24 May 2012

The Shounen Club 24 March 2002 review

While the overall quality of this episode is fine it unfortunately is missing the first few minutes, which is most likely just the introductions and the start of the first performance of the episode going off the episode break down of those before it.

This is the final episode of this second season of the show and thus is very VTR heavy. The guest is Takizawa Hideaki who has had a personal hand in this show.

The performance that the video starts with is with Tackey and the Juniors, and it seems like a pity that the rest is not there as it looks like it was really fun and pretty much involved all the Juniors at some point.

The studio has all the hosts of the various segments of Shounen Club gathered as they talk about Tackey and working with him on the show. This leads into a VTR segment that shows making of footage of Tackey shooting/directing the various intro videos he had made for the program.

Most of the highlights are with Ikuta Toma, like him tripping over while he was pushing Tackey in the cart down a hallway.

Or the footage of the intro for his segment on the program, Detective Tomasu.

I think overall this would be a good episode for any fan of Tackey as you get to see a lot of him and he is pretty fun to watch with the Juniors as he seems to love messing with them.

We go back to the studio for them to talk a bit more about the VTR clips. It is brought up how young they look in some of the clips, which is very true especially for Hasegawa Jun who had grown up a lot in the past year.

After that we get another performance, this time it is Ikuta Toma with Hasegawa and Jimmy Mackey backing him up and most of the younger Juniors. He has some cute interactions with the members of Ya-Ya-Yah in this. And it boggles my mind that all these little Juniors are now in their 20s.

Toma and Yoko approved.
The next segment is back to VTR, this time for the Junior Fight IV results. During this we get more goofiness from the boys because they cannot seem to be able to take anything too seriously.

They do a quick recap of the highlights of the segments before showing the winners, which ended up being a tie between KAT-TUN and J-Support.

Each group gets to give their comments on what they would like their reward to be, starting with J-Support. It is interesting to see that Koyama Keiichiro and Kato Shigeaki are the leads of this group. I never understood how Shige had got it into his head that he was "elite" as a Junior but thinking about it after watching these early episodes I think I can see now as not only is he in one of the few Junior groups, but also one of the lead members of it.

After that we get KAT-TUN pretty much doing the same thing. Though with on average worse hair. I do not think there is really a single hairstyle that looks really good on any of them.

KAT-TUN end up getting their VTR crashed by Tackey and company to their amusement.

Tackey then announces that the prize that the two groups have won is the chance to star in a mini drama he plans on doing for the program.

After that we get more VTR, this time of performances from the Junior groups that participated in the Junior Fight IV. I felt so nostalgic when J-Support was performing as they perform Private Hearts, which was one of their original songs before it became a NEWS song. And it made me excited again for NEWS Best album where Koyama has the song as a solo.

After that we get the first and, to my knowledge, only graduation on the program as Yokoyama Yu graduates from being a host on the program. The group reads a speech from cue cards as Yoko breaks out laughing from time to time and even Tackey laughs a couple of times. The rest are better with holding their laughter though you can tell they are trying their hardest to look serious even though what they are saying is not so much.

With this graduation though Yoko moves from being a regular host to becoming just a guest whenever he is on the show from then on. In fact Tackey pulls Yoko over by him so they can have the guests together and I believe the text on the screen says something about waiting for Yoko from now on to be a guest.

Since this is his last episode as a regular part of the cast Yoko gets to lead the closing song, Heart no Energy, with the continuing hosts as his back up singers.

Near the end of the song we get to see various clips of Yoko from various episodes before we hit the end of the program and Yoko's time as one of its hosts.

Honestly I think the main reason why they have never done another graduation for the program ties in to Tackey. He had played a major part of these first couple of seasons of the program even though he was not on it much himself. But this was the Golden Age of Juniors and he was the top Junior of the time so even then he had a good amount of pull about him. When he debuted though he did not have as much time to put into the Juniors as he had a career with Tackey & Tsubasa and that was most likely the reason his influence on the program faded so the special care and attention he would give Juniors faded as well.

I may not really be a fan of Tackey but I have a lot of respect for him because of the care he has for the Juniors. Even though he has long since debuted he still is pretty active in probably being the Juniors biggest supporters as can be seen with TakiCHANnel, that focuses on the Juniors. In fact I would say TakiCHANnel shares quite a bit with these early Shounen Club episodes because of that. 

Also Tackey really gives Junior groups that are not always the ones being currently pushed by management a fair push himself. Long before they were really in the running for debut he used Kis-My-Ft2 and A.B.C. and later A.B.C.-Z with his stage shows religiously and later brought in Mis Snow Man as his main back dancers when those earlier groups moved on to being more pushed. And I feel like he will continue doing this for the rest of his time as being an active talent of Johnny's.

While Tackey may not be among the big sellers of Johnny's I think he has an important role with the agency. There is no doubt that he loves what he is doing and that he loves taking Juniors under his wing and helping them work their way to potential debut. And I think that is a great thing for Johnny's to have someone as experienced and talented as Tackey to help develop the talents of the up and coming generations of Johnny's

While I still enjoy SC as it currently is, I do feel like what Tackey brought to the program was a lot of heart that seems missing these days. But if anything that these SC episode have shown is that this program is hardly static and there is always hope for positive change.


Sandy Cheng said...

Thank you for the detail report. I love Tackey and share your opinion on him.I watched his epidsode on SC earlier this year. I'm happy that he still cares for the Junior and SC. But honestly, I really feel the golden age of the Juniors is gone with the wind.

Thennary Nak said...

You are very welcome.

I agree that the golden age of Juniors is long gone. In fact I would say that it began to decline when NEWS debuted and KAT-TUN's debut was the final nail in its coffin.