30 November 2015

Kisumai Magic 06 October 2015 episode review

So Kisumai GAME transitions into Kisumai Magic and seems to really have only changed in title and keeping to more low key games. Which of course means we continue on with magicians, but there are changes so it is not the same tired game.

Instead of simply tricking Kis-My-Ft2 and their guest we have a competition between returning magician Fujii Akira and a trio of young magicians he has to face in three rounds of competition.

The guys watch the trick then hold up one of three signs with their answer and each wrong answer awards the magician points.

The guest for this episode is judo practitioner Shinohara Shinichi. I do not see how magic tricks and judo mix but Shinohara proved to be a solid guest as he looks to be rather sharp. He even had a magic trick of his own to show off at the end.

There is no one member that stands out for this episode but there was an entertaining bit when they were discussing if the cameraman in their midst had a good view to be able to see through the tricks.


Honestly I am rather shocked that I ended up kinda liking this episode. The magician episodes in GAME were easily some of the most boring but all the changes they made really improved the enjoyment factor with Magic. The competition is far more engaging since there are actual clear winners and losers unlike previously where there did not seem to be much in the way of rules so it was hard to tell if anything was at stake. So far the change from GAME to Magic is looking to be a good one.

The next episode brings back the voice actor guessing game. I enjoyed these episodes with GAME and it does not look like they changed much so I am looking forward to this one.

29 November 2015

Johnny's WEST - Paripipo RE album review


Artist: Johnny's WEST
Title: Paripiro
Release date:  2015
Type: mini-album
Version: RE

Packaging: Seeing as the group is on the Johnny's Entertainment label the packaging is on the plain side. There is a front and back jacket with the front jacket being a part of the lyric booklet. The inside of the booklet is pretty plain with the lyrics on white with little stars spread over the page. At the very end there are small solo shots of all the members placed across two pages.

The dancing baby thing that looks to have become the group's mascot makes its debut here on the CD and behind it on the inside facing side of the back jacket. Honestly I could do without it as it just weirds me out. I do rather like the photos used for this release. They convey a lot of fun and energy, or basically a lot of what this group's image is. There are three group shots in total and the solo images I have already mentioned.

Tracks:

1. パリピポアンセム (Paripipo Anthem)
This song is a mess, which actually makes it a good song to sum up this album with. It starts off sounding like it wants to be another fun song like their A-sides tend to be but then add in conflicting elements, like the rap sections, and does several change ups that just do not flow together well. It is almost as if it wants to cover all the sounds of the other tracks on the mini album but seeing as those all do not go together it ends up with a mess as it does not seem to know what it wants to be.

2. Toxic Love
A more standard pop song and one of the stronger tracks on the album. It has a dance pop vibe to it and the chorus is catchy. I do not think I care too much for the first rap section as it grinds everything to a standstill though there definitely needed to be some kind of change up in the song at that part. That and the rap is better incorporated into the song going on from there. That said there is nothing overly stand out about the track though the chorus does help it stop from being forgettable.

3. キミコイ (Kimi Koi)
And this song is where the mini album begins to fall apart. Because after two very pop songs with a dance flavor we have this song. A jazzy big band sounding song that really only has the fact that it is an uptempo song in common with the song before it. Outside of that it is not a bad song at all though it does feel rather paint by numbers in making sure it has everything a song of this genre needs to have. It also lacks an interesting hook so outside of the genre it can be easily over looked.

4. SCARS
Then we get a slow tempo song that is nice enough on its own but is yet another jarring switch going from the previous song. And mostly because it is another genre switch as things go back to a more standard pop sound. And standard is a pretty good description of the song as while it is pleasant to listen to there is nothing to hook a listener in. By the time it moves to catch things up it is coming off as a bit dull, especially after repeat listens.

5. アカンLOVE ~純情愛やで~ (Akan LOVE ~Junjo Ai Yade~)
While this is another change up with this being an uptempo high energy song it does not seem too jarring compared to the previous two. Perhaps because it is not such a complete genre change as well. It is a nice way to wake you up again if SCARS was putting you to sleep. It reminds me of the kinds of songs that V6 used to sing during their early years in the early 00s. And not in a bad way at all. The chorus is nice and catchy and the driving beat throughout keeps it going and helps it transition through the change ups in the song.

6. Mambo de WEST!
This song brings the group back to the fun pop songs their A-sides have mostly been. Thankfully it does not sound much like those, which is probably mostly in thanks to the fact they needed to have a mambo sound to it somewhere to live up to the song name. But it is still quite a bit of fun listening to and a nice bright spot on this album.

I had forgotten that this was the first bonus track for the regular edition as it is a nice fit and honestly would have been good to end the album with.

7. PARTY MANIACS
The second bonus track of the regular edition and the one that feels like it was just tacked onto the end of the album because they had no idea where else to put it. This song would have fit much better at the start of the album with the other dance-pop songs and is just jarring at the end where it does not sound like any of the songs near it. Unlike Toxic Love that is more a pop song with dance influence this is more of a full on dance song with an edge to it that the rest of the songs do not have. In fact it feels like a song that Kis-My-Ft2 might have passed on for one of their releases. It is not a bad song but feels out of place with most of the album having it placed at the end as it is.


Overall: This is the release that finally lost me with Johnny's WEST. It is as much a mess as its lead track and is another sign that management has little idea of what to make of the group. I dropped getting Hey! Say! JUMP releases because they have become directionless and with each new release JWest seems to have already facing the same issue. It is like all management knows is that they want them to be like Kanjani8 because they are also from Kansai but without the band element. And it is frustrating as the group has a lot of promise but it is just going to be squandered if they are not given more than that.

For the release itself the few songs I liked just is not enough anymore to keep me interested in what the group is releasing. Though I do think this could have been put together much better if someone wanted to give it a little more effort. Like if Toxic Love was switched with Mambo de WEST! the mini album would have flowed so much better. And it would hardly be the first time bonus tracks were inserted in the middle of an album track list for the group as their debut album did so. Which makes it infuriating that the producer of this album did not think of doing something so simple.

One of the nice things about this mini-album is that at least the songs do not sound like clones of what they have released before. Unfortunately the general lack of cohesion of the tracks really drags it down.

24 November 2015

Kisumai GAME 29 September 2015 episode review

The final episode of the show before it was changed to Kisumai Magic. And it ends with a magic episode, which I feel is a great let down. I would have much preferred another drone or sport related game for it. That said this was another okay episode with the magic tricks.

There are a few major changes to the format outside of where they filmed it. They have a studio audience behind them and instead of just the three that are a part of the trick all the members of the group get to guess who has the handkerchief at the end.

The first round is with the magician Motti, who is one of the returning magicians for the show. While he did the usual pocket checks with the other two he had rather interesting instructions for Senga Kento. Senga just cannot seem to win in these magician episodes.

Next is another familiar face for those watching the show, Dr. Leon. His trick unfortunately was very similar to one that had been used in the previous episode so that was a bit of a let down.

The third and final round goes to new faces, a magician duo that is called Napoleons. Their hint was basically the same as the rest, that you need to look for differences in how they do the trick.

Yokoo Wataru definitely wins for having the most interesting moment for being a complete troll for the reveal at the end of the trick. In fact overall he seemed to be rather on point in the episode and looked to be having fun.


I am so glad they made sure to try new things with the magician episodes so it was not too grueling to get through so many of them. It is still disappointing that the show could not have had one of the more fun and active games to end off with. But I guess that in the end it had to come down to budgeting issues as these late night programs do not get much of one to run on.

Since Kisumai Magic looks to have more of the same episodes as Kisumai GAME I will be going ahead and reviewing those episodes. So next week will be a review of the first episode of that.

Taguchi deguchi

This is honestly the hardest post I have written for this blog. To try to make it easier I am going to try looking at everything known so far and give my thoughts subject by subject.

The Announcement

Taguchi Junnosuke has announced that he will be leaving not only KAT-TUN but also Johnny's & Associates. The exact date is not known but it is planned to be sometime in the Spring of next year. He mentioned something along the lines that as he was turning 30 soon he has felt that he was not satisfied with his life and wanted to change that.

The Speculation

It has been a well known fact with fans of the group that Junno has had a long term girlfriend so plenty are speculating that at least part of his reason for leaving is to get married and start a family. Something being an idol makes hard to do. Though I think it is more than that, though I would not be shocked to hear about getting married within the next year.

He was never one of the members of the group that got much of a push or that much solo work. So wanting to strike out on his own is understandable. I can see him doing more with being a dancer as that was always something that seemed to be his forte.

Considering how he got to announce his leaving, the fact that he will still have months with the group before he does and the messages from other members of the group have given I would saw that this is something Junno really wants. And it is nice to see someone leave the agency amicably for a change.

The Location

I did find it odd for this announcement to happen on a program like Best Artist. It was awkward and did feel like an attention grab. I cannot help but wonder if management told the Junno to do it there so they could get extra buzz from it. Of course the group looked to be well aware of things though still distraught as there was no turning back from this.

That said this was still the best leaving announcement that Johnny's has had anyone give as most of the time such things come with a scandal attached. But since there seems to be none here they look to be trying to do things properly, or maybe at least in a way to give the group a boost before losing yet another member.

KAT-TUN's Future

Since Junno is not immediately leaving the chances of him getting an actual send off of sorts seems like a real possibility. Certainly one final concert with the group and since the members have brought up their 10th debut anniversary on March 22nd I have the feeling that is a part of the reason why he is staying until Spring of the next year.

That said with KAT-TUN down to three members it does cast doubt on the survival of the group. If it breaks up I can see Kamenashi Kazuya and Nakamaru Yuichi staying on with the agency as they have work through them. Ueda Tatsuya I would worry about staying on as he is not nearly as busy and seems like he may want to give being a musician without the idol hangups a go. But that is if they do not decide to continue as a trio. I do think as long as the members want to the agency will keep the group going.

Personal Thoughts

My heart is broken. I may have never been a big KAT-TUN fan but I did enjoy the group and was an active fan for few years. The first Johnny's concert I ever went to was one of the Tokyo Dome concerts for their Break the Records shows. From the get go Junno was my favorite member and seeing him perform live and see him show that he cared about trying to interact with the fans, he was the only one I could see looking at the higher levels consistently and even tried to get a sign board up to the higher levels, only made me a bigger fan.

Even when I stopped being a KAT-TUN fan I never stopped being a Junno fan. I kept up with the group passively just in case of news about him and gladly purchased the Face to Face single to get his solo song and PV.

The selfish fan part of me does not want him to leave and just wants him to change his mind and stay, if not with KAT-TUN at least with Johnny's. I know he is not going to disappear once he leaves but I do not want this change.

But that selfishness does not rule what kind of fan I am. I will be happy for him and support him with my well wishes for whatever he decides to do with his life. He has already given about half of it so far to being in the entertainment industry and my fond memories are not going to disappear when he leaves the agency. And at least I have the time to prepare myself for his departure, something so few fans get when someone leaves Johnny's. I wish I could see him perform once more with KAT-TUN, but that would be impossible for me. Instead I am just going to hope they do a final concert and it gets a home video release I can purchase.

I have cried a little and each time I think about this I get teary eyed. Until the end I want to support Junno, so until then it is still Iriguchi, Deguchi, Taguchi.

22 November 2015

Kis-My-Ft2 - Kiss Damashii RE single review


Artist: Kis-My-Ft2
Title: Kiss Damashii
Release date:  25 March 2015
Type: single
Version: RE

Packaging: Like with all recent Kis-My-Ft2 releases the packaging is really nice. It comes with a slip cover and the jewel case it covers is definitely of a higher standard that the usual ones used for CD releases. I don't care for the lips with headphones logo used on this, but I do not hate it either. Plus I do like the fact that they are using member colors throughout this, which the logo is mostly used for. Any cover that shows all the members equally is a big plus for me. And not only does the cover do that but it actually spreads out KiFT a bit so the usual split is not really noticeable. The booklet has two group photos then individual photos. As a nice touch the individual photos all use the colors of the members as the background.

Tracks:

1. Kiss魂 (Kiss Damashii)
What jumps out at me each time I listen to this song is the fact that it sounds so much like like a song they already released, Unmei Girl. While there are differences they are just enough alike that it gives me pause each time I listen to Kiss Damashii as I just think about how similar it is. Especially the "Come on" lines as that was something that stands out in my mind when I think of Unmei Girl so having it used in this song in the same way just bothers me.

2. Shake Body!!
While the chorus sounds a bit like another song of the group's, everything else is enough of a break away from what they have done it is forgivable. Or at least not as obvious and easier to enjoy the song. I do like how the rap parts are incorporated into the song, as it works quite well. There are several parts of the song that seem to switch to a bit of a different sound but nothing that strays too far to make it sound out of place. A fun dance pop song for the group and could have easily been the A-side.

3. サクラヒラリ (Sakura Hirari)
A slow tempo song that breaks away from the other songs on the single. The song overall just has this "chill" factor to it and is just relaxing listening to. It is quite the switch from the previous two songs but works to balance the single out. I enjoy the fact that this is more lax with the instrumentals so the voices are put front and center.

4. Past & Future
I really like this B-side with how it builds from the versus into the chorus. It gives it a dramatic feeling to it, especially once it hits the chorus. It is on the slower side of things, though not as slow as Sakura Hirari. More like the verses are slow with the chorus picking the tempo up a bit. And while it does nothing overly impressive with the song it never lets things overstay their welcome and makes the needed change ups to keep it sounding fresh.


Overall:
The B-sides are easily the strongest tracks as the title track does feel like it is just another take on a song they already have released. The rest have enough to keep them apart from previous releases while still keeping to the style of songs that Kisumai do.

The single is a good example of Kisumai's style of music though and is pretty solid. Again the enjoyment of the A-side is really only hampered by the fact that it sounds so similar to Unmei Girl. But if you have not heard that song then there will be a greater chance of enjoying Kiss Damashii as it is a fun energetic pop tune.

16 November 2015

Kisumai GAME 22 September 2015 episode review

It is magicians again but they do change things up by having a competition between three acts.

Chris Matsumura returns as a guest for this episode, and he remains my favorite guest. He is perfect for the first round to have with Fujigaya Taisuke and Miyata Toshiya as they all have very different reactions to the magician duo they are to deal with.

But the first round is the magician duo act . While it was hard to get through their act, mostly from the put on cutesy voices they use for it, the annoyance factor probably helps them out. Though it is amusing to see Fujigaya just laugh at them for it, Miyata enjoy it and Chris look like he was wishing to be anywhere else.

The second round has a magician that gets the ikemen label tagged on him. He is the most subdued of the lot so not a lot of fun moments.

The third is not only a magician but is also a comedian. He gives his tricks a good amount of flash with a touch of the perverted, though nothing that would be too objectionable.

Senga Kento has the most interesting moment when he has his usual freak out when it comes to magic tricks. Though this one is for a different reason than what it usually is.

Overall for a magician episode it was not so bad. It probably helped a lot of have each round have a new magician act. Also having two that were pretty memorable with their showmanship helped as well.


The next episode is the final episode of Kisumai GAME and then it switches titles to Kisumai Magic. While the final episode is a return of magicians it is at a different location, in fact it looks like the same stage as the TEGIWA special that gets advertised with these later Kisumai GAME episodes.

13 November 2015

Busaiku - Yachatta!! RE single review

Artist: Busaiku
Title: Yachatta!!
Release date: 08 March 2015
Type: single
Version: RE (first press version)

Packaging: If anything makes me happy about Kis-My-Ft2 and thus by default Busaiku having Avex Trax as their record label it is the packaging. The first press edition has a slip case that gives a little better look of the jacket and back images. While it comes in the usual jewel case you can tell that it is a sturdier one than what most CDs come in. Another bonus of the first press release is that the disc is pictured labeled, which means there is a picture on the disc instead of just the usual text. The booklet using a nice paper stock for it and even though this is a regular edition there are plenty of pictures used in it of the four members of the sub-unit. And just everything ties in with the theme of the group and the salaryman look and for this single the beer garden setting. Just a really solid presentation for this single which Avex Trax is really shining with for their Kisumai/Busaiku releases.

Tracks:

1. やっちゃった!! (Yachatta!!)
Honestly at this point if you have listened to the Busaiku singles before this one you will know if you will like this or not. It is still in the same style as the previous two songs for the group, so lots of energy and comedy. I do love the false ending as it fits with the image of the group to screw up when the song is meant to end It is easy to tell that Yokoo Wataru has fully embraced his character for this group as he tries his hardest to rival SMAP's Nakai Masahiro as worst singer in Johnny's. And Nakai seems to support this seeing as Yokoo has quite the solo in this song. But if you are familiar with Busaiku and their previous songs you know what you are getting with this. If not, then you are probably going to be confused why a boy band that sings so badly is releasing CDs, completely missing the fact that is part of the joke.

2. 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~ (ユーロビートバージョン) (てぃーてぃーてぃーてれって てれてぃてぃてぃ ~Dare no Ketsu~ (Eurobeat Version))
Ah, Eurobeat. Getting into J-pop in the late 90s and into the early 00s the market was rife with this kind of thing. In fact when remixes were common B-sides there was a good chance it would be some kind of Eurobeat version, in fact Hamasaki Ayumi released one of her many remix albums during her peak just for Eurobeat remixes of her songs. So this gets marks for most likely being a nod to that, as the style has never made a comeback after it fell out of favor. That said I wish they made the Eurobeat more prominent in this remix, as I think it would have been more humorous for it to be like the remixes that you had to pay attention to find the remains of the original song among the Eurobeat layed over it. Still it does work as a callback to that bygone era of J-pop though unless you are familiar with it this may just be a forgettable remix.

3. やっちゃった!! (Yachatta!!) (karaoke)

Overall: One's enjoyment of Busaiku truly lies with how seriously one takes their releases and if you enjoy Japanese comedy. They are in heart a comedy act and should be enjoyed for the guys willing to poke fun of themselves and put laughs before skill. That is unless we are talking about their dance routines because as ridiculous as they look they are far from easy to pull off. But that aside the group was created to help the four grow their appeal in an alternative manner than most Johnny's and this comedic angle has worked well for them. I can see how this may not interest fans who like them in Kis-My-Ft2, but for those who do enjoy the Busaiku unit their releases are nice bonuses. I personally cannot wait to see what the album is going to be like.

09 November 2015

Kisumai GAME 15 September 2015 episode review

While it is the return of the magicians for this episode the game is changed up which helps make it more watchable.


The game this time around is said to be Old Maid, but it is really just the usual card tricks with a table. One card out of the six is a joker and each member of the group and the guest for the episode, comedian Higashikokubara Hideo, all take turns trying to figure out which one it is.

The magician this time is one they already had on the program, Fujii Akira, which makes me wonder if they changed the game because they were bringing back a magician and did not want to repeat tricks. In any case we do not get all the way through all eight rounds before things change up as the rounds have time limits.

After the cards things are changed out for a coin and they have to guess which hand it is in. So the odds are better than with the previous round. This one we get no explanation for the trick but for some of them there is no real need.

There was not much the guys could do to really stand out in this episode though, outside actually getting the answer correct. That is until the end when Akira is showing off coin tricks and Tamamori Yuta accidentally calls him 'sensei'.


I am glad that they at least changed the game for the magicians as it changes things up a bit. So I am more hopeful in getting through the last episodes for Kisumai GAME before moving on to Kisumai Magic.

Next week looks to be more magicians but with something new as there are more of them than the usual one.

06 November 2015

NEWS - White LE/RE album review

Limited Edition
Artist: NEWS
Title: White
Release date: 25 February 2015
Type: Limited Edition & Regular Edition

Regular Edition
Packaging: The packaging for this release reflects the title of the album and most of it is in black and white with the focus being on the white. In fact the only color in any of the two versions is restrained to two group photos at the back of the limited edition booklet.

The regular edition is the more basic of the two with the bonus for that version being the solo songs on the CD. Each member of the group gets two solo black and white photos then there is one group photo at the very back. The only other group shot is the cover, but they are facing away from the camera in that one.

The limited edition not only has the two only color photos, which are both taken from the set of the movie short included on the DVD, but also has a bit more photos in general. Each member gets three solo photos, the first being a close up then the other two look like solo shots from the jacket shooting. It also has three balck and white group shots, one for the cover, the back of the booklet as well as the back of the CD. Other than that there is a bonus sticker that it comes with, but it is rather plain with a "Team White" on the top and "NEWS" at the bottom with the "W" of the album centered in the middle.

Tracks*:

1. MR. WHITE
A nice high energy pop song to start the album with and it is used as the theme song for the short movie included on the DVD for the limited edition version of the album. I love the horns in this that do well as accents to the rest of the song. Even though it clocks just under three minutes it does not feel like it is too short and any longer would probably make it feel like it is being dragged out.

2. KAGUYA
The first single track of three that is on this album. I have already reviewed this track with the review for the single which can be found here. For its place on the album it actually has a nice flow from MR. WHITE to NYARO. Even though all three songs have their own sounds that keep them distinct they all have a strong prominent beat that goes through them that helps transition between them when listening through the album.

3. NYARO
This song was used as a commercial tie-in before the album was released so it was not completely new to NEWS fans before the album was released. It is a summer themed song and being written by the same composer as MR. WHITE and SEVEN COLORS it fits well where it was placed on the album. It has an instrument that features prominently in the chorus and at the start that I cannot place but it sounds something like an electronic fiddle. The verses are more talk-sing with the chorus having more of a melody to it. The chorus is rather catchy too and makes it a rather nice song to listen to and another to be added to the group's list of summer themed songs.

4. SEVEN COLORS
The second single track but the only one that was not a title track. This was a B-side on the single for ONE -for the win- but it was one of the songs used to promote a soccer event. I have already reviewed the track with the rest of the single it was one here. With song the sound of the album starts to transition to break away from the beat heavy songs at the start.

5. Weather NEWS
Another energetic song that keeps the energy from the previous song going. Every member gets a portion of a verse to sing solo as they sing the chorus together like usual. I was happy with Kato Shigeaki getting the rap portion of the song, his voice is a good fit for that even though it gets distorted a bit for the section. But overall a solid song from the group.

6. SuperSONIC
A bit more electronic in sound than the rest and not as energetic as the previous two tracks. That said it comes off as a stronger song to me with a catchier chorus than the previous track. The little touches of dubstep in it works nicely as it remains just hints here and there so it never comes close to being overdone.

7. Black Jack -Inter.-
As the "Inter." suggests this is an intermission. A much needed one to bridge between SuperSONIC and BYAKUYA as there is very little similar between the two songs. This intermission though mixes the more electronic sound of SuperSONIC to meld into the more theatrical sound of BYAKUYA well.

8. BYAKUYA
I adore this song. Nothing on this album sounds like it, in fact nothing NEWS has done before really sounds like this. It just has this epic sound to it and could easily be translated to a stage production with how dramatic it sounds with the added chorus singers for parts the chorus. It starts off so softly and hauntingly to just build from there with the energy and strength of the chorus. The lull around the three minute mark works well with the theatrical sound to this song as it contrasts to the chorus.

9. ONE -for the win-
The third single track on the album. I reviewed this earlier in the year with the rest of the single that you can find here. They probably could have used another transitional piece between it and BYAKUYA as it is a bit jarring to go from something like that song to a high energy pop song.

10. White Love Story
This song takes the album into its slow tempo section. I love the final lines of the chorus and overall it is a sweet straight forward love song. I am surprised with how much I have come to love the song since it does not do anything special or standout but it is just overall put together well. It is just pleasant to listen to.

11. Ai Kotoba
The final group song on the album is one that all the members of the group wrote together. They wrote it with the group's 10th anniversary in mind and the lyrics reflect that by summing up feelings of the members of making it to that milestone. It is definitely a song for fans of the group and as a fan I of course love it for the feelings it brings out with the lyrics. Not sure if a non-fan would care much for it as it is a simple slow tempo song but again this is really for fans of the group above all else.

12. Romeo 2015 (Koyama Keiichiro solo)
A latin flavored song that for the verses stay on the soft side then kicks things up a notch for the chorus. It fits in well with the kind of solo songs Koyama tends to do and sounds like it would fit with the songs from NEWS first few years. It does not leave a strong impact for me and I do tend to forget it the most out of all the solos on the album.

13. Skye Beautiful (Masuda Takahisa solo)
This is my favorite solo from this album. I adore that it goes from something so soft and tender sounding to the EDM segments that are bursting with energy and back and forth a few times before reaching the end. It is definitely a song that lets Massu's vocals shine while set to let him show off his dance skills when he performs it live. This song just seems perfect for him and I just love it, even the short rap section.

14. Anata (Tegoshi Yuya solo)
Tegoshi goes for a ballad for his solo and does well with it as he avoids the over singing he is prone to do for the most part. There are a couple of times near the end he sounds a little shouty when he is just forcing his vocals a bit too much but they are quickly over to move to the softer ending lines. As he has one of the stronger voices in the group this does well to show that off.

15. ESCORT (Kato Shigeaki solo)
I never feel sure what to think of Shige's falsetto but it seems to work well enough with this song that has a jazzy feel to it. And thankfully he does not try to sing the entire song in it or anything extreme like that. The chorus of the song is strong but I think I love the rap segment and verses the most. But Shige's solos have been a bit hit or miss for me in recent years and I would consider this one to be more hit than miss even though it is not a favorite.

*This is the RE track listing, the LE has everything but the solos on the CD that it came with.

DVD:

The bonus for the album is a short movie (the full run time is about 23 minutes) that Shige wrote that uses the song Mr. White as its theme song. Mr. White is also the title of the movie.

 It basically has the members of the group be a special unit that can fight against dark figures that snatch children after they get sucked into computers.

Quite a bit of the movie is done with no or very little dialogue so it makes it easy for someone who does not know Japanese to be able to follow. There are a few things having what is spoken would help with but the basics are easy enough to pick up on.

One thing that really distracted me with the short movie is that during one of the scenes it suddenly switches to animation. No reason seems to be given so I have to guess they needed to save money and could afford animation better than what effects they would have needed to do it in live action. But again it is distracting, especially as there is no animation used prior to this one scene.

The DVD also has making of footage for the film. This is definitely something that a translation is best if you want to follow what is being talked about. From the start where they have Shige talking about the movie in the early production phase I could catch him bringing up Ghostbusters as an inspiration though and it is easy to see in the final product.

I always enjoy being able to look behind the scenes for movies and such so I was happy to see it was part that and not just the guys talking to the camera about it.

There were some fun moments that we got to see of the guys goofing around a bit with things on the set and such. One of the more entertaining moments was seeing Tegoshi go after Massu with a creepy looking stuffed cat.

This feature did come off as being a bit Shige heavy, but that probably was most likely because he had a greater hand in the production of the short movie being the writer. So out of all the members he just naturally had more to say about it. And past that every member had some time focused on them.


Overall: While the packaging feels lacking for both versions the songs help make up for it. It has a good flow to it and there is no song that I dislike. Of course there are a only a couple that I love but everything else I enjoy still. It comes off as a solid album for the group and I look forward to the next one for them.

I never expected much from the movie attached to this so I did not mind it was rather simple. Still that animated part pulled it all down for me as the animation came off looking cheap as well. So while I could forgive cheap visual effects with the live action it is harder for me to do so with animation.

So a rather solid release from the group with some little things here and there standing out but most of it is rather standard. So a must get for fans of the group, though unless you really want to own the DVD with the movie just picking up the regular edition would be fine.

02 November 2015

Kisumai GAME 08 September 2015 episode review

And we have the last of the word search episodes for Kisumai GAME. Even though they try to change things up a bit it still ends up being pretty boring.

The guest for this episode is comedian Gekidan Hitori.

The game is mostly the same as always as they have to use search terms to come up with a top hit that will give them the name of the item/person shown. They do change it up near the end by giving a timed round with no keyword limit but for the most part it is the usual format.

The running gag of using the AD to showcase most of the items they have to look up is brought up.

Honestly it felt like Hitori did the most in this episode compared to Kis-My-Ft2. Though the round where they have to find the right keywords for a painting gets some interesting responses in how they defend their choices.


The next episode brings us back to magicians but with a new game to play, Old Maid. That is nice seeing that the rest of the episodes for the show all feature magicians so at least having them play other games will hopefully make it entertaining, or at least not as boring at the others have been.

It does look like the Kisumai Magic show that replaced this one is basically the same show but with a different name. I don't get the reason for the name change then if they are not going to focus on magic but I'm sure there is some reasoning behind it. Or I hope so. Either way I will then probably do reviews for it too once I finish up with Kisumai GAME.