I actually tried to post this yesterday but I've been rather busy this weekend so I didn't get far before I had to leave it to do other things. But as you can see this is a massive post, hence why I'm actually using a jump break for it, so I hope you guys don't mind the wait.
First off I think I need to make sure everyone knows what I'm talking about when I talk about debut. I've thought about it for a while now and finally figured an easy way to title the two different CD debuts Johnny's can have. The CD debuts that are only for a single CD, such as Shuuji to Akira, Ya-Ya-Yah, GYM, Snow Prince Gasshoudan, etc..., are what I like to call one-shot debuts, as you don't get follow up CD releases by these groups and their status (as in the groups they were originally in or not moving up from being a Junior) doesn't change. The next debut type is what I've come to call career debuts. These debuts are for groups and solo acts that release a CD with the plan to continue releasing CDs as a group or solo act, the most recent to have done this are Akanishi Jin and of course Kis-My-Ft2. And of course with a career debut there is a status change as there are group changes most of the time and these groups/soloists are no longer considered Juniors.
The only exceptions I can think of to those are J-Friends, which was meant to be a temporary group to raise charity money, and NYC as despite releasing more than one single Nakayama Yuma hasn't had a status change and is still a Junior. Just about every other group I think fits neatly into the one-shot debut or career debut categories.
The volleyball unit debut I'm talking about in this post is for a career debut so when I'm talking about debuting for the rest of the post it's this kind of debut I'm talking about.
I do honestly think that we are indeed going to have another debut this year as if you've looked at the debut years between the volleyball debut groups (V6, Arashi, NEWS and Hey! Say! JUMP) there are four years between each one. 2011 will be four years after Hey! Say! JUMP's debut which means we're due for the next volleyball debut unit. And I think the image and target age group between Kis-My-Ft2 and a volleyball debut unit (as they all start off with a youthful and fresh image) are different enough that it won't be that much of an issue having only about six months between debut singles.
Before going to the lists there is one Junior that I'm not sure where to place because it's so hard to figure out what's going on with him. That of course is Nakayama Yuma. He's had a one-shot debut with Nakayama Yuma w/ B.I. Shadow & NYC boys, then what looks like a career debut with NYC but he's still listed as a Junior by Johnny's. So it's hard to figure out what his debut chances are when technically he already has a career debut with NYC. I think though if Johnny's plans on having him debut with another group though it's bound to be the upcoming volleyball group. I say this because he would be a shoe-in to be lead as he has easily the most experience of the Juniors for being in active groups and as lead already. And unlike NYC he won't be easily overshadowed by fellow members, at least for a while, as he would be the most well known of the group.
Most Likely to Debut
This list are for the few that seem like they would be no brainers to be debuted based on how Johnny's has promoted then, such as how much time they get on Shounen Club, acting roles in movies and dramas and part of the regular cast of shows.
I will be shocked, completely and utterly, if Morimoto Shintaro does not debut with the next group. Between numerous drama and stage roles, starring in a movie, being a regular on a variety program and even already having a one-shot debut he has to be one of the better known Juniors right now. And because of all the promotion he has a good deal of experience in talking to press and the like so he would be a perfect front boy for a new group.
Johnny's seemed to know exactly what they have with Nakaken, as I know I am one of many fans that saw his star potential the moment he was given just a few moments of screen time on Shounen Club. He just has a natural star quality that is perfect for an idol to have. Johnny's has done well by making sure he has gotten drama roles, even if they're just part of the supporting cast. He, as well as the rest of B.I. Shadow, also had the help of having a one-shot debut making them rather well known for Juniors. And as they are almost always present at Hey! Say! JUMP concerts they get a good deal of exposure that way too.
I think Sanada may be more a mix of this category and the next. I think it would be smart for Johnny's to debut him and they seem to have shown signs that he's well in the running. I say this as he's been promoted outside of Mis Snow Man several times, I clearly remember a recent Shounen Club episode that Mis Snow Man was there but Sanada mostly sung with other Juniors than with them. And of course when he is performing with Mis Snow Man he is one of the front boys and main vocals so he gets a good amount of screen time. He's a regular on two different TV programs and the only Johnny's that acted in Kinpachi-sensei's last full season to still be with the agency. And I have a feeling that the upcoming MSM movie is going to have him front and center for most of it. Even if he isn't a surefire candidate for the next debut he's bound to be one of the leading candidates.
Leading Candidates for Debut
These are the Juniors that I can see being chosen for debut but wouldn't be placing any bets on just yet.
I really do think Hasshi stands a good chance at debut. He's the right age and he's worked so hard in the past few years with A.B.C.-Z. The Hasshi from before that seemed too shy to say much of anything when talked to on stage has completely disappeared and he seems comfortable no matter where he is. As a member of A.B.C.-Z he has had ample opportunity to perform with them, whether it be back dancing, in musicals or on Shounen Club. In fact very few Junior groups get the amount of chances to perform as A.B.C.-Z and Kis-My-Ft2 and as one of the lead vocals of A.B.C.-Z it also means a lot of screen time. The only thing that makes me stop from putting him up in the other grouping is that he does lack exposure in things like dramas and TV programs. But I honestly think Johnny's would be wasting a great talent by not debuting him.
Where Nakaken goes Fuma is usually there with him so I would think he would at least be a strong candidate for debuting next. It also helps that he's lead vocals with Nakaken for B.I. Shadow so he gets a good amount of screen time. As one of the original BIS members he's had his chance at acting and like the rest of the current BIS members he has the advantage of the popularity boost from a one-shot debut on his side. He may not be the natural Nakaken is but I think he has a great deal of potential.
Nozawa is much like Fuma but instead being Sanada's near constant companion. This has helped him in that he is a regular on a TV program with Sanada. And then there's the fact he's the other lead vocal for Mis Snow Man. I'm sure he'll also get a sizable role in the upcoming MSM film. I think he's another Junior that shows promise but needs the right opportunities to keep improving himself with.
With being a regular on a TV program and a one-shot debut with the rest of B.I. Shadow I think Yuugo actually has a good chance of being picked for debut. I would have never thought in the first few months since his joining Johnny's but recently he seems to have really come out of his shell and actually gotten comfortable on stage. I think Fuma has a better shot than Yuugo does for debut but I wouldn't be surprised to see him selected as well.
Otsuka gets on this list because after all this group is going to be about youth so there's bound to be a good chance young Johnny's like him to be selected. It also helps that he's been grouped with Morimoto Shintaro before Snow Prince Gasshoudan was even formed so out of the younger Juniors he's one of the more recognizable. He also tends to get selected when they want to do something with the Juniors that include the younger group so he does get a decent amount of promotion through that.
Honestly I wasn't sure if I should have put him on this list but I think for the younger Juniors he probably has a good chance if just for the fact he is Tanaka Koki's younger brother. He has been given quite a bit of attention because of this so he's probably one of the better known young Juniors from this. I honestly would want Johnny's to wait a while before debuting him as I feel he still needs more time and experience before I would think him to be debut ready.
Others I Would Like to See Debut
I really wanted to put him in the category above but I just don't think there's been enough focus on him recently to warrant it. I would love to have him debut though as he has a great voice and seems to promising. It's just frustrating that he's one of the un-grouped Juniors, as he really only gets to be a part of medleys, and while he's usually always lead vocal for them it's just such a short time before he has to move aside for the next group to do their part of the medley. I just hope Johnny's aren't forgetting him and he does have a good shot at debuting and soon.
I feel bad that I can't figure out how to gauge the Kansai Juniors well when it comes to debut possibilities. The only exception is of course Nakayama Yuma but even with him there are issues. What I do know though is that I've come to like Shigeoka from 7WEST and would love to see him debut. He comes off as being likable with a natural charisma and he's really the Kansai Junior that stands out the most to me right now. (Excluding Yuma of course.)
Anyone else from 7WEST
I want a Kansai Junior to be a part of this upcoming group that hasn't debuted before. And while Shigeoka is my top choice and I'll be sad if he doesn't debut I'd still be happy if any of his group mates get to debut instead. This group seems to easily be one of the most popular Kansai Junior groups and I think they all show promise if Johnny's gives them the chance and has them debut. And if they don't debut any of them with the new volleyball group then there better be plans for the next Kanjani8 in the works or I shall rage.
Casey probably seems like an odd choice but I don't care, I like him. He's been a regular mic holding Junior on Shounen Club for a while and there's just something about him I really like. I haven't quite placed what that something is but I do feel he's worked hard and long and I would like to see him succeed because of that. Of course right now I'd just be happy to hear him sing a few solo lines here and there on Shounen Club so I know this is mainly wishful thinking. But this list is for who I want to see debuted and he's definitely on that list.
I place Hakuto down here because as much as I am his fan I don't think he has the same chance as his fellow BIS members do at being chosen for debuting at this time. He hasn't been given all the chances his group members have to be showcased and seems to have a more reserved personality so without those chances it's probably hard for him to get noticed. But I don't think that if he doesn't debut this time around it's over for him because he is one of the younger members of BIS so he probably has enough time that if he stays with it and works hard enough he'll get another chance. Though I really would not mind being proven wrong and have him debut sooner rather than later.
Though despite all my speculation and wishes I doubt I'm completely spot on with everything. I'm sure I've forgotten some Juniors that should be on the Leading Candidates list, partly because I'm not familiar with each Junior. I feel other members of Mis Snow Man and more of the younger Juniors or the un-grouped probably do have decent chances as well but I just don't know them well enough to give much more explanation outside of them being the right age and possibly being popular enough with either fans or management to be considered. Then there's always the fact that Johnny's tends to throw in a Junior that is new to the agency in these groups.
One thing to note from watching past Shounen Club episodes I think paying attention to who gets spotlighted in the September episodes tend to hint towards possible Juniors that will be selected. Which makes sense as that's bound to be the Shounen Club episodes right before they announce the new group. So I may do an updated version of this when that time comes.
But one thing is for sure, unless the next group has twenty members of something I'm going to be heartbroken over favorites not making it. As much as I look forward to this debut I'm dreading it as well.