31 December 2012

The Shounen Club 8 May 2005 review

Figured I should go for a week or two of three reviews a week to try to get through this season of Shounen Club as I was not so impressed with the first month of it. It is rather frustrating because I know I am not far off from the episode that I got to watch of the program first and those did not suffer from the issues I am currently having.

One thing that is probably really noticeable is the change in quality for the video I have for this and future episodes. There is still one episode in the quality of the recent past episodes but after that it is mostly all going to be like this episode. So say hello to bright colors.

There are a couple of changes to note with the group introductions at the start, J.J.Express is down to four members again and A.B.C. are their own group again with Toshin Yoshikazu missing for this taping I am assuming.

The producer of the episode is Taguchi Junnosuke (I can only assume they will do all of KAT-TUN first before letting anyone from other groups get a chance.) and the theme is Ao, which translates to blue/green and is often associated with youth. For this episode though they seem to be leaning towards blue and youth for the definition.

The theme medley is overrun by KAT-TUN minus one song, Stripe Blue, that is A.B.C. only. They seem to do well this episode when it comes to screen time, which I would hope they would seeing that their group has been around for almost as long as KAT-TUN.

After the medley KAT-TUN gets to talk about the theme of the episode and about Junno being the producer for it.

NEWS is introduced as the guests as the do a single medley, most likely to promote their debut album that came out a couple of weeks before the episode. The songs in the medley are all given jazzy renditions that I did not care for. One of the pluses though is that all the members of the group got chances to be spotlighted.

I will confess I was glad for lip-sync when Yamashita Tomohisa and Kato Shigeaki were paired up. As much as I love Shige he is no way a singer and Yamapi really did not work on his vocals until post-Daite Senorita so I doubt they would have sounded all that great live here.

Afterwards we get a letter exchange between Yaotome Hikaru and Ayukawa Taiyo. The letters fall more on the cute side but got some laughs as well. I was just amazed with how young Hikaru looked. Which was no surprise but I am no used to seeing him so young.

We have the debut of my favorite solo for Yabu Kota, Angel Come To Me. Of course I made a post recently about the lyrics to this song that you can check it out.

The rest of Ya-Ya-Yah join him after to continue singing songs in English, even covering some good old oldies, like A.B.C. 

We get another Junior Ha~i School segment with this one being a competition between KAT-TUN and A.B.C. Can you guess which group I was cheering for?

Overall a fun segment as it is easy to follow and you can tell both sides were into trying their best for the challenges. Of course I would say A.B.C. had the edge as they have to be in good physical condition to do all the acrobatics that they do.

One thing I have decided not to hold against KAT-TUN are these solos that lead into a group song. I figure they are more something special for the producer of the episode and the group they are attached to. Of course this is assuming that non-KAT-TUN episode producers will get the same treatment. That aside I felt disappointed with Junno's solo. Probably because I like his other solo songs and I found the shirt he is wearing in this to be ugly. It took a closer look to see that the purple print is actually purple floral print, which makes it even more hideous.

Thankfully he changes outfits for the group number though I am not so sure with all the fake fur used on these costumes. But it is one of those signature Johnny's things when it comes to costumes so it can get a bit of a pass based off of that.

Question? get to perform again, but it is yet again Holy Heaven. They need to do a new song or cover a song from any of the band groups Johnny's has had because I am getting tired of this song. Even though I do think it is a nice song but there is nothing all that stand out about it and I would not listen to it much if I had it in my music library.

Junior ni Q returns this episode. Notable appearances include Morimoto Ryutaro in his first chance to be clearly seen and focused on. He was such a cute kid, but it is odd to see him without his brother around though I guess that is something I have to get used to for the near future as Shintaro has yet to join the agency.

Nakajima Yuto also gets to be called over to explain how he lost to a cat. And he does so in an adorable fashion as he tries to act the event out.

Junno does the usual talk near the end about the theme for his episode. He ends it by introducing the next number, Baby Blue.

You have no idea how happy I was to see that it was NEWS with KAT-TUN for this performance. If it was any of the Junior groups I would have assumed they would be there to back dance for them but there is no way NEWS as a debuted group would be made to do that. And they are not as instead they are paired up with members of KAT-TUN to perform the song, which leads to some interesting combinations.

The end song has Kis-My-Ft. featured during the dance break with a couple of Juniors that have been connected with the group off and on. Not sure if Johnny's was thinking of actually adding them to the group or not and decided to later just merge Kis-My-Ft. and A.B.C. Jr instead or what.

Better episode than the last one for balancing things out. I think it helped that NEWS was there and had a new release to promote with their debut album being released at the end of April. Of course it makes me wonder how much control "producers" get with their episodes as I could see Junno making sure A.B.C. did more in his episode as he is the acrobatic member of KAT-TUN and probably could be considered close to the group as they would be his usual back dancers for him because of that. I think I would have to see more episodes in this format to make more guesses about this role before I can feel confident in my speculation.

I also want to marvel at the colors for this episode as I do not think I realized just how muted they were with the episodes I had been doing recently. It is like when you watch your first movie on DVD after only watching it in VHS for years and wondering how you could ever think of going back to VHS quality now that you know there is something better out there. Which makes me sad that the next episode is back to the old quality.

Mid-year predictions and thoughts, 2012 (reviewed)

I figured as the year closes it would be a good time to review the predictions I made mid-year to see what I was right on and what I was not before I make me predictions for the first half of 2013.

TOKIO, will release something? Maybe? Honestly TOKIO has gained a very erratic schedule when it comes to releases it makes it extremely difficult to predict when the next will be. They are long and well overdue for a new album but I am not sure if I should even still expect one from them any time soon and not just another single. But I do hope they release something before the close of the year, and album would be great but I would settle for another single if I must.

Well they finally released the long overdue album and it was great and they even did a concert tour. So it was a good year for TOKIO fans. So I am counting this as a win in my corner for being correct.

NEWS have their best of album already slated to release and still have the single and concerts already announced. I think that will be the summer for them, most likely sometime in July as August looks like it will likely be full of AKS releases and NEWS does have a number 1 streak to protect. I hope they can start releasing singles at a steady pace once this comeback single comes out. I would be happy if they at least release one more single before the end of the year.

It would be nice if one of the members gets some kind of drama role during the second half of the year as well. It would be nice to see that kind of push for the group after the recent member change. Though I guess at least Tegoshi Yuya, Kato Shigeaki and Koyama Keiichiro have regular programs they are a part of to help with TV exposure.

Well I got my wish here that they released one more single before the end of the year so score another one for me. And they even got to keep their number one streak for singles, which is the main one people care about.

Shige and Massu both got drama roles and Koyama is going to be in the Lucky Seven SP so on that front they did well. Even though I doubt they will ever get a big break just continuing as they are should help them in the long run for being able to prove worth keeping as a group.

Kanjani8 will continue to release singles at a steady pace until it is time to release a new album for their annual winter concert tour. Though I expect there being something special being done for their next album as they are making this year their big anniversary year being their 8th year since debut. I know they just announced the special thank you concerts for their 8th anniversary but I still think they will stick to their usual schedule as well, as someone has to be at the Kyocera Dome for Johnny’s Count Down and I really cannot see anyone but K8 doing that.

They seem to be having a packed year with work and I doubt it will change. Already two members have been announced as leads for summer dramas and I am sure the fall season will continue with Kanjani8 members in dramas. Then of course there is their movie, even though they are done filming for it their will still be plenty of promotion they will be doing.

Looks like I ended up being off with K8. Their album was just the usual best album, though the limited editions did have some nice DVD extras. Also performing on Kouhaku means no Kyocera Dome for JCD.

I was right on the drama front as they do continue to have at least one member in a drama every season and I do not see that changing anytime soon.

Hey! Say! JUMP should have at least a couple more singles to be released this year. I think one in the fall and another in winter would be good. It will be interesting to see if the tour in the winter this year or become a group that only tours when they have a new album like the older Johnny’s groups. Summary has already moved on to newer groups (Sexy Zone and A.B.C-Z) so I can see them slowing down with touring as well to complete the transition from being the younger/newer group to one of the more seasoned ones.

I think Johnny’s needs to keep HSJ members in dramas, and now that Yamada Ryosuke is older he can do more roles and I would like to see him starring in something else before the end of the year. It is an interesting move to have Chinen Yuri star in a drama, but I guess this will prove if he can be a lead drama actor like Yamada, something I am sure Johnny's would love.

I think they will try to do something for their fifth anniversary this year. It may not be anything really major but I am sure they would want to do something. It is a landmark that is worth recognizing in some way. But maybe with K8 taking up so much of the year with their anniversary HSJ is waiting for their actual anniversary date to begin doing something for it.

Another group I was off with as we only got one single from the group all year. But we did get a new album and have the single concert to go with it so that is a sorta right guess about that.

While there are not many other members in dramas this year it does look like things are improving on that front a bit with at least other members other than Yamada are getting roles on a more regular basis in the past. Hopefully these roles will eventually lead to something.

Unfortunately HSJ did nothing of note for their anniversary. I find that disappointing as I think there should have been some kind of celebration for them reaching that land mark. Especially when you have newer groups making a big deal of their first anniversary.

Kis-My-Ft2 should release two more singles before the year is up. They are one of Avex’ best selling acts so I am sure they will want them releasing as much as possible. I can actually see them being one of the few groups to release a single in August as they are one of the better selling Johnny’s groups and I think they could easily beat the AKS group releasing a single on August 1st, NO NAME. And since they will most likely be doing the theme song for Fujigaya Taisuke’s summer drama I think that would be a good release date for their next single.

I do not think a drama season will go by without a member having a role in a drama, even if the chances of that member not being Fujigaya Taisuke or Tamamori Yuta is slim. But I think Fujigaya moving into the leading man slot is a big thing, and hopefully his drama, Beginners, does well so he continue as the lead in dramas. I do hope though one of the other members get a chance for at least a supporting role in a drama before the end of the year. It will be nice to see them get these small pushes that will hopefully lead to bigger things with them.

Pretty much spot on for Kisumai. Of course it helps that they fit the usual mold for Avex artists that do well so they are going to have a rather steady release schedule from them. I am quite happy that I was spot on with them releasing in August even though it was a week later then I thought it would be.

Not surprised that I was right about the members of the group being frequently in dramas. They are getting solid pushes that I do not see stopping as long as they continue to do well.


I am going to skip Sexy Zone as I am not following them much anymore. And in any case they did surprise me with releasing a single so late in the year then following up with an album.

For the Juniors I can see them slowly getting back to being a larger focus on Shounen Club. Kis-My-Ft2 has already moved on to being just guests and were not in May or June’s episodes so that should free up some time that can be given to Juniors. I think this would be a perfect time to push the Bakaleya6 as a group.

Also with the recent drama roles those Juniors should be getting some kind of push on the program. I would not be surprised to see more drama roles given to Juniors later in the year either. With the recent debuts now is a good time for Johnny’s to push some of the remaining Juniors to find the next big hits among them. This can be seen with the recent announcements of Juniors getting drama roles in the upcoming drama season.

The rest of the year should be interesting for Junior fans as things continue to shift for them as Johnny's searches for their next big hits and sets them up for possible future debuts.

I think there is a slow change to getting the Juniors just a little more screen time on SC. Unfortunately HSJ, SZ and A-Z make up a large portion of the program still, but with Bakaleya6 being full of rising Juniors they have had more presence on the program and I can see that growing as they continue to grow in popularity.

Overall it still looks like Johnny's is taking their time to figure out who they want to push in the Juniors. I think it is safe to say that they have their eyes on certain members and it will be mainly just time for Johnny's to decide what they want to do with them.

Speculating for the Juniors is always the hardest thing as there are just so many of them and it is not easy to tell what management is thinking in regards to them as you have no idea how they are really managed.

And I expect the Kansai Juniors to continue to keep gong strong. I think it is a good sign that they are being brought to Tokyo more and more for work and I expect it to eventually lead to something for them.

Well the Kanjuu are indeed continuing on and getting more and more breaks. Their Tokyo concerts are something exciting to look forward to as well as the upcoming movie for them. Still hope this all means something is being prepared for them, like a debut, in the near future.

NMB48 are most likely going to release two more singles this year, the next one has even already been confirmed for an August 8th release date. We will probably also get auditions for their fourth gen KKS announced but wait until after New Year’s to have their next team, Team BII, formed.

It will be interesting to see if the AKB48 sister groups also add extra groups to them, like AKB48’s Team 4, but that will be years down the line I would suppose and SKE48 will be the group that does it next.

I do wonder if NMB48 will get an album release. The AKS groups do not release CDs like most artists, with that they mainly just release singles. AKB48's first non-stage album was a single collection after all. But then they did release a studio album so it will be interesting to see if NMB48 will just continue with singles or will have a studio album of their own this year. Of course we could just get a stage album whenever they finally get around to doing their original stage.

I would not be surprised if there is another graduation this year, as sad as it would be. But when you have a group as big as NMB48 I think having a high turnover rate is to be expected, from health issues, like the girls that have graduated after making it into a team or for other reasons like the KKS graduations.

Well at least I can say I am right about the single releases for this group. Also there is a 4th generation of KKS but we got the formation of Team BII earlier than I expected.

With the recent group shuffles it is safe to say that there will be no Team 4 for NMB48. If anything they may just expand their teams eventually, though with the current rate of graduations it may not be much of an issue.

I no longer have to wonder about an album release as the group is expected to have their debut album in February. It will be interesting to see how that shapes up as we get more information about the release the closer we get to the release date.

And it seems like I was aiming low with only predicting one more graduation. Should have realized that with the next team forming it would mean a few KKS would graduate around that time. It is a bit worrying to have so many graduations but then again you look at the fact that they just had a group of girls join that will not be set to have a new team formed for so I doubt things are going to get better because it looks like they have no issues with finding fresh faces to join up in hopes of getting a spot on a team.

So in the end a mix bag of what I managed to guess right and things I was off on. Not a bad run and now I have to see about predicting the next six months for these groups.

JCD live blog

Live blogging this but I will be mainly just updating during CM breaks. Though I am still looking for the best streaming site for this.
The site I am using keeps buffering or I would share the link. But there might be another that will come through. I hope it does or this is going to be painful to watch streamed.

It's lagging like crazy. Could see Kis-My-Ft2, HSJ, Nakayama Yuma, two of the five A.B.C-Z members. Know Kinki and Matchy set things off.

Keeps buffering. Got a bit of Yamapi's Daite Senorita. And the very start of Kisumai's Everybody go. And now on A-Z 5stars.

Came back a bit for NYC and it looks like Yuma is going to hang out with HSJ. HSJ do JUMP Band, or part of it, for Magic Power.

Poor Nakaken, he has to do Sexy Summer solo as the rest of his group have to sit JCD out.

Lagged out as NEWS began Chankapaana and returned for a second for KAT-TUN's Birth.

Higashiyama is there at lest for Shounentai.

Finally stopped lagging for a little while to see them stand and wait for midnight. Which is almost here.

*sigh* Now it is no longer loading at all for me. So unless another streaming source comes up I will not be able to continue this.

Patience is a virtue and I found a much better stream. Check it out here: http://www.justin.tv/f10edub#/w/4468984032/17

Kanjuu perform followed by K8 on the roof that Arashi has been performing on for the past couple of years.

Poor Nakaken, he's stuck on MC duty being the only one of his group that can participate. HSJ's outfits for Super Delicate are blinding. Kisumai looking and sounding good.

Right now it is hit song for the year, pretty much. So the usual songs being promoted in the year end songs. Loving NEWS and World Quest still. Not the worst outfits they have but there seems to be quite a bit of blue for groups this year.

Moved on to a Kinki Kids 15th anniversary medley. Yamada got to sing with them for one of the songs. I think his year has been made already with that. NEWS got to sing the final song with Kinki.

Now a new medley starting with Higashiyama and V6. Matchy has NEWS and KAT-TUN with him on the giant trolly to sing his latest song.

Kinki singing Family. And their kouhai are joining in.

Even though Yuma is on his own he does not seem to stand out nearly as much as Nakaken. It probably helps that he gets to stick to HSJ for it all.

But now they are doing a MC to bring groups up and talk about what to look forward in the coming year.

So Arashi are on their usual rooftop. I guess K8 must be hanging out with them off camera. And there they are. Subaru is the king of creepy faces.

It's NEWS up and then commercials.

Back and KAT-TUN are up followed by TOKIO who are also on the rooftop. I guess they figured it was getting too crowded at the dome to race them all over. Yamapi maybe got a sentence out before commercials again.

A CM with Ikuta Toma. Kinda wish he was at JCD.

We return to get HSJ followed by Kisumai whose outfits could match Kinki's. And there are all of A.B.C-Z.

Kinda a pain how they do all the commercials at the end of JCD. But I guess on the flip side they do not break for them earlier in the program during the actual performances. And a good amount of them do have Johnny's in them as well.

We get the odds and ends with Uchi Hiroki, Nakayama Yuma and Nakaken, who all get one rushed sentence each. I guess we are getting to the guys who have their Chinese zodiac year up next.

Or maybe not. I can't believe it's over already. Probably because I managed to miss a big chunk of it because this stream was not easy to find.

Kouhaku Uta Gassen 2012 live blog

Okay, I will have a live blog of this and JCD following. Because Kouhaku will have acts I will not care for I will probably have more time to write for it and I will even try screen grabs, we shall see how that goes though.

Unfortunately did not find a stream until a good way into the program. But at least I got to see the Disney collaboration.

While their segment was really short Kanjani8 made sure to live up to their reputation for laughs. Pairing them will Goofy of course makes perfect sense.

And it looks like they want to cram as many people on this stage as possible. But I am sure this was not the first nor will it be the last they will do something like this.

Also to note found another stream that looks to be in much better picture quality so I have switched to that.

The morning drama Jun to Ai gets promoted with cast so we get to see Hasegawa JunKazama Shunsuke, and of course it get pointed out that he's Johnny's. He's looking pretty nice and I think he is the next from Four Tops to gain a good amount of fame.

One of the things I love about Kouhaku are the over the top sets and performances. The enka singers excel at this such as the long dress here.

Probably because I am not a fan I did not realize that Nishino Kana had such an upbeat song. I've always thought of her as a ballad singer primarily.

Oh, and before I forget to mention it again I am not sure how I feel about Arashi's suits here. I guess if anything they are set to stand out and be remembered.

Kinda love how Kouhaku idol-baits people into watching some of the enka performers. The AKB48 girls here do look lovely though.

Ayaka was one of the acts I was looking forward to. Hajimari no Toki is such a fitting song for her to perform. And I love this stage, simple yet eye-catching.

Her current look reminds me of Utada Hikaru in her Heart Station-era though.

And sorry for not thinking of it earlier but if you want to catch the live stream here is the link to the one I am using: http://ja.justin.tv/anninoshi#/w/4469767088/4

Since it is the news break went to watch the NYC performance that I missed earlier. I loved the Haina! part of it.

And I was seriously impressed with whatever technology they used to make it look like they had Junior stairway to heaven going on.

When the news is over it should be K8 time!

Well that was a ton of fun though the stream quality was not the best all the way through. Give me a bit more and I will spam with performance screen caps.

And here we are. They performed Naniwa Iroha Bushi and Musekinin(sp?) Hero.

And of course it is TOKIO up next so I did not have enough time to sort the caps. Oh well, the issues of live blogging. And the reason why the JCD one will have no screen caps. I don't want to miss much of that.

TOKIO sang KIBOU and of course I loved it. But that is probably mostly out of my love for the group in general.

Loved Perfume's stage. They really looked like they were giving a true concert performance with the level of tech used.

AKB48 and I spot NMB48's Sayaka! And AKB48's! But only could screen cap the former. I guess another reason to find the torrent for this later.

Love how they worked in the first costume change.

And AKB48 seem to have the making words out of people corner covered well. Especially when you consider this is just all the 18+ members of the groups.

Lolz at Nakai having to correct the saying of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's name.

Also she seems to have gotten the monster part of Fashion Monster down right.

This outfit looks rather normal for her though. But it works and that is one puffy skirt.

Arashi do their talk and performance of Furusato.

Looks like we get the start of the live feeds from around the globe. And we start off in Portland, OR, USA. Kinda nice to have someone in my timezone.

K8 gets to be with TOKIO as special supporters for an enka performance.

Nice to see Sakamoto Fumi still being boss.

Hey, Arashi got out of the ugly blue suits finally. To get into ugly blue and red ones.

At least those didn't last long and these look much better.

The tech they used looked tight. I was not sure about it when they began to talk about it in the news reports but it made the performance worth watching for sure.

A short tribute to the greats of Japanese entertainment that passed this year. RIP Mori Mitsuko.

Seeing Wada Akiko get teary eyed made me do the same. Really powerful performance.

MISIA's performance looks epic before it has even begun.

And it lives up to the promised epicness, especially those notes at the end. MISIA is a real treasure of an artist and I am so glad she was worked into the program this year.

I figure I won't bother to screen cap EXILE as they aren't bothering to perform anything new. Seriously guys, you have more than one song and it would be nice if you performed them and not this one over and over again.

Looks like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is not the only fashion monster on the show tonight.

Massha of course being live streamed in even though he's just down in Yokohama.

I keep wondering how they plan on cleaning up all that fake snow after this performance while watching it. But at least it looks really impressive.

Yoshida has such a lovely kimono on. I love that she is getting all kinds of recognition this year after winning gold yet again at the Olympics.

SMAP up. And they give a solid performance from them, so yes some painful singing moments.

Will be switching over to JCD shortly, with hopefully a stream that will work. We shall see.

It's voting time and I think I won't chance another screen cap as I search for the best JCD stream.

And the winner is WHITE TEAM!

And I will be switching over to focus on JCD now.