31 August 2014

Shigeoka Daiki in Gomen ne Seishun

It is that time again, time for the next season of dramas to start announcing their cast. For the TBS drama Gomen ne Seishun that is set to star Nishikido Ryo it has announced the actors that will play the students in it. Notably we have another Johnny's and it will be Shigeoka Daiki.

OHP (Japanese only)

From the looks of it Shigeoka's role will be as one of the more prominent students for the drama, which is about an all-boys school (Buddhist) merging with an all-girls school (Christian). So this should be a good step further into the world of dramas for him.

Overall Johnny's WEST seems to be doing well with getting drama roles which should be helpful for them in the long run if they keep it up. Of course it would be great if they could get their own variety show at some point, but they are still a young group so it could still be a bit before that.

30 August 2014

The Shounen Club 24 March 2011 review

We get the return of the clip show this month as only one episode of the program aired which was this 10th anniversary special. This is of course mainly because on March 11th of 2011 the Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami occurred. The disaster threw programing off for the month as coverage of the disaster and aid for the victims rightfully was made the priority.

That said there is a lot of text on the top of the screen throughout the program as that is all warning information about aftershocks still being felt in the Tohoku region.

This special looks to have been filmed before March 11th and like the clip shows from years ago focus on showing footage of older episodes.

Koyama Keiichiro and Nakamaru Yuichi are hosts for the episode, which will be the last time the duo host for the program. They are joined by Kitayama Hiromitsu, Fujigaya Taisuke, Kawai Fumito and Totsuka Shota to provide the in studio talk between the clips.

They start off with clips from the first episode of the series which uses some creative editing techniques to avoid showing Jimmy Mackey's face in the video.

There is some VTR with Yamashita Tomohisa who says some words about the program, which is pretty fitting as he played a big role in the early years of the program.

One of the features of this recap is that there is a quiz for the Juniors, and Nakamaru, to participate in that goes over various tidbits of the show. Such as the first question asking who showed up during the first ending song performance for the program.

When we return to the old footage we get to see clips of the early guest performances, which is basically just Tackey & Tsubasa and Arashi.

I find the Arashi performances a bit more interesting as they have guested on the program less and when they were they were still such a young group.

The program seems to be interested in visiting the early era of Arashi as the next batch of clips focus on PVs for the group and the behind the scenes footage that they did for the program with Ikuta Toma or Kamenashi Kazuya visiting the group to do behind the scenes reports.

The next set of clips feature Junior performances when the show was still at the studio they used to film at before moving to the NHK Hall. Most of the focus is on Yamapi, various members of Kanjani8 and KAT-TUN. There is a J-Support/K.K.Kity performance thrown in to show Koyama and Kato Shigeaki but it is obviously edited to cut a close up of Kusano Hironori out as the one for Koyama is "frozen" where that footage should have been.

After that set they move on to footage from after the move to NHK Hall. There are clips for all the debuted groups up to KAT-TUN, which makes me wonder why Hey! Say! JUMP was skipped over as they have not lost a member yet so there really was no reason for it. Unlike NEWS who only got to have their appearances as a six member unit shown without a trace of their previous performances on the program to be seen.

They then show clips from the Toma Scoop segments where Toma interviewed various sempai groups. I kinda miss these segments as the sempai groups seem to always be ready to have fun with them.

This is followed by a review of the comedy duos and skits that the show used to have, mostly from KAT-TUN and Kanjani8. This is also something I miss as it gave a chance for the Juniors doing them to really stand out as well as round themselves out as idols.

While the next set of clips is still focused on the debuted Johnny's it switches things out a bit with having the performances be from their pre-debut days. So we get to see proto-Tegomass as well as an eight member K8, though no shot clear enough to really see Uchi Hiroki's face.

Finally we get clips of the HSJ members during their Junior days. So lots of little Juniors to be seen and be amazed by how much they have grown since.

Interestingly enough A.B.C-Z and Kis-My-Ft2 are also lumped in with this set of VTRs. I guess this might be lumping the groups together by "generation", which might explain why HSJ has been missing from the debut acts VTRs until now.

And we get the first mention of Kisumai's debut as they are congratulated on it as Koyama and Nakamaru lead the final discussion to wrap up the special.

The discussion ends as Koyama and Nakamaru are given flowers by the members of NYC as part of their send off as hosts of the program as this is the final episode they will be hosting Shounen Club. They also announce that HSJ will be taking over as hosts.

The final video is not a clip but a performance by NYC of their song Yumetamago. Which seems like a weird way to end a show that was to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its airing. But I guess showing cute kids performing a cute song is not the worst way to end something.

It is nice to get one of these episodes after so much time has now passed since the last. Especially as this gives us clips of the older episodes in good quality. And picking the Juniors they did for this was good as the four have been around for so long they would have memories from most of the episodes of the program.

It is also interesting to see how they decide to deal with footage with ex-Johnny's in it. It looks like for the most part they just made sure to cut the frames to edit members out or not just air footage, like any of the earlier NEWS performances.

27 August 2014

The Shounen Club 11 February 2011 review

This episode gives us more chances to learn about the wave of new faces that joined the program.

The episode starts with the usual theme medley with the theme being Tabidachi (setting off on a trip) and the Hey! Say! JUMP supporters, Nakajima Yuto, Arioka Daiki and Takaki Yuya starting it off with Dreams come true.

It is easy to see which members of JaPAnese Hi! are getting pushed as only four are a part of this medley and get to perform with Morimoto Shintaro. Sato Shori of course being the prominent over time but back then things looked more level.

Since there is no guest this episode it is just the hosts, Koyama Keiichiro and Nakamaru Yuichi, with the HSJ supporters on stage afterwards to talk about the episode theme.

Yuto, Daiki and Takaki then perform their group song Arigato ~Sekai no Doko ni Ite mo~. As they do so they introduce a few Fresh Juniors that have some skills to show off quickly. Not sure who is still with the agency outside of Hayashi Ren, who gets introduced again with his older brother Takuto. The others were Nishi Reito, Ichimiya Daiki and Fukumoto Daiki.

The introduction to JaPAnese Hi! members continue as the couple that can speak foreign languages get to show off their skills. It is mainly Kanazuru Hideki speaking but Okubo Lewis gets to use his Spanish near the end.

There is then a Junior performance which is mainly Morimoto Shintaro with Hip Hop Jump performing a song called 1 for YOU. This is the kind of song that I could see them performing today, or at least the remaining ones of this grouping of Juniors.

This is followed by a You no Otegami Yomitai Desu! segment which is hosted by various members of A.B.C-Z, Kis-My-Ft2 and B.I. Shadow. The first letter is asking about advice in relation to being a high school student.

The following letter is about Juniors that resemble animals. They also pull in Nakamaru Yuichi for this one but mostly focus on Kawai Fumito and his assumed resemblance to a horse.

Kitayama Hiromitsu and Fujigaya Taisuke then perform their duet, No. 1 Friend. There is not a lot to say about the song itself as it is rather bland and makes me miss the rest of the group. But KitaFuji were the ones getting pushed at the time so having this song was not so surprising.

The Gekkan Koyamaru segment is next with a theme for this one, sempai. Koyama and Nakamaru are able to share a photo that he managed to get with his sempai Domoto Kochi.

Nakamaru then gets ready to do a solo performance of two songs, Shooting Star and Film, with both songs having lyrics at least written in part by him. A good solid performance from him but honestly I would be disappointed by anything less from someone with his experience.

The Gekkan Koyamaru segment continues after the performance as Nakamaru takes a turn mostly talking about photos, including one with some of his fellow group members, as usual.

It is then Koyama's turn to perform a solo which is his solo song Uri Sarang, which uses Korean in the lyrics. It is also one of the solos released on the bonus disc of the limited version of NEWS' best of album.

Then it is Junior ni Q time with the Kansai Juniors. The theme this time is talking about things they want to see changed in others. Mukai Koji gets mentioned as one of the Kanjuu that someone wants to see a change with.

Nakama Junta gets to air a grievance he has with the other half of his duo, Kiriyama Akito. I was able to catch that it was something about his use of Kansai ben. And with that the segment ends.

A.B.C-Z get to sit down for an MC segment. Yamashita Tomohisa is featured in a VTR for this, as he talks about the members of A.B.C-Z. Or at least the ones that he pretends that he can remember.

The group then perform Dream ~5tsu no Negai~, which is a ballad so it lacks the usual energetic dances from the group's other songs. They seem to be trying to make up for that by adding a large star to the floor of the stage to have the members move around during the song so they are not just standing around during the performance.

With that we are at the end of the episode and it is time for the final song to close things out with. The older groups perform Sotsugyo ~Sayonara wa Ashita no Tame ni~, another ballad and with so many on stage it falls into the issue of just having everyone mainly just stand in place on stage.

And this is about where HSJ starts spending too much time on stage compared to the Juniors. It is not so bad with this episode though as at least one of the performances is to help highlight Fresh Juniors but I still have yet to recover from the HSJ-dominated era of the program. And it will probably be only made worse with the fact that I am heading right into those episodes now.

Other than that at least this is a time where at least some Juniors will be able to get a good amount of screen time, or at least anyone in the groups, Kis-My-Ft2, A.B.C-Z and B.I. Shadow. Only down side to that is that it makes it seem like there has been very little change in who gets featured on the program when compared to the most current episodes.

23 August 2014

The Shounen Club 04 February 2011 review

This marks the first episode I decided to review as I waited for my main laptop with the rest of the episodes on it to be fixed. I have gone through to make some edits but most of the review was what I wrote months ago.

The episode starts off with the Hey! Say! JUMP members that are the supporters for the episode, Arioka Daiki, Nakajima Yuto and Takaki Yuya introduce the theme medley. Morimoto Shintaro with Hip Hop Jump are the first up to perform.

The guests of the episode, KAT-TUN, finish up the medley by performing their song LIPS. I think this is an early sign that the group is going to have a stronger than usual presence in the episode than most guests.

KAT-TUN stay on stage as Koyama Keiichiro and the HSJ supporters come on stage to officially announce the theme of the episode, Koigokoro (one's love, awakening of love).

B.I. Shadow then take the stage to perform a medley of older Johnny's songs. It is nice to see all four members of the group performing throughout, though since they are wearing outfits that were originally for Ya-Ya-Yah I cannot shake that feeling of doom for any group of four that wears them.

There is then an MC segment with what can now be considered the main three of Kis-My-Ft2, Kitayama Hiromitsu, Tamamori Yuta and Fujigaya Taisuke. They talk about first love with Tamamori being asked to go first. Hiromitsu gets to say something too but has to keep it short as they need to leave to get on stage for the next performance.

Kisumai perform their song 3D Girl, which I never cared for too much but I guess the style actually lines up with the group's image post-debut.

The next MC is with KAT-TUN, so it is basically Koyama Keiichiro on his own to lead it and keep it on track. KAT-TUN may not be a favorite group of mine but I do think they are interesting to watch when they are all allowed to talk as you can get some interesting comments and reactions.

KAT-TUN performs what was their latest single at the time, ULTIMATE WHEELS. It was about this point that I began to really loose interest in the group, though it had been waning before, mostly because their newer music just did not click with me, like this song.

For the game segment they had Kame come out to be the judge for it. It had a mix of Juniors with Yuto, Daiki and Takaki compete against each other for who did a prompt better. Of course all the prompts dealt with Valentines Day.

I really wish they would have Kochi Yugo participate in the game segments more again. He was easily the highlight of the game segment with how he deviated from the standard lines and responses for the prompts.

There is then a special performance, with two members from the Junior groups, Kisumai (KitaFuji), A.B.C-Z (Hashimoto Ryosuke and Totsuka Shota) and BIS (Nakajima Kento and Kikuchi Fuma), performance Kimi wo Omou Toki (Romanesque Version). It is a stripped and slowed down version of the song so it can highlight the strength of the singers and it is a nice piece to see being performed.

The Junior ni Q segment takes us to Osaka as the Kansai Juniors get a turn. The topic is about the latest thing they are obsessed with. First up is Fujii Ryusei who claims to be obsessed with the hair of one of his fellow group members, Takemoto Shinpei, who is no longer with the agency.

Shigeaki Daiki is up next and I believe he talks about balls, or at least tennis balls from what I could tell. And that is all the Kanjuu featured that I am certain are still with the agency.

This episode gives us some introductions of some of the members of JaPAnese Hi!, or the large group of Fresh Juniors that just passed their auditions about a month before this was filmed. They should be familiar faces though as the four are Hayashi Takuto, Hayashi Ren, Kuramoto Kaoru and Sato Shori. (Though from what I have heard Kuramoto has recently left Johnny's.) It is really these introductions that make going back to watch these older episodes so interesting as there is no doubt that they have grown so much since then. Especially when it comes to nerves on stage.

They go and join the rest of their group to perform Marui Chikara. With so many members performing it is hard to assess the performing level of many of them. Though it does remind me of how many Juniors I have failed to keep up with over the past few years.

It is then time to wrap up the episode which they do with KAT-TUN performing the final song, PROMISE SONG. The older Junior groups get to come back on stage to back dance for them and that is how the episode closes up.

Over a good episode and I can finally say I have gotten over the KAT-TUN fatigue from their pre-debut days as I was happy to see the group as a guest. While I cannot recall if this is the final time KAT-TUN guests on the program it does feel like this would be a good final episode for that.

And of course it is great to see more of the Fresh Juniors, especially as a good chunk of them are now the ones that are making their way to the fore fronts. Not to mention that this also means we are only missing two members of Sexy Zone to have their Shounen Club debuts now.