Thursday, May 10, 2018

18JUL2016 CDJapan unboxing

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Shounen Club 10 June 2011 review

There was once a time I did reviews of Shounen Club on a regular basis. Of course that was when I was watching them regularly but I fell off from doing that a few years back and thus dropped doing these. But with the King & Prince debut announcement earlier this month it got me curious about the program again to see what the state of the Juniors are now. And with that I have rekindled my interest in the program once more, hence this review. Hopefully the wait between this review and my next will not be as long.

Enough of that rambling, onto the show!

The show opens up with only three members of Hey! Say! JUMP, Yamada Ryosuke, Arioka Daiki and Yabu Kota, performing OVER, as promotion for that single is still in full swing.

The theme of the episode is then introduced, which is the kanji 歩 (read ayumu here), which means 'step' or 'stride'. They are definitely using the first meaning of it as they connect it to taking a first step which is then linked to debuting, as the following theme medley is made up of debut songs.

It almost seems bittersweet now to see Yamada performing NYC with B.I. Shadow as a debut song, seeing as BIS would be left behind when NYC is is formed. At least Nakajima Kento and Kikuchi Fuma did not have to wait long before debuting themselves and I am still waiting for Kouchi Yuugo and Matsumura Hokuto to get the same chance.

After that song the HSJ members disappear and it is only Juniors for the rest of the medley, going through all the ungrouped Juniors and ending with A.B.C-Z.

It is then time for the first talk segment where Morimoto Shintaro, Hokuto and Totsuka Shota talk about things that they want to work on. For Shintaro it is acrobatics, Hokuto wants to work on making bentos and I believe Totsuka is about having doubts/questions. Honestly my rusty Japanese completely failed me for his part in this.

Shintaro is sent off at the end to go on stand by as he is a part of the next medley performance, a genki (energetic) medley. Unlike earlier Shintaro is not with the little Juniors but is placed with Hip Hop Jump, which IIRC starts to become a more common occurrence since Shintaro is quickly shooting up in height in this point.

The smaller Juniors get their own performance in the medley and we get a glimpse of Sato Shori and Matsushima Sou, who mostly are behind Inoue Mizuki for it. Mizuki is sporting a very un-Johnny's like haircut as I believe he had a drama role at the time that called for it. It is a bit sad to see so many of these younger Juniors that have since quit the agency yet on the other hand nice to see the ones like Mizuki and Hashimoto Ryo that are still around.

After the medley it is the Junior Youbin segment. Kawai Fumito, Nakaken and Yuugo host and they go over letters that talk about how Tamamori Yuta looks like a meerkat. This of course means Tamamori makes an appearance, and for some reason Kitayama Hiromitsu comes with, to comment about it and he brings up the other animals that fans have likened him to.

Tamamori is not the only one that gets featured in the segment. Tsukada Ryoichi is brought out and a couple of fans point out that he somewhat resembles the woman in the Edouard Manet painting 'Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets'. The reactions are overall rather impressed as they do see the resemblance.

A.B.C-Z then perform their song Bokura ~LOVE & PEACE~. And while this song does not have any of their trademark acrobatic moves in it, the moves are just so sharp and on point that it is just a good of a reminder that this group shines with performing. I do not think it is possible to capture any of that in a screenshot, but I tried.

After that the show moves on to the Junior Nekketsu Battle for a Fuki-1 Granpri. All the teams are duos with Kitayama and Kyomoto Taiga, Totsuka Shota and Sanada Yuma, Fujigaya Taisuke and Yasui Kentaro, then Miyata Toshiya and Hashimoto Ryosuke. The game pits two teams against each other at a time and they have to do a quick lap of human wheelbarrow before the one acting as the wheelbarrow has to use a blow dart to burst a balloon. 

They change it up at the end and they do the lap giving the other member of the team a piggy back ride before using the blow darts. These more physical games are a joy to watch and this one is no exception. 

After the game segment ends there is a Question? medley. This really makes me miss the group, especially since there really has not been another band group after them. It feels like Johnny's gave up on bands and are fine with just having groups that can double as bands from time to time like Kanjani8, Hey! Say! JUMP and Love-Tune.

As the performance itself calling it a Question? medley is misleading as the band only performs one song on their one before the Junior grouping with Kyomoto Taiga come on stage and Question? falls to the background for them to perform.

The following segment is the Junior ni Q which continues the same theme as the first episode of the month where Juniors are asked to talk about something they have kept secret. Shintaro is up first and brings up that Kishimoto Shintaro and Chino Aoi have completely opposite personalities.

Kyomoto is brought over to talk about how Fujigaya greets him by hitting him in the rear, that of course Fujigaya shows in action when he is called over.

Continuing with selecting future SixTONES members Tanaka Juri is up next to talk about fellow Hip Hop Jump member Morohoshi Shoki and a strange face that he makes.

Then it switches to future Love-Tune member Yasui Kentaro who talks about Juri and his kindness. Of course it is not straight forward as the example given is Juri giving up a seat for someone older than him but also introducing himself by name. That aside this is a good episode for this corner for SixTONES and Love-Tune fans.

This episode gives us the debut of Kis-My-Ft2's debut song Everybody Go. Leading up to their debut they performed different versions of this to test audience reaction. To hear both versions you did need to see them in concert as well as here on SC though. During the talk segment before the performance Miyata gets to introduce the call for the song, which is basically the fan chant done for certain lines in the song. For this song it is the line 'everybody go' to be followed up by the audience with 'kisumai go'.

They then perform the song and it sounds like the version they went with had to be the one from the concerts as this version has a very different start to it than the recorded version as well as a dance break that does not sound familiar to me. Of course I have not listened to Everybody Go much as the group has much stronger songs but considering the current events of the time it was probably best to go with a simple uplifting song like it for their debut.

Kisumai then get to bring the episode to a close with their song Eien no Ticket. The other Juniors join them on stage of course.

Watching this brings up so many memories. Especially of excitement with Kisumai's debut. Since I got into Johnny's back in 2007 Kisumai was one of my favorite Junior groups and even back then I felt they were a group that had a good shot of debut. To see that actually play out has been the high point for me as a Junior and Kisumai fan. And Everybody Go's debut here brings back that feeling of excitement again.

Outside of Kisumai it still really interests me to see the changes with the Juniors over time. I do like that this is the period that there are some Junior groups and not just a bunch of groupings that will happen post-Sexy Zone debut. It just makes it easier to follow them and I am so glad Johnny's went back to making Junior groups again in the past couple of years for that.

Overall I think this is a pretty solid episode. I am glad to be getting back to doing this review so far removed from its airing so my annoyance level with HSJ's hosting of the program has dwindled quite a bit. Though it is frustrating as I don't dislike the group but they just were not good fits for the program and the issues of the producers decided to push them and other debuted acts more and more on the program leaving little screen time to the Juniors was just so frustrating. But looking back after they seem to have figured out a way to balance things with how SC currently is that frustration had abated somewhat. So hopefully that will help me in avoiding making some very bitter write ups for the program as I continue to work on reviewing it.