After the Dream Live special on May 6th, 2012, Johnnys’ Jr. Land returned to regular programming with a very special challenge for the juniors – voice acting/dubbing. And what kid wouldn’t want to lend their voice to a cartoon/anime (or adult, for that matter)?

The contestants in Super Battle Colosseo were Takahashi Saneyasu, Okada Aoi, and Yoshizawa Shizuya on the pink team and Akiba Ryusei, Kobayashi Mizuki, and Yamashita Kazunari on the blue team (or, as Mogi-san named them, the tall team – they were all taller than him). And wow, do I never get to see any of these guys on Shounen Club.

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Just to get them prepared, they heard their instructor for the day doing the voice of Kindaichi from the Kindaichi Shounen anime.

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The voice acting specialist is Matsuno Taiki-san, and the first character he brings up is actually Spongebob – he dubs it over in Japanese. I wonder how the jokes turn out after translation?

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His first tip for them is on breathing, and they all practice the proper technique.

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Akiba-kun always looks like he’s on the verge of laughing. All the others were more serious. It’s tough to tell whether he was more confident or whether he shows nervousness by laughing, but from his stance and the way he looked around, I think it was the former.

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Always nice to see Yamashita-kun in the mix – he always has such an unassuming manner about him, I wonder what drives him to be an idol.

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The next pointer was about the way they project and modulate their voice – surely a good thing to learn for their regular work as well.

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Next was enunciation – they were faced with a tongue twister. Well, this is surely helpful in the world of singing, acting, and hosting. Really, all idols should probably go through voice acting training (if they don’t already).

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Okada Aoi-kun was only twelve at the airing of this episode, way younger than the others. The inexperience certainly showed here, and I was left wondering whether they should be a bit more conscious of age when putting junior teams together.

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Next, they were challenged to express a type of reaction – like a certain type of laugh or breathing after a run. Obviously, these have to be very exaggerated for cartoons/anime.

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Yamashita-kun had been doing good in the earlier parts, but had difficulty with the reaction he was supposed to do. I think he was being way too realistic and not cartoon-style imaginative.

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How will the pink team do in this preliminary round? Okada-kun might be young, but I also wonder if Saneyasu-kun is capable of being as dramatic as these voices require.

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Finally, they get to see the scene that they will be dubbing over for the main challenge in the next episode – a scene from DOGSTAR.

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So, we’ll have to check out the May 20th episode to see how they do on that.

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The Super Battle Colosseo segment took a little over half the episode, and the Jr. Dream Live followed it. After seeing a lot of Sexy Zone in the special from the previous week, it was nice to see that they had a performance with just the juniors here – primarily juniors who weren’t in the challenge segment. It’s a shame they didn’t at least display the names of the three leaders in black – I had an easier time recognizing the backdancers in red.

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Anyway, the song was “1 for YOU” and while the dancing was good, it was also too mechanical. They could only focus on getting it right and there wasn’t much flair to it. The vocals were all thoroughly blended so nothing good to say there.

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The show closed with the “Answer Station” segment, where Kawasaki Shota-kun has trouble remembering stuff and wants advice on ways to solve that. Takahashi Saneyasu-kun and Chida Kyohei-kun support him in discovering the solution based on viewer suggestions.

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Saneyasu-kun seemed to confess some difficulty remembering choreography, if I heard right. While I know some techniques to aid memory, I don’t know any that would work for choreography – except just practicing, of course.

Really, it sort of depends on what you’re trying to remember, doesn’t it?

Kawasaki-kun did a great job being the center of this segment – he’s got quite a range of expressions.

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Saneyasu-kun, on the other hand . . . .

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Actually, Saneyasu-kun is a lot like Yamashita-kun in that I wonder about his reason for joining Johnny’s when there seems to be such a gap between his personality and the expectations for an idol. Not saying it wouldn’t be fascinating to see him succeed, by the way – it definitely would be. He’s a great straight man for comedy and could really carve out a unique niche for himself.

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If there was one junior who left a strong impression by the end of this episode, though, it was Kawasaki-kun.

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But can he successfully apply any of the memory techniques to memorize the names of recent Prime Ministers of Japan?

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For that matter, can any of them remember the list?

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Somehow, I don’t think this is going to help:

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Then again, maybe it’s just because I lack handstand experience.

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This was a long segment, so hopefully there was something useful in it for viewers. Thankfully, I have no problem remembering a series of ten digits, the ten Presidents of the United States before Obama, or even choreography – my real trouble is putting names to faces. I know a technique for that, though – using the person’s name in sentences a few times when you first learn it and while you’re looking at them – but it would feel strange to so that while watching TV shows.

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There you have it – another fine episode of Johnny’s Jr. Land. While not the most exciting episode, the challenge seemed to be a good idea and I think we’ll get some fun from it in the next episode. The Jr Dream Live was a bit too straightforward and unremarkable, but the Answer Station segment at the end was a good topic with some interesting moments.

It looks like I was giving JJL episodes ratings out of ten when I reviewed the April episodes ages ago, so looking back on my standards, I’ll give this one an 8 out of 10. It wasn’t an epic episode, and they can do much better, but it was smooth.