29 December 2009

Hidarime Tantei EYE cast update

With the drama's start date about a month away there are some little pieces of information that have been popping up. Some I haven't found confirmation from and official source of just yet, but the latest piece of information I've come across for the drama does have a source. It's also a piece of information that has me very, very happy.

It has been announced that J-pop/R&B singer Crystal Kay will be joining the cast of the series. Most Johnny's fans might just know her as the female artist that is friends with Akanishi Jin and have two songs with him, Wonder and Helpless Night. Her character will be a 'genius hacker living in confinement', who is named Akira Kokusho. So it seems a bit unknown whether this means she will be one of the villains or not.

Tokyograph article. (English)

I've been a fan of Crystal Kay for about five years now so I've been really happy to see her with these Johnny's connections. I really hope this means she'll be there for promotions, as I'm sure she'll bring interest to the drama, as this is her first time acting in a drama and her fanbase I'm sure is different than the ones Yamada and Yokoyama will be bringing to the drama.

And I can't find an article or official information about this, but there is a rumor going around that Nakayama Yuma will have a guest role in the first episode of the series. Honestly I would not be surprised to discover this to be true. I just hope they bring in another Hey! Say! JUMP member as a guest star for one of that later episodes though, as I want to see this group as active as possible in 2010 to make up for 2009.

Johnny's Countdown 2009-2010 TV broadcast information

Johnny's net has updated to list the broadcast information for this year's Countdown concert. Like usual it will be airing on Fuji TV and will at 1145PM of December 31st and end on 1245AM on January 1st.

Of course I believe this information has already been announced elsewhere, I know Fuji TV had at least released some kind of press release about it as they have already announced that once again Arashi will be the hosts for the concert.

I'm rather excited about this news as I actually have the chance to watch the broadcast, seeing as I won't be making it to the concert itself. And as the TV that the place I have is a nice HD one I can imagine it looking pretty amazing, instead of having to go off whatever the recorded version that will be shared with everyone will be.

So it seems like my plans for bringing in the New Year for me will be watching Japanese music programs, as I plan on watching Kouhaku as well.

28 December 2009

Upcoming Johnny's rock concerts

Well winter seems to be the months for rock when it comes to Johnny's. They have announced three different concerts, two for the Junior bands and one for Kondo Masahiko to celebrate his 30th anniversary.

The first concert is on the 1st of January in Tokyo for FiVe, Question? and an undefined 'others'. The title of the concert is Rock na Nakama-tachi Hatsuhi no de LIVE. What stands out about this concert is that it will be from 230AM to 5AM, which hatsuhi no de (first dawn of the New Year) alludes to.

Then it's on January 5th FiVe get a concert in Osaka titled, FiVe LIVE 2010 Osaka Kinga Shinnen (Happy New Year). And looking at the current information for it on Johnny's net it looks like they've added another show for that day.

And then Matchy's concerts won't be until February. He'll be doing only a couple of concerts in Tokyo before doing a couple more down in Osaka according to the schedule that is currently up.

27 December 2009

21st poll results

Still sick but I'm feeling pretty bad for doing so little for this blog for this month. I'm not sure if January will be much better with finals coming up that month, but I will try to update more.

Since I want to move on to the next poll topic, here's the results for that last poll: Which group(s) do you want to see more of in 2010?

Hey! Say! JUMP 119

NEWS 87

KAT-TUN 54

Juniors 52

Arashi 43

Tackey & Tsubasa / Kanjani8 28

Tokio 21

SMAP / Kinki Kids / V6 / Kansai Jrs. 19


I can't say I'm surprised by the winner of this poll. I think the HSJ fandom is quite united in the desire to see more of the group this upcoming year than we did in 2009, which actually wouldn't take that much to do. But at least things already seem to be on track to do just that with the group reportedly doing the theme song for Yamada's upcoming drama.

I am a bit surprised to see KAT-TUN so high. I guess because even though they did a lot at the beginning of the year they didn't do much for the second half, expect for Jin who is getting near impossible to escape with all the BANDAGE promotion.

But now onto the next end of year/new year question. Which Junior group(s) do you want to see more of? Like the last poll you can vote for more than one group.

24 December 2009

Ninomiya to star in Ooku movie

It has been announced that Ninomiya Kazunari will be starring in the film adaption of the Ooku manga series. He will play the lead character of the first volume, which will be the only one adapted for this film, Mizuno Hiroyuki.

The manga the movie is based on is by the multi-award winning mangaka Yoshinaga Fumi and has five volumes published so far. It's story is based in medieval Japan where a strange unknown plague has struck that only affects men, severely reducing the male population, which has made women the dominate gender of the nation.

Anime News Network. (English)

I'm rather interested in this film. I don't know a lot about the manga itself, just bits and pieces here and there. Though I do know that the second volume of the manga switches over to a new cast of characters, which is probably why they're doing only the first for this movie. Of course being set in the time period it is it means a good chance Nino is going to have to have the hairstyle for it, which you can see in the ANN link. I have the feeling he'll just wear a wig like most actors do (think Tegoshi and Takaki from Shabake) but I think it'll just look so strange to see him like that.

23 December 2009

New TOKIO release and Kouhaku setlist for the Johnny's groups

Still sick but thankfully I'm feeling better little by little. I guess going to the Kis-My-Ft2 concerts over the weekend was just a bit too much stress for my body after it had just about recovered from being sick a couple of days before. But I can't say I regret it, as the concerts were great. I'll probably try to do some kind of write up for them at some point over the winter break.

Until then there are a couple pieces of news out. First TOKIO has had their next single announced. Like their past two under the J-Storm label this will be a double A-side and will come in three versions, two LEs and one RE. The title of the single is advance/Mata Asa ga Kuru and it will be released on February 2nd.

As a fan of the group I'm hoping that with all these double A-sides it means we'll be getting a new album from the group next. I mean after this single they have six songs that they will have on the album, unless for some reason they decide not to put all the A-sides on, which I doubt will happen.

Also something probably worth mentioning is that Johnny's is already on February releases. There are four Wednesday's in that month and I'm sure that the other three weeks will be full of other Johnny's singles. As KAT-TUN has announced a new song for docomo and I'm sure they'll be singing the theme song for Kame's drama as well, Arashi has a new drama theme song for Sakurai's upcoming drama and it seems like Hey! Say! JUMP has a new song for Yamada's drama. Or at least that's what I hope will happen. I don't want to wait until March for Hey! Say! JUMP to finally release a new single, especially since I won't be in Japan anymore by then.

But enough about that. NHK has released the song list for Kouhaku, so here are the Johnny's.

Arashi - Arashi x Kouhaku Special Medley
NYC Boys - Kouhaku 60th Anniversary NYC Special
SMAP - Sotto Kyutto ~ Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana
TOKIO - Taiyou to Sabaku no Bara

I have to admit I'm actually looking forward to the NYC Boys performance now. Maybe because it's thankfully not NYC again, though I'm afraid they'll work the song into the medley. I'm just too burned out on that song to care much for it at the moment. Not much different from how burned out from Ultra Music Power a couple of months after Hey! Say! JUMP debuted. I still like the songs and have no trouble listening to UMP again, but I think I need some time away from NYC now before I can go back and enjoy listening to it again.

21 December 2009

Music Station Super Live song list

Sorry for the lack of updates and responses recently. I've been busy and sick (still am sick) so I haven't had much time to update this blog. But winter break begins for me tomorrow, so I'll have much more free time then.

Until then here is the full list of Johnny's performing at the Music Station Super Live in a couple of days and the songs they will be singing.

Everything/Believe - Arashi
Rescue/One Drop - KAT-TUN
Kyu Jyu Show!! - Kanjani8
Swan Song - Kinki Kids
Super Star/Sotto Kyutto - SMAP
Taiyou to Sabaku no Bara - TOKIO
Koi no ABO - NEWS
Guilty/Spirit - V6
Christmas Medley - Hey! Say! JUMP

So it's pretty much whatever singles the groups have released this year, except for HSJ, who haven't released anything. I just hope it's a brand new Christmas Medley they will be singing and not just the one off the Snow Prince single. But of course my biggest hope is that next year they will have songs to pick from to perform on this program.

16 December 2009

2010 Winter Drama brief thoughts

I was looking through the latest issue of TV Life, which is one of the weekly TV guide magazines, and noticed they had cast diagrams up for most of the upcoming winter dramas.

Hidarime Tantei EYE has new additions to the cast, but most of the new cast are listed as undetermined. There doesn't seem to be a spot for a classmate for Yamada's character, which makes me sad, though there is a character that has an unknown age, but I have the feeling it will be for another adult character. But seeing as it won't air until January 23rd, there's still quite a bit of time for things to be announced. Also with that start date if we are getting a new Hey! Say! JUMP single tied in to the drama then it probably won't be released until sometime in February.

Now the series that caught my eye the most is actually Tokujo Gabachi!!, which stars Arashi's Sakurai Sho. Even though I do like Sho it's not him I'm excited over being in this drama. Instead it's one of my favorite Juniors, Question?'s Igo Akun. It looks like his role will be minor but at least reoccurring in the drama. I'm just really happy for him, as I think Question? gets over looked a lot so it's nice to see one of the group's members get a break like this. I hope I can see him in the premier episode which will air January 17th.

I didn't watch the first season of Code Blue so I can't really say anything about the second season, other than I'm glad Yamapi has ditched the perm. In fact I rather like his hair in the picture they have of him so I hope it's the style he's keeping for the drama. And this drama will begin on January 11th.

And of the other drama starring Johnny's is listed as well, Yamato Nadesico Shichi Henge. I don't think there's much to say as there isn't much information presented that hasn't already been announced. Which I believe even includes that the series will begin January 15th.

I want to give everything a try, minus Code Blue because I don't want to get into a series without seeing it from the start. But Hidarime Tantei EYE and Tokujo Gabachi!! are at the top of my list and Yamato Nadesico Shichi Henge will be a drama I'll get around to viewing when I have the time to do so.

15 December 2009

Snow Prince movie thoughts

Well I did go see the movie this past Saturday, and I can honestly say I enjoyed it. I don't think it's going to be one of those movies that will be a big favorite of mine, but I still think it was worth seeing it in theaters and would not mind picking up a DVD of it, whenever that comes out. Though I can't imagine not needing to make sure that I have some tissues at hand when I do watch it.

I have to say I am impressed by Morimoto Shintarou's acting. Usually when I watch dramas or movies with Johnny's I tend to see them as themselves and not so much their character, but I didn't have that issue so much with this movie. MoriShin did well as Souta and I think Johnny's has really found a good lead with him, though they're going to have to wait some time before he can start starring regularly in anything, as young lead roles are harder to come by compared to lead roles for adults. Which is probably why Yamada Ryosuke has only been getting a few roles a year as he can't quite pull off high school senior yet, which is the bulk of dramas and movies set in high schools call for.

Since I do want to talk about the movie, but also don't want to spoil it for those who want to avoid spoilers, I am going to white text the spoilers. So if you want to read them then highlight the area under the spoiler mark, while the rest can just ignore the big white space.

*SPOILER*

I was a bit surprised to see the opening scenes set in the modern day but as the story unfolded it made sense to have the modern day storyline, as it gave the reasoning for the telling of the story of Souta and Chibi. The modern day storyline follows an elderly Sayo, who has her grand daughter living with her. Sayo gets a larger envelope hand delivered by an elderly man one day, her grand daughter was the only one at home at the time though. Sayo finds a story written on very old paper and it's the story of Souta, her childhood friend. The old man later in the movie shows up again and it's discovered that he is Souta's younger half-brother, as they share the same father but had different mothers. He found Sayo as the story his father wrote stops before it says what happened to Souta and he wants to learn what happened to this older brother he has never known. Sayo does tell him the end of the story which leads to much weeping from the audience as this is the final part of the movie. But I think the ending is a bit brighter with this storyline, as it shows that Souta is still affecting people with his story long after he's gone.

For the story set in the 1930's it goes along as little episodes/adventures at first loosely strung together. But as the story progresses things that happened earlier come back in their consequences later on, so in a way it's rather slice of life. But Souta and Sayo's friendship is sweet even though it's not easy for them to maintain with outside pressures, like Sayo's classmates and father, coming in to try to keep them apart. By the end of the film those 'foes' have come around, though it's unfortunately a little to late in the case of Sayo's father. Though the man wasn't completely heartless, just one of those cases where 'father thinks he knows best but really doesn't'. In fact he even asked Souta if he was okay when he last say him, and I'm sure if Souta didn't brush things off and mentioned he could use some help Sayo's father would have done something for him. Perhaps not much, but at least something.

Of course there is definitely some elements of childhood crush in Souta and Sayo's relationship. Souta seems to get jealous a couple of times when he sees Sayo with boys from her class, even though she never looks happy to be with them, as it's her father that requested them to be there, not her. But Souta doesn't seem to be the type to voice his unhappiness so he doesn't say anything about it. The first time after a bit of pouting and trying to ignore her, Souta forgets easily about it when she tells him about going on an adventure together. The second time there's unfortunately no chance for them to make up so easily.

I really enjoyed the parts with Souta and his father, even though they were quite brief and sadly Souta never did learn the clown he thought was 'God' was really just his dad. It's a pity Souta's grandfather was so against him, or perhaps Souta would have had someone there for him after his grandfather's death.

And I know I've alluded to it pretty heavily already, but yes, Souta does die, with Chibi by his side. They ended up getting stuck out in the cold during a winter storm and are found frozen and dead together. Though I am amazed that for someone who froze to death Souta didn't look like he was touched by frostbite at all. But maybe you can chalk up that little inconsistency to think that you were seeing it all through Sayo's memory so maybe she forgot that while he looked like he was just sleeping he should have looked more pale and a bit blue.

The saddest thing about the death is that it seems like it could have been avoided if just the smallest difference was made. Like I mentioned before that exchange with Souta and Sayo's father happened not long beforehand, and perhaps if Souta was more willing to make a plea to see Sayo or even just simply say that he was having trouble living on his own this could have turned out quite differently. But I think with seeing that Sayo was with her classmates again at her house probably had a part of why he didn't say anything. As before he more or less reacted the same and chose to keep a distance from her, maybe thinking that since he was poor he couldn't measure up to her classmates. But perhaps that's just speculation from my part, but it's how I read the scenes where he saw Sayo with his classmates.

But I guess Souta's death is what really drives the message of being kind to others and how important it is to give people a chance home. Which I think is a good message to remember during this season that to many is a season of giving and sharing to not only loved ones but also to those that are in need.

*SPOILER*

I feel a bit sorry for the movie having to open up the same weekend as the new One Piece movie. Especially since that movie has received an incredible amount of hype and publicity that Snow Prince had no chance of matching. I don't think I've seen the numbers for Snow Prince but from the media reports about One Piece: Strong World it wasn't the number one movie of the weekend, and most likely won't be for the week unless it starts breaking Japanese box office records as well. But the official site for Snow Prince is calling it a 'big hit', so it must being doing well regardless. And I hope it continues to do well.

11 December 2009

Music Station 11DEC2009 thoughts

Just finished watching tonight's episode. As I have to use a shared TV I ended up missing the first five or so minutes of the program but thankfully Matchy's and Snow Prince Gasshoudan's performances were closer to the end of the program.

As I expected when it was Matchy's turn to have his talk with the hosts they had Morimoto Shintarou there with him. Which was a nice touch as they both were quite comfortable around each other from having worked together in the Akuma Koishite drama.

For the performance, I have to wonder what state of mind Matchy was in while performing. I mean the song sounds good but the performance ended up being weird as Matchy just kept roaming around everywhere, making studio staff members have to duck out of the way as he left the stage area a few times. But I guess at his age and after being in the industry as long as he has you might as well just go all out even if it means being a pain to the staff.

Snow Prince Gasshoudan was the last act to perform. I really don't like the dance they do at the start at all. I prefer them not moving around so much while singing this song as all the moving just seems to be distracting and unnecessary. We do get a flock of more young Juniors as back dancers for this performance, and I think it would have been better if maybe they just did the dance while the actual group just stuck to the hand movements. What I did think was a nice touch for it though was that they had clips of the movie playing in the background, so good cross promotion and I think the song and the movie do go hand in hand very well.

Of course the most exciting part of this show is that they announced the official line-up for the Music Station super live program that will air on December 25th. The Johnny's acts that will be performing are SMAP, Tokio, Kinki Kids, V6, Arashi, NEWS, Kanjani8, KAT-TUN and Hey! Say! JUMP. That's right, it's Hey! Say! JUMP, not NYC Boys, that will performing on this program and it makes me so excited to see that. I thought we were going to have to wait until next year to see them performing as a group again so it was a pleasant surprise to see that I was wrong with that assumption. Though I do wonder what they are going to sing as they didn't have any cds released in 2009. I guess they could do Mayonaka no Shadow Boy again, but I am honestly and sincerely hoping it will be a different song. Like maybe one they haven't released yet.

10 December 2009

20th poll results

As I'm feeling rather productive today I feel it's about time to start up a new poll, which of course means posting the results of the last one.

Which upcoming special release single are you most interested in?

Yamashita Tomohisa - Loveless 56
LANDS (Akanishi Jin) - BANDAGE 29
None. 25
Snow Prince Gasshoudan - Snow Prince 21

I know after listening to all the singles, or in the case for the LANDS single watched the PV, I think for me Yamapi's single was my favorite of the three. Snow Prince Gasshoudan's single though is rather nice for a Junior group, especially the title track. I really hope the movie gets people to buy this single so it can stay in the charts for a while. And I found myself not being too impressed with BANDAGE. It's nice that it's different from what normally Johnny's releases, but I couldn't get myself to like it after a few listens. In fact the more I listened to it the less I liked it. And I'm not really a Jin fan so that doesn't endear me to try to like it either.

And as the end of the year is coming up I have a few ideas for end of year polls, starting with this one, Which group(s) do you want to see more of in 2010? You can vote for multiple groups in this one.

08 December 2009

Murakami's If or... butai returns and Fujigaya & Fuma on Tensai wo Tsukuru!

A couple of updates thanks to updates on Johnny's net.

First off Kanjani8's Murakami Shingo will be doing a butai next year during the month of February and it looks like it will be some kind of continuation of his earlier If or ... butai as this new one is called, If or ... F~M. The butai begins its run in Osaka before it heads over to Tokyo to finish its run ending on March 3rd.

Then the most recent update is in relation to Kis-My-Ft2's Fujigaya Taisuke as well as B.I.Shadow's Kikuchi Fuma. Information about attending filming for an episode of Tensai wo Tsukuru! Galileo has been put up and Fujigaya and Fuma is listed for being present for the filming of that episode, which will be on December 12th.

So with Nakajima Kento and Nakamura Yuichi being guests for the first episode then I think it's safe to assume anyone from Johnny's has a chance of being a guest on this program.

05 December 2009

Playing catch up

Since it's been a while since my last update I'm just going to lump all the various news tidbits I have to talk about in one post.

First off this upcoming Friday Music Station will have two Johnny's acts performing. Snow Prince Gasshoudan of course is one of them and the other is Kondo Masahiko, aka Matchy. I expect that they will make a big deal about the age differences and time in the agency between the two and that Morimoto Shintarou will do almost all the talking for his group.

I kinda hope they don't make Chino say something outside of his rehearsed lines, as he doesn't seem to have a clue about what he's doing and I find watching him look completely awkward makes me feel awkward too. Though I'm sure he'll get better if he stays in Johnny's but right now I think he needs a bit more experience so he will at least know if someone is talking to him he needs to respond with something.

The Tegomass concert DVD has finally been given a street date and is up for pre-order at the usual stores. The only difference between the two versions is the booklet, all the contents on the DVD is completely the same. And from looking at the listing for what is included on the DVD it looks like the concert is there in its entirety from what I remember when I was at the concert the day they filmed it. So I know I'm really excited about this release.

Also from reports from Tsubasa's current concert tour Tsubasa has said something about the future of the Tackey & Tsubasa unit. According to him he has talked to Tackey about doing something together again, so there is still hope for the unit despite the two mainly doing solo work for some time now.

And I think that was it. If not then I guess I'll have to make another post after all.

01 December 2009

Boys in snow.

And for another quick update, this time before I go to bed. I ended up picking up the LE version of the Snow Prince Gasshoudan cd that is officially released tomorrow but could be found on shelves today. Kinda wanted to get both versions of the cd, but I don't have much spending money until the end of the week. I could afford one version and picked this one, as I had the feeling that like with Nakayama Yuma w/ B.I.Shadow the DVD contents weren't going to be readily available for sharing. Of course like that time I'm only going to stream on this blog, for downloads you'll have to check another site in the morning to find the rest.

So without further ado here is the PV for Snow Prince which is a simple mix of boys (mainly Morimoto Shintarou with others) in fake snow and clips from the movie the song is the theme for, Snow Prince.

Link: SPG - Snow Prince