27 October 2013

The Shounen Club 13 May 2009 review

These episodes seem to be the ones to hunt down for those who are fans of the current lot of Juniors as quite a few of them are getting introductions in them.

This episode opens up with the main Juniors of the episode singing LOVE & PEACE as they are introduced.

Hashimoto Ryosuke with Kyomoto Taiga and Uekusa Yuta introduce the theme. The theme of the episode is Shiawase na Shunkan (Happy Moment).

The theme medley was pretty enjoyable and my personal highlight was the Hasshi lead performance of Kumori nochi, Kaisei, which is a favorite song of mine. Hasshi's voice does not really fit the song though, but thankfully Totsuka Shota's does as he joins him later in the song.

There are quite a few familiar faces with the Fresh Juniors this time around. They have Hagiya Keigo, Muraji Shonosuke and Morohoshi Shoki in this lot.

The first MC of the show then focuses on the Fresh Juniors with most of the focus on Muraji and Hagiya. Though personally I think Shoki stands out the most with a smile almost never leaving his face the entire time. At the end the Fresh Juniors are sent out to take their positions on stage and Hasshi tries to pull the gag Nakamaru Yuichi did in the past by going with them but nobody tries to stop him having him stop himself and complain about it.

Next is a medley featuring mostly the younger Juniors, with Morimoto Shintaro being center for most of it. I seems we are entering the phase of Shintaro becoming more relevant than his debuted older brother as he gets some really strong pushed from Johnny's around this time.

This is followed by a Gekkan Koyamaru segment with Nakamaru up for sharing photos and he shows photos from a trip to Okinawa with Masuda Takahisa.

Question? then perform Sneaker Blues, which is a Kondo Masahiko song. While it does sound like they tried to update the song a bit with a bit of a harder rock sound it still sounds rather dated overall.

It is then time for the Junior coliseum segment. We only get four Juniors participating but it is the game where each participate does one dance move and the next much add on another until someone messes the combinations up. So pretty much a game that you cannot have a lot of participates for if you want it finished in a timely manner.

While the last episode had plenty of guests this time there is only one, Yamashita Tomohisa. Kinda wish they had all of NEWS again since they were there as they were the guests for the first episode of the month. But Yamapi performs MOLA, which was his current solo song at the time.

He then does an MC with Koyama Keiichiro and Nakamaru. When asked about what his happy moment is he goes for saying being there right now.

We have another food topic for the Junior ni Q segment. I am disappointed with that as the theme of the episode would have been a good one for the segment as well. In any case of the Juniors featured that are still with the agency we first have Kyomoto being called over with Uekusa.

Next up is Shintaro who is given a pretty long time to talk about his answer.

Then it is Tanaka Juri up to talk about sushi that his father makes. He is not able to escape having his brother Tanaka Koki being brought up by Nakamaru.

It is then an MC segment with Kis-My-Ft2 who showcase a letter from a fan from Taiwan. They read the letter and spend some time talking about it before heading off to the stage for the group's performance.

The group does a medley which includes Fujigaya Taisuke and Kitayama Hiromitsu singing Tsuki no Michi. Still love this song and I am happy to see it being performed by just about anyone on the program.

After that medley is done it is time for the final song of the program. Being the second episode of the month it is only with the older Juniors and they sing Zenbu Dakishimete. The number of older Juniors is growing though as Nakajima Kento is now a part of the grouping. I keep forgetting that he is one of the oldest members of B.I.Shadow.

I do not think I realized how many of the prominent current Juniors had their introductions to the program around this time. Most of them fall to the back for a while though before catching the little breaks here and there that lead them to be some of the better known Juniors at the moment.

23 October 2013

Nakayama's love knife

It seems that Nakayama Yuma will be singing the end song to the drama Tengoku no Koi. On the Johnny's net page where they have the media that the Juniors are in for the drama they not only have Takada Sho, who is a co-star in the drama, but list Nakayama there as the singer of the end theme. It also lists the name of the song, Ai made ga Knife.

There is no word on if this means there will be a new single out for Nakayama in the near future. Personally I would approve as I liked his Missing Piece single and have been hoping he would get another chance to release something.

I do wonder if there will be a NYC/Nakayama single, as NYC has not released anything this year and if they are still being sent to Kohaku I would assume they would have to release something. Plus the unit does have unreleased songs that they could put on a single and they have done a single with a Nakayama solo on it before. Hopefully Johnny's won't leave us in the dark for too long about this.

22 October 2013

Kisumai single news and concert speculation

The title of the B-side track on the regular edition of Kis-My-Ft2's upcoming single SNOW DOME no Yakusoku/Luv Sick to be released on November 13. The track is titled Motetaize Tonight and is the theme song for the late night drama that Kitayama Hiromitsu is starring in.

On another note I have been thinking about the group's upcoming dome concerts in November and December and I cannot help but think that these will be the 2013 concerts that we will get a concert DVD from. Dome concerts do tend to have a higher rate of being filmed for a video release. Considering that with the last concert tour we had the DVD release for it so shortly after that ended but have received no word about this year's tour getting a similar release I think it would not be a surprise if it was skipped in favor of the dome concerts. They may tack on digest footage of the tour as an extra for a release but I do not see it being a release of its own at this point.

Of course I do hope we get a concert video release from Kisumai in the near future. I still love watching the Kis-My-Mint DVD (which now that I think about was a dome concert as well) but I would like to see their newer songs being performed live.

21 October 2013

Johnny's Under 100: Kitayama Hiromitsu

Kitayama Hiromitsu
Group: Kis-My-Ft2
Birthdate: September 17, 1987

Even though Kitayama is the eldest member of Kis-My-Ft2 he does not really look it. And he does not really act it either with him letting his goofy side show and be best known for sleeping wherever and whenever he can.

He tends to get dubbed as group leader though he has always pointed out the group has none.

I have the feeling he looks forward to the day the group puts the roller skates behind them. I think he has had the most near misses when it comes to falling when performing in them.

19 October 2013

The Shounen Club 5 May 2009 review

And Hip Hop Jump begins its history of ever changing group members with this episode.

The introduction for this episode is the standard group and grouping introductions as each does a short dance when it is their turn. As I just mentioned Hip Hop Jump is definitely doing its member shake up as there is only Tanaka Juri and Hagiya Keigo around for this episode. HHJ will be in flux until they are officially broken up, but the group really exists so Juri can have his own Junior group.

It is Tamamori Yuta with Morimoto Shintaro up to introduce the theme of the episode, Kazoku (family). It is kinda funny to watch the two as even though he is much younger Shintaro comes off as much more comfortable and relaxed speaking on stage than Tamamori.

Of course they go straight into the theme medley afterwards. The interesting part of the medley for me is that for Tamamori's performance of Kizuna they have Masuda Ryo and Kishi Tadayoshi brought out to help sing the song with him. I believe this is the first time Masuda gets to do something to show that he is a talented singer on the program so I look forward to him getting more chances from now on.

We have another Fresh Junior corner, though it features a not so fresh Junior. I guess even though he showed up on the program about two and a half years ago Jesse is somehow being counted as a Fresh Junior here.

But he is not the only Junior shown in the corner that is still with the agency, Konno Takayuki is among them as well. The two in front get to talk a bit with the ones in the back only introducing themselves so not something that a Jesse fan would be missing by not watching this.

Butokan then performs their song Now and Forever. They are surprisingly light with the dance for this but the performance is spiced up a bit by having the PV for the song playing on the big screen in the back of the stage.

This is followed by the You no Otegami Yomitai Desu segment, which has Fujigaya Taisuke as the MC for the segment which features the three Juniors that are a part of the natto appreciation group, Kitayama Hiromitsu, Totsuka Shota and Kawai Fumito. The letter is from a fan that had tried natto because of the trio and liked it. After that the trio went over different foods to eat with natto that they thought tasted good.

The first guest of the episode is then introduced and we have the return of NEWS. They perform Koi no ABO, which is a fun song with a pretty fun performance to go with it.

Instead of the usual MC segment afterwards there is a NEWS o Abake segment instead to take the place of the usual game segment. Watching it now I think it is pretty apparent that they know, or at least if they are nest to them, who is talking. This is definitely one of the best o Abake segments with one of the highlights being Koyama Keiichiro getting out of his chair and not remembering how to get back to it. And of course the fact that it turns into just making fun of Kato Shigeaki by the end of it.

And this is an episode with two guests, with the second one being Takizawa Hideaki. He performs a medley of songs from his second solo single, Sha la la/Mugen no Hana. What is nice is that Fujigaya, Kitayama, Tottsu and Kawai sang back vocals for Mugen no Hana so they get to perform the song with Tackey in this instead of just back dancing.

Tackey then does a short MC with Koyama and Nakamaru Yuichi. It is mostly just promoting the release of the single and is one of the shortest MC segments I have seen in a while with a guest.

We get the return of the Dengonban segment and it already has had changes made to it. Instead of going from which Junior was given a message from the last one it just randomly goes to various Juniors who give a message to another Junior.

The segment still does not do much to get my interest as it is still mostly Juniors talking to a camera. Though we do get Tamamori doing a funny impression of Shimakake Ryuya with this one.

A.B.C-Z then get to sit down for an MC segment. Hashimoto Ryosuke gets to talk about his older sister who was the one that made him join Johnny's. You finally get to see that Ebi has done quite a bit in getting Hasshi out of his shell as he shines with his story about this instead of being awkward like usual.

The group then performs Vanilla. It is hard to think of something to say about the performance as it does not stand out from the other times the group has performed it. And while it is a good song it is not something I would consider outstanding. But if you are a fan of the group than you are bound to enjoy it.

The ending song is MOTHER/FATHER, and since this is the ending with the younger Juniors we have Juri doing the rap part, but thankfully with Fujigaya. While I am a fan of Juri I am not a fan of his rapping ability. It just lacks a distinct flow that it necessary for it to even begin to sound good. And it is not like he does not have a decent singing voice, but most probably have no clue about that as he rarely gets to show off his singing.

While a bit guest heavy this episode I think the Juniors got enough spotlight, if only because this is not the norm for the show anymore. And no matter who is doing it the Abake segments are usually quite fun to watch, even if you know little Japanese. Of course they are much more fun if you can understand them, especially the NEWS ones as members of the group are not afraid to make fun of each other.

15 October 2013

Kamen Teacher, the movie

It has been announced that the Kamen Teacher drama series is getting a movie sequel. It will hit theaters in Japan on February 22, 2014. All of the main TV drama cast will return for their roles and there of course has been more Johnny's added to the cast for the film. They are Kotaki Nozomu, Miyadate Ryota, Sakuma Daisuke and Abe Ryuhei.

Oricon Style article (Japanese)

I cannot say that I am surprised with this news as the ratings for this drama have been good for the time slot with it getting into the 3% range. And it seems like with the popular series that involve delinquents it is a given there will be a movie of it.

Of course it is also becoming a regular things to get more Johnny's added to a series when it is given a movie. The members of Snow Man seem to get the most of this treatment but it looks like it is time to start expecting to see more of the Kansai Juniors, or at least 7WEST members, getting added as Nozomu is the second after Shigeoka Daichi was added to the BAD BOYS J film.

Ultimately I am curious to how this will all play out for the Juniors with this NTV late night drama block. It is nice that they, and members from some of the more recently debuted groups, are getting chances to be in dramas. But with the growing number of Juniors being in them it does not seem like a vehicle for debut so much as it did when it first started. Sure it helps up the profiles of those in the dramas, especially the more popular ones, but it is hard to look at the list of Juniors that have acted in them and know which ones may have a greater chance to debut. I think for that you do need to look at the ones that have gone on to get drama roles in other time slots for that.

14 October 2013

Johnny's Under 100: Okamoto Keito

Okamoto Keito
Group: Hey! Say! JUMP
Birthdate: April 1, 1993

As I have always liked to support the underdog I liked Keito from the start. Even if he got a lot of hate because people thought he only debuted because his father was Johnny’s too. They were probably right, but I think Keito has worked hard to be a part of Hey! Say! JUMP and did not deserve the hate.

Even though he does not have natural talent with dancing he works hard to pull off the group choreography. And he does have his guitar playing to add to the group.

12 October 2013

The Shounen Club 12 April 2009 review

And we are back to a good quality video again. Thankfully this should be the final year's worth of video this will be a thing with and it will be nice clear video for them all soon enough.

The introduction is the basic each group gets spotlighted as they dance with groupings of course getting each Junior introduced by name. But to note Jesse is missing for this month's episodes, I do not think they have already begun to change out members of Hip Hop Jump yet, IIRC he tends to disappear from time to time during his earlier years so this is more likely one of those times.

Like with the last episode three Juniors are called up to help introduce the theme of the episode, Akogare Hero (Admired Hero). This time it is Fujigaya Taisuke with B.I.Shadow. Nakajima Kento gets to talk and of course gets to talk about admiring Yamada Ryosuke and that is all they have time for as they start the theme medley after that.

Looking at things it seems to make a lot of sense that Morimoto Shintaro gets a new group of Juniors to perform with as everyone from his usual group is shooting up in height. I also find it disappointing that we do not have as many chances to hear his voice nowadays as we did back then.

With the Fresh Juniors we have Matsumura Hokuto getting introduced with them even though he has already been placed in a group. But he does get to wear something to place him with BIS and not the more generic outfits the others are in.

Of the rest I only recognize Kishimoto Shintaro as a Junior that is still with the agency. We should be seeing more of him in future episodes as he is a part of the Snow Prince Gasshodan group that will be put together later in 2009.

There is then an MC segment with the Fresh Juniors. Of course the focus is on with sempai they admire. Hokku gets his Junior ni Q appearance brought up as he gets to talk about his admiration of Yamashita Tomohisa. Kishimoto says that he admires Hashimoto Ryosuke.

The guests of the episode, Hey! Say! 7 then perform, they start off with an accent dance before moving on to perform their unit song GET!!, which is one of their songs that have been released on CD. It is also one of my favorite unit songs for them. And this performance really helps highlight that these kids have grown since debut as their voices are much closer to where they will be once they settle than before.

For the MC they go over the sempai that HS7 admire. They do not even have to ask Chinen Yuri about who he admires as Nakamaru Yuichi brings up Ohno Satoshi on his own to start the conversation. Nakajima Yuto says it is Takizawa Hideaki for him and for Yamada it is Domoto Koichi. Okamoto Keito actually gives a bit of a different answer than usual and names Taguchi Junnosuke instead of his usual standby of his father Okamoto Kenichi.

A.B.C-Z then perform a special medley of their songs, Ashita no Tame ni Boku ga Iru, Vanilla and  InaZuma Venus. I kinda like how they seem to be ramping up energy-wise with each song, going from a ballad to something uptempo to something even more uptempo to end on.

After that is is Junior Colosseum time. There are no teams this time around but we have the usual selection of Juniors to participate. They are given a prompt and if they want to try it they get on a platform to do so. After the time is up for the prompt Nakamaru gets to judge who did it best.

One of the rounds is about impersonations but the prompt does ban them from doing ones they have done before. But that does not stop Kawai Fumito from doing something Matsumoto Jun related as he does Sakura Sake going from Sakurai Sho to Matsujun's part.

There is then a new segment brought out, Gekkan KoyaMaru, which is a focus on the hosts of the show as one of them shows off photos of something and discusses it. Koyama Keiichiro is up for this episode and he has photos of a trip to Nagano that he took with Kato Shigeaki.

There is then a Junior special medley that lets the Juniors that were not in the earlier medley, the older ones, perform. It starts off with the odd pairing of Nozawa Yuki and Kishi Takayoshi to sing a duet.

But then the rest of Mis Snow Man show up to perform No More Wait before we return to the younger Juniors coming out to perform.

It is time for Junior ni Q and the question is about heroes. Takada Sho is called over and he listed three names, with Senga Kento being one of them. So they call Senga over and he is mostly flustered about it.

Since Senga is there they go over his answer of Sakurai Sho. He shares a story about Sho, though I could not catch all of it.

Goseki Koichi is called over next as he put Nakamaru down as his answer. From what I could follow when he was trying to think of who to write for his answer he thought of Koyama and Nakamaru and decided to just put down Nakamaru's name.

Following this is a letter exchange segment between Fujigaya Taisuke and Totsuka Shota. This is definitely one of these segments I really wish I had the subtitles for as the two have known each other long enough you can tell they are pretty comfortable about saying what they want about each other.

There is then a KAT-TUN Respect Medley, performed by Ebikisu with a little bit of Question? in the mix. In light of recent events for KAT-TUN that was actually not easy to sit through, especially since it is so easy to hear that Fujigaya's rap is strongly inspired by Tanaka Koki's.

The end song is Hero and is with the older Juniors like usual. Even though it is nice when it is the older Juniors if just because they can get some focus during the end song the stage always seems to be a bit empty. But I think that is more because they do not move much in these performances than anything else.

A solid episode that gives us some more Fresh Juniors to see, even though most are gone by now. But it is still nice to see the ones that are still around. I mean Kishimoto has grown so much it is amazing to see how he looked when he was younger and how he looks now.

And I dread going through more episodes for a while as I cannot remember if KAT-TUN returns as guests in the near future or not. I think the full weight of Koki leaving Johnny's will hit if I see the group together on this program.