22 February 2017 @ 04:38 pm
2017.02.16 SOUL FLOWER [Review]  

I watched this last Thursday and I went because of one the guys (Tanaka Hiroki) from Onigiri (review) who I really fell for in that, was doing this and while at first I bought tickets without knowing what it was about, I soon learnt it was abut mutants and kind of dystonia and that my guy would be doing a BL character so NATURALLY I ended up being super excited for it!

Official Website here
Official Twitter here
Official Hashtag here
PV here
Music here
Press 1, 2

CAST and CHARACTERS

Kuryu Mina as Kiko/Mashiro
Ukai Mondou as Sagami
Sugie Masahiro as Kurosawa Kouji
Tamagawa Ramu as Eva
Akiba Yusuke as Maruko / Mark
Oguri Ryo as Sid
Maniwa Ryosuke as Alberto
Maikawa Miyako as Kokoro
Mitsuki Saori as Uzumi
Kojima Kotori as Sarubado-ru
Kinoshita Aya as Kimura Chanel
Araki Miyu as Yamashiro Myura
Yuuno as Murayama Elmes
Hiroya as Kaosu
Tanaka Hiroki as Agape
Matsushita Takashi as Filia
Mitani Remi as Sheila
Aino Eri as Risa
Hanai Madoka as Aniesu
Hagiwara Naruya as Zenelgef
Maruyama Raiden as Khan
Akaishi Nobu as Zoid
Akiyoshi Aya as Young Kiko
Ogura Erika as Shimamura
Oba Saki as Sally
Hanaoka as Dory
Ensemble: Hikita Chiharu, Takami Sakiko, Watai Ryuya
Tanaka Hyoga as Joker

As you can see the cast is huge! xD The stage again (like Onigiri) was small so having such a huge cast was kinda scary. ANYWAY!

Also as soon as the stage started I was SHOCKED to realise it wasn’t just Tanaka Hiroki from Onigiri in this, but two others from Onigiri were ALSO doing this and it made me very happy ^_^

STORY

SOUL FLOWER takes place in world quite like a dystopian where the rich and privileged live in the Three Hills, whereas the rest live in the slums. We follow a community of people who live in one of these slums, and it's called Sector 6, but even they call it 'Trash Town' (gomi no machi) because all the old and broke electronics and stuff the rich society want to throw away ends up being in their area, but it's their home and they love it. Well almost all of them: some would kill and hurt others in order to get a chance to have their barcodes changed (which every person is imprinted on them so the government know who belongs where in society) and be able to move to the Hills. Unfortunately also in this world, we have mutants who are feared and hated by most humans; Sagami is one of them and in order to keep the sector safe, he's locked up. One day, a famous idol singer from the Hills is kidnapped live on a music tv show, who then wakes up in Sector 6 with no memory of who she is.

NON-SPOILER

This was SOOOO good! Oh my! I loved the story, all the characters were (while a lot of them) individual and great! This very much gave me Onigiri feels; not very known actors, doing a very unique and interesting and simple-to-understand story BUT it hits a lot of feels and it’s entertaining in both actor and comedy, there’s never a dull moment, you even want to route for the bad guys! The improvisation was great, the higawari (daily changes to the script) was absolutely hilarious. I enjoyed this so much! And the aftertalk too was a lot of fun! The singing was beautiful too! I literally cannot, I was so impressed and so happy with this stage! And my baby boy Tanaka Hiroki in his cute BL role had all the kisses and stuff so that made me happy ^_^ He’s so cute... Basically, this is a lot of fun and a great world and I enjoyed it a lot!

Rating: 8/10

SPOILER

Here’s an extension of the plot:

One day, a famous idol singer from the Hills is kidnapped live on a music tv show, who then wakes up in Sector 6 with no memory of who she is. The community welcomes her but turns out she was originally one of them but was kidnapped as a child by the Joker and got her memory wiped at the time and became a singer. She is also Sagami’s long lost childhood friend and they clearly have feelings for each other. During her time in Sector 6

When the Joker learns she was kidnapped on live TV and ended up in Sector 6 he immediately goes mental and brings his posse with him to bring her back. But he’s not the only one, her singing rival Kurosawa also goes to the slums to find her. Because the singer was kidnapped on live tv, two more groups; one group consisting of two assassins and another is one of Sector 6′s own Zenelgef who has made a deal with Joker, if he finds and brings back Kiko then he can move to the Hills and in order to do this he tricks and manipulates his group (consisting of Agape, Filia and Kaosu) to help him even when he has no intentions of taking them with him once the mission is complete.

Finally, with the help of Zenelgef, the Joker re-kidnaps Kiko and brings her back to the Hills however the stress and the fact she gets her memory wiped for the THIRD time really fucks her up, and she ends up completely inside her own head and is no longer consciously there and is very much a vegetable in a wheelchair.

In order for the slums to take control, as well as in order to get Kiko back, Sector 6 decide to infiltrate the Hills alongside Sagami who decides to drive a plane full of explosives into Joker’s building and manage to save Kiko and destroy the Hills for good. Naturally they all think Sagami is dead but thanks to his mutant abilities, he isn’t killed in the blast and finally Kiko and Sagami are reunited and it ends in a peaceful but bittersweet ending because while the Hills are destroyed and there’s no societal structure anymore, they did have a lot of deaths during this story.

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Now, I really want to fangirl a lot about this, and I’m going to go through the actors:

Kuryu Mina as Kiko/Mashiro: She has a beautiful voice! She sings two main songs and they’re both great! All the feels with the songs! Seriously, check out the PV above to hear the first song << the PV is good too. I really liked Kiko. We first see who with no memory and she’s openly welcomed into the slum and they end up naming her Mashiro and she’s very positive and she ends up meeting Sagami and she’s like the only one accepting of him and then when she gets re-kidnapped to the Hills and loses her mind and becomes a blank vegetable is so heartbreaking and then seeing her react and come back to herself when Sagami sends her a video message and she’s starts to come back to her senses and is just like ‘S...Sagami?... Sagami!?’ and oh my it’s heartbreaking! She so cute too!

Ukai Mondou as Sagami: Pretty much straight away we learn he’s the only mutant in Sector 6 and because of his strong power and the fact that he’s unstoppable scares everyone off that they decide he should be locked up so he’s locked up in a dungeon, underground, sewer type place and where he starts to really feel like he shouldn’t live and when Kiko finally comes he’s like ‘stay away! I shouldn’t be allowed to live! Why you talking to me?!’ and he quickly gets soft on her because she feels familiar, she’s not scared of him and she comforts him. When he learns Kiko is his childhood friend he’s totally protective and starts to remember their times together. I really liked Sagami and I really like how they used projection mapping to show his powers and show him transforming and powering up. He has this cool red, fire like power and transformation. When Sector 6 finally accept him back and want to work with him; the plan to use the plane full of explosives come up and when he offers himself it’s really like ‘oh no! We’re know you’re a mutant but you won’t survive the blast!’ but he acts like it’s no deal. And when he makes that video recording for Kiko and he breaks down and it hits you in the feels. The moment he’s IN the plane and starts singing her song as he’s about to smash into the building is so heartbreaking... and then the relief when he turns back up thanks to Mark giving him a parachute before he left and I was crying so hard that he and Kiko could be reunited!! <3 also the fact that Ukai was also in Onigiri; both characters are similar and they both have a lot of action scenes, fighting scenes and also they both have HUGE swords to fight with xD I really like Ukai’s acting and he’s a very good actor -- and super tall too! - and in the aftertalk he was very funny. There’s a moment where he missed his step up the barrel which was hilarious xD

Sugie Masahiro as Kurosawa Kouji: Kurosawa is Kiko’s singng rival and I assume he has a romantic interest in her even though they’re rivals because that would be the only explanation as to why he decides to go looking for her. He doesn’t really leave that much of an impression, he’s just a really nice, decent guy, trying his best to save someone even though he’s never been a fight in his life so he’s not really that much of a help. BUT he is good looking and tall and has nice legs so there’s that xD

Tamagawa Ramu as Eva: She is basically Sid’s sidekick and they’re always together and they’ve been friends and buddies for a long time and she’s very much the woman fighter of the group. She’s very strong, she’s the only one out of the women who can fight, and she’s very strong and she’s definitely left to protect the entire group when Sagami and Sid aren’t there. Her outfit is super cool too. And we learn towards the end that she too is a mutant, just that she kept it hidden, and that he power is manipulating lightning.

Akiba Yusuke as Maruko / Mark: And now we get to the first ikemen I fell for in the stage! This boy is so gorgeous and good looking! He came onstage with Alberto and Sarubado-ru’s actors before the show started to do the stage greeting and rules etc. and I could not look away! I had a very hard time concentrating on Tanaka when he was onstage, I was definitely torn between who do I look at?! BUT the girl in front of me was definitely his fan so I kind of felt like it was okay if I didn’t focus on Akiba, NEVERTHELESS, he is GORGEOUS and so cute and his character is good too! His character is the mechanic and DIY guy of the group; he fixes pianos, planes, pretty much anything and it’s thanks to him that Sector 6 decides to scrap it’s ‘no music’ rule once they learn and hear the music he and his friends produce. There’s also a section where we see him answering phone calls and everything you start to suspect that he is Joker’s intel in the group, BUT luckily he’s actually been working with helping Kurosawa get into Section 6 and find Kiko! Which was a huge ‘phew’ moment because (he’s cute) they cleverly made it look like he was a spy or a bad guy.

Oguri Ryo as Sid: He’s the second guy who was also in this but also in Onigiri. I really liked his character in Onigiri too! And again, just like Ukai, his character in this was similar to his Onigiri character: fights with a sword, long hair, probably the second leader of the group. His character was a small role but he was a big part of the fighting, especially when the fighting was AGAINST Sagami getting out. He was very against Sagami, so the Sector could stay protected, but then also when the Sector is getting attacked in general, he will through away his beliefs and work WITH Sagami to protect the group which is very mature of him <3 but,.... he got killed off. He got absolutely ruined by Aniesu and his death was sad, I did shed a few tears and he dies in Eva’s arms and it’s touching <3

Maniwa Ryosuke as Alberto: Okay this guy was with the other two doing the stage greeting and rules, and straight away he was saying the rules in English  and Mark’s actor Akiba was translating it into Japanese, and this guy got about half way into saying the rule in English when he sees me (smack in the middle of the 4th row) and he just did not stop looking.... he soon stopped using English too, maybe my fault and he started to worry if he was saying the rules correctly which was pretty much correct and his pronunciation was pretty much perfect(!). I don’t really remember this character because he never really got a center moment; he was always WITH the group so naturally I was off googling at Akiba or Tanaka or the other ikemen (explained later) instead. But the actor himself was very funny and interesting and during the aftertalk they spoke about the scene where Sagami volunteers to drive the plane and Akiba and Ukai turned to Maniwa (during the AT) like ‘you look the MOST like a mechanic and pilot between us! You should’ve drove the plane!’ and Akiba goes into his role ‘who will drive the plane...’ Mania ‘....*raises hand* I will!’ Akiba and Ukai: ‘Okay you go then’ xD In fact this guy, as soon as he walked on stage I was like ‘I know this guy!’ and once the stage had finished I immediately went to the internet, and it became very obvious that I knew him; Dance with Devils, Club Slazy, Tokyo Ghoul, Yowamushi Pedal and Onigirimaru.

AhHA holy shit this guy has the top score in TOEIC and did years barod in Oz and US, no wonder he did the whole saying the rules in English thing. FUCK now I really do regret not staying behind to talk to the cast, me and him could’ve had a great discussion...

Maikawa Miyako as Kokoro: Her voice is very high. VERY high. She was cute, had a nice hairstyles and stuck by her friends, especially Uzumi, but she was also very weak and minor, so I wasn’t so much interested in her. But when the aftertalk ended she fell back onto the steps which a cute and funny xD

Mitsuki Saori as Uzumi: Another I didn’t really pay attention to but she did spend the last 30 minutes of the stage just CRYING her eyes out because of Sid’s death then Sagami’s suicide then Sagami being dead but then learning he’s not and he’s alive so ALL the tears: hence kudos for being able to turn the water works on. She was cute too. But no one special or to pay attention to personally.

Kojima Kotori as Sarubado-ru: This guy is so cute! He looks VERY familiar and he’s been in Kin’Iro so that’s where I recognise him from. He’s really good at dancing and he’s very funny! The first time Kiko sings her song in Sector 6, he dances from the half way point and it’s so great! He’s a very talented dancer.

Kinoshita Aya, Araki Miyu and Yuuno as Kimura Chanel, Yamashiro Myura and Murayama Elmes: These three are basically Joker’s posse and they will do anything he tells them too. They’re rather annoying (on purpose) and can be funny at times. There’s a higawari where they chain Joker up and they ended up putting clothing pegs on his nipples and you could tell this was a higawari because the actor playing Joker actually started to freak when they pulled out the pegs and he was like ‘you sure this is safe?!’ to which Chanel said ‘I tried it before the show to make sure it worked’, and he replied ‘...you tried it?! Did you really?! Wait, wait, wait, don’t pull yet!’ and they pulled and his poor nipples were bright red and he was holding them. It was hilarious for EVERYONE else except him.



Hiroya, Tanaka Hiroki and Matsushita Takashi as Kaosu, Agape and Filia
: I’m grouping these guys together because they’re a trio the enter time. They’re a group of three homosexuals who are pretty much in love with each other so they have this polyamorous relationship with each other. While their leader is Zenelgef, it’s very obvious it’s sepeareted and split as them three and then him.  First Kaosu: He’s really the leader in his group, but he has a lot of anger and he’s a little scary and he’s good at fighting, BUT he definitely cares about Agape and Filia a lot, even if he’s arguing with them. He definitely has anger issues but he’s interesting and he works out his struggles with the two other and they go through a lot together, they never go through their shit alone, and his death is heartbreaking, especially because of how it’s executed* and why he dies.


Then we have Agape who is played by my beautiful boy Tanaka Hiroki and the reason WHY I went to this stage! He was so cute! He was playing a rather rough, mean guy. This group is THE group that pretty much fights against and terrorises the others in Sector 6 on a daily basis because they harbour a mutant. BUT as soon as he’s alone with Filia and Kaosu he’s very soft and caring and he worries a lot. It’s really funny seeing Agape and Filia fight over Kaosu’s attention and it creates some very good comedic scenes where Kaosu is just stood between them fighting for his attention and he just can’t decide who he should go to so he forces both of them to come to him xD Also Agape and Filia are very touchy feely with each other and hold hands a lot and Agape is pretty much the other who makes the first move when it comes to making the kisses so that made me squee xD again, his death was heartbreaking* and I cried and the position he died in what so sweet too... compulsory Hiroki picspam because he’s an Ikemen(!):



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Last in the group is Filia who’s actor is ALSO an ikemen and I feel so straight away! He’s so adorable! Both his character and visually and during the aftertalk he was just adorable! Filia is a very quiet, and sweet boy who’s only fighting because the two guys he love is also fighting. He is very positive and very light and is a source of the comedy between the three of them and hes very childish and cute and caring and (did I already say funny)? He was just like the light between the three of them and helps soften the other two up.







*So all three of them die at the same time via suicide. Once they learn Zenelgef has betrayed them and really won’t be taking them to the Hills, they decide enough is enough and they decide that living in this situation sucks and they don’t want to be here anymore (literally) so in front of everyone, just after Sid’s death, Kaosu shoots Agape who dies in Filia’s arms, he then shoots Fillia who slumps onto Agape’s body and finally Kaosu shoots himself and lands next to and onto Agape. I was heartbroken... I didn’t want them to die! And especially how they story ends, it kinda feels like a waste of death; they didn’t need to die! And it hurts that they were so desperate to get out and that when their chance to get out is taken away from them, instead of staying hopefully, they feel the only way out is through death.

Art credit here.

But the BL goodness was good! So many handholds and kisses and funnily fighting for each other’s attention and it was beautiful seeing them three together in that way <3 I want their backstories tbh. *story ideas*

Also Hiroki posted this yesterday and it made me SO happy! <3

Mitani Remi as Sheila and Aino Eri as Risa: I’m very sorry but I did not remember who you were no why you were there. I remember you were dancers... maybe you were working for Joker?

Hanai Madoka as Aniesu and Ogura Erika as Shimamura: These two were badasses. Again I don’t quite remember why they were in Sector 6 (I’m pretty sure Joker also sent them) but they were badass. So Shimamura follows Aniesu religiously and turns out Aniesu USED to live in the slums but managed to get out and that she TOO is a mutant and she battles against Sagami but obviously dies, but she acts very much like a samurai with the hairstyle and using a sword to fight and she’s really badass even if she is only in it for a short time. Their costumes are super nice too!

Hagiwara Naruya as Zenelgef: This guy... he ends up betraying Kaosu and co (like I said) and he’s a traitor in the group but he’s very much one of those he’s violent, he’s crazy but he’s also exceedingly stupid at times that it’s funny making him rather pitiful. The best way to describe him is pitiful in all honesty. But he has a badass moment with a machine gun. But like I said his ridiculousness is a source of comedy. One moment that wasn’t meant to be funny was after he reveals his plans to leave Sector 6 if he succeeds in getting Kiko back to Joker and he goes to climb up the barrels to the top of the stage and he missed the barrel (just like Ukai did) and  smacked his shin against it and it was absolutely hilarious just watching him hobble up the remaining part slightly mumbling (in character) about the stupid barrel and his knee hurting xD he’s also good looking and his character was great but he didn’t come onto my ikemen radar so no picspam here of him xD

Also I’m pretty sure his dad was sat in the front row cos there was a guy about 20 years or so older than Hagiwara but looked EXACTLY like him xD

Maruyama Raiden as Khan: He’s the chief of Sector 6 and he’s the guy who originally banned music in the community but then reunbans it and he’s also the one that hid Kiko’s child kidnapping from Sagami and everyone. He’s a decent role and I really liked when he’s like ‘I’m old and lived a much longer life than you all so it’s only right that I drive that plane in the Hills’ but Sagami being a hero knocks him unconscious so he can take the plane and sacrifice himself. He’s just trying to look after everyone even if it means keeping secrets for a long time and such.

Akaishi Nobu as Zoid, Oba Saki as Sally and Hanaoka as Dory: This group are weird! Zoid is essentially the skeezy guy who says he can get people out of the slums and into the Hills but actually has been running an organ selling business on the black market and is responsible for a lot of people’s deaths, including Sarubado-ru’s mother! All this time Sarubado-ru had thought his mother had gotten out thanks to Zoid’s help but Zoid just got killed her and sold her organs off, naturally really pissing Sarubado-ru off. Thankfully these three aren’t in it a lot (the two guys are like his annoying sidekicks) and they get killed by Zenelgef.

Akiyoshi Aya as Young Kiko: She was so cute! And she has such a similar voice to Kuryu. They casted these two very well in terms of looks and voice and when they sang together it was beautiful! She’s tiny and adorable too!


Ensemble: Hikita Chiharu, Takami Sakiko, Watai Ryuya: They did a bunch of random roles and they did a LOT of action in this which I give them kudos for! They did their part very well and all the different roles they did was great too! They play the kidnappers who take Kiko from the live show to Sector 6. Always makes me happy when women are in the ensembles and given lots of fighting roles.

Tanaka Hyoga as Joker: We ALL know my relationship with badguys right and how a part of my brain just loves falling for the bad guys right? Well it happened here too. Not only is his visually awesome with this circus like look but he’s also bat shit crazy and hilarious! He’s very entertaining and he also has his own solo song and I already mentioned his hilarious Higawari. Also he TOO is mutant (it doesn’t get revealed until the end - but when Joker first went to Sector 6 YEARS ago and found Kiko as a child, Sagami had fought with Joker and realised or at least had an inkling them that Joker was a mutant) and his has the power to absorb OTHERS power so he copies Sagami and Eva’s powers and he’s super powerful which allowed him to beat Sagami and take Kiko back to the Hills. But towards the end, his story is so heartbreaking! The last 20 minutes or so of this play just completely messed me up in streams of tears!! First because Sid died, and then Kaosu, Agape and Filia commited suicide, and then one Kiko is back in Joker’s building he starts losing it and breaking down because she won’t react to anything he says or does, she’s just blank and dead in the eyes and he’s begging for her to come back and he’s slowly losing it, and then Sagami crashes the plane into Joker’s building and we all think he’s dead, and Joker sees Kiko come back to life when she sees the video Sagami left her and is heartbroken that Sagami could get her to come back to her senses, and then once Kiko is rescued, even Sector 6 ask Joker to leave with them (like they forgive him!!) but he’s just like ‘no... Kiko is happier with you guys... I’ll stay here (and died)’ and so I’m crying at that and then FINALLY I cried from relief when Sagami turns up alive at the end!! Oh my... the last 20 minutes seriously just killed me and was a whirlwind rollercoaster.

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Phew that’s the story and comments and actors and characters done! Now for the final section:

In the aftertalk they spoke about which scenes they liked even if they aren't in it, and of course the whole Joker deciding to stay at the end was one scene they all agreed was a good and touching scene. I already mentioned the Alberto should’ve taken the plane part of the AT above. The other question they got was what powers they would want if they were mutants and the girls were picking more ‘wizard’ like abilities. One even said ‘I wish I could just go ‘pop’ and my food was already made for me’ and Hiroya was like ‘THAT’S MAGIC!’ xD Finally at the end Kuryu performed the main song and everyone got to join in with the musical instrument and Tanaka was super happy ‘I’ve always wanted to do the music scene with you all!’ xD and it was beautiful and a lot of fun.

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I am definitely buying this DVD! Such a good story, world, characters and very touching and very funny <3

Unfortunately LJ is beging gay and won't let me have all my pics here so check the review in tumblr for the full picspams.