Archive for April, 2014
Well, Johnny’s WEST sure hit it out of the ballpark with their debut single “Ee ja nai ka”, didn’t they? It was the top single this past week, and sold 262,154 copies – passing the platinum mark. That’s at the top end of my expectations and even with any mitigating circumstances, I think the agency has to be pleased. Of course, with the group named directly for the agency, I think they went full-force with the promotions.
“Never Let You Go” by Generations from EXILE TRIBE took the second spot, selling 86,442.
At #3, it was “Sore wa Bokutachi no Kiseki” from μ’ｓ with 65,930 copies sold.
CNBLUE’s “Truth” came in at #4, with 35,602.
SCANDAL’s “Departure” was #5, and sold 30,953.
In its seventh week, “Sakura, Minna de Tabeta” from HKT48 popped back up from #24 to #7, selling 17,738 to bring its total to 318,188.
Taking #8, Dream5’s “Break Out/Youkai Taisou Daiichi” saw 16,640 copies sold.
Nogizaka46’s “Kizuitara Kataomoi” finally scored double platinum, tacking on 11,427 at #11 to push its four-week total to 506,666.
Fukuda Kouhei-san’s long-lived single is finally out of the top 30, so I guess I’ll start covering his new one. “Tougegoe” took #15 in its fourth week, selling 7,808 for a total of 37,772. I think it’ll manage 50k before leaving the top 30 (assuming it leaves the top 30 before returning for fifty weeks).
There’s no avoiding it – May starts out very slow for releases. I must be missing some stuff, since the only noteworthy release I can see on May 7th – the first regular release date of the month – is Weaver’s “Kocchi wo Muite yo”. So, if you know of a release I should add, please mention the artist and title in a comment, and I’ll add it on. As it is, the list looks a little thin until later on, where we get the two big names – AKB48 and Arashi – as well as a number of releases I would be curious to see the numbers on. I’m still rooting for KAT-TUN to make a comeback and SZ to get a boost from their new programs.
As usual, more complete listings are available on merchant websites, and I use the CD Japan ones to generate this list.
Weaver – Kocchi wo Muite yo
Creephyp – Neguse
Momoiro Clover Z – Naitemo Iindayo
moumoon – Jewel
Sexy Zone – King & Queen & Joker
Superfly – Live
Funky Kato – Kagayake
BABYRAIDS – Bucchake Rock’n Hacchake Roll/Baby Step
SUPER GiRLS – Hanamichi! Ambitious
Yoshikuni Dohchin – Samenagara Miru Yume
BUCK-TICK – Keijijo Ryusei
DEMPA GUMI.inc – Dear Stage e Yokoso
BREATHE – Tomorrows
USAGI – Hello / USAGI ~Fumaina Story~
THE NOVEMBERS – Kyou mo Ikita ne
Tokyo Karankoron – Koi no Machine Gun
Two weeks is a long time between Sexy Zone Channel episodes – especially when we have to wait those two weeks before getting to see the result of a challenge. Last time, we found out that SZ really could make a double-dutch challenge very interesting to watch, but if they really want to do a double-dutch performance set to “Lady Diamond”, they might have to dispense with the humor this time and really get focused.
While the university double-dutch team makes the routine look easy . . .
. . . it’s a lot trickier for the SZ members, who only learned the basics of double-dutch that day.
This is the final episode of SHARK – or at least, the first season of it, which was focused on the story of Kurata Mizuki (Hirano Sho). In a very concrete way, it’s the finest finale episode of any drama I’ve reviewed – and possibly that I’ve ever seen. Since doing a synopsis of the episode is a futile way to approach it, let me explain why I think it was such a successful conclusion.
For most Japanese dramas, the last episode is a culmination of expected events in a smooth resolution. Occasionally, there’s a surprise or a twist. More often there’s a lengthy recap of key scenes from the entire drama in the form of a flashback as the conflict reaches its climax. It is unusual for the finale to also be the best episode of the series.
The tension in this episode is largely dictated by Ichika (Yamashita Rio)’s mood. She starts out elated that the concert that will determine whether SHARK will début or not has been sold out, but her mood changes as she figures out about Mizuki’s voice. In general, viewers probably followed the same trajectory as Ichika – starting out excited to hear the band play, and then having more complicated feelings with every song.
And, of course, the reason why we’re excited to hear them play is because the writers and director have been careful to minimize how long we’ve gotten to hear the group up to this point. They’ve also minimized the group’s wardrobe, but that’s another point entirely.
The concert takes up almost the entire half-hour, and features the songs “Reflexion”, “Smile”, “Kagayaki”, “Answer”, and “Keep Walking”. At the start, the only people who know about Mizuki’s vocal cord problems are Mizuki himself and Kaede (Kawaei Rina), but that won’t be true by the end.
In the first episode of Gamushara (ガムシャラ), while delighted that a fair number of juniors were getting time in the spotlight, I was a bit distressed by how choppy the show was and how often the director chose to cut to VTRs. Will we see the same problem in this second episode, or will things go smoother this time? I’m going to have a stopwatch going to time how many minutes we’re listening to the announcer instead of the people involved in the challenges.
As before, Yasui Kentaro-kun was the MC . . .
. . . but the juniors were more restrained this time, with only Mohohoshi Shoki-kun jumping out to the front to mess around.
The Arashi members started off talking about the guests right away in this episode of VS Arashi (VS 嵐). The guest team this time is a prefecture team from Miyagi, but the key is a deep rivalry between Aiba-kun and one of the guest team’s members. By the way, Hanyu Yuzuru-kun got another mention from Arashi in this episode (he’s from Miyagi) – I’m still waiting for him to show up on an Arashi show at some point.
No Hanyu on the Miyagi team this time, but it was still an illustrious pack.
The leader of the Miyagi team was rocker Ohtomo Kouhei-san (大友康平), and alongside him were the comedy duo Sandwich Man (Date Mikio-san and Tomizawa Takeshi-san), Miss Universe Japan Hara Ayako-san (原綾子), lovable loser Kanou Eiko-san, and Yaotome Hikaru-kun of Hey! Say! Jump.
This episode of Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) had just one segment – I can’t remember the last time we’ve had such a focused and well-planned episode – but we’ll get to that in a moment. First, the members took the time to congratulate Ninomiya-kun on the start of Yowakutemo Katemasu, to say that it was interesting, and to wonder about whether there’ll be any romance in it. As usual with members in dramas, they ask whether he kisses anyone, and Matsumoto-kun proposes that maybe he kisses Ichikawa Ebizo-san.
MatsuJun also takes the liberty of throwing in a “Shitsuren” in, hinting at his own drama from last season. Nino-kun has a good comeback for that one.
The guest for this episode was NTV announcer Miura Asami-san (水ト麻美 – I would never have guessed how to read her last name if she hadn’t made it clear). She was voted the most-liked woman announcer, and judging from the crowd reaction when she entered, the voting was likely accurate.