29 July 2012

The Shounen Club 13 April 2003 review

When I woke up this morning I realized that I forgot that yesterday I was supposed to do my weekly review of a Shounen Club episode. So to make up for that expect two reviews this week instead of the usual one. In a way I am kinda glad for that as I really want to catch up with the more recent episodes but I guess for right now I should focus on the next big event on the program, the debut of NEWS later in this season I am on.

The show kicks off with Akiyama Jun and Yamashita Tomohisa chatting in front of the audience before the Junior introductions begin.

The only thing I felt worthy to note about the introductions is that Kanjani8 is a part of them. I am not surprised that they are in this second episode for the month as well but I did not think they would not be treated as if they were guests.

The first song kicks off with three of the Four Tops with Jimmy Mackey. I am beginning to notice that Yamapi is being separated from the group for whatever reason since the start of this season. I would not be surprised if this kept up considered the later major event of this season.

We get a rare break from song performances with Yamapi, Akiyama and Kazama Shunsuke having a talk that leads into the first medley of the show.

During the medley there is a break for the members of KAT-TUN to show up to "represent" various nations of the world. PC-friendly it is not, which is sadly not all that surprising. Akanishi Jin gets to "represent" Mexico as you can see. And there is a Kitayama Hiromitsu sighting as he is the Junior that got to accompany him for it.

Then there is a performance of Andalasia ni Akogarete by Yabu Kota, Yamashita Shoon and Yaotome Hikaru. It is a bit strange to just see these three performing a song together but Ya-Ya-Yah is still a five member unit and Hikaru has not been added to it. So if anything this is probably a sign that Johnny's is most likely planning on shuffling the unit and these three would be high on the list for who would be in it.

We get a KAT-TUN vs. Kanjani8 performance which is the two groups pretending to fight in a stylized manner. They each get to perform a song each.

Then to end the segment Akiyama shows up and begins to sing an enka song but the groups quickly depart the stage then.

This corner kicks off with a duet between Jin and Shibutani Subaru of the classic song Ookina Furudokei. I was first introduced to this song off of a Hirai Ken album and loved it then so I was nervous about how this was going to sound. I think it was alright. While Jin sounds stronger than before when put up against Subaru his lack of vocal strength really shows. So it will probably still be a while before he is singing like the Jin most recognize.

We get a song that sounds like it is a Japanese version of Yankee Doodle Dandy but from the title is something about apples instead. It is just weird for me for having grown up knowing it as one thing and now hearing it as another. The cow head Nishikido Ryo is wearing does not help much there either.

They do a cover of TOKIO's Minna de Wa ha ha! which was written by Tsunku, who is probably better known as the master mind behind the female idol group Morning Musume. The song sounds like a ho-down but in Japanese, which just sounds strange, but very much something Tsunku would write. And I am sure he would be proud of the use of the disturbing looking horses used in the performance.

I would like to know what Stand By Me ever did to Jimmy Mackey to have him butcher it so. The only highlight of the performance is that the members of FiVe get introductions and that we get to see Nakaegawa Rikiya's guitar covered in Detective Conan stickers.

We jump into a KAT-TUN medley then. It is pretty standard performance from them.

After the KAT-TUN medley we go straight into the Kanjani8 medley and they cover two SMAP songs. For the second song, Donna Ii Koto, they do it in a STOMP-esque style by starting off with a broom dance then using trash can lids as a part of the song. I rather like this arrangement for this song, which is good as this is one of my favorite SMAP songs.

The Kanjani8 medley gives way to the SMAP medley, which seems to be just an extension of the K8 medley seeing as both were nothing but SMAP songs and the only difference is that there are other Juniors performing in the latter medley.

Speaking of other Juniors performing some of the members of K.K.Kity and A.B.C. finally get to sing in a performance instead of just back dancing in this episode.

Kanjani8 and KAT-TUN get to end the medley by singing Yozora no Mukou together.

The end theme should be familiar to anyone who has watched TakiCHANnel as it is the same song that is the theme song for that, Hitomi wo Tojite. And it seems that at least one tradition that begins with these episodes is the inclusion of various groups to perform the end song of the show.

It is strange to watch these first couple of episodes as even though the set up and the location is much more familiar the flow of the episodes are still pretty different. They both are very light on talking, this episode even more than the first. I can only assume this will change at some point in the next few months as I recall there being more talking in other episodes I have seen of this season.

I do find it interesting in how much of the stage they used, as in changing set pieces out and using the curtains. I do not recall these really being used in other episodes so I think it plays into that feeling from the first episode of them really trying to show off what they could do in this location.

Of course I think then the better showing of what to expect from these episodes will come with next month's episodes, so I look forward to those.

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