Archive for November, 2012
“Johnny’s Journey – Hey! Say! JUMP Takaki Yuya & Chinen Yuri Futarikki France Juudan Kakuekiteisha no Tabi” (縦断各駅停車の旅 – flying through/cutting across local trains trip) features two members of Hey! Say! Jump traveling through France on trains without any guidance.
Chinen-kun was eager, but Takaki-kun was reluctant. It doesn’t matter though – this is the sort of challenge a Johnny’s member can’t back down from.
Once they take flight, it’s really all about the beautiful Alpine scenery (well, that and random exclamations). There was too much glare to get good shots of their faces once they were in flight.
While in flight, Chinen-kun amusingly starts singing the Hey! Say! Jump “Fly”, and we get the recorded version of the song as background music.
I’m a bit late with this album review, but I hope to offer some cogent observations nonetheless. As usual, if you agree or disagree with my opinions, feel free to contribute your thoughts by commenting. I’m always open to seeing things from a different point of view.
I decided to review this album out of sheer curiosity. I’m still of two minds about SZ, and often choices made by those managing this group leave me confused. The upside is that I have high regard for the voices of Nakajima Kento-kun and Kikuchi Fuma-kun, and I thought it was worthwhile to give this album a shot because of that.
In general, this was an uneven album for me. I enjoyed some of the songs a great deal, while I found others sorely lacking. As expected, I preferred some of the new songs over their two recent singles – “Lady Diamond” and “Sexy Summer ni Yuki ga Furu”.
Note : This will be a review of the regular edition, and therefore doesn’t include “Namae no Nai Omoi”, which was in place of Yuuki 100% in the limited edition.
1 – 完全マイウェイ (Kanzen My Way)
For the way this song started, and the vocals in general, the music really needed a bit more bass in it – the pitch was way too high when set against the moderate vocals. The main offender was the trumpet-ish sound, which was just plain distracting.
Otherwise, this was a good song to start the album with. The vocals were smooth, though undemanding. The melody was an easy one to get into. I was looking for an energetic opening, and this definitely qualified.
2 – Silver Moon
Seeing this performed on Shounen Club, I already made up my mind that I like the song. The way the song opens is a sharp drop in pace from “Kanzen My Way”, though, and prefer smooth transitions in pace. Fortunately, this song speeds up into its body.
Honestly, this song could have made for a better single than “Lady Diamond” or “Sexy Summer ni Yuki ga Furu”. The melody is much more coherent than the ones found in those two songs, and the refrain is catchy.
My main critique about the song is that it’s too short. The refrain is a nice heavy one that’s worth repeating a couple more times. The soft build-up at the beginning takes up a full minute, and pounding the refrain a bit more would improve the balance of the song.
There’s also one sound effect that I would get rid of entirely. I can only describe it as a swoop. It occurs a few times, more distractingly at 3:35.
These are some of the single and album releases for December (i.e. releases from groups that I’m interested in tracking). My apologies if I missed a significant release – please mention the artist and title in a comment and I’ll update the list.
More complete listings are available on merchant websites (I use CD Japan’s list). For my part, I think there’s some value in also having a shortlist (especially for my own reference), so I’ll stick with this format.
AKB48 – Eien Pressure
GLAY – Justice [from] Guilty
GLAY – Unmeiron
HY – Route 29
Koda Kumi – Koishikute
EXILE – Exile Best Hits – Love Side / Soul Side – (album)
Exile Atsushi – MELROSE – Aisanai Yakusoku –
Monkey Majik – English Best (album)
Nakashima Mika – Hatsukoi
Suzuki Fuku – Iyaiya Yo-!!
Hamasaki Ayumi – again
flumpool – experience
NEWS – World Quest / Pokopon Pekorya
Becky – My Friend – Arigatou
LUNA SEA – The End of the Dream / Rogue
BIGMAMA – Jeffrey Campbell no Skate Shoes de
The number one single last week was “Hikaru monotachi” (ヒカルものたち) from Watanabe Mayu-san, which sold an impressive 91,907 – very good for a solo release. If she manages to get a 10% second week, she’ll break gold in the coming week.
Momoiro Clover Z‘s “Saraba, Itoshiki Kanashimi yo” (サラバ、爱しき悲しみたちよ) also had a good first week at #2 with 73,745 copies sold.
“Brave It Out” from Generations took #3, selling 71,932.
Shoujo Jidai’s “Flower Power” scored what can only be described as a grave disappointment, selling only 29,065 copies at #5 in its first week. Perhaps some potential buyers held off, waiting for the release of their album today to purchase both at the same time, but even then it’s going to be a significant drop-off.
Kis-My-Ft2 was at #7 in the second week of “Ai no Beat” sales, adding 20,453 for a total of 279,362. That’s a mildly disappointing second week.
2PM’s “Masquerade” was right behind at #8, with its two-week total 149,723.
An event gave Nakayama Yuma-kun’s “Missing Piece” a boost, bringing in 12,340 sales in its fourth week to pull it up from #30 to #13. It’s total now stands at 64,540. That surge was good enough to temporarily put it ahead of AKB48‘s “UZA”, which was released in the same week.
“UZA” from AKB48 held #15, cracking 1.2 million with 1,202,890 copies sold after four weeks.
Well, just when you think the ratings have settled down, a three-day weekend is apparently enough no cause all sorts of chaos. Not that all the shows that experienced drops could use that as an excuse, though. Watch out – there are some ugly numbers below.
As usual, you can get information on all of this season’s dramas (and plenty of prime time variety shows) at the most recent of the bi-weekly TokyoHive articles here. Beware of spoiler screenshots, though.
Prime Time Shows
Doctor X (01) 18.6%, (02) 17.6%, (03) 17.4%, (04) 17.1%, (05) 17.7%
Priceless (01) 16.9%, (02) 18.8%, (03) 15.2%, (04) 18.4%, (05) 15.7%
Aibou 11 (01) 19.9%, (02) 17.3%, (03) 16.5%, (04) 15.0%, (05) 15.4%, (06) 16.4%
Akumu-chan (01) 13.6%, (02) 10.7%, (03) 12.9%, (04) 10.4%, (05) 12.8%, (06) 11.5%, (07) 11.5%
MONSTERS (01) 13.8%, (02) 13.4%, (03) 11.2%, (04) 11.5%, (05) 11.0%, (06) 10.3%
Tokyo Airport (01) 14.0%, (02) 9.4%, (03) 9.3%, (04) 9.6%, (05) 8.3%, (06) 8.1%, (07) 9.7%
Ooku (01) 11.6%, (02) 10.6%, (03) 7.9%, (04) 7.6%, (05) 8.9%, (06) 9.0%, (07) 7.1%
Perfect Blue (01) 9.0%, (02) 7.1%, (03) 9.2%, (04) 7.7%, (05) 7.9%, (06) 8.6%, (07) 6.2%
Resident (01) 8.4%, (02) 6.2%, (03) 9.7%, (04) 5.6%, (05) 7.3%, (06) 4.4%
Koukou Nyushi (01) 7.7%, (02) 6.3%, (03) 7.0%, (04) 4.9%, (05) 7.2%, (06) 5.9%, (07) 7.3%, (08) 6.9%
Late Night Shows
Poison (01) 3.7%, (02) 3.5%, (03) 3.0%, (04) 3.3%, (05) 3.4%, (06) 4.3%, (07) 3.3%, (08) 4.5%
Piece (01) 2.5%, (02) 3.4%, (03) 2.0%, (04) 1.8%, (05) 1.3%, (06) 2.5%, (07) 2.0%, (08) 2.2%
Himitsu no Arashi-chan (ひみつの嵐ちゃん) is an hour-long variety show hosted by Arashi. This week, Aiba-kun and Ninomiya-kun did a share house segment with Inoue Mao-san (井上真央), and a mannequin must-item segment where they compete against Matayoshi Naoki-san of Peace, Sakai Denpe-san of Sakist, and Mukai Satoshi-san of Panther.
Aiba-kun enters the studio alone, and starts to tell a horror story when the doorbell interrupts him.
When Aiba-kun opens the door, Nino-kun enters with Inoue-san. Well, that’s different. I hope they’ve got better ways to make this show interesting, though.
Once they settle in, Inoue-san expresses relief that the show wasn’t going to be with just Aiba-kun. Using that to kick things off, they start talking about hosting Kouhaku (紅白) – Inoue-san and the five members of Arashi hosted last year’s show – and what Inoue-san’s impression of the members is.
In Ooku ~Tanjou~ (大奥 ~誕生~ – Inner Palace ~Birth~), the shogun is a woman, and young men populate the inner palace/harem of Edo Castle. However, the situation is not yet normalized, and the Japanese public has no idea that Tokugawa Iemitsu has died, leaving only a daughter as heir. To reveal the death of the Tokugawa shogun at this point would plunge the entire country into another age of chaos and warfare like the one they had just exited a generation before.
Iemitsu’s daughter (Tabe Mikako), currently technically Shogun, is trapped in the Ooku for the rest of her life along with Arikoto (Sakai Masato) and all others who know the truth. Inaba Masakatsu (Hirayama Hiroyuki) handles official duties, pretending to be Tokugawa Iemitsu while wearing a hood. The goal is to hold out until the Shogun has a male heir who can take over. Lady Kasuga (Aso Yumi) forced Arikoto into the Ooku in the hope that he would be the Shogun’s consort.
Wow, this show takes a lot of explaining! As we pick the thread up, Arikoto’s assistant Gyokuei (Tanaka Koki) is telling an urban legend about the Ooku regarding a samurai seen holding a woman’s freshly severed head. Apparently, the Japanese liked telling horror stories four hundred years ago, too.