30 June 2012

The Shounen Club 15 December 2002 review

This unfortunately the only episode I have for the month of December for 2002. And I really do wish I had at least the one before it as it looks like it had the same guests as this weeks, Kansai Juniors.

Of course the most notable thing about the intro this week is the inclusion of the guests of the program, the Kansai Juniors, who easily set themselves apart from the rest.

And we are finally spared from having Ya-Ya-Yah do the first song of the program. Instead we have Four Tops do Yokubou no Rain, which while overdone by them is not yet at the level of personal annoyance Aikotoba wa Ya-Ya-Yah is for me.

This week's guests are Kansai Juniors, or everyone who will be a part of Kanjani8 minus Ohkura Tadayoshi. Like past Junior guests they get to answer questions about the members of their group with each one having little name signs that have each of their names on them.

Part of me wants to go through all the answers as they were all pretty entertaining but this post is already set to be longer than my usual review so I won't. Instead here is a nice close up of Hina to prove the guy really has not aged in the past ten years.

Maruyama Ryuuhei wins the worst hair this week. That shade of blond looks particularly terrible on him and the shaggy hair does not help either.

The Kanjuu fail their timing completely for the song introduction, which is a perfect way to round out this segment for them.

Being December we have a Christmas song medley. And I will mention right now that I am not a Uchi fan. I do not care for his voice nor his personality so the fact he is featured so heavily in this does bring down the enjoyment of the medley for me. Thankfully he gets to be surrounded by Juniors, notably Ya-Ya-Yah as well as a little Nikaido Takashi above his shoulder on the right (also behind Ayukawa Taiyo) and then on the very far right is Miyata Toshiya if I am not mistaken.

Yoko tries to kill Hina!Santa with fake snow but thankfully he fails as they move over to the other stage to continue the Christmas medley with the rest of the Kanjuu.

And more Hina!Santa and little Nikaido because both are pretty cute.

Near the end of the medley they actually pull audience members up on stage. About half look awkward while the other half decide to just enjoy themselves and the fact that they are getting a chance like this.

We get to see a quick recap of the acts from the last episode which included Uchi and then Yamada (Maruyama and Yasuda's comedy duo name). But it looks like Yamashita Tomohisa finally decided to pass non-little Juniors as both received crowns.

Ryo, Subaru and Yoko make up a comedy team and their gag is that while Ryo and Subaru try to sing Yuuki100% Yoko mixes up sorta similar sounding words to "yuuki" and acts on those instead.

The three seem to break the streak of wins by being considered boring by Yamapi. And it breaks Yoko's heart that Yamapi would fail him. They still get to show off their group pose and be much more entertaining than most acts in this segment so far.

The Kanjuu then get to do another song medley. Nothing too stand out other than there is more Uchi than I would have liked.

The question board has been made into a message board for the Tokyo Juniors to say things to the Kanjuu and the Kanjuu write messages back.

The end theme is sung by KAT-TUN with Uchi, Maruyama and Yasuda. I can only assume the other four Kanjuu sang the ending with one of the other groups for the episode the week before.

Yamapi took up the topic of Christmas this time for his segment. They really picked a place with terrible lighting for him to do this at though as he looks pretty bad here.

The more I see of K8 the more I come to like them so I am glad to have at least this episode. I would love to have the other as they are really fun guests to have and actually get to be featured outside of the first talk segment.

It also reminds me that we are getting close to the Kansai Junior month for Shounen Club this year. In a way it will be nice as we should be getting a break from the usual acts on the program. I would not be surprised if they bring Sexy Zone over though for the taping as they will be starting their Osaka concerts around the time of the airing of the Kansai Junior SC episodes in August. But we will have to wait and see as it is near impossible to find taping reports for these episodes.

29 June 2012

Kame is a Dream Boy again.

This year's Dream Boys musical has announced its cast. Kamenashi Kazuya will be returning to be the lead actor as he has in the past. This year though he has some new cast members joining him, Yaotome Hikaru, Tamamori Yuta, Miyata Toshiya and Senga Kento. The Junior group Snow Man will also participate.

Most notably is that Tamamori will be playing the role of the boxing champion in the musical and that Hikaru is listed as one of the main actors with Kame and Tamamori.

The show will run throughout September a the Imperial Theater in Tokyo.

J-pop Asia article. (English)

I am pretty happy for the Kis-My-Ft2 members and Hikaru getting work like this. Especially Hikaru as the Hey! Say! JUMP members do not seem nearly as active as other Johnny's groups even though they have the most members. But I think this also is a sign for Kisumai that Miyata and Senga as getting some more promotion now. They may not be KiFt level but it looks like Johnny's at least wants to make sure people start recognizing them.

And while I have never bothered with Dream Boys before I do hope this one gets a DVD release, as for this cast I would want to watch it.

28 June 2012

Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou ep. 11 review

Well this drama is almost over now. Hard to imagine that it would have been over for weeks if it kept the original nine episodes it was slated for at first. Johnny's and AKS must be happy that this drama has paid off and looks to be the perfect platform for these up and coming talents of theirs.

The episode starts with the usual recap of the final scene from the last episode. It then flashes to Tatsuya in the boys' club room looking uncertain. Tetsuya asks him if things are alright and he answers yes.

The gang from last episode are then introduced as transfer students and it becomes apparent that whoever is behind things has to have a good amount of sway with the school to pull something like this off.

Fumie and Saya go to Saionji to complain about the new transfers but Saionji just tells them that they only need to endure things for a bit longer.

Fumie and Tatsuya get to talk a bit and both are in pretty good moods despite the recent events. Tatsuya does confirm that he thinks that she and Tetsuya are an item to Fumie's displeasure.

They are called into the classroom as the website from last episode is still being updated with rumors even though Mana is no longer coming to the school.

The next day there is a flier up saying that the girls have an assembly for them to attend. The guys do not worry much about it as it does not say anything about them.

There is a rumor about the girls going back to their original school and Fumie and Saya go to find if there is any truth to it. Not only do they get it confirmed they are also told that this school is getting closed and the guys will be scattered to different schools once it does.

Tatsuya and Tetsuya run into some of their usual rivals to find that word of Tatsuya being replaced has already spread.

Meanwhile Fumie and Saya are discussing things. Both do not want to leave the school and decide that they should see about finding Mana and learning the truth. They end up being extremely lucky that when they go to leave to find her Mana shows up at the school.

By spying on Mana they are able to discover the mastermind behind everything, Saionji. When Mana tells him that she wants to do something to help he tells her that she is not needed anymore and is useless to him now. He then leaves and of course Mana looks heartbroken. Saya then reminds Fumie that Mana was a big fan of Saionji and they both agree he was cruel to just toss her aside like that.

We get the usual scene of Saionji discussing matters with the head of the school. He shows him how much the school could sell for and seems pretty content that he has convinced the other man to close the school.

Tatsuya and Tetsuya happen to see Saionji give money to the leader of the gang. They talk about it as they enter the classroom and find Saya and Fumie there.

The four go over what they have discovered about the matter. When discussing on what to do Tatsuya says that he plans on fighting much to the girls' dismay. He tells them that he is willing to do what he needs to in order to save the school. Fumie then says that she also will do whatever she can to save it as well.

Fumie and Saya find Mana and ask her for help. They say that they believe in her but she does not really respond to them.

It is easy to see that Mana regrets her choice and that the words of encouragement from Fumie and Saya will probably be enough to push her towards redemption. Especially since Saionji has showed her his true colors and dumped her so harshly. 

I find it interesting that the girl that prizes her friendship over love (Saya) is painted in a good light while the one that sacrifices her friendship for love (Mana) is not only is in a "villain" role but gets that love used against her. The theme of the strength of friendship is easy to see with the boys but I think this is really the first time you can see the same theme fully displayed with the girls. 

Tatsuya has a flashback to his brother talking about loving the school. He told Tatsuya that he can be the top of the school only by loving it and punches his hand into the punching bag. I am thinking this is going to be important when Tatsuya fights the big bad these episodes.

We then toggle back and forth between scenes with the boys gearing up for a rumble, which gives us this nice group shot.

And of Fumie and Saya walking towards the meeting that Saionji is having to announce to the girls that the school is being closed and that they will return to their old school. 

The main group of guys end up facing the rest of the school in the hall. Tatsuya opens things up by asking them if they love the school. They look puzzled but then the fight begins and that is what we are left with for the boys in this episode.

Fumie and Saya show up and Saionji asks Fumie to say something to the girls who are still confused about the announcements. With this the episode ends as Fumie says her first line of her speech, saying that she hates the school.

I think this episode would do much better directly connected to the final episode of the series instead of having to stand on its own. Even though things are definitely moving it just feels like the story is so close to the resolution that it is frustrating to have to wait another week to get that. So I think for those who will be able to marathon the drama will find this episode better to take as they will be able to move directly to the next unlike those watching the series now and are forced to wait.

I cannot wait to see how this ends. I have an idea but this drama has been good with throwing curve balls with what they end up doing from episode to episode. It will be interesting to see if they do any set up for the movie with the final episode as well. At least it should be only a couple more days to wait to find out.

27 June 2012

The Shounen Club 17 November 2002 review

I almost forgot about reviewing an episode today. I guess it will be a good thing when I can go to an episode a week next month, though it will make it longer to catch up to new episodes. Thinking about it this is something that could take a year to do... Oh well, I am enjoying it and I hope others are as well, even though these are not new episodes.

Only thing I feel worth noting from the introductions is that Hasegawa Jun is mentioned to be the leader of Four Tops, Ueda Tatsuya is listed as the captain of KAT-TUN as well. Honestly Four Tops did not seem like the kind of group that would have a leader so I found it surprising to learn that it actually had one. Though I guess it was a role as overlooked as Ueda as captain/leader of KAT-TUN.

I am really getting sick of this song. I know Ya-Ya-Yah have released their single by now so why they are not performing the two songs from that as well I do not know. I really wish they would and give this song a break now. Or just have another group perform after the introductions.

The guest this episode is Nakamaru Yuichi and Tanaka Koki, introduced as their comedy team name, Tanaka. They pretty much just answer questions sent in by fans then do one of their comedy skits, but fail worse than usual.

The Four Tops introduce themselves for the next number and there is a funny moment when three of the four are on screen and Jun lets out this little noise to remind them that he is missing from the shot. They bring him just in time for the screen to change to show the performance.

Not much to say about the performance as it is pretty much the same one they have been doing for a while now.

Club no Ousama features a young Totsuka Shota this time. He shows off his drawing skills by doing a portrait without taking the marker off the paper once. Of course as one of the younger Juniors Yamashita Tomohisa passes him as he does seem biased like that.

Especially since we get Tanaka again and them getting failed again right after. By now I will say that this is more a running joke than anything else.

KAT-TUN are up next to perform. They do a medley of songs, or more like two songs and a member introduction rap. The second song they do is titled Do Yo Thing and is more a Koki rap solo featuring Yabu Kota than anything else. Yabu is also wearing what looks like a couple of different outfits thrown together to make a new one but just comes off mismatched and pretty ugly.

The intro rap for the members is not formally introduced but easy to pick up on. Each member introduces the other with a rap and then they state that they are KAT-TUN once they are done with that.

The question board is about what you would do if you had magic powers for a day. I am amused that Akanishi Jin had written that he wanted to be a girl. The highlight for me was that Fujigaya Taisuke's answer was highlighted so that he gets his image shown. So I have now seen him, Kitayama Hirosuke, Yokoo Wataru, Miyata Toshiya and Nikaido Takashi on the program. I hope I can eventually spot Senga Kento and Tamamori Yuta, but I think they may have entered the agency later so it may still be a while.

K.K.Kity get to do the end theme this week. It is interesting to see that since the group changed their name from J-Support to K.K.Kity that Kusano Hironori has been brought up to not only the front but also the center. Before it was mainly Koyama Keiichiro and Kato Shigeaki as the leads of the group with Kusano in the back with the other three. Though I guess this can almost be seen as set up for the group getting broken up for NEWS in about a year from this episode.

Jimmy Mackey shows up and saves this end piece by bringing Domo-kun with him. They then copy Tanaka's "don!" thing they do and Yamashita Tomohisa immediately leaves Jimmy to be confused at his sudden departure.

Not a bad episode of the show but nothing really standout overall. I think it is safe to say that the show right now is running as its normal pace. I do like that we get to see more of the groups perform this time and really do miss the longer episode format where that is more a norm than with these shorter shows.

Shake It Up Wanna Beeee!!!

As expected Kis-My-Ft2 will be releasing a new single in August for the theme song of Fujigaya Taisuke's upcoming drama Beginners. The title of the song for that is WANNA BEEE!!! and the single will have Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou's theme song, Shake It Up as another A-side making this a double A-side single.

The first limited edition comes with the two tracks and a DVD with the PV and making of for the track WANNA BEEE!!!.

The second limited edition has the same CD content but the DVD is the PV and making of for Shake It Up.

The regular edition is just a CD but comes with a third track not on the limited editions. The first press edition of this comes with a sticker.

There is of course another edition off the single that will only be released via the group's online store. It will only have the A-sides and comes with a pouch, an interchangeable jacket of individual pictures of the members of the group and a special message. This would bring the number of editions of the single to four for this release.

I am so glad that Shake It Up is getting released on CD with this single and they are not making fans wait until the next album or something for it.

I am a bit disappointed that the release date is not until August 15th, as it is one of the few August release dates without AKS single competition and Kisumai sells well enough they probably could have beat the AKS group releasing on the 1st, NO NAME, as they are a new subunit for the AKB0048 anime series so their tie-in is not as strong as a drama tie-in. But I guess there is no use complaining too much, I am just hoping Sexy Zone gets to release their next single sometime this summer but if they do not release on August 22nd it means having to wait until the fall for it.

I will only be getting the regular edition of the single personally as I am still boycotting getting the editions with PVs as even though SHE!HER!HER! was an amazing PV I am still not convinced that the KiFt/S-My-2 separation has really gotten much better. It will probably take a couple more releases with PVs that are more balances with their screen time to change my mind but at that point I will probably just wait for a PV collection sometime down the road as I have a hard time justifying getting more than one version of a release without there being different songs on each. Unless the DVD has something really amazing on it, like the SHE!HER!HER! PV.

26 June 2012

I love you Johnny's! (costume department)

I was going to be really good this week with Bakaleya but I got my copy of the Kis-My-Mint DVD (LE, so yay for previously unreleased Junior songs!) today and spent my time watching that.

Watching this DVD it reminded me why I became a fan of Johnny's in the first place, they never fail to make me smile. I do not think I released how much I had forgotten about this simple joy, getting myself tied up with what the rest of fandom thought or what others thought to remember loving Johnny's was never about that for me. It was watching boys/guys in ridiculous costumes, singing and dancing, and working hard to bring joy to those who are willing to give them a chance. And with this Kis-My-Ft2 delivered with this release, especially with my favorite part of it all, the ridiculous costumes.

Here are a few highlights of the more interesting costumes.

There was a space theme so we got space suits. Far from the most ridiculous but these were the first outfits you got to see the group in. That and the shoulder pads made me wonder if they accidentally wandered into a 90's super hero comic book.

Those suits of course had shirts under the jackets and we get a good look of things to come with not only the next change having shirts that I am sure most would not be caught wearing dead but of these wonderful huge scarf things that clashed so badly with the shiny pants.

 The guys don curtains for Inori. To their credit they do look like very nice curtains.

Then we have my most favorite costumes and the ones responsible for rekindling my love for Johnny's. While the outfits themselves are not so bad it is the flowers that truly make these. Especially the fact that Tamamori Yuta's flowers are a wreath that go around his neck. Though Miyata Toshiya's elbow flowers are pretty impressive as well.

The best part is that they have them for the full group! Though I will admit I do think the light up roller skates are pretty snazzy but it is hard to think them cool when they are wearing outfits like that.

The crossplay was lovely and Kitayama Hiroko has a bust that looks like it would give a girl terrible back problems. But this is definitely a highlight of the DVD, especially Miyata's lovely hairy legs.

I am no fan of plaid but these are just so terrible because of it I am in love. They look like they dressed in the dark honestly and the plaid clashes with each piece it is kinda painful.

I love how the coats here are an obvious homage to Hikaru Genji. Just look up the kind of costumes HikaGen used to wear and you will see it. So it was perfect that they were wearing these for their cover of Winning Run.

The rest for the most part are more ordinary looking though there are still some of the usual only-Johnny's kind of outfits, like the abuse of fake fur and animal print. But I do not want to spoil everything from the DVD, which I would recommend any Kis-My-Ft2 getting.

I guess in short what I want to say is,

I love Johnny's costume department! Now and forever!