31 December 2014

Johnny's WEST - Ee Jya nai ka LE WEST/RE single review


Regular Edition

Artist: Johnny's WEST
Title: Ee Jya nai ka
Release date:  02 APR 2014
Type: single
Version: Limited Edition Type C & Regular Edition

Limited Edition Type C

Packaging: The RE comes in a slim CD case while the LE gets a full sized one as it has to hold the CD and the DVD it comes with. The LE does have a couple of group shots for the back of CD.

The booklet for the RE gives us a few pages for group shots and three pages to divide the seven individual pictures on, as well as signatures from the members. It also contains the lyrics for all four songs included on the CD.

The LE Type C booklet is mostly a photo booklet. The lyrics to the two songs the CD has is just on a sheet of glossy paper that is not even attached to it. Instead we get a couple of group shots then a solo shot of each member with the DVD specs on the final page with one of the group shots.

The first press bonus for both was a poster. Each poster was different and based off the photo shoot for the cover. Though in the Type C it looks a lot like the group photo in the booklet but it is the same setting and outfits and the covers.

Tracks*:

1. ええじゃないか (Ee Jya nai ka)
When you are debuting a loud and boisterous group then it only makes sense to go with a loud and boisterous song. This song is just charged with energy and the chorus is really catchy. It really helps start the group on a strong note for this to be their debut song. The calls and responses in the song give it a festival feeling which just adds to the feeling of fun it is infused with. Plus everyone sounds good in it, which is nice as not everyone has the best range in the group even though there are some strong signers.

2. バンザイ夢マンサイ! (Banzai Yume Mansai!)
While not as strong a song as Ee Jya nai ka, BYM is still a fun energetic song. It has a bit more of a general pop sound to it but the instruments, like the horns, used in it help make it stand out and give it some nice flares. The rap parts feel a bit weak in the song but are not too distracting and are worked in to go with the flow of the song instead of breaking it up. Plus with all the switching of sounds in the song it is hard to argue that they do not fit.

3. その先へ… (Sono Saki e...)
Sono Saki e... gives the group a chance to show they can do more than energetic pop by being a nice ballad. Even though it is quite the switch in style following BYM it is still nice to have something this calm on the single. Also I never really felt things like having a musical flow really ever factored into singles like it does with albums so I do not have that expectation. But all that aside it is a nice standard pop ballad that helps show off another side to the main vocals of the group. My main issue would be that Shigeoka Daiki's voice sounds almost too soft for his solo lines and even with the softer music it seems to over power it. Sure the rest are singing softly as well but I do not have to strain myself to hear them.

4. 浪速一等賞! (Naniwa Ittou Shou!)
And after a ballad to slow things down Naniwa Ittou Shou! comes in full of the same kind of energy the first two tracks had. I personally love this song and it has a catchy chorus that is easy to sing along with. It is also a fun song to watch the group to perform live, which is where I fell in love with it.


* Just covering the RE as the LE only has the first two tracks and their karaoke versions.

DVD:

I think my project to review all the Morning Musume PVs has let me come to appreciate Johnny's PVs more. Sure nobody's back was being broken for the PV for Ee Jya nai ka, but it looked good and had enough going on with it to not only make it interesting but also want to watch again to see if you cannot catch something you missed before.

The PV gives the group two different settings, a set with their names in the background and a mock red carpet where they have reporters waiting to interview them. The first set they have casual clothes for while the other they are mainly in their red outfits, which were also used for the group's concert performances as well, and black suits.

Hamada Takahiro, Fujii Ryusei and Kamiyama Tomohiro have additional outfits as they play characters in the crowd of reporters. Hamada is a police man, Kamiyama as a blonde girl and Fujii in a business suit and afro.

There is a lot of little things going on in the PV that it keeps things visually interesting and the goofiness of it matches the song well.

The making of has the standard behind the scene footage of the guys actually having the PV filmed, watching others being filmed, goofing off around the set and getting to talk to the camera from time to time. Everyone gets a good amount of time to be seen and get a feel for their personalities.

There are also "interview" scenes included, which is basically each member of the group is asked some, usually basic, things about them like their name, age, hometown, hobbies and such by the other members of the group. These are good in matching member colors as each is bordered by the color of the member being interviewed.

Because the guys typically speak in Kansai-ben (a dialect of Japanese) there are plenty of subtitles thrown on the screen to help viewers follow what is being said. This is probably more help for those who know Japanese but they do have them color coded to match the members' group colors so you know who is saying what easily.

It ends with the group talking about the debut and PV shooting together which works out nicely as usually you have individual members doing so on their way out. So I appreciated that they spent the time to do so together on the set.


Overall: A great debut single with songs that do well to reflect the image the group is going for, fun and energetic. There is not a song on this that I do not like and will not usually listen to instead of skipping. The only one I might would be Sono Saki e... if just because it is an odd fit between all the energetic songs. I like ballads and all but usually I am in either a fun/energetic song mood or a ballad mood and do not tend to mix the two much.

The DVD with this LE version is a great for not only fans but even for those new to the group. It does well to introduce the members and figure out their personalities. Even though there clearly are members that are getting pushed more than others, like there is for any idol group, both the PV and the making of features still manage to give everyone a good amount of time in front of the camera so no one looked like they were getting shafted.

Listening to the CD and watching the DVD reminded me why I love this group so this is one release I am really glad I revisited for this.

30 December 2014

Nakayama Yuma - High Five RE single review


Artist: Nakayama Yuma
Title: High Five
Release date:  02 April, 2014
Type: single
Version: RE

Packaging: Like most releases from a Johnny's label the CD case is slim with only enough room for a front jacket and  the CD itself. The jacket is the lyric booklet but has a couple pages to use on extra photos of Yuma, though one page is shared with the track listing for the CD.

I rather like the cover. It may be simple but it looks good and ties in well with the title track. And of course it helps that Yuma is looking good as well.

The first press came with a poster, but I did not care for the photo of Yuma they picked for it. I would have much rather had it be a poster version of the cover or something than him just standing looking forward.

Tracks:

1. High Five
A rather standard J-pop song. The beginning comes off as weak but once it hits the chorus for the first time things pick up and the following versus are stronger. The chorus is really the best part of the song but even then it just does not really grab me. But it is one of the stronger tracks on the single so I cannot fault it for being the A-side.

2. 愛までがナイフ (Ai made ga Knife)
Easily the strongest B-side track and it was no surprise that Yuma was performing the song before the song came out on Shounen Club. In fact it could have been an A-side along with High Five and would not have felt out of place. It is more of a dance pop song and has this interesting background choral part in it that grabs my attention. It gives it an epic feel to it, though it never goes too much further in that direction.

3. so Crazy
A rather tame pop song that never feels like it goes anywhere. I do get bored listening to this song and it gets skipped often for basically any of Yuma's other songs. I really do not have anything else to say about the song as so little of it makes any kind of impact on me.

4. BLOSSOM TREE
A slow paced song that I like, though Yuma's voice sounds strained at times during it. But it has a nice build up throughout the song and while it is far from being one of Yuma's more stand out songs is still a nice one to listen to from time to time.


Overall: I feel that after loving Missing Piece so much I had my hopes too high for this single. While the single is not bad there just is not a lot there that I really love. Especially when the single before and the one after it have songs that I do love on them. And honestly this single put me on the fence with continuing to follow Yuma's music releases and thankfully Get Up! was a stronger single and rejuvenated my interest in those releases.

That said I do find myself liking the songs on this single a bit more than I recall when I first heard them. But I doubt they will end up as favorites but I will not skip over them so much when listening to Yuma's songs.

29 December 2014

7th Anniversary!

I cannot really believe it but as of toady this blog has hit its 7th anniversary. It may seem to be on life support now but I refuse to give up on it and I am laying down some plans so hopefully next year things will be a bit more lively.

Overall I am really amazed that I have kept this going for so long. And I really have no plans to completely quit this either. Maybe cut back on how much I post but never close this blog up or stop blogging about Johnny's in general.

In the past year or so I feel my interest in Johnny's changing. I am growing more content with following more on the debuted groups/artists that I like and less on the Juniors for example. I really do feel that once the Bakaleya6 debut or stop being featured regularly as Juniors for whatever reason than I will lose my last major link of interest in the Juniors. Not that I do not think there are not plenty of newer talented Juniors, but to me the Bakaleya6 seem to represent the era of Juniors I came in on when learning about them. So when they are no longer featured as Juniors I feel that era will have ended and it just seems like a good time to let that be a cut off for me.

Especially as I get older I find myself less interested in the younger Juniors and even groups. These days I find my interest in groups like TOKIO, NEWS and Kis-My-Ft2 growing stronger, and I do feel it is partly because of their ages. And Johnny's WEST being the newest group I am most interested in does not seem to be surprising in that light. Though I do not want to rule out not becoming interested in any future new groups, but I am more willing to wait for Juniors to debut before paying more attention to them now.

Yet despite all that change I know I am not giving up on Johnny's. At this point I have well passed the point of no return and will probably follow these groups for as long as they are around. And as long as I do that I will want to share my love for them and that was what this blog was created for after all.

So I hope I can keep counting the years for many years to come for this blog. And that others will continue to join me in sharing the love for Johnny's.

28 December 2014

INTRODUCING ... NEWS

Where I go over a brief history of this Japanese boy group that I love so much.


Kis-My-Ft2 - Hikari no Signal RE single review


Artist: Kis-My-Ft2
Title: Hikari no Signal
Release date:  05 MAR 2014
Type: single
Version: RE

Packaging: The regular edition comes in a standard CD case with a front and back cover. Being the first press of the RE it comes with one of two types of photo booklets. The photo booklet has a solo photo of each member then a group shot with the solo shots being basic head shots and they are all in the outfits they are wearing on the cover. Unfortunately. Because honestly those things are rather ugly and the guys look creepy on this cover.

Tracks:

1. 光のシグナル (Hikari no Signal)
I love this song. I honestly did not think I would but it has grown on me and I just adore it now. Even though this is for a Doraemon theme song the song never goes into cutesy territory and stick to being a solid pop track. I love the flourishes in the music, especially entering the chorus from the versus. The chorus is nice a catchy and I find myself singing along with it. Also Tamamori Yuta's voice works surprisingly well in the song despite not having nearly the same range as some of the other members of the group.

2. ずっと ~You are my Everything~ (Zutto ~You are my Everything~)
This B-sides falls into the dance pop style that Kisumai took up with their debut. Zutto is my favorite B-side for the single, with having a lot of what I like in a song, a driving beat and change ups with the sound of the music. This song also places the vocals mostly on Kitayama Hiromitsu and Fujigaya Taisuke so those sound solid. And Tamamori sounds fine with his main solo line, but I think they have just gotten good with giving him things in his vocal range.

3. Crush! Crush! Crush!
This track is more standard pop but very energetic and the kind of song I would want to listen to if I want to be active. This track gets a rap section that gets split between Tamamori and Fujigaya that works, though I think Fujigaya has the better voice for it. But then again he has been practicing his rapping for much longer and has created a style for it. Outside of that the group has plenty of songs like this and Crush! Crush! Crush! does not really stand out much from those. Still not a bad song, just on the forgettable side of things.


Overall: A good single from the group and a good show that while a song may be used for a something for children it does need to be cutesy to work. And I love one of the B-sides while the other I like, I just would have a hard time remembering about it if I was compiling a list of favorite Kisumai songs.

I know I must sound harsh towards Tamamori but I really do like him. His talents just do not lie with his singing abilities. Though he is still leagues above Yokoo Wataru who seems to be well on his way on becoming the Nakai Masahiro of the group when it comes to musical talent. But I do love them both, just my love is not completely tone-deaf.

So overall I enjoy the single and I do like that the group broke away a bit from their usual dance pop sound for the title track. If they are to make it in the long run variety will aid them greatly as can be seen with their sempai groups and the eclectic discographies they have, so this is a good addition to their own.

27 December 2014

Hey! Say! JUMP - AinoArika / Aisureba Motto Happy Life RE single review


Artist: Hey! Say! JUMP
Title: AinoArika / Aisureba Motto Happy Life
Release date: 05 FEB 2014
Type: single
Version: Regular Edition

Packaging: Being the regular edition it is as basic as it can be. The jewel CD case is slim so there is no room for a back slip of paper for a back image, you just see the CD itself. The CD jacket just has the cover, a track listing and lyrics. This is the first press of the RE so the CD is pictured labeled, which just means there is a picture on the CD itself. For this it is solo images of the group members.

Tracks:

1. AinoArika
Why o' why did they add a rap to this song? It was a perfectly good song that did not need an awkward rap break in the middle of it to ruin the flow of the music. And who mixes a rap in the middle of an upbeat energetic song with classical instruments? Yet despite that one glaring annoyance I have with the song I still find myself enjoying it. I just wish there was a version minus the rap so I could enjoy it more.

2. 愛すればもっとハッピーライフ (Aisureba Motto Happy Life)
A cute song that also gets an awkward break around the middle, but instead of a rap it is some DRM thrown in for what I am assuming is a dance break. It does not come off as anything special to me as HSJ has plenty of cute, poppy, upbeat songs and this one is not as strong as some of the others. Also for a group that is supposed to be moving towards a more mature image this feels like a step back for them.

3. Oh! My Jelly! ~僕らはOK~ (Oh! My Jelly ~Bokura wa OK~)/ Hey! Say! 7
This song had to have been written for the CM tie-in it was attached to. Or I would hope so or it would mean Johnny's had a song about Jelly lying around just in case. That said the song is more in the vein of the second A-side and goes for a cute and upbeat pop sound. And again there are better songs that HS7 has that are the same style which makes this one feel rather forgettable.

4. スギルセツナ (Sugiru Setsuna)/ Hey! Say! BEST
I am happy that HSB does not disappoint. They have my favorite song on this single, and not just because of my bias for the sub-unit for Takaki Yuya being a part of it. Though AinoArika would be just as loved if it was missing the rap. Sugiru Setsuna has the more mature sound that one would expect from a group of over 20s even though like the rest of the songs on the single it is rather upbeat and poppy. It just lacks the cute and a section of the song that pulls the listener out of it.

5-8. (karaoke tracks)


Overall: This single is a great showcase of my frustration with the group. AinoArika is the kind of song you would expect them to be releasing as they mature as a group but then you have something like Aisureba Motto Happy Life pulling them back into the young and cute image they have never been able to shake.

And honestly the cute would not be so much an issue if it were better and less generic. I never forgot how AinoArika went like during the year but even after only just listening to Aisureba Motto Happy Life I cannot tell you how it goes. Same with Oh! My Jelly!, which is easily outshone by previous HS7 unit songs in all categories. So this single ends up being half good and half bland.

26 December 2014

Tegomass - Tegomass no Seishun RE album review


Artist: Tegomass
Title: Tegomass no Seishun
Release date: 22 JAN 2014
Type: album
Version: Regular Edition

Packaging: The basic CD case with booklet. The booklet is a lyric booklet with photos of the duo interspersed within its pages. The pages that have the lyrics for Neko Chudoku in it does have cat photos from the contest Tegomass had asking for fans to submit photos of their cats.

Tracks:

1. 蒼色ジュブナイル (Aoiro Juvenile)
Not a bad track to start the album off with. It fits well with the style of songs that Tegomass usually sing and is nice and upbeat. Though it is not a song I listen to often as I do not find much about it that stands out. But it works well as background music and it does have that Tegomass standard feel to it.

2. ハルメキ (Harumeki)
This is the first song on the album that catches my attention. The string instruments used in it really help set it apart and work well with adding energy and fullness to it. It also helps that the song has a driving drum line running through it, as I am a complete sucker for songs with that. Harumeki is easily one of my favorite album songs on this.

3. いつかの街 (Itsuka no Machi)
Another track that falls well within the standard sound for Tegomass. But I rather like it. It is a bit slower than the previous track and I just love the sound of the duo's voices blending in this. Though I do enjoy listening to the song I will admit it is one that I can easily forget as it does little to really stand out among everything else in their discography.

4. DONUTS
A Tegomass album would not be complete without a song that is titled after a food. DONUTS is that track for this album and I rather enjoy. I would consider this to be a light and sweet song by the music and continues the upbeat trend the album began with. We get a some light choral vocals in the vein of gospel music near the end that adds nicely to the song though they are used minimally.

5. ファンタジア (Fantasia)
While there is nothing I would consider wrong with Fantasia at this point of the album it does not seem to offer anything unique to it. Perhaps if this was the first Tegomass album I had ever listened to it would stand out more to me but seeing as it is the fourth instead it does not. By the end of listening to the album I cannot recall much of anything about the song as it just seems to blend in with everything else.

6. タイムマシン (Time Machine)
I find this song to be the most forgettable one on the album. Like the previous song there just is so little that makes it stand out not only among Tegomass' other songs but the album itself. It also lacks any real or strong hook which also helps keep it so very bland. It is still nice to listen to but so easily forgettable and works best as background music that you do not have to pay much attention to.

7. サヨナラにさよなら (Sayonara ni Sayonara)
The first of the two single tracks included in the album. It has this sweetness that I just love as well as the little shifts with the instruments throughout the song. The chorus just has this wonderfully full sound to it and everything just sounds so great put together. I doubt I can truly explain what it is about this song I love so much but I do love it a lot.

8. 少年 ~Re:Story~ (Shounen ~Re:Story~)
This is probably the only song on the album that I feel can really rival the single tracks. The start of the song does not grab me much but once it hits the chorus for the first time it finally hits its stride and continues on strong for the rest of the song. It also gives the album a burst of energy after a couple of slower songs without being too different to make the transition jarring.

9. innocence
That transition of course is quite needed as we get nearer to Neko Chudoku that innocence sounds quite suited to lead into with a change up in style. It gives us something more funky in sound and continues to bring some more life into this album. A great break from everything that has been on the album so far while not really straying from the usual Tegomass sound.

10. 猫中毒 (Neko Chudoku)
The other single song included in the album but it could not be more different than the other. Easily the most energetic song on the entire album and incredibly catchy. It is easily one of the songs that you will remember well after listening to the album and with the build up from the previous two songs fits well where it is.

11. 色鮮やかな君が描く明日の絵 (Iro Azayaka na Kimi ga Egaku Ashita no E)
Another energetic song though a step down from Neko Chudoku but in no way bad for it. While I do not feel it to be as strong as Shounen ~Re:Story~ it is still one of the stronger songs on the album. The use of the fiddle really helps it out and makes it complement Neko Chudoku well.

12. ヒカリ (Hikari)
And then we get a complete change of pace with Hikari that is a much slower song compared to the ones before it. It does build up some for the chorus but the slow start to it makes it a bit jarring after Iro Azayaka na Kimi ga Egaku no E. It also falls into the bland category, not really bringing anything new to the album in sound but it is one of the nicer songs to listen to and has some dynamics to it with the verses being slower to lead into a build up for the chorus. And it would work well as a final track for the album, which for the limited edition it was.

13. きれいごと (Kireigoto)
The first bonus track for the regular edition. It is a nice ballad that makes great use of the tender side of Tegoshi's voice. Even though the song does build up to something strong it never completely loses the softness to it. It is one of the stand out tracks of the album for me and makes getting the RE well worth it.

14. 月の友達 (Tsuki no Tomodachi)
Another stand out track that comes off as dynamic compared to most of the other album songs. While not as upbeat as Neko Chudoku it is something more in that vein, which keeps it from blending in with the rest. Especially the "ore no doku e koi  tsuki made tsuite koi" line that has the music change up for it.


Overall: I do not want to say this is a bad album it is just one that has a lot of songs that for Tegomass seem really safe for them, especially in the first half. My favorite album for the duo is their debut album, Tegomass no Uta, and a part of that was the variety of the songs. Tegomass no Seishun on the other hand does not stray far from the main style of the group which makes many of the songs just blend in with each other. There are some standout tracks and it does get stronger in the second half but even then there are few that really sound like they are on par with the single tracks.

The album tracks complement the single tracks enough that they do not feel like sore thumbs mixed in with them for the most part. In fact I think they did well with the transition needed to get Sayonara ni Sayonara and Neko Chudoku to work being on the same album with how different the two songs sound. The only time that a song felt really jarring was with Hikari. The bonus tracks also did not flow so much with the rest of the album, but being bonus tracks it is forgivable for those.

The bonus tracks come off as a couple of the stronger songs and I would recommend that fans pick up the regular edition for them.

And honestly I do like this album better than their previous one, Tegomass no Mahou. So while it does not live up to their debut album it is at least an improvement over the previous one.

Looking at Johnny's Releases 2014

The end of 2014 is neigh and I figured I wanted to do some kind of review for some of the releases I bought from the Johnny's that I follow. After some more thought I have decided that I will be doing brief reviews for all 2014 releases that I purchased throughout the rest of this month and a bit in January, as there are two releases from 2014 that I will not be getting until 2015 because I ordered them with NEWS' upcoming single.

Full list of what I'll be reviewing in order of release date:

Tegomass - Tegomass no Seishun RE album (22JAN2014)
Hey! Say! JUMP - AinoArika / Aisureba Motto Happy Life RE single (05FEB2014)
Kis-My-Ft2 - Hikari no Signal RE single (05MAR2014)
Nakayama Yuma - High Five RE single (02APR2014)
Johnny's WEST - Ee Jya nai ka LE WEST/RE single (23APR2014)
TOKIO - LOVE, HOLIDAY RE single (21MAY2014)
NEWS - ONE -for the win- LE A/RE single (11JUN2014)
Hey! Say! JUMP - smart RE 1st press album (18JUN2014)
Kis-My-Ft2 - Kis-My-Journey RE album (02JUL2014)
Busaiku - Tei Tei Tei Terette Teretei Tei Tei ~Dare no Ketsu~ LE B single (27JUL2014)
Johnny's WEST - go WEST Yoidon! RE album(06AUG2014)
Kis-My-Ft2 - Another Future RE single (13AUG2014)
Nakayama Yuma - Get Up! RE single(10SEP2014)
Johnny's WEST - Zipangu Ooki ni Daisakusen / Yume wo Daikishimete RE single (08OCT2014)
Kanjani8 - Kanjanism RE album (05NOV2014)
Nakayama Yuma - Chapter 1 RE album (26NOV2014)
Kis-My-Ft2 - Thank youJan! (24DEC2014)

I hope to get through them all by the end of January at least as there are only 17 releases. Of course the albums will probably take the most time but there are only six of them. And I hope to get the first review up either later today or tomorrow. 

23 December 2014

Kis-My-Ft2's upcoming concert DVD/BD or how much money does Avex think fans have?

Kis-My-Ft2 will be releasing their previous winter concert from 2014 on home video. There are two versions on DVD and one version on BD and it will come out February 4th.

The first DVD is a limited edition that will come with three discs. The first disc will have the concert, the second will have the encore, multi-angles for three of the concert performances, member angles for  three other songs, as well as the MCs of the four dome concerts. The third disc is a documentary of the tour.


The second DVD is the regular edition that has only two discs. The first disc is the same as the LE then the second disc will have the encore, a triple encore, an epilogue video.


The BD will have two discs as well. The first disc has both the concert and the encore. The second disc will have a special corner done at the concerts and will have it for all the dome concerts. And also on that disc there will be a "member making video" that will focus on two members for each, with Senga Kento being paired up with something for the full group.



So basically if you want all the extra footage from the concert tour you need all three versions. And I guess I am glad that the BD is not just the RE version though it seems to defeat the purpose of having a BD version in the first place, to have everything on the DVD versions but in HD. I hope Avex figures out how to do a proper BD release in the future as there is no way I can afford all those versions. So instead I am just going to aim for the BD eventually.

18 December 2014

Johnny's WEST Paradise

Johnny's WEST is set for their first single of 2015 with the announcement of the release of Zundoko Paraside to be released February 4th. Like their previous single release it will come with three different editions. Though instead of clear files for the first press bonuses like their debut single it will be posters instead. Each version will come with a different poster.

The first limited edition (Type A) will be the standard LE with DVD that will have the music video and making of for the title track. It will also come with a B-side that will be on all three editions, SAKURA ~Tabidachi no Uta~. It will also have the karaoke tracks for the two songs which are only included in the LEs. It will have a four page booklet.


The second LE (Type B) will also come with a DVD, but it will include digest footage from one of the group's debut events. (It is listed to be about 30 minutes long.) It will also have a 12 page booklet.


The regular edition will have two bonus B-side tracks, Seishun Wo!! and Time goes by. It will have an eight page booklet.


And CDJapan is offering a bundle of all three versions that will include the first press bonus posters of all three editions as well.



I am happy to see that JWEST is set to release their next single. Hopefully this means they will be on track for a summer album release in 2015.

And since the regular edition is the only version with bonus tracks I do not feel much pressure to pre-order this immediately and can wait for something else to be announced to pre-order with it. Though I doubt it will be something from Johnny's outside the chance TOKIO may be ready to finally release a new single. Either way it will not be long for me to get my latest bundle of Johnny's goodness and it looks like this release could be the start of the next one after.

10 December 2014

Johnny's 2015-2016 calendars

It is that time of the year, the annual Johnny's calendars are up for pre-order. All groups from Hey! Say! JUMP on will have a calendar and the Juniors will have their usual calendar.

First up of course is HSJ. It looks like it will come with a lot to make fans happy as not only will there be the actual wall calendar but it will come with stickers and a 144 page dairy.


Kis-My-Ft2 will have a weekly  desktop calendar that will come with message cards according to the CDJapan listing. They happen to be the only ones with any kind of description of what to expect for their calendar at this point.


Next is Sexy Zone. What is worrisome about this calendar is that there is an image floating around for all the calendars and for the group only the older three are featured.


A.B.C-Z will be a wall calendar and will come with a photo book.


Johnny's WEST seems to mention Okinawa, so I am assuming that is the location where all the photos for the calendar will be set.


Johnny's Juniors do not really have anything up to say what exactly their calendar will be. It will either be some kind of book or come with one as there are plenty of Juniors to feature in it as it is every year.




While I passed on getting a calendar last year I think I may see about getting one this time around. Especially since my love for Kisumai has resurged so I would like to have one of theirs. With their ages they may not have long getting these kinds of releases as these do tend to go to the groups with younger members. Which makes sense as these are school calendars.

In any case I always like seeing what the calendars are like as some end up being really nice or creative.

07 December 2014

NEWS' Kaguya

Continuing with catching up with recently announced releases there is more information for NEWS' upcoming single KAGUYA.

LE type A
The untitled B-side that will be on all three editions of the single is titled Butterfly.


LE type B
The B-side that is exclusive to the LE B is titled TRAVeLiNG.

Regular Edition
The B-sides exclusive to the regular edition are Wasurenagusa and TOP OF THE WORLD.


Also just want to say the covers for all the editions are all rather lovely. The LEs are the best but I just love the colors used in all of them. And from the PV preview that is out they look to be from the sets of the PV, which makes that something to anticipate even more.

That said from the small snippet of song that can be heard I do not think I can weigh in if I like the song or not so far. I really need to hear more, and thankfully the wait should not be too much longer. I am also really glad I was able to get the bundle of all three editions in the end as there is no way I would be happy if I missed out on any of the editions.

06 December 2014

Thank Youjan Kis-My-Ft2!

For some reason I did not think to check up on the upcoming releases that I am getting until now so there are a couple of things I need to catch up on. First off is that the rest of the information for Kis-My-Ft2's single, Thank Youjan, has been released.

We have the cover art for the CD jackets. The top is for the LE type A, middle LE type B and the bottom is the RE. Kinda boring honestly but it is nice to see that the usual divide with the group isn't all that visible in the covers.

The B-sides that will be on the regular edition have had their titles released. Both are Christmas themed from the sounds of it: Holy night with you and Christmas Kiss.


Also I did watch the group perform the song recently and I was filled with so much joy to see that S-My-2 got a decent amount of screen time. And when I say that I mean they actually got to be in the front and be clearly seen singing the song with KiFt, as well as having outfits that matched with them. I knew eventually this would happen and it looks like Busaiku really helped with getting the group there. Just hope it continues as the future for Kisumai is bound to be brightest when they all get to shine.

01 December 2014

All the Johnny's

While the factions seem to split the groups on just about every other program there looks to be one that is above all that. Or at least one that will be able to for one night this year with FNS Kayousai announcing that all debuted Johnny's will be a part of a special 25 minute tribute to Kondo Masahiko (Matchy). Matchy will be celebrating his 35th anniversary since his debut and all his kouhai are invited to help celebrate.

Arama! Japan article (English)


Of course there seems to be some omissions. The soloists Yamashita Tomohisa and Nakayama Yuma appear to be missing from the list for whatever reason. Rumor is that Yamapi may still be in trouble from his phone scandal but that does not explain Yuma not being there as he is scandal free. Not to mention with Yuma's debut album just out it would be perfect for him to be on the year end programs. That said it is no surprise that Imai Tsubasa is missing as he was hospitalized a couple of weeks ago to treat his Meniere's Disease, which has put all his activities on hold for now.

In any case this is still exciting news for Johnny's fans as it is so rare to see so many Johnny's together for anything these days. But it seems Matchy is well above any of the factions at his level of seniority and this proves that. I cannot wait to see the performances, even though I doubt everyone will be together at the same place for them, but it still has the potential to be rather epic even then.

30 November 2014

Johnny's add to Kohaku's line-up

The line-up for this year's Kohaku Uta Gassen has been announced and while we see the return of the familiar faces for Johnny's there is a new addition from the agency as well. And it is probably not a group that many would have guessed, V6.

Arama! Japan link (English)

Looking at things and the solo activities of the members of V6 it actually does make sense for them to be selected to be on the program this year. I believe four of the six members of the group are doing something in connection to NHK, the station that hosts the event. So there is plenty of reasons for the group to have been on their radar this year.

Also with AKS adding another one of their related groups this year, HKT48, I find it hard to fault Johnny's for getting another one of their groups on the program. Like it or not there are not really any agencies with male idol groups that are popular enough to be selected for a Kohaku invite.



This of course begs the question about what is going on with the Johnny's Countdown concert this year. The only group to have a countdown concert venue booked is KAT-TUN over in Osaka, like they had last year. Kinki Kids have concerts at the Tokyo Dome around the New Year's date but not on it unlike usual. And it is getting rather late to announce a concert for December 31st. I cannot imagine there not being a JCD this year and hope there will be some news for it soon.

22 November 2014

J-drama needs

Recently international fans have been dealt a blow when it comes to watching J-dramas with D-Addicts closing their torrents page. This was one of the main places to go for getting videos of J-dramas for many years and like many I am at a loss to where to go to find the dramas I want to watch.

One small light in the darkness is the fact that Fuji TV has a deal with Crunchyroll for its dramas. The selection so far is small but it is growing and it is an actual legal way to watch J-dramas for those who live outside of Japan. (Though for those in Asian countries there seems to be about a 6 month wait added to the dramas it is streaming.) But I hope that this will do well that we keep getting more dramas added from Fuji TV's backlog and perhaps have other Japanese TV stations start having their dramas streamed on the site. And since they have J-dramas up there that have Johnny's in it, including the latest season of HERO starring Kimura Takuya, I believe it should be no problem to get those added.

I do wish they would separate their dramas by country of origin though. It would make it much easier to find what J-dramas they have. But for anyone interested in checking out what they have here is a link: http://www.crunchyroll.com/videos/drama

But until then all the other J-dramas I am stuck with only the hope of being able to eventually find a source for them. It is frustrating because if there was a legal way to watch them I would. In fact for the ones I am interested in that are on CR I am doing just that. So I hope eventually Japanese companies realize that there are plenty of viewers beyond there shores that want to watch their programs and give us ways to do so to make us all happy.

21 November 2014

Kis-My-High-Definition

Kis-My-Ft2 will have all their previous concert DVDs re-released on Blu Ray on January 7th. From the product listings these are basically the regular editions of those, as each will only have one version. But there will be extra footage on all of them not included in the DVD releases, which will be the MC segments from these concerts. So for a die-hard Kisumai fan these are going to be a must buy.

Personally I am just happy to see Blu Ray releases of the concerts in general. But that is personal preference for the format. And it is nice to see them including the MC segments, as those are usually a strong point for Johnny's concerts so it is always disappointing to see them excluded in a release. Though I have no doubt they are being included in this release just to give fans a reason to buy these.

And since I do not have a lot of money right now only having the one version for these re-releases is not so disappointing as I can hopefully be able to get them all eventually. I skip the Kis-My-Mint tour though as I did get the DVD version of that. The rest are going on my ever growing list of CD/DVD/BD J-pop releases I have going.

18 November 2014

NEWS and Princess Kaguya

It has been announced that NEWS will be releasing a new single on January 7th of 2015. It is titled KAGUYA after the character Princess Kaguya from Japanese folklore. It will come in three different editions with a clear file being the first press bonus for each version.

The first limited edition is the standard CD with DVD. It will have the title track and a still untitled B-side on the CD and the DVD will have the music video for the title track as well as making of footage.


The second limited edition is just a CD that has the same two tracks as the first LE but also an exclusive B-side not on the other versions. It will also have a set of four cards.


The regular edition is the usual CD with the same two tracks on the other versions but will have two other B-sides that will not be included in the other versions. It will also have a karaoke track for the title song.


And of course there is a bundle version that you can get from CDJapan if you want to get all three versions and it will include everything the individual CDs have.



I am so happy that NEWS will be releasing something in the near future. It is near impossible to figure out when the group will release something next, except that they will at least have a new song for soccer season. But I do hope this means we will be getting a new album from the group sometime in 2015.

In any case I am glad I have held off making my next CDJapan order as I can add this to it when I get paid this week and get a good lump of Johnny's goodness all at once to start the 2015 right.

07 November 2014

Kis-My-Thank You!

As I had assumed we are indeed getting a new Kis-My-Ft2 single before the end of the year. On December 24th Kisumai will release their single Thank you Jan! and it will come in three versions.

The limited version type A will come with a CD and a DVD. The CD will have two tracks, the title track and a coupling song titled Kimi ni Aeru kara. The DVD will have the PV for the title track then something called a member instruction video (I assume this is probably to learn the dance or the movements for the song for a concert) and other bonus footage.


The limited version type B will also come with a CD and a DVD. The CD contents are the same. The DVD will have another version of the title track PV, this one with a multi-angle feature. It will also have footage from the jacket shooting and the making of.


The regular edition will simply be a CD. The CD will have the two tracks on the LE versions as well as two bonus tracks. The bonus tracks are still untitled at the moment. If you get the first press version of the single then there will also be a photo booklet and a sleeve for the CD.


CDJapan like usual has a bundle option for those who want to pick up all three versions of the single.



I am so glad to finally have this announcement. I had been waiting for it as I want to get this single with Nakayama Yuma's upcoming album. Of course with that release date it is going to be quite some wait for that album but I have the feeling that it will be worth it. That and I really cannot afford to do otherwise.

Also it will be nice to see Kisumai performing something new on all the end of year programs. And the multi-angle PV sounds like it could be interesting. If I had the money I would definitely be picking that edition up as well.

06 November 2014

Thoughts on Kiriyama Akito's 10000 word interview

Johnny's WEST is the current debuted Johnny's group doing the 10000 word interview feature in Myojo magazine and Kiriyama Akito is the first one out. Thankfully someone has been kind enough to translate it into English for the English speaking fandom and I would recommend checking it out.

That said I found it rather interesting in not only getting to know Akito a bit better but also more of the story behind the group's debut. The narrative that was given for how the group went from four to seven was just that the four basically just asked that it be the seven of them instead. With the interview we get more to the story and Akito brings up that whether or not the group would be four or seven had been up for debate with management for awhile before the debut announcement. So when the four asked to have the other added it was something that had been considered before and if anything the request of the four just pushed things towards going with seven in the end.

I find this important as it can be assumed that despite what fans may think Johnny's just does not do something just for the hell of it. I doubt the request for a seven member JW would have worked out if management had not considered it before. Of course it still took the four having to make the request to make it happen so I do not think that takes away from the show of the strength of the bonds the seven had pre-debut.

The other thing that really stuck out to me was how serious Akito was about the opportunities he was given also being a chance for him to help raise the profile of the Kansai Juniors. I was always happy to see him and Nakama Junta as the Kanjuu leaders on Shounen Club bringing Kanjuu over to get some screen time in there segments, and now those make so much sense. I feel rather disappointed that we do not get those anymore as I am certain Akito would still love to support the Kanjuu in that way. I really do not think there could be a better host for Shounen Club now, though it would probably help if there were more Juniors he could help promote on the show.

My love for Akito has definitely gone up reading this and I really hope that the rest of this series will get translated so I can get to know all the members of JW better and see what their views on these things are.

30 October 2014

Johnny's WEST for the new year

Johnny's WEST will be celebrating the new year with a series of concerts in Yokohama Arena and Osaka Jo Hall.


I think what makes these concerts so special is that they will be first for JW post-debut. And while they are not performing in many venues the ones they are both are a good size for a freshly debuted unit.

I do hope that with these concerts we will get an announcement for the group's next single. Or perhaps at least get the concert a DVD/BD release for the concert or their pre-debut concert.

No matter what I am happy for the group and wish I could go. Maybe one day.

16 October 2014

Yuma's 1st Chapter

Looks like my speculation about Nakayama Yuma's upcoming album was pretty on the mark as it is set to be released the last week of November on the 26th. The title of the album is Chapter 1 and it will come in two different versions.

The limited edition will come with a DVD that will have a Short Film for the album song, Kosaten, with a making of feature. It will also have ten tracks on the CD.


The regular edition will just be the CD but it will have thirteen tracks, the bonus tracks being: Oyasumi, Hustler and Kiseki, Mitsukeni.


And there is a bundle offered by CDJapan if you want to get both versions.


I am rather excited for this album, mainly because I am still enjoying Yuma's latest single, Get Up! quite a bit. And of the four single tracks on the album there is only one I do not like, High Five. And speaking of those tracks Akuma na Koi from Nakayama Yuma w/B.I. Shadow will be getting an album version, which I am expecting to be a solo version of the song. (Which it technically was from the start but I still expect this song to be a Yuma only version.)

In any case I will definitely be picking this up, though I want to wait and see if I was right about Kis-My-Ft2 releasing a new single before the end of the year so I can get both in one order.

11 October 2014

My favs (2014)

Again been just running thoughts through my head and figured I should go over who my favorite member of the groups I follow are.

Like always Nagase Tomoya is my favorite of TOKIO. I do like the rest of the group but he just has the biggest impact on me. I mean my dream guy is definitely someone who is like him after all. 

Kato Shigeaki is still my favorite member of NEWS. Even though he is not a member that naturally stands out I find him interesting and the kind of person I would love to be able to just talk to.

With Kis-My-Ft2 I am facing a renewed interest in the group. While I have never ignored them there was a time I did not follow them as much but now I really want to see more of them. Senga Kento has been a favorite but right now I do not feel like I really have a favorite anymore. Watching them now I find that I enjoy watching everyone and feel like I am learning about them all over again.

Johnny's WEST has proven a bit more difficult to figure out a favorite. I had favorites of the Junior groups that it was made from, Kiriyama Akito for B.A.D. and Fujii Ryusei for 7WEST. Now that they are in the same group it is hard to say which one is favored over the other. Also I am beginning to notice Hamada Takahiro and Kamiyama Tomohiro so I think it will be a while to get a clear favorite from the group.

With the Juniors my favorites are still the six from the Bakaleya6. Overall I feel my interest in the Juniors wane and feel once these six move on to whatever is next for them I may be moving on from the Juniors in general. But it is so hard to say what the future will bring and the only sure thing is that Jesse, Matsumura Hokuto, Kochi Yugo, Morimoto Shintaro, Tanaka Juri and Kyomoto Taiga have my interest and support.

And that about covers things for me. Honestly I am a bit surprised that I do not have as many favorites locked in as I thought I did. But that is one thing I do enjoy Johnny's is following groups and watching members grow and it is the newer groups that I am mainly undecided on.

05 October 2014

Busaiku to lead a drama

The next NTV late night drama has been announced and this time it will star the members of the Kis-My-Ft2 sub-unit Busaiku. It will have the four play salaryman, but use their own names for the roles. The drama will start on October 18th and is titled Heisei Busaiku Otoko.

So far there is only a photo of the newspaper article to confirm this, but I am sure there will be other sources soon enough.


In any case I am really happy for the Busaiku four. This is a good opportunity for them as it is another way to show their appeal, or perhaps lack there of as their characters are all rather busaiku in nature. But still, it is another program they get to be on and they will have to do some promotion for it.

I do wonder what they will do for theme songs, just use the songs the group has already down or actually get a new one that they will release as a single. If it is the later I wonder if that will affect the release schedule for Kis-My-Ft2 by much. But this is all wild speculation for now as there still is not much known about the drama but the bare basics.

Let's Speculate! Upcoming 2014 CD releases

I do feel bad for neglecting this blog for so long. I am starting to get my schedule figured out so hopefully I will be posting just a bit more here. That said I love speculating from time to time and recently my mind has been on what CD releases to expect to come out before the year ends from the groups I follow.

First up is a bit of a cheat as it has already been announced that Nakayama Yuma will have his debut album coming out in the near future. But the date has yet to be announced so I can guess about that. Personally I am betting on a December release date or possibly late November at earliest. But it is attached to a fan event scheduled for sometime in 2015, which I am assuming is going to be early 2015 so a late 2014 album release date would be needed to give fans time to apply for it. Also this would give Johnny's an easy excuse to get him on all the end of the year music programs they can.

Either way I will be looking forward to the album as while High Five did not impress me too much I still loved Missing Piece and Get Up! If the album is more like those two singles than I am bound to love it as well.

Kis-My-Ft2 since their debut has had a single released near the end of the year, usually in November outside of their debut year when it was in December. I am therefore expecting one last single from them this year. In fact it would be more shocking for them not to release another single in most likely November but they could pull another December date if they need to. None of the members have a drama that they are starring in for this season that I can recall, so no drama theme for them. The tie-ins for their winter singles tend to be light anyway so no big change there. But this would put them on schedule for having their albums get summer releases, as they usually only have three singles before an album and they already have Another Future to count towards their next album so if they have their usual winter and spring singles than an album in summer would work. Which is what I am assuming management is going for as I do not see why else they released a single collection album this year otherwise.

And honestly I ended up loving Another Future so I am also really looking forward to another release from the group.

With Johnny's WEST releasing a new single this month I doubt we will get another CD release from them this year. But that would be fine as they already have two singles and an album to show for their debut year. Also the two singles they have both have drama theme song tie-ins, so I think that will be the telling sign from the group on whether or not they are going to release a new single. Though hopefully as they get better established they can get other tie-ins so they can get a more consistent release pattern down.

I refuse to guess when either NEWS or TOKIO will release a new CD. These two groups seem to have a very my pace attitude when it comes to new releases. Also TOKIO just released a best of album for their 20th anniversary and are in the middle of a tour. I guess they could release a new single before the end of the year, but I have the feeling they may just wait until 2015 instead.

And that covers all the Johnny's that I am actively following. Well outside the Juniors but I do not think we are going to get a Junior release any time in the near future.

21 September 2014

NEWS 4x9

Catching up with some news for NEWS, but the group is getting a variety program they will be hosting together. It will begin to air in October on Nippon TV and while it is set to only be a special there is no mention on how many episodes it will be.

The program will have the members of NEWS communicating with nine individuals via the internet from the studio to their homes. They will also be having NEWS, in teams of two, go and visit the homes as well.

JE Fandom (English)


Personally I am just really excited to see NEWS get a group variety program finally. The closest they had before was Soukon, but since that was back when the group had six members it really did not count. Of course this is only a special at the moment but I hope it does well enough that it will become a regular program.

And if this does become a regular program than the group will have something else to attached new songs to, which will hopefully lead to at least one more single a year from them. But I am probably getting ahead of myself with that.

17 September 2014

Sort of hiatus

Probably should have made the announcement before I started this but I am at the point that I do feel I am at least on a quasi-hiatus. Not sure how long it will last as it is due to just figuring out how I want to balance everything I am trying to do.

Never Ending Music Power will probably see very little change. I still plan on doing my reviews of Shounen Club and drama reviews for the dramas that star Johnny's for the blog and of course talk about new releases for the groups that I follow. I have been thinking about adding another program or so to my review list. The Gamushara shows are topping that list, but I think I will wait to finally catch up with Shounen Club before doing that. I also need to hunt down all the episodes for them first so I can play catch up with those. But I do want to give Kis-My-Ft2's upcoming program, Office Learning Variety OL Club, which is replacing KisuHama TV, a shot. It will probably depend on how I like the first episode and if it is something I feel comfortable enough with reviewing with my limited Japanese. But until I figure out a new schedule things are just going to be rather sporadic for the blog.

But I am trying to do more in general, especially since I have been doing the whole vlogging thing in earnest. I am enjoying doing it more than I expected but I do realize that I have let it take up most of my free time, which is something I do want to change. So I have some ideas on how to cut back with that and it should give me some of my free time back so I can do more with the blogs I am keeping.

And speaking of blogs I do have one for posting my youtube videos on, Thennary Speaks, for those who do not care for watching them on youtube, or want to follow but do not have a youtube account. I also am setting one up for female idols, Morning Girls On The Run, which I am mainly just re-posting the female-idol related entries from this blog and videos I've done related to female idols right now. There are a couple of new posts mixed in, but I do not plan on having it fully up and running until next month. And even then it will mainly just be cross-posting videos from youtube and talking about upcoming releases of the female idol groups I am following. But I do feel I'm better off keeping that separate from NEMP, as my past attempts to mix the two interests never worked out in the long run.

But that sums up everything I am trying to balance. I do hope to be back on track with NEMP by the start of October. Then hopefully I can push on and finally catch up with Shounen Club, as that will also give me some extra free time when I only have two episodes a month to review.

09 September 2014

Little Tokyo Live! for Johnny's WEST and Hey! Say! JUMP

It has been announced that Johnny's WEST and Hey! Say! JUMP will host a program together called Little Tokyo Live on the TV Tokyo station. This program will be the weekly spin off of the Tokyo Live 22hr that was hosted by various sempai of the two groups.

The program will begin in October and there will be three hosts for each episode, with the three being a mix of members from Johnny's WEST and Hey! Say! JUMP.


Yahoo! NEWS article (Japanese)


I am really happy about this, mainly for JW. It may not be a variety program of their own but it is a start with it at least being a Tokyo program which will give them more exposure. Plus it is always fun to see members from other groups interact and JW should help keep the shows lively.

I just hope at some point we get a little Gokusen 3 reunion with Takaki Yuya, Kiriyama Akito and Nakama Junta. I can already tell that whatever episode gives us this will be my favorite.

07 September 2014

The Shounen Club 15 April 2011 review

We get the second episode post the Tohoku quake and tsunami which continues the trend of stripping the production down to the most basic elements. There is a bit more of a mix of songs performed so the theme is not as unified but again it is hard to critique these episodes considering the time they were filmed.

This episode opens up with Hey! Say! JUMP and the main Juniors of the episode on stage. Arioka Daiki, Kawai Fumito, Kitayama Hiromitsu and Fujigaya Taisuke all get turns speaking as they give a brief run down of what to expect to see in the episode.

The first performance of the episode is HSJ's Dreams come true which is used as an introductory song of sorts as part way through Okamoto Keito gives a message in English and ends it by introducing Kis-My-Ft2 and A.B.C-Z. It always feels a bit off having those two groups sing a HSJ song, but at least they have Yabu Kota and Yaotome Hikaru performing with them as they are the two members of HSJ that have been in Johnny's around the same time as some of the members of those two groups.

Up first for the talk segment is B.I.Shadow, though they are down a member. IIRC, Kochi Yugo broke his collar bone around this time and will be missing from Shounen Club for a few months while it heals. The three present though all get to talk about the disaster and give their thoughts about it. I did catch Matsumura Hokuto talking about wanting to help when he saw the footage of it on TV.

The group then performs Sekai ni Hitotsu dake no Hana, which seems a song that is too easy for the group. But it is a classic hit and they do try to at least make the back dancing for it more complicated than usual.

It is then Kis-My-Ft2's turn to give their thoughts about recent events. Or at least Kitayama, Fujigaya and Tamamori Yuta as the other four just get to stand in the background.

Their following performance starts with Kitayama performing his solo song Rock U before the rest of the group join him on stage to perform their group song 3D Girl. This performance is the biggest break so far from what has been performed so far as it is more like the usual Kisumai performances with them doing newer songs with a cool image to them.

A.B.C-Z then follows with the same pattern of having a talk segment first. Totsuka Shota, Hashimoto Ryosuke and Kawai Fumito all get to talk with the other two members standing in the back.

The group then performs Ashita no Tame ni Boku ga Iru. This is a rather fitting song for this time with its lyrics. Not to mention with the smaller stage to perform on a slower tempo song like this means little in the way of acrobatics so how to fit those in the performance did not have to be an issue.

There is a small break to the pattern so far as NYC do not get a talk segment before their performance. They get a quick introduction as then we see them perform Yume no Tamago. It is a fun upbeat song with a good message so it feels like a good fit for the episode. I just wish they had more Juniors back dancing as they started off with none, got a few then picked up a few more to finally fill the stage a bit but it still looked rather empty until the end when they had more file in. They probably should have had most of them out from the start as there is so little on this stage in general.

The following talk segment has us back with Kisumai as we get the VTR from their concert where they learn of their debut. Even though it has been over three years now since then I still find myself feeling the same way as I did when I first watched this. I was so happy for the guys and I am still so incredibly happy that they debuted.

There is then a Junior medley that starts off with a performance of 1 for YOU, which is basically a Morimoto Shintaro with Hip Hop Jump song. Things switch off for Shintaro to to perform BITTER MOON with Snow Prince Gasshoudan before it goes back to him and HHJ performing 1 for YOU again. So it is basically a Shintaro medley featuring other Juniors.

We get a Junior ni Q segment with the young and fresh Juniors. Again it has the theme about words of encouragement. Haba Yuki is up first and shares some he got from a teacher.

Then it is Inoue Mizuki. He gives a phrase that his mother told him the day before he went to audition for Johnny's.

Kurita Kei gets to talk and his is also from his mother, but it was in regards to him being pitcher on a baseball team. And that wraps up that segment.

We go back to a talk segment to introduce a new letter corner, Junior Youbin, to replace the last one. Honestly I am just glad I can type the title out much easier now. They also introduce the Gekkan! Ki ni Naru J segment.

Hey! Say! JUMP then perform Ai-ing -Aishiteru-, which is just a cute song. Definitely something that is just fluffy and energetic enough to get you into a good mode, especially with the performance to go with it.

The final song is another HSJ song, Memories. It is also another HSJ performance as while they have the Juniors come on stage near the end they do not do anything but take up space on stage really. But with that this episode wraps up.


After this pair of episodes we return to the usual NHK Hall stage with the next month's episodes. IIRC, things slowly start going back to normal, and of course Johnny's needed to promote Kisumai as they were still set to debut. Plus they needed to get ready to debut the next FIVB group, Sexy Zone, as most of the members are finally around.

As much as tragic events like the Tohoku quake derail things at the end of the day life must go on. So like the rest of the Japanese entertainment industry Johnny's has to bounce back while doing what they can to support all needed relief efforts at the time.

03 September 2014

The Shounen Club 8 April 2011 review

As mentioned with the previous review on March 11, 2011 the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami hit Japan and it had a wide affect for the nation in general. With the need to conserve utilities the programs that did run during this time were cut back to the bare basics, and Shounen Club was no exception. So for the episodes for April 2011 there is a great departure from the norm for the program because of this.

The hosts for the program are now Hey! Say! JUMP and the full group is present for these episodes.  For most of the talk sections of this episodes they are in this room and you quickly get the feeling that they filmed it all there before moving on to the next room where they do the performances for this episode.

After a long beginning talk we get the first performance of the episode, HSJ performing Arigato ~Sekai no Doko ni Itemo~. This performance pretty much shows what to expect for the rest of the performances for these episodes, simple sets that do not use a lot of lighting.

Nakayama Yuma then joins HSJ in the talk part to give his words of encouragement. I guess he works as the guest of the episode, though that is not really mentioned.

With Yuma there it means that we get a NYC performance and it is Yuuki 100%. While the performance starts out with just the three partway through a bunch of younger Juniors show up to back dance. I think the addition of the Juniors made the performance feel more uplifting as they filled all that empty space on the stage that just made things feel barren.

Next up the talk focuses on Yabu Kota as he gets to be the next to give some encouraging words to the fans.

Then on to the next performance, which is a medley of A to Z and Dream ~Itsutsu no Negai~ by A.B.C-Z. It is odd to see the group this low key but their flashier performances would seem out of place and not in the best of taste for an episode like this.

If you felt the 10th anniversary special was too light with the past footage of HSJ members then these episodes should be what you are looking for as this episode gives us a compilation of clips of the members of Hey! Say! BEST during their Junior days.

For the first time in the episode we see someone acting lively as HSJ talk about the clips and joke about their younger selves. This feels like a welcome break from the previous talk segments that were so solemn they were gloomy.

Next Morimoto Shintaro leads the little Juniors in a performance of Sekai ga Hitotsu ni Naru Made. This song seems like a perfect fit for what the episode is going for with trying to be inspirational as well as sensitive to current events.

Working to get all the HSJ members to say something Nakajima Yuto, Inoo Kei and Morimoto Ryutaro each get a turn this time around in giving a message.

Kis-My-Ft2 then get to perform and they perform their group song Inori. Out of their song library it is the song that is probably the most fitting. And the low lighting fits with the song rather well, so a good choice for the group overall.

Hey! Say! 7 get their turn of getting a clip compilation of their time as Juniors, and at the end briefly as newly debuted Johnny's. Like with HSB it is nice to see these performances and segments with clear picture and audio even though they are all cut short.

The following talk has them teasing Okamoto Keito about how stiff he was in one of the few clips he could be seen in. Joining the agency when he did left very little to choose from for him to be shown in this after all. And of course the rest of the talk was about the other members and just how much they have changed.

A new segment, Junior You Bin, is then introduced. It is really just a renaming of the You no Otegami Yomitai Desu! segment, but I welcome it if just because the new title for the segment is easier to remember. They just go over the information on how to submit the letters for the segment in this episode though.

This is then followed by the mainstay segment, Junior ni Q. Yabu and Hikaru host the segment which was filmed in the room that they have been filming the performances. The focus this time is on the fresh Juniors. In fact I do believe that this is Matsushima So's first appearance on the program as he is the first to talk about the topic for the segment, encouraging words.

Next is Miura Wataru who shares a quote from Nakajima Yuto, which seems to be more something Yuto said to him that encouraged him.

Kanazuru Hideki is next and it is surprising to see him so pushed at this time as he really seemed to disappear about as quickly as he popped up. It always makes me wonder about what happened when those changes occur. That said I noticed that Kishi Yuta seemed to have found a good spot to be sitting in as he can be seen in the background quite a bit in this segment.

Sato Shori of course gets called up as it was clear even then that he was getting a fair amount of pushing from the agency. It is interesting to see how nervous and unsure of himself he is here compared to the confidence he now has on stage.

Then Tanimura Ryuichi gets to talk. I believe he is one of those Juniors that pop up here and there from time to time as there is something familiar about him to me, but I do not think he has ever gotten a real push from the agency.

A face I do not recognize is up next, Taniguchi Yuya. I really feel like I do not know much about the current generation Juniors when I run into Juniors like him, even though I know at this point there are just way too many Juniors to keep track of, especially as Johnny's cannot decide which ones to promote themselves these days.

Then they talk to Okubo Louis, who like Kanazuru got a fair amount of attention at first but faded into the background rather quickly.

The final Junior they speak with is Takahashi Fu who they end up showing off his head spin, which is still something he is asked to show off whenever he can currently as well.

Hikaru gives the last message of the episode, which seems rather fitting as he is from one of the areas that was affected by the disaster.

The episode ends with HSJ doing a medley of their early singles. This is basically just the single medley that was on their debut album. I rather liked how they did that so I enjoyed this performance, especially as it did seem to have a bit more energy than their previous ones this episode.


I find it hard to try to rate these April 2011 episodes as they were done in far less than ideal circumstances. And it is hard to say if the HSJ-heaviness of them is because that is just where the program is going content-wise or they needed to make sure they could fill the time for the episode and a recap like that was just the easiest way to do it.

It is hard to say this was an enjoyable episode, as there is an air of somberness about it. But it should at least be notable for the fact that this is Matsushima So's first appearance on the program.