This episode of Gamushara J’s Party!! (ガムシャラ J’s Party!!) started with a long opening as usual, but with strange credits this time – they were apparently trying to imitate Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou based on the background music, but having the names of the juniors on black background instead of directly on their images was unhelpful and choppy.

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The Dramatis Personae this time were Jesse, Morita Myuto, Nozawa Yuki, Morohoshi Shoki, Kyomoto Taiga, Kouchi Yugo, Tanaka Juri, Morimoto Shintaro, Haniuda Amu, Nagata Jiei, and Matsumura Hokuto. So, pretty much the usual number of participants. I’m having trouble separating who has appeared in Gamushara versus who has performed in J’s Party, but I think the newbies in this one are Kyomoto Taiga-kun, Kouchi Yugo-kun, and Nagata Jiei-kun (who is in because of the pole dancing challenge).

Just in case the opening credits were inadequate, they took the liberty of identifying everyone during the opening. Each performer got to greet the audience during the Overture. Interesting to note that the poles for that challenge were already up, and presumably had to be there for the entire concert.

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Haniuda-kun and Nagata-kun were not on stage for the opening and the first song – “Luv Sick” – but everyone else was present.

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The first performance was a very good start to the show. I’m mainly looking to see contributions from Taiga-kun and Kouchi-kun, and we got some Taiga solo lines in here.

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I also liked the black-and-white costume theme, though I suspect that they’ll be breaking out the intense colors soon enough.

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The second song was “Dancing Star”, and the energy continued to be fairly good. Early on, this seemed to be going better than the May episodes where most of these guys also appeared. Let’s see if they manage to keep it up.

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Well, they couldn’t have gone wrong with the next song – “Shake It Up”. Especially since it was just the six Bakaleya members performing the song. Given the way this J’s Party opened as well as the little teaser last month, it’s pretty clear that the staff wanted to deliver a Bakaleya reunion. But is this something the agency is looking into, or not?

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Even after all this time, they seem a particularly fun group to watch. Why can’t they just be a regular named group? I missed the reason for that.

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More vocal stylings from Taiga-kun in this one, by the way, and also some sharp dancing from Kouchi-kun, Remember when Kouchi-kun couldn’t dance and kept bumping into people? Ah, growth is a wonderful thing!

We seem to be on a Kis-My-Ft2 kick here, so Nozawa-kun, Morohoshi-kun, and Myuto-kun popped out in bright colors to sing “Ki-su-u-ma-i”, “SHE! HER! HER!”, “Ai no Beat”, and “Everybody Go”. Nagata-kun and Haniuda-kun joined in during the second song as backdancers.

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The good thing about having so many Kis-My-Ft2 songs is that it’s all high-energy. The downside is that it’s about time these elder juniors get some songs of their own.

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In the middle of all this KMF2 madness, the rest of the cast got into more colorful clothing, and were joined by well-wishers Takahashi Fuu-kun, Okamoto Kauan-kun, and others on the balcony.

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“Everybody Go” almost felt like a finale song, the way they did it.

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So, I’m glad they didn’t try to follow it with another song, and instead went with an MC talk. Here, I found out that it was Morita Myuto-kun’s first time, too.

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Kyomoto-kun made sure that Jiei-kun got a chance to talk.

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They kept the MC talk fairly short, and I was happy with that as well since the longer they converse, the more I feel like I’m missing.

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The next performance was “1 for you” with Shintaro, Hokuto, Kouchi, Morohoshi, Nozawa, and Juri. This didn’t seem to keep pace with the earlier performances – felt a little sloppier.

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I was wondering when we would get some solo performances, and the first one was Hokuto-kun singing “Bambina”. This was a very good effort from him, and makes me wonder why we don’t see solos from him on Shounen Club any more.

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To my surprise, Morita-kun performed “Shelter” next with support from Haniuda-kun and Nagata-kun. This was more of a dancing showcase for Myuto-kun, as his voice isn’t really up to soloing otherwise. Still, nice to see the spotlight on him like this for the first time.

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And if I was looking for a vocal showcase, I got it with the next stage: Kyomoto Taiga-kun singing “Tears”. He was really scratching the top end of his range on this one, and I hope he works on adding volume to his lower notes.

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I was totally expecting a Jesse solo next, but we actually went to “Perfect” as performed by Taiga, Hokuto, Kouchi, Juri, and Shintaro. Hmm . . . the only Bakaleya missing is Jesse-kun. This song was okay until Juri-kun started rapping – his rapping style is really jarring, especially in a song like this.

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Jesse, Nozawa, Morohoshi, and Myuto joined in for “Jounetsu”. For this one, I would have preferred fewer voices. I wonder if Jesse-kun and Hokuto-kun could have done it as a duo – if they could have held up the vocal end, I think that would have been a more compelling piece of entertainment.

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“Jumpin’ up”? Have I ever heard this one before? I don’t think so – or it was a long time ago.

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From the way Juri-kun had a rap section in the middle, it was easy to deduce that this was a KAT-TUN song, and I admittedly haven’t kept track of KAT-TUN as much as other Johnny’s groups.

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While that was a upbeat song, it felt more like the setup to a finale song rather than a fitting song to wrap up on. Nevertheless, we turned from that to a Jesse Talk segment, where we continue to be thankful that they haven’t done that English segment again.

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Jesse-kun can talk about Hawaii memories as much as he likes, as long as he lays off the English.

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After that, we got another promotion for the big summer event. Normally I’d just leave out mention of these tangential things, but this time there was an actual performance involved – Marius Yo-kun, Iwahashi Genki-kun, and Jinguji Yuta-kun singing “with you”.

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And looking quite sharp, if I may say so. They’re a charismatic trio, without question.

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Yasui Kentaro-kun and Jesse-kun joined them on stage to pump up the crowd and to talk about the event.

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This went on for more than ten minutes – a remarkably long time for what was essentially just another MC talk.

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I did get a kick out of the English battle between Marius-kun and Jesse-kun, though. Marius-kun is better, but he’s going to have to come up with something wittier than “shut up” to prove it.

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I like the idea of Marius-kun as presenter – he just naturally produces so much silliness, it can’t help but be amusing. The way he got Yasui-kun to do the “sexy rose” thing was brilliant. He came perilously close to putting “sexy” in every sentence, though, and I think maybe a sexy swear box (where people have to put a 100 yen in every time they use the word “sexy”) should be instituted across Johnny’s (except when referring to Sexy Zone specifically).

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The announcer talked about the four teams who will be showing the effort of their Gamushara work during the summer event . . .

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. . . we got a preview of the second July episode of J’s Party . . .

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. . . and then Masuda Ryo-kun hunted for an interview target and found Yasui-kun and Jesse-kun.

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They mostly examined costumes, since they happened to be in the wardrobe room.

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Nice Johnny’s Performing Arts warm-ups:

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In the end, I thought the three of them did an excellent job with this segment – it felt like a better conclusion than we usually get.

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On the whole, I was pleased with this episode. Tons of amusement, moderate levels of excitement, and overall a smooth ride except that the second part of the show was, as usual, choppy. The performances felt like the usual stuff – very Kis-My-Ft2 and KAT-TUN, which is material that the junior featured this time have shown off before with varying success. I still can’t help but feel that they would do even better if they started getting their own songs and were part of steady groups, but Johnny’s has suddenly become allergic to such thinking.

Bakaleya Six was back for one song – the title song to the drama – and that was pretty much it. I can’t say I’m surprised, but I’ll admit to being disappointed. It was still nice to see it.

Kyomoto-kun and Kouchi-kun got quite a lot of focus, I thought, so that was a big positive as far as I’m concerned.

We’ll get the pole dancing challenge next time, but since we already saw it on Gamushara, I wonder if the next episode will have anything surprising to offer.