At any rate, I did another prediction a half-year later, here. My plan was to keep doing them at half-year intervals, but due to a variety of circumstances both in the world of Juniors (which has been pretty much lacking in information between the Gamushara Sexy Natsu Matsuri this summer and now, considering very few juniors with the correct qualities for volleyball debut were in Dream Boys) and in my personal life, things have gotten a little late. I'm sorry! I'm going to go ahead and do my 1-year prediction now, a little late (it's about a year before the actual debut, rather than the announcement), and then my half-year prediction in April, and, if all goes well, a 1-month-before prediction near the middle of August.
Of course, things have changed since last January, so I'm going to throw in a reminder of the ~Golden Rules~ before we begin:
☆ Non-volleyball debuts are always Junior units first
→(Kanjani8, KAT-TUN, Kis-My-Ft2, ABC-Z, Johnny's West✝)
☆ Volleyball debuts are never Junior units first (Arashi, NEWS, Hey! Say! JUMP, Sexy Zone)
☆ Volleyball groups must break up a four-member junior unit
→(MAIN, 4tops, Ya-ya-yah, B.I.Shadow)✝✝
☆ Volleyball groups have a large age range
☆ Volleyball groups have a descending average age over the years✞
☆ Volleyball groups either have 5 or 9-10 members at debut
☆ Volleyball groups usually include a few "fresh" juniors.
✝ Since I originally wrote my post last August, Johnny's West has debuted, becoming the first group to have a non-volleyball debut without first being a junior group. However, since it was the combination of two preexisting junior groups and one member who'd been working with them for some time, it's safe to say that they regardless have a sense of unity at debut that volleyball units, who often have members completely new to the agency, do not.
✝✝ I am aware that Sexy Boyz has continue to fluctuate and change over the past year and may or may not count as a 4-member unit, however, for all intents and purposes, I don't think there's any alternative 4-member unit to be considered. I'll address this more later.
✞ There was one upward age jump between Arashi and NEWS. While the general trend is descent, I don't think that it's out of the question for this year's group's average age to be above that of Sexy Zone at debut.
And now, onto the late 2014 prediction:
☆ Iwahashi Genki (1996.12.17 - age 18 in 2015.9) ex 4-member
☆ Jinguji Yuta (1997.10.30 - age 17 in 2015.9) ex 4-member
☆ Inoue Mizuki (2000.10.30 - age 14 in 2015.9)
☆ Kaneda Yosei (2001.3.22 - age 14 in 2015.9)
☆ Kawasaki Koki (2002.7.30 - age 13 in 2015.9)
☆ Toyoda Rikuto (2004.1.27 - age 12 in 2015.9)
☆ "fresh member" (2004~2005 - age 11 in 2015.9)
★ ➀ Nakamura Reia (1997.4.2 - age 18 in 2015.9)
★ ➁ Matsukura Kaito (1997.11.14 - age 17 in 2015.9)
★ ➀ Takahashi Fu (1998.5.8 - age 17 in 2015.9)
★ ➁ Matsuda Genta (1999.4.19 - age 16 in 2015.9)
Number of members: 9
Average age: 14.8~14.6
Number of members from a 4-member Junior unit: 2
Age of oldest at debut: 18
Age of youngest at debut: 11
Number of "Fresh" members: 1
Obviously, this is more complicated than previous predictions and needs explaining. These are a few clarifications on my thought process in making this list:
① If it's not clear, basically, right now, I think there are two sets of options for two of the spots in the group, so there's two choices for Ⓐ, the older of the two spots, and two choices for Ⓑ, the younger of the two spots. The main factor that lead to this decision is that I'm not sure where Sexy Boyz stands. Sexy Boyz/Sexy Show could count as one four-member unit, which would make Matsukura Kaito and Matsuda Genta ineligible for this volleyball debut. But it might also not count-- it's been very off-and-on, and mostly seems like an "excuse" for all the crap that's currently going on with Sexy Zone. Even after the Matsuri, permutations of Jinguji / Genki / Miyachika / Kishi / Aran have been announced as Sexy Boyz, leading me to believe that maybe, Matsukura and Genta might be able to debut with this group after all. If you asked me, out of the "set ➀" and "set ➁" that I have listed above, which seems like the more likely, I guess I'd say "set ➁" due to the fact that they've been more heavily pushed recently, but it's pretty hard to tell at this point.
② There have been various speculations raised about the current strong push with Nagase Ren, Hirano Sho, and Takahashi Kaito. While Takahashi Kaito was mentioned in my previous prediction as a possibility if he weren't slated for 2020 (which was still a thing at that time), his current strong affiliation with Kansai Juniors is leading me to believe that perhaps he won't be included after all. Why wouldn't Kansai Juniors be included? There are a couple of factors to consider here:
→ Kansai Juniors have only once ever been included in a volleyball debut, and it ended in disaster; there are currently no members active in volleyball units who were ever Kansai Juniors.
→ If Nagase and Hirano were to be debuted now, Kansai Juniors would be in trouble, completely lacking "front" popular members. It is my belief that Hirano and Nagase are being so strongly pushed right now to fill the gap left by BAD and 7West, who had been the most famous and most popular Kansai Juniors for quite some time. I know several (former?) Kansai Juniors fans who now only focus on Johnny's West, meaning that if Kansai Juniors does't gain new popular members to fill the gap, they'll lose fans. I believe that Nagase and Hirano (with Takahashi Kaito) are being pushed to fill that gap. Therefore, it would not make sense, and in fact be detrimental to Kansai Juniors, to have Nagase and Hirano debut at this point with the volleyball unit.
→ While Takahashi Kaito is not a Kansai Junior, his current grouping with them leads me to believe that he may too be too strongly associated with Kansai Juniors to be included in the debut this time, but that's a more tentative decision. If I had to place Takahashi Kaito into this lineup, it would be instead of Takahashi Fu, as the "Ⓑ" choice for "set ➀" as listed above.
③ As mentioned before, Kishi Yuta will be too old for the volleyball debut and Morimoto Shintaro seems too associated with older Juniors at this point in time to be considered. Kuramoto Kaoru has left Johnny's since my previous lineup. I've added Inoue Mizuki instead of Hashimoto Ryo, because I haven't seen much of Hashimoto Ryo recently, and Inoue Mizuki is often featured in stage shows such as ABC-Za and Dream Boys. However, Inoue might be switchable for Hashimoto.
④ If they decided to add one more member and make it ten, Inoue will be bumped to the ani-gumi and they can add another "fresh" Junior. I'm a little hesitant about the fact that there's only one fresh member, but considering Sexy Zone was more than 50% fresh members, I suppose that sort of balances it out. Either way, if Inoue's position is bumped to the ani-gumi, he might be replaced with Tamamoto Fumito, who is born in 1999, since another young fresh member would bring down the average age. This would also divide the ani and otouto-gumi a little more cleanly.
⑤ If for some reason they decided to have less members (this is unprecedented, but not out of the question), Inoue would probably be the easiest to cut, also, because he's in the middle, and it would bring the otouto-gumi down to 4 to be evenly split with the ani-gumi.
⑥ Historically speaking, the "fresh" member should be someone with a famous parent who has lived abroad for the last 5 years at least. If someone like that crops up, please let me know. |D;;;
…I think that's about all! If you made it this far, otsukare!! Please feel free to ask questions or discuss in the comments! I know I'm a total nerd about this stuff, but if anyone else wants to discuss, I'm always happy to.
Also, I'll probably be posting the questions to the Myojo Junior Ranking again this year, like I did last year. I know it's a bit late-- I've already submitted my ballot-- but I figured it was fun discussing last year, so there might be some people interested again this year. ^^
In the meantime, happy Friday!