11 September 2013

The Shounen Club 21 December 2008 review

And now for the final 2008 Shounen Club episode.

Things start off with the usual Junior introductions though there are a few noticeable differences in that compared to the usual shows. The big one is that there are a few Kansai Juniors introduced, Nakayama Yuma, BOYS and B.A.D. Also Morimoto Shintaro is nowhere to be seen. I can only assume he was busy with the Snow Prince movie, as filming for that would probably fit this time frame.

We are then moved to what looks to be the same stage but had to be filmed at a different time with Koyama Keiichiro and Nakayama Yuichi filling their usual roles as hosts of the show. We get what looks like the typical number of Juniors on the program for an episode sitting on stage behind them.

They bring out two guests for the episode, Yabu Kota and Yaotome Hikaru. They start off with talking about Christmas and Yabu mentioning he always seems to be with Hikaru every year and Koyama says for him it is Kato Shigeaki with Nakamaru chiming in to say for him it is Ueda Tatsuya. The two then bring up that they recently went with the rest of Hey! Say! BEST to ride a roller coaster. They then have Yabu read a letter from a Hey! Say! JUMP fan which prompts them to show VTR of the group's various performances over the past year.

It goes back to Yabu and Hikaru with the hosts so they can introduce their "present" which is a performance of Mayonaka no Shadow Boy and School Kakumei, which looks like it was filmed sometime along with the introductions of the episode.

There is then a VTR segment that goes over various guest performances from the past year. Then it is Kis-My-Ft2 and A.B.C-Z's turn for an MC segment. The talk of course was mainly about their first concert. But it did diverge a bit for Ebi to talk about Hashimoto Ryosuke as a new member of the group and Tsukada Ryuichi brings up that there is a seven year gap between his age and Hasshi's with Hasshi only being fifteen.

They then show some footage from the concert, which makes me wish they had released this on DVD. They probably still could as both groups have debuted but seeing how long ago it was and the fact that they are on different record labels I doubt that will ever happen.

The again go back to the MC before there is a present from Ebi this time as the group does a performance of Vanilla. Even from the start of this group it was pretty obvious that Hasshi was meant to be their center, which in the end probably worked to their favor as I doubt A.B.C. would have debuted without him. As talented as the other four are groups need to have that one member that can draw non-fans in and Hasshi seems to be natural at this. Plus there is an issue of age and Hasshi lets them reach to a younger fanbase than if it was just the older four.

In this episode there are little VTR skit segments with some of the Juniors dressed up as reindeer, BOYS, Kitayama Hiromitsu, Kawai Fumito and Tanaka Juri, called Tonakai-san (Mr. Reindeer). These segments probably are best with translations as they are comedy skits that rely on understanding what it being said.

Going back to the live talk part of the show it is time for the other Kansai Juniors, Yuma and B.A.D., to get some spotlight. Both get to talk about being a a drama, for Yuma it was Battery and for B.A.D. it was Gokusen 3. This is followed by clips of Kanjuu performances in the past year.

There is then a Christmas medley with mostly the younger Juniors and lead by Nakayama Yuma for almost all the songs. There is also a weird moment when Juri is given a rap to do during the Japanese version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town of all songs. I would like to know who thought that was a good idea. Other than that the medley is fun to watch and full of cute.

Then for something different there is a performance of B.A.D. singing their group song Aishiteru. I think this is one of their songs I like the most.

But things do not end there as there is a third guest for this episode that has been waiting in the wings, Takaki Yuya. He joins the duo so they can do the usual Oretachi on Seishun/Jitabata Junjo mash up they have been performing together.

Going back to the talk portion of the episode it is B.A.D. with Takaki on stage to discuss the trio going to a Taiwan award show earlier in the year. From what I recall this was Gokusen 3 related as the Gokusen drama series was quite popular in Taiwan so they were invited to show because of that.

And we get to see some clips of the trio at the award show, which includes each one introducing themselves in Chinese and a bit of their musical performance, which is the three performing Ultra Music Power. The performance is interesting to listen to if just for the fact that there is no back vocal track so it is a fully live performance. Though it does sound like a mess.

There is then a present from Takaki, which is a performance of one of his solo songs, Kumo no Ito. I have loved this song since I first heard it watching this episode back in 2008. Though it should be no surprise as not only is Takaki one of my favorites but it is a rock song and I love rock and rock-pop. I so want this song as a CD track and keep hoping that one day HSJ will release an album with solos for all or at least most of the members as it may actually have a chance of happening.

There is also a Question? performance right after and the band performs their song Parallel World. I love having their performance on this stage with the crowd as close as they are as it really gives it a concert feel and a bit of a different atmosphere than usual.

When we go back to the other stage it is for a game segment. The game is an introdon game and the Kanjuu get added to the usual teams plus a couple of the younger Juniors who normally are not in the games. As usual though Kawai is so good at this game it hardly seems fair so they quickly change things up to make sure the two younger ones get a chance to try to even things out. The game ends up being pretty fun as with the new contestants in it there are unexpected moments that usually the game does not get with the regular line up.

There is another Tonakai-san segment that ends with Kitayama showing off a bit with his roller skates while in costume.

Then it is back to the talk segments with Butokan, though they are down one member as it seems like Johnny's did not want to pay to have Hamanaka Bunichi come over with the other Kanjuu in the episode. The group brings up that they made their debut on the program with last year's Christmas Special episode.

The group does a special medley of their group songs as their present for the episode. Even though they group has not been known for being able to get all five members together for all their performances it still looks weird when they are missing a member.

Following this is a Junior ni Q segment with BOYS being the MCs for it. The topic is Christmas memories. First up is Kikuchi Fuma who talks about a memory that involves three pieces of candy.

Next is Morita Myuto with a story about waking up in the middle of the night for one Christmas.

Then it is Kyomoto Taiga who talks about wanting a large doll of an anime character but instead getting a small version of it. And that ends the segment.

There is then another performance, this time BOYS performing the song Love or Guilty. They show off some acrobatic skills in the song but otherwise not much else really makes the song stand out. Not that it is a bad song but its not the most memorable.

Following that Koyama and Nakamaru read postcards from fans. The postcards are from fans of the two and talk about their past solo performances. So of course after this there is VTR of those performances.

Then it is back to talk to Kisumai alone. They are asked if they give gifts to each other for Christmas but Fujigaya tells them that they only give gifts for birthdays. After that Senga Kento reads a request letter that mainly talks about their song Smile. There is then a VTR of the group's performances from the past year.

After that they return to talk to the group a bit more before showing their present, a performance of their group song Kis-My-Me-Mine. I am glad to see the group going back to roller skates as I know they will not be using them forever and even if they are gimmicky I love how cheesy they are.

We get to see the talk stage one last time as Koyama and Nakamaru thank everyone who sent requests in. They then announce the finale present of the episode, the end song.

The end song for the special is Cinderella Christmas sung by all the main Juniors that were a part of the episode as well as the three guests and the two hosts.

So we are definitely in the start of Kanjuu getting promotion. Eventually Yuma will take the lion's share of it in the coming year but the rest are not forgotten in the process, or else we would not be getting the amount of time dedicated to them in the new episodes of SC.

And with that it is time to go into 2009 where there was a lot going on, or at least it seemed to from what I could remember. It was also the year I was in Japan and got to see a filming of one of the months' episodes as part of the live audience. Something I wish all Junior fans got the chance to do as you get to see parts that they cut out of the episodes and it is a fun experience watching on video what you got to see live.

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