24 February 2014

Kisumai Hits and Yuma High Fives

There are a couple of new releases that have been announced from Johnny's that I follow. First up is a single collection from Kis-My-Ft2 to be released on March 26th. The collection will have all their single A-sides from their debut single Everybody Go to their last single of 2013, SNOW DOME no Yakusoku/Luv Sick. This will give the album a total of 14 tracks and all editions come with stickers as a first press bonus. The title of the album will be HIT! HIT! HIT! ~ Kisumai Selection 2014.

The limited edition will come with a DVD that will have all the PVs for all the songs in the collection. It will also come with a second DVD exclusive to the edition that will have live concert digest footage of 13 of the tracks being performed. It will also come with a photo book the same size as the CD cover as well as a slipcase for the digipak it will come in.

The first regular edition will come with the DVD that will have the PVs for all the songs as well. The first press bonus for this edition will be a digipak (which is a special casing for those wondering).

The other regular edition is just the CD but it will come with a bonus track. The bonus track is one of the group's songs from their Junior era that has yet to be released, Kis-My-Calling.

HIT! HIT! HIT! - Kis-My Selection 2014 - (Title subject to change) [Regular Edition / Type B] / Kis-My-Ft2

Honestly as someone who has all the group's singles this release does not excite me much outside of the inclusion of Kis-My-Calling on the CD only version. If the song was on the other regular edition as well I would be more interested as this works well as a PV collection for the group as well with that and that is something I am interested in. But I guess for anyone coming in late to become a fan of the group or someone who has not been able to afford all the singles this is not a bad deal at all.

Of course since we are getting this single collection, which does include songs that have not been included on an album yet, it makes me wonder if management wants to change their release schedule a bit. Or at least for albums as Hikari no Signal would typically have ended up on the group's next studio album with the previous 2013 singles post- Good Ikuze! Now it will most likely count as the first single for a new album and we will get two or three singles more before then. This will probably also mean that the time of year the group will tour will change as they tend to mostly tour when there is a new album. If so I would not be surprised if they begin touring in the winter regularly instead of the summer like they have been.

And for a little change of pace the other new release announced is a new single for Nakayama Yuma. The single will be released April 2nd and is titled High Five. It will come in three different versions as well as a bundle version that collects all three versions together.

The limited edition type A is the usual limited edition with DVD that will have the title track on the CD and will include the song Ai made ga Knife, which was used as a theme song for a drama. It will also include the karaoke tracks for both songs. The DVD will be the PV of the title track as well as the making of feature. It also comes with a clearfile.

The limited edition type B will have the same CD contents but the DVD included will feature footage from the NAKAYAMA YUMA with KANSAI JOHNNY'S Jr. In ORIX THEATER. It is listed to run for about 37 minutes. The Kanjuu featured should be the ones that make up Johnny's WEST, B.A.D., 7WEST and Hamada Takahiro. It also comes with a clearfile.

The regular edition is just the CD but it will come with two bonus B-sides, so Crazy and BLOSSOM TREE. It also comes with a B2 sized poster.

The bundled collection of course includes all three versions of the singles as well as all the bonus items, the clearfiles and poster.

This release has me excited as I tend to like Yuma's songs. Not sure still about him being a solo artist but I think it will work out better than NYC did and I do at least enjoy the music.

I will definitely be pre-ordering at least the regular edition of the single but not until pre-orders open for Johnny's WEST's debut single. That should hopefully happen soon as they are still set to debut in April and I would not be surprised if we get more information at least about it on Friday when the final concert for the group happens. So depending on how many versions of the single that will have will determine which versions of Yuma's single I will be getting.

So overall April looks to be a month I get to catch up with Johnny's releases as I have myself down for JW's debut single, Yuma's single and Kisumai's single (Hikari no Signal). I just hope I get a bit of a break after that to save up for the next set of releases.

23 February 2014

The Shounen Club 14 March 2010 review

And on to the final episode of the 2009-2010 season of Shounen Club. And one that focuses mostly on the Juniors.

The episode starts off with Arioka Daiki kicking things off as the opening song, Sakura Sake, starts to introduce the main Juniors.

The guest of the episode, Uchi Hiroki, is introduced afterwards though it seems a bit awkward to do so as Juniors Morimoto Shintaro and Kikuchi Fuma come on stage shortly after to take over the talk with Arioka for the theme introduction. The theme of the episode is Sotsugyou (graduation) and as Fuma points out Shintaro will be graduating from grade school, Fuma from junior high and Daiki from high school.

There is then a graduation medley with some of the various graduates given the chance to say a few words in between the songs. Like Yasui Kentaro gets to say something real quick about his graduation from high school.

The first MC is with Uchi as he gets to promote the drama he was in with fellow Johnny's Kamenashi Kazuya and Tegoshi Yuya. He also gets to promote a musical he was in, a production of Guys and Dolls.

There is the usual guest performance after this which is a special medley of various songs Uchi has sung in musicals and concerts. He gets help singing the songs from various Juniors though so his voice is easier to listen to as it is not on its own.

This is followed up by a Gekkan Koyamaru segment. It is Koyama Keiichiro's turn this time so there are of course other Johnny's to see in the photos. The first had Tanaka Koki and Arioka in it as well so Arioka is called on stage to talk a bit about the photo with them. The next was Koyama with Goseki Koichi, who is a frequent Junior to be included in Koyama's photos.

There is then a Johnny's Junior medley so we get to see a good variety of the Juniors perform starting with Shintaro and the taller members of Snow Prince Gasshoudan performing Kono Hoshi de Umarete. I think at this point Shintaro is beginning to outgrow his position as a little Junior though Johnny's seems to want to hide it the best they can.

Closing out the number is the trio grouping of Takada Sho, Masuda Ryo and Kishi Tadayoshi. Of course I guess I need to be calling Masuda Ryo Shani from now on as it looks like that is what he will be going by. Shani is his middle name and is Pakistani, I believe that is his father's nationality. There is no official explanation out there that I know of but I guess it does make it much easier to talk about him as you no longer need to worry about confusing his name with the other Masudas or Ryos in the agency.

It is then time for the game segment of the program. Uchi is out on stage again as he gets to be the judge as the Juniors participating get to act out prompts. There are mostly the usual Juniors participating from the usual groups. And Uchi did annoy me in this as he seemed to just drag out all his decisions without really explaining them.

Kitayama Hiromitsu gets to sit down and talk with the hosts on his own. He ends up talking quite a bit about Miyata Toshiya though.

Kis-My-Ft2 get their performance for the episode in as they perform Sayonara no Jounetsu. This song is of course a Hikaru Genji song and is very 90s J-pop with its sound. But it lets the guys skate around which is probably a big part of why it was picked for them to do.

There is learning VTR segment for this episode and Nakajima Kento, Tanaka Juri and Hagiya Keigo get to learn about beat boxing. Of course they do not need to go far to find their teacher for this, Nakamaru Yuichi. It was nice to see and the Juniors really seemed into learning about it and it reminded me that Nakaken did like to beat box. He sadly does not seem to get the chance to do any with Sexy Zone which is a pity.

They all get to have a short MC segment where they talk about the lesson and what they learned with Nakamaru present of course. They also get to show off the beat boxing that they learned as well again.

There is another segment after the MC, a letter exchange between Kochi Yugo and Matsumura Hokuto. It is nice to see the two get some screen time where they are front and center as with B.I. Shadow that tends to go to Nakaken and Fuma instead. And I love how they had each other laughing throughout their letters.

BIS then perform their group song Lalalila. Or Nakaken and Fuma perform most of the song by themselves and Yugo and Hokuto do not show up until around the final minute of the song. This is going to become something of a normal thing for this group if my memory serves me right. So no real surprise about who got to debut from this group really.

It is then time for the final performance of the episode and it is of Kibou ~Yell~. Koyama gets to lead it, I guess to even out the screen time between him and Nakamaru after the beat box segment. The rest of the main Juniors join him shortly.

Another good episode despite my lack of caring for anything to do with Uchi. Not sure what exactly bugs me about him but something does and he is the only Johnny's I feel this way about.

Otherwise there were plenty of highlights spread throughout to make the episode enjoyable. Especially if like me you are mainly watching the show for the Juniors. But with this another season is finished and time to see what changes the next one will bring to the program, and of course moving closer to the next debut.

22 February 2014

New Shounen Club Hosts

It has been announced that The Shounen Club will be getting new hosts when the program enters its new season in April. Replacing Hey! Say! JUMP will be Kawai Fumito and Kiriyama Akito.

I think for regular viewers of the program having HSJ being replaced as hosts should be no big surprise as they have had their presence minimized over the past year with Sexy Zone and A.B.C-Z members stepping up to MC segments. It is a bit sad to see HSJ go, as who knows when or if they will be back on the program again as guests after this.

I am happy to see Akito as one of the hosts, as his talkative nature and the fact that he has been dealing with Juniors as leader of the Kansai Juniors should make him a great fit as a host for the program. Also with Johnny's WEST debuting in April it would be good for the group to have a member doing something on the national level to keep the group in people's minds.

I am surprised that we are only getting Kawai from Ebi and no SZ members as well. The two groups have been dominating the show in the past year or so which made me believe that they would just take over as hosts after HSJ. But I guess the producers may have wanted to go back and try the two main host thing again like they had with Koyama Keiichiro and Nakamaru Yuichi. And Kawai should be a good fit with Akito as both have no trouble talking so neither should over shadow the other. Also Ebi is really only recently finding their ground in the entertainment world as SZ seems to be progressing without issue after a weak start so Ebi could probably use the extra support.

Of course how much for the program is really going to change will not be known until the first episode comes out in early April, but I know I am looking forward to that.

15 February 2014

The Shounen Club 7 March 2010 review

And this quickly turned into a bittersweet episode to watch as the guest is someone no longer with Johnny's. I also still seem to on a string of bad luck as my laptop is messed up so I have to use my notebook in place of it until it is fixed. So reviews don't look like they will be back on track in the near future after all.

Things start off with a medley performed by the main Junior groups and groupings. Hip Hop Jump has changed members again as this time there are five of them. Not sure if Jesse is actually out or not as I did not spot him anywhere else so he could have just missed the taping for the month for whatever reason. The coming months should shed light on that.

The medley ends with the guest of the episode, Tanaka Koki, performing the KAT-TUN song Yorokobi no Uta with Juniors Takada Sho, Masuda Ryo and Kishi Takayoshi. Thankfully the song begins with the three Juniors as Koki quickly overshadows them once he joins in.

With the first medley done the usual intro talk begins with Koyama Keiichiro and Nakamaru Yuichi joining Koki. Yuto and Takaki join them to introduce the theme of the episode, Oto (sound).

Instead of a theme medley there is a special collaboration with Koki and the Juniors as Hip Hop Jump perform Top Checker with him. Or basically this is a chance to have Koki with his younger brother, Tanaka Juri, together performing.

The first MC segment is with Yuto, Takaki and randomly Igo Akun. They all talk about instruments, or in Takaki's case JUMP Band. But Yuto talks about playing drums and brings up JUMP Band first that leads into Takaki speaking, as he was the vocalist of this grouping. Then Akun of course talks about playing guitar but only talks briefly.

None are in the following performance though as it is instead Snow Prince Gasshoudan performing the song Sekai ga Hitotsu ni Naru Made, which was the B-side song to the past Junior group Ya-Ya-Yah. But it remains a song that is given to the younger Juniors to perform from time to time.

The next segment was You no Otegami Yomitai Desu! with members from A.B.C-Z and Kis-My-Ft2. This was a fairly Kisumai heavy segment, which is looking to become the norm from the past couple of episodes.

The following performance is by Kisumai and Fujigaya Taisuke produced it for them. The song they performed was Hair and I actually liked how Fujigaya changed things up with the choreography. It did help give it a bit of a fresh feel to it.

It is then time for the game segment and this time around it is a dance quiz. It is mostly the usual suspects for which Juniors participated in this. Like all dance quizzes this is pretty easy to follow. I am rather amused that Hashimoto Ryosuke has a tendency to remember the lyrics to a song but not a name so he has to hope that if he sings it someone on his team can recognize it.

A.B.C-Z then are up next to perform. They do a medley of songs which includes Vanilla, STAR SEEKER, and Crush. It starts off with each of those songs getting short dance previews before the group goes on to do a full performance of Vanilla.

After that it is time for the Junior ni Q segment. The topic is memorable songs. After Koyama and Nakamaru quickly go over one that is memorable for them they start to call Juniors over. Kyomoto Taiga is up first and his choice was Seishun Amigo. And when they call him over they notice that Koki is in the practice room where the Juniors are so he gets highlighted for a moment before they move on.

Yasui Kentaro is called over next and his song was Ultra Music Power. I did not catch why he picked it but his age was brought up and of course the hosts were surprised that he was eighteen. Koyama then brings up that he remembers the outfit that Yasui is wearing from back when he was a Junior and guesses that it might have been one Kato Shigeaki wore.

Considering the guest of the episode it would have been more surprising to not have Juri called over. His answer was the rap from SIGNAL, which of course was written and performed by his brother Koki.

Sanada Yuma is brought over next and his choice was Sekai ga Hitotsu ni Naru Made. The sign language used in the choreography of the song is what left an impression on him as he could see the fans do it during the song as well.

The segment is followed by an MC with Koki and the hosts. The talk is mostly centered around the theme of the episode and Koki talks about sounds like that from a guitar and of course is lead to talk about rapping.

He then gets to do another performance this episode but he gets to lead this one and it is a medley that he is joined by Nakamaru with. It starts off with Koki performing a solo song I DON'T MISS U, which was never released on a CD. The second song in the medley was KAT-TUN's ONE ON ONE that has Nakamaru join him in the performance as they both wrote the lyrics to it. This is on the debut album for the group.

This leads us to the end of the episode with the final song to be performed. The song is THE D-MOTION, which at the time was the latest song from KAT-TUN. So we get Koki and Nakamaru performing again but EbiKisu get to join in singing the song so it was not just Juniors back dancing for it.

I was caught off guard with how much seeing Koki in the episode affected me. He was never my favorite member of KAT-TUN but I always had a bit of a soft spot for him. He seems to be doing well enough post-Johnny's, but it is sad to know that we will never be able to see him with Juri or any other Johnny's on a program like this.

07 February 2014

NEWS' 10th Anniversary Concert soon to be for your viewing pleasure

There is finally a release date for the NEWS 10th Anniversary Concert in Tokyo Dome video release. It will be released on March 19th and will be both on DVD and BD.

The regular edition will have the Tokyo Dome concert, a special variety program than a digest of video from the concerts a part of the tour. It will also come with an 8-page booklet.

The limited edition will have the same video content but will come with special packaging as well as a 28-page booklet.

I am so glad to see that the Blu-Ray version of the release will come out the same time as the DVD this time. I am a complete BD convert, and not just for the better video quality but also because the different region codes. In fact the BD version of this is region free while the DVD is the usual Region 2. Which for an international fan is something to pay attention to.

But without fail I am going to need to get this. And thankfully since the only difference between the two editions are packaging and booklets I will not have to stress out about trying to get the limited edition. Instead I will have the wait until later in the year when I have the extra money to buy this as with Johnny's WEST set to have their debut single in April and Kis-My-Ft2 having a single coming out in March and most likely their third album in April if they keep the usual schedule, early Spring is going to be tight to budget for.

But it is nice to have something from NEWS to look forward to. I just hope we get another single later in the year at least.

05 February 2014

Johnny's WEST 7

A few days ago photos from one of the monthly magazines started showing up online and the pictures for Johnny's WEST had three other Kansai Juniors, Hamada Takahiro, Kamiyama Tomohiro and Fujii Ryusei. Of course fandom was confused as the group was announced to only consist of Kiriyama Akito, Nakama Junta, Shigeoka Daiki and Kotaki Nozomu. But today things have been cleared up with a new announcement for the group: they will be a seven member unit.

From an article from Oricon Style (Japanese) it has been confirmed that members have been added to Johnny's WEST so now it will consist of, Kiriyama, Nakama, Shigeoka, Kotaki, Kamiyama, Fujii and Hamada. (You can find a translation of it here.) There is also an update on Johnny's Net that confirms the member change.

What is interesting about it is that it does confirm that Johnny's WEST 4 was the original name but it was quickly changed to Johnny's WEST because 4 is an unlucky number in Japan. So that mystery is solved. And of course the best part is that the guys asked for the additional members from the company. I cannot say I am surprised as these seven have done so much together it would seem odd to have them split up. I hope they can prove that adding the other three are well worth it.

This makes me so happy. I was glad for the original four being able to debut but I would be lying if I did not say the fact that at least Hamada, Kamiyama and Fujii not debuting with them made me also disappointed. Now that is no longer an issue and I am beyond delighted. I am so glad that they asked to have others debut with them and that Johnny Kitagawa let them.

I honestly do not care how silly this makes me look, but I have come to love these guys so much in the past couple of years and the fact that they get to be together in a debuted group just fills me with so much joy. I cannot wait to have their debut CD in my hands so I can play all the songs to death.

The Shounen Club 14 February 2010 review

Hopefully I should get this back on track in the next couple of weeks. Then I can work on seeing about posting on a more regular basis for other posts.

Continuing the regular appearances of Hey! Say! JUMP members on the show Arioka Daiki and Yaotome Hikaru start things off by performing the first song of the introduction medley with B.I. Shadow.

I am not sure how I missed it in the previous episode by A.B.C-Z is missing a member this month, Tsukada Ryoichi. Not sure why he is missing but I expect him back for the next month's episodes.

The medley ends with the guests of the episode, Hey! Say! 7, showing up to perform the final song. I guess they were an easy to guest to have seeing that Yamada Ryosuke and Chinen Yuri were the guests for the previous episode as NYC boys.

HS7 with Hikaru and Daiki remain on stage for the opening talk and reveal of the theme for the episode. The theme of the episode is Mirai (future).

There is a medley with mostly the younger Juniors that follow the opening talk. I was most excited to see that Hip Hop Jump actually got to perform a song in the medley on their own. For a group that has been around for as long as they have been one would think they would be at the point they would have their own group song by now, but instead the group continues to be under promoted.

This episode gives us a Gekkan Koyamaru segment, but with that another Snow Prince Gasshoudan member gets spotlighted as Chino Aoi is brought out for it. Chino left Johnny's about a year ago but before then he got a good deal of promotion for a little Junior. But for the photos in the segment it is Nakamaru Yuichi's turn and he has a couple with him and Takizawa Hideaki to share.

There is an A.B.C-Z performance after this as the four present members of the group perform Inazuma Venus. At this point seeing the group perform without all five members just does not look right anymore. But they pull off their usual standard for the performance plus the fanservice at the end.

Hey! Say! 7 then have their MC segment with the hosts. It is nice to see some of the members of the unit get to talk like Okamoto Keito. In fact it is mostly the back three that get to talk for this.

The unit does the next performance which is of the Hey! Say! JUMP song Hitomi no Screen. Part way through the song Daiki and Hikaru join them in the performance.

The game segment is the dance battle, where each contestant does a dance move that must be copied by the next and so on. Chinen is the only non-Junior in the game and he is there because he was the winner of a previous iteration of the game.

A Question? performance follows this up and it is a medley of songs, starting with the group's song FROZEN SKY. The other song is Naked, which is a collaboration with A.B.C-Z, so they join them to wrap the medley up.

There is the return of the Junior ni Q segment this episode. The topic is what the Juniors would do for the future to be more eco-friendly. Morimoto Shintaro is up first and he talks about an idea about having his entire family in one room. Of course by bringing up family they talk about his older brother Ryutaro as well.

Kochi Yugo is up next and he talks about the amount of times he uses the bath or the order in which his family members use it, that is if I am understanding things right.

Then it is Kyomoto Taiga who talks about using tissues, or thinking about how not to waste them when they are used.

Kawai Fumito is next. He talks about just using an electric blanket to warm himself up with. Not exactly what I would consider a good idea to be eco-friendly.

Kurita Kei gets to make his debut for this corner. He talks about separating the trash, which for Japan is a very important everyday chore to do and can sometimes be tricky in figuring out what goes in what category.

The final Junior talked to is Fujigaya Taisuke. He plans on amassing Eco-Points, which is something I did not quite understand other than it was something he saw on TV.

Kis-My-Ft2 then have an MC corner. They do quick self-introductions that cover their ages and what hobbies/current interests they had at the time.

Of course the group performs after that. They sing their group song, Good-bye, Thank you. It is a bit strange to see Tamamori Yuta as the center for this song, seeing as he is one of the few members that actually does not have a solo line.

After that it is then time for the final performance of the episode. The song is Hadashi no Mirai and of course this end song is the one for the older Juniors, but the best part of it is that the guys are allowed to have some fun with it so there are plenty of little moments to enjoy throughout.

We have reached the point again where we have pretty solid Shounen Club episodes, with both the Juniors and the debuted acts getting a decent amount of screen time. Though Kisumai is getting quite a bit of promotion with how often they are featured in segments and the fact that they seem to be getting a performance for each episode and not one for each month like other groups are.