Archive for February, 2014
With all the figure skaters they seem to be featuring on Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ), I sure hope they manage to get Hanyu Yuruzu-kun on at some point, after his gold-medal finish at Sochi. For this episode, though, the guest was Ando Miki-san, the 2007 and 2011 World Champion and (according to Wikipedia), the only female skater to complete a quadruple jump in competition.
Now, I don’t expect this to go as well as the episode where the Arashi guys had to try to learn to skate, but I hope it isn’t going to be too focused on food.
No Mise segment at the beginning of this episode, so that’s a good sign. They still promise to make this a “first experience” variety show, but does that meant they’ll get out of the studio or not?
I have no idea what was going on in the opening talk until Ando-san started talking about tea.
I couldn’t resist reviewing the first episode of Sexy Zone Channel, idol group Sexy Zone’s new variety show, immediately after watching it. That’s because it was exactly what I would have wanted and hoped for from the first episode of a Johnny’s variety show.
I can sum this episode up in two words: Cliff Climb. Those of you who read my VS Arashi reviews know that the only game they regularly play on that show that I consistently enjoy watching is Cliff Climb. Well, we’re going to get that in this episode, except magnified by an order of magnitude. You’ll see what I mean.
First of all, unless they’re in dance costumes, this is how I want to see Johnny’s dressed in the first episode of a variety show:
The show begins with staff approaching the group members (Nakajima Kento, Kikuchi Fuma, Sato Shori, Matsushima Sou, and Marius Yo) to talk about the show is sort of a candid format. It doesn’t look like the members understood what was going on, and it was an opening reminiscent of one of the challenges in Sekai no Hatemade Itte Q.
Eventually, the members each introduced themselves, with Marius-kun doing it in English because . . . why not? They each express their hopes about the show, and in every case it seemed like they wanted to be active and to be traveling around, so that sounds great. They were clearly all excited and there was a messing-around feel to the scene. Lots of laughing.
Let’s face it – everyone wants to release stuff at the start of Spring. There are all sorts of great seasonal themes to tap into and people are in more of a shopping mood after recovering from the end-of-year shopping and also thanks to the better weather. Which artists will rise to the occasion and give the season its soundtrack?
This list has selected single and album releases for the month, not all of them (i.e. releases from groups that I’m interested in tracking or at least recognize). I know I must have missed important ones, so 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).
Kis-My-Ft2 – Hikari no Signal
JUJU – Door (album)
Tohoshinki – Tree (album)
Dochin Yoshikuni – Bronze Caravan (album)
Cute – Kokoro no Sakebi no Uta ni Shitemita/Love take it all
Angela Aki – Tapestry of Songs – the Best of Angela Aki (album)
Maeda Atsuko – Seventh Code
NICO Touches the Walls – Lawhide
EXILE TAKAHIRO – Love Story
Sako Tomohisa – Mahou no Yoru to Fushigina Waltz
androp – period (album)
Plastic Tree – echo (mini-album)
DAIGO – DAIGOLD (album)
The top single of the past week was Kanjani8’s “King of Otoko!”, which became the group’s most successful single by selling 352,888 copies – narrowly beating the first week of the group’s previous best – “Musekinin Hero”. That’s quite a comeback after some a pair of soft singles.
Arashi’s “Bittersweet” took number two, selling 42,896 copies to bring its two-week total to 554,592. That’s lower than what I’d usually expect for an Arashi single’s second week, and this one didn’t knock it out of the ballpark in the first week. On the other hand, it’s better than what we saw on “Endless Game”, so I think we’re just looking at average results here.
At #3, “Aoi Ryu” (青い龍) from EXILE ATSUSHI sold 35,085 copies.
“Otona nano yo!” from Berryz Koubou took #4 by selling 30,229.
Kobukuro’s “Ima, Sakihokoru Hana Tachi Yo” sold 19,277 at #7.
Kanjani8’s new single has had significant coattail affects on their previous two singles – the ones that didn’t do so well. I don’t know if this is event-driven or whether people just didn’t know about “Hibiki” and “Kokoro Sora Moyou” until they went to the store to buy “King of Otoko!”. Anyway, “Hibiki” took #9 in its sixth week, selling 16,140 to finally get above the platinum mark with 257,223 sold in total. “Kokoro Sora Moyou” got #11 with 13,150 sold in its twelfth week to push its total to 254,981. In other words, Kanjani8 saw three of their singles crack platinum in the Oricon standings in the same week. That has to be some kind of strange record/coincidence, right?
In the past two episodes of VS Arashi (VS 嵐), the Arashi members have been dressed in athletic outfits because they’ve been playing against sports teams. Judging from their clothing this time, they must be taking on a senior center.
Seriously? Sweaters and cardigans and . . . whatever the heck Ninomiya-kun is wearing? Okay, so they don’t think too highly about the abilities of their opponents, I get it, but this is no way to look when promoting your new single!
Sakurai-san talked to Ohno-san about the fact that Ohno did the choreography for “Bittersweet”, they made the obligatory note about Ninomiya-kun’s . . . whatever, and then brought out the guest team.
The guest team was the cast of the movie “Mogura no Uta – Sennyuu Sousakan Reiji” . . .
I took a lengthy pause from reviewing old Johnnys’ Jr Land episodes because I realized I had too many holes in my collection, especially since the series ended and reviewing the entire run from April 2012 onward became possible. I recently found where all the episodes were hiding (thanks hakucchan!), so now I’ll continue to take a look at what the juniors were up to. It is bound to be the case that, as some of these juniors eventually get to debut, JJL will become a major touchstone to see how they developed into stars.
This was a special episode of Johnnys’ Jr. Land composed only of the Jr. Dream Live performances from previous episodes, as requested by fans. Imagine Shounen Club with a smaller stage, no live audience, no talk segments, no Hey! Say! Jump, and mainly performances from juniors and Sexy Zone (and one from A.B.C-Z), and that’s basically what this episode was. Let’s see how the juniors were doing a year ago and how far they’ve come since then.
The wonderful Mogi Junichi-san goes from MC to DJ in this episode:
Performance one was Sexy Zone performing their self-titled début single. This was from the seventh episode (2011-11-13), and let’s say it right away since it was my main reaction throughout all of this: wow, they’ve changed a lot in two years! Here’s a fresh-faced Fuma for you:
What sort of finale will Miss Pilot have? Will Tezuka Haru (Horikita Maki) really be put in a serious in-flight emergency like the previews at the end of the previous episode led us to believe? If this episode is going to be a successful conclusion to this drama, it has to bring a lot of tension into some sort of climactic event that will prove to us that Tezuka is really a pilot. She started to look like one in episode 10 (finally!), but I still need more evidence.
I’ve avoided saying it through this entire series but I can’t help myself now that it’s the last episode – she does look cute in the uniform:
Anyway, they all find out where they’ll be flying for their first on-the-job training flights. Considering Yamada Kazuo (Fujii Ryusei) mixes up RJFK (Kagoshima) with KJFK (New York’s JFK International), I’m not sure he’s ready. Incidentally, all major Japanese airports have the R prefix, and all major American ones get the K prefix, and not knowing that is . . . well, it still beats me how Yamada managed to pass, so I think ANA might want to tighten up its standards.
The Kunikida team all greet dispatcher Chisato (Aibu Saki) as full-fledged pilots . . .
. . . after taking 1304 days to get here according to Moroboshi (Shounozaki Ken).