Archive for April, 2014

Well, Johnny’s WEST sure hit it out of the ballpark with their debut single “Ee ja nai ka”, didn’t they? It was the top single this past week, and sold 262,154 copies – passing the platinum mark. That’s at the top end of my expectations and even with any mitigating circumstances, I think the agency has to be pleased. Of course, with the group named directly for the agency, I think they went full-force with the promotions.

“Never Let You Go” by Generations from EXILE TRIBE took the second spot, selling 86,442.

At #3, it was “Sore wa Bokutachi no Kiseki” from μ’s with 65,930 copies sold.

CNBLUE’s “Truth” came in at #4, with 35,602.

SCANDAL’s “Departure” was #5, and sold 30,953.

In its seventh week, “Sakura, Minna de Tabeta” from HKT48 popped back up from #24 to #7, selling 17,738 to bring its total to 318,188.

Taking #8, Dream5’s “Break Out/Youkai Taisou Daiichi” saw 16,640 copies sold.

Nogizaka46’s “Kizuitara Kataomoi” finally scored double platinum, tacking on 11,427 at #11 to push its four-week total to 506,666.

Fukuda Kouhei-san’s long-lived single is finally out of the top 30, so I guess I’ll start covering his new one. “Tougegoe” took #15 in its fourth week, selling 7,808 for a total of 37,772. I think it’ll manage 50k before leaving the top 30 (assuming it leaves the top 30 before returning for fifty weeks).

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There’s no avoiding it – May starts out very slow for releases. I must be missing some stuff, since the only noteworthy release I can see on May 7th – the first regular release date of the month – is Weaver’s “Kocchi wo Muite yo”. So, if you know of a release I should add, please mention the artist and title in a comment, and I’ll add it on. As it is, the list looks a little thin until later on, where we get the two big names – AKB48 and Arashi – as well as a number of releases I would be curious to see the numbers on. I’m still rooting for KAT-TUN to make a comeback and SZ to get a boost from their new programs.

As usual, more complete listings are available on merchant websites, and I use the CD Japan ones to generate this list.

May 7th

Weaver – Kocchi wo Muite yo

Creephyp – Neguse

May 8th

Momoiro Clover Z – Naitemo Iindayo

moumoon – Jewel

May 14th

Sexy Zone – King & Queen & Joker

Superfly – Live

Funky Kato – Kagayake

BABYRAIDS – Bucchake Rock’n Hacchake Roll/Baby Step

SUPER GiRLS – Hanamichi! Ambitious

Yoshikuni Dohchin – Samenagara Miru Yume

BUCK-TICK – Keijijo Ryusei

DEMPA – Dear Stage e Yokoso

BREATHE – Tomorrows

USAGI – Hello / USAGI ~Fumaina Story~

THE NOVEMBERS – Kyou mo Ikita ne

Tokyo Karankoron – Koi no Machine Gun

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Two weeks is a long time between Sexy Zone Channel episodes – especially when we have to wait those two weeks before getting to see the result of a challenge. Last time, we found out that SZ really could make a double-dutch challenge very interesting to watch, but if they really want to do a double-dutch performance set to “Lady Diamond”, they might have to dispense with the humor this time and really get focused.

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While the university double-dutch team makes the routine look easy . . .

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. . . it’s a lot trickier for the SZ members, who only learned the basics of double-dutch that day.

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This is the final episode of SHARK – or at least, the first season of it, which was focused on the story of Kurata Mizuki (Hirano Sho). In a very concrete way, it’s the finest finale episode of any drama I’ve reviewed – and possibly that I’ve ever seen. Since doing a synopsis of the episode is a futile way to approach it, let me explain why I think it was such a successful conclusion.

For most Japanese dramas, the last episode is a culmination of expected events in a smooth resolution. Occasionally, there’s a surprise or a twist. More often there’s a lengthy recap of key scenes from the entire drama in the form of a flashback as the conflict reaches its climax. It is unusual for the finale to also be the best episode of the series.

The tension in this episode is largely dictated by Ichika (Yamashita Rio)’s mood. She starts out elated that the concert that will determine whether SHARK will début or not has been sold out, but her mood changes as she figures out about Mizuki’s voice. In general, viewers probably followed the same trajectory as Ichika – starting out excited to hear the band play, and then having more complicated feelings with every song.

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And, of course, the reason why we’re excited to hear them play is because the writers and director have been careful to minimize how long we’ve gotten to hear the group up to this point. They’ve also minimized the group’s wardrobe, but that’s another point entirely.

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The concert takes up almost the entire half-hour, and features the songs “Reflexion”, “Smile”, “Kagayaki”, “Answer”, and “Keep Walking”. At the start, the only people who know about Mizuki’s vocal cord problems are Mizuki himself and Kaede (Kawaei Rina), but that won’t be true by the end.

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Gamushara 2014.04.20 Review

In the first episode of Gamushara (ガムシャラ), while delighted that a fair number of juniors were getting time in the spotlight, I was a bit distressed by how choppy the show was and how often the director chose to cut to VTRs. Will we see the same problem in this second episode, or will things go smoother this time? I’m going to have a stopwatch going to time how many minutes we’re listening to the announcer instead of the people involved in the challenges.

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As before, Yasui Kentaro-kun was the MC . . .

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. . . but the juniors were more restrained this time, with only Mohohoshi Shoki-kun jumping out to the front to mess around.

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