04 February 2013

Kayou Kyoku X'Mas Live SP 2012 review

This is the final music program special before the ones for the New Year and it aired on Christmas day.

Kayou Kyoku X'Mas Live SP is a four hour special for the weekly Kayou Kyoku program that airs on TBS. It is basically a special version of the usual program that runs much longer and with a Christmas theme but as the show is usually fun to watch you know there are going to be fun moments mixed in with the usual performances.

You know that this is going to be a fun program to watch as it opens not with the usual list of acts that will be appearing but the host of the weekly version of the program, Nakai Masahiro. He sets up the story that they begin with.

The acting portion of it is done by popular child actors Ashida Mana and Suzuki Fuku as well as the other regular host of the program Esumi Makiko. They ask their "mama" about Santa Claus coming and she gives the typical answer about being good children so he will come. They pray for him to show up and we get the opening act for the special.

Of course this is probably not the Santa Claus the kids had in mind. I mean they did not even bring presents with them. But at least AKB48 with SKE48 and NMB48 start the holiday themed show off right with a Christmas song, the Japanese version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

My highlight is the fact that NMB48 have their own section that gets some screen time during the song. And how cannot I help but smile to see the girls so happy?

After the song is done Ashida Mana joins AKB48 to sing a X'Mas version of Heavy Rotation. Mana looks so happy performing that even though I am getting tired of hearing the song I cannot help but love the performance anyway.

We get some opening talk as the MCs introduce the program and talk about some of the things that will be coming up in it.

During the program we get a satellite feed to new mother Higashio Riko (a Japanese pro golfer and wife of Japanese actor Ishida Junichi) and her father, Higashio Osamu (an ex-baseball player). I am not familiar with them, had to look them up, but I guess they are people that the average Japanese TV viewer would recognize. The baby does not seem to be so happy about making his TV debut.

When we start the performances it is with Sexy Zone, most likely because with the length of the program they need to make sure the younger artists go first as they will not be able to stay for all of it. They perform a medley of their singles, and I cannot help but notice that it looks like Yo Marius's sleeves look to be coming up short on him. He is going to be a giant compared to the others if he does not slow down with his growth spurt.

We keep on with Johnny's performances as SZ is followed up by Hey! Say! JUMP performing Super Delicate like usual. I have found it interesting how conservative Yamada Ryosuke and Nakajima Yuto are in the fanservice part of the song on these songs, especially compared to how much they play it up on Shounen Club and concerts.

During the show there are special corners that are done. The first of these is lead by the comedian Chris Matsumura and is is Johnny'scise (Johnny's x exercise). We see some VTR to see that Katori Shingo and Yamashita Tomohisa have already done this with Chris.

He invites them to join him to do it on the show as well as all of Sexy Zone. So with them and the little Juniors that were back dancing for SZ they do the Johnny'scise. SZ look to have a blast and Yamapi is a trooper. Shingo makes this segment with going between a beaming face to looking like he has no idea why he is doing this.

Nakai afterwards go on stage to talk to them all. Near the end he goes up to one of the little Juniors to say something and gets him to say "Merry Christmas", though you could tell the Junior was just all kinds of awkwardly nervous at being put on the spot.

Then after some other acts we what is my personal highlight of the program, a Johnny's Hit Medley. We get to see some of the original footage from the older Johnny's groups whose songs will be covered. I love seeing these as I find it interesting to see what idol style was like in decades past.

And here are a bunch of screen caps from the performance because I love it so. And to note the three oldest members of SZ are the only ones in the medley as it was too late for the younger two to work according to Japanese law.

We get a bit of a Ikemen Desu Ne reunion plus Yamapi.

And that is S-My-2 not being stuck in the very back of the formation and getting seen singing with the KiFt.

Miyata Toshiya gets used as an anchor again, this time by Kitayama Hiromitsu to steady himself when they move to a different part of the stage.

The Otokogumi song cover gave Okamoto Keito some time to shine as he got to get a good deal of focus of course because the group was the one his father was in.

The stand out performance of the medley was of course the cover of the song NAI NAI 16. It was hilarious as the guys really played up the awkwardness of it with Nakai not holding back with his singing at all.

Arioka Daiki had to be one of the worst when it came to keeping a straight face during this performance. I swear it looked like he was cracking up all the way through it.

At the end all the Johnny's groups sing together and we get some fun group mixing.

After the medley is done SMAP leads an MC break with everyone. They do most of the talking as it is mainly about how "perfect" Nakai's singing was and I really wish I knew what exactly Inagaki Goro said to them when he was sounding annoyed.

Another break and it is another Johnny's related special segment that interests me next. This time it is a drama based one for the drama series Ataru that Nakai Masahiro starred in and Tamamori Yuta had a supporting role in. Nakai comes out in character and sings a song.

After the song he goes over to where the guests/MCs are sitting and remains in character so he pretends that he has no idea who Nakai is and walks off stage in search for curry soup.

Next up are AKB48's sister groups, SKE48 and NMB48, who have been sent outside the studio building they are filming at. They have an over sized thermostat just to let you know how cold it is outside (6C or about 43F for those curious).

NMB48 perform Kitagawa Kenji and are a wonderful splash of color where they perform. I love this song, it is just a lot of fun and easy to want to sing along to.

Next performance that I was interested in was of course SMAP's. They perform Lion Heart, which I am quite happy to hear as it is a favorite SMAP song of mine and it is nice that they are pulling out a good variety of songs to perform on these year end programs.

I am quite glad that World Order is on this program. I am really impressed with how creative their dance routines are. Screen caps do not justice to it and I would highly recommend searching youtube for them to check them out.

Later we get Kis-My-Ft2 and The Monsters (the temporary unit of Yamapi and Shingo) getting to spend some time talking in the guest section. The main topic is the relations of Yamapi to members of Kisumai, which is mainly Kitayama and Fujigaya Taisuke.

In this Nakai wonders about why only the front three of Kisumai are in white and the back four are not. This is notable more because this will not be the only program he brings this up in.

Kisumai is up first to perform. They do Ai no Beat -Dance ver.- which has grown on me over repeated performances. I still have my usual misgivings with the whole split thing but there is only so many times I can go over it without feeling like a broken record.

They are followed by The Monsters doing the remix version of the title track of their single, MONSTERS. Do not think that I care much for this remix and the performance does not come off as solid as their other ones.

AKB48 perform their usual mix of songs as a 2012 single medley. Real highlight for me is to see Akimoto Sayaka performing with the group. Honestly though I think she is one of the girls that should be seriously thinking of graduating from the group as I do not see her going much further with her career with them as she keeps further and further back in the group for newer girls.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu performs next and does a medley with her two songs Tsukematsukeru and Fashion Monster. She has the choreography down for these songs well enough but I would love to see a bit more emotion from her.

As we move towards the end of the program we get more of the senior acts, including one of the few Johnny's that is the senpai to SMAP, Kondo Masahiko.

For the talk segment with him they have brought all the Johnny's, minus SZ as it was probably deemed too late to keep them around, out into the guest area.

Nakai ends up asking who he knows of the younger Johnny's and Matchy answers with Tanaka. Yabu Kota goes ahead and says he is Tanaka as it is easy to tell that Matchy just through the name out because it is a common last name and there was a chance that it could have been a last name. Unfortunately the one group with a Tanaka was not on the show.

Matchy performs one of his older songs, Sneaker Blues. He still has an old fashioned style to the way he performs with some very overly dramatic moves. Though they do seem a bit toned down when he performs his new song Let's Go!

SMAP then gets to perform again, this time singing one of their new songs, Moment. It sounded like Nakai forgot how to get himself to sound somewhat in tune for this performance. Either that or just decided not to try too hard as he had already proven his extreme lack of singing ability already in the program.

During the song the members of SMAP bring over the Olympians that were in the audience up on the stage and then over to the guest section.

Things then wrap up with final words from various people on the stage. And that brings this music program to an end.

I would probably only recommend this special to fans of Johnny's and/or AKS groups as they are the main artists of this special. While there are some other artists that perform the selection is not as great as other year end music programs and this one seems to have a lighter tone to it as well.


Anonymous said...

Nice review. I only watched the medley part and HSJ part only. Goro was annoyed because Nakai teased him by asking Goro whether did he perform in the Johnny's medley as well (cos Nakai pretended he did not notice him performing). Goro being annoyed replied that he did perform because he is also a part of Johnnys as well.

Thennary Nak said...

Thanks for the translation. I knew I could catch something being said about Johnny's and that was about where my understanding about what was being said ended.