21 July 2012

The Shounen Club 06 April 2003 review

The fourth season of Shounen Club begins and does so with a bang. This episode is pretty much non-stop with performances one right after another. And thankfully since the move to another station the picture quality is much better. Not the greatest, but none of the episodes from now on should be as bad as some of the older ones. The switch to HD will be the next big thing when it comes to picture quality but that will be a while.
This is going to be a pretty screen cap heavy review this time around as there was a lot more going on with the episode than I remembered that I want to point out and talk about a bit.

We start off with Four Tops and KAT-TUN singing Smoke on the water, which is just always weird for me to see/hear. I have actually heard the original version of this song and it is just odd to see it being covered by Johnny's Juniors.

Of course for those who have only watched the most recent episodes of SC the stage may not look so familiar as it has been changed over the years but the audience section is still the same.

While I spotted Masuda Takahisa right off the bat here I managed to miss that it is Fujigaya Taisuke next to him until after a few rewatches trying to get a decent screen cap. I am so happy to finally be able to see Fujigaya back dancing on the program as I had yet to do so even though I know he has been on the program for a while now.

Even though the usual suspects get their time in the spotlight there seems to be a more even focus on the other Juniors which is a nice change of pace.

I think I must have finally had enough of a break from Aikotoba wa Ya-Ya-Yah that it did not get on my nerves as it had been the past few times. It probably also helped that it was a short part of this medley.

One of the things I really like about this episode is the fact that it is not just a couple of groups that get to perform, pretty much all of them do. It is a nice change as with the older episodes you could easily have the same group do all the performances in the show while this episode reverses all of that by having all the groups present perform. And that is even with guests performances that make up a good chunk of the episode as well.

Or in short I loved that K.K.Kity was performing again on the program.

We finally reach a point where we have Juniors just talking and find out that our hosts for this episode are Akiyama Jun from Musical Academy with Yamashita Tomohisa and Kazama Shunsuke. This is after about nine and a half minutes of straight performances. They pretty much rush through things before introducing the special guests of this episode, Kinki Kids (who celebrate their 15th anniversary today coincidentally enough.).

They perform Eien no Bloods, which is one of my favorite songs of theirs. Domoto Kochi looks great like usual.

Domoto Tsuyoshi on the other hand has old lady hair. But at least he sounds as good as expected.

The host trio of the episode get to do a quick interview. They talk about the crowd and past performances at NHK Hall and Kinki pretty much show why they are such a popular duo with how well they make what they say entertaining.

After this the Juniors, or mostly the hosts, get to do a "message song" which is KAT-TUN singing one of their songs, breaking off at parts for the hosts to say stuff.

We then get Yabu Kota singing a song that is not one of the three that Yax3 have performed in the past. But it is the start of a medley that leads right into Yuuki 100% and the first surprise for the episode of me. I had remembered Kinki Kids being in this but totally forgot about Yaotome Hikaru having his first appearance in it as well.

It is easy to see that Hikaru was getting a strong push as from the start he was being paired off with Yabu. But as of now he is not a member of Yax3, instead he is the random little Junior Johnny's has decided to push. But with him around now it probably will not be much longer for the group to lose the two members it will and bring Hikaru into their ranks which will give the unit its next and final line up.

A.B.C. ends up being mainly back dancers this episode, but as it can be seen they are also nearing their next line up change with them being left as a four member unit.

They make sure to make use of NHK Hall in this episode by using just about all the areas for the guys to perform from, which includes the balcony area to the right of the stage when KAT-TUN did their member introduction rap.

At the end of the rap I got my second surprise when they started saying, "Say Kanjani8." As this episode was also the first one with Kanjani8 performing on it.

It is a bit strange to see the '8' actually written as '8' and not the infinity symbol, but there is no doubt that this is the Kanjani8 that will eventually get to debut.

Of course this also means they have all eight members that made up the original line-up with Ohkura Tadayoshi finally joining their ranks.

What is great is that I can actually recognize some of their songs performed here as they were released on CD once they debuted. Not to mention just the fact this puts the group that much closer to debut even though they still have about a year to go.

We then get the Four Tops singing Nami before being joined by the other Juniors to perform a song together.

While I have noticed this at other parts of the show but because they are changing the stage sets and not really breaking to do so it is easy to spot the stage hands. Like in this screen cap the guys in black running off the stage.

We then get a medley for songs from the debuted groups of Johnny's.

When watching K.K.Kity this time around the thought struck me that they were probably the actual start of what would later evolve into Kis-My-Ft2. I do not think that it is a coincidence that they are covering a Hikaru Genji song for this medley will using the roller shoes that they have used in the past. Not to mention two of the group will later become members of Kis-My-Ft and Kis-My-Ft2 as well as the fact their current name is made up of the last names of the members. I think there is probably enough similar to make the connection even though Kis-My-Ft is what solidifies much of what will carry over directly to Kis-My-Ft2.

A.B.C. finally get the chance to sing, and it is one of my favorite TOKIO songs, Doitsumo Koitsumo. Toshin Yoshikazu makes an appearance for this but I have the feeling that he is probably on his way out from the group around this time.

The final medley is a Kinki Kids medley that is about ten minutes long, mostly because they sing one of the songs fully. It starts off though with Hikaru and Yabu singing the start of the first song of the medley.

Once the final song is done various Juniors go on stage with Akiyama doing the usual end of episode speech. And with that the first episode of the fourth season of SC is done.

I really get the sense that this episode is more about showing what could be done with the new stage and format at least with the performances. They really went all out with the sets and what effects they could do and it really made it feel more like a concert than a TV program.

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