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.

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