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.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 000 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 001

When I say assorted, I mean it – I don’t know the names of most of the kids in red.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 002 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 003

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.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 004 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 005 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 006

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.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 007 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 008 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 009

 

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).

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 010

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.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 011 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 012

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.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 013

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.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 014

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.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 0152014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 016

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”.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 017 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 018 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 019 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 020

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.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 021 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 022

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).

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 023

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.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 024

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!

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 025

 

Marius-kun snuck back in for “GOLD”. Wow, these three prepared a lot of songs for this thing!

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 026 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 027

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.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 028 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 029 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 030

The song after that was “Crush”, and they continued to show off their dance skills.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 031 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 032

They concluded their run with “Give me . . .”, and just like Marius-Iwahashi-Jinguji, it was a solid medley.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 033

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.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 034

The cast assembled on stage to move on to the finale phase, for which they appropriately picked the song “epilogue”.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 035 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 036 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 037 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 038 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 039

They then thanked the audience and left the stage . . .

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 040

. . . before sending out the chibi juniors for a preliminary encore. They sang the chibi junior anthem – “Yuuki 100%”.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 041 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 042 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 043

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?

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 0442014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 0462014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 0482014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 050

Yasui-kun, Marius-kun, and Matsushima-kun did a little MC talk to give people time to prepare for a further encore . . .

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 052

. . . 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.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 053 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 054

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.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 055 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 056

The sound of their actual drumming was clearer this time, I thought.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 057

The double-dutch team did their part next. Will it be as flawless as the first time?

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 058 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 059 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 060

And then the breakdancers and the basketballers got their shots:

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 0612014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 0632014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 0642014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 0652014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 066

The show concluded with them singing the theme song “Gamusharara” . . .

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 069 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 070 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 0712014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 073

. . . and final goodbyes.

2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 074 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 075 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 076 2014.09.13 Gamushara Js Party 077

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.