As I mentioned back when the casting for Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou came out the six Juniors chosen for the drama together is a dream group for me. I honestly feel Johnny’s would be losing something special if they do not keep this group together post-drama.
I can easily see the Bakaleya6 becoming the next KAT-TUN and Kis-My-Ft2. In fact they would probably be a bit more like KAT-TUN, not just because both would be six members but because both groups would have Juniors that would popular in their own right instead of mainly having to rely on the aces of the group like Kisumai primarily did and still does. These six have already gained their own respective fans, having had chances to stand out, and if Johnny’s continuous to push them could become THE Junior group of their age, like KAT-TUN and Kisumai were.
Here is my rundown of why this is possible with these Juniors:
Kyomoto Taiga has been a Junior for quite some time and used to be grouped together with Yamada Ryosuke, Nakajima Yuto and Chinen Yuri so it seemed a bit sad that he got left behind when they all debuted.
For a while he had Uekusa Yuta, the son of Shounentai’s Uekusa Katsuhide, to be paired up with and the two made an amazing duo. Unfortunately Yuta left Johnny’s which left Taiga floating for a while with another group of ungrouped Juniors.
Lately though someone at Johnny’s remembered that Taiga could sing and he has been getting chances to prove it with solos and duos that really highlight his voice. I think Taiga would be perfect for a lead vocal spot as he has the vocal strength for it.
Also with his role in Bakaleya taking a major turn to being something more than a background character I can see it being the start of an acting career for him which would lean towards him getting pushed within the group.
I have always had a soft spot for Lewis Jesse. He was an adorable kid when he was younger though I was afraid he would end up like all the other half-Japanese Juniors and forever be a back dancer until he quit the agency. Yu Marius’ debut with Sexy Zone changed that for me and I have renewed hope that the half-Japanese Juniors do actually stand a chance for debut eventually.
I was so happy to see him in Hip Hop Jump, especially as he seemed to be one of the few members from the original line up to stay in the group. While I was nervous for him when it looked like HHJ had been broken up I was glad to see that he was still with the usual group of Juniors.
Then I was surprised that he was singing duets with Taiga, if mainly because I did not remember him ever getting a solo line before so I had no idea what his voice was like. I think he did well and I was pleased about it and feel that he and Taiga would work well as lead vocals or at least main vocals with a group. It also breaks him out of the silly Johnny’s idea that they must play up the foreign aspect of their half-Japanese Juniors. But he will probably have to use his English for various things, kinda like Okamoto Keito does with Hey! Say! Jump, to show international appeal. Though, with Johnny’s paying more attention internationally it could be a big boon, especially if Johnny’s is still trying to make a mark in the U.S.A.
I had been worried for Morimoto Shintaro after his brother’s scandal. He seemed to have slipped into the background, which in part is understandable as it has not been unknown for fans to try to get relatives to convey messages and such for members and Johnny’s wanted to be quiet about what was going on with Morimoto Ryutaro until things began to blow over. I had hoped that the fact that Shintaro was the Golden Junior would save him from disappearing completely and it looks like it was right to do so.
Even though Shintaro has not been the lead singer of a group for a while I do not think that is going to matter. He seems to have his specialty carved out for him in a group with his acting. So he will probably be one of the aces of the group as he will probably be the member on TV the most with drama roles and most likely the one starring in a drama first considering that he already starred in a movie.
Tanaka Juri would seem like a shoe in for a group like this seeing as he has been playing the Tanaka Koki Jr. role since he joined the agency. It felt like Hip Hop Jump was created so he could be the rapper in a group just like his big bro. So it would seem fitting for Juri to be in a group following in the footsteps of KAT-TUN.
While his role in Bakaleya may not be big it is becoming one of the bigger roles for the boys side so there is a sense that Johnny’s may be willing to get him into more acting roles in the future to push him. I would not be shocked at all if eventually he got to act with his brother in a drama or something. I think that would be something Johnny’s would not want to pass up as now they are the main Johnny’s brothers.
Which makes me wonder if the group does debut if they will even bother to mention Shintaro would also be another Junior debuting after his brother did with HSJ, or will it only be Juri debuting after his brother Koki with KAT-TUN. I have a feeling it will probably be the latter.
But getting back to Juri, he has been one of HSJ’s main tag-a-long Juniors pretty much since his debut and was the lead for HHJ so he is pretty well known and a good addition to any group honestly.
Bakaleya has really put Matsumura Hokuto on the map. Even though he had a lot of pushing from the start, he had his own full page in one of the magazines as a fresh Junior and was added to B.I.Shadow rather quickly, he never really seemed to go much farther with it until now.
Of course BIS was definitely helpful for him to be in as he at least gained a good deal of experience as it was the main group that performed at the HSJ concerts and being a part of Nakayama Yuma w/B.I.Shadow and NYC boys helped get him on national TV for at least a short while. Yet in a way having B.I.Shadow broken up for Nakajima Kento and Kikuchi Fuma to debut with Sexy Zone helped Hokuto out. With BIS he was stuck in the back with Kochi Yuugo while Nakaken and Fuma were front and center.
Post-BIS he has been moved towards the front more and with Bakaleya been given a role that has been getting a lot of attention with him getting screen time that seems only second to Shintaro.
I can see Hokuto being pushed to continuing with acting as he seems to have hit it off with Bakaleya and could easily become the next heartthrob Johnny’s actor as he has the looks and his character in Bakaleya is not far off from popular teen male characters in other dramas.
Being the other remaining BIS member with Hokuto, Kochi Yuugo seems to be on the up side of things as well despite the end of the group. He was in a bit better place than Hokuto as he had the HSJ variety program he is a regular on, School Kakumei, so he got more exposure. But he is still on the program and now he can add acting to his resume with Bakaleya. Not bad for a Junior that was voted in to the agency for a contest because of his soccer/football skills.
Like Hokuto, Yuugo benefits from being a member of BIS but also now has the chance to break out of the shadow of Nakaken and Fuma with this new group. It was a bit worrying for a while for him when he broke his collarbone and could not really do much but he looks to have recovered now and I am glad to see that he is sticking it out with Hokuto.
While he may not be enjoying the same kind of push Hokuto is I think his place in School Kakumei is going to be important, especially if sometime down the road this group happens and get a variety program of their own as he would have a good deal of experience to bring to it. Also he seems to be the kind of idol I tend to enjoy, the non-idol type, and it will be interesting to see how he makes that work with the group.
Looking at everything these boys would bring to the group I cannot see how the group would fail, outside of a scandal and member loss but I think with Shintaro having a constant reminder of what happens with that kind of thing he could make sure the rest do not forget. Not to mention that he is the youngest member and some of the others, like Taiga and Yuugo are only about a couple of years from 20 and then each year after that at least one member reaches that age until Shintaro hits that age and they are clear from underage scandals.
Of course if they do debut it will mean having a lot of patience. One pattern I noticed with KAT-TUN and Kis-My-Ft2 is that they had to wait for a FIVB group to debut before them, NEWS for KAT-TUN and Hey! Say! JUMP for Kisumai. Since the Bakaleya6 are not even a group yet you cannot really count Sexy Zone to be that group. Instead it will probably be the 2015 group and I can already hear the complaints about a bunch of young Juniors getting to debut while older Junior groups are more “deserving” of debut. Especially if the Bakaleya6 become a group. But personally I was happy to wait with Kisumai to debut, even though it felt like they were cutting it close to not being able to with the timing of the 2011 FIVB debut, and the joy of finally hearing that debut announcement was such a fantastic moment for me as a fan that I know I can bear years of waiting and having other groups debut before the one I really want does.
Not only that but another thing that both KAT-TUN and Kisumai had in common is that all members were 20 by the time their debut single came out. So with the ages of the Bakaleya6 it means that it would be 2017 they would debut as that would be the year Shintaro turns 20.
I will be willing to wait though. I have learned patience from following other Johnny's groups and it is not like the group would not be active as they would still have Junior activities. I just hope my current wish comes true and they are made into an official group. The fact that they are performing a song for one of next month's Shounen Club episodes gives me hope.
Now only for the managers at Johnny's to know what a great thing they have going and the potential these boys have together.