30 December 2015

Kisumai Magic 03 November 2015 episode review

Another magic episode and honestly I am looking forward to these now since they have been retooled.

The guest for this episode is novelist Hada Keisuke. He was more engaging than I thought he would be, as authors are not usually known for being out going. But he added some humor to the episode just as much as the guys of Kis-My-Ft2.


This time around there are two magicians that are competing on who can fool Kisumai and their guest the best with their tricks. There are three rounds, the first is for card tricks, then coin tricks then the final round the magicians are given a table with a variety of items they can pick from to use for their final trick.

With this episode it looks like Yokoo Wataru at least realizes that the tricks are just as much head games as they are slight of hand. He ends up being the MVP of the episode and at the end gets to do a simple card trick.

I never thought I would come to like the magician episodes but with the new series they found a way to make them more enjoyable. If only they could have done that with the other dreaded game.

The next episode brings back the search engine game so I am dreading that. I wish they would drop it if they cannot do anything new with it.

21 December 2015

Kisumai Magic 27 October 2015 episode review

This episode gives us something completely new as Kis-My-Ft2 and their guests have to guess if the child actors they are watching are reacting to something real or just acting.

The guests are Okubo Kayoko and Mitsuura Yasuko from Oasiz, who get to add some insight with being mothers.

Most of the rounds are set to have the child actors react to something that is hidden from view from the panel. The group is told what the child is supposed to be reacting to and they have to guess which one they are just acting for. If the majority get the answer correct they win the round.

The only difference to that is the final round where they have the child actor talking on a phone to someone who is supposed to be her father. Miyata Toshiya gets to ask a question for the girl to ask her dad and give an answer to it.

At the very end is easily the most entertaining portion as Nikaido Takashi is asked to show off his acting skills by having to eat a wasabi cake and do the usual "delicious" routine that is done with just about all variety programs.


It is not a bad game, as it is easy to play along with as a viewer. But I did not find it all that engaging or entertaining. It is still miles better than the previous episode and the kids are cute at least.

19 December 2015

Kisumai Magic 20 October 2015 episode review

I confess I have been dragging my feet when it comes to reviewing this episode. It sadly has had very little changed from when this game was played on Kisumai GAME and suffers just as much for it.

This is the search word game with Yahoo! and it is still as boring as it ever was. Matayoshi Naoki from Peace is the guest of the episode but does not supply much comedy in the episode.

Like usual the most interesting portion of the game are the VTR segments that star the show's AD. Because there is not way to make people guessing search words interesting.

The only real change is that for one of the searches they had a contest between the guys from Kis-My-Ft2 versus Matayoshi. Unfortunately it was far too little to make things engaging.

Miyata Toshiya gets to try to show off a bit when he recognizes the anime series Hibike Euphonium when it pops up during one of the searches. Which is a series I really need to get around to watching one of these days.


There is nothing that can save this game and it needs to be axed or completely overhauled like with the magician episodes. Thankfully the next episode will introduce a new game which should be much more interesting than this one was.

14 December 2015

Nakayama Yuma - YOLO moment LE B/RE single review

Limited Edition Type B
 Artist: Nakayama Yuma
Title: YOLO moment
Release date: 22 April 2015
Type: single
Version: Limited Edition B/Regular Edition

Regular Edition
Packaging: I love the covers for this single with the retro look going for them. And I am a sucker for CDs that are made to look like records, which all three that are in the two editions I have are.

The regular edition is the typical packaging from Johnny's Entertainment with a slim jewel case with no back jacket. The front jacket is a gate fold cover with simply the lyrics on a white background inside, though it does make use of the extra sides by having two additional photos of Yuma in the cover outfit.

Since the limited edition comes with a DVD as well it has both a front and back jacket. The back has images of Yuma on both sides of it. The front jacket is a smaller booklet than the regular edition with just the lyrics to the two tracks in it on the same plain white background. There is another image of Yuma so between the two editions there are plenty of photos to pick a favorite from.

Tracklisting:

1. YOLO moment
The title is rather hokey but I am more than willing to forgive it as the song is great. It's fun, really catchy and one of those songs that you want to just bounce around to. Or whistle, as that is used to good effect throughout the song. I am pretty sure this was Yuma's first time writing the lyrics for one of his songs and honestly while simple they work well with the song and since he uses YOLO for its original meaning of seizing the moment and not letting it pass you by and not the more recent meaning of excusing yourself to do whatever you want, it is not so cringe worthy. Instead it fits with all the other J-pop songs with "do your best" lyrics.

2.葉桜 (Hazakura)
The B-side exclusive to the limited editions of the single. A slow paced song that definitely fits as a B-side, as there is not much that stands out about it. It does have some moments though, like the instrumental build up right before reaching the chorus keeps it from becoming sleepy. Being a slower song though it does let Yuma's vocals shine more so it is nice to have paired with YOLO moment on a single to show off the two different sides of his music and that he can be versatile.

2.Friday Night ~こんなミライ~ (Friday Night ~Konna Mirai~)
The first of the three B-sides exclusive to the regular edition of the single. This fits very well with the title track as it is another fun pop song. Not nearly as strong as YOLO moment but still pretty solid. It is nice and upbeat and the chorus is a bit catchy, just not the ear worm the title track is. I do love the section that the instruments are dialed back to focus more on Yuma's vocals as it slows down which adds to the contrast to the chorus that it moves directly into after that.

3. VOICE
Things are slowed down with this song though not enough to put it quite into ballad territory. It does work well as a song to wind things down even more from the previous song. My favorite parts of the song is a section of the verses that have lyrics that must be sung rapidly. It makes the song stand out and helps with the build towards the chorus.

4.ネガイゴト (Negaigoto)
Now the regular edition reaches the ballad/ slow song for it. I love the chorus for this as it has such a nice build up to it from the soft start of the song and it just flourishes when it hits giving it an uplifting feeling. The dynamics of the music in this makes it an enjoyable listen and I prefer this slow song to Hazakura honestly.

(The limited edition also has the karaoke track for YOLO moment.)

DVD:

The fan event is broken into a few song performances and then talk portions, which is mostly Yuma just talking freely about various topics but he does have a laptop to share pictures of hanging out with other Johnny's with and some video of past performances, mostly PLAYZONE related.

The performances are strong and really let Yuma shine. Considering how long he has been performing and that he has been working as a soloist for a while now it is no surprise he looks quite comfortable on stage.

He does get some visitors from Johnny's, though unless one is familiar with the dance units they are not instantly recognizable. But they are Juniors that Yuma has a work history with and you can tell they get along well.

At the end we get to see him do the "high touch" for the fans as they leave then get some final thoughts from him after that was done.


Overall: After his debut album I was looking forward to Yuma's next single and this one definitely delivered what I was hoping for. All the songs are solid though some more than others, but none are something I would skip with a play through of it.

As someone who lives overseas going to a fan event is basically a pipe dream so it was nice to have that included for the bonus in the second limited edition. It felt more than worth it to get it as it was a good showcase of Yuma's performance level as well as how comfortable he has become being able to be on stage on his own and do a talk.

Really solid release all throughout and it just feels like a complete shame more people do not follow him.

08 December 2015

Kisumai Magic 13 October 2015 episode review

Back to a familiar game brought over from the previous series, Kisumai GAME. And with very little changed at all.



The set up it the same as before, Kis-My-Ft2 with the guest for the episode have to guess who the voice actor is with a series of questions and eventually asking to say quotes of who they think the character they voice might be. The guest for this episode is one half of the comedy duo Audrey, Kasuga Toshiaki.

There are four rounds to this and the first made me quite happy because it is one of the few voice actors that I know, mostly because of One Piece. The others had me stumped though I was familiar with the movie the last one was in, but it had been forever since I had watched it.

When it comes to showing the punishment for the wrong answers very little time was given to it. Though with four rounds it was not that surprising for them to have to rush through something.

It is brought up in this episode that Yokoo Wataru is a fan of Ghibli films, as he is called on by the other members of the group to help out with any voice actors that seem to have been featured in one.


I am glad they did not really change anything for this game. It works well as it is and the only worry would be running out of voice actors the guys would recognize. But all that aside these tend to be some of the more fun episodes as the voice actors tend to be brimming with personality and as long as you are familiar with the more mainstream anime series you can play along as well.

Next episode brings back the search engine game. I can only hope for that they decided to change something up or it is back to another bore of an episode.

02 December 2015

NEWS' light for 2016

NEWS is already set for their first release of 2016 with a new single announced. It will be a double A-side single titled Hikaru no Shizuku/Touch and it is set to be released January 20th. It will come in three editions, two limited editions and a regular edition. Each edition will come with a bonus clearfile for each version if you pre-order.

The Limited Edition Type A comes with a DVD that will have the PV and making of footage for the song Hikaru no Shizuku on it. It will only have the two title songs on the CD.


The Limited Edition Type B comes with a DVD that will have the PV and making of footage for the song Touch on it. It will also only have the two title songs on the CD.


The Regular Edition is just a CD but it will have B-sides on it, two new songs Hoshi no Tabibitotachi and whisper. There will also be the karaoke tracks for the A-sides on it.


And like usual there is a bundle of all three you can pre-order through CDJapan.



It seems weird for the group to have a song called "Touch" as that was the name of the group's debut album. But seeing as they did not have a song with the name on it is not too weird.

And I am overall pleased with what has been announced so far for the single. I liked Yonjushi but it did feel like a rip-off as there was little included that would not have been with a regular CD release yet the price for it was much higher.

That said there are now two recent songs for the group that are without a CD release, Sirius and ANTHEM. I fully expect that both will end up on the album that the group is bound to release in 2016. In fact after this single I expect that to be the next release from the group and it should be out in the Spring.

I am looking forward to that album already and I am glad that there is already a 2016 Johnny's release I can look forward to.

01 December 2015

The Shounen Club 03 June 2011 review

No your eyes do not deceive you, this is another Shounen Club episode review. I confess I fell behind with watching the program regularly when new episodes came out as well as dropping off with doing reviews for these earlier episodes. But with SixTONES becoming more of a regular feature in the program I have started back up and figured I should probably see about doing at least a couple more reviews before the end of the year. I am still hoping to at least review an episode a month, but I cannot make promises.

Onto the actual review now. The episode opens up with Morimoto Shintaro and B.I.Shadow leading a performance of the SMAP song Original Smile. We get to see the main Junior groups and groupings but the focus remains on Shintaro and BIS for most of it.

That is until the big name groups come out, which is all ten members of Hey! Say! JUMP, A.B.C-Z and Kis-My-Ft2. Or basically all the groups that were already debuted or debuted soon after.

It is odd now to look back and see HSJ with its original line up as now that it has been over four years it has been plenty of time to get used to them being only nine members. But Morimoto Ryutaro's scandal is just around the corner and I think this month is the final time he can be seen on the program.

HSJ are the hosts for the episode and they introduce the theme which is Warai (smile, laughter).

This is directly followed by the theme medley that features mostly the Juniors but some HSJ too. Like Chinen Yuri, Yamada Ryosuke and Arioka Daiki starting off performing Smile Song.

Most of the Junior performances are with mixed groups which is nice as that is something that makes the performances stand out a bit more. And for those on watch for little Juniors on their way to debut Sato Shori and Matsushima So get some good screen time during the medley.

The medley ends with a performance of the Morimoto brothers, Shintaro and Ryutaro, for what I am sure is the final time they are seen performing together on the program. According to the screen the song they perform is Maby Your Love. I somehow don't think that is quite right though.

Daiki, Yamada and Yabu Kota are the MCs for the first talk segment where they talk to various Juniors about times that made them smile. The Juniors they talked to are, Tanaka Juri, Kikuchi Fuma, Kawai Fumito and Matsushima So. Fuma talks about how Miyata Toshiya trying to look cool made him laugh, Juri had a story about his dog, So talked about the first concert he back danced for, and then Kawai had a story about talking to some fans who when asked who the liked answered with "Yamada".

B,I. Shadow then do a medley of songs, or basically the few group songs that they had. It was nice to see all four of them on stage from the start instead of it just starting with Nakajima Kento and Fuma with the other two coming in near the end.

It is then time for another talk segment and it is HSJ up this time. Inoo Kei gets to tell a story about Takaki Yuya and how child-like his excitement was. Then then go over a part of their new song, OVER, to explain it a bit for how the word is used in things like radio communication.

The group then performs the song. This will be the A-side to their final single as 10 as Ryutaro's scandal hit right before the release date. I rather like the song and it felt that HSJ was finally on their way to creating a more mature image for themselves. Who knew they would get stuck in this phase between cutesy and mature for so long?

After the performance is the Junior Nekketsu Battle, that HSJ members judge the four participating Juniors, Senga Kento, Goseki Koichi, Nakaken and Kawai. They all have to act out scenarios, most of them romatic but a few cover other topics, like Goseki having to act out a scene involving him being mistaken for another idol on the street.

After that wraps up A.B.C-Z perform a medley of their group songs. The medley actually only consists of two songs and the second one gives Question? some focus with them. But both are high energy songs that fit Ebi's style perfectly.

This is followed by a Junior ni Q segment where Juniors are asked to show off something that they have kept secret. Some of the answers to note is that Kochi Yugo talks about a story involving Matsumura Hokuto during a concert noting that the latter's fly was open as they were performing on stage.

That segment is followed by the Junior Youbin segment that has Nakaken, Yugo and Kawai reading fan letters. They start off with one that asks to learn more about Hagiya Keigo so he is brought out with a board of information to go over.

And that is all they have the time for as the segment ends you can see the audience getting up from their seats in preparation for the next performance. From the rise in volume from the cheers it is not surprising to see that Kis-My-Ft2 is up and they perform their group song Smile. The has Yokoo Wataru on the guitar and being a slow tempo song not a lot of movement in general for the performance.

It is not the final song of the episode as directly after it HSJ with a bunch of little Juniors come on stage to perform Bouken Rider.It is a remixed version of the song with more classicaly instruments used  and honestly i would have loved to have had this version find a way onto a CD. I doubt it will ever happen though.


With this and the next episode the shadow of HSJ losing a member looms. Especially with this episode where Ryutaro gets the chance to be highlighted a bit with his performance with his brother.

Getting past that it is an enjoyable episode of the program. There feels to be a good balance between HSJ and the Juniors. It's easy to tell which Juniors are the highest in the pecking order, Kisumai at the top but seeing as they are not long before their debut but Ebi and BIS not too far behind.