12 June 2013

The Shounen Club 4 November 2007 review

And it is finally here! Hey! Say! JUMP is now a group and will be hanging around Shounen Club for a while, and then some after a short break.

This episode gives us the shortest introduction segment in a while as the only ones that are introduced are Hey! Say! JUMP, A.B.C., Kis-My-Ft2 and the usual hosts of the show, Koyama Keiichiro and Nakamaru Yuichi.

The opening MC focuses on introducing HSJ, mainly highlighting the sub-units in the group, Hey! Say! 7 for the younger members and Hey! Say! BEST for the older. The theme of the episode is BEST, after Hey! Say! BEST.

In the BEST medley we see Yamashita Shoon surface and it will become a thing for as long as he is on the program that if Yabu Kota and Yaotome Hikaru are on stage he will not be and vice versa. This was most likely done because there was a good deal of backlash against having Ya-Ya-Yah been broken up for the HSJ debut and Johnny's wanted to send a clear signal that they would not be coming back.

This medley also shows some of the Juniors that will be getting pushed now that groups have been broken up. The ones getting that treatment are members of the dissolved groups as well as the four Juniors that had roles in the final season of Kinpachi-sensei. Of those four only Sanada Yuma is still with the agency. Nozawa Yuki also gets to perform with them, I guess someone felt he was ready to be pulled out of the background as well.

The following MC segment has Koyama and Nakamaru talking about group names and how they are created. Koyama lists the names that make KAT-TUN but leaves Nakamaru out to get a reaction from him.

This is followed by HSJ performing their debut song, Ultra Music Power. I like the song but I recall getting tired of it around the time the single actually came out for how much they performed it. I hope I do not go through that again with how much I will watching them perform the song on the program in the next few episodes.
There is then Shiroyagi to Kuroyagi and Yabu and Hikaru look to be noticeable not up to their usual energetic selves. It definitely looks like their hearts were not in it this time around which did not help in making the segment less boring.

We also get to see what was the reason why uchiwa were banned from Shounen Club for some time. And that would be the girls with the giant hearts for each of the four Ya-Ya-Yah members. I am kinda surprised that NHK Hall let them in with those, seeing as Ayukawa Taiyo had already quit the agency, but they are there and it is no stretch of the imagination that Johnny's decided to clamp down on uchiwa and signs so no one tried to repeat that. And it has not been the only time Johnny's has requested that fans not use uchiwa at live events mostly around the times there has been a major change in groups.

Question? is up next performing Parallel World, which is a favorite song for me from the group. While Question? did get some of the boost Kisumai and Ebi got post-HSJ they never managed to catch on as much, which is sad as I would have loved to have seen another band group from Johnny's debut.

The segment gives us a new game, which is basically a pictionary version of telephone where one person has to draw and image then the next has to draw what they think that image is. Each team gets one prompt with four members a part of the chain. It is something that is easy to follow along with, even if you know no Japanese, as all the prompts are easy enough to figure out with the first picture drawn.

Following this the guest of the episode, Yara Tomoyuki, has an MC corner with Koyama and Nakamaru. He talks about Takizawa Hideaki and of course the group Tackey has put together recently with Yara as the leader. He makes an announcement about the group, it will have a fifth member that will be added in the near future.

Yara then performs as a soloist, singing the song Jealous Train followed by Next Dream with A.B.C. being his back dancers for the performances. For Yara fans this is a good time to start watching the program as he will be on it semi-regularly.

For a change all the Juniors featured in the Junior ni Q segment are still with the agency. Of course it helps that they bring over a couple of the newly debuted HSJ members as well. We start off with Nozawa Yuki who talks about wanting to visit Italy because he likes the food.

Next up is Okamoto Keito who wants to go to Okinawa. I forgot how quiet and soft spoken he was back then.

Then it is Kyomoto Taiga who wants to go to the fabled Dragon Palace to dance there. Somehow I do not think he is going to be able to get his parents to take him there.

Lastly it is Takaki Yuya who seems to want to go to a place that does not really exist like Kyomoto, but I am unsure what that place is other than some kind of forest.

There is an MC segment with Yabu and Hikaru where they talk about things they are best at. Yabu talks about riding a bicycle, though I know it is more than just that. And I think Hikaru is about smiling in the morning.

The two then sing their usual solo songs, Gentels for Hikaru and Arashi no Carnival for Yabu. It is a bit strange to see the two performing their solo songs in HSJ outfits and not their usual Ya-Ya-Yah outfits. But at the same time I miss these HSJ outfits. I rather liked them though I know most no longer fit the members anymore.

The end song, Hurricane, just has the Juniors performing it. We get to see some Juniors that will become a bit more prominent in the next few years as we have a little Casey Anderson and I believe Takada Sho singing with the little Juniors.

With every debut there is a transitional stage where Johnny's tries to figure out who in the Juniors to shift focus to. Usually any groups that survive the debut do well as we are to see with Kis-My-Ft2 and A.B.C. in the next few years of the show. Then any members of groups that were broken up also tend to do alright, unless they quit. For the rest it is a chance for them to step out from the back and hope that they make enough of an impression that they will continue be among the Juniors performing and not just back dancing. So it is always interesting to see who in the end makes the cut.

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