It’s a brave new world for fans of Johnny’s Entertainment. Once restricted solely to physical media, the agency has slowly dipped their feet into the digital market, making edited versions of music videos available on youtube and even supplying streaming platforms with the discography of the now-retired Arashi. The company recently announced that it would be cutting ties with any of its junior performers who didn’t have plans/desires for eventual debut after the age of 22. This makes me both worried and hopeful for the futures of longtime junior groups like Travis Japan, HiHi Jets and Naniwa Danshi.
Johnny’s Junior groups are kind of like K-pop trainees, except they usually have songs of their own and are already known to the public via variety shows and dramas. It’s basically a J-pop apprenticeship. Becoming a fan of any of these groups can be a frustrating proposition. They may have their own music (some of it really good!), but it’s never released commercially until after the group debuts. And if they don’t ever debut? Well… I guess you’re out of luck.
But, this may change with the advent of a new Johnny’s Junior youtube channel. I consider myself relatively schooled on the whole JE landscape, but even I had never heard of new junior group IMPACTors. Yet, they’ve released their own (full!) music video on youtube – an extreme rarity for Johnny’s acts.
Top Of The World is a very “me” song. I love when the agency dabbles in this propulsive, rock-influenced sound. There are better versions of this style to be found within the immense Johnny’s catalog, but Top Of The World is still a lot of fun. The blend of electric guitar, chorused vocals and symphonic flourishes hits all the right spots, like the soundtrack to some epic sci-fi battle scene. When it comes to the group itself, I’m not sure I hear anything that sets them apart from other Johnny’s acts, but that often comes with time. For now, this is a satisfying introduction to what will hopefully blossom into an exciting career.