Gamushara J’s Party!! (ガムシャラ J’s Party!!) is a music variety show that features on-stage performances from Johnny’s juniors, the idol trainees of the Johnny’s Entertainment agency, as well as some backstage footage to show all sides of the experience. It is associated with another TV Asahi show called Gamushara, in which the same juniors featured in J’s Party also take on a variety of challenges.

This episode of J’s Party begins with a little feature about Gamushara, explaining the two programs . . .

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 000

. . . before J’s Party begins in earnest. The May episodes were recorded in March, and that’s somewhat important because we’ve already seen some shuffling within the ranks of the juniors in the April Shounen Clubs.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 001

The juniors featured in this episode each got their own special graphic at the start, so let me just list them here in the order they were credited: Matsumura Hokuto, Yasui Kentaro, Morimoto Shintaro, Tanaka Juri, Morohoshi Shoki, Okamoto Kauan, Hagiya Keigo, Sanada Yuma, Nozawa Yuki, and Jesse. On the bright side, most of those names are juniors who weren’t in the April episodes, so that’s good. However, if those are the only performers, the selection is also much narrower than we saw in the April episodes – I was sort of hoping that with Sexy Zone not appearing in the May episodes, their place would be taken by more juniors, but instead we’re probably looking at fewer juniors, each getting more time.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 002

The first song is “Real DX” and all the juniors mentioned participate in the opening. As far as songs go, it’s a big improvement over the April openings.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0032014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0042014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 005

It sort of reminds me of those performances they did on Shounen Club early this year, all crowded onto the stage at the same time. It’s not a problem as an opening, but I hope there isn’t too much of this.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0062014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 007

Some members put more into the dance than others, but it had a very restrained feel over all – perhaps because of the need to sing.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 009

Following that, we got dancing introductions of the members mentioned above, with Yasui-kun acting as MC. Honestly, it beats me why he wasn’t credited first or last at the top of the show considering the big role he has, but he gets the last mention during these on-stage intros. Among the more outstanding intros were Shintaro-kun doing some acrobatics during his, Morohoshi-kun giving oodles of personality, and Kauan-kun doing some great fast-footed dancing. Kauan-kun’s bit impressed me – that’s some good old-school vaudeville stuff.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0102014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 011

At the end of the intros, they all formed a circle with Yasui-kun at the center, and then did a quick dance before shifting gears.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0122014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 013

Jesse-kun, Hokuto-kun, and Noon Boyz (as they were still credited at this point) sang “Rocks”. The sound balance here was more problematic than usual, because whenever they did punctuating shouts it overpowered the vocals.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0142014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0152014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0162014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 017

That was followed by Hagiya-kun, Tanaka-kun, Shintaro-kun, Yasui-kun, Kauan-kun, and Morohoshi-kun joining in (I’ll refer to these six as the Bad Boys team from here on) with “Bad Boys” from raised platforms except . . . wait, who’s that?

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 019

It’s Kouchi Yugo-kun in civvies! Kouchi-kun was one of the juniors I was hoping to see in this one because he wasn’t in the April edition (Kyomoto Taiga-kun was another), but unfortunately even though he showed up, he wasn’t set to perform and didn’t have a mike.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 020

The only thing that was missing was having the band present. Are we going to get the junior band in these J’s Party episodes?

We’re still getting an overabundance of voices at once – especially considering that “Bad Boys” is technically written for three voices, not ten.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0212014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0222014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 023

The Bad Boys team minus Kauan-kun took the main stage for “Ai no Beat” next. Interesting sound mixing on this one – the vocals were way in front of the backing music. It’s only noticeable at the beginning, and works better during the refrain when the music fills out. Anyway, the technicians are going to have to work on the sound for these things, and adjust it more dynamically than they seem to be doing.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0242014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 025

This was a nice high-energy performance, and the first real highlight of the show.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0262014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0272014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0282014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 029

Noon Boyz performed their rendition of “Genkai Meter” after that . . .

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0302014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 031

. . . and Jesse-kun continued with his solo, “strategie”.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0322014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 033

His vocals and stage presence were top-notch in this one, and Hokuto-kun assisted with some dancing later in the song.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0342014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0352014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 036

Then Jesse-kun cleared out so that Hokuto-kun could do his solo – “ha-ha”. This was more of a dancing showcase for Hokuto-kun – the song itself doesn’t have much by way of vocals. And since this is one of those Akanishi Jin pieces that I don’t care for, it was tough for me to enjoy.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0372014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0382014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 039

To my surprise, Kauan-kun got a solo, and he tried “Ai no Matador”. I say tried because, while he’s a good dancer, his voice is way too thin to take on this song. Nice effort, though.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0402014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0412014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0422014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 043

We got perilously close to a Bakaleya Six revival on the next song – it was Jesse, Hokuto, Shintaro, and Juri, but with Shoki-kun in and both Yugo-kun and Taiga-kun absent. Oh, well. They did “Six Senses” and had some good fun with it. It’s not my kind of song, otherwise I could easily see it as a highlight because of their dynamic approach to it. It was enjoyable to watch.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0442014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0462014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0472014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 048

Close to the end of the song, they rearranged themselves so that the rest of the cast could join in . . .

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 050

. . . and the ten featured juniors went on to perform “Shake It Up” – the Bakaleya theme. This was definitely a highlight.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0512014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0522014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 053

They all went on to sing NEWS’ “weeeek”, which was a good choice of song to follow “Shake It Up” with to keep the energy up.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0552014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0572014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0582014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 061

The show then took a break from J’s Party stuff, and a VTR reminded us that there’s this other show called Gamushara that we might also want to watch, because it shows all these guys from a totally different angle:

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0632014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 064

It was mostly highlights from what we’ve already seen on Gamushara, but also with a clips or two from the upcoming episode thrown in. Now, if only they had dumped that annoying announcer for the ad, and instead had Yasui-kun or a bunch of juniors doing the voice-over, that would have been a huge improvement.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 065

Back on stage, Yasui-kun tells the audience about the start of Gamushara. Remember, this was recorded in March, before the show started on April 12th.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0662014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 067

Best part of this talk segment was where Morohoshi-kun noted how sadistic the staff was when it came to his own fasting challenge on Gamushara.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0682014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 069

Shintaro-kun mentioned something about a pole dance challenge which we’ll be seeing in the May 3rd/4th episode of Gamushara. I think I’m going to get a good laugh out of that one.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 070

Then there’s Jesse-kun’s dreaded Kabe-don English segment which they decided to repeat for us in this show. As if I needed to cringe at that again.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 071

They talked about it on-stage, and Jesse-kun’s translation of what he said was the same inaccurate translation that we saw in Gamushara when the segment aired – word for word. That makes me wonder even more who actually wrote both the phrases he said and the translations.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0722014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0732014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0742014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 075

This MC talk went on for quite a while, moving on to more general topics, including cooking. Shoki-kun got some laughs, but I didn’t really hear much that was worth translating.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0772014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0782014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 079

After the excitement of “Shake It Up” and “weeeek”, the VTR and this MC talk really dropped the energy level down. I began to wonder if I should have just stopped watching after “weeeek”.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0802014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0812014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0822014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 083

But then they tossed it to a VTR featuring Miyachika Kaito-kun, Iwahashi Genki-kun, and Jinguji Yuta-kun. Iwahashi-kun took the lead in the talking, which . . . doesn’t happen very often, does it? Anyway, I was totally distracted by the rough cuts in the middle of this VTR – I think the blooper reel would be even more interesting than what we got – and the fact that Genki-kun’s hand unfailing sought the shoulders of the other two.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0852014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 086

I’m not sure what they were supposed to be doing, but it was adorable, and Iwahashi-kun’s “Genki desu-ka?” bit is cheesy (in the way that puts a smile on my face) as always.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 087

Still, I really want to see the parts that were cut out, considering how scattered the video we got seemed.

Then Yasui-kun introduced a KinKi Kids medley.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0882014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 089

Unfortunately, it was truncated down to just a taste (the announcer piped in with a “zan’nen” message) – I hope that they have the full version of this medley in the next episode – KinKi Kids material is always solid stuff.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 090

With only a few minutes left, we turned to some backstage clips. If this month is anything like April, we’ll probably get more of this in the next episode, too, but even the little we got here was very interesting.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0912014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 092

Since I rarely watch R no Housoku, I’m suddenly getting an appreciation for Morohoshi Shoki-kun thanks to his work on Gamushara and in this episode of J’s Party in particular.

2014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 0932014.05.03 Gamushara Js Party 094

This episode seemed to lack material compared to the April episodes, and also wasn’t stitched together very well. They had all the performance stuff at the beginning, and then just dumped the rest of the material at the end without stitching it together properly. I’m pretty sure I could have done a better editing job – mixing in some of that backstage footage into better locations in the show and moving that MC corner closer to the middle of the show even if that wasn’t where it happened, just so we could end on the strongest part of the show – “Shake It Up” and “weeeek”.

There were some noteworthy highlights. I already mentioned “Ai no Beat”, “Shake It Up”, and “”weeeek” as the best performances. I think the VTR with Miyachika-Iwahashi-Jinguji was the only thing after the performance section that really stood out.

The backstage clips would have been noteworthy if they hadn’t been added in as an afterthought. They were very choppy, and it felt like they were only there to fill time.

The fact that only ten juniors were involved in the performances and most of the show could be a good thing or a bad thing – depending on whether the viewer happens to favor these ten. I prefer to see the largest breadth of juniors possible while still giving each junior enough time to shine, so I thought the participation in this episode – and presumably the next one as well – was extremely restrictive. That said, I think part of the reason has to be that these were recorded in March, which is the end of the school year for students, and a lot of the kids must have been crazy busy. Most of the performers we saw here were either older or are otherwise in Horikoshi with flexible schedules. But I don’t understand why Kouchi-kun or Taiga-kun couldn’t be in, not to mention other older juniors like Hanzawa-kun or Anderson-kun.

Rating this one on the Shounen Club scale, I think it gets an 8 or a 9. In the April episodes, we saw some new material, and I saw juniors I hadn’t seen before – at least one of whom got a solo. This time, it was well-trodden stuff, and I felt more like I would have seen everything on a normal Shounen Club, with only the backstage clips as an exception.