19 December 2011

Interesting Times in Junior Land

For anyone keeping an eye on the Juniors it's pretty clear things are changing up for them, especially the Tokyo Juniors. It was pretty much assumed that A.B.C-Z would fill the gap Kis-My-Ft2 left when they debuted but now with them debuting as well there really isn't a group to do so anymore. The only group that could really do so would be B.I.Shadow but of course with Sexy Zone's debut that group no longer exists. And going from the recent reports for the January Shounen Club taping as well as the latest magazines the other group that might have filled that slot, Hip Hop Jump, is no longer a group. Of course there is still Mis Snow Man, but Johnny's seems rather insistent on keeping them as back dancers and Question?, who seem to be around to either be a support band or perform with Uchi Hiroki.

This of course makes for a perfect set up for new groups to be formed. But until the newly debuted groups stop dominating Shounen Club, which probably won't be for a few months yet, we probably won't see too many getting formed for now. Perhaps we'll get a group to be the back dancers for Hey! Say! JUMP's upcoming winter concerts but I don't see much else being done and just a lot of shuffling of Juniors around as Johnny's let the debuted groups stay in that spotlight as they continue to promote the units that have releases to sell. I think though we'll finally start seeing Kisumai show up less on SC when their concerts start up as it would just be too hard for them to do such an extensive national tour and an overseas tour. Of course it'll be interesting to see if they'll have a new Junior unit for back dancers for at least the larger venues or will just use the older back dancer units like M.A.D., M.A.D.E. or even Mis Snow Man. Of course they could also have a group of group-less Juniors but we shall wait and see about that. And who knows how long it'll take for SZ and A.B.C-Z to stop being regulars on SC.

I think it's clear that Juniors like Kyomoto Taiga and Tanaka Juri are benefiting quite a bit from the recent changes. These two have been getting quite a bit of screen time and are probably likely candidates for a possible new group, especially with Juri considering Hip Hop Jump was probably put together in the first place for him. But I think with a new group he should go further. I think Juniors like Matsumura Hokuto and Morimoto Shintaro will probably do well to be in a new group, seeing as their futures seem a bit uncertain at the moment but seeing as they are getting placed with Kyomoto and Juri for performances and photo shoots I think they're not in too much trouble yet when it comes to be eventually shoved into the back ground. Plus they have their ages on their side unlike older Juniors who probably have less of a chance unless they manage to get the lucky breaks Kisumai and A.B.C-Z managed to get, but that will mean being in a group.

Two Juniors I think that people should be keeping an eye on would be Sanada Yuma and Nozawa Yuki. While they are probably two of the "older" Juniors with how they've been pushed recently, with being regulars on a national TV program and the fact they are more often seen without their group, Mis Snow Man, than with them I think shows clear signs that Johnny's has plans for them. I would not be surprised at all if they are put with another group eventually and Mis Snow Man is left as a five member group. Which rather sucks for Mis Snow Man as they don't seem like they're gotten much of a chance to really showcase themselves as a group, but at least the movie they did, Hot Snow, is getting a DVD/BD release so fans will have something to hold onto and show their support for the group with.

I have the feeling Inoue Mizuki might end up being the chibi Junior that will become the next golden boy now that Morimoto Shintaro has grown too old for the role. I do admit I'm mainly basing this off the fact he had a role in Kimura Takuya's current drama as it makes me think of Nakajima Yuto in Kimutaku's drama, Engine, when he was just a chibi Junior himself.  But considering the star power of SMAP and the fact he's also a part of the Junior segment of SMAPxSMAP, he's in the right spot to begin getting that kind of pushing from the agency as people outside of Junior fandom have more of a chance of knowing him than any of the other young Juniors. Of course it's probably still rather up in the air about this but I think the upcoming year we'll see one of the chibi Juniors get noticeably more attention than the rest and right now my bet is on Mizuki.

Of course it's not just the Tokyo Juniors getting a shake up. With the recent Christmas concerts for the Kansai Juniors comes reports that the non-headlining groups for the shows have had roster changes, probably the most noticeable being that Shadow WEST is now a duo with the current members being Mukai Koji and Kaneuchi Toma. There's a good run down over at the Kanjuu live journal community for those interested in that, as well as confirming some departures.

2012 is shaping up to be an interesting year for Juniors and their fans. It will probably be just as frustrating as it will be exciting as Johnny's shuffles groupings around trying to find good matches to go with whatever they have planned. But what is Junior fandom without some heartbreak?


AimxAim said...

You know, I don't really follow the Juniors super closely, but they are long over due from some new Junior groups. Especially since there aren't really that many Junior groups left with recent debuts, and their are tons of groupless Juniors.
Kyomoto Taiga and Tanaka Juri are my favorite Juniors, so I'd love to see them in a group. I'd also like to see Anderson Casey and Masuda Ryo be in a group. I think they both deserve more attention then they are getting.
And I totally agree about keeping an on the Noon Boyz. It's pretty obvious that Johnny has something planned for them.

Anonymous said...

Last year in November, Johnny´s held an auition like every year and from that audition, Japanese Hi was created , and Shori, Kaouru etc got attention. I think there may come new Juniors again who will get pushed by JE.

I´m afraid that because Noon Boyz was created that Snow Man might get frustrated and loose hope of debuting and maybe some will quit.
Same with Shadow West.
I´m sure next year will bring lots of changes.

Jackie said...

Sanada and Nozawa, I wonder what´s planned for them. Johnny wouldn´t push them for nothing so I guess,only time will tell.
As for MSM, they´ll probably end up as backdancers only..

B.I.Shadow is not a group anymore and now HHJ as well. I don´t know what´s going on now but I´m really excited to see if we´ll get new units soon and who will be in which group.

No surprise that Koji and Kaneuchi are the only ones left in Shadow West now, they always got the most attention anyway .

Next year sure will become interesting!

Anonymous said...

My one big disappointment: Shounen Club starts becoming a place for debut groups (HSJ, Kis-my-ft2, SZ) to stay and promote themselves instead of a place for the juniors to showcast their talent. Give me back the good old time and stop with all debut medley. I don't need everybody go and sexy zone in every single SC ep X-(

Chris said...

I agree with the comment above.
Nothing against Kisumai or Sexy Zone, I love those groups , but Kisumai are debuted since quite some months and are still regulars on SC and are always promoting their songs. Of course it´s not their fault, but the organizers should give more screentime for JUNIORS, that´s what SC is for, right? Kisumai need to move on!
As for SZ, I wish they wouldn´t perform the same songs in every episode.
I already feel that also when Ebi will debut that they´ll still be regulars on SC..

Ellen said...

I agree with the comments above, te debuted groups are doing way too much on shounen club. I really need less
Kis my/sz/hhj. This could just be wishful thinking, but I have a feeling once ebi debuts, they'll just clear out of shokura. With their stageplay, and their mini national tour of the stageplay, I just feel like they won't have the time to go on shokura, at least I kind of hope they do. It's a problem when most the medley's on the show are the debuted groups.

For the actual juniors, I really hope they keep
Mis snow man as eight. To me they are in the same place ebikisu were around 2005-2006, used mainly as back dancers with occasional participation in the battles. But once kanjani/kattun cleared out, the ebikisu era of shounen club started. I hope it's the same for mis snow man.

Thennary Nak said...

@ AimxAim

I'd like to see all of those in a group myself, but I do wonder if Masuda Ryo will be grouped as he takes breaks to concentrate on studies from time to time so it might be hard for him to stick with a group if he has to do that.

@ Anonymous #1

There will always be new Juniors that will get pushed over older Juniors, I don't mention them often because it's hard to talk about those that aren't even a part of the agency yet.

That is a possibility. The only other thing I can think of is that the members of Mis Snow Man just accepting they don't have a high chance to debut and decide to follow the M.A and M.A.D. route to being more like professional back dancers for the agency.

@ Jackie

I agree about being overdue for a new Junior group. I believe the last one was JaPAnese Hi! and they weren't much of a group at all.

While I don't follow Kansai Juniors too closely it seems the recent line-up change didn't take those who do by surprise. It'll be interesting to see what becomes of that group in the future.

@ Anonymous #2

Honestly it's always had that element to it. If you watch the episodes after a new group debuts you'll find that new group taking up a good deal of screen time. I think it just seems so much worse this time around because of how many groups have recently debuted or are set to debut.

I don't mind Sexy Zone sticking around for a while because the younger members are still rather new and need the experience they'll get by performing on SC but I think Kisumai and A.B.C-Z should not stay for much longer. And I do hope when Kisumai starts up their tours for 2012 we'll only see them return to promote singles.

But I personally would like to see more of the Juniors on the program myself. Hopefully by the end of 2012 it will return to doing that.

@ Chris

As I mentioned above I think what makes this so bad is how many groups have/will debut in a short amount of time. But hopefully at least Kisumai will move on soon when they have their tours to do. And I do like Fujigaya's new corner on the program, especially since it does promote Juniors in it.

With their debut concert coming up SZ should hopefully get new songs to sing. But I agree with getting tired of their songs by now. But I guess when you only have one single out there's only so much material you have to perform.

@ Ellen

I'm banking of Kisumai leaving first in early 2012. I think SZ will stick around for a while though because the younger members need the experience and promotion SC will give them. I'm unsure about A.B.C-Z, but I do think you're right about them not being on if they have their musical. So we'll just have to see what happens with them but we should still have them around for the next couple of months.

I would have more hope for MSM to get that kind of promotion when the recently debuted group begin to clear out if Sanada and Nozawa weren't being pulled out of the group so much recently. This wasn't something that happened with EbiKisu so I find it harder to think they will get the same break. I think it will be a new group or groups that will end up benefiting from EbiKisuZone leaving SC. But I guess we will see as things could always change.