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.

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