30 June 2014

Johnny's WEST debut album!

It has been announced that the next release from Johnny's WEST will be an album. It is still untitled but the release date is set for August 6th. It will come in two editions as well as a bundle for them both.

The limited edition will come with a DVD that has a good list of content for it. It will have album recording footage, a special interview, the footage from the jacket shooting for their debut single Ee Jyanai ka, footage from their debut event, a music video of the song Banzai Yume Mansai! with a making of and a dance version of their debut PV.  The CD will have ten tracks in total and will come with a 16-page booklet.

The regular edition comes with a 24-page booklet and four bonus tracks on the CD for a total of 14 songs.

Both come with clear files, each version has a different one and both are included in the bundle set which has both versions of the single.

I am so excited for this. I was really only expecting another single so getting an album so soon is great. And it makes sense as the concerts they did prior to their debut did mention that the group already had an album's worth of material. I am assuming that this album will be mostly those songs.

That said I do also wonder if this is also easier to release with how many Johnny's releases are coming out this summer so this way JW will not have to compete against another group or even a non-Johnny's artist that may get better sales. It is set to release on the same day as Kanjani8's upcoming single.

In the end I am still super happy about this and hope to have the funds to pre-order it soon. I just got enough together to make my order for the upcoming Kis-My-Ft2 and Busaiku releases so it will have to be a new order.

28 June 2014

The Shounen Club 8 October 2010 review

And we return to Tokyo and find that not much has changed, as usual.

We get the theme of the episode announced right off the bat for this episode as the Hey! Say! JUMP supporters, Arioka Daiki, Nakajima Yuto and Takaki Yuya. introduce the main Juniors of the episode. The theme is Takaramono (treasure). Most just get a quick dance until the two main groups get their introduction, Kis-My-Ft2 and A.B.C-Z. They sing Sayaendo with Koyama Keiichiro.

While it is uncommon for the hosts to be in the opening performance the why is made clear quickly as the guest for the episode, Ueda Tatsuya, shows up at the end. He performs GOLD and of course has Nakamaru Yuichi join him for it.

The opening talk has them go over the theme of the episode. In another small change from the usual they actually have a Junior to discuss it briefly, Morimoto Shintaro. He talks about something he treasures that he got from his mother when he joined Johnny's.

The following medley is really only for the younger Juniors with Hip Hop Jump performing Lucky Man then Shintaro with Snow Prince Gasshodan performing two songs afterwards. The transition between Lucky Man and Miagete Goran Yoru no Hoshi o is harsh as they are completely different genres, with the former having a rock-y edge to it and the latter being more of a slow tempo folksy kind of song. Still it is nice seeing HHJ performing something as a group solo, as they are one of the Junior groups that never seem to get much screen time on their own.

B.I.Shadow is up for the first MC segment of the episode. Each member gets to talk about something that they treasure. Kikuchi Fuma gets vague with "everyone who has influenced him", Nakajima Kento lists Music and Matsumura Hokuto goes with the safe answer of family. Kochi Yugo's I did not fully understand but it seemed to be about a family photo with his grandparents from what I could understand.

I will not lie but I was disappointed that BIS did not perform on their own next but instead performed with Nakajima Yuto for Mayonaka no Shadow Boy. The BIS members do get a good amount of camera time, but there is no reason why they could not have performed the song on their own.

We get Jumping Paradise as a talk segment this episode. They talk about which breed of dog each member of Hey! Say! 7 resembles and give the reasons as to why.

Yara Tomoyuki is still getting somewhat regular screen time on the program as he has a performance this episode, Next Dream. This is performed with They Budo, so the dance like usual is the highlight of it.
Next is the guest MC with Ueda. With the amount of necklaces he has on he kinda looks like a six year old that got into their mother's jewelry case. The fake jewels on his outfit do not help shake that image either. The conversation mainly focuses on the concert tour KAT-TUN had.

Of course we get a solo performance from Ueda. Thankfully his choice in music is better than his choice in costumes. He performs RABBIT OR WOLF? which is a song he wrote both the music and lyrics for. He really looks like he would have no trouble fronting a visual kei band.

This is followed by a Gekkan Koyamaru segment with Nakamaru getting to share photos. Of course this means photos of KAT-TUN so he can talk about them. Like the talk with Ueda this was also mostly focused on the group's then recent tour.

Speaking of Junior groups that fail to get much screen time on their own, Mis Snow Man falls into that category easily. While they are part of the REAL DX performance with KisuEbi they are mostly stuck in the back for the whole thing. That is when they are on stage as they join in after the song has started and really just felt they were tacked onto this when comparing their part of the performance to the members of KisuEbi.

It is then time for for the Junior ni Q. Not straying far from previous topics this one is about what the Juniors thought of when they think of autumn. Hashimoto Ryo and Haba Yuki are brought over together first as their answers were acorns and pinecones.

Casey Anderson gets to talk about Halloween, which anyone familiar with Western culture would also probably list as something they think of for the autumn. Of course the holiday is just a novelty in Japan so Casey gets to explain some of the traditions that come with it.

Then Tanaka Juri gets to explain why he answered with studying. Koyama has him show about where he falls in his class when it comes to his grades as well.

Fujigaya Taisuke finishes the segment up with his discussion of why clothing with checkered patterns made him think of autumn. It does move a bit to talk about fashion in general though.

The HSJ three get to then get an MC segment where they talk about things that are treasures to them. Yuto of course picks drums, Arioka went with an autograph he received from Kimura Takuya and Takaki's I could not completely get other than it had something to do with a photo.

The HSJ supporters then perform the single medley off of their debut album. I rather love how they remixed the songs for this medley so it was nice to see it being performed. And they did at least use a lot of younger Juniors as back dancers for it.

It is then time to wrap up the program and we get the Juniors performing PRECIOUS ONE. We do get a good mix of them in this performance and since it is a KAT-TUN song eventually Ueda and Nakamaru show up to perform with them.

It is starting to become clear to me that the change of having the most recently debuted groups be included in the program was actually something that started with this season. Back when the whole HSJ as supporters started I just assumed that it was something in the way of making the transition of hosts for the show go more smoothly, especially as no one from HSJ was known for their MC ability. But seeing how much screen time they have had since it started and knowing it is only going to increase as the years go by have made me realize that this is when the program started to be less a Junior program to a Junior and younger debuted groups program.

Of course back then it was easier to take having HSJ on the show, they were only one group and we had prominent Junior groups like Kisumai and Ebi that were too popular to just shove into the background. But now that there are three debut groups to also be featured it is hard to ignore. Thankfully there are the Gamushara shows now so the Juniors do still have something to mostly feature them, as Shounen Club is no longer that program.

25 June 2014

The Shounen Club 14 September 2010 review

Shifting schedules a bit so I can work on catching up with things so I can then get ahead as I am going to be busy with family in the upcoming Fourth of July weekend. That said here is the belated review for this episode.

This episode opens up with a medley that also works as an introduction for all the Kansai Junior groups. It is nice to have this as not only do we get all the names of the groups but each group gets to perform on their own in the medley. This also confirms that Shadow WEST does exist at this point with Mukai Koji and Kaneuchi Toma being the prominent members of that group.

The usual hosts and show supporters then go on stage to introduce the theme of the episode, power. They tease about having a special guest show up in the following performance.

The performance has Koyama Keiichiro and Nakamaru Yuichi perform short medleys of their group songs. They do have Kanjuu performing with them. The final song they bring out the special guest of the episode, who was the special guest of the previous episode, Yokoyama Yu.

He gets to have an MC with the hosts but with the members of Veteran getting to hang out in the background. Yoko makes sure to bring them into the conversation which ends up with them talking about how Kanjani8 are as sempai to the Kanjuu.

Yoko with Veteran as his back dancers performs a live only song, Chocolate. It is a collaboration piece with Yasuda Shota writing the music while Yoko wrote the lyrics to it. It is a fun song to watch being performed as it has some interesting choreography to go with it.

Then there is a Gekkan Koyamaru segment and Koyama is up for this month. His photo is a group shot of NEWS, from back when the group was six members of course. He talks about them, specifically Masuda Takahiro and Kato Shigeaki.

We then get a medley from the Kanjuu group BOYS. Of note this was the group that Hamada Takahiro was in before the other half of the duo quit Johnny's and Hamada was left on his own. In the end we can now say everything worked out for Hamada but I do wonder if things would be different if Nakata Daichi remained in Johnny's.

Yara Tomoyuki then gets to perform and he does Now and forever. He gets to have Hamanaka Bunichi to perform with him so there are two-fifths of Butokan in this. Three other Kanjuu also perform with them so they can have a roster of five for it. Of note Kamiyama Tomohiro and Fujii Ryusei are two of those.

The game segment is Jumping Paradise, so not many Juniors to be found. But it is set up to let Nakama Junta get a retry at a challenge that he did in an earlier episode of the season. The three Hey! Say! JUMP members and Junta have to try to skip rope with a small Junior on their back. Hardly the safest of games but luckily no one wipes out for this.

There is then a collaboration performance with B.A.D., BOYS and Veteran for the song BIG GAME. As expected there is a lot of energy with this song and while there are quite a few Kanjuu performing everyone gets a moment of focus.

This is followed by a Kansai Junior ni Q segment, with a part 2 for the past topic of the meaning behind their names. Most of the Kanjuu this time I do not recognize at all and have no clue if they are still with Johnny's or not. Outside of Mukai Koji though, who is still with Johnny's.

Then we get a letter exchange segment between two members of 7WEST, Shigeoka Daiki and Takemoto Shinpei. Shinpei quit Johnny's some time ago, in fact IIRC he will no longer be with Johnny's by the next set of Osaka episodes come along. Shigeoka of course has done well as he made his debut with Johnny's WEST.

Of course with Nakayama Yuma around it means that 7WEST is not going to get a chance to perform without him. So they join him in performing their group song Kimi no Wana dake Maboroshi demo Kamawanai.

And we have hit the end of the episode after that. We have the Kanjuu performing Yuuki 100%, lead by Yuma of course. It is at least a good way to ensure that the episode ends on an energetic note and it is the older and younger Kanjuu onstage for it.

At this point fans of Johnny's WEST cannot go wrong with the Osaka episodes if they want to see the members of the group pre-debut. This is basically the years that those members started to get steady pushes from the Kansai side of things and start to become more prominent.

Knowing how little of the Kanjuu we will get for some time it makes me glad that they do eventually get more time on the program. Though right now it only seems to be a small handful of them but at least that can be explained away with the fact that the JW debut has left a rather large vacuum of popular Kanjuu.

Fan Status 2014: Johnny's Junior

I really miss the days of prominent Junior groups. Sure there are plenty of Juniors that I am interested in and enjoy watching but it seems harder to keep track of them as they are getting constantly shuffled around.

I still have high hopes for the Bakaleya6, even if the grouping is basically non-existant these days. But I like all six individually and still think they all have a lot of promise, even they end up debuting separately.

Lately I have come to like Iwahashi Genki and Jinguji Yuta. As someone who is usually shy I can feel like I can relate to Genki a bit. And seeing him trying to push past his shyness is encouraging. Jinguji is not the kind of idol I usually care for but I feel every group needs someone who is willing to put himself out there, which he seems to have no issue with doing. In fact it is those traits combined that I think makes Jinguji and Genki a good match for a group. And I have a lot of faith that these two will get a debut in a matter of time with how they have been steadily pushed for a while.

Of the other Juniors I do not have many that I feel as attached to. Sure there are plenty that I enjoy watching on the shows but in general I think I would be happy if any of them debut. Which is something that frustrates me is that there are so many talented Juniors that could do well after they debuted but there is no way to debut them all without over saturation.

The only Junior that is starting to catch my notice is Nakamura Reia. While he has been a Junior for some time he did not stand out much to me before. Probably in part because he was one of the younger Juniors and outside of thinking they are adorable I am not interested in them much. So now that Reia is older my interest is growing. Right now I think he has a lot of potential that hopefully will be utilized as he gets chances to participate in activities, like Gamushara.

As it is I feel like I am better off just vaguely knowing most of the Juniors and wait until the next debut to start dedicating time in getting to know them better. I do not care for that as being a fan of Kis-My-Ft2 and the members of Johnny's WEST before their debuts has made their debut announcements so special to me. Especially Kisumai. With Junior groups getting constantly shifted, if they exist at all, I know that there is little to no chance of getting to feel that joy again anytime soon.

20 June 2014

Not stuttering, Busaiku gets a 2nd single

A couple of days ago a rumor popped up about Kis-My-Ft2's sub-unit, Busaiku, getting a 2nd single to be released at the end of July. Yesterday it was confirmed when information about it came out on Kisumai's Avex page and it is now up for pre-order at the usual places. The title of the single is  てぃーてぃーてぃーてれって てれてぃてぃてぃ~だれのケツ~ (and I'm not going to attempt to Romanize it, even CDJapan didn't bother) and it will be released on July 27th.

The limited edition Type A is the standard limited edition that comes with a DVD. The DVD has the usual PV and making of feature listed as its tracks. The CD itself will have the title track and the karaoke version of it.

The limited edition Type B is basically the no frills version. It has the same track listing as the other versions and does not advertise coming with anything special. It is about half the price of the regular edition to make up for that though.

The regular edition is the same as Type B but will have a mini photo booklet that will come with the release.

There is a Kisumai Store version as well, but like always one needs to have a Japanese address to purchase it.

Personally I am rather excited for this. It helps make up for the fact that the Busaiku song on the upcoming Kisumai album was just their previous single song. And of course I enjoyed that song, a lot more than I thought would actually, so I look forward to this new one. Especially since Nakai Masahiro will once again be producing everything.

Of course I am all for anything that lets the Busaiku four get themselves some time in the spotlight. There was notable improvement in their popularity after their first single and I hope that will continue if the keep releasing singles. Then perhaps the gap they face with Kisumai will start to really lessen.

18 June 2014

Fan Status 2014: Johnny's WEST

I had been waiting for this group to debut for years and so far I have not been disappointed. Outside of the fact that I really would love to see a new single being announced. For some reason the wait always feels way too long between a debut single and the following one.

That said it is great to see that the members of the group are being kept busy with dramas and the programs they are regulars on. Sure I would love to see more, but as they are just starting off just the fact that it is not just their members that they are pushing to the center of the group. I hope this keeps up and the group does not fall into the same pattern of only a couple of members getting much work and the rest just hanging around until there is a concert or music release.

I love this group and cannot wait to see what their future brings. And I hope with this summer we will be getting that next single release.

16 June 2014

Kis-My-Journey updated

Information about Kis-My-Ft2's upcoming album has finally been announced. With this we have the covers and the track listing that has been missing until now.




Shop Version

I like the covers, though from the dimensions of the LE covers I am guessing that they are going to be DVD size instead of the standard CD case size.

Track listing:

01) "3rd" Overture
02) Seven Journey
03) 3.6.5
04) Striker
05) ダイスキデス
06) FORM (Kitayama Hiromitsu)
07) LU4E ~Last Song~ (Fujigaya Taisuke)
08) Only One... (Tamamori Yuta)
09) FIRE!!! (Kitayama Hiromitsu . Fujigaya Taisuke)
10) 棚からぼたもち (舞祭組) 
11) ツバサ
12) 光のシグナル
13) 僕らの約束
14) アゲてくぜ!【bonus track】*only available with the RE

I am disappointed that the only s-My-2 track is the Busaiku song that has already been released as a single. The only plus is that because of the Busaiku side group the four are getting more work and are starting to see a rise in popularity from that.

But it is nice that overall there are more new songs than there usually is for the group's albums. Especially group songs as usually most of the new songs have been solos or songs for only some of the members. So there is plenty to look forward to on that front.

I am also curious about Tamamori's solo song, as this will be the first one he has gotten on a release. I do not expect much honestly, he has never been a strong vocalist, but it will still be interesting to see what kind of song he is given.

Overall I am still excited about this album. Will still definitely be getting the regular edition as the PVs do not interest me that much to own.

14 June 2014

The Shounen Club 3 September 2010 review

Well I did not get my laptop back like I should have last week. I am still super bummed about that, as it means I still do not have access to all my Shounen Club episodes plus other things. But at least I had an Osaka episode of SC to review this week to look forward to.

The episode begins with the main Kansai Juniors performing a Kanjuu song, UME Goin On! to start things off. It is easy to tell what the main groups are, B.A.D., BOYS, 7WEST and Veteran, from this performance, as they are the only ones to get their names on the screen.

After Yara Tomoyuki is introduced the three Hey! Say! JUMP members that are the usual show supporters, Arioka Daiki, Nakajima Yuto and Takaki Yuya, perform Hitomi no Screen before the guest of the episode comes out to close out the opening number.

The guest is Yokoyama Yu and he performs Wonder World!! with the Kanjuu. It feels nostalgic having him back on the program as he was one of the original hosts. Already I feel excited for this episode.

The theme of the episode is Kagayaki (Shining), which is a word that pops up in Japanese songs quite a bit. While Yoko is quiet through most of this talk at the end he brings out the laughs by commenting on Nakamaru Yuichi.

Like the recent Tokyo episodes there is more than one guest for the episode. The previously unannounced guest is of course Nakayama Yuma who performs a special medley. It is basically just NYC songs that he gets to sing with 7WEST instead of the members of that group or B.I. Shadow.

The following MC is with Yuma and 7WEST. It is nice to see the seven together as it was not that long ago they were officially in the same group from this episode. I kinda wish he never left the group as he seems quite relaxed with them unlike when he is with other Juniors or on his own.

The next performance is with the HSJ three performing Dash!!, but with Kanjuu covering some of the instruments for it as they only have Yuto on the drums. Takaki really stands out in this performance with how into it he is. He practically seems to be glowing joy and living up to the episode theme.

There is then the usual You no Otegami Yomitai Desu! segment and it is hosted by the members of BOYS and B.A.D. With these four there is plenty of talking and laughs, especially as they talk about other Kanjuu.

We finally get some attention given to the next generation of Kanjuu with Shadow West getting to perform a special medley. Of the members of the group Mukai Koji and Kaneuchi Toma should be familiar as they will go on to become the original line up of Kin Kan.

For the game segment they do a Gong Show Battle Royale. Basically they show off a talent and see if they get a pass or not for it. Yoko of course gets to be the special guest judge for this. If anything the Kanjuu hardly lack energy as they bring plenty to this segment. And at the end it devolves into the older Kanjuu picking on Yoko.

B.A.D. then get to perform a medley of their group songs. I am so happy these two got to debut together, it would seem to wrong to separate them. Plus with them being a duo you know their vocals have to be solid as they could not hide behind others' voices.

Afterwards it is the Junior ni Q segment, and of course it is with the Kanjuu. The topic this time is about the meanings behind their names. Or basically something that is hard to follow without a good grasp of Japanese. In any case Kamiyama Tomohiro is up first.

For Kotaki Nozomu I did catch that his older sister had a hand in naming him and got his name from a character in a shoujo manga.

Kiriyama Akito is up next, and all I got was that it was his mother that decided on his name. I was a bit distracted by his nail polish during this. It was so shiny.

Then Shigeoka Daiki got to come up. It is beginning to seem like this segment is perfect for any Johnny's West fan to hunt down. But I totally did not follow what his explanation was.

Fujii Ryusei is the final Kanjuu brought up and he explains that it is simply because his parents wanted him to be like a shooting star, which is what Ryusei literally translates to.

Yoko then gets an MC segment with the hosts. Talking about the theme he brings up that to him he links the theme with performing on stage. Which does not seem like a surprise considering how sparkly his outfit is.

He then performs Kicyu which is a song that fellow Kanjani8 member Yasuda Shota wrote the music to as Yoko wrote the lyrics for. It starts off slow but kicks up the tempo part way through and I think the faster pace suits Yoko's vocals more.

It is then time to have the final performance. The Kanjuu perform Osaka Romanesque and while it is a nice performance I cannot help but wish they had something more high energy to end on. I guess there is always the next episode for the month.

I am so glad to be on the Osaka episodes right now. They always provide a bit of a break when the Tokyo episodes start feeling too monotonous. If anything there is at least different faces to watch.

But this is a solid episode and one where you can start to see things shape up towards the current status of the Kanjuu. I think the Osaka episodes for the following year will have more to show for that. But it is still rather clear which Kanjuu get priority and start to see glimpses of the next generation of Kanjuu.