30 April 2014

Fan Status 2014: Kanjani8

While I have had some interest in Kanjani8 over the years they stay fixed where they have been for me. A group that I enjoy but unfortunately I just do not have the time to really follow them much.

With K8 I mainly just pick up their albums when they come out, as their music is one of the things I enjoy most from them. In fact their last couple studio albums have been my favorites and I have faith that I will enjoy whatever they come out with. And by sticking with albums instead of trying to get the singles as well I can afford to keep up with group to that extent at least.

They are also another group that I enjoy seeing them and most of the individual members of in variety shows. From watching TORE I have come to like Murakami Shingo, who previously was never on my radar before.

Dramas though are another story as it seems very hit or miss if I will like a drama that has a member of K8 in it. But I am a bit more likely to give one a shot compared to a drama with a member of a Johnny's group that I really do not follow.

So as I mentioned at the start no real change in my interest for this group.

29 April 2014

Yamada Ryosuke is Kindaichi again

After two years of specials Yamada Ryosuke will get the chance to play the Kindaichi Hajime character for a TV series of the manga Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo this July. This latest TV series adaption is being called Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo N, with the N standing for Neo.

All the main cast from the specials, Kawaguchi Haruna as Nanase Miyuki and Arioka Daiki as Saki Ryuji, shall also return for the series.

Anime News Network (English)

It is about time this was given a new TV series with Yamada as the lead. After the first special I thought there was a good chance to have this happen but instead we got the next special, so I had wondered if I was wrong.

I will assume that with this Hey! Say! JUMP will be doing the theme song so we can expect a new single from them this summer. That probably has me the most excited. Though with concerts in May I wonder if maybe they will perform the song then.

I was hoping to get another album from the group next but as long as we get one this year I will be happy.

26 April 2014

The Shounen Club 14 May 2010 review

This episode lives up to its theme as I find plenty to smile about from it.

It starts off looking like it will be a standard introduction song, with the younger Juniors singing Yuuki 100%. We even get some groups and a grouping introduced before Kitayama Hiromitsu and Fujigaya Taisuke come on stage with a large box. Inside is the guest for the episode, Taguchi Junnosuke, who joins in singing the song to finish off the first performance for the episode.

The following talk segment has the hosts of the show, Koyama Keiichiro and Nakamaru Yuichi, with the supporters, Takaki Yuya, Arioka Daiki and Nakajima Yuto, come on stage. They introduce the theme of the episode, Egao (smile), which they quickly note is a fitting theme for Junno.

There is then a theme medley that has members of Kis-My-Ft2 mainly leading the songs in it. Nakajima Kento and Kikuchi Fuma feature prominently in it as well as most of the other Juniors were just accompanying them.

The MC afterwards is with Junno as they talk about how smiling is a part of his image. And we get plenty of chances to see his smile during the conversation.

He then performs a special medley of his solo songs, most have been released on CDs. But overall it stands as a reminder of how much his vocals have improved in recent years for me. I love the performance still as I enjoy the songs and Junno always brings a good amount of energy to his performances. Plus the bit with Koyama and Nakamaru was fun.

It is then time for the Gekkan Koymaru segment. The segment has the theme of 'behind the scenes' as photos of the boxes for the costumes was shown as well as shots of Kisumai, Question? and A.B.C-Z in the dressing/rehearsal areas.

The next performance is for Ebi and they do a medley of their group songs. They work in acrobatics between each song in the medley which is probably the real highlight of the performance as they do some of the more involved stunts.

The game segment lets us see some new faces to the segment. It is a dance quiz and I think having some of the younger Juniors helped as they tend to have to have a larger and more diverse array of songs that they have to remember the moves for as the older groups tend to stick to really only back dancing for select groups and get more chances to perform their own original songs.

The HSJ members get to be the main focus of the next MC segment. They end up talking about their latest single at that time, Hitomi no Screen, which leads into talk about Yuto and his drumming. This is a lead in for the next performance where the three perform a medley of songs that starts off with a drum solo by Yuto.

I love that Takaki's solo song, Kumo no Ito, is a part of the medley, but most of it is Hitomi no Screen. And watching the live performance makes me so glad the spoken part worked into it is not in the CD version of the song as it feels like such an unnatural break in the song.

It is then the Junior ni Q segment and the theme is a moment that made them laugh/smile. Kawashima Noeru is called over and he talks about an incident when he was a part of a musical in Osaka that happened with Casey Anderson.

Jesse is up next and his moment is at a concert when he realized he had his shirt inside out. This prompts Koyama to recall a time where Kato Shigeaki made the same mistake.

Kikuchi Fuma then gets to talk about Masuda Ryo, who gets called over as well to show what Fuma is talking about. It is basically how MasuRyo went from laughing to suddenly looking stoic.

There is then a letter exchange segment between MasuRyo and Takada Sho. I was able to catch that they bring up that they first met each other at HSJ's debut concert. And that is about all I could follow and feel confident in understanding what was being said.

The following performance is a mix of Junior groupings with a few members of Mis Snow Man as they perform a song called Sekai wa Bokura wo Mamoteiru. This definitely seems to be one of the times that MasuRyo is getting pushed as he leads the next song in this medley, Tsuyoku Dakishimete. Also to note, many of the Juniors getting pushed now seem to already being getting mixed together with this performance.

This then takes us to the final performance of the episode with the older Juniors performing Anniversary. B.I. Shadow and the Juniors from the last performance now seem to be moving into this bunch as they lead the song.

Even if Junno was not the guest for this episode I would rate it highly. The Juniors have a good presence in the episode and it is nice to see newer faces in the game segment. And the performances by non-Juniors did not seem to dominate the episode which is what my main issue with the more current episodes is.

I do not think I am ready to start thinking of BIS and the Juniors around their ages as the older Juniors quite yet. But perhaps that is mostly because they do have older Juniors around them, like Ebikisu. But it is getting harder not to notice that the boys are growing up and I am getting ever so closer to the current run of episodes where there is not doubt that they are the older ones on the program.

23 April 2014

Fan Status 2014: NEWS

And finally back to a group that I do follow.

NEWS was the group that got me into Johnny's and have always had a spot in my heart for that and despite all that has happened with the group since then I still love the group. Even though they do not do much as a group I still love them and eagerly wait for what they do next as a group.

The few Tegomass releases that come out are nice. I much prefer NEWS over Tegomass but I enjoy both units. I just wish we got as much for NEWS as we have been getting for Tegomass as the duo seems to be able to release more for whatever reason.

Kato Shigeaki is still my favorite member and I have been happy to see that he has had some chances to do solo activities. I do need to catch up with picking up his books, but seeing as I am nowhere good enough with my Japanese to read any of them. But I do hope to be able to do so one day.

And it is also nice to see the individual work for the over members expand so they all seem to have something that they can do when the group is not active. I just hope the work will lead to chances for the group to do something, like release a new single from time to time.

19 April 2014

The Shounen Club 7 May 2010 review

It looks like I have a solution for my issue with getting access to these episodes to review. So regular reviews shall start again and then in a few months there will be a bit of a surge as the later episodes I have reviewed will be posted then.

This episode starts off with what is basically a Hey! Say! JUMP medley but mostly featuring the younger Juniors, like Morimoto Shintaro and B.I. Shadow.

About halfway through we get members of HSJ, Arioka Daiki, Nakajima Yuto and Takaki Yuya, joining in. Takaki though also has the Kansai Junior group B.A.D. join him for the final song of the medley, Jitabata, which was basically a song for this trio.

During the opening talk B.A.D. get introduced as guests for the episode and the theme is introduced, Boom. Boom in this context more or less translates to something that you are interested in. So the program really can pick anything to go along with that theme.

B.I. Shadow get to perform their group song Ima Sugu ni next. Again it is with Nakajima Kento and Kikuchi Fuma starting it off by themselves with Matsumura Hokuto and Kochi Yugo coming on stage part way through the performance. Despite that though the camera time for the members is not horribly out of balance though Nakaken and Fuma definitely get more than the other two, and the performance is good and energetic.

The following MC segment is with Kis-My-Ft2. Kitayama Hiromitsu leads the talking for the group and I believe he talks about since they were doing a concert touring showers have become popular with the members of the group. I am assuming that it is taking showers over the more traditional baths.

The conversation moves to talk about the concerts and we are treated to seeing some of the footage from them. Sadly only the group's third concert tour had a DVD release for it so this is about all there is video footage-wise for this first one.

The group then performs a song that had only been performed during concerts before, Kis-My-LAND, which uses some props with each member having a "ticket" that is color coordinated with the colors assigned to each member. This is a song that is much better enjoyed watching live than recorded as it plays to the audience quite a bit and it really seems to have been written for the concert tour.

The next segment is the You no Otegami Yomitai Desu! segment and this time the ones hosting it are Kawai Fumito, Kitayama Hiromitsu and B.A.D. The first letter I believe asks about what they think they are best at. The second letter asks for advice on getting a present for an parent.

There is then a Morimoto Shintaro medley, as he is still riding high from starring in the Snow Prince movie. In the medley he is backed by members of Snow Prince Gasshodan and Hip Hop Jump. Nakamura Reia and Kishimoto Shintaro get their names shown on the screen during this which I think is worth noting if just for the fact that Reia seems to be one of the Juniors that is actually getting some focus nowadays.

For the game segment this episode gives us something called Jumping Paradise. It just involves the three members of HSJ on the show this month as the hosts, Koyama Keiichiro and Nakamaru Yuichi. The "game" is for the HSJ members to rank the members of their group by who owns the most pairs of sneakers. I think it would have been more interesting to have had the HSJ members host the segment with Juniors having to do the guessing about rank.

The Junior ni Q segment is with the Kansai Juniors and the topic is about something they want to say to someone else. Akito seems to have decided that he will be a host to the segment as he interjects into the conversation every chance he gets to help choose who will be called up to talk.

Nakama Junta is first up and has something to say to Miyata Toshiya of Kis-My-Ft2. It seems like he had something to say about his wota-dance from what I could gather.

Hamada Bunichi gets called up next with something he wants to say to Hamada Takahiro. It is the usual awkwardness that comes with Bunichi.

The next Junior that gets called up is Fujii Ryusei who has something to say to his then fellow group member Takemoto Shinpei. I believe he wanted to bring something up about his hair.

Then finally it is the last Junior to be called up for the segment, Muro Ryuta, who has something to say about his older brother, Muro Tatsuki.

Then Question? gets to perform and sing the song Precious Memories. By now it is safe to assume that Goto Hiromi is officially a part of the band. This song I find rather lackluster and generic, which is disappointing as I know the band has better.

Butokan, for four out of five of the members of the group, show up and have an MC segment. They each get to talk about something that they recently became interested in and most revolve around dancing.

They then perform a special medley. Watching them perform made me realize that there is not a current Junior group that is regularly featured on the show. It is a shame as these groups tend to always give visually interesting performances, especially a group like Butokan that has someone like Yara Tomoyuki in it.

This is followed by an MC segment with B.A.D. The duo get to talk about some of the calls that they receive from the audience when they do they say certain lines/words during concerts.

B.A.D. then performs their unit song, V.I.P. It is not a favorite song of mine for the duo but it is a song that lends itself to an energetic performance.

The episode then closes out with the Juniors with the HSJ members there to perform the HSJ song Yumeiro. It is a bit weird for them to be performing this song as it was not released on CD at that point and even when it did get a CD release it was on a compilation CD for the anime series it was used as a theme song of. That aside I do like the song and I am happy to see it being performed. Though not surprised the older Juniors are missing from this performance.

With the members of B.A.D. debuting in Johnny's WEST this episode takes on a different view for me. It is now an episode to watch to see a part of the road the two had to go on to reach their dream of a debut and I know overall I have become more aware of the Kanjuu in these older episodes. I think with this there does seem to be a move to give them a bit more screen time, which should be seen throughout this season as the Kanjuu get featured more in the Junior ni Q segment but of course it was really only in the past year that they got proper screen time. But still this is more than likely one of the early steps towards the members of JWEST debuting.

It also makes me curious about what will happen with the songs from the Junior units the members of JWEST came from. I would like to see some of them make it onto a CD, perhaps as a bonus disc for their first album or something. But I guess time will tell what will happen with that.

16 April 2014

Fan Status 2014: Arashi & Tackey & Tsubasa

Making another join entry with the next two groups as they are two that I do not pay much attention to.

For whatever reason Arashi has never interested me much. I do like some of their music, though it is mostly their pre-2010 songs, and have no issue with watching them if they happen to be in a program I am watching for another Johnny's. But overall they just do not appeal to me enough to become a fan.

I will check out any drama Ohno Satoshi is in though, as I tend to like them, but more because I tend to enjoy the drama as a whole and not simply because Ohno is in it. But that is about as close as I get to following Arashi.

I do feel like I am in the minority in the international Johnny's fandom for not being an Arashi fan but I have tried to like them and things just do not click. Not that I think they are lacking in anything as it all comes down to personal taste and mine just does not match up.

Duos never seem to be able to hold my attention in general and Tackey & Tsubasa are no exception to this. They also happen to be one of those groups that is a bit more difficult to follow the activities of overseas as their solo work, which they do quite a bit of, usually consists of live productions you need to be in Japan to see or concerts. Their actual group activities have dwindled over the years and while I do not mind listening to their music none of it grabs enough of my attention to want to own it.

15 April 2014


It has been a while since I tried to predict a release so I figured I would give another go as Kis-My-Ft2 looks like they may be changing up their release schedule a bit.

Looking at past releases it is clear to see that they keep to a pretty regular schedule.

Everybody Go  10 AUG 2011
We never give up!  14 DEC 2011
SHE! HER! HER!  21 MAR 2012
Kis-My-1st  28 MAR 2012
WANNA BEEEE!!!/Shake It Up  15 AUG 2012
Ai no Beat  14 NOV 2012
My Resistance -Tashikana Mono-/Unmei Girl  13 FEB 2013
Good Ikuze!  27 MAR 2013
Ki Su U Ma I -Kiss Your Mind-/ S.O.S. (Smile On Smile)  27 MAR 2013
Kimi Tono Kiseki  14 AUG 2013
SNOW DOME no Yakusoku/Luv Sick  13 NOV 2013
Hikari no Signal  05 MAR 2014
HIT! HIT! HIT!  26 MAR 2014

The big change would be that instead of a studio album in March there was a singles collection instead. It seems like an odd time to release one as the group has not yet reached their 3rd anniversary yet, but it does help set something else up.

There is about three or four singles released before an album and since everything but the group's latest single, Hikari no Signal, is included in the single collection then it means with HnS the count for singles between albums has been reset. The next will most likely come out in the summer, August seems like the most likely month, as we already know that Tamamori Yuta will be starring in a drama during the summer, Nobunaga no Chef 2. And since Kisumai did the theme song for the drama last time there should be no reason why they will not do so again. Then there just needs to be the usual winter release, either November or December, and then the group will have three singles out, so there is little reason why they cannot release a new studio album around then too.

With last year they had concerts in winter and even with an album out there has been no announcements for a summer concert series. If that remains than I will be completely certain than I am right about the release schedule changing so they can release an album in winter to go with a winter concert tour. As Kisumai being an older group when it comes to the ages of its members it follows the same standards as most older groups where a new album is attached to a concert tour, as that helps drive sales.

I can only guess the change is because Johnny's needs to make sure they keep things balanced out with which groups tour at what time during the year. Summer and winter are the prime times for touring as that is when there are holiday breaks, making it easier for fans to find the time to go. And then there is the fact that the venues need to be shared, not by just the Johnny's groups but other touring music acts as well.

Either way I am looking forward to the next single from the group this summer, and hope we do get a new studio album before the year is out.

12 April 2014

New Junior Groups? Yay?

Meant to do this entry earlier but with the information for the concert series at Theatre Crea for this summer out it looks like there are finally

Not quite a new group but there is a new line-up for Sexy Boys. I guess the fact that the group name has been altered a bit to switch out the 'z' with a 's'. It is still not a name I could ever like but I know no matter how much I complain it is not something that will be changed.

Sexy Boys:
Iwahashi Genki
Jinguji Yuuta
Kishi Yuta
Miyachika Kaito
Abe Aran

Then there is Johnny's Sound. I can only assume from the name the group and some of the members that it will be focused on musical skill. And it looks like Masuda Ryo is back to his Japanese name again instead of using his Pakistani name, Shani.

Johnny's Sound:
Kyomoto Taiga
Morohoshi Shoki
Masuda Ryo
Kobayashi Mizuki
Ogawa Yuu
Ishida Naoya
Kishi Takayoshi
Ishigaki Daisuke
Goto Hiromi

A bit hard to figure out what exactly Sexy Champ is supposed to have as a group theme. Other than the fact that most of the members are half-Japanese Juniors. Also to note that MasuRyo is also in this group. If these are meant to stick around after these concerts it will be interesting to see if he remains in both or ends up eventually being phased out of one. And Casey Anderson looks to be shortening his name to just Anderson if the Johnny's net listing is accurate.

Sexy Champ:
Masuda Ryo
Hanzawa Akatsuki
Sanada Yuuma
Morita Myuuto
Okamoto Kauan
Yamakura Shalf

Johnny's unfortunately not done with overusing the word 'sexy' as the next two groups also have it in their names. The first is Sexy Age, which is a duo of Kansai Juniors. I just hope in this case this is temporary as I do not want Kin Kan and Naniwa Oji to be broken up for this.

Sexy Age:
Hirano Sho
Nagase Ren

Then it is back to Tokyo Juniors with the final group that looks to be a duo, at least for now, Sexy Jr.

Sexy Jr.:
Nakamura Reia
Takahashi Kaito

While that may be all for the groups there are some groupings as well listed. The Juniors in those groupings are:

Yasui Kentaro
Hagiya Keigo
Matsumura Hokuto
Kyomoto Taiga
Nozawa Yuuki
Morimoto Shintaro
Morohoshi Shoki
Tanaka Juri
Kochi Yuugo

Like I mentioned before it is hard to tell if these groups are going to stick or not past these concerts. It usually takes a couple months for these things to be reflected in the magazines and who knows when we can see this reflected on Shounen Club with how little screen time the Juniors get in comparison to the debuted groups still on the program.

It would be nice if a few do remain, if just because it makes it easier to figure out who is who with the Juniors for me at least. But pretty much all the names are bad if not horrible. It will be glad to have the next FIVB group debut as there is no way their name can be worse that Sexy Zone and Johnny's will not have the excuse of using the word 'sexy' in Junior group names anymore.

Names aside I do look forward to see what this is going to give us. I just wish my favorite Juniors were not left out of the groups, but I doubt they have any worry about disappearing from the stage anytime soon.

10 April 2014

TOKIO's Love and Holiday

It looks like TOKIO plans on giving fans more than a best of album and tour as there will be a new single from the group to be released on May 21st, 2014. The title of the single is Love, Holiday. and will come in two additions.

The limited edition comes with the title track and the backing track for it on the CD and a DVD with the PV and making of footage.

The regular edition has the title track as well as two B-side songs not included on the limited edition as well as backing tracks for all three tracks.

What I love about most of TOKIO's most recent releases is that the members of the group have been writing the songs and lyrics for them. In fact Nagase Tomoya wrote the lyrics for all three songs and wrote music for two, while Kokubun Taichi wrote the music for the third. It is probably not all too surprising as TOKIO has been around long enough and have had a good deal of success that they would be given some control over their careers.

09 April 2014

Fan Status 2014: V6 & Kinki Kids

V6 is the first of the sempai groups that I really pay little attention to and Kinki Kids is not much different for me. Since I like to keep up on idol news I have an inkling of what is going on with the groups but even that is minimal. So I figured I would cover them both to make sure this post is not too short.

There is little I can say about V6. They have some songs I like but not enough to compel to follow them. And I have seen very little of the group together or even individual. Of course the fact that the group does not do much as a group does not help much at all either.

The only thing that I am interested that is related to V6 is in Inohara Toshihiko's show, Mousolist which was Hyakushiki-Ou. He is also the only member of V6 that I have any real opinion on as I have actually seen him in something. It is good of course as he works quite well with his kouhai and is interesting in his own right without overshadowing the rest of the cast of the program. A good reason to why I like to watch the show.

With Kinki Kids I have a bit more of an impression, if just because I like their songs more. I actually have a few of their CDs but outside of the song here and there that I liked enough to buy I do not follow them much. While they do more that can be followed by an international fan they just do not interest me enough even though they are quite talented.

They are one of the groups that I will watch if I happen upon something with them in it but will not seek out anything for them. And since I do like their music I will give their music a listen to see if there is something that I like enough to buy the release.

02 April 2014

Fan Status 2014: TOKIO

TOKIO is another group that has not had much of a change in status with how much I fan over them. They remain my favorite group of the sempai groups and I have no issue picking up their CD releases. Of course it helps that like most sempai groups they do not release much these days.

I am not sure if I will get their upcoming best of album, HEART, if just because I have the feeling I will already have all the songs that will make it on it. I am missing some of their early albums though and only have their singles from the past five years so there is a chance there could be a chunk of songs that get voted in that I actually do not have. But I do hope that I will have the money to buy the inevitable video release of their 20th anniversary tour.

While I do not follow their other activities closely I do like to check out whatever dramas Nagase Tomoya has been in, as I tend to enjoy them. And I do not mind hunting down clips and episodes of programs that have the full group in them. The group has a great dynamic and I am not surprised that even after all this time they still can pull people in. Their show DASH is a great watch, though perhaps not so easy for those without Japanese knowledge, and it is no surprise that it is a hit. Who would have ever guessed watching 30-40 something idols making a deserted island habitable would be so entertaining?

And I love that they are fixed guests for Kohaku Uta Gussan. They may not get much focus on the program outside of their own performance but I love how they keep their tradition of "back dancing" for a female enka singer going. They always look like they have so much fun doing that. And I expect that for this year's Kohaku we may get something special from them even though it was last year that they had their 20th year of being on Kohaku. (They had their debut performance on the program which I believe is a part of why they always get invited back.)

But yes, even though I do not blog about them much I still love TOKIO and have them as my favorite sempai group.