Well I woke up around 3AM-ish to watch Kohaku and then of course Johnny's Countdown 2011-2012 earlier today. It's strange to think it's been 2012 somewhere in the world for about 12 hours now when there is still quite a bit of time before the clock strikes midnight where I am. But I find watching these programs are a great way to start the last day of the year.
Focusing on JCD this year seemed so much more energetic and fun than last year. The whole atmosphere to me really felt the guys were having just as much fun as the audience for the short concert. And it seems like Yamada Ryosuke and Chinen Yuri were taken over to Tokyo Dome sometime during Kohaku so they did not have the late entrance that TOKIO did, and of course were no where to be seen near the end of Kohaku either.
I'm just going to briefly touch upon some things that I liked about the concert or stood out to me.
First off, we have another indication that Sexy Zone is indeed here to stay as they had a VTR performance of their debut song played early on, something that Hey! Say! JUMP also had the year they debuted. And I was really happy to see HSJ in the seats SZ had to watch the show. I think it's rather perfect for one FIVB group to be there for another.
The Juniors! And not just the Tokyo Juniors but Kansai Juniors as well at the Tokyo Dome and getting more attention than I've ever seen for Juniors at any JCD. It seems like Noon Boyz might actually be a group for Sanada Yuma and Nozawa Yuki seeing as that's what they were introduced as. Also what was interesting was that Uchi Hiroki seemed to be introduced just as a member of Question? more than a Junior on his own. And it seemed so amazing that B.A.D., Hamada Takahiro, Shigeoka Daiki and Veteran were there at the Tokyo Dome and even got some spotlight as well. Of course the Gokusen fangirl in me was ecstatic to see B.A.D. next to Takaki Yuya for at least one song during the shuffle group portion. And it was nice to finally see all five members of A.B.C-Z being able to perform with Tackey & Tsubasa this year.
It was also nice to see all of HSJ on stage, even though the only reason it was possible for them to do so was because they lost their youngest member who would have sat with SZ if he was still with the group. But I loved that we had more HSJ this year and that there seemed to be more interaction between them and their senpai groups. One of the personally highlights with HSJ, besides the one already mentioned as Masuoka Masahiro making Inoo Kei sing along when TOKIO was supposed to be covering a song.
Speaking of TOKIO while I was at first disappointed that they were not around for the actual countdown to midnight when they did enter I was perfectly fine with it. I mean it's hard to beat an entrance in faux-blimps. Though I do wonder who got fur crazy when making Yamaguchi Tatsuya's costume for this.
And of course bringing up costumes immediately brings Kanjani8 to mind. It's going to take a while to get the image of Nishikido Ryo dressed as a girl out of my mind. And I loved Yokoyama Yu as the mixer/blender for the vegetables, aka the other group members. I think I've gotten used to the split for the groups as I didn't mind it too much this year.
I loved seeing Kis-My-Ft2 being able to be on stage finally as debuted artists. Especially as they had a member from Hikaru Genji, the original roller skating Johnny's group, Sato Atsuhiro, to join them for a song. And by pure luck of being 24 in this coming year Miyata Toshiya got a moment to shine and show everyone the wonderful dork he is.
Of course I was really excited about all the daisenpai at this year's JCD. I think it's definitely because 2012 will be Johnny's 50th anniversary and I thought it was great for them to have their older acts makes appearances. It did seem like Okamoto Keito was used a bit as a stand in for his father as he got to play guitar for when they covered an Otokogumi song. I won't complain as it meant more Keito, who the cameraman seemed to love. And nothing beats being able to see Shounentai perform together, or almost together with Nishikiori Kazukiyo being at the theater Tackey & Tsubasa were at.
Of course the greatest highlight for the concert for me was seeing the new NEWS perform together. I'm rather glad both Ryo and Yamashita Tomohisa were not at the Tokyo Dome as it really helped solidify that the four remaining members are the group now to me. And I love that they made sure to find NEWS fans in the audience to pan to, as to help signify that this was truly a special moment for the group as they perform as four for the first time in front of a crowd. And I was so happy that Koyama Keiichiro said one of the group's goals for the new year was to of course have concerts. Even if I can't make any just knowing that they are performing as NEWS will make me so happy.
So in the end this JCD was great for me. Everyone seemed to be in great spirits and I got to see so many of my favorites and there was fun interactions. Even though the amount of live feeds can sometimes feel like it isn't as unified as it once was I think they are finally figuring out how to balance it better.
Next year should be interesting with A.B.C-Z being a debuted group then, Nakajima Kento being old enough to participate as well as Nakayama Yuma. And of course any surprises Johnny's wants to throw in there. I'll definitely make sure I can catch a lives stream of it next year.