Since it's the end of year I've decided to see about trying to at least make some predictions for the upcoming year. Most of the focus will be on the first half of the year as it's near impossible to predict beyond that from what I've noticed with Johnny's. There will be three posts for this if just because there are so many groups/soloists to look at and I want to include the juniors of course.
SMAP is one of those groups that seems to go at their own pace when it comes to releases. They don’t release many singles before an album so I can see them either releasing one more single before an album or just release an album. I think it will depend if they feel that they need to have the singles that were on their recent best of album on a studio album. Of course with them if they release an album then it means they will go on tour, which I can see them scheduling around the summer if they do, as long as the domes are free for it. Of course they could decide to do this all over a course of a year as their 20th anniversary is over so they can take it as easy as they please if they really want to. Otherwise it will be most likely more of the same with variety shows and dramas. As popular as they are SMAP really does not have to worry much about not having enough to do at least.
TOKIO already has a single set to be released in February, which at least means they’ll have something released in 2012. I keep predicting that they will finally release a new album as one is well overdue for the group but since it has not happened in the past couple of years I’m going to just keep that as a wish. They should have at least one or two more single released in 2012 if they keep the 2011 schedule but I really hope this will be the year we finally get that album. I think it would work out well for them to release an album and tour this year, and I think sometime in the first half or around mid-year would be a good time for that to happen. And after the DVD tour release being so very well worth the wait I hope the album will be the same if it happens.
V6 like TOKIO, already has at least some plans announced for 2012 already in the form of a new single. It will drop mid-February and will at least give the group a new single for the year. Though it does not stop there for the group, as two members of the group have drama roles for the winter drama season. I can see the group releasing a bit more this year than last as they need a couple more singles before they can get their next album out. Since I don’t follow the group much I concede that I probably won’t do well predicting for them but I can see the first half of the year being quieter in the sense they probably won’t do more than their regular programs and release a single or two and of course their concert DVD in January, but they probably won’t do anything extra for promotion for that.
Kinki Kids seem to have a yearly schedule down, where when Koichi is busy with SHOCK Tsuyoshi does his solo work and then when both are available put something out together. It works for them and I think we can see that continue for next year. They have a single to start the year off before they part to do their solo activities and will probably at least get another single out this year if not two so they get an album in time for their annual winter concerts. Though there is a chance of them changing things up a bit as 2012 is their 15th anniversary but SHOCK is already scheduled for most of the first half of 2012 so if they do something for it then it will have to be in the second half of the year, which would be more appropriate anyway since their debut single was released in July so it would be closer to that date.
In 2011 Arashi took another approach with their releases from 2010 and did not release as much. I think 2012 will continue on from 2011 for the most part for them as they seem to be plateauing right now, which is not a bad thing as it does mean their popularity is stabilizing and they are set to be some of the best known faces in Japan for some time to come if things continue on. There will probably be a single in early 2012, especially with the group singing the theme song for Matsumoto Jun’s winter drama series, and I can see them release another single before the end of the first half of the year. I think it will really depend on when Johnny’s plans to have them release a new album though as they tend to release about four singles before a new album tour and they only have one released since their last album came out.
It seems like Tackey & Tsubasa has found a good schedule for them to juggle their respective musicals with their music releases. Even though they are not big sellers when it comes to their releases Johnny’s is not the kind of agency that just dumps an act if they don’t sell. They seem to have gotten back on track from when they weren’t releasing anything together and I expect them to release something in the first half of the year between the musicals and concerts they already have scheduled for 2012.