09 May 2012

The Shounen Club 04 February 2001 review

Well we take a jump in episodes and this next episode is just shy of a year since the other two I have reviewed.  Unfortunately it is one of the worst quality episodes I have, not just picture wise but the audio is horrible-ly out of synch as well. But if you are an Arashi fan than this is probably still worth viewing as they are about half of this episode.

In the time between that first month and this month the show now has an introduction clip that was directed by Takizawa Hideaki and features the main boys of the show, Yamashita Tomohisa and company.

Hasegawa Jun and Jimmy Mackey, both whom have grown quite a bit in about a year's worth of time, still read off the topics of the episode, but this time out in the stage area instead of in the studio.

We are finally getting Junior groups around this time but most of them are like alphabet soup, like M.A.D. who has Ueda Tatsuya and Nakamura Yuichi in its line up for this episode.

The studio segment has been revamped a bit. Yamapi is still the main host and Yokoyama You is still there but Kazuma Shunsuke looks to now be a regular host.

As with the previous episodes the guest is Arashi, this time they are there to promote their first album.

What is really noticeable with the guest this time is that the interview section with them is more interesting as it is more than the boys asking them a few questions but rather have activities for Arashi to do. There are requests sent in by fans and they have Arashi do them. One is picked by Ohno Satoshi and if I followed it right he has to do a love confession, and Aiba Masaki gets to help him with it.

A wild Shige appears!
We then get a performance by Arashi. One of the first things I really notice is how terrible Matsumoto Jun's hair looks. I do not know what to even think what the stylist was thinking with that thing. Other thing noticed was the appearance of Kato Shigeaki as one of the back dancers for this number. He looks so young, cute and awkward. Especially awkward, but that is Shige.

I am not sure I like this old stage or not. Even though it has those two section neither are as big as the NHK Hall stage and I see them use that upper section of this stage half and cannot help but worry about them falling off of it. Though I guess it did give fans a better chance to be up close to the boys but on the other hand they definitely must have a smaller audience size for this studio so not as many fans got a chance to go to a filming.

The Junior game section has been given a new name, Junior Fight II, but still remains much the same. Yamapi is still the referee for it. For this episode it is a shiritori game (a Japanese word game that you have to use the last "letter" to start a new word) between a duo of Juniors that I do not recognize but have Ninomiya Kazunari and Aiba Misaki to help them out and Kamenashi Kazuya with Taguchi Junnosuke.

Junno and Kame are pretty adorkable for this. Though Kame proves to be completely useless for the game and Junno has to do most of it by himself.

We get another Arashi performance for the episode. I swear I have seen at least those coats before as a part of a Junior outfit. I could be wrong and it just being a similar style but Johnny's is known for recycling outfits, even of its debuted groups.

Ikuta Toma and Sakurai Sho if you can't tell.
Even though this is an Arashi heavy episode the Juniors still get to back dance for them and you can continue to play "spot the Junior that is still with Johnny's" with it.

I would like to know when Yamapi was replaced by a robot. Seriously, he is so happy and adorable in these episodes and that all seemed to disappear when he got older.

Anyway, this is the Junior question corner, that really has not changed from the first couple of episodes, other than the question now comes from a fan's postcard, which Ikuta Toma reads off.

And Fujigaya Taisuke's name is on the board! So that means somewhere a little Fujigaya is back dancing. I really wish the video quality was better as I think I would be able to spot him.

The final song of the program is of course Arashi once more. Ohno has my attention, when it is not being baffled by the thing that Matsujun has for a hairdo, because you can tell he is thinking all throughout the performance. What I mean is that you can tell that he is concentrating on what he is doing/singing so it does not seem like he is actually connecting to it or the audience as he is so caught up in his own head. This is pretty normal for young/inexperienced performers which is probably why I find it so interesting because when I got into Johnny's Arashi was well beyond that point and no longer had these issues. So it is just interesting to see this group near the beginning after discovering them just as they were hitting their peak.

This cap is more to help me out for future episodes as I know the shirt that Yamapi is wearing here gets reused as his outfit is one of J-Support's outfits when that group is formed. I want to say it gets used by some other Juniors as well but I shall see as I get to those future episodes.

I think this serves as an interesting look at how much worse current SC could be if the recently debuted groups got to dominate the show as much as Arashi does with this episode. There is no song performance that does not have Arashi in it and the rest of the episode involves Arashi quite a bit as well. I think I would be pretty annoyed if I was a fan of the Juniors and not so much Arashi with this episode at the time it aired. But I think it sets a precedent that Junior fans have to be aware of, the newly debut groups will always feature heavily on the show even a good while after their debut.

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