01 October 2012

The Shounen Club 2 May 2004 review

While I knew J.J. Express' debut was soon behind Kis-My-Ft.'s I did not realize it was just the next month. Though at least the file quality is a bit better for it.

Unlike last month we do get introductions at the start of the program. They are mixed though with members of KAT-TUN getting individual introductions then having the group with them getting introduced. The older Kis-My-Ft. four get introduced by name though it is hard to tell as Jimmy Mackey rushes their names together so it sounds mostly like gibberish.

After the introductions KAT-TUN remain on stage to have a MC talk that leads to them revealing that the theme of the episode will be "Seishun", youth.

KAT-TUN then lead the first performance and do a quick costume change to do so. I do not think I remember ever seeing any other group change outfits as much as KAT-TUN does on stage.

Kamenashi Kazuya remains on stage afterwards to do a MC segment on his own. It is him talking about his younger days as well as acting it out set to music. I will give kudo points for having one of the songs being ZARD's Makenaide. This leads into the next performance, a seishun medley.

The medley is lead by KAT-TUN, no real shocker there by now, but at least bring in the other Juniors to perform with them.

I do not care for Ueda Tatsuya's solo thing time around. The song does not really fit his voice but his group of back dancing Juniors do include an energetic Fujigaya Taisuke and Kitayama Hiromitsu so there was still something to enjoy.

After the medley Ueda gets to read a letter from a Ya-Ya-Yah fan. Then he introduces J.J. Express as the next performers.

This original J.J. Express line up is a trio consisting of Inoo Kei, Yamashita Takumi (no relation to the other Yamashitas in Johnny's) and Nakajima Yuto. So we now have Nakajima accounted for, though it looks like it is actually Inoo who is the center of this group. But I am sure it will not be too much longer before Nakajima starts getting promoted. In any case they get no official introduction like Kis-My-Ft., just announced by Ueda and the on screen name tags used.

There is the return of Attate Pon! this episode as well as Akanishi Jin as the one they have to guess the correct answer about. Our panel of judges is actually a nice mix and Masuda Takahisa makes his first appearance for the episode.

They have to guess what was Jin's first role in a stage production. From the choices I think it is safe to say this was a school production of some kind.

After the game we get a VTR segment and learn that Ikuta Toma has not been completely removed from the program as he still has his Toma Scoop segment. He gets to interview Takizawa Hideaki about his musical Dream Boy as well as the first full album for Tackey & Tsubasa.

Kame and Akanishi Jin get to be featured in a medley that starts with them singing a duet, then has them sing a solo song each before having the rest of KAT-TUN join them for the final song.

Kame though has a questionable stage choice for his solo as it has Tanaka Koki in the background on a bed looking angst-y. Well until the song is done and he complains to Kame for being too loud.

There is a new segment that has Nakamaru Yuichi dressed in old fashioned Japanese dress and Ueda as a fairy. Nakamaru goes into the audience and asks them questions, for this episode it is about the theme of youth.

Jimmy Mackey gets a solo song, this time covering the English language song The Power of Love. I always think immediately to the Back to the Future movies whenever I hear this song and this was no exception. Still I think Jimmy's voice is lacking and I get the feeling that whenever Johnny's has no idea what to do with a Junior they stick him with a band. Kinda like how Uchi Hiroki is currently attached to Question?

It is Koki's turn to talk to the audience and he does so about the theme of the episode until he joins his group on stage to start off the next performance.

KAT-TUN kicks off the song Ao no Jidai that eventually has the rest of the Junior groups join them. Biggest thing I noted was that it looks like Kis-My-Ft. may have already changed members by dropping the younger two and are down to the older five members. But I guess that will be made clear in the next few episodes if that has happened already.

With everyone on stage it means things are perfect to go into the end song with.

Honestly at this point it is clear to see that KAT-TUN has pretty much taken over the program. I guess that is partly what makes me happy to see the new Junior groups pop up as I hope with them there will be a bit more balance. Though seeing that these years are around the peak years for KAT-TUN it may be in vein and I will just have to wait for them to debut for that more balanced SC episode I am hoping for.

In any case I am really happy to see Nakajima finally. Arioka Daiki should be the next Hey! Say! JUMP member to show up and I think there is a bit of a break before the next ones show up. And Yaotome Hikaru should also be reappearing soon, IIRC. So it will be nice to see that group start to come together in the upcoming episodes. Especially since after them the only other groups I look forward to seeing members show up for are Sexy Zone and Bakaleya6, which will be a long wait for some of those members.

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