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03 March 2015 @ 01:19 pm
on the recent FIVB Volleyball World Cup supporters announcement  
Because I just want to address this and get it out of the way and out of my life, here's what I was moaning about yesterday:

Nakajima Kento, Kikuchi Fuma, and Sato Shori of Sexy Zone have been announced as the supporters for the 2015 FIVB Volleyball World Cup (source). Yes, that does have the implications that you think it has-- they're apparently in the place of what should have been the new 2015 volleyball debut.

In case this isn't something that's common knowledge, just a little history on the volleyball debut: It's a tradition that started in 1995 with V6 and has happened every four years since then. The FIVB World Cup is a big deal Olympics qualifier volleyball event that happens in Japan every four years, and since 1995, Johnny's has been supplying the popular media "support group" and song for this event. V6 was followed by Arashi (1999), then NEWS (2003), then Hey! Say! JUMP (2007), and finally Sexy Zone (2011).

Up until this year, the FIVB Volleyball World Cup has always happened in November. This means that all the volleyball debuts have been announced in September and their debut single dropped in November. For that reason, we celebrate these groups' anniversary in September even though their debut date is actually in November. I don't really understand this tradition (debut is debut imho), but either way, end of September and mid November are the key time periods in (almost) every volleyball debut. This is something that's gone on for the past 20 years now.

However, this year, for reasons unknown to me, the FIVB Volleyball World Cup has been pushed up to August. That would mean, for a new group to be supporting it, the debut announcement would have to happen at the end of June and their debut would be in August. That's a whole three months earlier than every single volleyball debut for the past 20 years.

But for reasons also unknown to me, instead, the front three members of Sexy Zone have been announced as the supporters of this year's world cup. This breaks with 20 years of Johnny's tradition and is, for a variety of reasons, pretty surprising and alarming to me. First of all, Johnny's tradition is pretty good. I like Johnny's for a reason-- that it's Johnny's. Them changing their formulas and breaking long-standing, important traditions is not something that particularly comforts me or makes me happy. Second, the volleyball debut is a big deal, and an important chance for juniors. Not knowing when it will happen or if it will happen at all is highly concerning. And of course, third, all those Sexy Zone-related issues. But that's another matter for another post that I am almost certainly not going to make.

Still, perhaps it's a personal flaw or perhaps it's because we all want to find some sense of security in the craziness that is Johnny's, but it's all I can do to give a few options of what may happen from here. Note that in the past 20 years, there have been some changes in the pattern of the volleyball debut, so this does not necessarily signify the end of an important tradition.

Therefore, with no further ado, my hypotheses for what might happen:
① A support group may be announced in June at Johnny's West's Kobe shows (for a Julie group) or at a yet-unannounced Sexy Zone, Kis-My-Ft2, or ABC-Z performance in June (for an Iijima group). Having two supporters, one from a previous volleyball unit, is not unheard of; Sakurai Sho was a supporter along with Hey! Say! JUMP in 2007.
↳ ⓐ Therefore, a new group may debut on an expedited timeline of June → August and present along with the Sexy Zone members, perhaps with Sexy Zone's presence to draw interest for the new group.
↳ ⓑ An alternate theory is that, like NEWS, the new group may be a Junior unit, perhaps presented as secondary backers to the Sexy Zone members. NEWS so far is the only volleyball support group that was considered a Junior unit at the time of the FIVB World Cup, but that doesn't necessarily rule out something similar happening again, with a debut following in the year after.
↳ ⓒ A third option is that Sexy Zone's participation may be an out-and-out lie, as with Johnny's strange fake announcement of ABC-xyZ back in 2011.

② The agency may be choosing to keep the new group on the same timeline, September → November, regardless of support opportunities. The FIVB World Cup itself has little to do with the debut besides it being the supposed reason; Johnny's debuts non-volleyball groups with equal frequency, so there's no actual legitimate necessity for the "volleyball debut" to actually be a debut with relation to volleyball. It may still follow the same formula (the timeline, the age gap, the "fresh" members… see my post here, and then the following two here and here for more details) but simply be unrelated to this year's World Cup.

③ The agency may choose to have the group support the 2016 summer Olympics instead, either having them debut in the same September → November time frame, or perhaps pushing back the debut into 2016. This would be odd to me, but I don't necessarily think it's impossible. It might also fall into the same category as option ②, if the group were to debut in November and then just happen to do the support for the Olympics.

④ Perhaps there will be no volleyball debut at all, and Johnny's will, once again, completely thwart my continued attempts to understand it.

Frankly, I don't see how the agency could possibly benefit from breaking with tradition. The volleyball unit is a carefully and very intelligently concocted formula: it creates interest from a wide range of fans with members with a wide age spectrum, it draws the support of Junior fans while still keeping them paying for Junior events as well by splitting up popular Junior units and leaving some popular Juniors behind to continue to head up the Junior fandom, and it captivates fans for a long period of time to watch the completely new group come together, form a bond, and grow. This method has been a great success in the past (considering Arashi is a volleyball unit), and is, in my opinion, an integral part of contemporary Johnny's as a subcategory of popular entertainment. I really can't imagine how not having such a debut at all could be seen as a positive from a marketing or image-branding standpoint.

But at the end of the day, I don't work for Johnny's, and I can't really make any statements with certainty. So for the time being, I'm just going to leave it with this and hope for the best.
Current Mood: pensivepensive
Current Music: Hey! Say! JUMP//Forever
niawijayantiniawijayanti on March 3rd, 2015 02:00 am (UTC)
I still hope that there will be a debut for Jrs >< Since It's a tradition and I'm very curious about who are Jrs that will make their debut this year, although many people said that maybe it's IwaJingu group ><
But we can't do anything except wait for the announcement. I hope It will be a good news for all of us :)
ミランダ (大丈夫): Yugo: well?faded_lace on March 3rd, 2015 03:01 am (UTC)
Me too. I suggest you see this (as well as the two previous, which are all linked in this entry) if you're interested in who might debut.

But yeah, nothing we can do but wait. This whole thing is very confusing, but then again, when has Johnny's ever made sense.
niawijayantiniawijayanti on March 3rd, 2015 03:55 am (UTC)
I read that and that was very interesting :D
Hm.. actually If It will go like that I'm agree, coz many jrs that I like are in the list XD
For the non-volleyball debut I hope bakaleya is next candidate ><
ミランダ (大丈夫): Yugo: goldenfaded_lace on March 3rd, 2015 10:12 am (UTC)
Haha, I'm glad. And I think it's likely about Bakaleya6! We'll just have to wait and hope.
beach_bum1303beach_bum1303 on March 3rd, 2015 06:19 am (UTC)
I have the same fears; just want you to know that you're not the only one.

However, reading your post made me a lot more hopeful that the situation might have a different outcome then what I'm fearing. I'm still trying to prepare myself for the worst, but having The Three there as a draw-in seems like a pretty good move if they're going to push a group like, let's say, B6- who may have lost fans to other *cough* juniors during their time apart. Although I'd sort of given up on Shin or Juri being debuted for obvious reasons.

But I'm going to play it the same. Sit back and see what happens. At the end of the day I know I've done what I can to let MariSou know I love them, and there's nothing else I can do outside of that.

Seriously though.. This has lifted a weight off my shoulders today. Here's hoping for the best! Debut or not.
ミランダ (大丈夫): Marius: sweetfaded_lace on March 3rd, 2015 10:11 am (UTC)
I'm really glad that I could help a little. Of course, I don't know any more than you, but it's all I can do to look at this logically. @___@; not that Johnny's has ever made any sense.

I don't think it's likely that the volleyball debut could be Bakaleya6, simply because they're a "normal debut" style group, not volleyball. Since the average age for volleyball debuts has to be pretty young(14-15ish), they're just too old, and there are no "fresh" members, like Mari, Sou, and Shori at Sexy Zone's debut or Keito and Chinen at JUMP's debut. However, I really don't think all hope is lost for Bakaleya6. They're the perfect setup for a "regular" debut-- if you look at the average age of Eito, KAT-TUN, or KisuMai at debut, the Bakaleya6 guys will be just right in 1 or 2 years, after the (hopefully existent) 2015 volleyball unit. But either way, I hope that KFS are just the draw and there really is a debut.

I'm with you. There's basically nothing else we can do now, besides use our presence and our money to show Marius and Sou that we care whenever we can. Let's hope for the best together. ♥
りいっかelindar on March 3rd, 2015 09:49 am (UTC)
This thing was of course very surprising and it's kinda sad if this long tradition now suddenly ends, but all things considered, if there will be no new debut this year, I don't think it's a bad thing altogether. There are so many active Johnny's groups right now, especially the "younger", recently debuted ones, that I think there just wouldn't be enough "space" for a new one right now. Of course each of their marketed audiences are a bit different but I still think that a new group would have a hard time right now. I also saw one user on Twitter saying that within the juniors right now, there aren't enough strong personalities, who could really compete with/stand against the debuted ones and I kind of agree with that. There are of course many, who have potential but aren't there quite yet.

I'm mostly mad as a Sou fan right now, though idek what I was expecting to happen with them >_>
ミランダ (大丈夫): Sou: seriousfaded_lace on March 3rd, 2015 10:05 am (UTC)
I disagree about the juniors thing-- there have been plenty of crowded debuts before, and Johnny's has pretty much always debuted at about the same rate for the past 20 years. V6, Kinki, and Arashi debuted in 95, 97, and 99 respectively, all with fairly similar music style and image, and there wasn't a problem. Tackey & Tsubasa, NEWS, and Eito all debuted within a 3-year cluster, and any struggles they had weren't related to one another. To be frank, what with what's going on with Sexy Zone, I think a new group could actually benefit from defectors, as horrible as that may sound. And there are a lot of hardworking juniors with strong personalities, just as much "there" as many previous volleyball debut kids were at debut age, in my opinion. Sure, it's hard to replicate something like Ya-ya-yah, but some possible candidates such as Nakamura Reia (excuse the obvious bias) have been in Johnny's for years and have been developing a lot of talent and character in that time. I don't think that a "bad playing field," if you will, is really enough deterrent to logically break a 20-year tradition, but that's just my opinion.

As a Marius fan, I'm right there with you, but I've given up on the agency having any sense of decency in the near future. At this point, I'm doing everything I can for Marius and Sou, and for the group as five, but sadly, I'm not even surprised by yet another 3-member single. >___<;;;
xanithofdragonsxanithofdragons on March 3rd, 2015 10:45 am (UTC)
I've honestly been questioning whether Johnny's would do something totally different and break from tradition this volleyball year, since I feel like a lot of things have been shifting in Johnny's recently, but really I think possibilities 1 or 2 are more likely. ^^; As much as the agency has a love/hate relationship with volleyball groups sometimes, I don't think Johnny's gonna wanna let go of doing it as long as he's still around. xD

But yeah, Johnny's has been pushing SZ with various Jrs. a bunch , so I can definitely see them using SZ members as a way to draw additional attention to a new group. Or if the different FIVB schedule this year was as much of a surprise to Johnny's as it was to us, I wouldn't be surprised if they had to just debut the new group at the "normal" time of November and make it unrelated volleyball, because as much as Johnny's seems to do things haphazardly and at the last second, it does take a lot of careful planning and timing to debut a new group.
ミランダ (大丈夫): Jun: thougtfulfaded_lace on March 7th, 2015 02:01 am (UTC)
Yeah, I don't know. I really like how much Johnny's has always valued tradition over the years, so to think they might make a break from that would be pretty saddening to m. So I really want to believe that the issue is the timing, and that 1 or 2 are going to be true. I'm glad that you agree that it seems like a logical way to think about it… and I agree. I don't really buy those "last minute" stories-- even if they guys might not know until the last minute, I'm very sure the agency puts a lot of hard work and careful thought into each debut.
S: Fuma: paper airplaneyomimashou on March 4th, 2015 12:30 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for writing all this out! Johnny's makes no sense, but when a wrench gets thrown into things like this it's nice to be able to think clearly about the possibilities. Here's to hoping that the debut we were expecting still happens, whether sooner or later.
ミランダ (大丈夫): Yabu: concernedfaded_lace on March 7th, 2015 01:26 am (UTC)
Yeah… in my opinion, there's no reason to panic without at least looking at things logically. I hope that things work out one way or another.