Speaking of which, with the number of Junior groups down the introductions at the start of the episodes feel short. In fact Kisumai, A.B.C. and Hey! Say! JUMP are the only group introduced and Koyama Keiichiro and Nakamaru Yuichi are the only additional introductions. I guess you could almost count Morimoto Shintaro and Casey Anderson as they get their names on the screen, though not said, as helping kick things off with Totsuka Shota.
We still have the trio of Yabu Kota, Yaotome Hikaru and Nakajima Yuto as the supporters for the episodes. They introduce the theme of the episode like usual, this time around it is 2007, what was the current year.
The 2007 Medley covered songs from the various Johnny's groups there were released as singles this year. It is mainly a mix of HSJ members with various ungrouped Juniors until the end when we get to see the guests of the episode, Yamashita Tomohisa and Nishikido Ryo, join Koyama to sing Hoshi o Mezashite.
The members of NEWS have the first MC segment with them all talking about something the group did in 2007. Yamapi talks about NEWS going to Taiwan for concerts for the first time while Ryo brings up their album being released. Koyama goes with a more general fact of the group being together.
After that the three then perform weeeek, which is one of NEWS' biggest hits. It is a fun song but marks a departure for them being the young group as it talks about being an adult.
There is then the ever boring Shiroyagi to Kuroyagi segment. As you can see though the audience is now uchiwa and sign free. It will remain this year for a few years now.
Kisumai performs Fire Beat, which helps bring up the tension after the lull with the previous segment. The dance for the song is really known for three things, hip rolls, head rolls and hopping down on their knees on the floor. So it probably should be no surprise that it quickly became a fan favorite.
It is time for the game segment afterwards and we get the return of the introdon game. The running gag for this one is Kitayama Hiromitsu doing the Fire Beat head roll, pretending that it helped him think, then others getting pulled in to do it.
The next MC is with HSJ. After a few of the members get to say something Nakamaru brings up that HSJ is a group like NEWS and asks Koyama to give some advice. Koyama then brings up the commercials that were made for HSJ's debut where members of past FIVB debut groups, V6, Arashi and NEWS, give some advice. These can be found on the DVD for HSJ's debut concert DVD.
HSJ then perform a HSJ Medley, which is simply the three songs from their debut single, Ultra Music Power, Too Shy and Star Time. The transition between UMP and Too Shy is rather jarring but for Star Time back to UMP it is not so bad but it suffers the same sudden stop and start. I am glad we do hear something other than UMP from the group though.
There is a Junior ni Q segment that actually ties into the theme of the episode. The Juniors talk about things they have done during the year. Shintaro is up first and of course his older brother, Morimoto Ryutaro gets brought up. But Shintaro talks about doing a back flip. He also confirms that he is ten years old.
The only other Junior I recognize and know is with the agency still is Kyomoto Taiga. He talks about making it to the goal in a test of courage.
Ryo performs his solo from the pacific album, code. Honestly over the years all of Ryo's solos have become interchangeable in my mind as they tend to have a similar sound to me. That said code holds a special spot in my heart for being the first one I heard of his.
The first end song for the month is Va Ni La ~Burn it up!!~ and is the usual fun mix of Juniors. Though again it feels like there are missing Juniors because there are less known older Juniors with HSJ's debut.
Now that HSJ has debuted I am awaiting for them to move on and the up and coming Juniors get more screen time. Though I know it will be still a wait for that to happen and what I am mainly waiting for will be more around late 2008-2009.
But I have no issue with enjoying the episodes I am currently on. This is a solid era of Shounen Club with there rarely being an episode that feels like it is disappointing or tedious to get through most of it. They just need to get rid of the one segment I hate and it will be perfect for me.