02 September 2012

The Shounen Club 5 October 2003 review

As I mentioned at the end of the last review these October 2003 episodes in hindsight are full of clues about NEWS' debut. Of course I doubt anyone watching the show regularly back then could have noticed them for what they are but they do help in figuring out which Juniors are probably on the short list for the next FIVB debut as there are a few patterns that can be seen when you compare these episodes to the ones right before the debuts of the FIVB groups that debuted after NEWS, Hey! Say! JUMP and Sexy Zone.

With the introductions we get the members of the groups introduced listed, which is always nice. And with this we get to see that Junior Boys has grown by one with the addition of Tegoshi Yuya. Like always the others from this group to note are Masuda Takahisa, Kitayama Hiromitsu and Fujigaya Taisuke.

We have several familiar faces back that were missing in the previous month's episodes. So we go back to Akiyama Jun being a MC helper for Four Tops. Jimmy Mackey seems to have more of a presence now as a MC, which is to be expected as he will eventually become the main MC for the show, IIRC.

The first medley is the best five Kinki Kids songs that Ikuta Toma, Kazama Shunsuke and Hasegawa Jun perform the bulk of. 

We then get a letter read to tie into the theme of the episode, friendship. It is an interesting segment to read as while it starts off normally with the boys and crowd looking and sounding excited the moment Kazama gets to the part of the letter that brings up that this fan is hospitalized the atmosphere changes. The boys are completely subdued and it sounds so quiet you could probably hear a pin drop. But the guys do try to lighten things up a bit near the end as it is not meant to be a tearjerker, just a heartfelt letter from a fan that loves the Four Tops. Which in itself is a bit heartbreaking watching the episode knowing that the group is going to be broken up in about a month from the taping.

A Johnny's hit medley is introduced and the opening/closing song for it is actually a song that is not yet a hit. Of course it also goes under a different name than what it will be released as, Peace no Sign, but with lyrics of "to north, to east, to west, to south (We Make a Big NEWS Feel All Right)" and "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 It's Big NEWS!" I think it is safe to say this is NEWS Nippon without a shadow of a doubt. Of course it also helps that the music is exactly the same as well for the song.

Ya-Ya-Yah has all five members present this episode though it would be hard to believe when it is still these three that are front and foremost for the group while the other two are rarely seen.

And we get a couple of other little Juniors getting promoted to be singers. Of course Inoo Kei is the one people will probably recognize as the other left the agency I believe within a year of this episode.

Then we get the start of one of the patterns that has sprung up with FIVB units, the Junior that really has not been seen before on the program being given a seemingly random spotlight. Tegoshi starts it off by having two short duets with Massu (perhaps this can also be seen as the birth of Tegomass as well?) even though this is the first time he has been on the program.

And I have to say for a fourteen year old he has a rather mature sounding voice, even though he looks like he could be younger than his age.

After the Tegomass duets are done we get the full group back to sing more of Peace no Sign/NEWS Nippon. Which gives us 5/9ths of the original NEWS line-up having already learned at least part of the song before their debut.

Akiyama talks to Yamashita Tomohisa and we learn that the guitar Yamapi has with him here was a gift from Nagase Tomoya.

Yamapi then gets to perform his song, Love Song, solo and this time playing the guitar.

Toma has his scoop segment this episode and it is with TOKIO this time. The group of course give him a bit of a hard time about what is news worthy about them. They suggest that Joshima Shigeru's clothes are scoop worthy, and I have to confess I am curious about them myself as it looks like a fashion disaster there.

We finally get some actually news topics for the group when Matsuoka Masahiro brings up that he directed their latest PV for the song, Ambitious Japan. So we get to see some footage from that PV.

We get a rock medley, which seems to be a favorite medley theme of the program. I do wish whoever thinks Jimmy Mackey sounds good singing rock songs get their ears checked. Thankfully though he gets joined by various other Juniors throughout the medley.

Kazama introduces a new segment to the show, one that current SC watchers should be familiar with, where two Juniors get to exchange letters to each other. Most of the time they are a mixture of funny and touching and are generally great at learning more about the relationships between the Juniors, that is if you can understand what they are saying.

Nakamaru Yuichi and Tanaka Koki get to be the first pair to do the segment. And they put forth a good example of what to expect from this segment.

I know I usually do not bother with bringing up the Juniors that do not stay too long on the program but since he has been getting some massive pushing and is becoming hard to avoid I will bring up Matsumoto Kouhei. He will probably be best remembered as one of the original J.J. Express members but he has been getting pushed in these episodes mainly with Inoo. But he seems to be getting a stronger push than Inoo as he gets to sing with Yax3 here and overall is just seen more.

And with K.K.Kity showing up for the medley they bring with them another song that will eventually become a NEWS song. This time the title is the same, STAND UP, but the lyrics a bit different as they are all in English. But again there is no doubt that this is the B-side to NEWS' single Kibou ~Yell~.

After that we get Sennen no Love Song that I bring up as the roller skate boys have been changed this episode. They only have two members of ity this month and are only using two Junior Boys for skating. And that gives us Iida Kyohei, Yokoo Wataru, Kitayama and Fujigaya, or what will be the stable member line-up of Kis-My-Ft and the ones that will go on to be a part of Kis-My-Ft2's original line-up.

We get a return of the Detective Tomas segment with the return of Ikuta Toma. This time it is Four Tops up for being questioned by the audience. Toma finds a father who asked Yamapi a question on behalf of his daughter and generally impressed the guys for supporting his daughter.

We get a KAT-TUN medley with some questionable outfits. I know this is supposed to look sexy but all I can think is that their pants look like they were made of the same material as rain slickers, which destroys any sex appeal any of them have to me.

Yamapi gets his Pchan no hitorigoto segment that leads directly to Yabu getting a short solo. That leads to the cuteness that is the screen shot above. As well as the end of the program.

Sadly we do not get Tegoshi and Massu in the end theme but the little Juniors highlighted in the episode do get to join in. So yay for little Inoo.

It is interesting to see all the set up being done for NEWS' debut without anyone really expecting for the debut or which Juniors would get to debut. It is easy to see after the fact what is being done but I can understand why it would take fans by surprise. Especially Four Tops fans, as there does seem to be a bit of a focus back on them as a group this episode.

Also there are some things that can be seen with the episode that showed up with the pre-debut episodes of other FIVB groups. Like the random new Junior spotlight of Tegoshi has been repeated with Hey! Say! JUMP's Okamoto Keito. And the song(s) of the debuted group being first performed by a mix of Juniors that will be in the group and those who will not was repeated with Sexy Zone and With You.

It is definitely an episode worth seeing, as well as the next one, to try to spot similarities between them and the episodes right before the other FIVB groups are debuted. Which will probably be useful in 2015 when the next group will be due.

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