NEWS is probably not going to be able to do too much for the first couple of months in 2012 if just because Johnny’s has to shift gears a bit with them now that they don’t have to take breaks for Kanjani8 to do something. I see that March will probably be the most likely month for their comeback single, which would be actually rather fitting seeing that the comeback single after the 2006 hiatus came out in March as well. I would love to see February but I think that month will be too full with other releases wit this winter drama season having so many Johnny’s in starring roles and having a good chance of their respective groups to do the theme songs for them. Other than that I think things are looking up for the group in general now that the remaining four can fully commit themselves to the group and there won’t be any need for them to take long breaks to do something else. I do hope around the middle of the year we’ll get another single at least.
I can see Kanjani8 having a similar year in 2012 to 2011. They are in a good spot for them, they may not be as mega popular as Arashi but they have risen in popularity enough that none of the members should have to worry about not having enough work. This year though is their 8th anniversary, and as they didn’t really do anything for their 5th like most groups do I’m sure they are planning something special for this year. I do think they will keep their release pattern to make sure they have a winter concert tour as they do need the Kyocera Dome in Osaka for Johnny’s Countdown as it seems to get more and more crowded every year at the Tokyo Dome.
KAT-TUN looks to be set to have a much better year with 2012 than with 2011. While their annual tour had to be cancelled they were able to at least keep releasing singles on a regular basis for the most part and with their next album, CHAIN, coming out in January they are set to begin touring again shortly after. Kamenashi Kazuya hit it big with his recent drama, Ningen Bemu, and it’s the kind of drama I can see getting a SP for it at some point after its run. But I think this should him and the group rise again after the fall they experienced with Akanishi Jin left when it comes to sales. They will probably keep the same release pattern for the most part so I don’t think KAT-TUN fans will be left wanting this year.
With a NYC single out of the way so quickly in the year it could mean Hey! Say! JUMP could actually have a rather normal year when it comes to releases. I think for the first half of the year we will definitely see a single release and I would think an album is a possibility. If we don’t get an album in the first half of the year it will come in the second half as with the next single they will have four singles that are not on an album and that is usually about the amount before an album gets released for Japanese artists. But certainly with the group doing the theme song for Yamada Ryosuke’s winter drama we should a single out of it and I would guess a February release date. And I would expect something for the group to celebrate their 5th anniversary in 2012, but it will most likely be something around the end of the year, closer to their debut date.
Akanishi Jin should be back in the U.S. for the start of 2012 as he gears up for his U.S. debut album. I would not be surprised if he released another Japanese single for the first half of the year, because even if his goal is America his largest fan base is in Japan. So I see for him that the first half of 2012 will be him trying to balance out releasing an album in the U.S. while keeping some interest in him in Japan.
Yamashita Tomohisa looks to be already set to go for the upcoming year, most likely helped by the fact that the things he’s set to do now were probably planned for him before the decision of him leaving NEWS was finalized. I’m sure we will be getting a new single or two from him during the first half of the year.
Kis-My-Ft2 will be kept busy next year with the tours they’ve announced. The overseas tour and the national tour should keep them touring almost all throughout the year. Being signed on with Avex should help them with releasing singles in a regular schedule so even if they will be busy with touring they can still release something new. I will assume they should have a single for each season so their next one will be in Spring followed by another in Summer and hopefully an album after that.