03 May 2015


In a recent Crea concert it was announced that the six Juniors that made up the unofficial group Bakaleya6 are now an official Junior group, 6tones.

Top row left to right: Juri, Taiga, Yuugo, Hokuto
Bottom row left to right, Jesse, Shintaro
This group for those who may be unfamiliar will consist of Kouchi Yuugo, Kyomoto Taiga, Tanaka Juri, Matsumura Hokuto, Jesse and Morimoto Shintaro. They all were the main male leads in the Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou drama, hence the unofficial name of the Bakaleya6. Since that drama they had some early work with that grouping of six with performances and Junior concerts but it became an off and on thing but it looks like Johnny's must have noticed that they remained popular as an unofficial unit with fans and decided to officially group them.

While this is mostly my own speculation but I think it makes a lot of sense for Johnny's to do that. After a glut of debuts in the past few years it looks like they are slowing things down. In fact with Sexy Zone being the FIVB supporters for this year it looks like we probably will not be getting a new group to debut with that like usual. Unless they plan on creating something out the the Juniors that make up the Sexy Family grouping that also looks to be a part of it. But even that aside it has been years without a strong Junior group for the agency to line up for eventually debut.

Of course it is not like there are no other Junior groups but Johnny's support of those that are still around like Snow Man and Travis Japan has been rather weak. Trying to ramp things up for a debut for them now does not seem like the way they want to go or they would be pushing them more now. And with Snow Man I fear they ended up with bad timing as they had the two most popular members of their group taken out and are at the ages where debut looks difficult. Though at least they have Takizawa Hideaki supporting them, but even that can go so far if the group is not able to expand their presence elsewhere. While Travis Japan is still rather new and it looks like Johnny's is using that to their advantage to take popular members from the group for other projects if they see fit.

6tones though I feel can go the distance and get a good push to a debut in a couple years time. The members of the group have had various individual work, like drama and stage roles, and did still get concerts with the grouping as headliners for Junior concerts, in fact it was at one of those concerts that this announcement was made. Of course they need to be seen more as a group to really get a good following behind them. But they have a head start with the fact that they have kept fans for their grouping over the years. Not to mention that they have all had plenty of time in the agency to get strong individual fan followings, especially as at least half the group have had strong pushes in the past.

Of course if they end up debuting as a group like KAT-TUN and Kis-My-Ft2 before them I am certain it will at least be about two more years before that. One thing that all recent Junior group debuts have had in common is that as older debut groups all the members have been 20 years old or older, so 6tones will have to wait for Shintaro to turn 20 in about two years. So I would guess a 2017 or 2018 debut for the group if it happens.

And it may be for the best as by then I doubt many will recall Morimoto Ryutaro (sadly enough) or at least not in a meaningful way outside of once being in Johnny's and being Shintaro's older brother. And also the scandal surrounding Tanaka Koki hopefully will have died down enough not to be much of a shadow over Juri. (Maybe this will mean Juri will no longer be forced into the "rapper" role, which would personally make me happy.)

Before then there needs to be more signs that Johnny's is serious about this group by promoting them fully. Like having them perform on Shounen Club regularly (with original group songs), and keeping members active with both group and individual work especially getting drama roles. Since Shintaro will be graduating from high school in the coming year, and he's going to Horikoshi anyway, everyone should have rather free schedules, as those attending university still will have more flexible schedules than they did as high school students.

I really do think this group has potential to have a strong debut, I have since they were first grouped together as the Bakaleya6. But the agency has to make sure they pave the road towards it or 6tones will be with the rest of the current Junior groups, mostly neglected.


Anonymous said...

you know, i saw this coming..and actually it's frustrating things for bakaleya6 are getting soooo slow about their maybe-debut. so, you think no debut for them in the year, huh? or maybe no-debut ever? or could it be that maybe near the end of the year we could celebrate..? i mean, we have a lot of juniors in the spotlight for quite some time now, and as i recall maybe people like taiga or juri have been in the agency for like..10 years!? and what about the agency's way of business..so crazy! when sexy zone debuted no one knew the youngest three members, and they had been in the agency for a scarce year or less.

Thennary Nak said...

I am hoping for a debut but the news of them becoming a group is still rather new and Johnny's of late has not been great at promoting Junior groups. But I think this one could be the exception and they could be wanting to build them up to be the next Junior group to debut. Either way I doubt they will debut this year. They may be popular with Junior fans but they need to get better known outside of that to have a strong debut, which Johnny's tends to aim for when they debut Junior groups.

I can only guess they judge on popularity and if they think a Junior has the potential to be marketable. That said with how Sexy Zone did early on will probably stop Johnny's from having so many fresh Juniors in a new group unless it is a larger group with more established Juniors mixed in.

Anonymous said...

it's interesting to see how the dynamics within the group has changed performance-wise and in term of getting supports from the agency. Shintaro was clearly front and center at first but it's been Hokuto and Jessie who clearly has gained much more popularity, at least with the agency. They all are getting decently pushed now. I hope they will keep things balanced and not create another group with only one or two leading men.