02 August 2012

The Shounen Club 11 May 2003 review

Since I missed my day for doing the last Shounen Club review I decided to do two this week. Depending on what my work schedule is though I may just start doing two a week again off and on as I really would like to finish this project before I hit the tenth anniversary of this blog in about five years.

With the introductions it looks like A.B.C. is actually still in flux a bit as Toshin Yoshikazu is listed as being a part of the group as Kawai Fumito is missing for some reason. It is a bit odd as last month's episodes had the group minus Toshin for the most part. So I guess he is still a part of the group even though I do not think he is really a core member like the other four.

After the introductions we get the first sign that this will not the performance heavy episode of the past episode when a group of the Juniors go to the side of the stage to do a bit of a talk.

The first medley for the show is of the Junior songs that they did as end songs in previous seasons. And I go into back dancing Junior spotting mode. With Masuda Takahisa being an easy one as he has been lucky enough to be one of the main back dancers and thus always near the front of that group.

I will forever marvel at how ageless Kato Shigeaki seems. Sure it meant that he looked much older than he was when he was young (I think he's only 13 here) but he really does not look older nowadays.

Fujigaya Taisuke and Kitayama Hiromitsu get a good shot for Juniors that only dance for this medley. They seem to be in the same back dancer grouping as Massu, as they were part of the four that were roller skating earlier in the episode. Of course the fact they are in the roller skating group also is set up for them being a part of the original Kis-My-Ft line up with Massu as well.

After the performance we get introduced to the guests, Tackey & Tsubasa with behind the scenes looks at their recent concerts. As someone who has always loved to see behind the scenes of how shows work I enjoyed these clips.

After the clips T&T do a medley of their songs. I am pretty impressed that they worked a costume change in it.

Yamashita Tomohisa gets a solo song. He gets many of the little Juniors to be a part of his performance, which includes a little Inoo Kei, who is the one sitting there.

We get a Junior highlight with the Moriuchi brothers. It is mainly just Moriuchi Takahiro, who is better known these days as TAKA, the vocalists of Japanese rock group ONE OK ROCK. His younger brother, Moriuchi Hiroki, mainly is just there to be cute. (And apparently Hiroki has followed his brother's example and is in a rock band himself nowadays.)

I am a bit sad that Moriuchi left as you can tell even from this performance that he is a talented singer. His voice has not even broken yet but it is noticeable that he is definitely one of the Juniors that has probably actually taken vocal lessons to sound as good as he does. But I cannot help but feel that he is probably happier with his band than if he remained an idol.

After the performance the Moriuchi brothers and Yabu Kota get to do a talk. They bring up Moriuchi's father who is an enka singer.

I was surprised to see that they have Kansai Juniors still around, this time it is just V. West, one of the Kansai Junior groups that made up Kanjani8.

V. West is probably a good reason why K8 ended up with the rock influence that it has, even though it also helps quite a bit that it seems like that is a genre all the members enjoy. And I am pretty impressed with Ohkura Tadayoshi as he was only given a month to learn how to play the drums so for a beginner he seems to be doing fine.

We get a carryover from the previous SC seasons during KAT-TUN's talk segment. They have cards with messages on the back for each letter.

Each member gets something read off about them, which gives us a nice view of each one. Of course I want to share Taguchi Junnosuke's spotlight, as while I would not really consider myself a KAT-TUN fan I am a fan of him.

The highlight is actually when Akiyama Jun screws up Akanishi Jin's name and calls him Akamaru.

The group then performs Harukana Yakusoku when the talk is done. I honestly did not care for the song after hearing it on their debut album but after seeing them perform it live it made me greatly warm up to it.

And I think now that we are seeing more of the groups perform in a show it is beginning to see how a group like KAT-TUN stands out. I do not think there is really a group that charges up the sex appeal like KAT-TUN. But it probably helps that the members just look rather mature so they do not have to be tied to a youthful image.

During the interview with T&T, Ikuta Toma shows up to do his Meitantei Tomas segment. Tackey teases Toma about the segment being old, as it is from the previous season of SC, but Toma still charges on to do it. He goes into the audience and gets various people to ask T&T questions.

T&T then perform Yumemonotagari, one of their more popular singles, with some fabulous looking costumes. It is seriously costumes like these that I think of when I think of Johnny's and I rather love them for it.

We get another end performance with all the Junior groups. Strangely each one gets an introduction during it, but I guess at least it gives some of the groups that did not have a big presence in the episode a chance to be spotlighted.

I think one of the major differences with the change to this venue and format is that the host group of the Four Tops and Jimmy Mackey do not dominate the program nearly as much as before. Instead the other Juniors get more of a chance to be featured, which is a big thing especially for the less pushed groups as they actually get to be seen in a much more regular fashion.

Also the format is quickly becoming more in line to how the show has run for years. I think it is safe to say that some of the segments from the earlier seasons that had variations in later seasons will probably be making reappearances eventually. In fact I would say that Toma's Meitantei Tomas segment showing up again in this episode is just the start of this.

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