I somehow managed to get “Paraiso” stuck in my head from the previous episode of Gamushara J’s Party!! (ガムシャラ J’s Party!!), so will the second part of the summer festival provide me with a new accidental soundtrack?
At the very beginning of this episode, they have the announcement of which team won the competition (the double dutch team). They then proceed with a Sexy Zone medley to start the latter half of the concert. The two members of SZ – Marius Yo-kun and Matsushima Sou-kun perform a straightforward singles medley (literally going through each of their singles in order) with assorted juniors.
When I say assorted, I mean it – I don’t know the names of most of the kids in red.
As for the performance, it was really nothing new, though I guess it’s nice to see that Marius-kun and Sou-kun can handle all the songs with a little bit of help from their junior friends.
Following that, Hanzawa Akatsuki-kun, Masuda Ryo-kun, and Jesse-kun did “Kawatta Katachi no Ishi” from – you guessed it – KinKi Kids. Hanzawa-kun and Masuda-kun sounded a bit strained at this point, but Jesse-kun was still smooth.
Next was “Yokubou no Rain” as performed by all five members of the basketball trick team. Fukusawa-kun was especially charismatic in this one. I first saw this song performed by Nakajima Kento-kun as a solo, and the dance in that version was much more energetic and difficult – this one was more relaxed (which is actually more in tune with the feel of the song).
Fukusawa-kun and Iwamoto-kun continued to be out in front for “To be or not to be” and “Believe Your Smile”, and Fukusawa-kun continued to make the best of the opportunity.
So that was clearly the basketball team’s part, and we moved on to the breakdancing team next. It was here that we got teary Iwahashi-kun who was feeling bad about his team’s loss.
And it was touching to see it and perfectly all right, because it showed that he cared deeply about the effort. I also appreciate that he still had a “show must go on” mentality regardless.
I was critical of him early in the challenge two months ago – or at least the director’s portrayal of him – because it had seemed like he wasn’t trying his best to win and was showing a lack of motivation and passion. Here, of course, is the opposite, and more in-line with what I thought Genki-kun’s personality was.
I didn’t really get the water pistol thing in the middle of “Koi no ABO” – seemed random – and then they continued with a nice rendition of “Fire Beat”.
That was a good song with which to segue to Yasui Kentaro-kun singing “Rock U”. Yasui-kun is getting a good share of the stage time now that he’s gotten a chance to appear on J’s Party again, and the material is good. I’d still rather see him with a (small) group that can supplement his singing, though.
Marius-kun, Iwahashi-kun, and Jinguji-kun appeared again for “ABC”. They seem to be specializing in songs with English lyrics in this festival, and the pronunciation on this one was very good (though, of course, the lyrics easy and well-known).
Then they moved on to Chinen-kun’s “Smile Song”, which was sort of a surprise. I haven’t heard this one in a while, and it contains some English errors (“Let’s Changing Myself”) that are now difficult to fix. Still, nice song and very appropriate for this bunch.
The next song was “Danger Zone ~to the unknown world~”, which was another very pleasant surprise for me. I have to say that, while this has been a great set, I was sort of hoping to see the other two teams – the percussion team and the double dutch team – perform together. Still wondering if we’re going to get that.
Iwahashi-kun and Jinguji-kun performed “Hametsuteki Passion” – finally, a Kinki Kids song being performed by two people!
Marius-kun snuck back in for “GOLD”. Wow, these three prepared a lot of songs for this thing!
Finally, they passed the baton to Sou-kun, Matsuda Genta-kun, and Matsukura Kaito-kun, who started their set with “Your Seed”. Interesting variation on the original choreography on this one. It’s definitely a song well-suited to this energetic trio.
The song after that was “Crush”, and they continued to show off their dance skills.
They concluded their run with “Give me . . .”, and just like Marius-Iwahashi-Jinguji, it was a solid medley.
Some of the other participants took to the balconies for “With you”. It doesn’t look like the other two teams are going to get a chance to collaborate.
The cast assembled on stage to move on to the finale phase, for which they appropriately picked the song “epilogue”.
They then thanked the audience and left the stage . . .
. . . before sending out the chibi juniors for a preliminary encore. They sang the chibi junior anthem – “Yuuki 100%”.
The elder members of the cast joined them after a quick costume change, wearing the same tee-shirts. Except the breakdancing team and some members of the percussion team. I have no idea why they were excluded, except perhaps they were taxed from the challenges?
Yasui-kun, Marius-kun, and Matsushima-kun did a little MC talk to give people time to prepare for a further encore . . .
. . . and then the four teams reemerged in their competition outfits. Well, nice to see that we’ll get a proper finale with all of them instead of missing parts of the teams.
The percussion guys started things off with a reprise of their show. So now we know why they felt all right putting all the challenges in the first episode of the month.
The sound of their actual drumming was clearer this time, I thought.
The double-dutch team did their part next. Will it be as flawless as the first time?
And then the breakdancers and the basketballers got their shots:
The show concluded with them singing the theme song “Gamusharara” . . .
. . . and final goodbyes.
Okay, so there you have it: the Gamushara Summer Festival. It was more like watching a concert DVD in two parts than any normal pair of J’s Party episodes, and there wasn’t any backstage footage. In terms of on-stage stuff, this was pretty much the pinnacle of junior programming for the past few years. Certainly no other pair of Shounen Clubs or J’s Partys could compete with the effort put into this.
These guys did a great job putting on this show, and it was a smooth two hours to watch. Some members got a lot more attention than others, but at least they used that time in an entertaining fashion and showed off some material I hadn’t seen from them before. And the challenges are still amazing after a half dozen times watching them.
I wonder what will come of it? Do you suppose this might have finally given the agency some ideas about these juniors?
I also wonder whether J’s Party is going to go back to its format of the past few months, or if they’ll change things a bit for the start of the new season in October. (It is renewed for the new season, right?) I’m hoping for some pleasant October surprises.