Recent thoughts about Johnny’s

In my opinion one of the most fun things to do when you’re an idol is to overanalyze and speculate about every detail of idols. Since my over-analyzations /predictions usually turn out to accurate it fuels the fire and makes me want to overanalyze things even more. Sure, there have been a few times I actually wish I wasn’t right. Like when I said Yamapi leaving wouldn’t be the end of NEWS, or when I said something wasn’t right with Arihara Kanna missing so many C-ute activities she had to be leaving soon. But just the same, it’s still fun to try to figure what’s going on, or to just think about what you wish would happen.

Lately I’ve been really thinking about things going on with Johnny’s. They were seemingly small little thoughts that I’ve just tweeted or posted on tumblr. Nothing really major. But writing my yearly ranking posts really sparked some new ideas that I wanted to talk about. None of them are big enough to get their own blog post alone, so I’m going to compile them together in one post.

1. The curious case of Nakayama Yuma:

It seems they never really knew what to do with Yuma from day 1. Nakayama Yuma was the most popular Kansai Junior, one of the most popular Juniors overall, and one of the most talented Juniors at singing. So, it was pretty obvious to the people that pulls the strings at Johnny’s that they didn’t want to waste him and could make money off of him. But it seems like they never had a clear image of what to do with him exactly. Which is why the whole Nakayama Yuma w/ B.I. Shadow and NYC Boys fiasco happened in the first place.

Nakayama Yuma w/ B.I. Shadow immediately says that Yuma is a solo artist and the other members are just singing with him. Kind of like Diana Ross & The Supremes. Because Yuma got all the lines and B.I. Shadow sang harmonies. So, why not just make him a solo artist to begin with? Or why didn’t they have Yuma and B.I. Shadow form a group with a new name and equal lines? If they did that I feel like Yuma would be in a better less confusing place right now. Obviously we all know that NYC dropped the Boys, shafting poor B.I. Shadow completely, and have been releasing singles since. Which is fine no big deal. Get all that gravy money from a group made up from one of the most popular Juniors and the 2 of the most popular Hey! Say! JUMP members.

But lately another confusing piece of the puzzle came into place, Yuma made his solo debut. Yuma sang the theme for his drama Piece and released the song as a single. Does this mean they are priming Yuma up to be a solo artist? They did release his solo song, Glassno Mahou, as another A-side with NYC’s Wonderful Cupid single. So, this could mean this was the plan for Yuma all along. Because right now since he’s only part of a sub-group and not an official group. He’s in the awkward situation of having nothing to do when NYC isn’t releasing anything. He’s in that Henry and Zhoumi from Super Junior M postion. (Yeah, it’s a Kpop reference, but I’m sure most of you get it.) And if he did go solo where does that leave NYC? Sure Yuma could handle being both solo and being in NYC. But I’m unsure if Ryosuke could handle it.
Which brings me to my next point,

2. Is the most popular member’s inevitable departure the new norm?:

As you’re all aware Hey! Say! JUMP member Yamada Ryosuke is making his solo debut by releasing the theme for his drama, Mystery Virgin, as a single. This makes me both very confused and worried about Hey! Say! JUMP. For the longest time if you were a Johnny’s idol in a drama or movie your group would 9/10 times sing the theme. Regardless if you were the most popular or least popular member. Mostly because Johnny’s uses their popularity and/or exposure as pretty much free extra promotion for the group they’re in. This format added countless of single sales to groups like NEWS and KAT-TUN. And helped Arashi’s popularity skyrocket.

But having 1 member of the group promote the single puts 3/4 of the attention and exposure to that individual alone. Besides the special group Shuji to Akira (and The Monsters), to my knowledge they’ve only done this once before and that was with Akanishi Jin’s Bandage single. Yes, they’ve also done this when Yamapi’s Daite Senorita was the theme for Kurosagi, but that obviously does not count since NEWS was on hiatus at the time. And if you recall when NEWS was off hiatus NEWS’s Taiyou no Namida was used as the theme for the Kurosagi movie.

But what’s the point of having Ryosuke release this solo single? Why isn’t it a Hey! Say! JUMP single? Especially since Hey! Say! JUMP released one single in 2012 all the way back in February. Sure maybe they want to gain more money since he’s the most popular member. But isn’t it enough extra money with him being in both NYC and Hey! Say! JUMP? And they would actually make more money releasing it as a Hey! Say! JUMP, or even NYC, single. Obviously mostly Ryosuke fans are going to buy a Ryosuke single. But fans of the other 8 members of Hey! Say! JUMP, or fans of the other 2 members of NYC, are going to buy the group’s single. Which would be an increase of anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 copies. So, what’s the point of him releasing a solo single? Surely this is stretching Ryosuke really thin. Being in 2 groups at once and releasing a solo single.

This is also going scarily into NEWS and Kanjani8 territory. If you’re an idol in 2 groups at once one of the groups always suffers. One group has to be more active than the other group so the idol who is in 2 groups isn’t too tired. NEWS seemed to always be on the short end of the stick. And this year Hey! Say! JUMP is. 3 NYC singles, 1 Yamada Ryosuke single announcement, (so close to being 2012) and 1 Hey! Say! JUMP single. And please don’t say, “well they were active because they released 1 single, 1 album, and 1 concert DVD.” That is not active, that’s a bad NEWS flashback. Before Ryo and Yamapi skedaddled from NEWS they released 1 single, 1 album, and 1 DVD that year. It’s so similar it’s creepy.

So, does this mean it’s simply the most popular member’s fate anymore to leave the group and go solo? Jin and Yamapi both did it. And Jin was the only one to decide on his own. Ryosuke said his solo single came as a surprise even to him, and Johnny set up Yamapi’s meeting with Warner Music while he was still in NEWS. While I don’t see Ryosuke, or even Chinen for that matter, leaving anytime soon I do still think it’s in the cards. Because don’t forget Ryo was a member of 2 groups for 7 years before he threw in the towel. Chinen and Ryosuke have only been doing it for 3 years. And it is slightly easier on them because NYC doesn’t have their own TV shows or concerts like Kanjani8 did. At least for now anyway.

3. What’s up with Bakaleya6?:

I’ve been wondering what’s up with Bakaleya6 for a while now. Bakaleya6 is obviously made up of the Johnny’s members, minus Takaki, who were in the Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou drama. It made sense to temporarily have these guys perform together on Shounen Club or appear together on variety shows while they are promoting the drama and movie. But the drama and movie came and went, but the group doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all. They perform pretty much on every episode of Shounen Club, occasionally on Yan Yan JUMP, are lumped together in all the idol magazines, appear on more variety shows, half of them were in a Baskin Robins commercial, and some of the members are getting additional drama work. Drama work while you’re still a Junior is pretty rare. You either only get extremely small roles, or you have to be an extremely popular Junior to get a lead role. Bakaleya6 also has their own special performance at Hey! Say! JUMP’s Jump World concert and introduced Hey! Say! JUMP in the beginning of the concert. They even headlined their own summary concerts.

While I think all that is obviously awesome for them, I still can’t help but wonder what the plans for this group are. Bakaleya6 is made up of some of the most popular current Juniors, so it makes sense to keep them together as long as possible. But then why not have them debut, or at the very least make them an official Johnny’s Junior group? Currently none of them are in Junior groups. Juri and Jesse used to be in Hip Hop Jump before they disbanded. Taiga hasn’t been in a group since Kitty Jr, Shintaro hasn’t been in a group since he was in Snow Prince Gasshoudan, and Hokuto and Yugo were left groupless after Sexy Zone’s formation completely broke up B.I. Shadow. So, it makes perfect sense for them to make one. In idol magazines you have seen Bakaleya Gumi written under their names, but you never see anything written on Shounen Club.

I honestly don’t see why they are keeping them together unless they have something planned for them. In a perfect world that would be a major debut. Personally that’s what I’m hoping for. A lot of fans say that it’s impossible because the group is too new. And I honestly think that’s ridiculous. Just because groups like KAT-TUN and Kis-My-Ft2 were Junior groups for like 6 years before debuting doesn’t mean that’s the norm. Most of these Juniors have been members of Johnny’s since the members of Hey! Say! JUMP joined Johnny’s. And sometimes that doesn’t even matter. Tegoshi was only a Junior for something like 8 months before his debut and Marius wasn’t a Junior for that long either. (I have no idea the actual amount of time though. XD)

I actually think having the members debut as a group makes sense since they are well known and popular members. It would be a much more calculated debut than Sexy Zone. Besides Fuma and Kento the members of Sexy Zone were pretty unheard of before the group was announced.

6 thoughts on “Recent thoughts about Johnny’s”

  1. Hi,

    I have been visiting your blog a few times but this the first time commenting. This is a very interesting post! You’re so right that one of the fun thing about being a fan girl is to overanalyze stuffs about our idols, especially at the end/start of the year. I really like ur post and would like to share my view on the subject.

    About Yuma, I think they always want him as a solo artist and they’re building up toward that and NYC is part of the scheme, you know introducing him to the public using the two most popular members of HSJ. As popular as he is with JE fans, he’s not that popular with public to guarantee the sale. His solo debut single didn’t do that well, more than half of his sale came from handshake events. While that’s not totally new or surprising or anything particularly bad, it does say that maybe he’s not ready on his own yet. I wonder though why management don’t put him in with other Kansai jrs. i don’t follow the juniors all that much so I might just misunderstood the situation but i always have an impression that, despite being a Kansai jr, Yuma is usually put/lump together with other Tokyo jrs. Also, i’m curious whether it’s management or Yuma own desire to go solo, or probably both. I can’t explain why but I have a feeling that that’s what Yuma himself want and he doesn’t want to be debuted in a group.

    The resemblance between Yamada/HSJ and Pi/NEWS situation is so strikingly similar it’s kind of scary as you said. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what will happen to them down the road, especially if Yamada solo single manage to do well. For me, that’s the cause of the problem, if Pi didn’t sell so well on his own i don’t think the management would push his solo endeavors as much as they had done. And in my mind being push to do solo stuffs so much is what drive Pi to actually left the group. So i can see it all happens again, not anytime soon though. I’d give it a few years unless Yamada become really popular really soon.

    i don’t see Bakaleya6 getting debut anytime soon. Mostly because JE just debuted three groups (counting ABC-Z). and i think they need sometimes to manage and take care of these three groups first. I also don’t think the boys themselves are ready. yes they are very popular now but i have to say they’re not yet there in term or performing or singing as a group or you know holding their own concert. they just lack experiences. SexyZone is a hot mess but i guess that’s kind of a thing w/ volleyball groups, debuting young w/o much preparation. For the other groups, they’re usually pretty decent and experienced by the times they debuted. I wonder though why they don’t make them an official group yet. to me it means the management still wait to see if they will make a good group long term. i wonder if what happened w/ Jin+KT and Pi+NEWS are causing the management to be cautious in term of picking out who they want to debut solo or put in a group. I think they want to avoid the same kind of fiasco as much as possible now.

    wow this turns out to be a really long comment. I hope you don’t mind. Again great post!

    1. Hey. 😀 Thanks for taking the time to comment. And feel free to comment more. It’s no fun being a lurker. 😉

      It seems like that’s the case. But then why have they waited so long. Surely 3 years is enough exposure. To be honest, I think Koishite Akuma was exposure enough. I actually had no idea that Missing Piece didn’t sell that well. But wasn’t that what people were saying about Sexy Zone? Fans were annoyed that most of their sales were from them selling the CDs at, I think, Hey! Say! JUMP concerts or something. And I also think that if he’s been in 2 dramas, been with NYC for 3 years, and released a solo single, if he’s not ready now will he ever be ready? How much more are they going to invest in him before they realize that maybe he can’t be alone. I’ve only started following the Juniors extremely recently so I don’t know what happened with Yuma in the past, but obviously once he made his debut it made sense for him to be with the Tokyo Juniors more than the Kansai. Since the Tokyo Juniors get the bulk of attention/screen time and the Kansai hardly get anything. I don’t really think it matters ifYuma wants to be solo or not. Johnny’s has the ultimate say in what he does. He honestly barely has any say. If you recall Yamapi didn’t want to join NEWS he wanted to be in a group with Toma, but obviously that didn’t happen. Honestly I think Yuma suits a group more. He just doesn’t really seem like soloist material to me.

      I wouldn’t be surprised either. But at the same time I don’t really want that to happen. They put all the attention on basically only half of JUMP, if Ryosuke leaves a big chunk of his popularity goes. And then who because the new face of HSJ. It has to then go to the 2nd most popular member, Chinen, but vocally he can’t carry the group. Ryosuke was the ace because of both looks and being one of the best singers in the group. That’s true that they pushed Yamapi because he sold so well. But I also think it’s because Yamapi wanted to go solo. I wouldn’t be surprised if he said, “let me go solo or I’m leaving Johnny’s” Because he’s popular enough on his own to not really need Johnny’s anymore. I’d give Ryosuke’s departure a few years too. But in a few years or now, I don’t like the idea of it. Why is it necessary to break apart every group?

      It is true about so many groups being debuted at once. And I actually don’t count A.B.C-Z since they haven’t done anything since they released their DVD. And Kisumai and Sexy Zone was 2011, and it’s 2013. So, I honestly think anything is possible. As for managing the groups Kisumai is signed to Avex and Sexy Zone is part of Pony Canyon. So obviously those labels handle the music, PV making, and TV appearances. So, Johnny’s only does half the work since they aren’t signed to one of Johnny’s 3 labels. I think they could hold their own concert, that’s why they are headlining Summary.
      But the members are decent and experienced. Taiga’s been a member since the members of Hey! Say! JUMP joined. Hokuto, Juri, Jesse, and Yugo were all in previous Junior groups. And Shintaro, Hokuto, and Yugo already made CD debuts years ago. I don’t think it has anything to do with Jin or Yamapi. Johnny’s approved of both. They jumped at the chance for Jin to try and crack the US market. And Johnny attended the dinner that Yamapi had with the CEO of Warner Music.

      I don’t mind long comments. It just means my post inspired you that much. ^^ Thanks again. I’m so glad you liked it.<3

  2. Missing piece 1st week was 45k and i think the total is ~70k now. That’s really not bad but nothing to really say he’s got a bright future doing solo either. I guess i didn’t give Johnny that much credit lol. like i think the agency has 80% says in what they boys must do but you can really force someone to do what they don’t want to do either, well that depend of individual personality too. that’s why i’m curious if Yuma also think that he want to try solo and the agency also see his potential and that’s why they’re trying to find something that works for him. otherwise he should be in a real group and debut by now as you had mentioned his popularity and ability is more than ready (within being in a group that is).

    i don’t think the agency has had any intention of breaking any groups. But they are also doing business so whichever way they could make more money, they’d try that. Jin&Pi should be debuted solo right from the start. They were so popular and have capability to carry their own (Jin-singing, Pi-his charm). And if they had done that, they might be able to avoid all the drama with KT and NEWS later on. It’s this idea that got me thinking that the agency is taking their time with Bakaleya6. i had the feeling they didn’t expect this grouping to take off these well with the drama. They didn’t have actual long term plan and now they’re trying to figure that out. I like Bakaleya6 very much, they’re the first junior group that really picked my interest. And i’d love to see them debut together. But i don’t mind waiting especially if they’re still getting pushed, given drama roles and be on TV variety show, and hopefully more concerts. They can become the headlining group of their generation. Debuting them now would just put them into the mix with other groups and that can be rather bad than good. Also they’re all still pretty young. i think it’s not too bad to give them times and experience and they can figure out what they really want to do. who know some of them might to go solo too? ^^

    1. I’m so sorry for the late reply. Your comment got a little over looked. m(__)m

      70,000 is actually kind of bad. Well, bad for Johnny’s anyway. I don’t know so much if it’s so much as forcing, more like the idols are willing to do whatever Johnny wants. Because honestly it’s either debut when and how Johnny says or don’t debut at all most likely. Like, do you really think Fuma and Kento really want to be in a group with members that are much younger than them? Probably not. But if they just care about being an idol and being in an official group, they’d probably take whatever they could get. I know if I wanted to be an idol I debut with any group, just as long as I did in fact debut. This is why Yuma is such a mystery to me. He’s not popular enough for solo, but they keep pushing him to do it.

      I do agree that it is all about money. But actually they could milk more money from Jin and Yamapi if they were in a group. Well, mostly Yamapi because they’ve been having him be in special groups like Shuji to Akira and GYM, as well as solo work for a while. All of that plus being in NEWS was maximum money. I think it was just a case of now that Yamapi really established himself as a moneymaker, Johnny had to cater to more of what he wanted to do or risk losing him to another agency. But that’s just personal speculation. I think the reason Jin didn’t go solo was because KAT-TUN was such a popular Johnny’s group they didn’t want to risk breaking them up. I guess that makes sense about them not expecting Bakaleya6 doing so well.I’m the same way. I starting following the Junior only a few months before Bakaleya6 came together. They are the first Junior group that peaked my interest as well. Yeah, that makes sense. But I am still impatient for their debut. Lol. I don’t even want to think of them going solo. I like them too much as a group. ><

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