Even with a bit of a rocky start I think things look good for Sexy Zone. While they needed to pull a lot of stunts to ensure getting the number 1 spot for their debut week their debut single has been selling well in the weeks after. While most groups just drop and rather quick after their first couple of weeks SZ’s single has been remaining on the charts and has been benefitting quite a bit from the end of year programs as well. I think now that people are getting to know the boys in the group they are attracting new fans. And with Sato Shori in a supporting role for a winter drama it will be a good step in moving him and his group into the spotlight and hopefully will continue getting the attention of new potential fans. Having their own concerts in February is a good sign that at least Johnny’s has faith that they can headline a concert and I can see them doing more concerts throughout the year to help build experience much like with Hey! Say! JUMP when they started out. I do believe in April we will get the next single from this group and hopefully by then they won’t need help from another group to get their number 1 for that.
A.B.C-Z of course is set to have an exciting year with 2012 with not only a debut in February but they follow that up with their stage show which in turn will be followed by even more live performances across the country from March until early May. Since they do not seem to be following the typical release pattern of debuted groups I will expect to be surprised by whatever they release next. But I can see them being a performance heavy group and see them being busy throughout the year with projects of all sorts, together or separate.
For the Tokyo Juniors I think it’s easy to predict we will be seeing the creation of a new group or so. Either that or use of groups that have been rather underused so far. Of course it may be a bit of a slow start for that at the beginning of the year as I think EbiKisuZone need to have less of a presence on Shounen Club for that to happen but I don’t see that happening until after A.B.C-Z debut and it would be more Kis-My-Ft2 lessening their time on the program because of their concerts. The few months after a debut, especially a FIVB debut, are always strange when it comes to the Juniors as Johnny’s figures out what to do with those remaining. So I would expect them to try various formations before eventually putting groups together for a while. Though from what I’ve noticed a couple of Juniors that look like Johnny’s is prepping to be in the spotlight a bit are Kyomoto Taiga and Tanaka Juri. So it will be interesting to see what comes of it.
Kansai Juniors had a good year overall in 2011, even though the departures were saddening. But for the top Kansai Juniors, like Nakayama Yuma, 7 WEST, B.A.D. and Hamada Takahiro they seem to be in a good place with being able to remain active throughout the year. Other groups like Veteran and Shadow West seem to be doing well, even with the recent roster change with Shadow West. But for those top Kanjuu I can see 2012 being another good year for them. In fact Nakayama Yuma already has something to really be proud of with his solo song being an A-side on the NYC single that comes out in a few days. He is already scheduled for Takazawa Kakumei again this year and I would not be surprised in the slightest to see him in PLAYZONE again. I would like to see the return of Shounentachi again this year, especially if Kanjuu get to be a part of the Tokyo version of the production again.