31 December 2012

The Shounen Club 8 May 2005 review

Figured I should go for a week or two of three reviews a week to try to get through this season of Shounen Club as I was not so impressed with the first month of it. It is rather frustrating because I know I am not far off from the episode that I got to watch of the program first and those did not suffer from the issues I am currently having.

One thing that is probably really noticeable is the change in quality for the video I have for this and future episodes. There is still one episode in the quality of the recent past episodes but after that it is mostly all going to be like this episode. So say hello to bright colors.

There are a couple of changes to note with the group introductions at the start, J.J.Express is down to four members again and A.B.C. are their own group again with Toshin Yoshikazu missing for this taping I am assuming.

The producer of the episode is Taguchi Junnosuke (I can only assume they will do all of KAT-TUN first before letting anyone from other groups get a chance.) and the theme is Ao, which translates to blue/green and is often associated with youth. For this episode though they seem to be leaning towards blue and youth for the definition.

The theme medley is overrun by KAT-TUN minus one song, Stripe Blue, that is A.B.C. only. They seem to do well this episode when it comes to screen time, which I would hope they would seeing that their group has been around for almost as long as KAT-TUN.

After the medley KAT-TUN gets to talk about the theme of the episode and about Junno being the producer for it.

NEWS is introduced as the guests as the do a single medley, most likely to promote their debut album that came out a couple of weeks before the episode. The songs in the medley are all given jazzy renditions that I did not care for. One of the pluses though is that all the members of the group got chances to be spotlighted.

I will confess I was glad for lip-sync when Yamashita Tomohisa and Kato Shigeaki were paired up. As much as I love Shige he is no way a singer and Yamapi really did not work on his vocals until post-Daite Senorita so I doubt they would have sounded all that great live here.

Afterwards we get a letter exchange between Yaotome Hikaru and Ayukawa Taiyo. The letters fall more on the cute side but got some laughs as well. I was just amazed with how young Hikaru looked. Which was no surprise but I am no used to seeing him so young.

We have the debut of my favorite solo for Yabu Kota, Angel Come To Me. Of course I made a post recently about the lyrics to this song that you can check it out.

The rest of Ya-Ya-Yah join him after to continue singing songs in English, even covering some good old oldies, like A.B.C. 

We get another Junior Ha~i School segment with this one being a competition between KAT-TUN and A.B.C. Can you guess which group I was cheering for?

Overall a fun segment as it is easy to follow and you can tell both sides were into trying their best for the challenges. Of course I would say A.B.C. had the edge as they have to be in good physical condition to do all the acrobatics that they do.

One thing I have decided not to hold against KAT-TUN are these solos that lead into a group song. I figure they are more something special for the producer of the episode and the group they are attached to. Of course this is assuming that non-KAT-TUN episode producers will get the same treatment. That aside I felt disappointed with Junno's solo. Probably because I like his other solo songs and I found the shirt he is wearing in this to be ugly. It took a closer look to see that the purple print is actually purple floral print, which makes it even more hideous.

Thankfully he changes outfits for the group number though I am not so sure with all the fake fur used on these costumes. But it is one of those signature Johnny's things when it comes to costumes so it can get a bit of a pass based off of that.

Question? get to perform again, but it is yet again Holy Heaven. They need to do a new song or cover a song from any of the band groups Johnny's has had because I am getting tired of this song. Even though I do think it is a nice song but there is nothing all that stand out about it and I would not listen to it much if I had it in my music library.

Junior ni Q returns this episode. Notable appearances include Morimoto Ryutaro in his first chance to be clearly seen and focused on. He was such a cute kid, but it is odd to see him without his brother around though I guess that is something I have to get used to for the near future as Shintaro has yet to join the agency.

Nakajima Yuto also gets to be called over to explain how he lost to a cat. And he does so in an adorable fashion as he tries to act the event out.

Junno does the usual talk near the end about the theme for his episode. He ends it by introducing the next number, Baby Blue.

You have no idea how happy I was to see that it was NEWS with KAT-TUN for this performance. If it was any of the Junior groups I would have assumed they would be there to back dance for them but there is no way NEWS as a debuted group would be made to do that. And they are not as instead they are paired up with members of KAT-TUN to perform the song, which leads to some interesting combinations.

The end song has Kis-My-Ft. featured during the dance break with a couple of Juniors that have been connected with the group off and on. Not sure if Johnny's was thinking of actually adding them to the group or not and decided to later just merge Kis-My-Ft. and A.B.C. Jr instead or what.

Better episode than the last one for balancing things out. I think it helped that NEWS was there and had a new release to promote with their debut album being released at the end of April. Of course it makes me wonder how much control "producers" get with their episodes as I could see Junno making sure A.B.C. did more in his episode as he is the acrobatic member of KAT-TUN and probably could be considered close to the group as they would be his usual back dancers for him because of that. I think I would have to see more episodes in this format to make more guesses about this role before I can feel confident in my speculation.

I also want to marvel at the colors for this episode as I do not think I realized just how muted they were with the episodes I had been doing recently. It is like when you watch your first movie on DVD after only watching it in VHS for years and wondering how you could ever think of going back to VHS quality now that you know there is something better out there. Which makes me sad that the next episode is back to the old quality.

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