With the Junior group introductions Iida Kyohei and Toshin Yoshikazu are still missing so I think it is safe to assume that they are not returning so that means Kis-My-Ft2 is already at their final formation and A.B.C. has a couple of years to go before their next change. Also Joey Tee gets introduced with the Jr. Boys, so his inclusion in the program is confirmed as a standard thing for however long he stays around.
Koyama Keiichiro is then introduced and he performs the NEWS' song Fiesta with the Juniors. I can only assume that this is the start of Koyama being one of the hosts of the program.
Yasuda Shota is introduced and brought on stage to be the co-host with Koyama. I do not think it registered with me how short Yasu was until seeing him next to Koyama in this episode.
The producer of the episode is Yokoyama Yu and the theme he picked for it is Funky. When asked to speak more about the theme Yoko brings up that he equates funky with iketeru, which means cool or sexy, or something that does not really go with the English use of the term funky.
The first medley of course is a Funky medley. And it seems to be sticking with the cool/sexy image with kicking it off with Yabu Kota and Yaotome Hikaru covering Tackey & Tsubasa's Venus. The back dancing Juniors this episode get some extra spotlight, I guess a sign that the show is moving towards finding the next Juniors that will break out.
One thing that stuck out was that we had another new edition to the line up with Question? gaining their next guitarist, Igo Akun.
During the first MC segment J.J.Express with Yamada Ryosuke are the focus, with Nakajima Yuto, Morimoto Ryutaro and Yamada having drawn things they thought were funky. Yuto drew light sabers, Ryutaro drew his father and Yamada some stylish boots.
We see the guests for the episode, Kanjani8 completely for the first time as they then perform their song Sukiyanen, Osaka. It is a fun song and they have special ad libs for this live performance. For some of them they have the little Juniors back dancing for them "fall over" from the bad joke that was said, giving it a cute factor.
Yoko then hosts a game corner where he has two teams compete in various challenges. The first is the find something in the area to bring back on stage to show that they have done in other game corners. Followed by something new, having members try to make a basket on stage to prove that they can handle the pressure.
Followed by this is the final challenge which is another challenge done before in the game segment, getting a group to jump rope together, but this time they need to make funky poses as they do so. They make Murakami Shingo give examples after naming him Funky-sensei.
Yabu and Hikaru, who seem to be considered the whole of Ya-Ya-Yah for the most part of this episode get to talk about the theme before being ushered on stage to get ready to perform. The sing the song Jewel Star, with just the two of them. This is actually going to get rather common for the group as time goes on.
Yuto comes on with a host of little Juniors to perform to make this a sorta medley. JJE is there too but in the back until near the end of the song.
Again the Juniors back dancing seem to get a bit more attention than usual. I actually like it as I was able to spot a little Nozawa Yuki.
Junior ni Q seems to only have the Juniors from the groups write answers to the board and we end up with lots of Kis-My-Ft2 and A.B.C. In fact the one chance of a non-Ebikisu member showing up is stopped by Totsuka Shota showing up in Arioka Daiki's place instead.
What is interesting about this one is that in the room that they are filming this you can actually see the Juniors in the room, as well as the film crew.
We have Hikaru reading a letter from a fan that asks for help in a matter and we get some words of advice from the Juniors gathered on stage there.
A.B.C. then perform their song Freedom, which I still find on the bland side of things. The acrobatics the group brings to the performance is easily the most interesting part of it.
Koyama talks to Yoko about the theme and Yoko talks about that he sees that his group is funky. Koyama then tells him the rest of the group has gone home and reads a letter they left.
Yoko sings Mihari with Question? getting to shine a bit. Honestly Mihari is an all time favorite song and one of the few Otokogumi songs that does not sound dated so it seems hard to screw up.
K8 then show up dramatically to perform Mugendai with him pretending they felt too bad to leave Yoko alone on the program.
Koyama and Yasu do the usual end of episode MC wrap up and introduce the ending theme of the episode.
And it looks like we are finally at the era of Shounen Club where the end theme is not one single song for the entire season but a few songs that get rotated out as the group ending theme for the episode is gooood. Not a great song but it is always nice to see the groups perform together at the end at least.
With this episode Koyama is now in place as one of the hosts of the program and hopefully his usual co-host, Nakamaru Yuichi, will be joining him in a couple of episodes. I am sure Koyama was brought on mainly to give him something to do with NEWS suspended from group activities and there not being much for him to do at this time, as Yamashita Tomohisa has drama work and later his solo releases and Tegomass will have their debut sometime in 2006 as well. Nishikido Ryo of course has K8 so it left Koyama and Kato Shigeaki with very little to do in comparison. But even then Shige ended up being able to focus on his school work and Koyama got this hosting gig.
But in the end if this is how most of the episodes for this season will go I think I am going to really enjoy it.