26 December 2012

The Shounen Club 3 April 2005 review

A new Shounen Club season begins which of course means that we are going to see some changes to the program. Of course since these changes for SC tend to just be tweaks here and there it will probably take a few months to figure out if some are here to stay or not. On the other hand there are some that are certain to be around for a while as the debut of a certain segment this episode will show.

Instead of introducing groups at the start the show just launches into a song, TOKIO's Jibun no Tame ni, to kick things off. We get a mix of groups performing the song as well, which makes me happy to see.

One of the first known changes to the show that we are introduced to is the "producer" role that a Junior will have for each episode. Honestly I never quite got what this position really was, but I assume the Junior would at least be given some say about the theme and the songs sung. Kamenashi Kazuya is the producer for this episode and introduces his theme of "tokidoki" which can be translated to a racing heart beat.

NEWS gets introduced as the guests and they talk about things that make one's heart race. Yamashita Tomohisa brings up that he was accepted into university for him and they take the time to bring up that Tanaka Koki was also accepted into university. The latter kinda surprised me as I had not really heard about it before, but seeing as there has never been a graduation announcement for Koki I think it is safe to assume he never got a degree in the end.

After the opening talk the first medley starts and it is a Shingakki Tokidoki Meldey (Heart-racing New School Term Medley) which Ya-Ya-Yah actually has a strong presence in since they get to do the opening and ending songs.

In the middle of the medley we get a skit with Nakamaru Yuichi playing the role of a new student at a school trying to figure out what club to join. My favorite part is Kame and Taguchi Junnosuke being members of the Friend Club and showing off the appeal of their club by playing a friendly game of tag.

The best part of course is Nakamaru rejecting their offer to join because it gives him a bad feeling and Junno's reaction face to it.

After the medley Nakajima Yuto reads a letter he wrote about an experience that made his heart race, his audition to enter into Johnny's.

After he is done KAT-TUN perform Kizuna with Kame starting it off solo. Perhaps because I fell in love with the song as a solo having it sung by a group just seems weird to me. But in any case I still do think it is a lovely song.

This episode marks the return of Matsumoto Kouhei and he is placed back in J.J.Express making the group a five member group. He gets to do a MC segment with Yabu Kota as they call over Yamapi and Koyama Keiichiro to give them advice for starting at a new school.

We then get a Yax3 medley which starts off with a solo for Yabu called Mayonaka no Answer. I like the song and would love to see Yabu revive it for a concert performance at least. Also he gets an interesting mix of back dancers with members of Kis-My-Ft. and A.B.C. Jr. there.

His solo is followed by one for Yaotome Hikaru, titled Atarashii Yoake. It is another song I would not mind to hear again from him. He has back up singers for it, as well as a couple of back dancers of the smaller Juniors, which included Morimoto Ryutaro.

For the back up singers the two most notable are Hashimoto Ryosuke and Sanada Yuma. Another to note is Fukusawa Tatsuya, who will join Hashimoto in becoming a J.J.Express member later but after it breaks up become a member of the Junior group Snow Man.

After the solos we get an actual group performance from the group of their song Start. I really like this song and look forward to seeing it performed more for a while at least. Also we get a funny typo in the lyrics for this performance.

There is a new game segment for the season, this one being called Jr. no Mirakuri Daisakusen. The game being played for this episode under the segment is called Mr. X wa Dare da! The game has a small group of Juniors try to guess who Mr. X, who is normally a guest, is by giving out little hints by asking questions. The audience gets to find out before the players and even get to be asked questions about him to help the contestants make their guesses. And it is fun to have the video screen to show Mr. X react to what is being said.

Jimmy Mackey gets to show up and remind us that he still is around, or at for now. He gets to talk to NEWS about their heart racing experiences before they go to perform.

Cherish was one of the songs that won me over to NEWS when I was first learning about them. It was one of my favorite songs from the group back then and still remains a favorite for me. So it is a highlight for me to see the group perform it, and with all eight members. Sadly it will not be much longer before the group starts losing members again but there should still be their first album they will come back to promote on the program as an right member group, IIRC.

This episode gives us the debut of a segment that current SC watchers should be very familiar with, Junior ni Q. I am happy to know that I can now look forward to this segment from now on. The best part about it is that it usually highlights younger Juniors that may not have a chance to be seen much on stage and lets the viewers learn a bit more about the various Juniors.

Koki and Nakamaru are our first hosts of this segment. Koki seems to have an interesting way on greeting the Juniors called over to explain what they wrote on the board.

So it should have come to no surprise that one of the Juniors, Nikaido Takashi, had written that Koki made his heart beat fast because he thinks he is scary. Which is something Koki does not take well to but plays with all the same.

Jimmy Mackey shows up to give KAT-TUN a puzzle they need to solve before being let to go on stage. Overall the group does better with half of them making it on stage before Jimmy has to give them an obvious hint for them to get the answer.

With that done KAT-TUN begins to perform SHAKE, which is always a rather fun song to see performed. In the middle of it the older groups get introduced, which just seems like a strange spot to do it.

After the introduction the other Junior groups join in on the song and it becomes a more fun performance with them all involved. Especially the little ones because they are just full of cute.

Kame spends some time talking about the theme of the episode after the performance to lead in to the finale of the episode.

The new ending song is called Wonderful World and sadly it is KAT-TUN again the only ones that get to sing it. It is rather annoying as all the Juniors that sang the previous song still have mics in their hands as they back dance so they could have easily sung with KAT-TUN instead.

While it is not the extent of change I would have loved to have seen the changes made are still good overall and if I have learned anything from past seasons is that there is still always a chance for the show to change things up a bit more as it goes on. If anything the fact that the other Junior groups get a good amount of screen time compared to KAT-TUN is good and I hope that will be more the standard going on.

The addition of the producer position for the Juniors gives hope that this will lead to more balanced episodes for when the producer is not a member of KAT-TUN. I know it happens as I can recall an episode that Yamada Ryosuke produces, but I think that is in the next season of the show.

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