28 February 2013

The Shounen Club 4 June 2006 review

And we move more towards the Shounen Club I knew of when I first began to watch the show.

In the introductions we have various Juniors introduced by name, I guess to give them extra attention as most are the leads for the groups they are in, and then you have Yamada Ryosuke who is still just floating around.

We have the grouping BIG Four, which is not really a group. It is just mainly four Juniors that have special skills, like the baton twirling, that Johnny's grouped together. The only Junior I know is still in the agency is Goto Hiromi.

Nakamaru Yuichi is also introduced and it looks like Koyama Keiichiro in the past month's episodes he is being added to the regulars of the program as a host. The Koyama and Nakamaru hosting team will last for a few years on the program before they are replaced with members from Hey! Say! JUMP, who are the current hosts of the program.

The producer for the episode is Nakajima Yuto and his chosen theme is mania. He talks about the recent thing he is really into, bugs.

The first medley is a mania medley, though they seem to just pick popular songs than anything that directly fits the theme. Like Yuto and his group of little Juniors doing Seishun Amigo. I do find it rather interesting that in this group is Watanabe Shota, who has recently been getting drama roles as I would not have thought him to be in the same generation of Juniors as Yuto and Yamada. It is interesting to see how only recently some of these younger Juniors that have been stuck in the back have been getting promotion from the agency.

To end the medley Kanjani8 show up to perform their song, Sukiyanen, Osaka. Maruyama Ryuhei has really perfected the creeper face.

They have an MC with a group of the little Juniors. Yuto gets to go on about bugs and over his shoulder we can see a little Kyomoto Taiga, confirming that he is a part of the agency by then. It is amazing to see how adorable he used to look.

This is followed by a Ya-Ya-Yah medley. I do not think I really noticed how much Yax3 was Yabu Kota and Yaotome Hikaru centered until watching these episodes as the other two for the most part just seem like back up dancers for the group with how little they have in the way of parts to sing with the other two, let alone anything that resembles a solo line.

K8 is not the only guests for this episode as Yamashita Tomohisa is there as well. He is there to promote his debut solo single Daite Senorita. I have to wonder if NEWS was still together if he still would have had a solo release or not. But I guess that is one question that will always remain unanswered.

After the talk with him he of course performs Daite Senorita. I have always liked this song and overall like Yamapi's solo songs from around this time period in general.

With the theme being mania the game segment is of course another round of Shokura Mania. I still enjoy this game as it is easy to play along with, and it also has those older clips in better quality or of episodes I have not seen.

This time around the seem to have done a better job of picking questions that would be harder to get overall. The last one was too easy so it is nice to see them make it a bit harder.

After the game is a Shokura Medley that has the Juniors singing all the old ending songs for the program. It made remember back when the end songs were actually good. And this medley is one that brings most of the Junior groups together with J.J.Express, A.B.C. and Kis-My-Ft2 performing the medley.

Yamada is featured in the Junior ni Q segment where he talks about having coin mania, which is him collecting coins.

We have an MC segment for K8 where we get to see them in some amazing costumes. Amazing as in so terrible they look inspired. Especially the shoulder pad/flap things that the members use to whack each other with during the MC and Yokoyama Yu even randomly attacking Koyama at one point.

The group performs their song Osaka Obachan Rock. Maruyama, Yasuda Shota and Ohkura Tadayoshi get to play their instruments for this performance, a reminder that this group has always had rock roots.

Yuto has an MC segment where he talks more about his mania. He really does seem to be obsessed with bugs, but that seems to be a pretty common thing for boys in Japan.

The Junior groups then get to cover the song Hakka Candy. While it is hard to see Kyomoto gets a mic and sings during the song. So he hits that milestone rather quickly even though he has yet to have his name said or put on the screen.

The show then only has the end song performance, and the song gooood looks like it is the end song for the season. I do hope they use other songs to switch it out with from time to time as I feel like I am going to get tired of it quickly.

A good solid episode and things have finally shifted to the point that I do not think that I have to worry if I will enjoy the next episode or not.

Having Nakamaru there as co-host with Koyama is great as the two worked well hosting the program for their run. While I felt it was time for them to leave the program when they did having the various members of Hey! Say! JUMP takeover did not end as well as I would have liked as they overtook the program.

27 February 2013

The Bad Boys of Johnny's

The next NTV late night drama has been announced (mostly on twitter for now) and it is set to air April 6th. The title of the drama is Bad Boys J and will star Nakajima Kento. It looks to be some kind of drama with delinquents, much like Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou, with three factions. Nakaken's faction has Iwamoto Hikaru,  Fukusawa Tatsuya and Watanabe Shota, another faction is lead by Hashimoto Ryosuke who has Yasui Kentaro, Hagiya Keigo, Shimekake Ryuya, Nikaido Takashi and has Morita Myuto and Morohoshi Shoki.

Sexy Zone will be doing the theme song for the drama.

The drama has the same producer as Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou so I would expect that this drama will share the same tone and will be a nice break from the more series dramas of the past couple of seasons.

Pretty excited for this drama as I feel like I have been waiting forever for Nakaken to get to do more acting. I think it is smart for Johnny's to give him a lead role in one of these late night dramas as if it ends up being the hit Bakaleya was it could lead to a lot more opportunities for Nakaken.

I am also glad to see Nikaido doing his first drama role, as then all of Kis-My-Ft2 will have some drama work to their credit with this. And I am also glad to see Hasshi do another drama as it will hopefully get some people interested in him and hopefully his group as well.

And I do find it interesting that each group is lead by a member of the three latest group debuts, Sexy Zone, Kis-My-Ft2 and A.B.C-Z. I hope there is some kind of special performance on Shounen Club with these groups, as that would be fun to watch.

I cannot wait for this drama and I am already wondering if I should do the weekly reviews I did for Bakaleya for it. But I think I will wait and see how much I enjoy the first episode before committing to that.

EDIT: NTV already has the official OHP up here: http://www.ntv.co.jp/bad_boys/

26 February 2013

Hey! Say! JUMP 2013 tour, and I hope more

It has been announced that Hey! Say! JUMP will have a national tour in 2013 that will have dates from April 14th to August 23rd. This is in addition to the March Johnny's World "Thanksgiving Festival" concerts at the Tokyo and Kyocera Domes.

While I am happy to see HSJ active I am really hoping that this tour will at least come with a new single. Looking at the dates there is enough time to release a single in between Johnny's World and the national tour. There are also some breaks long enough during the tour to get a single out during the summer. And as the group still have yet to release a single for the year I hope they do release something in the first half of the year. Especially since their last CD release was their second album, JUMP WORLD, back in June 2012, and their last single was Super Delicate back in February of 2012.

Or maybe HSJ can surprise us and release a single and album/mini-album before the concert. Sure I will still be horribly broke from Kis-My-Ft2's end of March releases but I will find a way to afford it, somehow.

25 February 2013

Figuring things out

So this is just a house cleaning post to help me figure out what I currently want to do with this blog. Nothing major is going to change I just feel like I need to do some refocusing.

The Shounen Club reviews will remain as they currently are, one on Wednesday and another on Friday. I am done with doing the year end/new year programs on Sundays and only have three more Kis-My-Busaiku episodes to review. I will move my Busaiku reviews to Sundays though and will be every other week, as the last episode will air on March 23rd so I need to space the reviews out to accommodate for that. So no review for the show this weekend but next Sunday will be the first review for the 2013 Busaiku episodes.

I want to do more in the way of non-review content and I plan on doing a new project I am calling Johnny's Under 100. This will be every Monday that I will write about a Johnny's in less than 100 words.

Of course when news crops up I will still make posts and do the master posts. And of course when I have the time to watch them I will do drama reviews.

CDTV SP Premier Live 2012-2013 review

So seeing where most of the Johnny's go after Kohaku there is one more countdown program that has the one group that does not show up at Johnny's Countdown, SMAP.

CDTV or Count Down TV is a late night music program that airs on TBS/MBS. Every year they have a New Year's special episode that works as a countdown episode for the end of the past year and the start of the new. Nakai Masahiro is traditional the host of this program. This is one of the longest programs as it is billed at running 5 hours long.

We start off with Nakai out on the street in front of NHK in Shibuya, he has to ask who won Kohaku as he had to leave to start filming for this before that was announced. Of course he could not leave soon enough to get him over to the studio that the program is actually filmed at so has to host from afar a bit as he makes his way over there.

Just because Nakai is not present does not stop the show from going on as the first act starts up, JUJU, who is one of the Japanese artists that if you look at the Oricon chart only you may not think much of but she is actually a strong digital seller and can be considered popular female soloist. Of course her cover albums have helped her quite a bit to get recognized outside of her usual fanbase of young women.

NMB48 are on after her, and of course we are still working off not having a MC present as one can only assume Nakai is currently en route. NMB48 perform Kitagawa Kenji which I love. I also love seeing NMB48 be able to perform as a group of their own and not tacked on to their sister group AKB48.

What is nice about this special is that you get some of the acts that do not perform on many of the year end specials like T.M. Revolution(Nishikawa Takanori). So happy to see him here as his concert at Otakon in 2003 was the first concert I ever went to and he came off as a really nice guy when it comes to his fans. He performs White Breath which is one of his old hit songs. As much as I love TMR I know that at this point of his career he is more a nostalgia act/anime & video game theme song artist nowadays with some variety on the side but he seems to love what he is doing and has already had a great deal of success in the earlier part of his career.

At the end of TMR's performance Nakai comes in, just in time as we are less than two minutes away from midnight.

Nakai then calls for the rest of the acts that already performed to come back on stage and AKB48 come on as well. Everyone gets to say something really quick as it heads into the final seconds of 2012.

And they do the countdown for the final ten seconds. I rather like the little graphic they have for the year of the snake here. But with this over with it feels like the show can really begin.

Followed by an MC AKB48 get to perform singing Eien Pressure. I highly doubt this is going to be the only performance from the group on this program. If anything they probably picked it as they only needed Yokoyama Yui to be it from NMB48.

It moves over to a wing of the set that the guests can sit down with Nakai to talk between performances.

There are a couple of female TBS announcers present that get introduced, Hayashi Manaho and Yoshida Akiyo, that are to be the supporters for Nakai.

Eventually we get to SMAP's performance which runs like a mini-concert. Of course with it coming about an hour into the program it would mean anyone watching Johnny's Countdown would be able to tune in to see them, so I doubt having them perform at this time is any coincidence.

They perform on a different stage than the one attached to the seating section but it is still in the same studio or Nakai would not be able to go back and forth so quickly. They start off the performance by singing Just Go!

They follow up by performing $10 and Kansha Shite. I really like the former song, it is fun and poppy and has good energy.

With the shedding of the jackets we move onto the song Dear WOMAN. Not one I am familiar with as for SMAP I really just know some of their singles for the most part. I do want to point out now that Kimura Takuya has been all smiles and energy for everything so far. You get the sense that he is glad to be there easily.

After that song we get a an MC portion where it is the guys just talking. I feel happy to have been able to follow the story Kimutaku tells of them being in the elevator as the countdown was happening and when it hit midnight one of the staff members said 'omedetou gozaimasu'(congratulations) to them in a rather strange look on his face.

Kimutaku and Katori Shingo go off stage first to change outfits so the remaining three can continue on with the MC. Nakai calls the two A-team and the remaining three the B-team.

When A-team returns they send B-team off to change and pick up the MC duties. Could not follow the MC as much other than that they were talking about having guys in the audience and I think Kimutaku was saying after hearing the crowd during aiko's performance, which came right before theirs, he was worried if there would be guys in their crowd.

When all five are back on stage we get more performances from the group. They start off with one of the group's most popular songs, Orange.

They then get to show why the costume change with the next song HIKARI. It sounds like it probably came off their latest album as it has plenty of autotune and rather electronic in sound.

It then moves to Arigato, an older song from the group. The group, minus Nakai, go out into the crowd and help start off the New Year right for quite a few fans from the reactions they get.

After that from the other stage AKB48 are fed in to talk to the group. Had the most trouble following this MC. But it leads to SMAP introducing AKB48 for their second performance of the show.

I knew there was no way that AKB48 would only have the one performance at the program. No matter what you think about the group they are the most popular girl group in Japan and one of the most popular acts as well so they are bound to get special treatment. For this second  performance they perform some of their older songs starting with Oogoe Daimond. And it looks like I might have been right about why they performed Eien Pressure earlier as Yamamoto Sayaka and Watanabe Miyuki are with AKB48 for these performances.

The second song the group performs is Gingham Check. And after listening to this song being performed in show after show I have come to be apathetic to it. It just sounds so bland and sounds too much like other songs AKB48 have done before.

SKE48 then perform then AKB48 comeback out to perform Namida Surprise! which is the final song of their performance.

The seating section has the upcoming acts there now, and Nakai in a pretty comfortable looking outfit. So we know that Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Golden Bomber are up next. They both get to talk about being on Kohaku earlier that night.

Thankfully Kyary is debuting a new song on this program so there is definitely something different for her to perform than what she has been doing for previous programs. She starts off with her debut song though, Tsukematsukeru. Then she performs her new song, Furisodeshon. Doubt I will be ever won over by her music but the song fits the mold of what else she has.

Do not care much for Golden Bomber but for this show I will make an exception in actually paying them some attention. And that is mainly because their performance leads into the next. As Golden Bomber reach the end of the song that I have heard way too many times to ever care to hear ever again and their new song Dance My Generation, most of the band is missing. I think I am in love with the surprised face of Shinoda Mariko when this reveal is given.

The Monsters appear, having stolen most of the band to be their band for their performance of Monster. Of course this is the first sign that the Johnny's that will be in this special have made it over from JCD with Yamashita Tomohisa present for this.

It is a fun performance that plays to the strength of Golden Bomber with the comedy mixed in of having the singer of the group trying to join in the performance but being dragged away by the rest of his band mates.

The seated guests looked like they had a lot of fun with mimicking the hand movements and all. It probably helps that this is a cover of a popular song so it can be one of those songs most are familiar with.

Also love how they (Shingo) eventually grab a random member of the audience to drag on the stage with them.

Next up members of SMAP and AKB48 with Kyary, aiko and Yamapi get to open kegs of sake for the New Year and drink some.

Except for Kyary and a few members of AKB48 that were still under 20, the legal drinking age in Japan. They instead have to settle for juice.

They spend a lot of time talking then, or at least SMAP does. Somewhere along the way Kusanagi Tsuyoshi ends up mimicking the dance for Monster.

After a few performance there is a break as some of the AKB48/NMB48 members are outside at an ice rink. The girls give the weather report for Japan for the first three days of the New Year.

The girls then decide to pretend to win Nakai over, which you can see easily embarrasses him, and I do not blame him. Though I do love Sayaka's because she ends it with her impersonation of a castle.

Then goes on to do an impersonation of a different castle.

After another performance we get a change of guests in the seating area as the next acts to perform are brought out, Kis-My-Ft2, Perfume and Nakashima Mika.

Up first is Mika, after she talks about having a small role in the latest Biohazard (Resident Evil) film as a zombie.

As she prepares on stage Nakai talks a bit to the two groups still on the couches. He brings up that s-My-2 are still not white as to match with KiFt, to follow up from the last time he got to talk to them. Yokoo Wataru brings up that is more like KiFt are not black yet instead.

Mika then performs Yuki no Hana, which is her most popular hit song. This is probably the best she has sounded at any of the music programs I have watched. Still not great vocals but she avoids sounding as bad as she has before. Her next song Hatsukoi is about just as solid and easily the best performance of the song she has done that I have seen. I do not know what she did differently for this show but she should keep it up.

Perfume get to talk about their world tour, which sounds a lot more like an Asia tour from the countries that they list. And then they head on stage to get ready for their performance.

With Kisumai left the conversation drifts back to s-My-2 still being in black. Nikaido Takashi shows off his shirt to show that they do have some white as well. Then Miyata Toshiya shows off the seams of the pants to show white there as well.

Perfume then performs Spring of Life. Of course it cannot compare to the Kohaku performance but it is still a solid performance like always. I may not be a fan of the group but I feel like I can say I can respect them as they do seem to work hard to be so consistent with their performances. Especially since their dance moves tend to have a lot of little things to do in a routine.

Like most of the performers at this part of the show they get to do another song, or in this case a medley that starts with One Room Disco to move on to Chocolate Disco.

Kisumai start off immediately after they are done, coming for the small side stage behind the audience on that side. They perform Ai no Beat -Rock ver.- And even though I do like rock-pop I prefer the dance version of this song.

Thankfully they are not singing much of Ai no Beat as they make it to the main stage they change songs to WANNA BEEEE!!! We have the usual disappearance of part of the group to be the sign that they are changing to have the roller skates on.

What is nice about them doing this change is that it usually gives s-My-2 some time to have the camera on them.

Nakai calls the group over and as they come over he stops Senga Kento to talk about the roller skates. And really it is easy to see why Kisumai fans tend to love Nakai as he has given the back four (s-My-2) chances to actually speak and have some attention drawn to them instead of having everything be about the front three (KiFt) which is usually what happens with their releases and promotions.

The group learns that they were called over to eat instant udon with Nakai. They all pick a flavor, Nakai of course going for the curry udon as a nod to the drama he did in 2012, Ataru.

Next Johnny's up is Yamapi, back as a solo act this time. He performs Ai, Texas and I no longer hate the song but I still do not like it. His music style took a radical change when he officially went solo and most of his songs are misses for me now. Yet at least they do sound different from what else is coming out which at least makes it nice change of pace to hear him perform whatever latest single he has.

Nearing the end of the program they do a top ten singles from ten years ago. It is interesting to see how much the top ten has changed since then. Here there is Mr. Children at 10, Nakajima Miyuki at 9, Hamasaki Ayumi at 8, The Southern All Stars at 7, I WiSH at 6, RUI at 5, Utada Hikaru at 4, Moriyama Naotaro at 3, Fukuyama Masaharu at 2 and SMAP at 1.

We later get another blast from the past with rankings from 1994. Not going to do the full ranking as it would require recognizing a lot more kanji than I do. So I will just list the few that interest me. B'z is at 8 and 6, Nakajima Miyuki is at 7, Mr. Children at 3 and 1. It is rather amazing that bands like B'z and Mr. Children are still releasing music and selling well after twenty years of becoming popular.

To end the show The Monsters return to perform their single song Monsters. And being the final act they can pull off doing things others could not, like going over to Nakai during their performance to drag him into it.

Bringing him in to be a part of their finishing pose as well.

And I love that Nakai has the back dancers sit down on the couches as he talks to Shingo and Yamapi. But after a brief talk with them Nakai wraps things up and the program ends.

This is a special I think that anyone can enjoy. Nakai is an excellent host and there is a good variety of performers, as I only went over the ones I felt interested in enough to comment on. There is also a nice relaxed atmosphere to help set it apart from a show like Kohaku, so you really get the feeling of joyfully entering into the new year.

Of course I applaud anyone that can make it through both programs back to back as they air seeing as this one ends around 5AM so to see it through to the end takes some dedication. I know I quit the live stream for it after Kisumai performed as I needed to get some sleep before staying up later that night to celebrate New Year's for my own timezone.

This is the last of the end of year/new year music programs I will be reviewing for 2012.