31 August 2012

The Shounen Club 14 September 2003 review

Since I have fallen behind quite a bit with taking so long with reviewing this I figure I will make up for that by doing a review each day this weekend which will get me through all the pre-NEWS debut episodes. And honestly with a new episode this week as well as the September episodes keeping their usual schedule of the first two weeks of the month I feel like I am falling behind, even though I know at the pace I am going I am really not.

KAT-TUN has some interesting moves during the beginning introductions for this episode.

And we get the group of regular Junior back dancers introduced as Junior Boys. Junior Boys is not so much a group but a grouping of Juniors that probably are going to be more prominent in the near future. For instance from this group of Junior Boys we have Masuda Takahisa only a couple of months from debuting with NEWS as well as Kitayama Hiromitsu and Fujigaya Taisuke who will be getting a group in the near future. So whenever you have a Junior Boys group it is a sign that they should be the Juniors to keep an eye on as they potentially be grouped into a more stable group.

Yamashita Tomohisa is the main MC for this episode as he was with the first one of the month.

The first medley of the show is a rock medley. We start off with A.B.C. actually singing for a change. They perform TOKIO's Doitsumo Koitsumo, which is one of my favorite TOKIO songs so the medley gets off with a good start, IMHO.

K.K.Kity join them during the medley before doing a song on their own for it. Watching it I could not help but notice how awkward Kato Shigeaki looked performing. I guess more than anything he seemed stiff and you would think for someone who has been a Junior for as long as he has he would have ironed some of that out. But on the other hand it is nice to see how much he has improved since then.

While Yokoyama Yu and Murakami Shingo are not his main helper MCs for this episode they do get to help out with one talk segment with Yamapi. Though the most interesting thing about this talk is that Yoko did not get his shirt buttoned up in time so he attempts to do so a couple of times but mainly tries to pretend to close it by trying to hold it closed with his free arm.

The next medley features Yax3 and their magically changing group size. If anything it just shows which members are going to stay with the group and which one is not.

K.K.Kity seems to have thing about joining in on medleys this episode as they show up for this one as well to perform Sennen no Love Song. What is nice with this performance is that the roller skaters just back dance for the first part of it so it is easier to see them. Though I am laughing at Fujigaya's hair as it just looks funny on him and I think I will be glad when he decides to finally let it grow out.

After that Yamapi talks a bit to Yax3 and they are back to being four members again for it.

Moriuchi Takahiro gets another solo performance. It is surprising to see how much he was pushed, though mainly because it ended up going nowhere when he dropped out of Johnny's so quickly after his debut. It would have been interesting to see what NEWS would have been like if he remained but one can really only speculate.

We have a "Yellow Card" segment where a few of the Juniors are called up to have another Junior tell them about something that they find annoying and want them to stop. Shige gets called up by Kusano Hironori and Kusano uses Hina to show how Shige fell asleep on him, which was his complaint.

Up next is a KAT-TUN medley which comes with a special introduction of each member. As their names are called out they go on the stage solo and do some moves with a couple of back dancers and their names are shown on the screen. The first letter of their last names are colored in the color that is assigned to them.

They then do the medley and I cannot help but think that it is rather a pity that it seems like a good deal of their Junior songs never made it on a CD. And with the group minus a member nowadays I think the chances of them being put on a CD are slim to none.

After the KAT-TUN medley we move into a Shounentai medley that A.B.C. perform. It is surprising to see A.B.C. so much as they have been mostly stuck as back dancers but hopefully this is a sign that things are shifting in their favor and they will be able to perform more and maybe even finally get their own group song.

We get a talk corner without Yamapi and instead have Jimmy Mackey, Kamenashi Kazuya and Akanishi Jin MCing. It is a bit strange to see Jimmy this episode as it feels like someone just remembered he was there as he was almost absent for all of last episode.

We had Yamapi missing there though because he was up for a performance next. It is strange to see Yamapi perform his songs as he gets mostly Juniors from groups, which include KAT-TUN, as his back dancers. It is if he is getting debuted guest status instead of Junior status when that happens. But I guess it will not be long before he will have the status for this kind of treatment.

K8 do a medley of, I guess English songs. Most of them have Japanese translations but they also all sound like they came from the 70s.

I am familiar with a couple of them, one of them, September, I know because a Japanese artist covered the English version of it so it was a bit weird to hear the Japanese version.

They do the letter segment they did in the last episodes that K8 were guests, where a letter is pulled out of a box and the writer has to read it out loud for the recipient. With this Ueda Tatsuya gets to write a letter to Nishikido Ryo to ask about what he was trying to say to him.

Ryo though decides to troll and asks him who he is. He keeps it up to the amusement of his group mates as Yoko tries to help him out. Ueda ends up telling him that he likes him and eventually Ryo says he likes him too.

After that Nishikido Ryo gets to perform a solo medley with songs he has sung in the past. The first song, Secret Agent Man, sounds strange to me as the last time I heard him sing it was back when he was a tiny thing that puberty was avoiding like the plague.

He finishes off the medley with fellow K8 members, Maruyama Ryuhei and Yasuda Shota joining him for the final song.

KAT-TUN get to perform again. This time one of their original songs in full, LOVE or LIKE. This is one of their songs that did make it onto a CD and it is one of the ones I actually liked. Not a favorite but something I have no problem having in my playlist from time to time.

Kanjani8 then get to sing an original song of their own, Eden. It starts off with Maruyama and Yasuda saying a haiku each before the performance begins.

I have to say I completely understand why this is a fan favorite for long time fans of the group. The song sounds really beautiful and it really fits the group's voices. I mean Shibutani Subaru sounds amazing in this song.

But then everyone sounds good. It is a wonderful ballad and seems to be a true hidden gem in K8's song discography. But at least it made in onto a CD with the group's first mini album that was released after their debut single.

As with the episode before the end song has Massu and Kitayama singing with mics being grouped with Yamapi.

I think it is clear now that they found a flow to these episodes now. There are finally more talk segments between performances and there are breaks from all that for segments that feature the Juniors doing things that gives you the chance to learn more about them.

Of course now is not the time to get too comfortable with things as after next month's episodes we get the first debut since moving to NHK Hall and probably more importantly the debut of Juniors that have been regulars on SC since the start of the program. So it will be interesting to see how that will play out.

But this weekend I will be looking at the episodes that with 20/20 hindsight were filled with signs of things to come.

Bakaleya6 profiles: Tanaka Juri

I guess now that I have started I will go ahead and do a profile a day, even though the original plan was to do them every other day. But I am sure there are not too many that will complain about this change in plans.

Tanaka Juri (田中樹)
Birthdate: 1995.06.15
Birthplace: Chiba
Blood type: B
Admired sempai: Yamashita Tomohisa
Previous groups: Hip Hop Jump
Dramas: Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou (2012), Sprout (2012), Shinryochu -in the room- (2013)
Movies: Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou (2012)

From the September 7, 2008 Shounen Club episode
Juri is still best known for being the younger brother of KAT-TUN’s Tanaka Koki. A fact that Johnny’s has not tried to play down in the least as Juri’s niche has been to rap like his older brother since he joined the agency.

Not long after joining Johnny’s in 2008 Juri was placed in a Junior group Hip Hop Jump with the initial line-up also consisting of fellow Bakaleya6 member Lewis Jesse and three other Juniors. HHJ though had several different line-ups over time before being dissolved, but Juri was one of the only constant members of the group. He was also the main rapper of the group.

In February 2012 it was announced he would be a part of the cast of the late night NTV drama series Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou. The drama was a hit and will had a movie released in October 2012 and will be released on DVD/BD in April, 2012.

Over the summer he was one of the Juniors that was in a commercial for Baskin Robbins for a 2012 summer campaign. He also had a supporting role in the 2012 summer NTV late night drama series, Sprout.

The six Bakaleya Johnny’s Juniors (Bakaleya6) headlined their own SUMMARY concerts at Tokyo Dome City Hall on September 8th and 9th for a total of three concerts.

On December 15th, 2012 Bakaleya6 with noonboyz and other Johnny's Juniors held concerts at Yokohama Arena.

He returned once more to the NTV midnight drama slot with a role in the winter season drama, Shinryochu -in the room-.

He is participating in the Live House Johnny's Ginza concerts that are taking place at Theater Crea from April 28th to June 2nd.

They can be seen performing on Shounen Club together.

30 August 2012

Bakaleya6 profiles: Kyomoto Taiga

Yesterday and today have been hectic so I still do not have my Wednesday review of Shounen Club done. It will have to wait until tomorrow as I am probably going to pass out soon. So instead here is the Bakaleya6 profile.

Kyomoto Taiga (京本大我)
Birthdate: 1994.12.03
Birthplace: Tokyo
Blood type: B
Admired sempai: Tegoshi Yuya
Previous groups: Kitty Jr.
Dramas: Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou (2012), Kamen Teacher (2013)
Movies: Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou (2012)

From the July 9th, 2006 Shounen Club episode
Taiga can boast about being chosen to join Johnny’s without having to even apply. Johnny Kitagawa saw him in a photo with his family in Hawaii, his father being a Japanese actor. Taiga’s father knew Johnny but decided to leave it up to his son on whether or not he wanted to join Johnny’s & Associates and Taiga agreed to join after watching several concerts and musicals.

He was typically grouped with the other younger Johnny’s of the time like, Nakajima Yuto, Yamada Ryosuke, Chinen Yuri and the Morimoto brothers, Ryutaro and Shintaro for photo shoots and Shounen Club performances.

During this time he was in the temporary Junior group Kitty Jr., which was a younger version of the Junior group Kitty that performed with the temporary unit GYM.

About a year after Hey! Say! JUMP debuted be began getting chances to do duets with Uekusa Yuta (now Higuchi Yuta) on Shounen Club and was frequently paired off with the other Junior. When Uekusa left Johnny’s Kyomoto still was given solos and duets to perform on Shounen Club and had a group of Juniors that typically performed with him. His last and current duet partner is Lewis Jesse.

He starred in a commercial in 2011 for the watch company SEIKO. Then in February 2012 it was announced he would be a part of the cast of the late night NTV drama series Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou. The drama was a hit and will had a movie released in October 2012 and will be released on DVD/BD in April, 2012.

Kyomoto has also been in a commercial after that with fellow Bakaleya6 members, Tanaka Juri and Lewis Jesse for Baskin Robbins ice cream for a 2012 summer campaign.

The six Bakaleya Johnny’s Juniors (Bakaleya6) headlined their own SUMMARY concerts at Tokyo Dome City Hall on September 8th and 9th for a total of three concerts.

He changed schools in late 2012 to be placed in Horikoshi High School, a private high school favored by those in the entertainment industry for its flexibility for schedules. Because of the change in schools he was placed in the second year class with fellow Bakaleya6 member, Tanaka Juri, which was a year behind where he was in his previous school.

On December 15th, 2012 Bakaleya6 with noonboyz and other Johnny's Juniors held concerts at Yokohama Arena.

He participated in the Live House Johnny's Ginza concerts that took place at Theater Crea from April 28th to June 2nd. He was also in the 2013 Takizawa Enbujo with his father which ran from April 7th to May 12th.

He will have a supporting role in the late night NTV drama series Kamen Teacher, which begins July 2013.

He can be seen performing on Shounen Club together with other Juniors monthly.

29 August 2012

Bakaleya6 profiles: Kouchi Yuugo

Meant to get this up earlier in the day but a situation arose that prevented that. But as promised the first of this series is going up today, and since I decided to do this by age the first of the Bakaleya6 up is Kochi Yugo.

Kochi Yugo (高地優吾)
Birthdate: 1994.03.08
Birthplace: Kanagawa
Blood type: A
Admired sempai: Kamenashi Kazuya and Aiba Misaki
Previous groups: B.I.Shadow, NYC boys
Dramas: Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou (2012)
Movies: Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou (2012)

From the June 16, 2009 Shounen Club episode

Yugo is the eldest of the Bakaleya6 members and the only one attending university so far.

He joined the agency back in 2009 through a contest that ran on the Hey! Say! JUMP variety program School Kakumei. He won the contest and not only got to join the cast of the show but also the Johnny’s agency.

Only a month after joining he was placed in the Junior group B.I.Shadow just in time for the release of the Nakayama Yuma w/B.I.Shadow and NYC boys CD release. After the release NYC went on without the boys (B.I.Shadow) but the group remained as an active Junior group.

In September 2011 the new FIVB (Fifa International Volleyball) unit was announced with two of B.I.Shadow’s members, Nakajima Kento and Kikuchi Fuma, being a part of that unit meaning that B.I.Shadow was dissolved.

During that time Yugo was mostly absent from work because of a fractured collar bone, causing fans to worry about him. But before the end of 2011 he was back onstage performing on Shounen Club.

In February 2012 it was announced he would be a part of the cast of the late night NTV drama series Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou. The drama was a hit and will had a movie released in October 2012 and will be released on DVD/BD in April, 2012.

The six Bakaleya Johnny’s Juniors (Bakaleya6) headlined their own SUMMARY concerts at Tokyo Dome City Hall on September 8th and 9th for a total of three concerts. Yuugo was absent for the concert on the 8th because of filming for School Kakumei.

On December 15th, 2012 Bakaleya6 with noonboyz and other Johnny's Juniors held concerts at Yokohama Arena.

He participated in the Live House Johnny's Ginza concerts that took place at Theater Crea from April 28 to June 2, 2013.

He can be seen performing on Shounen Club together with other Juniors monthly.

28 August 2012

Blogging Blog Plans

Just want to let people know what to expect of the blog in the near future as I continue to make changes to figure out what works best.

Biggest change is with the non-Johnny's idols that I follow. I really like the AKS Master Post idea and will be keeping with that. I will also use it for the other non-Johnny's idols I follow, either by a master post with the group's name or under a general girl group master post title if there is not enough news for an individual group. I think this will work well for both myself and readers. I really do not follow any group as closely as Johnny's so it is easier for me to do a news round-up post for other groups instead of individual posts. And it should also help Johnny's fans who are not interested in non-Johnny's idols as they only have to look at the title of the posts to know to skip them.

I do have a project I will be launching this week to celebrate the Bakaleya6 getting their first headlining concerts on September 8th and 9th. I plan on doing individual profile pieces for each of the six members as I know there really is not a good place out there to get all that kind of information in one place. It will just have some of the most basic profile information then a short summary of their activities with Johnny's. The first one will go up tomorrow.

Of course you can just expect Bakaleya6 getting quite a bit of attention from me as they are the only Junior group that each member is a member that I liked from before. So in my eyes they are a Junior super group.

Since I do want to get to the newer episodes of SC I will probably continue with the usual twice a week pace. If there is another recap episode with most of it being footage already in previous episodes I will probably do two reviews that day. So no major changes there.

I will start doing PV reviews again, but most likely only once or twice a month and mainly just to have something to post on slow news days. I know this blog has gotten review heavy in the past few months but once I am done with these it will go to just reviewing PVs as they come out for releases. And I am working on other content to use to try to balance it out, which the Bakaleya6 profiles are a part of.

Also I do plan on doing another question month for November. I will make the post for it at the end of October like I did last year. I enjoyed doing it then and I hope this year will prove to be just as enjoyable.

And I will probably be doing an update to my History of Johnny's posts. I know I need to give A.B.C-Z their own page now that their debut is not longer in question. That page will be the first of the updates. For the rest I will announce when I have updated the page on my Twitter.

And that are the plans I have committed myself to for now. Feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have for any of it on this post.

27 August 2012

Will they ever retire?

First off I just want to say if any Johnny’s unit or member were to retire, or in the case of groups disband, it would sadden me greatly. Even for the groups that I am not really a fan of, they still are groups that I had followed for a while and have an appreciation for. But thinking of things logistically instead of emotionally I cannot help but wonder how many active groups can Johnny’s handle before it becomes too much. Especially if they are unwilling to concede trying to get them to debut at #1 on the sales charts with now the sales competition from AKS and their groups.

This is something Johnny’s has not really had to deal with before as groups never lasted as long as they do now. But now that groups that debut are practically guaranteed to be able to stick around for decades as long as they have members that want to go on how is it going to work when groups keep debuting without older groups calling it quits?

Looking at the daisempai acts that are still with the agency like Kondo Masahiko and Shounentai there is a place for the older groups if they do not want to disband. Though it would mean barely releasing anything and severely cutting back the amount of work they do. I can already see Tackey & Tsubasa already moving in this direction despite them being one of the younger groups. They do not release much these days and are mainly active with their theater work much like Shounentai is. I can see this eventually also being A.B.C-Z’s route as I do not see them breaking away from being heavily involved with theater work, but on the plus side it pretty much means they will be around for a long time to come.

I do not think this will be the direction all Johnny’s groups will take though. I think a big reason Johnny’s have left the sempai groups together is because even those that do not have high sales numbers are still popular on TV. For them I think whatever SMAP chooses to do will play a major role in what they choose to do.

Even though there are Johnny’s that have been active in the agency longer than SMAP, they are still the group that really started the trend for so many of the groups that came after them with their success not only on the charts but also with ratings. Which is why I think the older groups are willing to take their cue from them for deciding when would be the best time to retire/disband.

Honestly SMAP right now does not really have a reason to retire/disband outside of just not wanting to be idols anymore. I do not see them dropping in ratings rapidly anytime soon and as long as they have some of the highest rated TV programs they have a reason to stay together as a group. Though each member could “go solo” if the group disbanded and concentrate on their chosen career field, such as TV host and/or actor, and still remain popular for some time.

But at the same time I think if one member wants to quit the group and they let him SMAP will disband then. Even though they lost a member much earlier in their career by now the current line up is what makes SMAP well SMAP. Without one of them I do not think they would really be able to be the same and as mentioned before they can probably do as well solo than together, minus their music careers of course. And I am sure even they must realize that there comes a time for idol groups to end, especially as they grow older.

But they can always prove me wrong and remain together until their bodies refuse to let them continue doing everything they do. They still do have a good amount of years that they can be active, especially if they take care of their health. And they can become another version of Shounentai, were instead of just continuing mainly with theater work they will do variety work. Which will still work in the favor of the younger Johnny’s groups as it will still mean one less group releasing CDs.

That kind of future would also work with much of the older Johnny’s groups as well. Though I can see Kinki Kids releasing CDs until kingdom come or at least until the release a Z album, or at least Domoto Tsuyoshi continuing on with his music until he physically cannot anymore as he comes off to be that passionate about it.

Either way though it probably will be years before these possibilities come into effect, if they even do. Which means for newer groups times may be tough for them as Johnny’s plays the waiting game to get them to release on the right week to make sure they get their number 1. I guess they can be thankful that there are already some groups that Johnny’s is willing to let debut with something less, V6, TOKIO, Tackey & Tsubasa, NYC and most recently Yamashita Tomohisa. But unless groups disband or more start selling low enough to lose their number 1 streaks things are still going to remain hard for them to plan to keep the current streaks going let alone make room for new groups.

25 August 2012

The Shounen Club 7 September 2003 review

Getting excited about these reviews the closer to the November 2003 episodes I get. Though this episode is actually quite fun to watch on its own merit.

Just want to point out the outfits here as this is a much better example of showing off the transparent part of the shirt. I think these days if they are worn it is over something, which I think looks better even though the top part in general is pretty ugly.

Yamashita Tomohisa ends up being the main host of this show as the rest of Four Tops and Akiyama Jun are missing. He does get help though, first from Kamenashi Kazuya and Akanishi Jin to introduce the first performance, a summer song medley.

The medley is mostly Ya-Ya-Yah and KAT-TUN. Of course Yax3 in this is the three that will stay with the group until it is disbanded.

Jin proves to not always be the best of sempais as he pesters Yabu Kota during the performance.

We also get Taguchi Junnosuke juggling randomly during the medley. He does manage to drop the balls a couple of times during it but then gets to be the lead vocals for one of the songs so overall he does fine for himself.

We then get to learn who the guest for the episode is, Kanjani8. I have to say I am surprised at how much K8 has been showing up on the program since the move to NHK Hall. I do not think any other Kansai Junior group has gotten this much attention on the program.

Also Shibutani Subaru continues to try to get his creeper stare on camera as much as possible.

Of course after they introduce Kanjani8 they have a KAT-TUN medley. It is just getting strange for the group to have the "bad boy" image but have really energetic and poppy songs to perform. 

We then get to see who will be the main hosts with Yamapi this episode, Kanjani8's Yokoyama Yu and Murakami Shingo. They talk about sports to segue to the next segment of the program. 

We are introduced to the Johnny's Jr. Sports Daikai, which is a "sports" competition. It starts off with Yax3 performing Yuuki 100% and the two teams, one lead by Kame the other by Jin, are introduced. I was happy to see Masuda Takahisa on one of the teams though he was probably only there because A.B.C. has an uneven number of members and they wanted to keep the teams even. But still, he was there and it made me happy.

The first event was jumping rope with trying to get as many members of the team jumping at the same time as one is added with each jump. The Kamenashi team is up first.

They ask who was at fault and Kame brings out Ueda Tatsuya. Ueda says his shoes are heavy to explain why he messed up.

Looking at his shoes it does look like a valid excuse as those soles are pretty thick. Tanaka Koki tries to use the same excuse for messing up for his team but is called out for having regular shoes on.

Next event is acrobatics and each team had to choose three members of their team to participate. Jin picked the three that were undoubtedly the strongest acrobats for his team, Junno, Kusano Hironori and Tsukada Ryoichi. Hina and Yoko had doubts about Kame's choices, though mainly Ueda and not so much Yamashita Shoon and Akama Naoya. Kame insists it will be fine as Ueda has taken his shoes off and is taking off other things that will get in his way like his necklace.

It is Akanishi's team up first though and Junno proves a great choice. I have always been impressed that he has kept up with his acrobatics even post debut even though KAT-TUN is not the kind of group where those skills are required.

SC 07SEP2003
Tsukada ends for the Akanishi team by cart wheeling across the stage. If you watched this month's A.B.C-Z special SC episode it was shown there. And looking at the two screen caps I cannot wait to get to the HD episodes.

Shoon proves to be a great choice for team Kamenashi as he seems to be able to contend with Junno easily for acrobatic skills.

Ueda on the other hand proves right to have been questioned about being Kame's choice. I am not sure what he actually does as it looks between a cartwheel and a flip but at least he does it with a lot of gusto.

I think Jin's face here is a good reaction to whatever Ueda was doing.

The final game of the competition brings in audience participation as they debut the giant balloons that have been used on the program a few times. It is a simple race for the members of the audience to try to get the balls to the right team first. It is actually a bit of a surprise of which team wins this one.

The winning team gets to stay on the stage as Yax3 ends the competition with how they began it, singing Yuuki 100%.

After the performance is over Yax3 and the team captains are brought over, mainly to kill time as the stage is prepared for the next performance. Hina and Yoko mainly talk to Yax3, particularly Yabu.

Yamapi was missing as he gets to lead the next performance. He has the younger Juniors as his main back dancers and the two on the right should be familiar faces, Nikaido Takashi and Inoo Kei

We get a talk with members of KAT-TUN, I guess mainly to fill time. The topic of course was about the acrobatics so Ueda and Junno got a good amount of spotlight before they moved to the next performance.

Moriuchi Takahiro gets a duet with Yabu Kota this episode, though he is the main vocals for the song. Again Takahiro's vocals are pretty impressive and I can see why he was selected to debut. I can only imagine how mad the agency must have been for him to have left the group so quickly after debut though.

Next talk segment is a bit of a game segment. Each Junior has a tongue twister they need to say quickly three times. Kame got a surprisingly difficult one that he at first did not even bother to actually try and spouted nonsense instead. Of course having Jin blowing in his ear probably did not help either. 

Yoko and Hina show Yamapi that he has a tongue twister of his own to do. Yamapi is not happy about that but manages to do it in the end. Yoko and Hina are reminded that they need to get ready for the next performance and leave Yamapi with Jin and Kame to introduce it.

K8 perform their medley. I felt a bit bad for Ohkura Tadayoshi as he played drums for all the songs so he was stuck in the way back for it all.

Yamapi gets to do his little speech corner where he talks about hosting and the people that have helped him with it. He gets interrupted by Hina and Yoko as Yoko tries to get him to talk about him.

Yamapi tries to just ignore them and breaks Yoko's heart.

We get a solo medley for Jin this episode. One of the songs he covers is Hitori Bocchi no Hairbrush and I noticed he switched 'sono' for 'kono' with the lyrics. I guess that is the draw back fro having the lyrics on the screen is that everyone can tell if you get them wrong.

I do love this song and while I prefer the original Jin does a good job of it, minus the flubbed word. But I think this solo does well to showcase his voice which has improved since the last time he had a solo song.

Like the previous solo medleys the show has had it ends with the rest of the group showing up to perform a song.

While at this point I normally start to zone out during the end song I am glad I pay enough attention to notice the big thing for this one. Massu and Kitayama Hiromitsu actually get to sing in it this time. Though I am sure the main reason they have gotten the chance is because the rest of the Four Tops are busy it is still a big step up for the both of them. Also I want to believe this is also part of the start of Massu getting a pre-debut push, especially with next month being when he gets paired with Tegoshi Yuya to sing for the first time.

Like I said at the start this is a fun episode to watch. I think what really makes it stand out are the games which tend to be the most fun segments of the show. Of course having K8 around helped too as Hina and Yoko made sure the host segments did not bore. And we actually seemed to get a bit more of those talk segments which is actually nice because you can actually get to learn about some of the Juniors with that.

I would say that this is the best NHK Hall SC episode so far. It will be interesting to see the changes that will happen in the next few episodes though as things are bound to get shaken up.