19 July 2012

The Shounen Club 09 & 16 March 2003 review

Sorry for the delay. I ended up working yesterday even though it was supposed to be a day off and had work again today. But I guess this will be my last week doing a Wednesday review, unless there is a clip show.

Finally reached the last two episodes of the third season of Shounen Club, which are also the final episodes before the show moved over to NHK Hall for taping.

Being a clip show we have the only new footage coming from the usual group of hosts sitting at the studio and reading mail while watching VTR footage. I think these episodes work a bit better than the earlier ones like it as we get a greater focus on all three years of the program which includes a lot of changes to look at.

Like the hosts in the studio segments. It is amazing at how much the three, Yamashita Tomohisa, Hasegawa Jun and Jimmy Mackey have grown over the past three years. As not only can you really see it with this clip but hear it as well as their voices still had not finished changing back then.

We get to see some of the intro clips where the topics of the show are brought up, highlighting the more memorable ones. And it is easy to see that episodes that Arashi guested are missing from my collection. 

During the first song medley, which is for Yamapi performances, I noticed a familiar outfit. I want to say this was still in use when I got into Johnny's back in 2007, so I wanted to cap it to check whenever I get to those episodes.

We then get to see some early Kazama Shunsuke, and Yoko seemed to enjoy picking on him.

There is a Domo-kun sighting with Tackey showing up with one strapped to his back during a performance.

Subaru totally has teh J-rocker vibe going strong here.
Going through a list of various guests I feel a bit cheated not having the episodes that had Shibutani Subaru and V. West in them.

Though I do wonder a bit about V. West as they are supposed to be the Kansai Junior version of FiVe but FiVe does not have a member that is just a vocalist like V.West does and aren't they missing some members?

We get to see Yoko shine a bit with a gag he did with Hasejun and Murakami Shingo. But to me anything with the future Kanjani8 members are great.

We get a VTR medley of KAT-TUN performances. It is nice to see some of the songs that will eventually make it onto a CD (thus I am actually familiar with them) be performed.

We then get a VTR focus on Junior Fight. Akanishi Jin is the winner of the first Junior Fight and gets to pick another Junior to join him on his trip that he has won. He ends up picking Kamenashi Kazuya, and I can see this being a starting point for Akame.

Looking back it is amusing to see Jin already seemingly showing his love for the U.S. with the T-shirt he picked to go on vacation in.

It is not long before the boys discover that the trip comes with a few hitches and what looked like a prize began to resemble a practical joke. Following Tackey's instructions they have to wear shirts given to them with writing on them, try to find people who know who Imai Tsubasa is and eat and drink things that from their reactions taste terrible.

The two are stuck having to camp the night out on the beach in a tent together. Both looking rather miserable by now but I think it proves to be wary of any gift Tackey offers.

And we come to the final VTR segment that is for the end songs of the program over the years. And I see that I managed to miss out on what looked like a fun episode going by the guests listed.

Yamapi gets his final end segment with this episode. If you are looking for something profound from him you will have to keep looking elsewhere as he just rambles on like usual not really linking things together all that well.

Then on to the next episode.

We start off this episode looking at the Junior competition segments, from Junior Fight II (as the first was covered in the last episode) to Club no Ousama. And it gives us some more costuming gems such as whatever is being worn here.

We get to see them compete in really quick segments then have VTR of the winners "enjoying" their wins for he Junior Fight competitions. With the second Junior Fight going to the duo of Nakamaru Yuichi and Ueda Tatsuya.

They end up winning being the focus on an episode produced by Imai Tsubasa. Which does not seem as great as it sounds as Tsubasa seemed rather strict in the rehearsal footage we saw. But the two did get to perform in all the performances from the look of it.

While he was on the winning team, Kamenashi Kazuya gets banished to the little kid pool at the onsen they went to.

Nice to know Toma is so limber.
Thankfully we get to see some of the wins of Club no Ousama that were not highlighted before. But as there was no real winner it got the least amount of time and focus. That and the last clip show spent a good amount of time with it.

Then there is a Ikuta Toma segment of his performances. It is a bit start to see him singing and dancing so much as I am so used to him just being an actor now.

We then get a look back at highlights from the Junior question/message board. Not much that I care for as they focus on the hosts talking and not the answers/messages themselves. But it does give us more of Yokoyama Yu so I am happy about that.

The next set of VTR is of Toma with his show segment. It is actually rather interesting as he got to do things like interview debuted Johnny's and even gives us some behind the scenes footage for one of the Junior concerts of the time.

We get to see a bit of other Juniors that are not in the host group or KAT-TUN here as well with Koyama Keiichiro being highlighted by doing a love confession. I think if there is any major criticism I have of these two episodes is that there is a large focus on the Juniors I mentioned with little given to others. But I think it is also just an all around issue with these episodes in general as well.

He even got to do an interview thing with TOKIO's Masuoka Masahiro. I really wish I had this episode as anything with TOKIO or one of its members is usually pretty fun.

Yes, that orange stuff is fur.
Following that we get a medley of Junior performances that give us some costuming gems such as this,

and this. This is the outfit I wanted to highlight from the first episode of the show but really could not because of the poor quality of the video.

While most of the VTR I have seen before with past episodes that have shown VTR of Tackey filming various things for the program there are some things that are new to me. Like the VTR for the shooting of the current and final opening. But as they try to fit it all in a few minutes there is only a short segment with that footage.

We then get clips of the various song introductions Jimmy Mackey has done, as it was one of his main things on the program.

Being the final song intro, Jimmy gets the others to help him in spelling "medley" out in Japanese with Hasejun trying his best to do the hyphen.

We get another end song montage. And I will give a gratuitous Taguchi Junnosuke screen cap just because I can.

And for proof that this is the final episode you just have to look at the final minute or so where the hosts go over the fact that the show is moving to a new filming location, has a new run time and so on. And it is on this the episode ends.

So with this we come to the end of Shounen Club's first three years and the time at their old studio. With the switch to NHK Hall we get a new but more familiar format for those who know the program from more recent episodes.

While there are things to enjoy about these episodes I think I prefer the later format. If just because the focus on the Juniors gets a bit more spread out as really at the end of this third season the only groups that really were getting a decent amount of screen time were Four Tops, KAT-TUN and Ya-Ya-Yah with everyone else seemingly stuck as only being a part of the introductions at the start. So I look forward to the longer episodes where other Juniors will hopefully get more screen time with more time having to be filled with each episode.

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