30 June 2013

Other Idols Master Post 008

Yamashita Sean will be in another play this coming August. He will be in the cast of Tomoe Gozen which stars Kuroki Meisa. The play starts August 4th and ends August 25th with only a run in Tokyo.

Theatre's Official Page (Japanese)

I am happy to see Sean continue to get theater roles. I have the feeling that is what his future career is going to go like, with perhaps some tv/movie acting thrown in eventually.


The LDH girl groups, Happiness and Flower will be releasing new singles on the same day. It is so the two groups will compete against each other for number of sales. Both singles will have three versions of the singles. A limited edition with a DVD, a regular edition and then a special limited edition which will only cost 500 Yen (a "one coin single" as these tend to be called as the largest coin amount in Yen is 500) that will only have the title track on it.

Happiness' single will be called Sunshine Dream - Ichido kiri no Natsu and both the LE w/DVD and RE will have the B-side Boyfriend (Sunshine version) on it. The LE w/DVD though has another track, Eien, on it as well.

Flower's single is called Taiyo to Himawari and both the LE w/DVD and RE will have the B-side Boyfriend (Moonlight version) on it. The LE w/DVD though has another track, whose title has not been revealed yet, on it as well.

Both groups will be doing a series of small concerts across Japan when the singles are released to promote them.

It will be interesting to see what the outcome of this will be, especially as Happiness has added two members to the group, which includes another vocalist. If anything releasing the singles like this will help the group garner some extra attention as well as getting their fans to want to make sure they pick up a copy of the single for their favorite group.

29 June 2013

The Shounen Club 10 February 2008 review

We get the return of an old Shounen Club feature this episode.

This time with the introduction song the Juniors introduced are all by their individual names. It is the usual groups, with Yamashita Shoon and the Hasshi-trio for this. Also at the very start it has the little Juniors standing back to back with some of the older and I had to laugh a bit at seeing how small Morimoto Shintaro is compared to Hashimoto Ryosuke. That boy has grown so much since then.

And like last episode the guest for the episode joins the Juniors at the end of the song, Yorokobi no Uta. We get a change in guests this time as Taguchi Junnosuke comes out followed by Nakamaru Yuichi to finish the song with the Juniors.

In the the intro talk they announce that this episode will have a producer and bring out Yamada Ryosuke who will be doing so. He then announces the theme of the episode Love Song and remains (mostly) cold towards Junno's energetic showings of love to him.

Again the theme medley is just with the unofficially grouped Juniors and has Nakayama Yuma popping up to sing with the Fresh Junior group. But we also really get to hear Hasshi sing as he opens up the medley with a solo and pretty much proves that he can sing.

There is a letter exchange segment but with Yamada reading a letter to those special to him (I honestly cannot figure out what Minu is so I am dropping that part.).

Yamada then performs his first solo song, Perfume, backed by Chinen Yuri and Morimoto Ryutaro. I think this was the point when it was pretty apparent that Yamada was finally surpassing Nakajima Yuto as the most pushed member of the group. And while some fans begrudge him for it I never did, I may have wanted to see some of the other members get pushes as well but I have always liked Yamada and still do.

After that it is an MC segment with Junno dressed up in his "samurai" outfit that draws out some remarks from Koyama Keiichiro. They of course ask him about love songs. He does an impression of B'z singer Inaba Koshi singing the band's song Hadashi no Megumi. That happens to be the first single and CD I bought for B'z so I have new random reason to love Junno.

Of course Junno is in that outfit because he is performing his solo Samurai Love Attack. I love Junno's solos because they were really poppy and fun and this song is the most fun of them all. And not only does it have Junno in a ridiculous outfit but the little Juniors get to be his cheerleaders for it.

For the game segment Junno is back on stage to act as judge, though really it is for him to confirm who won after the audience is asked to respond to which one they thought did better. The game is where they have to do certain prompts. Like the first prompt is to a move from the Real Face choreography. The next is say a phrase in baby talk, followed by feeding your girlfriend.

The final prompt is about getting on a train, or not getting on the train if I followed what happened in the skits they played out.

Arioka Daiki, Takaki Yuya and Inoo Kei are up next for the MC segment where they start off getting prompted by Nakamaru to say romantic phrases. They then move on to say what their favorite (Johnny's) love song is.

Following this is Yaotome Hikaru singing his latest solo, Honoo -Flame of Love-. I have also been surprised that neither Hikaru or Yabu Kota have had any of their solos released on CD. They have plenty of them and have always had a good amount of popularity since their Junior days.

We get a sorta return of the Takizawa Hideaki Special Project segment as well as Tackey talks about Butokan then we get to see the group to a pre-recorded studio performance of Now and Forever. I do not see why they just could not have the group at the regular filming of SC as it seems off to see them perform for no audience for a SC performance.

Hikaru and Yabu then get an MC segment to talk about their favorite (Johnny's) love songs. I believe overall a lot of Kinki Kids songs were selected which can be seen as testament of the impact the duo has had with their music.

The performance after is with both Kis-My-Ft2 and A.B.C. as they sing Real DX together. It is during this period of time the two groups had quite a bit of activities together, mainly thanks to Tackey wanting to use the two groups for his concerts and butai.

The end song is Hoshikuzu no Spangle which is kicked off with Junno and Nakamaru singing. The rest of the older Juniors and Hey! Say! BEST come out during the song to join in singing it to wrap up the program.

Again there are too many performances by debuted Johnny's to make this feel like a nicely balanced episode. This month neither Kis-My-Ft2 or A.B.C. had group performances and they could have easily been one of the performances in this episode instead of the one with both of them together. I guess as long as HSJ remain a part of the program there is going to be balance issues, though they will stop being regulars with the next season until they return to host the program.

28 June 2013

Dreamboys take to the races

The main cast and the title of the next Dreamboys musical has been announced. The lead will be Tamamori Yuta with Senga Kento and Miyata Toshiya also co-staring. Actress Otori Ran (retired Takarazuka actress) and Johnny's dai-sempai Kondo Masahiko also have roles. What other Juniors will be in the musical has yet to be announced.

The title of the musical has changed to Dreamboys JET and it will run from September 5th to the 29th.

Oricon Style article (Japanese)

From the promo pictures floating around it looks like that instead of boxing the sport the musical revolves around is car racing this time. It would definitely explain why Matchy is involved seeing as he owns a professional racing team and his overall interest in the sport.

And it looks like Kis-My-Ft2 might be taking over the musical from KAT-TUN. Of course it started out as a Takizawa Hideaki musical so this will not be the first time it has changed hands. Even so, I expected this to have remained a KAT-TUN musical for a while longer, but I guess the fact that Kisumai members had been in it for the past couple of years was probably a sign that it could be changing groups. Next year's production will probably will need to be seen if it really is being passed on and not just having Kisumai cover it this year for whatever reason.

And it looks like Tamamori is going to be extremely busy for a while. He has his drama for the summer season as well as the current tour Kisumai are on. Plus in August he is going to have to be promoting the group's upcoming single on top of all that then there is only about a two week break from the tour ending to when this musical starts. I hope he will get enough rest while trying to juggle doing all of this.

27 June 2013

Tantei Gakuen Q mid-season impressions

I want to see if I cannot catch up with some of my drama watching in time to cover at least one of the upcoming summer dramas. My backlog of dramas I want to watch just seems to keep growing...

About half-way through the drama and things look like they have begun to kick into high gear for the final arc. In fact I would split the series into two arcs, the beginning arc from episode one to five that is more about bringing the team together to start working as a team then from six on it looks like it will be mostly just focused on Pluto, the organization operating in the shadows helping making the murders happen.

The mysteries have been good with being believable, if just a bit easy to figure out the culprit for some, and making sure they include the motivations behind the culprits. I have found that motivation tends to get glossed over in other mystery series as the writers tend to get too wrapped up in how the crime happened without thinking about why it would have happened. So it is nice to see this series avoid that problem.

While I have been enjoying the mysteries and all one thing that gets me every time one is solved is that Kyu (Kamiki Ryonosuke)will lecture the culprit. For a couple of the cases it worked out but for others it seemed like an ill-fit, as I doubt the murderer at the time was in any right state of mind to want to hear a kid tell them how wrong they were for doing what they did.

Kamiki is doing a good job of having to carry this drama despite being so young. I can really see why he was selected to play the lead in this series. And I am not surprised both him and Shida Mirai have gone on to be popular actors in their own right since.

Kyu and Minami Megumi are characters that do not take a lot to make you sympathetic to them, with Kyu seeming to take each case to heart and Megu having to deal with the fact that she remembers everything perfectly, which includes the gruesome murders they have to deal with.

Amakusa Ryu (Yamada Ryosuke) has become a much more sympathetic character from what we saw of him in the first episode. He still is mainly the brooding, loner type but you can tell that by the end Kyu will have won him over. I think the biggest indication of that is the fact that Kyu is willing to accept him no matter what his past is. And I am glad that we are getting to Ryu's past and already know a bit of it already instead of having it teased about until the end.

While this is not going to become a favorite drama of mine I am enjoying watching it and very glad I hunted it down to watch. I think the real test for it is how it will deal with wrapping up the Pluto plot line. It is something that could horribly wrong or really well depending on how it is dealt with. So off I go to complete this series.

26 June 2013

The Shounen Club 3 February 2008 review

Onto the first episode of the February episodes for 2008 and we finally see the shift back to the Juniors.

In the introduction all the ungrouped Juniors get introduced simply as Johnny's Jr. with Morimoto Shintaro and his lot of little Juniors up front so you cannot really see who the older Juniors behind them singing.

And this episode has another member of Kanjani8 guesting, Yokoyama Yu, so the introduction is of the Juniors singing the Kanjani8 song Dreamin' Blood with Yoko joining them in the end.

The theme of the show is Takaramono (treasure) and Takaki Yuya gets to talk about the theme. This is most likely because his push has started as he has his main role in Gokusen 3 at this time.

For the theme medley we just get the ungrouped Juniors, or officially ungrouped Juniors as there is of course the Hasshi-trio. But there is a bit of a surprise when Nakayama Yuma shows up to sing with the group of Fresh Juniors that has Takada Sho in it. This is probably because the two are starring in a drama, Battery, at that time.

The first MC segment is with the group of five that they are calling the Fresh Juniors. Juniors to note in this grouping are Takada and Masuda Ryo. They each talk about something that they treasure. MasuRyo answers a guitar while Takada's answer is his siblings. When it was MasuRyo's turn Koyama Keiichiro calls him Massu to get Nakamaru Yuichi to correct him that it is a different Masuda than Masuda Takahisa who is in NEWS with Koyama.

Next up is a performance of Real Face by various Juniors but lead by Morimoto Shintaro. Shintaro's rise will follow Yuma's for a while as Shintaro gets cast in a couple of the same dramas so they get built up around the same time. In fact he is also in the drama Battery, playing Yuma's younger brother. Other than him Kyomoto Taiga and Anderson Casey got the most camera time for the performance.

The Shiroyagi to Kuroyagi segment breaks the momentum of the episode like usual. I have done a quick check of upcoming episodes to remind myself of things coming up and I was happy to see that this segment does go away with the new season that starts in April.

Question? thankfully kicks things back into gear with a performances of Mezamero! Yasei. I feel bad that Question? was never really able to go anywhere with Johnny's. I would have loved to have seen them debut as another band group but I guess they never picked up the momentum Johnny's wanted them to for that.

Following this is the game segment and we have the return of introdon. Yoko is brought out to participate but of course not as a judge like usual as this is a game that needs none. Instead Yoko is there for something called Yoko Chance, where Yoko takes a turn and each team beforehand has to decide if they will beat on Yoko being able to get it right.

The introdon songs are all K8 songs so the chances of Yoko are high but it makes it a bit more challenging to the rest as they typically do not back dance for K8 as much. In fact for one song they audience has to give a hint for the guys to figure out what it is.

Yoko then gets his MC segment where he talks about what he treasures, the members of Kanjani8. He brings up that the group has felt like family to him even back when they debuted about three years ago.

Yoko then performs a solo song titled ConfUsion, which I cannot seem to find information on so it may be a concert only song. I know he should have a few since he has done solo concerts before.

This episode's Junior ni Q is on the topic of charm points. Hashimoto Ryosuke is called over to explain what he wrote, which is style. He does some poses but it is hard to tell if it shows off his style if he is stuck in a stage outfit.

They bring over both Shintaro and Yuma to talk about their charm points. Yuma put down that his was his eyes.

Shintaro had wrote being mischievous, which he gets to talk a bit about as you really do not see that with him on the show. And I rather love how Koyama Keiichiro fixes the collar of his outfit during this. I have always had a weakness for Koyama's paternal nature with the younger Juniors. The two get a chance to promote their drama before the segment is wrapped up.

There is then an MC segment with Hey! Say! JUMP with each member talking about something they treasure. I will only go over a few as doing all ten would take long. Chinen Yuri continues to prove what a big fanboy he is of Ohno Satoshi by writing Ohno's goods, and brings up a telephone card that Ohno wrote on. Nakajima Yuto talks about a pair of sunglasses that Matsuoka Masahiro gave him, which was probably from when he starred in a TOKIO PV. Arioka Daiki also had a gift from a sempai, this was a birthday present from Kimura Takuya from when the two were in a drama together, a soccer ball that Kimutaku wrote a message on.

HSJ then perform Star Time, a B-side off of their debut single. Inoo Kei plays the piano for the performance and for some reason someone thought it was a good idea to have Junior back dancers for this song, a ballad, on an already crowded stage.

The final song is lead by Yoko with it being the Kanjani8 song Mugendai. With Yoko starting in the audience than joining the rest of the Juniors and HSJ on stage for the rest of the song.

This episode did much better with balancing the amount of focus on the debuts Johnny's and the Juniors than the past few. I think it helped that they only had HSJ perform once in the episode and left them out of the theme medley.

Honestly this balance is what I have been expecting to see once more on the program the further away from 2011 we have gotten. So it saddens me to see no such change. I want to see more of the Juniors that are meant to become debuted acts one day not the ones that have already reached that in their careers.

25 June 2013

duet May 2013 close-up Johnny's Jr. profile translations

I figure I should try to translate something at least once a month and the profiles for Fresh Juniors do tend to be the easiest thing for me to translate right now. Plus these three are candidates for the Twenty Twenty group, so I have some interest in that. I do not know why I feel I need to become invested in something that looks like it will be a train wreck but it looks like that is where I am going. Perhaps it is part of the excitement that this has never been done before and such. But enough chatter from me, here are the profile translations.

And as a reminder I am pretty rusty with my Japanese, which I only made it to about third year in my study, so it is possible that I will make errors. I have the original page I am translating posted below for anyone who wants to double check, and I always welcome corrections.

Motodaka Katsuki 「本高克樹」
December 12, 1998
Born in Kanagawa prefecture.
Blood type, unknown
Height: 166 cm
Weight: 50 kg
Foot size: 26 cm
Nickname: Kakkun
Specialty: soccer. I can juggle a soccer ball about seven times.*
Hobby: cooking
Type of girl you like: Someone who thinks about me the most and a beautiful heart.
Current fascination/obsession: dodgeball
Admired sempai: Yamada Ryosuke
Favorite food: curry
Least favorite food: cheese
Future dream: Debut and [become a] doctor.

* To be more clear he means when juggling a soccer ball he can keep it going for about seven turns.

Muraki Ryota「村木亮太」
January 26, 1999
Born in Tokyo.
Type B blood type.
Height: 166 cm
Weight: 47 kg
Foot size: 26.5 cm
Nickname: Ryou
Specialty: basketball
Hobby: watching movies
Type of girl you like: A girl who is kind and very helpful/good at taking care of others.
Current fascination/obsession: collecting manga
Admired sempai: Yamashita Tomohisa
Favorite food: karaage (fried chicken), hamburger
Least favorite food: green pepper, eggplant
Future dream: Debut. I also want to become a doctor but I am no good at the sight of blood...

Matsukura Kaito「松倉海人」
November 14, 1997
Born in Kanagawa prefecture.
Type O blood type.
Height: 157 cm
Weight: 44 kg
Foot size: 25.5 cm
Nickname: Matsuku
Specialty: shakariki dance*
Hobby: music and watching movies
Type of girl you like: A cheerful and funny girl.
Current fascination/obsession: collecting hats
Admired sempai: Ninomiya Kazunari, Yabu Kota
Favorite food: ramen
Least favorite food: green peas
Future dream: To increase my number of fans, to debut.

* not sure what this is. I found something called DANCEROID that it could be, but I am uncertain.

24 June 2013

Johnny's Under 100: Taguchi Junnosuke

Taguchi Junnosuke
Group: KAT-TUN
Birthdate: November 29th, 1985

Easily my favorite member of KAT-TUN, partly because he never looked like he belonged in the group. He has that shine to him that you would expect in other Johnny’s groups but not so much in the “bad boy” group. But as the group has been aging that gap seems to be lessening.

He has really impressed me with his improved vocals, thanks to actually working with a vocal coach. And his dancing has always been solid. He has taken it up a step though as he has begun to choreograph dances for KAT-TUN.


And I was right in guessing that Kis-My-Ft2's new single will be released in August. It will be released on August 14th and will only have one title track, Kimi tono Kiseki. It will come in three versions, two limited editions and a regular edition with the B-side on all three of them being titled Tanagokoro.

The first limited edition, Type A, is the usual kind with the title track, the B-side and a DVD with the PV for the title track and the making of video for it.

The second limited edition, Type B, has the same CD contents but the DVD that it has with it will have a PV for the B-side Tanagokoro, and the making of for that.

The regular edition will have the two tracks on the limited editions as well as one other B-side Diamond Honey. It will also have the first press bonus of coming with one of three 12-page booklets.

I am rather surprised that this single will not have Luv Sick on it, as that will be the theme of the drama Fujigaya Taisuke is starring in. I wonder if that is being saved for a later release and for which one. Whatever the case I am bound to eventually buy whatever release it will be on.

So there will be no need to guess about this single. I guess this will be the song that the group will be performing on the upcoming music programs they are scheduled for and I cannot wait to see it.

23 June 2013

Music Day and some speculations

Meant to post about this about a week ago but I was still working with adjusting to my move. But we have a more complete list of acts for the Ongaku no Hi that will air on TBS on June 29th and air from 2PM to 5AM. SMAP's Nakai Masahiro is down for one of the hosts of the program.

The Johnny's that have been announced for the program are SMAP, Yamashita Tomohisa, Kis-My-Ft2, Sexy Zone and A.B.C-Z.

Other idol groups that will be performing are AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, HKT48, 9nine, Nogizaka46, Momoiro Clover Z and Morning Musume.

You can look at the full list, which comes with photos for each act, at the official TBS site.

There is some speculation that Ebi and SZ may be getting placed under the Iijima Michi faction, with this line-up and the fact that they are the debuted groups regularly in the midnight Johnny's dramas (the late night NTV dramas). I am not sure if I buy into SZ being a part of this faction just yet, but I am more willing to believe it for Ebi. Ebi has been getting much better promotion recently than they have in their first year of being a debuted group and the fact that they are also appearing on another summer music program with the rest of the Michi faction though SZ is not also lends itself to backing that theory up.

Of course this is all just speculation as Johnny's is far from being a transparent agency but seeing the kinds of promotions those under Michi tend to get I think it would be great for Ebi to share in that. Especially if they get on variety programs, as I have felt that some of the members would shine so well on them.

22 June 2013

The Shounen Club 13 January 2008 review

And from this episode on I do not think I will make a point of pointing out all Juniors that I know are still in the agency as there are a good chunk of them. Most of who are now the older Juniors on the program can be spotted in these episodes. The only exceptions will be of those who have debuted, so pretty much just the members of Sexy Zone.

The introductions this time makes a bit easier to get a look at the new Junior groupings that they have added to it. Kawashima Noeru even gets his name shown on the screen this time. But this grouping of the little Juniors will be changing quite a bit for some time unlike the more static Hasshi-trio.

The theme for the episode is Tabidachi [setting off (on a trip)]. Fujigaya Taisuke and Kawai Fumito get brought out to talk about both of them turning 20, the age of legal adulthood in Japan, in the past year so they will have their coming of age ceremony.

Johnny's has a surprisingly good amount of songs about that theme, with TOKIO having a few themselves, to make the theme medley work. And we get to see Yamashita Shoon getting placed with members of A.B.C. which will become a thing for a while until he kinda joins the group right before it becomes A.B.C-Z.

Hey! Say! 7 are up first for the MC segment as they talk about people they look up to as adults, as they are still going off the turning 20 thing instead of staying strictly with the meaning of the theme. Chinen Yuri of course picks Ohno Satoshi, as he is probably his number one fanboy. Yamada Ryosuke picks his personal idol, Domoto Koichi then Okamoto Keito of course picks his father, Okamoto Kenichi.

HS7 perform their first unit song, Wonderland Train, which was finally released on CD with Hey! Say! JUMP's Super Delicate single. The song shows that from the start there was a large bias towards Yamada, Chinen and Nakajima Yuto, as Keito and Morimoto Ryutaro are only backing them in the song while the others get solo lines and the lead vocals.

The guests of the month, Shibutani Subaru, Yasuda Shota and Maruyama Ryuhei then get an MC segment. They talk about taking trips when they were younger, or at least Maru and Subaru do.

The following performance has the three of them doing a special medley which begins with each of the three performing a solo song before ending it with a performance of Zukkoke Otokomichi.

The game segment is next and it is set up like the last with Yasuda and Maru on a team and Subaru as the guest judge. Subaru really steals the show with the silly goat head gear and his messing around with the contestants, especially the other Kanjani8 members.

The game is a bit easier to follow as each side has to have someone go up to fulfill a prompt they are given such as the first being that Subaru has given them New Year's money but forgot to put any in the envelope.

Showing off "wild" poses.
Overall it is a fun game segment and not all of the prompts need an understanding of Japanese to figure out what they are.

The next performance is A.B.C. with Crush. It seems hard to believe that A.B.C. will be changed up soon. They are kinda like the"Little Johnny's Junior Group That Could" as they have been around for so long and nothing seems to stop them on one hand but on the other they do not enjoy the leaps of popularity other groups and Juniors do. Yet somehow in the end they still managed to make it to a debut.

There is then a Shiroyagi to Kuroyagi segment and it is the usual boring patch in what is otherwise a fun and exciting program. I guess if anything it does give us the best views of an uchiwa and sign-less crowd for the show.

Then suddenly we have the PV for Budokan shown. It seems really random to have placed in the episode but I guess this time it is not the clean version as the lyrics are shown on the screen for it to make it different than when it was shown a few weeks before.

We go back and it is time for Hey! Say! BEST to have an MC segment. Like with HS7 they are questioned about being an adult with their line of questioning being about what they want to do on their own as adults. Yabu Kota talks about going to an onsen, Takaki Yuya about going to New York City, then Yaotome Hikaru about not crying when in pain. What was great about this MC is that Arioka Daiki and Inoo Kei can be seen reacting playfully to the answers and when Hikaru's comes up they break in to the conversation.

HSB then take the stage to perform their unit song, Su Ri Ru. And I am reminded that when this episode was being filmed HSJ would be getting ready for their debut concert in the Tokyo Dome. These episodes would be great promotion for it if they did not air the month after, so instead these performances seem to be more extra practice for them.

It is then time to close out the program which the older Juniors do with a group performance of Yozora no Mukou.

Kanjani8 always help make Shounen Club episodes fun, I will stand by this to the end. Of course I think we would get this kind of reaction from having the Kansai Juniors on the program these days.

That said I think we are coming to the point where the members of Kis-My-Ft2 and A.B.C. really start shining in the program. You can see hints of it with the game segments where the members are starting to come out of their shells more, though A.B.C. is probably already there, and are easily becoming some of the most interesting Juniors to watch. When HSJ leave the program you can tell it will be in good hands between those two groups.