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Japanese Variety Shows, Dramas, and Pop Music

Archive for the ‘Spring 2014’ Category

SHARK 2 Ep 11-12 Review

Posted on: July 31st, 2014 by tylerraiz No Comments

Note: this was a double episode, and is alternately referred to as Ep 11 as well as Ep 11 and 12.

So this is it – the last hour of SHARK Season 2. Right at the end of the previous episode and going into the beginning of this one, we get the ridiculous setup for the climactic battle between BtS and Cloud5 – that the two bands will face-off in front of fans again, and if Cloud5 loses, they’ll have to disband.

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Now, even the most gullible viewer would have to scratch their heads at this. How can a record company force a band to disband? Even if the band is under contract, nothing in that contract could ever allow the company to compel the members to disassociate. At the most extreme (and I can’t think of a case of this) the group might have to change its name, but it’s relatively common for bands to switch labels. There are some peculiar situations – like Johnny’s – where everything is vertically integrated, but that’s not how it works when a label signs an independent rock group. The group retains certain rights – like the right to exist and to freely assemble.

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Apparently, Matsuyuki wants to produce just one new group, and the company is willing to lose the potential profits from Cloud5 on his whim. First of all, what a lazy bum, not to mention a liar. But in any case the situation then should be that Cloud5 simply gets dropped from the company roster and becomes an independent band. I wonder if any other record company might want to take a chance on a popular young group that was just dumped by a label because their producer was an asshole?

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And at what point do the members of Cloud5 all walk into Matsuyuki’s office and tell him to shove it? If, after having been manipulated as they have been, they are just going to be thrilled to be under Matsuyuki’s umbrella again, what sympathy do they deserve?


SHARK 2 Ep 10 Review

Posted on: July 24th, 2014 by tylerraiz No Comments

There is one unmistakable fact in SHARK Season 2 – Matsuyuki (Toyohara Kosuke) absolutely hates Cloud5 and takes extreme delight in bringing them down. Sure, he claims that the struggle will be for their good, but I wouldn’t trust a doctor who grins so malevolently when giving me an injection, nor a surgeon who talked excitedly about the need for surgery.

Of course, Matsuyuki isn’t the only frustrating character in this series. Kota (Yasui Kentaro) and Makoto (Kaede) are another two. Get ready for a lot more sneering and snide remarks from Kota and nonsensical remarks from Makoto.

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Can you believe that Makoto actually tried to get Kota to come back by tapping into his concern about the pet fish, even though she knows that the original fish died because of her lack of care and the current one is a sneaky replacement? Got to hand it to her, she’s got some nerve.

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Despite giving us the impression that Saku (Shigeoka Daiki) had rallied the band together at the end of the previous episode, Aruto (Abe Aran) is still non-cooperative and afraid to perform because he feels he can’t compete with Asahi (Iwahashi Genki). Why the other members don’t immediately sense this, I have no idea.


SHARK 2 Ep 09 Review

Posted on: July 22nd, 2014 by tylerraiz No Comments

Things are really not going well for anybody in SHARK Season 2. True, Behind the Scenes managed to win the battle of the bands (with an unquestionably superior performance), but I doubt Kota (Yasui Kentaro) is at all satisfied with this victory over his former band, and Asahi (Iwahashi Genki) looks as morose as ever. Incidentally, BtS as a group looks surly and dismissive at everyone – they sure don’t give the impression that they enjoy doing what they do.

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The situation is worse for Cloud5, though, as they now have doubts about their own ability to compete and whether they’ve made the right choices. Masayuki (Toyohara Kosuke) mercilessly stokes their insecurities, which makes me wonder what the heck Cloud5 ever did to him – he sure seems bent on some kind of revenge at this point. I don’t buy the ‘drama’ excuse for a second.

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And just to make sure everyone feels sufficiently miserable, we finally discover who Asahi is – he’s the little brother of Kazuki (Fujii Ryusei), the former leader of SHARK, and he calls Kai (Hamada Takahiro) a traitor. Which Kai totally is, by the way.


SHARK 2 Ep 08 Review

Posted on: July 19th, 2014 by tylerraiz No Comments

I’m just going to plunge ahead in SHARK Season 2 because it’s about time I caught up on something from the Spring season, and the new Saturday drama started today.

Last time, Kai (Hamada Takahiro) decided to disband SHARK so he could become Cloud5’s guitarist. Let’s not mince words about it – he’s been thinking about it since episode one and acting like he was destined to do it.

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Someone’s happy:

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But Ichika (Yamashita Rio) must have some seriously complicated feelings about this.


SHARK 2 Ep 07 Review

Posted on: July 17th, 2014 by tylerraiz No Comments

The internal struggles of Cloud5 in SHARK Season 2 have finally come to a tipping point with the departure of obnoxious guitarist Kota (Yasui Kentaro).

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This, of course, leaves the group short a guitarist, and instead of doing the decent thing and holding an audition, Saku (Shigeoka Daiki) tries to poach Kai (Hamada Takahiro) from SHARK. Because, after all, Saku is a chaos engineer of the highest caliber. He actually asks Kai to join Cloud5 directly at the start of this episode, much to my surprise.

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The writers have decided to turn Kai from the stalwart pillar he was in the first season into a faithless question mark in this season, so he doesn’t immediately explode in outrage and vow never to play for Cloud5 again.

Meanwhile, Mizuki (Hirano Sho) has quickly sensed what Teppei (Kamiyama Tomohiro) has also figured out – that all is not all right in the state of Kai. The state of Mizuki’s voice is also still uncertain, though.


SHARK 2 Ep 06 Review

Posted on: July 8th, 2014 by tylerraiz No Comments

The previous episode of SHARK Season 2 concluded with Saku (Shigeoka Daiki) making a ludicrous decision. Let me lay out the situation. Aruto (Abe Aran) writes the lyrics to a song. Saku writes the music for it with the help of Aruto, Haruya (Hagiya Keigo), and Kai (Hamada Takahiro), and they all end up happy with the result. Kota (Yasui Kentaro) returns to the group and decides that it isn’t Cloud5’s style and that they should change it to suite his preferences. Afraid to lose Kota again, Saku agrees with Kota. Then, after a bit of reflection, Saku changes his mind and decides . . . decides that Matsuyuki, who Kota absolutely hates, should arrange the music of the song.

Huh? Why didn’t he just go back to the version that everyone except for Kota seemed to like? Why do the one thing that would piss off Kota even more?

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So, I ended the fifth episode hating both Saku and Kota. The phrase “a plague on both your houses” comes to mind.

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While this decision is technically what Aruto wanted, he doesn’t look too happy. I think he knows what’s coming.


SHARK 2 Ep 05 Review

Posted on: June 26th, 2014 by tylerraiz No Comments

At the beginning of this episode of SHARK Season Two, the band gets back together. Finally, Kota (Yasui Kentaro) returns from his self-imposed exile – an absence that conveniently allowed Saku (Shigeoka Daiki) to lay the seeds of their next big fight.

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There is the matter of substitute guitarist Kai (Hamada Takahiro), and while Kota at least manages not to be mean to him, Saku thanks him for his service.

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Right before the opening credits, Saku does one of his little reflections. Last time, he said that nothing could ever go back to the way it was. This time, he says that nothing has changed – they’re all just the same. Not only are these mutually contradictory statements spoken in the same manner at the same time in consecutive episodes, but Saku manages to sound depressed at both states of affairs. This is insane.

I have come to the conclusion that I actively hate Saku. Sorry, Shigeoka-kun, you’re not going to be impressing me with your acting by playing this part.

Speaking of characters I actively hate in this series, here’s Makoto (Kaede) again, right after the credits. Here, Yasui-kun gives her the gift he had been hoping to present her with, but says it’s for success on her audition, but she failed so it ends up being a faux pas on his part.