Archive for September, 2013

VS Arashi 2013.09.19 Review

After a bit of Arafes talk at the beginning of this VS Arashi (VS 嵐) . . .

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. . . the reminiscences started right away as the opposing team – the actors from the play “Natakirimaru” (鉈切り丸) were introduced. That’s because they were led by Morita Go-san from V6 – a senior to the members of Arashi. So, we got the obligatory video of Arashi members of their infancy backdancing for V6. There’s fourteen year old Ninomiya-kun, for instance.

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Aside from Morita-san, the Natakirimaru team had Narumi Riko-san (成海璃子), Yamauchi Takaya-san (山内圭哉), Kimura Ryo-san (木村了), Suga Kenta-kun (須賀健太), and Namase Katsuhisa-san (生瀬勝久). It’s a total mystery to me how they’ll do.

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This is the first episode of Arashi ni Shiyagare (嵐にしやがれ) in its new format – turning it into a live broadcast rather than a pre-recorded show. It’s been on for three years, serving up some great episodes and some duds in its original form, so will this renovation be a net improvement or not? I don’t really know how to describe the show yet, so let’s see what they end up doing in this episode.

An obvious positive up front – there’s no Tokyo Ii Mise Kudoi Mise segment. There was no chance that they’d have that segment when they’re rebooting this series and trying to get viewer support for it, but I trust it will be firmly left behind as an old format idea since it would be pre-recorded.

Instead, the show started with Arashi meeting in the waiting room for a minute and a half and greeting their guests there. There was a little rotating camera at the center, but while it was cute, the shots it got were next to useless compared to the ones from the main camera.

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The guests were the comedy duo Cream Stew – Ueda Shinya-san and Arita Teppei-san. They’re part of Shabekuri 007 and worked with Arashi during the 24-hr TV telethon.

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Honestly, as far as guests go, this was a tad underwhelming. They were the guests for the pilot episode of Arashi ni Shiyagare, so I guess it’s reasonable in terms of symmetry. But the episode after that pilot featured the legendary Shimura Ken-san, and I was hoping for someone of his stature this time. Perhaps, since there are now going to be female guests, someone like Wada Akiko-san would have been a pleasant surprise.

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The Oricon rankings last week were sort of depressing to look at, but October offers a revival of sorts – a fresh influx of new and exciting singles, though only a smattering of albums (though certainly at least one that I’m excited about). There’s plenty to talk about in this month.

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). 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).

October 2nd

NMB48 – Kamonegikkusu

Akanishi Jin – Ainaru Ho e

flumpool/flumpool x Mayday – Tsuyoku Hakanaku/Belief – Haru wo Matsu Kimi e –

Berryz Kobo – Motto Zutto Issho ni Itakatta/ROCK Erotic

E-girls – Gomennasai no Kissing You

Perfume – LEVEL3 (album)

Kalafina – Allelujah

October 9th

Sexy Zone – Bye Bye Dubai – See You Again -/A My Girl Friend

SKE48 (team S) – Party ga Hajimaru yo (album)

SKE48 (team KII) – Aitakatta (album)

SKE48 (team E) – Pajamas Drive (album)

SKE48 (team E) – Sakaagari (album)

Generations from EXILE TRIBE – Hot Shot

misono – symphony with misono BEST (mini-album)

Otsuka Ai – Re: Name

T.M.Revolution – Geisha Boy – Anime Song Experience – (album)

Galileo Galilei – ALARMS (album)

Yamashita Tatsuro – Hikari to Kimi e no Requiem

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Kamen Teacher Ep 09 Review

Things are certainly getting interesting in Kamen Teacher (仮面ティーチャー). If you haven’t watched the previous episodes, I do not recommend reading this review any further – you’re totally going to ruin it for yourself.

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Trusting that everyone reading has seen the series through episode 8, or at least knows what has happened, it looks like Jesse-kun’s character – Kusanagi Keigo – was the dark Kamen Teacher, after all. I’ve been itching to write about it, but couldn’t in the last review because of my standard rules about spoilers. Kudos to those who guessed it three or four episodes ago. I have to wonder if he had a body-double until the final reveal, since the dark Kamen Teacher seems to have a heavier build, judging especially from the neck, but it’s tough to say.

It’s interesting to see Jesse-kun in this role, since he doesn’t seem the type at first glance. If he continues to pull it off, it will be a real feather in his acting cap, since most actors in J-dramas don’t play against type and this will set him apart.

But something else occurred right at the end of the previous episode that promised a different sort of conflict for Araki (Fujigaya Taisuke) – the daughter of the café owner, Kobayashi Saeko (Yamamoto Maika), found out what her father already knew – that Araki is the Kamen Teacher who Saeko feels was responsible for her brother’s death. Araki and Saeko have gotten along fairly well so far, but this totally shakes her trust in him. It’s not just the incident with her brother – he could potentially explain what happened there – but also the fact that he hid his identity from her for so long.

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I wonder where this unexpected subplot will go.

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I feel like this would have been a good week to totally ignore the standings . . . .

The top single for the past week was . . . EXILE’s “EXILE PRIDE ~Konna Sekai wo Koisuru Tame”, which celebrated its ninteenth week by returning to #1, selling 112,280 copies for a total of 916,126. Considering the group’s previous best single sold 562,196 back in 2005, and that otherwise their average is around 150k with some notable bounces to the 250-300k range, I remain befuddled. Who suddenly bought over 100k copies after it had already been out this long? Surely no fans could have missed it. So . . . I give up. I think EXILE has managed to prove that I have no clue what’s going on with these sales figures and for all I know the numbers could be completely manipulated.

Okay, so with that all out of the way, let me conveniently ignore such depressing thoughts and plunge ahead with the rest of the rankings:

At #2, Maeda Atsuko-san’s “Time Machine Nante Iranai” (タイムマシンなんていらない) sold a fairly light 60,687 copies, apparently because of a lack of promotional effort. Not too sure what to make of that.

Shoujo Jidai’s “Galaxy Supernova” took #3, selling 50,793.

“Green Days/strings” from Lead sold 41,178 at #4.

The last new release worth a mention was Yuzu’s “Tomo ~ Tabidachi no Toki~”, as it took #5 by selling 28,441 copies.

AKB48’s “Koisuru Fortune Cookie” dropped out of the top 10 in its fifth week, but only just barely – it was at #11, adding 8,515 copies sold to its total, bringing it to 1,432,181.

Domoto Tsuyoshi-san’s “Mabataki” tacked on an additional 7,490 at #12, pushing its total above 100k to 102,962.

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