I think we’re getting spoiled with all these Shounen Club (ザ少年倶楽部) episodes. For those who have only tuned in for the past month and might think this is a regular weekly show, we normally only get new episodes on the first two Wednesdays of the month. In October, because of the Kansai specials that started the month, we got four SC episodes, and we’re continuing with new material right into November.

Noon Boyz had the title call for this episode, introducing the theme of the episode – Color (this is one theme that Shounen Club will have no trouble with!). So, still more hope that Noon Boyz will take a more active role in the hosting of the show.

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They kicked things off with KinKi Kids’ “Kanashimi Blue”.

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For those worried about Tanaka Juri-kun (including me) after his elder brother was fired from the agency, concerns were rather dramatically put to rest as he was front-and-center at the beginning of NEWS’ “Akaku Moyuru Taiyou” with a lengthy rap portion. Seems like the agency wanted to send a message here, since this is pretty much as prominent a role as I’ve seen Juri-kun have in a performance, and they could have easily cut it out and started with Hagiya Keigo-kun singing the main verse. Nice little assisted flip, too.

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It was interesting to see Hagiya-kun and Tanaka-kun performing the song as a pair – that’s really quite a step up for Haigya-kun’s exposure, as well.

With red taken care of, we went on to “WHITE” by KAT-TUN, performed by Kyomoto Taiga-kun and Masuda Ryo-kun. Do you get the sense that Johnny’s really wants to find the next KinKi Kids (that is, the next two-person act)?

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The next color was orange – SMAP’s “Orange”. Really, this color medley is such an easy one for Johnny’s – it’s nice that they made a proper job of it.

Performing “Orange” were Jesse-kun and . . . not his usual partner Hokuto-kun . . . but rather fifteen year-old Kawasaki Shota-kun getting his biggest break so far (at least, on Shounen Club – for all I know, they’ve been doing this duet on stage off-screen for ages).

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Finally, Matsumura Hokuto-kun handled “Black & White” from Kis-My-Ft2 with Anderson Casey, Teranishi Takuto, Morohoshi Shoki, and Morita Myuto. This definitely had the feel of something prepared for a concert/butai.

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So I’ll call the opening medley on-topic and full of interesting surprises, while the performances themselves weren’t especially remarkable. The cases of people who don’t get screen time suddenly getting a lot kept coming, as the Hey! Say! Jump hosts of the show were Yabu-kun and . . . Okamoto Keito-kun! Has he ever hosted the show before?

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Standing next to them were the very colorful members of A.B.C-Z. If there was any single group that could epitomize the theme of the show . . . .

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Yabu-kun did most of the talking, but Keito-kun got to try to pronounce “Color” which . . . he needs to work on, but at least it wasn’t as bad as how Yabu-kun repeated the pronunciation.

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Sexy Zone had the first main performance, and it was . . . “Bye Bye Dubai ~ See you again” again. This is the third week in a row they’ve performed this, which is a shame because there are other good songs on the single.

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On the other hand, they are dressed differently (and all looking quite snappy – meaning that it was stuff I wouldn’t be totally embarrassed wearing myself).

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Otherwise, there was nothing remarkable from this performance in comparison to the version two weeks ago.

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Kawai-kun and Totsuka-kun from A.B.C-Z handled the Ki ni Naru 2020 corner as usual, introducing the members of Twenty Twenty. Is anyone keeping count, by the way – it seems like we have more than twenty Kanto juniors already, if there was supposed to be twenty from Kansai and twenty from Kanto?

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It was the same pattern as we had last time, where there was one familiar junior (in this case Haba Yuki-kun) leading two chibis that I haven’t seen before.

The first of the newbies was Masuo Hiro-kun (and his given name sure drew a lot of talk), who admires Yamada Ryosuke-kun and Nakajima Kento-kun. So yeah, we know he’s aiming to be a superstar.

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Next was eleven year-old Matsumoto Takuma-kun, whose hair drew Kawai-kun’s admiration. Apparently, Takuma-kun wants to do some flying like they did in Johnny’s World. A noble aspiration. He admires Kento-kun and Iwahashi Genki-kun.

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Haba Yuki-kun is now thirteen (like Hashimoto Ryo-kun, he’s been in the agency since the Snow Prince days – so around four years now).

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Did I mention in the October episodes that we needed a Twenty Twenty performance to see what the group really looks like? Well, I think we got one here, but it’s hard to judge.

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The song was Kondo Masahiko-san’s “Yuuyake no Uta” (夕焼けの歌), and six members were featured in regular clothes at the center while others who may or may not be Twenty Twenty members (they sure seemed to all be part of the group, but I couldn’t verify all of them) were backdancing. The members at the center were Inoue, Kaneda, Hayashi Ren, Hashimoto Ryo, Tamamoto, and one fellow I haven’t added to my database.

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They only had a single verse or so, then Iwahashi-kun and Miyachika-kun performed “Kamenbutokai” from Shounentai with all the Twenty Twenty guys (and possibly more) backdancing.

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Again, it looks like Johnny’s is in the mood for twos in this episode. Not sure what’s up with that in this case, since the song was originally done by a group of three, and recently these two have been taking the stage as part of a group of four (with Jinguji-kun and Kishi-kun).

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It was nice to hear their voices with reasonable clarity, though, and a solid effort from the pair.

Ki ni Naru Kj featured Kansai junior Kotaki Nozomu-kun . . .

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. . . whose already quite big, and probably doesn’t need an introduction at this point. It’s not like they could hide him.

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I guess it was sort of a surprise seeing that he listed Yamada Ryosuke-kun as his admired senpai. Lots of Yamada-kun so far this time.

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The Kansai performance featured 7WEST, B.A.D., Hamada-kun, and Kin Kan performing the Kansai staple and Maido Jani theme “Bang Bang!”.

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It seemed much less energetic and somewhat sloppier than the last time they did it. Also, the absence of Naniwa Oji was conspicuous.

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Still, it’s a good fun song and smooth listening. The gap between it and the next song, though, was daunting.

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“Master key” isn’t a ballad (thankfully), but it sure didn’t have half the energy of “Bang Bang!”.

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Credit to Uchi-kun – his singing still fell short of many juniors, but it was acceptable and not annoying. The best part was still the effort from the band (including Hagiya-kun at the drums – he’s all over the place in this episode!), as well as some backdancing from Iwamoto-kun and Fukusawa-kun.

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This might be the first time I rate an Uchi performance as good rather than a downside to the episode. It was a good song, and I wouldn’t wince if someone asked me to listen to it again.

The talk segment with Uchi-kun, though . . . do you remember Sato Shori-kun saying a load of nonsense about what his mind is filled with using a chart like this?

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Well, this time they did it with Uchi-kun so that he can demonstrate an expert level of b.s.

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And they had Shori-kun handle the segment with the two hosts.

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My first thought was: no! Let Keito-kun handle it, dammit!

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My second thought was . . . shouldn’t they avoid putting these two next to each other after Uchi-kun tried to smother him the last time?

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By the way, if you’re wondering what 80% of Uchi-kun’s mind is apparently occupied by, it is “performance” (演技 – engi). It was either that or fans, right? Yabu-kun seems to know Uchi-kun remarkably well, by the way. I think Shori-kun had better b.s. myself.

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Okay, Junior ni Q time. The question for the juniors this time is very open and vague – “my OO is really . . .” where they fill the OO with anything they like. Kishi Yuta-kun started things off with his hand:

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Anderson Casey-kun highlighted his magic by doing card tricks (totally didn’t know he could do this until now).

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Tanaka Juri-kun got a second crack at the camera, but I didn’t quite get what he meant with yellow wanting to become red – I think it has to do with position in a group.

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Jesse-kun focused on his flexibility due to his long arms, which is something different from him.

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Finally, Morohoshi-kun showed off the length of his tongue, which was sort of a weird one to end on. I’ll spare you the tongue screenshot and instead present this interesting look from Morohoshi-kun:

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Nakajima Kento-kun performed “Teleportation” next. Every time I hear it, it gets stuck in my head for like a week, and I have no objections – it’s a great song.

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Worth pointing out that the backdancers were a totally mixed bunch – Jesse-kun, Yasui-kun, Masuda Ryo-kun, and Hanzawa Akatsuki-kun. Masuda-kun is getting a lot more attention than usual, and . . . have I ever even mentioned Hanzawa-kun in a review before? A search shows I did so once – on the July 3rd episode. So yeah, upgrade for him, too.

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It was a sharp stage and very stylish, as you’d expect with his song. I didn’t mind the fanservice moment between Kento-kun and Jesse-kun too much since it was done artistically – at least, I can overlook it.

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I also think we see the junior groups back in flux here – that they’re moving away from Bakaleya and Bad Boys as temporary teams and trying to find new combinations. This whole episode has had them mixed.

The game segment was next, and we’ve seen this format before, though it still requires some explaining. Each team sends its members up in relay to dance, and they’re trying to get the combined time they dance for as close to 30 seconds as possible (without knowing how long they’ve taken except by their internal clocks).

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There were four teams total. In the first round, Shori-Kishi went up against Tsukada-Iwamoto. Will Tsukada-kun be able to keep himself from overdoing it?

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Well, fortunately for the elder pair, I think Shori-kun’s teenage clock is still a bit off, despite his best attempts to time it using a very basic move.

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The next round pitted Hagiya-Hashimoto against Kento-Jinguji. Hagiya-kun is unexpectedly quite a character, isn’t he? I was very surprised by his approach to this.

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The winners of each of those rounds fought in the final, but there were additional rules – the first person up had to blow a kiss and the second had to do a “sexy pose”. It turned out better and funnier than it sounds.

The A.B.C-Z stage followed that, and they naturally did their new single again – the cover of “Never My Love”.

I still feel the dancing is a tad too vigorous for the song, and that it would have been trivial to update the backing track to suit their dance style.

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It wasn’t as good as the version we saw and heard last month. Some of the pronunciation issues really jumped out this time – especially when it was the word “love”.

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A big problem is that I’m really familiar with The Association’s version of the song from the sixties, and this just doesn’t compare well to it – especially since they haven’t updated the music to set it apart from that version.

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Kawai-kun and Tsukada-kun messed around with Noon Boyz next. Noon Boyz didn’t really have much of a part in this episode after the opening, so at least this makes up for what would have been a jarring disconnect.

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And there was no doubt that Noon Boyz were caught by surprise.

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As usual, though, this segment requires serious translation, and I don’t feel like I’m up to the task. Hopefully Noon Boyz fans will be on it.

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The closing song for the show was SZ’s “Silver Moon” – one of the SZ songs I like that I wish they did more often.

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The elder three were out first . . .

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. . . but don’t worry – Marius-kun and Sou-kun snuck in along with an army of juniors once the beat picked up.

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The vocals were on-par, I like these blue outfits, the backdancer army featured a broad selection from the tiniest chibis to the Jinguji/Miyachika types . . .

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. . . and Marius-kun managed to get “see you again” in after Shori-kun did the Japanese sign-off. We should have had an English battle between Keito-kun and Marius-kun.

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So . . . I have to say this episode lacked any real “wow” moments, but there was also nothing that made me go “ugh – this is horrible!”. Even Uchi-kun’s performance wasn’t too bad – and trust me, I was ready to blast it if necessary.

Highlights. though? The game segment was pretty good, and had a fair range of participants. “Teleportation” was probably the most outstanding performance, though it wasn’t new. It’s tough to call anything else a highlight, though there was plenty that was good. I enjoyed the color-themed opening, “Bye Bye Dubai”, “Kamenbutokai”, and “Silver Moon”.

The rest of the show was in the okay range – I wouldn’t skip it on a second viewing, but I didn’t have an especially favorable reaction to it, either.

Very little was really new to Shounen Club – in sharp contrast to the previous episode – but we got a lot more from the juniors and the show was very smooth overall. I think it deserves and 8 out of 10, though unlike last week’s episode which got the same rating from me, it was more a case of everything being good rather than a series of highs and lows.

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