Of course one of the topics I've been hoping to get the chance to write about is the announcement of A.B.C-Z's debut next year. At the recent press conference for their upcoming stage show they made the announcement and mentioned that instead of debuting with a CD they will debut with a DVD. They cited that they feel that it was important for people to see them perform and they got the okay from Johnny Kitagawa. They will be the first Johnny's group to debut with a DVD and the release is scheduled for February 4th, 2012.
Yahoo! Japan News article. (Japanese)
Honestly I've been of the mind that there was no way A.B.C-Z would not debut once the announcement was made months ago. So while I'm not surprised at the announcement I am surprised that it will be so soon. Yet seeing as they aren't doing the traditional debut I think it'll work out fine for them. If anything they shouldn't have to worry as much about competition as the groups that have CD debuts.
One thing I'm glad to see is that at least Johnny forgot about the whole adding members thing. From the kind of group they seem to be set up to be keeping the group as it is should be just fine.
I can only assume this DVD though will be something like a DVD single, which is basically a DVD with a PV, sometimes some live performance footage, that gets released by some artists from time to time. The big draw of course being that the DVD is not much more expensive than a CD single. Or I guess you can think of it as buying the bonus DVD on a limited edition of a CD single but without the CD. But I can't see them releasing something like a full concert or musical on DVD for this as I'm sure Johnny's still wants strong sales from it and those are expensive.
I can't help but think that this debut is a way for Johnny's to get back to their roots in a way. The first Johnny's group began with musicals after all and it was one of the big mainstays of the early Johnny's were their strong ties to musicals. In fact even with the current Johnny's groups you can see the musical influence with how theatrical their concerts can be, and of course the fact that you can find group members being on stage as well as on screens easily. But it's been sometime there has been a group directly tied to musicals, I think Shounentai were probably the last and even now they've cut back on musical work when they let PLAYZONE pass on to other groups.
I think A.B.C-Z and musicals are a perfect fit. It's where their strengths lie and while I still find it hard to imagine them as recording artists I have no trouble with seeing them as being stars of stage productions. And I really have it stuck in my head that they will be the next Shounentai, it just seems really fitting to me. Not to mention that it would be great if they were just as successful.
It'll be interesting to see how this debut will go as it's rather unprecedented but with the release date in less than two months I'm sure we'll be getting a lot of news about it in the next few weeks.