Archive for August, 2013

TORE! 2013.08.19 Review

Reviewing an episode of Nazotoki Batoru TORE! (謎解きバトルTORE! – Riddle-Solving Battle TORE!) is really difficult because the Japanese comprehension level necessarily to appreciate the questions in the games is very high and then I have to turn around and make sure I don’t ruin the results of the games for those who want to watch. Solution? Focus on whether there were great highlights in the show and point out which games were exciting, and which ended up sort of dull.

I’m reviewing this episode because both Ohno Satoshi-san of Arashi and Yamada Ryosuke-kun of Hey! Say! Jump are participating to promote their 24-hr TV telethon drama special (and I probably would have had trouble getting my hands on it if they weren’t in it), but that doesn’t mean I’m just going to focus on their parts. No – highlights come in all shapes and sizes. Take this screenshots for example:

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Now, I’m not a big fan of Kintaro-san’s act, but she did do well in the VS Arashi games, and that always wins points with me. The real fun part of this opening game is, of course, the mascot Funasshi:

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What’s so great about having a mascot in this game? Why is it a highlight? Well, it’s because the game involves naming seven items belonging to a category (in this case, Tokyo Disneyland Attractions) before the two of them get wrapped up as mummies and, as you can see from the pics, the way the mascot got pinched by the mummy wrapping was a great laugh at the start of this episode.

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One of the troubles I have with TORE! is that there is an overabundance of guests and most of them don’t contribute much. So, rather than trying to look everyone up, I’ll tell you who I recognized on-sight and name the rest as they participate. The red team was the 24 hr TV team, and it included Ohno-san, Yamada-kun, Kintaro-san, Funasshi, London Boots’ Ryo-san, Degawa Tetsuro-san, and NTV announcer Masu Taichi-san. The blue team was the Rakugo team with Kanjani8 regulars Yokoyama Yuu-san and Murakami Shingo-san, the comedy pair Audrey – Kasuga-san and Wakabayashi-san, three rakugo storytellers (I think they’re Shoten’s Kikuo, Koraku, and Enraku), and Sugi-chan (been a long time since I’ve reviewed something with him in it).

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On Aiba Manabu (相葉マナブ), the focus this time is on dining troubles and ways to cure them.

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For instance, pouring soda onto ice and finding that you’ve got a glass full of foam:

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There is a solution! I think it had to do with making sure the ice was damp because the bubbles form because of bumps on the ice (I never put ice in my soda).

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And before we even get to Aiba-kun and his buddies, we get a second tip – this time about solving the annoyance of seeds in watermelon by slicing it the right way – cutting it in half and then noticing the v-shaped patterns the seeds form, then cutting along those.

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After an August where we had a lack of strong album releases (especially late in the month), September seems to be full of new albums. On the downside, I don’t see anything I’m particularly excited about.

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). 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).

September 3rd

Sonar Pocket – Sonapokeizm SUPER BEST (album)

September 4th

HKT48 – Melon Juice

AAA – (Title TBA)

Tohoshinki – Scream

Nishino Kana – Love Collection – pink – (album)

Nishino Kana – Love Collection – mint – (album)

Cute – Queen of J-POP (album)

Chris Hart – Heart Song -Special Edition- (album)

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The number one single last week was “Koisuru Fortune Cookie” (戀するフォーチュンクッキー) from AKB48, which saw a decent 1,330,432 copies sold. Unless there are circumstances that I don’t know about, I think it’s fair to look at this number as their new average and judge future singles likewise.

SHINee‘s “Boys Meet U” took #2, selling 88,737 copies.

At #3, the exhaustively-titled “Kimi ga Omoidasu Boku wa, Kimi wo Aishiteru Darou Ka” from V6 had okay results, selling 54,084.

NMB48‘s “Bokura no Eureka” caught a bit of a coattail bounce, going from #60 to #5 in its tenth week, adding 25,078 in sales for a new total of 541,005.

Coming in right behind, “Peace & Hi-lite” from Southern All Stars got #6 by selling 24,972 copies. Its three-week total is 289,451.

In a slightly disappointing second week, Kis-My-Ft2 “Kimi to no Kiseki” fell to #8, selling 23,368 copies for a total of 284,527. If it had managed a second week with 10% of its first week sales – just about 2,500 more in sales – it would have been at #4.

At #17, UVERworld‘s “Fight For Liberty/Wizard CLUB” did better than 10% in its second week, adding 10,869 for a total of 73,018.

Spending its fourth week at #19, “Shiosai no Memory” from Amano Haruko (really Koizumi Kyoko – Haruko is her character in the drama Amachan) now has total sales of 129,710.

Nogizaka46’s “Girl’s Rule” already popped up last week, and this time returned to #21 to bring its eight-week total to 420,216.

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Kamen Teacher Ep 06 Review

This was a remarkably straightforward episode of Kamen Teacher (仮面ティーチャー). It was so focused on the central story about Kinzo (Kikuchi Fuma) that they didn’t even have time to have a café/Kinpatsu-sensei scene. This is really the second part of the story from the last episode, so the writers didn’t feel the need to add the regular scenes – there wasn’t even a consultation between Araki (Fujigaya Taisuke) and Bon (Kyomoto Taiga).

We last left Kinzo enraged and about to fight the dark Kamen Teacher . . .

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. . . and because there are a bunch of teachers watching, we can pretty much rule out everyone except the guy at the department of education (Sato Takumi) and Keigo (Jesse) as the dark Kamen Teacher. So, those rooting for Keigo to be the one are now much closer to seeing that twist come about.

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As you might expect, Kinzo’s battle with the dark Kamen Teacher does not go well for him . . .

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