31 October 2012

Q&A Month! (2012)

Like last year I am going to do a Q&A month for the month of November. This time it is more to help me move out of my current rut and get myself back on task with blogging. Though the fact that I liked doing it last year and was pretty happy with answering all the questions given to me.

Again as long as the question is about Johnny's, or at least Japanese idols (Korean idols would be fine but I do not follow many), I am game for trying to give an answer. Since I no longer have a more personal blog off topic questions are not likely to be answered this time around.

You have to leave your question here in this post if you want me to answer it.

The period of time I will have for leaving questions this time around will just be from the time this post goes up to the end of November. And I will make sure that I will answer all questions before the end of the year.

There's no limit on how many questions you can ask. If you do ask more than one question though I will not answer them all in order, instead I will answer one then answer at least one more from someone else before going back to answer the next question from you. And if you think of a question later on in the month that you did not ask with a previous question feel free to still go ahead and ask away as long as it is in the allotted timeframe.

So with all of that said, please feel free to go ahead and ask away.

30 October 2012

Piece Ep. 4 first impressions

One of these weeks I'll get this review up closer to when I first view the episode instead of a couple of days after now that I have found a source for it that has it up much quicker than the first episode.

Before I begin this review I want to give a warning that there will be discussion of attempted rape, so if that triggers you than you might want to skip the review or at least scroll down to the screen cap of smiley Hasegawa Jun on a sunny day and start reading from there.

We start right where we left off in the past episode with Mizuho having been caught red handed by Narumi in his mother's room. He confronts her and Mizuho is at a loss what to do or say.

Narumi tries to force a decision out of Mizuho, but only ends up scaring her. Even more when he decides to force himself on her even though she cries for him not to. He does stop without getting very far noting that she is actually crying.

Terrified, Mizuho runs out of the house now that she has the chance. Nanao shows up shortly after she leaves and Narumi asks her about why the door to the room was unlocked. He does not seem to get an answer he is happy with and turns off the TV that is showing a younger him staring at the camera monitoring him.

I really hate this (attempted) rape trope and I am very unnerved with how frequent it is used in shoujo manga. And by the romantic lead character no less. I will give Piece credit in at least having Narumi having enough decency to stop before getting very far and the fact that this act is the one that ends the relationship, as honestly it should be.

The thing that makes me hate this trope so much is that usually even after it happens the heroine for some reason still wants to be in a relationship with the guy or that the guy is made to look sympathetic. This seems to be avoided with Mizuho clearly being distraught enough that she no longer wants to pursue a relationship with Narumi and that Narumi continues to be the asshole he always was. And it even makes sense for his character to try something like this as he already know he can be dangerous and that he is sex driven when it comes to girls.

I can only hope that if they do get together later in this drama he has changed (which does not seem all that likely from the first episode) or will change or we will have one of many countless shoujo series with an unhealthy relationship being toted as an example of true love. And that will definitely sour me on this drama real quick.

In class the next day Narumi acts as nothing is any different and continues to flirt with other girls. And with that the relationship is over.

It is probably not the most ideal solution to the events but it makes sense seeing as Mizuho had been keeping the relationship a secret when things were going well for them so after something like that her just trying to put it all behind her is a rational reaction. And she does not try to get back with him or show any real want to really do so which is a plus, because again that is probably the worst thing about the rape/attempted rape trope.

Back in the present day Mizuho meets with her college boyfriend and they end up breaking up. When she questions him about it he tells her that he felt that she was always cold, if I am getting it right.

She remembers happier times and is just confused about her feelings about the matter as she does not seem to see what he told her.

(Also to note I did not recognize Hasejun until this episode. He actually looks older until back in his teen days when it looked like he would never look older than 14. But since he gets to do much more this episode, like actually talk and have more than one facial expression I could tell it was him. But I do feel embarrassed for taking this long to notice.)

With the boyfriend broken up with and Mizuho feeling unsatisfied about really not understanding others she ends up focusing that frustration towards something, trying to figure out who Haruka was seeing before she died. She ends up seeing Haruka's mother again who talks about how she found out about Haruka seeing someone and being pregnant by finding a message on her cellphone.

Without much to go on Mizuho figures her best bet is to get in touch with Narumi, as he was the only one she knew that had talked to Haruka in high school.

The two meet up and Mizuho asks in a very round about way what Narumi and Haruka's relationship was. Narumi says that there was nothing between the two. But since she brought up the topic of someone liking Haruka he tells her that he knew of someone that did like Haruka and from the clue he gave her Mizuho is able to guess that it was Yanai Takashi who was on the same committee as she was.

Later she calls Yanai up and asks to speak to him about Haruka and we end the episode on that.

With about 95% of the preview being with scenes with Yanai in them I think it is finally truly safe to say his character will finally have his time to be a focus of the story. So rejoice Matsumura Hokuto fans, you no longer have to try to catch snippets of him in an episode or have to settle for his appearance in the opening theme for a change.

Hopefully now that we are done with seeing Mizuho and Narumi's high school relationship come and go and the focus is shifting towards the mystery part of the series we will be seeing more of the supporting characters in general. Of course I doubt things will end without Mizuho and Narumi continuing to interact, I think it is pretty clear Mizuho is probably going to need Narumi's help in solving the mystery as he was the only one to talk to Haruka and seems to know a lot of what was going on with people in high school, which makes sense with how many people he knew. But for the next few episodes it would make more narrative sense to not focus so much on them as we need to learn more about the characters that were introduced back in the first episode or this is going to be a pretty weak mystery if we do not have the potential motives for suspected characters fleshed out well.

29 October 2012

Other Idols Master Post 001

Since it seems the Master Post thing is going well I am adding one more, this one for the other idols that do not fit under Johnny's or AKS.

Unfortunately I do have a member leaving news for this post. But honestly this was probably a long time coming. Happiness/E-Girls member MIMU, will be withdrawing from the groups. She had been on leave for a while because of academic reasons, the rumor being that her grades were suffering so her parents made her stop activities to fix that. So having this announcement is not a great blow as it was always very iffy what her future would be, especially as she was only one of the dancers for the group, not one of the two vocalists.

Oricon Style article (Japanese)

In much happier news rookie idol group, Love La Doll, will be releasing a new single on November 7th. The title of the single is Honey Bee which is produced by Armyslick, who has produced for K-pop idol group KARA. This will be the group's second single after debuting with their first single back in August.

Honey Bee / Love La Doll
Love La Doll

28 October 2012

Sidelining Sexy Zone

It is not that I do not care at all for Sexy Zone anymore, but I just do not feel drawn to this group as I have the other groups that I do love. And I will not be completely dropping them either, as there is enough to keep some interest from me but just not enough to try to follow them as closely as my favorites. But probably the biggest change is that I will only be picking up albums from now on from them, unless they come out with a A-side single that I actually love.

Even from their debut I just never felt the kind of draw to the group as I did for NEWS, Hey! Say! JUMP or Kis-My-Ft2. I did like Nakajima Kento and Kikuchi Fuma, still do, but my favorite B.I. Shadow member was always Matsumura Hokuto. The other three members of SZ were unknown factors to me, though I thought Sato Shori held promise. But I also did not care for their debut song, though I liked the B-sides to the single. Lady Diamond I thought was a step up but Sexy Summer ni Yuki ga Furu is one of the weakest A-sides I have heard from a Johnny's group since Wonderful Cupid. And while I do not hate it like I do Wonderful Cupid I still have no care for the song.

When I compare to the other two FIVB groups I love I think three singles in has given me enough to judge it they are a group worth following closely for me. For NEWS and HSJ I loved their major debut singles (Kibou ~Yell~ and Ultra Music Power), did not love their second singles (Akaku Moyuru Taiyo and Dreams come true) as much but enjoyed them still and loved their third singles (Cherish and Your Seed). In fact the A-sides to the third single of both groups has remained a favorite song to this day. And to me HSJ's third single was really important as it was the first song they had that really showed off what they could do as a group of ten that smaller groups could not when it came to the dance for Your Seed.

SZ in comparison is the reverse so I think it is best to go ahead and stop getting their singles. I will pick up their first album though, as I still have hope for this group and there are reasons for me to not just drop them completely. But even though I like their B-sides it just is not enough to justify getting the single to me.

My main reasons for sticking with this group are Nakaken and Kikuchi, honestly. Not just because I was a B.I. Shadow fan, but because every time I see a new performance with them I can tell that they have really found whatever they really needed to shine. In fact I would say all the members of BIS have done better since the group was disbanded then when it was together. And it really shows with Nakaken and Kikuchi as with SZ they are the ones with the most experience as well as the eldest two so they have to step up to be the leads for this group, especially since it is a smaller group.

Nakaken and Kikuchi have amazed me with how strong they are performing as I do not think this was something that you could see so much during their Junior days. Sure it was unmistakable that Nakaken just exuded charisma on the stage even from his first appearance on Shounen Club, but I would not have guessed that he would be able to just own his solos like he does now. And Kikuchi always came off reserved and I never would have guessed he had the voice he had until SZ and him getting to do solo songs instead of a solo line here and there. These two are probably going to become amazing performers and will be great role models for the younger members of their group so I definitely will want to keep an eye on them still.

The others I just see potential in them but they need to show a bit more than that to get my interest. Until then they are just adorable kids, with Shori trying really hard to be able to fit in with Nakaken and Kikuchi but probably still needs some more time to mature. Also I would not be surprised if Shori's voice is still changing and the other two need to get through that nebulous period and I fear they may end up like Chinen Yuri, wonderful child voice but not so pleasant to listen to adult voice. Especially with Matsushima So, since he is the one with the good voice though from what I can tell Yo Marius is not so bad either.

I also do not want to give up on this group completely because I have had groups grow on me. TOKIO did not take long for that but it took until about last year for me to love Kanjani8. So while SZ does not appeal to me much now I know that can always potentially change. Which is another reason I think switching them to an album only group is for the best with me.

In summary, I will not follow SZ as much as before but I am not going to completely ignore them either. The only releases of theirs I will bother getting from now on will be albums for the forseeable future. Nakaken and Kikuchi rule, the rest need more time, possibly.

On another note, there is some SZ news to share as well. In early January the group will be having a Winter concert tour that will take them to Osaka and Tokyo (Yokohama Arena). It is scheduled for five concerts for now.

I think this is the sign that SZ will be taking over the multiple concerts in a year role that Hey! Say! JUMP held, as I doubt HSJ will be having winter concerts this year. But we will have to wait and see about that to have it confirmed.

27 October 2012

AKS Master Post 007

One of these days I will have one of these posts without a graduation announcement in it. But sadly this is not one of those days.

Mitsumune Kaoru from AKB48 has announced that she will be graduating from the group. She cites that she has been suffering from health issues since August 2012.

I am willing to believe her as she was only just promoted to a team and seemed like she would have been one of the main up and comers of the group if she could stay. She definitely benefited from being a member as she had acting roles in a couple of dramas like Ataru and Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou.

Very rarely does a member from AKB48 catch my eye or attention but Kaoru did just that with her performance in Bakaleya. She has the talent to be a good actress and I hope that her short time with AKB48  will help her out if continues to pursue that career choice.


In good news NMB48 will finally be added to the Live On Demand (LOD) service by DMM.com. This means that people can pay to see video of a live show for a fee, so those who cannot make it to the theatre or could not get a ticket for a performance can still watch it.

Melos no Michi article (English)

26 October 2012


It has been announced that NEWS will be doing the image song for the NTV coverage of the FIFA Club World Champion 2012. The title of the song will be WORLD QUEST.

Sanspo article (Japanese)

Still no concrete news about the single that is supposed to be coming from the group but it is probably safe to say that this song is probably going to be on it.

The championship will be in December and I have the feeling that will be the month we will get a new single from NEWS, as most of the other Johnny's groups will have releases close enough to the month that it would be too soon for something new or be busy with other activities. NEWS does not have those issues and if WORLD QUEST ends up being the A-side having it released around the time of the championship just makes sense.

I watched the first episode of the drama Hana no Zubora-Meshi and got to hear more of Pekoponpekorya, and it is a cute and fun sounding song. Yet it is not the kind of song I would expect to be an A-side track as it does not sound as strong as Chankapaana. So I was hoping that there would be another song to be the A-side of their upcoming single and have Pekopon either be on it as a double A-side or a B-side with a tie-in.

The Junior Concerts are Coming

Two concerts featuring the Juniors have been announced, one for the Tokyo Juniors and the other for the Kansai Juniors. Information about both came be found on Johnny's net.

The Kansai Junior concert will be held November 23rd in Osaka and the ORIX Theater. It will headline Nakayama Yuma and has the Kansai Juniors Kiriyama Akito, Nakama Junta,  Shigeoka Daiki, Kamiyama Tomohiro, Kotaki Nozomu and Fujii Ryusei listed by name under his. And of course it mentions that there will be other Kansai Juniors participating.

The other concert will be on December 16th at Yokohama Arena and from the title is to feature the Fresh Juniors, or the newer Juniors.

It is nice to see Yuma back with other Kanjuu, especially past group members. It is a bit odd to just have it randomly in November as the Kanjuu normally have Christmas concerts that he could have done with them, so I wonder if there might be a bit more to this concert. Though that is just me being hopeful, as I really would love to have something big happen for the Kanjuu soon.

The last time they had concerts featuring the Fresh Juniors was back in 2009 when they came out with Nakayama Yuma w/B.I.Shadow and NYC boys, so I am very curious what Johnny's has planned for this concert. Especially since they are using the Yokohama Arena, compared to a hall where the 2009 concerts took place. I mean it was at the Yokohama Arena that Hey! Say! JUMP and Kis-My-Ft2 had their debut announcements. I do not think we will get a debut announcement but there is a presidence about this venue that something should happen/be announced at this concert.

I hope that at least we will get a new group or two formed for the concert, maybe a special temp unit. I cannot think of a group that I would like to see debuted so soon, as it would really be only Bakaleya6 and noonboyz, maybe Snow Man, to go from but none of the members in those groups are Fresh Juniors. And as much as I love B6 I would rather have them wait a while before debut as there are some things they need to iron out for a group before I would consider them debut ready.

In any case I know I will be excitedly awaiting any news from these concerts.

24 October 2012

Piece Ep. 3 first impressions

Figured I should at least try to keep this on schedule. And thankfully there are subs out for at least the first episode which has helped fill in blanks I had for that episode and helped expand my understanding of what is probably going on.

We start off again in the present day with Mizuho talking with Haruka's mother. Mizuho tells her that they were not really friends and that it was probably just something Haruka believed on her own. Haruka's mother then leaves her and shortly after Narumi comes up to speak with Mizuho. They talk about Haruka considering Mizuho and she recalls the scene from last episode where she gave her a handkerchief and believes that might have been why.

We then go back to the second year of high school, with Narumi and Mizuho laying in his bed. After a cell phone begins to go off Mizuho leaves the room to search for a bathroom. She finds a locked door during her search. She ends up talking with Nanao and learns that the locked door is to Narumi's mother's room. Mizuho then begins asking her about Narumi. Nanao points out that Mizuho probably likes Narumi which seems to unsettle Mizuho.

Yasui Kentaro finally gets to show up in the drama for a short scene that is also Matsumura Hokuto and Suzuki Airi's only appearance for this episode. Kinda annoying that they were featured in the preview for this episode to only have such a small amount of screen time. Oh well, Yasui and Airi are pretty cute in their roles here and Hokuto does get to speak at least.

Mizuho ends up calling off meeting with Narumi for a while. During this time she ends up having a talk with her friend that has a boyfriend. Her friend tells her what being in love feels like then points out that Mizuho seems like there is someone that she likes.

Afterwards Mizuho finally decides to stop doing what she believes is expected of her and just do something because she simply wants to. She goes to Narumi's house and when no one answers let herself in as the door was unlocked and waits for Narumi in his room.

She hears someone moving in the house and goes looking for them, believing it to be either Narumi or Nanao. She ends up finding the door for Narumi's mother's room unlocked. Curiosity gets the best of her and she goes in. She finds a room that looks like an office with a desk and lots of shelves with books and videotapes. She accidentally discovers that the binders are logs all about Narumi. She then sees the videos are the same and watching one learns that his mother seems to have made him into research material.

Mizuho is caught watching the tape by Narumi and we end the episode there. And though it does look nice and dramatic there is also something that just comes off as odd to have Narumi just sitting there when he does catch her. I mean did he sit down and watch her for a bit before speaking or something? I hope this might be a bit more apparent with the next episode.

From the preview I may have to spend some time ranting against a certain trope in shoujo manga that I despise. I am disappointed with this as the series was doing so good so far. But we shall see how that scene actually plays out as there is still a chance that if handled well it will avoid my complete hatred.

Setting the preview aside this is not a bad episode. It does not seem as strong as the first two but I think it is because it is doing more foundation laying in this episode than story telling. That and as much as I have liked Mizuho and Narumi together I would like to see more of the supporting cast, especially the ones that have been highlighted in the opening theme as I would assume that would mean that they have a large role to play in the story eventually.

At least is looks like we have a reason behind why Narumi is a bit twisted as a person, as I doubt anyone raised like that would come out without being affected. And it helps clear who Nanao is as she is seen taking care of Narumi in the video and being concerned about his well being from being treated the way his mother is treating him for her research.

Hopefully there is a bit more movement with the mystery solving part of this series as the present day scenes seem to indicate that they are finally move towards something. Also it does not look like Mizuho and Narumi's relationship will be lasting much longer to judge by the previews.

22 October 2012

Farewell, Akun.

I know I have been slacking with posts here and it is partly because I knew that I would have to write this post because this is something that I do not want to lump with other Junior news.
Apparently a few days ago the profile and voice messages for Igo Akun, one of the guitarist for the Junior band Question? have been taken off the official Johnny's sites. While the profile that came off of TakiCHANnel is not complete proof of this as not all Juniors have their profiles up there for whatever reason and some have disappeared before even though the Junior was still with the agency, the removal of the voice messages has been pretty spot on. I guess they next bits of confirmation we need is for Question? to do something as a group and have him missing. But I think it is safe to say that he has indeed left Johnny's.

While I had given up the hope of Question? debuting some time ago I still do like the group, especially Akun, who was my favorite member. He was always great at being entertaining and getting laughs out of people. I knew whenever he would be given the chance to be in the spotlight I was going to love it. He was always a great highlight to any of the Shounen Club episodes he got to be a part of a segment on. The program just is not going to be the same without him there.

I am going to miss him so dearly and I hope that whatever he decides to do with his life from now on he will be happy. 

My personal wish is that he plans on continuing his career in a band like pretty much all the recent Junior band members from FiVE and Question? I think if that will be the case then leaving Johnny's would be a good idea as they just do not seem to want to bother with debuting another band group, not when you have groups like Kanjani8 and Hey! Say! JUMP that have members that can create their own band within their group. That and they seem to be moving more towards just letting the Juniors that can play instruments do so for concerts without grouping them together. 

I guess the only hope of another Johnny's band group debuting if there is another rock band boom in the Japanese music industry, so I cannot blame any of the members of FiVE or Question? for leaving. Though it does not stop it from being heartbreaking all the same.

21 October 2012

AKS Master Post 006

Well I have to say I am loving Kitagawa Kenji from NMB48. It is such a fun and catchy song to listen to and the PV is a joy to watch. Definitely better than their last single, Virginity. Cannot wait to get this with my November pre-orders.


NMB48 members Yamamoto Sayaka and Watanabe Miyuki will be releasing their first photo albums on November 21st. Since they are being released on the same day they are going to be pitted in a sales battle between the two with the winner getting to star in their own solo commercial.


It looks like the rash of graduations from NMB48 did not end after the creation of Team BII. Since then we have had two graduation announcements. First from 3rd gen KKS Togo Sora, which was only a day or two after the team announcement. Then on October 18th Team N's Matsuda Shiori announced her graduation from the group.

As for reasons why they left most of it is speculation from what can be picked up from their final posts.

Sora's final message does sound like she was getting discouraged with being in the group and it seems like not being picked for Team BII was the final nail in that coffin for her.

While with Shiokichi she talked about wanting to return to being a normal teenage girl again. I think though with her it could be guessed a part of it is that she was one of the least pushed members of Team N and was one of the girls caught up in the group's early scandals. While the other girls in that scandal have had various levels of success with bouncing back from it she was the least successful, with barely appearing in the singles and such. And with a new team created the chances for her to become more prominent again were looking pretty slim.

It will be interesting to see who gets promoted to Team N after Shiokichi leaves. Whoever they will be they will be the first none 1st gen KKS to be included into the group. I cannot help but think that it will probably be a 2nd gen KKS, especially since Team BII was nothing but 3rd gen KKS.

In any case I do hope we get a break from the NMB48 graduations for a while. It is disheartening to see so many girls leave all around the same time even though there is a lot of positive things happening with the group at the same time.

19 October 2012

Junior News Round-Up 002

Time to gather some bits of Junior news to share.

First off the rumors about a couple of the members of the Bakaleya6 transferring schools have been proven true. Both Matsumura Hokuto and Kyomoto Taiga are now current students at Horikoshi high school, the school known for having a flexible schedule for those in the entertainer track. Both reportedly had to go back a year so Taiga is in the same class as Tanaka Juri and Hokuto in the class with Sato Shori.

I think this transfer makes a lot of sense. Hokuto has been in dramas non-stop since Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou so going to a school that allows a good deal of schedule flexibility is perfect so he can keep up with that kind of work schedule. For Taiga the school he was attending is one that is strict about missing class, which is probably one of the reasons why he has not gotten as much work as some of the other members of Bakaleya6. So hopefully with the change in schools we will be seeing more of him, as Johnny's does like to push their lead singers in groups.

With Morimoto Shintaro starting high school next year I think it would be safe to say that he will be going to Horikoshi. Especially since his older brother is attending the school. So that would be four out of the six members of the group being eventual alumni of this school. And Shintaro could end up being classmates with Sexy Zone's Matsushima So, as they both turn(ed) 15 this year so they should be in the same grade. That is of course if Matsushima decides to go to Horikoshi of course, as it is an expensive school to go to.

Takada Sho will be in the movie, Sakura, futatabi no Kanako, that will star Japanese actress Hirosue Ryoko and SMAP member Inagaki Goro. Little is known about his part outside of the fact that he has one.

JE News Daily (English)

I am happy for him. Takada's biggest breaks seem to all be with acting so I personally would not mind if he becomes one of those Juniors that take an acting route instead of the usual idol route. Especially as he has never been in a Junior group yet.

Nakayama Yuma is scheduled to perform on Music Station next week.

Glad to see Yuma getting on MSte so quickly. This should hopefully mean he will be on the program at least twice, this once the week before the release and next week when the single is actually released. 

17 October 2012

The Shounen Club 1 August 2004 review

While this is a recap episode they actually use quite a bit of new footage with the VTR segments so this one will be the only one for this day instead of doing two episode reviews like I have done in the past when there is a recap episode.

This episode begins with a montage segment that has clips shown on the black background with the words "We're Johnny's Jr." going over the clips. Unfortunately they made the words pretty transparent so they are difficult to read at times.

Tanaka Koki and Nakamaru Yuichi are dorks as they try to do the flashlight thing to create a scary atmosphere to introduce the episode.

The lights turn on as the rest of the group shows up to introduce the true theme of the episode, history. This theme works well as not only does it fit well for a recap episode but history is also the theme of SUMMARY for 2004 so it works as cross promotion as well.

While I am usually not too keen on posting screen caps of episodes I have been able to go over I have no such issues with most of it for this recap. The quality is just so poor with those other files it really feels worth it to post a couple from this recap just to see how clear these are. I mean you actually see the Juniors back dancing well enough to tell who they are, like the little Senga Kento here in the pink.

After they are done showing the clips from April's episodes they go back to KAT-TUN. Taguchi Junnosuke gets to start a trend of whoever has to read something wears a pair of glasses. Junno reads promotion for the SUMMARY concerts, focusing on NEWS.

We then get VTR of NEWS, or the ones actually involved in the 2004 SUMMARY concerts. As you can see they are down to six for it as the two Kansai members are with Kanjani8 doing activities with them. All the members are really hyperactive, even Yamashita Tomohisa, so I think it is safe to say that they must be getting used to each other as a group finally as they all seem pretty at ease with each other this time around.

It is then time to look at the clips of the May episodes. So we get to see the full glory of Masuda Takahisa's blue coat here.

And that Yamapi wrote the song, so why it has not surfaced on one of his solo CDs releases is beyond me as he seems to have released everything else.

Instead of going back to KAT-TUN again we get the oldest three of Kanjani8. They are there to promote their summer tour basically. They do outright say that Nishikido Ryo and Uchi Hiroki will be a part of their tour, confirming why NEWS is down to the six they are for SUMMARY this year.

It returns to KAT-TUN just for them to talk about the next item on the agenda, Ya-Ya-Yah's stage play that summer, Stand By Me. We get some clips from the play, which stars the final line up of four members for the group.

We get a Toma Scoop segment that was done when he did his last one with V6. Ikuta Toma had three video tapes of old footage of the older members of the group that he had to grab out of a box and ended up picking Inohara Yoshihiko, so we get to see old clips of him.

These clips are mainly from a program called Idol on Stage, which going from the air dates is the show that probably pre-dated Music Jump as the Junior program. And of course we get some of the more lulzier stuff that came from that generation of idols.

They dedicated a spot for the newly formed Junior groups, Kis-My-Ft. and J.J. Express. Though both performances that they picked are before the more recent line up changes.

When we return to KAT-TUN we get read a letter from a fan that admires the Juniors' dancing. And Junno gets to unleash a pun that actually gets the rest to laugh for a change.

One of the clips we get to see from that June episode is one of the ones I could not watch. It is a performance by Yax3 of their song Sekai ga Hitotsu ni Naru Mada de with Juniors doing the hand motions with them. And as you can see Nakajima Yuto can be clearly spotted in this, and then to the right of Ayukawa Taiyo here is Nikaido Takashi, so it looks like it was a good performance to spot the younger Juniors with.

The episode ends the new footage with KAT-TUN relaying the message that the Juniors are doing their best and for the audience to take care of them, i.e. support them. After that we get footage from one of the ending song performances from the last month so again it really is not worth screen capping.

In the end I would say this episode is more half a recap episode half a promotion episode for all the various live shows the Juniors were involved with that summer. Which is not bad at all as having two recap episodes in one year can get tedious as there is not much more to recap when the next one comes around.

It is interesting to see how busy the Juniors were back then. But it makes a lot of sense since Kanjani8 were just about to have their major debut, KAT-TUN of course had the status of being the most popular Junior group cemented when Four Tops was broken up so it makes sense for them to be paired up with the newly debuted NEWS. And Ya-Ya-Yah was just on a roll at this time.

When I first got into Johnny's I did not see what made some of those groups so popular but after watching all the episodes of SC that I have so far I find myself understanding perfectly well. I feel that I am going to have a lot to write about once I have finally caught up to the current episodes.

Piece Ep. 2 first impressions

I'm quite sad that there seems to be no one all that interested in subbing this drama as even though I can only following part of what is going on I am finding it much more interesting that the drama it replaced. Hopefully this will be eventually fixed.

We start the episode where we left of in the first episode, with Haruka's mom asking Mizuho about the father of her daughter's unborn child. Mizuho is of course in shock and from what I can tell says she was just a classmate.

We then get a flashback/dream sequence of a young Mizuho taking a bus. It plays out like it should be a flash back minus the man in black that appears and disappears out of now where that she talks to and is played by Nakayama Yuma. It ends with young Mizuho being reunited with her worried mother as she had taken the wrong bus.

We then jump ahead to the second year of high school after the summer when Mizuho had her date with Narumi. She hides this fact from her friends though and Narumi does not act any different than before as he continues to flirt with any girl that is interested in him.

Being next to each other in class they get ample time to talk but Mizuho tries her best to act indifferently to him, especially around friends.

Narumi tries to work his magic and into Mizuho's panties but Mizuho tells him to stop and he actually does. It may take a second time to get him to actually just quit and he clearly is not happy that she does not want to have sex with him. But he relents, and as someone familiar with the usual shoujo tropes this is kind of amazing.

Usually the genre is terrible with consent and sex so the fact that Narumi is actually willing to back off, even if he is not happy with it, comes as a surprise, but a very pleasant one. So congrats Narumi, you may be a jerk but at least you understand that "no" means "no".

Narumi leaves the room to go into a pigsty, or another room of the house he seems to actually live in. He and Mizuho end up talking and playfully fighting. It is overall pretty cute and reminds me actually of my teen years, with the atmosphere of light hearted-ness. If that makes any sense. Mizuho eventually makes dinner from the ready to eat stuff in the fridge and they have dinner together before Mizuho leaves to go home.

Narumi walks her to the bus stop and decides to tease her by not kissing her when she expected him to.

Mizuho comes to school early to begin studying. When she gets there he sees Haruka already there. She notices that someone was written on Haruka's desk in marker insults. After trying to studying while Haruka tries to wipe the marker off Mizuho gets up and giver her handkerchief to Haruka, as Haruka's is all dirty from the scrubbing already.

I think it is easy to tell this is one of the missing pieces of why Haruka thought of Mizuho, as it is clear that the act means a lot to her.

Later that day Narumi and Mizuho meet to go to his house again. Mizuho makes them take separate buses though as she does not want people at school to notice them.

Mizuho greets a woman in the house. I am not sure who she is, Mizuho I believe calls her Nanao-san, and she looks to be preparing food. Not to mention the room that was a complete mess before is clean so perhaps she is a maid that comes by the house weekly or something. In any case she and Mizuho briefly exchanged words before Narumi comes by to take Mizuho up to his room.

Narumi asks her what is acceptable for her and she tells him only kisses and hugs (embraces) are okay. Narumi is not completely fine with it but after a bit he gives in and they stick to embracing each other.

The episode ends with the two just laying in Narumi's bed next.embracing each other as thoughts go through Mizuho's head.

While this episode focused heavily on the two main leads I think this is a needed episode to really get into the why of the relationship. That way it is out of the way and they can move on to the other side stories that they need to tie in to the greater story, which is why I think we see so many of the supporting characters in the preview.

Speaking of which going by that for the next episode we get to break away from Mizuho and Narumi a bit and get to see more of the supporting cast. So Matsumura Hokuto, Yasui Kentaro and Suzuki Airi fans rejoice, as all three are featured prominently.

15 October 2012

Nakayama Yuma profile

Nakayama Yuma (中山優馬)
Birthdate: 1994.01.13
Birthplace: Osaka
Blood type: A
Admired sempai: Kondo Masahiko, Yasuda Shota
Previous groups: Top Kids, Nakayama Yuma w/Hey! Say! 7 WEST, Nakayama Yuma w/B.I.Shadow
Current groups: NYC
Dramas: Battery (2008), Samurai Tenkosei (2008), Koishite Akuma ~Vampire Boy~ (2009), Hidarame Tantei EYE (2010), Honto ni Atta Kowai Hanashi (2011), Tsubasa yo! Are ga Koi no Hi da (2012), Piece (2012)

Yuma joined the agency's Kansai branch as a Kansai Junior back in 2006. In his early Junior days he was placed in the group Top Kids.

Tops Kids would later become Hey! Say! 7 WEST, created to be the Kansai version of the Hey! Say! 7 Tokyo Junior group around the time Hey! Say! JUMP debuted.

In 2008 he got his break through role in the drama series Battery, where he played the lead with Tokyo Junior Takada Sho. From there his popularity shot up and he began to receive heavy pushing from the agency.

In 2009 he landed his next lead drama role in Koishite Akuma ~Vampire Boy~. For this drama he got to sing the theme song, Akuma na Koi, with the temporary group created for it, Nakayama Yuma w/B.I.Shadow.

With the single announced another group that Yuma would be placed in was created, NYC boys. NYC boys had the same members as YuBIS plus Hey! Say! JUMP members Yamada Ryosuke and Chinen Yuri. After the single was released the group continued though without the boys (BIS).

With NYC boys he was able to perform on Kohaku Uta Gassen, the popular year end program for the 2009 show. Since then he has been a regular on the show as a member of NYC.

In 2010 he joined the regular cast of the annual PLAYZONE musical production and has been one of the main leads with Imai Tsubasa since.

He began being a regular in Takizawa Hideaki's annual Shinshun Takizawa Kakumei musical in 2011.

In early 2012 when NYC released the single Wonderful Cupid it was a double A-side with the other track being Nakayama Yuma's solo song from the 2011 PLAYZONE production, Glass no Mahou.

Also in early 2012 he graduated from high school then moved to Tokyo to begin attending university.

Later in 2012 it was announced that Yuma would be starring in the late night drama, Piece. It was later learned that he would be making his solo single debut by singing the opening and ending theme songs of the drama. The single is titled Missing Piece and is scheduled to be released October 31st, 2012.

13 October 2012

The Shounen Club 11 July 2004 review

Last episode before the show takes another break to give us a recap episode for the next month.

We get closer shots of the groups in the introduction, which only confuses more on what they are doing with Kis-My-Ft. as there are definitely six Juniors being introduced as the group even though the main four are the only ones that perform as a unit in the show. Then again they announce J.J. Express with A.B.C. Jr. being grouped with them while they all wear the same outfit. So who knows what was going on.

KAT-TUN with Jimmy Mackey and Yabu Kota talk about the theme of the episode, Summer.

There is of course a summer medley and I think it is probably my favorite medley so far. A good part of that is that Johnny's has plenty of good summer songs to choose from so it is hard to go wrong with this theme. Also Taguchi Junnosuke is a part of the medley, most likely because they go very light with having dance routines for this medley.

Jimmy gets to do an MC talking to Yabu Kota and Yaotome Hikaru before the guest of the episode, Imai Tsubasa, is brought out to join them.

With Tsubasa there they show old clips of him, starting way back with SC's predecessor show, Music Jump. I love seeing these clips as they are almost always of things I have not seen before. This time we get to see young Tsubasa and Takizawa Hideaki.

And what looks to be the main regulars of the program with Tackey, most of Arashi and Shibutani Subaru.

There is also a clip from the early SC episodes, which I love for the simple fact that I can see the faces of the back dancers clearly. Which is another reason I love these clips.

After the clips there is a Ya-Ya-Yah medley, though instead of their own songs they since Tackey & Tsubasa songs, which I guess ties in why they had Tsubasa there for the MC. The medley mainly features Hikaru and Yabu. And with Hikaru's solo we get a good look at some of his back dancers, which are a mix of JJE and A.B.C. Jr. with Arioka Daiki, Senga Kento and Nakajima Yuto there.

For the final song in the medley we get the full group together, but it is still the six and not the seven from the introductions.

Our game segment is again Attate Pon! and we get the debut of Fujigaya Taisuke in the game segments. He also starts with the random English as he says, "I'm very happy."

The other random English comes from Nakamaru Yuichi, who is the guest for the game, when he tells Jimmy to "shut up". Though I wonder if he realizes how rude that is to say.

There is then a KAT-TUN medley, that is only with the five as Junno sits this one out. Some of the songs have some interesting lines in them.

And I know this side profile well enough to know that this is Miyata Toshiya. I am glad to see him again and to confirm that he is a part of the group of Juniors that tend to get lumped with Kis-My-Ft. when they back dance.

Kamenashi Kazuya and Akanishi Jin get to talk to Tsubasa about summer before he goes to prepare for the next performance and then they just talk about summer between the two of them.

Tsubasa gets to perform this episode as well but this time without Juniors doing anything more than back dancing for him.

We get a Toma Scoop segment without Ikuta Toma. I could not catch why Toma was missing but they had Jimmy Mackey to be his fill in. Though it seems like a poor choice as Arashi ends up having to carry the segment for the most part.

Jimmy gets to perform a song and during it we get a caption giving the names and band positions of the members of Question? This leads me to believe that this is the first month with them after all if they are going to do something like this for them. It seems a bit off though as it probably would have fit a bit better with the first episode of the month not the second. Also to note, since this is the initial line up Igo Akun is not a part of it yet and no Ishigaki Daisuke on keyboard.

The last song before the finale goes to KAT-TUN but without Junno, even though there is not much in the way in dancing for this song.

Junno is back for the end song, which is mainly just KAT-TUN and A.B.C. singing.

Not a bad episode. I still want to move away from this era soon, but September's episodes should have something for Kanjani8 at least as they have their major debut that month. Hopefully that will bring much Kansai goodness with it and shake things up a bit for the show.