Noteworthy

Turmoil For Two Johnny’s Units: Whither Sexy Zone and NEWS?

In the Sexy Zone You’ve Caught a TL;DR! – Never Ending Music Power
Keep calm and carry on – Kamichan
Entering the Sexy Zone. – Never Ending Music Power
NEWS is breaking up? – Cho Scandalous
More on NEWS possibly breaking up… – Cho Scandalous

While Morning Musume rebuilds itself practically from the ground up, there’s some conflict and rumors among their male counterparts at Johnny’s Entertainment. Specifically, the new unit SEXY ZONE seems to be pissing off JE fans for a variety of reasons – the boys are considered too young, they’re stepping on Kis-My-Ftt2’s debut season, and again the whole kerfuffle over the word “sexy” in the group name.Meanwhile, a random tweet has fans guessing that NEWS will no longer be active. Luckily, we have a trio of excellent JE-friendly blogs to navigate us through these matters.

Kamichan and Thennary Nak of NEMP cover much of the same ground regarding the apparent furor over SEXY ZONE’s debut. They even part ways in at least one key point: Kamichan continues to consider the “sexy” a non-issue and proof that some people are too uptight, while Thennary Nak admits to being personally uncomfortable with the word choice but optimistic that the boys will grow into it. Personally, I think using the word “sexy” to modify “zone” is a better hedge than modifying “boys”, at least in terms of courting some ill-conceived, over-emotional charges about JE.

(Unless, of course, one thinks that the zone being referred to is a part of the boys’ anatomy – like, the sexy zone is the area below the waist and above the thighs? But hey, that’d be even funnier, right?)

Kamichan’s post is more rhetorically directed to Johnny’s fandom, referring to a shitstorm and how he’s going to stay away from it. That said, I’d think the best way to stay out of it is just to stay quiet on the topic and let it pass – but where’s the fun in that? At any rate, Kamichan goes over the controversial arguments against SEXY ZONE and emphasizes his determination to enjoy this debut and not let anyone else spoil it for him.

Meanwhile, Thennary Nak has a more outsider-friendly take, with a very detailed “TLDR” post that gets into the details of the matter, as well as a more noob-oriented summary post which has some of the most important facts of the group. The TLDR post is fascinating because it does break things down in a very methodical manner, it doesn’t feel like a slog to go through but is very engaging throughout. One of the positive parts that are focused upon is how SEXY ZONE member Marius is the first Johnny to debut who isn’t one hundred percent Japanese. He is (like my wife) half-German and half-Japanese. It’s a nice, if small, sign of progress.

The best part, though, is seeing how both bloggers address the issue of fairness regarding this debut, Juniors who’ve been passed up, and the Kis-My-Ft2 overlap. Thennary: “And I know there’s a lot about this that is unfair but honestly Johnny’s has never been fair. It sucks but that’s sadly life.” And now Kamichan: “if you’re looking for fairness perhaps you should join a chess club and not follow the music business.” Two different approaches, same message. Bravo to them both.

Meanwhile, Cho Scandalous is chasing down rumors that NEWS is going to break up – or at the very least, quietly put on a permanent hiatus (which it seems to be in now anyways). And ironically, it looks like the problems of maintaining large groups like NEWS may be one of the considerations in making a smaller unit such as SEXY ZONE. At any rate, this seems to have been set off by a random tweet with lots of portentous meaning which was then quickly deleted. From there, Cho Scandalous uses conjecture and deduction to figure out it’s most likely about NEWS… and in a second post, explain what the situation is with NEWS that makes its continued existence untenable. (Here’s a hint: two divas.)

I fondly remember the original Cho Scandalous but I have to say this new version is so much better – leaner, meaner, and wiser. They may focus on rumors and chatter, but their opinions are always so well-informed and convincingly backed up that it never feels like snark for its own sake but rather a rough education on the realities of the idol world. But of course, the snark makes it all the sweeter to soak in.

So lots to read here, definitely read it if you’re a JE fan, and at least consider trying it out otherwise.