31 August 2012

The Shounen Club 14 September 2003 review

Since I have fallen behind quite a bit with taking so long with reviewing this I figure I will make up for that by doing a review each day this weekend which will get me through all the pre-NEWS debut episodes. And honestly with a new episode this week as well as the September episodes keeping their usual schedule of the first two weeks of the month I feel like I am falling behind, even though I know at the pace I am going I am really not.

KAT-TUN has some interesting moves during the beginning introductions for this episode.

And we get the group of regular Junior back dancers introduced as Junior Boys. Junior Boys is not so much a group but a grouping of Juniors that probably are going to be more prominent in the near future. For instance from this group of Junior Boys we have Masuda Takahisa only a couple of months from debuting with NEWS as well as Kitayama Hiromitsu and Fujigaya Taisuke who will be getting a group in the near future. So whenever you have a Junior Boys group it is a sign that they should be the Juniors to keep an eye on as they potentially be grouped into a more stable group.

Yamashita Tomohisa is the main MC for this episode as he was with the first one of the month.

The first medley of the show is a rock medley. We start off with A.B.C. actually singing for a change. They perform TOKIO's Doitsumo Koitsumo, which is one of my favorite TOKIO songs so the medley gets off with a good start, IMHO.

K.K.Kity join them during the medley before doing a song on their own for it. Watching it I could not help but notice how awkward Kato Shigeaki looked performing. I guess more than anything he seemed stiff and you would think for someone who has been a Junior for as long as he has he would have ironed some of that out. But on the other hand it is nice to see how much he has improved since then.

While Yokoyama Yu and Murakami Shingo are not his main helper MCs for this episode they do get to help out with one talk segment with Yamapi. Though the most interesting thing about this talk is that Yoko did not get his shirt buttoned up in time so he attempts to do so a couple of times but mainly tries to pretend to close it by trying to hold it closed with his free arm.

The next medley features Yax3 and their magically changing group size. If anything it just shows which members are going to stay with the group and which one is not.

K.K.Kity seems to have thing about joining in on medleys this episode as they show up for this one as well to perform Sennen no Love Song. What is nice with this performance is that the roller skaters just back dance for the first part of it so it is easier to see them. Though I am laughing at Fujigaya's hair as it just looks funny on him and I think I will be glad when he decides to finally let it grow out.

After that Yamapi talks a bit to Yax3 and they are back to being four members again for it.

Moriuchi Takahiro gets another solo performance. It is surprising to see how much he was pushed, though mainly because it ended up going nowhere when he dropped out of Johnny's so quickly after his debut. It would have been interesting to see what NEWS would have been like if he remained but one can really only speculate.

We have a "Yellow Card" segment where a few of the Juniors are called up to have another Junior tell them about something that they find annoying and want them to stop. Shige gets called up by Kusano Hironori and Kusano uses Hina to show how Shige fell asleep on him, which was his complaint.

Up next is a KAT-TUN medley which comes with a special introduction of each member. As their names are called out they go on the stage solo and do some moves with a couple of back dancers and their names are shown on the screen. The first letter of their last names are colored in the color that is assigned to them.

They then do the medley and I cannot help but think that it is rather a pity that it seems like a good deal of their Junior songs never made it on a CD. And with the group minus a member nowadays I think the chances of them being put on a CD are slim to none.

After the KAT-TUN medley we move into a Shounentai medley that A.B.C. perform. It is surprising to see A.B.C. so much as they have been mostly stuck as back dancers but hopefully this is a sign that things are shifting in their favor and they will be able to perform more and maybe even finally get their own group song.

We get a talk corner without Yamapi and instead have Jimmy Mackey, Kamenashi Kazuya and Akanishi Jin MCing. It is a bit strange to see Jimmy this episode as it feels like someone just remembered he was there as he was almost absent for all of last episode.

We had Yamapi missing there though because he was up for a performance next. It is strange to see Yamapi perform his songs as he gets mostly Juniors from groups, which include KAT-TUN, as his back dancers. It is if he is getting debuted guest status instead of Junior status when that happens. But I guess it will not be long before he will have the status for this kind of treatment.

K8 do a medley of, I guess English songs. Most of them have Japanese translations but they also all sound like they came from the 70s.

I am familiar with a couple of them, one of them, September, I know because a Japanese artist covered the English version of it so it was a bit weird to hear the Japanese version.

They do the letter segment they did in the last episodes that K8 were guests, where a letter is pulled out of a box and the writer has to read it out loud for the recipient. With this Ueda Tatsuya gets to write a letter to Nishikido Ryo to ask about what he was trying to say to him.

Ryo though decides to troll and asks him who he is. He keeps it up to the amusement of his group mates as Yoko tries to help him out. Ueda ends up telling him that he likes him and eventually Ryo says he likes him too.

After that Nishikido Ryo gets to perform a solo medley with songs he has sung in the past. The first song, Secret Agent Man, sounds strange to me as the last time I heard him sing it was back when he was a tiny thing that puberty was avoiding like the plague.

He finishes off the medley with fellow K8 members, Maruyama Ryuhei and Yasuda Shota joining him for the final song.

KAT-TUN get to perform again. This time one of their original songs in full, LOVE or LIKE. This is one of their songs that did make it onto a CD and it is one of the ones I actually liked. Not a favorite but something I have no problem having in my playlist from time to time.

Kanjani8 then get to sing an original song of their own, Eden. It starts off with Maruyama and Yasuda saying a haiku each before the performance begins.

I have to say I completely understand why this is a fan favorite for long time fans of the group. The song sounds really beautiful and it really fits the group's voices. I mean Shibutani Subaru sounds amazing in this song.

But then everyone sounds good. It is a wonderful ballad and seems to be a true hidden gem in K8's song discography. But at least it made in onto a CD with the group's first mini album that was released after their debut single.

As with the episode before the end song has Massu and Kitayama singing with mics being grouped with Yamapi.

I think it is clear now that they found a flow to these episodes now. There are finally more talk segments between performances and there are breaks from all that for segments that feature the Juniors doing things that gives you the chance to learn more about them.

Of course now is not the time to get too comfortable with things as after next month's episodes we get the first debut since moving to NHK Hall and probably more importantly the debut of Juniors that have been regulars on SC since the start of the program. So it will be interesting to see how that will play out.

But this weekend I will be looking at the episodes that with 20/20 hindsight were filled with signs of things to come.

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