help but get flashbacks to Koki's character from My Boss, My Hero.)

Daily Sports article. (Japanese only)

Even though I'm not a big fan of Yabu, I can't deny that I'm really happy for him. In fact I would have been happy for any of the Hey! Say! BEST boys to get a drama role at this point, since post-debut only two of the five have gotten drama roles. I hope this means that BEST will finally get more chances to do things, since unlike the Hey! Say! 7 members school and work restrictions aren't really a problem for most of them, so they can be doing a lot more than they have been.

And according to Johnny's net Hey! Say! 7 will once again have Salsa Ii na Ii ne played on the five minute program, Minna no Uta. It will air in June and July.

I'm hoping that with Salsa Ii na Ii ne getting back on air it means that just maybe Johnny's is getting ready to release something for Hey! Say! JUMP. I say this because if they plan on giving the song a cd release then it would be best to release the cd will the song is being aired for promotion. I really hope I'm right with this, and that this will be the start of Johnny's getting HSJ releases back on track.

09 June 2009

Katori Shingo in new musical & Coming Century mini-album

Katori Shingo from SMAP, will be starring solo in his first musical later this year, Talk Like Singing. This musical will also be the original Japanese musical to open in New York City, when it hits the stage there in November. It has yet to be decided when it will performed in Japan.

Tokyo Graph article.

Also, it seems like Johnny's is at least on the ball with V6 releases, as a mini-album for the sub-unit, Coming Century, has been announced. It will be released July 29th, during the beginning of their upcoming tour.

Hello-Goodbye [Regular Edition / Jacket C] / Coming Century

Hello-Goodbye [Cardboard Sleeve (mini LP)] [w/ DVD, Limited Edition / Jacket A] / Coming Century

Hello-Goodbye [Cardboard Sleeve (mini LP)] [Limited Edition / Jacket B] / Coming Century

Now if Johnny's could release cds for other groups as regularly as V6 I'm sure there would a lot of happier fans for some groups.

08 June 2009

7th Poll Results

Going to make this a quick post so I can start up the next poll. So without further ado here are the results for the New Junior Unit You're Most Interested In.

B.I.Shadow: 51

Mis Snow Man: 33

Nakayama Yuma w/7-EAST: 13

I had the feeling from the start that BIS would top this poll, but I am happy to see MSM get a good number of votes. Of course 7-EAST never happened in the end, which makes you wonder if Johnny's was serious about forming that group or not in the first place with the reported Yuma w/B.I.Shadow debut.

The new poll will be a favorite member poll for YuBIS, as I'm curious if my predictions for that one will pan out.

I'm in! Plus, Akuma na Koi cd listings

When I went to the May 22nd KAT-TUN Tokyo Dome concert I finally got around to joining the You & J fan club. And today I received my first letter from the club, with club card, the latest You & J booklet, and a lot of information for the upcoming events. I have to say the membership card was not what I was expecting. I thought it was the kind of card you put in your wallet or something. But as you can see in the below picture it's not that at all.

I'm quite happy that I joined, as now I will have the chance to actually get tickets officially instead of relying on resale tickets. And from the information just sent out I'll be able to try to get Tegomass tickets this Friday. Hopefully I know enough Japanese to do so.

Also on another note, cdjapan has put up the pre-order listings for the Yuma w/B.I.Shadow & NYC Boys single. There are three versions, two LEs each with a DVD that will contain the PV and making of for one of the A-sides, Akuma na Koi and NYC. And the RE version will have karaoke tracks of the A-sides as well as stickers. Each version also looks like it will have it's own B-side song, the LE ones, or perhaps one, is still untitled, but the name of the RE B-side is I can catch the moon. On Johnny's net's listing for the single they are all tagged as NYC Boys songs.

Akuma na Koi / NYC [Regular Edition] / Yuma Nakayama w/ B.I.Shadow, NYC boys

Akuma na Koi / NYC [w/ DVD, Limited Edition / Type A] / Yuma Nakayama w/ B.I.Shadow, NYC boys

Akuma na Koi / NYC [w/ DVD, Limited Edition / Type B] / Yuma Nakayama w/ B.I.Shadow, NYC boys

I also want to officially say that I give up trying to figure out if YuBIS is a actual debut or not, as this single on Johnny's net is listed under the Junior section. So I'm not going to worry about any of that anymore, as it's just making my head hurt. I'll just wait for when Johnny's decides to be kind and clarify everything for us and just enjoy two of my favorite Juniors getting a lot of attention.

07 June 2009

Johnny's Jr. New Unit Concert Goods

I'm just going to make one last quick post for night, as I still need to finish a mid-term paper for tomorrow.

But here are the pictures of the goods I was able to buy at the concert today. I'm still rather heartbroken about not being able to buy Nozawa Yuki's photo set, but I'm looking at the plus side of things as it just means Mis Snow Man is proving more popular than Johnny's expected and perhaps now they'll be given more screen time on Shounen Club.

Here is the penlight, simple yet cute.

Nakayama Yuma's photo sets. He has the least photo shoot photos, which I think is a shame as all of those for all the boys turned out nice, IMHO.

Nakajima Kento's photo sets. He has the most variety for concert photos, as he got a bit of pimping at the KAT-TUN concerts.

Kikuchi Fuma's photosets. And I kinda feel sorry that practically all the live concert photos are of him in one of those cages on KAT-TUN's stage.

Matsumura Hokuta's photosets. He also got some stage time at the KAT-TUN concerts with Nakaken, as you can see.

Kochi Yuugo's photoset. As he wasn't in the KAT-TUN concerts he only has the photo shoot photos.

And Hashimoto Ryosuke's photoset. I think out of the sets I bought he has the best concert photos hands down.

I really hope we get photos from this concert at the Johnny's Shop. I know I will buy Nozawa's entire set asap. And then I'll probably get most of Nakaken's and Hokuto's, because those boys are just so adorable.

NYC Boys

I knew that going to the first show of the day I was going to miss something that Johnny's would save for a later show. And it looks like I was right as it's being reported that YuBIS will be making a temporary unit with Yamada Ryosuke and Chinen Yuri to sing a volleyball support song for the World Volley Ball Grand Prix, that will be held in Tokyo this July and August. The group name comes from Nakayama, Yamada, Chinen and the Boys from B.I.Shadow (Boys In Shadow) and the title of the song they will be singing will be simply NYC. The song will be a A-side to the upcoming Akuma na Koi single, making it a double A-side release. Perhaps this is why the cd information hasn't been put up anywhere yet.

I have to say Yuma w/B.I.Shadow's debut has be the oddest Johnny's debut yet. It doesn't really follow any of the usual patterns that past debuts have so it seems impossible to guess what's next. But I have the feeling that Johnny's is using Yamada and Chinen's popularity in hopes of bringing in fans for YuBIS. Smart business move since only Yuma has had time to build a fanbase, though Nakaken seems to have a good following himself.

I think I would be more excited about the temporary unit if Hey! Say! JUMP had a cd released already after Mayonaka no Shadow Boy or at least had one scheduled to be released. I mean if they can release NYC, why couldn't they have released Jounetsu JUMP? I hope we get an album announcement soon for HSJ for a July release or something. It's long overdue and since Johnny's doesn't promote albums nearly as much as single it most likely wouldn't be too much of a strain on Yamada and Chinen's schedule.

Johnny's Jr. New Unit Concert Report

Ok, I just got in the door a minute ago. I've been updating my twitter while on the trains going home but there was a lot I couldn't type up that I want to talk about. It'll probably take me a while to type up the full report, so I'm just going to post a bit at a time, updating this post each time.

First off the merchandise.

The penlight isn't anything special, but I still think it's a bit cute. Probably because of the pink. It has two settings, a solid light and a flickering light.

The nineteen photo sets ended up all being individual sets. Each member of Yuma w/ B.I.Shadow, minus Kochi Yuugo, had two sets, Morimoto Shintarou also had two sets. Everyone else, Yuugo, Mis Snow Man and A.B.C.-Z all had one set for each member. The photos were a mix of shots from a photo shoot and concert photos from the KAT-TUN Tokyo Dome concerts for YuBIS, minus Yuugo who only had photo shoot shots. The rest, IIRC, are all concert photos.

I think I needed to show up at 7AM, a half hour before they began selling anything, to get all the photos I wanted. The line was long when I got there at 8AM and it took about 45 minutes to get to the merchandise booth. By then though all the Mis Snow Man photo sets were sold out. This made me rather sad as I had been really looking forward to buying Nozawa Yuki's. I think I'll try my luck at yahoo!auctions for the set, since I still want it and am willing to pay more than the sales price for it. I did get all the YuBIS photo sets, as well as the Hashimoto Ryosuke set. I'm glad I did this before the concert as when I was leaving the venue afterwards both Nakajima Kento sets as well as Hasshi's were sold out.

Pictured above is the display behind one of the sales counters. The blimp on top moved back and forth. Nothing great, but still cute, IMHO.

I was on the first floor, row 25 and one seat away from the aisle, though there wasn't much in the way of any of the boys going into the aisles. But since the hall is a rather small venue I could see the stage and those on it with little trouble. I think the biggest problem I had was that the stage was full of Juniors most of the time so it was hard to keep track of all of them. Especially since the stage was extended on the sides of the hall in the 1st section of seating so the boys could run up and down those planks. Though for that there was a section of the stage that lead to those sections that didn't fit two people very well so there were a couple of run-ins/near run-ins in those areas. The two I noticed was Totsu (I think) moving Hasshi, with his hands on Hasshi's shoulders, up against the wall to pass by him. And Sanada making his way past Kawai in the same section by jumping sideways past him.

I did notice quite a few Nakayama Yuma uchiwas in the crowd, so yes, he does seem to have a fan following. There were also quite a few A.B.C.-Z and Mis Snow Man uchiwas, not to mention people with multiple uchiwas, or ones that had a different name on each side of their uchiwas.

I was rather confused about one thing about the YuBIS debut, and that was the song. Yuma had been singing the song from Music Station (the slower paced one) at all the KAT-TUN Tokyo Dome concerts, but it was called Why Did You Go? there. But apparently it's gotten a name change as from just watching the Hi! Hey! Say! live stage with Yuma it's being called Akuma na Koi, which would make sense as this is the song that YuBIS sang after talking about their upcoming single. Kinda bizarre and has been throwing me off until now. I'm a bit disappointed as I don't care much for the song, but there's always B-sides to look forward too. But they were playing this song in loop before the concert began (and it sounded like a recorded version, so it's probably safe to assume that this is ready to be released any day now).

The curtains of the stage went up and Yuma is the first to be introduced, followed by B.I.Shadow. Others that get introductions, that I remember, at this point are, Kyomoto Taiga, Uekusa Yuta, Tanaka Juri, Sanada Yuma, Nozawa Yuki, Mis Snow Man and of course Morimoto Shintarou. Shintarou introduces Yuma w/ B.I.Shadow, though he messes up the name, he forgets to say the Yuma w/ at first but corrects himself. XD After the introductions, YuBIS take center stage and their debut single and Yuma's drama are talked about. Shintarou mentions that July 15th is his birthday and his mom will be getting him the single for his present. Then YuBIS perform Akuma na Koi, with previews of the drama being shown on the screens. Yuugo is the only one that looks lost at times and a bit awkward, he kept glancing over at other members to see what they were doing. Hokuto seems like a natural and while he didn't seem as smooth as Nakaken and Kikuchi at times he looked like he knew what he was doing. And of course Yuma being the veteran of the group has his stage presence down pact.

The preview clips are a mix of actual drama footage and off shoot shots of Yuma on set. The drama looks like it has a rather low budget, things looked rather fake. Yuma's character seemed rather emo, walking around looking sullen with a hoodie over his head. And that's about all I recall as I was too busy watching the boys, especially Nakaken and Matsumura Hokuto, perform the song. But it does look like the kind of series that if it doesn't take itself too seriously, I'll probably like because it is cheap and ridiculous.

YuBIS then sing another song. I don't believe I've heard it before but it's up beat and I'll be calling it Dial Up, until I find the title information, as those two English words are repeated twice in the chorus. I like it, and hope it's a B-side for the single.

The stage clears of everyone but Yuma. Then a cell phone rings and Yuma pretends that he has to think about whose cell phone it is, until he realizes it's his. He answers and Shintarou is on the other end, and is on another part of the stage. They talk and then Yuma leaves the stage. Shintarou calls someone new and gets an alien. Ok, it's Otsuka Yuya, who has a weird looking head, IMHO. Next to Otsuka is Juri and after Otsuka talks to Shintarou a bit he hands the phone over to Juri. Shintarou asks Juri if they want to sing the song and he answers yes, so all the little Juniors come on stage to sing a cutesy song.

It's during this performance that I notice that it's Question? in the background. Probably because the little ones are too short to hide anyone but other chibis behind them. And even though I don't remember him being introduced, he probably was but I didn't catch it as it was probably within one of the list of names that were rattled off, but Goto Hiromi was at the concert too, playing his violin.

After the cutesy song we get the first recycled bit from KAT-TUN's Tokyo Dome concerts. There are traditional drums, a Junior on koto (I think that's what it is) and one that can sing in the traditional chant. There end up being a lot of Juniors on stage for this, as a group comes with umbrellas to twirl, another with large fold out hand fans and then a final group with long pieces of cloth in each hand to use in their dance.

Surprisingly the group gets off the stage rather quickly as the next group comes on with pole cubes. Which means A.B.C.-Z are making their appearence. It's first just the A.B.C. members twirling the cubes for a while then they set them off stage, lights dim and when they come on again in the next second Hasshi's front and center as they do the 'goddess' thing that seems popular for Johnny's groups to do recently. They then start singing (I'm can't really recall which song), and Hasshi does his back flip at the end, he got quite a bit of air when he did it too. They then go into a medley of group songs, I don't follow A.B.C.-Z enough to know what they are called.

And I'll state right here before I go much further that things are getting a bit muddled about when they happened. So I'm just going to try my best in keeping things in order but I can't promise that this is the definite order of the rest of the con, minus the few songs near the end. That I remember well enough.

I'm thinking this is when they break into the MC section. They have the audience all sit down and it's YuBIS, Kawai and Goseki on stage. Kawai and Goseki lead the MC and mainly talk about YuBIS.

They bring up the Music Station appearance and they say how 'high tension' it was when they had to greet the Black Eyed Peas. Yuma repeated what he told them in English and then the boys were asked about their English skills, but none were eager to say much on the subject.

They confirm Yuugo has only been in Johnny's for one month, and then Kawai and Goseki proceed to introduce themselves to him so he knows who they are. XD Yuma, Nakaken and Kikuchi do most of the talking of the group. Hokuto kept holding his mic as if he wanted to say something but usually one of the other members (mostly Nakaken) would say something so he couldn't find a place to come into the conversation.

Eventually Shintarou is called on stage, as the conversation turns to Yuma's upcoming drama. Shintarou is in the airplane directing costume he wore at the beginning of KAT-TUN's Tokyo Dome concerts. He says his character is a sibling (he used the word kyoudai) of Yuma's character. He said something else about his character but I couldn't quite follow, especially when he got stuck with what he was saying. He earned some teasing from Kawai and Goseki for that, but I think they would have teased him anyway, as it was all rather friendly teasing. Nakaken then gets asked about his role and he says he will be playing Yuma's classmate.

Then they wrap up talking about the drama and move on to Shintarou's upcoming movie Snow Prince. They pimp that and it leads into the next performance, as Shintarou is joined by all the little Juniors again. A group of about six of them are introduced by a really long name, which includes the words 'Snow Princes', IIRC, and were all dressed in white. I'm sure we'll eventually being seeing this on Shounen Club, but I do remember Juri and Otsuka are both in this group. Also before the performance as YuBIS, Kawai and Goseki are leaving the stage, Kawai runs over to Shintarou real quick and 'fixes' his hat by canting it to the side. We then get another song from Shintarou and the little Juniors.

I believe after this Masuda Ryo shows up and sings a long solo before being joined by the other Juniors he's usually placed with, like Takada Sho.

Then I believe it's finally Mis Snow Man's turn to perform their song, No More Wait. They got a lot of cheers when they showed up. They actually had really nice looking outfits for this performance. They're black with little bits of red and some silver sparkly designs on them. I hope they wear these more often. The performance had a lot of flips throughout it and of course I loved it.

Then B.I.Shadow got to sing a song without Yuma, Hey! Say!. Though I believe they were joined by other Juniors part way through. I think then Yuma came on stage after most of the boys cleared off and sang a song with Question?.

This I believe was followed up by a medley with a slew of Junior introductions. I could only pick up the names I could recognize beforehand, there were just so many of them. Though Hip Hop Jump was introduced, they covered KAT-TUN's Rescue so Juri could do the rap. And since all the groups were getting introductions and performing something the introductions were done by either Sanada and Nozawa or a member of A.B.C.-Z. Also in this medley Kyomoto, Uekusa, Anderson Casey and Morita Myuto sang A-ha-ha. (I think I might be a little off with the song title here.)

After this it was time to begin wrapping the concert up. IIRC, everyone sung School Kakumei together and then for the final song it was Tegomass' Marui Chikara. The curtain then went down, but not for long as they did an encore, Hey! Say! JUMP's Ultra Music Power followed by Hey! Say! with everyone this time.

That was the end then. When I left the hall I picked up a streamer that was on the ground. One of the performances had a bunch shot out during it and while some came close to where I was none actually made it. But I wanted something that I felt that I could only get at this concert.

As I made my way out of the building I glanced at the time and it was only a few minutes past 11AM, which meant the concert was only for an hour. I was surprised at how short it was. I knew it wasn't going to be long with four concerts being crammed in one day, but I thought it would be a bit longer than that.

I had fun though, and got to see Juniors perform songs live instead of just back dance for another group which was great. From the moment the concert was announced I wanted to go to see Mis Snow Man, and not only did I get to see them I got to be at YuBIS' first concert together as a group, which makes me happy as I know not many foreign fans get that kind of chance.