30 September 2012

The Real Johnny's Jr. first thoughts

Found a stream of the documentary that aired about Johnny's Junior. If anything I wish it was longer as I am sure there was plenty more to be seen. That said I was happy to see what they showed.

For those wondering which Juniors are seen it is pretty much just the Tokyo Juniors even though they show a bit from Sexy Zone's Osaka SUMMARY concerts. And the Juniors they focus on are the ones that are mostly the regulars on Johnny's Jr. Land. There are a few exceptions for this, like Takada Sho and Yasui Kentaro get some screen time but it is mainly that group.

Iwahashi Genki gets a good deal of focus, from his studying for school and nerves for performing in the concerts. Haniuda Amu also gets a good amount of screen time, partly because he messed up for one of the performances. Chino Aoi is boss in this, as apparently the older Juniors that joined after him do call him Chino-senpai. That and for his age he really seems serious about his work. These three are the ones that left the biggest impression on me and I will be keeping my eye on Genki as he impressed me. And I would not be surprised to see Chino get to the the Golden Junior in the near future as he seems to be as much a little star in the making as Morimoto Shintaro was, IMHO.

If you just want to watch for the Bakaleya6 then you need to skip to the second part. They have about 8-9 minutes dedicated to them, from some of the drama filming to their SUMMARY concerts. Otherwise the most you see them is for the Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou movie commercial that looks like it was played at each commercial break. Though it is not so bad seeing that Uchi Hiroki and Question? are not seen at all (minus Bakaleya footage for Uchi) even though they also had SUMMARY concerts.

Also they had the first Golden Junior included as Takizawa Hideaki talked about his time as a Junior. They also had some footage of a couple of the big name Johnny's when they were Juniors, like Yamashita Tomohisa, Yamada Ryosuke and Imai Tsubasa. And I have to say I really see what people were saying about Sato Shori looking a lot like Imai Tsubasa when he was younger. The two look like they could have been brothers going off the old Tsubasa footage. So as long as Shori does not gain the penchant for growing facial hair like Tsubasa does he will definitely be growing into a handsome man.

If I find something better than a stream I will do a review of the documentary. Honestly I am hoping that they will release this on DVD and/or BD. I would buy a copy in a heart beat.

Links to the stream: Part 1 Part 2

The Shounen Club 11 April 2004 review

Well the video and audio quality are better than the last episode and I think that one should be the worst of from the NHK Hall episodes. Which is nice as now that Kis-My-Ft. has been formed J.J.Express should be around the corner and I would like to have that in better quality.

Like the previous episode we start off with a song performance from the get go. Of course KAT-TUN are the ones that lead the performance but about halfway through they are joined by Yamashita Tomohisa.

After a quick talk they break into the first medley of the show, which is mainly just Kinki Kids songs. During this Koyama Keiichiro, Kusano Hironori and Kato Shigeaki join in, each one in one of K.K.Kity's group outfits.

There is then a MC segment with KAT-TUN and the members of NEWS that have introduced so far in this episode. This is actually the last we see of Yamapi, so I guess he was just around to hang than leave.

KAT-TUN perform a new song, Le ciel ~Kimi no Shiawase Inoru Kotoba~. It seems like this is perfect timing for me as the Bakaleya6 will be performing this song on SC for the second September episode. So Now I have a recent performance to compare it to when I watch the episode. I do like the song, I am a sucker for songs that have a quick back beat in them and I love how they break from that to move into slower parts between the verses and chorus. Do not care much for the large orange sheets though.

We then get a MC break with Jimmy Mackey and Yabu Kota, with them using the difference in size between the two as a talking point.

This leads into the game segment which is radically different than the others for the Junior Hai~! School segment. There are two teams of Juniors, four in each team, and they have to play a game that is a cross between charades and telephone, where they have to act out something to represent an animal that each have to copy so the last person in line has to guess what the animal is.

The losing team had to do an extra round to see if they would get a batsu game or not and well I think the screen cap gives away how that went.

After that we get a song from the little Juniors lead by Yabu Kota. But this does give us some screen time for a little Inoo Kei.

As well as a little Senga Kento. And I swear Senga looks so terrified any time he has to use a mic. Which is strange to see as he looks rather happy and energetic when he is just dancing.

We get a VTR segment with this episode and it is with Kamenashi Kazuya and Akanishi Jin. They are out to do an interview with one of their sempai.

The sempai ends up being Domoto Koichi. I think the most interesting part of the interview is when they bring up that Koichi wrote the lyrics to the theme song of Dream Boy. Mainly because this musical will become KAT-TUN/Kame's in the future so it is an interesting thing to see in retrospect.

KAT-TUN lead a Rock medley, and the highlight for me is Ueda Tatsuya singing TOKIO's song Glider while of course playing guitar. Probably because he looks like he is enjoying himself and in his preferred element.

Ueda gets to do a MC on his own where he tells about a crush he had when he was much younger to tie in to the theme of the episode, deai (meeting). I guess this somehow leads into the next medley which uses the younger Juniors.

Ya-Ya-Yah get to sing a medley, which starts off just being Yabu Kota before he is joined by Ayukawa Taiyo and Yamashita Shoon. The other two members of the group join them late but again it seems clear looking back at this point which members of the group Johnny's wants to keep promoting.

During one of the songs we get some of the back dancing little Juniors that get to sing as well, Inoo Kei again as well as Tamamori Yuta.

We get another talk with Kis-My-Ft. though like before Masuda Takahisa is the main spokesperson and since there are no member introductions is the only one who gets to talk this time.

In this performance they cover Hikaru Genji songs again but the older four members of the group get to sing more, though Massu is still treated as the main vocals of the group.

We get a bit of a talk, with Jimmy Mackey as the main MC as he reads a letter from Taguchi Junnosuke. I finally realized why Junno is missing, this is back when he broke his leg so he will not be seen for a while as he recovers from that. This letter he wrote pretty much asked everyone to forgive him for any problems his injury may have caused with work and that he hopes to get better soon.

The five present members of KAT-TUN perform a new song, which is one of the ones that did manage to make it onto a CD, My Angel, you are Angel. It is a nice ballad, not one that I love but if I have it playing it will usually just let it play instead of skipping to the next song on my playlist. I love how they have the back stage in darkness so the penlights of the audience on the stage can be seen looking like a mini starry field.

One thing to note is that out of all the Kis-My-Ft. members on the stage for the end song only Fujigaya Taisuke and Kitayama Hiromitsu have mics and get solo shots during it. So I think it is safe to say that even from the start of this group they were meant to be the main faces of the group, just things were thrown off with having to use Massu for the group.

Now that I remember that Junno had broken his leg his inclusion in this episode despite not being there makes a lot of sense. I am sure there were fans really worried about him and his place in KAT-TUN after an injury like that, so having him highlighted as being a member of the group, even though he was not there, was partly to relieve those fears. Especially as he probably will not be seen on stage for a while.

When first getting into fandom one of the early things I learned about NEWS was that they were paired with another group called KAT-TUN. This was also the way I discovered about the Johnny's agency and all the acts tied to it. But I think with this season of SC you can see the start of the lumping of NEWS with KAT-TUN that probably peaks around the time they co-headline the first SUMMARY concerts.

27 September 2012

AKS Master Post 003

Figured it was time for another one of these as there is quite a bit of NMB48 news to talk about.

First off none of the NMB48 members in the janken tournament made it into the senbatsu. Honestly I do not think I can feel too heartbroken about that as it means there will be one less AKB48 single I feel that I need to buy because of any NMB48 members in it.

That said there is more information about NMB48's upcoming single that will be released November 7th. The title of the single is Kitagawa Kenji, which seems to be a nod to one of the main men behind AKS as well to the lyrics of the song. The lyrics this time are from a guy's point of view and how he realizes that the girl he loves is so lovely to him because she is in love with this guy, Kitagawa Kenji.

While there is not a complete track list out there is some track listing information out. Like all their releases the single has three versions sold in stores. All versions will have the same title track and a B-side, then the Type A has the usual Shirogumi song, the Type B has a Akagumi song and the Type C will just have another group B-side not on the other versions. There of course is a theater version but the details for that are not out yet.

Also on the final Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ episode NMB48 performed the new single song. Going from the performers in that the senbatsu looks to be; Ogawasara Mayu (Team N), Katou Yuuka (3rd Gen KKS), Kadowaki Kanako (Team N), Kishino Rika (Team N), Kotani Riho (Team N), Jonishi Kei (Team N), Shiroma Miru (Team N), Tanigawa Airi (Team M), Fukumoto Aina (Team N), Yagura Fuuko (Team M), Yabushita Shu (3rd Gen KKS), Yamada Nana (Team N), Yamamoto Sayaka (Team N), Yokoyama Yui (team unknown), Yoshida Akari (Team N) and Watanabe Miyuki (Team N).

That gives us eleven Team N members, two Team M members, two 3rd Gen KKS and Yokoyama Yui. The last three should have teams by the time the single is released but this is still a very Team N heavy senbatsu as not even half of it are from the other two teams. Not that I do not love Team N but I think it is time that the spotlight is spread out a bit more with the other teams.

I just hope the Shirogumi and Akagumi units are more balanced between all the teams for this single.

NMB48 will be celebrating their second anniversary, the date their first single was released, on October 9th. On the 8th Team N will have a new stage they will start, October 9th will have a new Team M while on October 11th Team BII will debut.

Staff blog (Japanese)

There is speculation that the new Team M means that there will be a mini shuffle between the members in that team and the one being newly created, Team BII. Apparently this is something that happened with SKE48 when they created Team E, shuffled some of the KKS into Team KII while moving some to Team E. Though they also made some back into KKS, which I hope is not going to happen with NMB48.

But with Jo Eriko graduating Team M is losing its Ace, plus they already have an open slot because of that so it would make sense to do a bit of a shake up. Not to mention they need to place AKB48 exchange member, Yokoyama Yui in a team and the up and coming KKS Yabushita Shu seems destined to be an Ace for whatever team she is placed in. And with the debut of a new team it sounds like a good time to do a small shuffle like this, and hopefully this will make Team M stronger and help give Team BII some early support so they are both not stuck to be eternally in Team N's shadow.

In other news Jonishi Kei will be in an upcoming drama. The drama is named Poison and will air on YTV in the midnight slot starting on October 4th. Not much is known about Keicchi's role, other than the character is reoccurring as she is listed with the other actors on the official home page of the drama.

Poison OHP (Japanese)

Congrats to Keicchi for getting a drama role. I have not really seen her act so I cannot say if I have any hopes for her. But if anything it could be helpful if she is going to continue pursuing acting as a career.

And on a final and much less exciting note, the date for Jo Eriko's graduation stage has been announced. She will graduate from the group on September 28th.

Staff blog (Japanese)

I am still bummed out about her leaving but I can understand her reasons. I wish her the best and NMB48 is not going to be the same without her.

The Shounen Club 4 April 2004 review

Okay, finally after this episode I will be going back to the twice a week rate I was going at before for these reviews. This is the first episode of the second season of Shounen Club since the move to NHK Hall so there are some changes to be seen.

Also there is another change not so related to the program but of the videos I have. The video quality, and for this episode the audio quality, has taken a nose dive. I am sure this probably has something to do with the fact that none of the members of Four Tops are in this episode and that NEWS status as a debuted group would have been cemented with their second single that was released that month, as there will be another issue with file quality that will appear around the time Hey! Say! JUMP debut. This is just part of the earlier days of fandom where one fan was pretty much the only one sharing video files of a show and of course if their favorite leaves then you tend to end up being S.O.L. Thankfully these days there is no longer a single source and so this issue will go away around the time the show begins to air in high definition as that is when we get a good stable source for SC episodes.

First thing different that you notice is that the show does not begin with introductions. Instead it starts off with a song, lead by KAT-TUN who are only five members strong this month. And after some quick words from KAT-TUN they launch into a KAT-TUN medley.

Afterwards they are joined on stage by Koyama Keiichiro who is there for I really have no idea. I guess to be the MC for this portion and pop up later in the game segment. Those are the only two times we see him this episode. Perhaps the second episode of the month will shed some light on this.

The talk leads to the next medley that has Tanaka Koki and Nakamaru Yuichi popping up during performances by other groups to do their thing of rapping and beat boxing.

For Toshin Yoshikazu & A.B.C.'s performance in the medley each member gets a solo line. If I am not mistaken this is the first time everyone in this groups has had solo lines so it feels like the group has hit the next milestone for them.

We get the return of Junior Hai~ School! but with some changes for the new season. The biggest change is that instead of Academia Kazama we have Professor Kamenashi as the MC for the segment.

Another change is that instead of the audience being the judge for the winner one of the Juniors get to choose. For this episode that Junior is Akanishi Jin, as they a picture of him to add a caption to.

Afterwards we get member introductions for KAT-TUN. Even though Taguchi Junnosuke is not there for this month they still make sure he gets his introduction as well.

Kame teases that they have a guest that will help them out and during the performance Imai Tsubasa shows up making the group KAI-TUN. Though it is apparent he does not know the group song they are performing but he tries his best.

They then move of songs that Tsubasa knows, his solo songs with the first being Get Up. The song has some interesting choreography to start it off with.

KAT-TUN get to do another skit, this one is about a high school basketball team who is missing their Ace, Junno. Everyone gets to be wonderfully eccentric and over the top and overall it is rather easy to follow along with.

Without further ado we finally get the debut of the Junior group Kis-My-Ft. This original line-up is introduced to us with Kitayama Hiromitsu as the K, Iida Kyohei and the I, Senga Kento as the S, Masuda Takahisa is standing in for an absent Matsumoto Kyohei as the M, Yokoo Wataru as the Y, Fujigaya Taisuke as the F and Tomita Mao as the T.

They of course perform a Hikaru Genji cover as it is easy to see that they are meant to be a Junior version of that group from the age gap between the older members and the younger members as well as of course the roller skates. Though part way through Senga takes off his skates to show off his dance skills but it ends up looking rather awkward when he has to join up with the rest of the group without the skates.

Since the video quality was bad I could not get a good look at the little Juniors roller skating during the performance. Though I was able to catch that at least Nikaido Takashi is one of them. I would not be surprised if at least one of the other younger members of Kis-My-Ft2 was there as well.

Jimmy Mackey then appears out of nowhere and has a solo song, covering the 80s American hit song Jump. He sounds okay but I think I am happier to see at least one of the members of the old guard still around.

KAT-TUN then read a letter and do the usual talk for this segment. By now I think it is safe to say that they will be taking over MC duties for the program this season.

We get a group performance for the Junior groups, minus the new one, of Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana. Kame gets to be surrounded by fans so he gets some props from me for being brave enough to do that.

The new end theme for the new season is called Shining Day! No. 1 and all the Juniors join in for this. Even Kis-My-Ft., minus Massu, show up.

With this season it looks like things are well under way for moving towards the SC I knew when I got into fandom. Of course there are still about three years worth of episodes to catch up to that then another five to reach the current episodes.

But at least the Juniors are becoming more familiar and I think I will find this season interesting to see as there will be Kis-My-Ft2 members to see and we should be getting J.J. Express soon, which means at least tiny Nakajima Yuto and more little Inoo Kei. Also Yaotome Hikaru should be making his return and Ya-Ya-Yah finally becomes a quartet. I think most of this happens in the next few months to come so I have a lot to look forward to. Not to mention the Kanjani8 debut later in the year.

26 September 2012

The Shounen Club 14 March 2004 review

Since this is just a recap episode I will not spend much time with it as it just goes over clips of episodes I have already reviewed. Also I will do the first episode of the next season of Shounen Club up tonight so I can go back on schedule again with these.

The recap episode is hosted by Yamashita Tomohisa and KAT-TUN this time. They show off all the mail the program has received from viewers and promise to read some of it.

This screen shows everything that they will be reviewing in this episode by category. First up are clips from the Junior performances that used a large number of Juniors, usually in group collaborations. But eventually they do all nine categories.

Between the VTRs the seven sit and talk about various topics that usually tie in to the next set of VTR footage.

One of the things this recap has that makes it a bit more interesting than the others is that they do the mini screen in the corner to show reactions of those watching the clips. Which is nice because then you at least know they are watching the footage and not just pretending to.

One of the letters/postcards they show is from a fan that drew faces for each of her favorite Juniors. Though I can only assume they must have the names of the Juniors on them as I do not think anyone would be able tell who was who.

During one of the talk segments the panel that has the cardinal directions is brought up and Ueda Tatsuya gives the explanation for it mentioning that the directions are in order to spell out NEWS if you take the first letter of each in English. Tanaka Koki points out it should be Yamapi saying all that since he is in the group. But they move on to give us the one VTR segment that is not something shown before on the program.

This VTR of NEWS has them as the current eight member group in one of their early outfit sets from their debut concert, IIRC. Since the group have been together for a couple of months they get to update what kind of character each one of them have. Instead of picking their own this time around they have to pick an image for another member. Like Uchi Hiroki pegs Kato Shigeaki as the serious type.

Kusano Hironori gets Nishikido Ryo and says he is the shy type. He tries to explain why but during the explanation Ryo slaps him calling his choice into question.

NEWS end their segment by blowing kisses at the screen.

The members of KAT-TUN then see about giving each other titles for what kind of people they are. The conversation is pretty fun as everyone is joking around with each other and you can tell they have reached the point that they are comfortable with each other as a unit.

The guys wave good bye before the final clip plays, which of course is of one of the performances of the end theme, Non Stop, Don't Stop.

I think this is a better recap episode in comparison with the one done earlier in the season. But that could just be partly because there was more to actually recap. But the KAT-TUN interactions were actually rather fun, though Kamenashi Kazuya and Akanishi Jin actually are not seen as much as the others who really carried the show in general. Plus it was nice that there was something new to be seen with the NEWS talk segment.

Though like past recap episodes if you have been watching the episodes then this has little to offer. So unless you are either a KAT-TUN or NEWS fan you probably would be better off skipping this.

Beginners! First Impressions

Decided to go ahead and give this series a go since the season is wrapping up and I want to be able to catch up to the series I wanted to watch for this drama season before the new one starts.

This drama shows some promise from the first episode though since I have been following reviews of it I know not to keep my hopes up. Even so it looks like a good enough drama to watch to kill some time or just unwind after a busy day with.

I have always liked Fujigaya Taisuke so I was happy to hear that he would be starring in a drama finally. I think he has the talent to be a good actor but still needs more experience. Being the lead in Beginners! should at least help with the experience bit but it feels like the kind of series that will not have much of a lasting effect.

That said I enjoyed watching him in his role as Shimura Teppei and I think he will be the highlight of each episode for me. He plays the typical young male lead well enough and having a smiley character is great for him as he has a great smile.

When the announcement for the series first came out I thought is would be a rather series drama but it looks like I was completely off with that. It actually is more comedy than drama which is fine for me. My only concern is if they will be able to find the right balance of the two elements. The first episode shows promise but there are nine more episodes to go.

It is easy to see that they plan to set up the main male character with the main female character and I feel indifferent to it mainly. Most likely because there has not been much about the characters really given. Only Teppei has been developed as a character in this episode and even then he does not stray far from the young male lead stereotype. The other side of the coupling is Momoe Hiro played by Gouriki Ayame and she comes off as either boring or annoying. I really cannot see myself wanting for them to get together unless there are some major character development moments during the upcoming episodes.

I would talk about Kitayama Hiromitsu but his role was small enough it did not seem worth talking about all that much. I am sure by mid-series he will have had enough to warrant talking about so that will just have to wait until I reach that point and do my write up.

Honestly the show has little impact. There just is not a lot that stands out yet it is not like it is unpleasant to watch. One of the reasons I have this post so short is that I could not honestly remember enough about it that would be worth writing about.

This is definitely a series I will watch the once and then no more unless the quality takes a dramatic upswing, which I know is not going to happen. So instead I will watch and enjoy it for what it is.