In my continuing reviews of Gamushara J’s Party!! (ガムシャラ J’s Party!!), I’m going to skip discussing parts that are just filler – like the very long intro of the show, VTRs of Gamushara that don’t include new material, and the clips in the first episode of each month that are really teasers for the second episode, but take a substantial portion of the show.

So, let’s jump right into the action with Jesse-kun singing “Misty”:

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Indeed, it was very much like we were starting to watch a concert already in progress, as the first thing we saw was other people clearing the stage for him.

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After last week’s more boisterous episode (Bad Boys and all that), I’m wondering if we’re going to get a calmer one this time. It’s sure starting out that way. This is an extremely odd song to start on, and I’m going to call the director/organizers out for being sloppy with this – they should have planned for the guys to do something to kick off the second episode during the recording of this, but apparently that slipped their minds. I guess they just hope that the juniors do something that will work as the first song of an episode around halfway into the concert?

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“Misty” wasn’t taxing at all for Jesse-kun, and he was soon joined by Matsumura Hokuto-kun, Hagiya Keigo-kun, and eventually the rest of the cast for this episode for “Parental Advisory Explicit Content”. This is, of course, the KinKi Kids medley that was previewed in the first episode.

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All ten of the juniors featured in the May episodes of J’s Party then sang “Kanashimi Blue”. Having ten people sing KinKi Kids songs in unison is a bit of a waste, since it obscures the texture of the vocals, but they only spent a single verse that way before everyone except Jesse-kun and Yasui Kentaro-kun left so the two of them could sing “Angel”. But they only got around twenty-five seconds to do that before they cleared out so Hagiya Keigo-kun and Morohoshi Shoki-kun could kick off “Kiss Kara Hajimaru Mystery”.

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The rest of the junior snuck in once the lyrics started. By this point, I was getting a bit irritated by how choppy this medley was, and how the parts that sounded best seemed cut short.

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But that wasn’t the worst of it – the worst part of this medley was how the juniors kept entering and leaving the stage. So, the song that was started out with Hagiya-kun and Morohoshi-kun at some points had all the juniors involved, but Jesse-kun and Hokuto-kun ended up with the stage to themselves for the last bars of it, only so everyone could come back for “Burning Love”. WHY? Why couldn’t they have just done a little backdancing while Jesse-kun and Hokuto-kun were singing so that they could skip that exit and entry?

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KinKi Kids songs are generally a good showcase for vocals, but not so here. Apparently, whoever made the decisions for this show didn’t have much faith in the vocal abilities of most of these juniors – except for Jesse-kun, Hokuto-kun, and Yasui-kun.

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After the medley, they went right into an MC talk. That’s funny, because we had an MC talk last time already, and here we have another one. If you put the episodes back-to-back and take out the sections that were just previews of this episode, I think they basically did an MC talk, the KinKi Kids medley, and then went right back to the MC talk.

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Now, it’s more interesting than most of the Shounen Club talk segments, and I’ve always said that they should do those talk segments standing up on stage like an MC corner, since it’d give a more active feel to it, let them face each other properly, and give them full freedom to gesture. But most of the talk segments are lost on me anyway – I don’t know what they’re talking about.

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Thankfully, they were just stalling so that Nozawa Yuki-kun could get ready for his solo – “Hanasanaide Ai”.

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This wasn’t a bad effort from Nozawa-kun, but I’ve never been a big fan of his voice – it’s too shallow. He’s generally best when working with someone else.

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Yasui-kun followed with “OVERTURE”, which was a dance showcase for him, and then sang “Inori”.

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He can manage a solo, and did so here. The agency really needs to find some way of debuting him – and preferably put him in good group to do so – and I really don’t know what the hold-up is. People with far less ability have debuted before, and there’s a surplus of talented juniors to put him in a group with. If they’re having trouble deciding, maybe they should just let Yasui-kun pick who he’d like to work with.

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Sanada Yuma-kun went next, performing “Dancing Star”, which suited his voice well. At least, he was able to sing over the loud background music.

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With that, they went to commercial, and then came back with backstage rehearsal clips. Now we’re talking! Frankly, the performance material has been lackluster, and these extended rehearsal scenes are much more interesting.

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Heck, if they just wanted to show fifteen solid minutes of this, I doubt fans would complain.

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While it was longer than most such clips that we see, it was still over too soon. It would have also been more interesting if more juniors were involved and we saw them practicing different performances.

Anyway, they went on to the on-stage rehearsal and costume management . . . .

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For the most part, the announcer talked over these scenes – I guess he figured we couldn’t tell what was happening without his help – but occasionally we got some words from the juniors, starting with Jesse-kun.

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Hokuto-kun managed to get a featured role this time – he brought out his costume rack and talked about the costumes, including which senpai wore each one – mostly KAT-TUN hand-me-downs.

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After that, there was a group meeting . . .

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. . . and then with ten minutes left before the show started, a flurry of activity and a huddle.

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The show starts at 6:00 p.m., but this time we got to see what was happening in the back while the main event was going on. A rare camera moment for Shintaro-kun:

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Yasui-kun in the wings.

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Noon Boyz get a few words in . . .

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. . . then it was back to Jesse-kun, who’s looking tired.

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Then we jumped to March 28th, and Morohoshi-kun’s stretching methods.

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They prepare the signed balls and Hokuto-kun messes up the “EX” in EX Theater on one he was writing on – he wrote the E backwards, eliciting comments that he’s an airhead. I didn’t think of him that way before, but between J’s Party and Gamushara, there’s definitely a case to be made that he has that character.

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He explains the way he signs his name. Seems quite involved.

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Next, we saw Haigya Keigo-kun armed with a camera.

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His targets were Tanaka Juri-kun and Okamoto Kauan-kun. I didn’t detect anything particularly interesting, but I didn’t understand everything they said.

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Juri-kun got plenty of time in this one.

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And with that, we turned back to the stage as those three – Juri-kun, Hagiya-kun, and Kauan-kun – did some rapping. I . . . didn’t like this part. So far, the stage work in this episode has been skippable.

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Eventually, Jesse-kun snuck back on stage. Why do I get the feeling that this was meant to be the opening of the second episode, but they decided to bury it?

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With the rest of the cast returning to the stage, they sang “Jounetsu”. This might have been the first solid ensemble performance of the show. At least this time people weren’t randomly entering and leaving the stage.

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They followed that with “Thank You”, with some of the members relocating to the upper balcony areas (including Jesse-kun and Hokuto-kun heading to the audience area).

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“Hitomi wo Tojite” had them all running and jumping around. This clearly felt like the final spurt, as they call it – the finale.

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They all thanked the audience and left the stage, with Jesse-kun the last to leave.

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Then we got the preview of next month which I’m not supposed to talk about. I will say that I was happy to see a full range of juniors again – just having ten was a bit restricting. Oh, and we’ll get the spray art challenge.

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There was a segment plugging Gamushara, but since it had new video featuring Iwahashi Genki, Abe Aran, Jinguji Yuta, Miyachika Kaito, and Kishi Yuta, I get to talk about it. Strangely, while the first three mentioned were in Gamushara outfits, Miyachika-kun and Kishi-kun weren’t. This whole thing seemed very impromptu, which is fine by me – the more spontaneous these VTRs are, the better.

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Speaking of which, Morohoshi Shoki-kun decided to interview (if you can all it that) Noon Boyz, and it was amusing because there seemed to be minimal preparation . . .

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. . . and constant interruptions from people floating in the background (especially Jesse-kun making funny faces).

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This interview took an extraordinary amount of time – around five minutes – and should probably be better integrated in the show since it’s too long to be an omake segment. I still think J’s Party could be vastly improved if the director saw fit to end it with a performance or with the boys wrapping up backstage and closing the door as they left instead of with an ad for Gamushara and an interview like this. I enjoyed this segment, but felt it was out of place. Oddly, it wouldn’t have been bad close to the beginning, but the best place might have been between right after the clip of Hokuto-kun talking about his costumes.

Altogether, this was a disappointing episode. The first May episode was better, and the April episodes better than either of the ones from this month. The show remains highly disorganized and I don’t really understand what the director is thinking when he or she edits this show together. There’s a pattern to it, but it’s not a very sensible pattern.

The May episodes suffered from an inadequate mix of juniors and the fact that all or almost all of the performances had already been done on Shounen Club. Often, the Shounen Club versions were actually superior. I suppose for fans of these particular ten juniors it will be fun to watch, though I’m not sure even they will be satisfied with the performances.

The best parts of the show were, of course, the backstage bits, and those alone make the episode worth watching. I think fans will at least be happy with those, though we linguistically-deprived types are at a disadvantage.