28 October 2012

Sidelining Sexy Zone

It is not that I do not care at all for Sexy Zone anymore, but I just do not feel drawn to this group as I have the other groups that I do love. And I will not be completely dropping them either, as there is enough to keep some interest from me but just not enough to try to follow them as closely as my favorites. But probably the biggest change is that I will only be picking up albums from now on from them, unless they come out with a A-side single that I actually love.

Even from their debut I just never felt the kind of draw to the group as I did for NEWS, Hey! Say! JUMP or Kis-My-Ft2. I did like Nakajima Kento and Kikuchi Fuma, still do, but my favorite B.I. Shadow member was always Matsumura Hokuto. The other three members of SZ were unknown factors to me, though I thought Sato Shori held promise. But I also did not care for their debut song, though I liked the B-sides to the single. Lady Diamond I thought was a step up but Sexy Summer ni Yuki ga Furu is one of the weakest A-sides I have heard from a Johnny's group since Wonderful Cupid. And while I do not hate it like I do Wonderful Cupid I still have no care for the song.

When I compare to the other two FIVB groups I love I think three singles in has given me enough to judge it they are a group worth following closely for me. For NEWS and HSJ I loved their major debut singles (Kibou ~Yell~ and Ultra Music Power), did not love their second singles (Akaku Moyuru Taiyo and Dreams come true) as much but enjoyed them still and loved their third singles (Cherish and Your Seed). In fact the A-sides to the third single of both groups has remained a favorite song to this day. And to me HSJ's third single was really important as it was the first song they had that really showed off what they could do as a group of ten that smaller groups could not when it came to the dance for Your Seed.

SZ in comparison is the reverse so I think it is best to go ahead and stop getting their singles. I will pick up their first album though, as I still have hope for this group and there are reasons for me to not just drop them completely. But even though I like their B-sides it just is not enough to justify getting the single to me.

My main reasons for sticking with this group are Nakaken and Kikuchi, honestly. Not just because I was a B.I. Shadow fan, but because every time I see a new performance with them I can tell that they have really found whatever they really needed to shine. In fact I would say all the members of BIS have done better since the group was disbanded then when it was together. And it really shows with Nakaken and Kikuchi as with SZ they are the ones with the most experience as well as the eldest two so they have to step up to be the leads for this group, especially since it is a smaller group.

Nakaken and Kikuchi have amazed me with how strong they are performing as I do not think this was something that you could see so much during their Junior days. Sure it was unmistakable that Nakaken just exuded charisma on the stage even from his first appearance on Shounen Club, but I would not have guessed that he would be able to just own his solos like he does now. And Kikuchi always came off reserved and I never would have guessed he had the voice he had until SZ and him getting to do solo songs instead of a solo line here and there. These two are probably going to become amazing performers and will be great role models for the younger members of their group so I definitely will want to keep an eye on them still.

The others I just see potential in them but they need to show a bit more than that to get my interest. Until then they are just adorable kids, with Shori trying really hard to be able to fit in with Nakaken and Kikuchi but probably still needs some more time to mature. Also I would not be surprised if Shori's voice is still changing and the other two need to get through that nebulous period and I fear they may end up like Chinen Yuri, wonderful child voice but not so pleasant to listen to adult voice. Especially with Matsushima So, since he is the one with the good voice though from what I can tell Yo Marius is not so bad either.

I also do not want to give up on this group completely because I have had groups grow on me. TOKIO did not take long for that but it took until about last year for me to love Kanjani8. So while SZ does not appeal to me much now I know that can always potentially change. Which is another reason I think switching them to an album only group is for the best with me.

In summary, I will not follow SZ as much as before but I am not going to completely ignore them either. The only releases of theirs I will bother getting from now on will be albums for the forseeable future. Nakaken and Kikuchi rule, the rest need more time, possibly.

On another note, there is some SZ news to share as well. In early January the group will be having a Winter concert tour that will take them to Osaka and Tokyo (Yokohama Arena). It is scheduled for five concerts for now.

I think this is the sign that SZ will be taking over the multiple concerts in a year role that Hey! Say! JUMP held, as I doubt HSJ will be having winter concerts this year. But we will have to wait and see about that to have it confirmed.


markl02 said...

You could feel differently about this overnight. I thought Sexy Summer was the dumbest song ever, then I saw the PV and it's just about perfect - all those kids having fun in every scene, smiling, playing, and dancing with energy. You can freeze-frame that PV and have a great moment in any scene.

I once read that Johnny's real appeal is that fans get to know the stars at a very young age, then watch them grow and get better all the time. In the first concert DVD you see a group that can't do much except look cute. They really need the Juniors and 27 fast-moving cameras to bail them out. But lately they have much better moves and more poise. They are coming along really well. Fuma and Nakaken are strong leaders, but I see huge progress with So and Marius too, especially since Sexy Boyz came along for them to lead. Shori seems a little lost in the middle sometimes, I agree, but he is a hard worker and I have high hopes.

Most of Hey!Say! JUMP had years of experience before they debuted, and we are seeing Sexy Zone at a different level, especially Shori, So, and Marius, who I think had less than a year in Johnny's before debuting. It was a bit risky for the Jimusho but I think they have chosen well. It's easy to say you'll wait for the albums right now, with an album coming out in a couple of weeks. But I've seen great growth with this group with every single - yes, even with Sexy Summer. I think you will not want to miss the next big single.

Thennary Nak said...

I doubt I will change my mind as I have been thinking this over for about a month now and wrote this post actually about a week or so ago. I actually had to go back and delay the posting and edit it when the album announcement hit but in the end I still find that my feelings have not changed much.

It is not so much an issue that I do not find the boys not talented or that I have not been impressed with how much they have improved but there is just something with this groups that is not clicking with me right now. But because they are so young I am willing to stick with them a bit instead of just dropping them like some of the older Johnny's groups I have tried to like in the past.

I am not completely dropping the group as I do still think they have promise but I just cannot justify following them as much with my current level of interest. Even before the album announcement I had made the decision not to get their singles, which was something I was actually thinking about before Sexy Summer was announced, and if anything SZ will just drop to the same level as Kanjani8 for me, which means I will keep tabs pick up albums but just not follow as closely as my favorites.

So it is not completely over for SZ with me. I do look forward to their album and I plan on keeping up with doing PV reviews when they have new singles. And if there is any drama roles I will probably still be inclined to check the drama out, but honestly Nakaken is who is keeping me with the group and I can only hope another member begins catching my interest on the same level as him or it will end up like how I am with KAT-TUN, where I love one member but do not care too much about the group as a whole.