aikokanzaki
Monday night I spent my evening watching the hilarious Toei Hero Next. It’s like the third of it’s installment, at least for the gekidan heroes series:


Original Movie here
First Stage here

Official Website here
Official Twitter here
Official FaceBook here
Press 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
DVD PreOrder here

CAST and CHARACTERS

Suzuki Shougo as Suito
Saito Shunsuke as Kuroda Ken
Baba Ryoma as Mizuno Satoshi
Moritaka Ai as Momose Niina
Nakajima Kaito as Kirijima Reito
Kinjyou Yamato as Aoki Junzou
Maruyama Atsushi as Kinbara Toshiro
Soutarou as Hara
Matsumoto Hiroya as Mysterious Guy
Kubodera Akira as Kiseki Yuji
Hiramaki Jin as Ruri
Hayashi Tsuyoshi as Ran
Tomita Sho as Sou
Miyuki
Fujisawa Reika
Iwasaki Nami
Hata Mizuho

AfterTalk Guests: Watanabe Tsurugi and Ise Daiki.

STORY

Kinbara is in a writing slump which means Gekidan Bazooka are without scripts and things to perform until then, so they decide to try out being hosts at Club Jewel, but soon they get caught up in an attempted murder, but with no script to guide them, they have to improv. their way to figure out what really happened.

NON SPOILER

This was so fun. I laughter so hard for 2 hours straight. The scripted comedy, the improvised parts, the accidental mistakes and the aftertalk was ALL hilarious. I very much enjoyed myself and it was very refreshing to watch - I expected to be super tired after doing 3 stages and 2 events the week prior - but this was so easy to watch and so easy to be entertained and is a lot of fun! Baba Ryoma is just the king of being over-energetic and funny in an ugly way, Sho-san definitely controlled the AfterTalk and everyone was definitely onboard with whatever crazy requests and daily challenges (higawari) and improvs that came their way. I really hope they do a next install me. And it’s so freaking cool seeing the entire cast and going ‘holy moly they ALL did sentai!’ it’s badass having that realisation in the middle of the play.

Rating: 8/10


SPOILER

The first few parts won’t be spoilerly, so you can read up to the ‘read more’ line without worrying ^_^

When I first walked in, I realised I had an aisle seat... and THEN I realised it was a host set up on the stage... AND THEN I realised there were stairs leading up to the stage, and I was just like ‘oh shit please do not come my way and approach me’ ... my heart was racing anytime they came down the stairs or towards me o_O


( Shinpainaisa! ) )

---

And that’s all! I hope you enjoyed the review ^_^

 
 
aikokanzaki
22 February 2017 @ 04:38 pm

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

( Give me more!! ) )

---

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.

 
 
aikokanzaki
21 February 2017 @ 09:02 pm
Yesterday I spent valentine’s day watching a stage series that I completely fell into last summer! While I was super pissed and skeptical of this installment of the stage - due to favourite characters (Amane, Misu, Shuuto’s) and actors NOT coming back (Tamaki, Nakamura, Shuuto, Hirose Daisuke, Naoya) this installment, and also some announcing that the next installment after this one would be their last (Amane/Takaki, Misu/Nakamura) - I went in with an open mind and was ready to accept whatever they were gunna send at me. And I did. Lets see how that went shall we?


image


Official Site Here
Official Twitter Here
Dress Rehearsal Video Here
Press Coverage 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


CAST/CHARACTERS

Akazawa Tomoru as Shirasaki Mamoru
Izawa Yuki as Ariga Ryou
Sugie Taishi as Kagami Itsuki
Nagae Ryouki as Miike Mayo
Yamaoki Yuki as Yugi Kotarou
Hashimoto Shinichi as Kugure Jun
Asato Yuya as Doctor Ten
Otsuka Kosuke as Doctor Three
Ito Kotaro as Amane Gwen Shougo
Yamada James Takeshi as Salut
Araki Kentaro as Kumoi Ren / Cheka
Kotani Yoshikazu kuroko / Momose Tatara
Nakahara Yuya as Ichijima Harumi
Osumi Kenya as Shikura Kazuhito
Ensemble: Hosokawa Akihiro, Kitamura Kai, Uraie Kenji, Hisada Yuki, Sugiura Yuichi, Ishigami Ryuya, Sakamoto Kazuki


STORY

Kaito Yuri has gone missing and it seems like he might have not only betrayed Sakura but also Mamoru. But Mamoru stays strong that Kaito isn't a bretrayer and that he's still alive, though many believe he's dead after 6 months with no contact from him have passed. Mamoru is sent on a solo Gradutaion (Sotsugyou) Mission to stop the AI hacker known as 'Necromancer' who had broken into Sakura's security system and caused havock. With the occassional help from Doctor Ten, Doctor Three, and the three new Sakura recruits, Mamoru embarks on his mission, alone.

image

NON-SPOILER:
Maybe it's because this was my first time seeing Messiah live the flesh but I felt there was a massive step up in production and everything in this stage! The most impressive thing was the choreography for the action. Holy moly, the stunts and the timing was amazing! Also I really enjoyed the projection mapping this time around and how they used it. As usual the music was amazing and also super nostalgic and hearing the bell when the stage began! I cried at the ending to this but for a different meaning than everyone else. I really, really enjoyed this which I didn't expect to and I am definitely looking forward to the next installment. The negatives I have is this story has two plots and one of the plots I absolutely loved and the other plot I absolutely hated and don't want to remember. The second negative is; I really don't like the three new recruits. They're like carbon copies of Messiah character's we've already met and they're boring and I don't really want to get to know them, which is unfortunate because the actors themselves are adorable!

Rating: I don't think I've rated the Messiah series at all up to now... but I'll put it at a safe 8/10 for now.


SPOILERS!


You’ve been warned; all the spoilers ahead!
 


( Give me the soundtrack! ) )
---

Okay I'll stop here! Pretty sure I've spent like 4 hours making this review! I'm done!

Hope you enjoyed it!
 
 
aikokanzaki
I watched D-Stage 20th: Jyuudou Shounen (Judo Boys) Monday night and it was a LOT of fun with so many things going wrong throughout which added to the hilarity.
image


Official Website here
Official Twitter here
Press 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

CAST
Miyazaki Shuuto
Miyazaki’s Parents (played by Mitsuya - mother and Ikeoka - father)
Mitsuya Mitchell Ryo
Ikeoka Ryousuke
Arai Atsushi
Shison Jun (played by Mitsuya Ryo)
Negishi Takuya (played by Arai Atsushi)
Nishi Yukito (played by Ikeoka)
Voices of Shiramata Atsushi and Maeyama Takahisa
Sakurai Minami
Kobayashi Masahiro


NON-SPOILER

This was so funny! I didn’t stop laughing! Some parts were obviously planned and were supposed to be funny but quite a few things went wrong when I went and even the actors couldn’t not laugh which added to the hilarity. It’s a simple story and the comedy is definitely the selling point here. Seeing their close interactions is great too!


Rating: 9/10 << might be in the race to be my favourite D-Stage! But I’ll have to rewatch it to decide that finally.


---

First I will talk about the story:

Basically Miyazaki Shuuto* has always been told to aim for the Olympics but he doesn’t see the point; he’s on a losing streak, he doesn’t want to go to the Olympics, he doesn’t even think he likes it anymore. Then thanks to a trip to Tokyo with his Judo buddies, he has his first love, finds a rival and discovers what he really wanted to do and what Judo means to him.

*They’re using their own names for the characters.

image

Simple enough story right? Which is great because it left a LOT of room for the BIG theme of the play: the comedy. This was absolutely hilarious! A lot of it was planned comedy but unfortunately the day I went, a LOT of things went wrong or happened without the other actors knowing it was going to happen so not only were the audience laughing hard but also the actors were laughing insanely hard too that they had to stop the play a little so both actor and audience could calm down xD Which means it as a lot of great fun!

To be honest, when I first got my ticket and it was Row Z and the site said row Z is actually row 3 and a bench seat I kind of panicked because I imagined the type of benches we have to sit on in primary school in England and they are not comfortable! SO I was super worried I’d have to put up with one of those types of benches for a 2 hour plus show BUT when I got there they weren’t really benches; just normal chairs without the back and with a cushion! And my bad didn’t hurt at all! I was comfortable the entire time! Also I was super lucky that the person in front and the person next to me didn’t show up SO I was technically on my own and second row! Which made it SUPER easy for the actors to spot us; seriously the first row could TOUCH the stage without even stretching their arm out! And Mitsuya definitely spotted me and I think Ikeoka looked over a few times -- but being me I kept looking away from IkeP if he so much as seemed to see me, cos I’m a shy girl with my bias’ xD


SPOILERS


Anyway! Now to the parts of the play I wanna focus and talk about! First let’s talk about the PLANNED comedy okay?


( let the hilarity ensue ) )

---

Final note:

This stage was a godsend in terms of reconfirming and reaffirming my love for IkeP. He did amazing in Yuhiden and Litche Hikari Club at the end of 2015 and that’s where I fell for him so I went into 2016 super hopeful for him but he only ended up doing like ONE play and ONE dorama and that was April and September, so I was super worried for his career and worried I wouldn’t be able to see more of him BUT we’re only in February and already he’s got a dorama airing, he’s doing a stage now and he’s definitely got Dansui stage in May! So he’s already doing more this year which makes me a super happy bunny and seeing him (finally!, again!) in this on Monday really helped me remember ‘ah yes I love this idiot’ xD he really is hilarious and cute!!

---

That’s all I got to say really. I am very much looking forward to the DVD! It’s a thoroughly enjoyable play! Seriously, a lot of fun and I didn’t stop laughing for over 2 hours!
 
 
aikokanzaki

This is the THIRD Tegami stage, the first one in 2008, then the musical in 2016 and now this one is the rerun of the 2016 musical... Also it is originally a book written by Higashino Keigo (a hugely popular mystery/thriller/crime author here in Japan so explains why it’s gotten so many adaptations) in 2003 and there is movie adaptation of it too from 2006 (available on UK Netflix at least!). So safe to say this story is popular.

Official Site here.
Official Twitter here.
Dress Rehearsal Video here and here and here.
Press Coverage 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

This was my first Tomo play since, well his last one, September so it was great to see him again! I'll admit I was nervous because it's technically the first time I've heard him sing (Tenimyu and the D-DATE CD doesn’t count!), and it's definitely the first time I've heard him sing in person and live. But more on that later! First let’s get the cast list out of the way:

CAST

Yanagishita Tomo / Ota Motohiro (Double Cast) as Takashima Naoki (Younger Brother)
Yoshihara Mitsuo as Takeshima Kouji (Older Brother)
Fujita Rei as Terao Yuusuke
Kato Ryousuke
Kawaguchi Tatsuya
Someya Kouta
GOH IRIS WATANABE
Igarashi Kae
Wada Kiyoka
Okonogo Mari
Yamamoto Sayaka

Some PreShow Stuff:

I was in the first row and my seat was the FIRST one!! I was Row A-1!!! How weird is that!! I still needed my glasses but not much. I was a little nervous when I first showed but because the first 30 minutes loads of kankeishas turned up and were picking up their tickets so I definitely felt out of place. And then the guy ROLLS into the theatre with this loud rolling suitcase and tight jeans and sunglasses and he takes them off and it was so actor-like that I almost laughed right in front of his face. I didn't think actors who acted like they're actors and all actually exist! It was hilarious to witness xD

Anyway, so there was I was in the front row and one of the first in and obviously everyone's looking but I've learnt to deal with it but this I felt like it was more than usual.

Ooooooh! Before I go on I must talk about the very angry moment I had before the play started. So I put all my stuff on my seat, grabbed my letter for Tomo and instead of looking around embarrassingly for the 'Present' section, I decided it was safe to just go to staff and ask 'where do we give stuff in for actors?' and he's like 'you want a blanket?' um... 'No, which staff person do I hand stuff into for the actors?' 'The goods are here' seriously... 'no! I WROTE a LETTER, WHO do I give this to?' 'Oh, over there' 'Thank you....' and so I made more of an embarrassment of myself that way anyway! Seriously though, my Japanese ISN’T that bad and I KNOW it. Maybe it's because I speak SUPER fast (even in English people can’t catch what I say sometimes) but like, it really was a blow to my confidence that I had to say the same thing about 4 times and in 3 different ways and even had to slow down to a ridiculous level and emphasis before he understood me. I get that you don't expect me to speak Japanese and at first hearing me speak Japanese when you expect English is jolting but come on!! It made me super pissed. I obviously bowed a thank you to him but the last 15 or so minutes before the stage started, I was just sat in my seat super pissed and embarrassed and filled with not nice feels.

ANYWAY!!

Now to the set:

The stage is set out in sections thanks to the use of box platforms and they used these platforms to look either like rooms or like cages/cells, as well as there being a flight of stairs and then there's two high platforms at the top just under a cloudy sky backdrop. It's a good set up.

Now to THE STORY: I’m going to try and be as concise as possible because, as I said, this is like the 3rd/4th adaptation of this story so you can easily watch the movie (available with subs on the UK Netflix btw! So I assume other netflixs have access to it and I doubt the story has changed much.)

One day Naoki gets a call and it’s from the police; his older brother has killed someone will breaking and entering the victim’s house; he now faces life in prison. This affects Naoki’s life multiple times and in negative ways over the next 10 or so years, and the only thing that keeps Naoki and his brother, Kouji, connected is through writing letters to each other, that Kouji can only receive and send once a month.

Simple enough plot line right?

NON-SPOILER:

Overall: I cried my heart out. And it wasn’t just me. The entire crowd were balling tears from about 10 minutes into the stage until it finished. I could even hear whimpers some were crying that hard. This was a touching story and it hits you in the feels. I am very pleasantly happy with Tomo’s singing ability and I did enjoy myself. But I feel the first half was much more engaging, interesting and more enjoyable (enjoyable isn’t the right word when it’s something this sad but you get the jist). The second half I personally didn’t like because I’m personally very tired and bored of ‘Japanese salaryman having a hard time’ story lines. The story was very predictable too when it comes to the friendship and romance plotlines in this, and again I personally don’t like being able to predict stuff correctly. My only serious negative is the constant repetition of songs in the second half/part of this play. Nevertheless I enjoyed it, I cried my heart out completely, I’m definitely getting the DVD, and I feel bad not having the money to go and see it again for Tomo’s sake and so I could see it from further back.

Rating: 7/10

SPOILERS:

Entering spoiler and all details territory so you’ve been warned.


( All the tears ) )

---

I DID promised Tomo I'd come and see it again this week but unfortunately I'm way too broke to spend 8000 yen on a ticket I don't necessarily need although I'd love to see it again but I financially can't. I'm defo preordering the DVD though!! Damn...

---

And I’m done! I hope you enjoyed that review and apologies if it’s long!

 
 
aikokanzaki
30 January 2017 @ 11:07 pm

*Todoufuken means ‘Prefectures of Japan’ So basically: The Prefecture Puzzle which is rather fitting.

I went to see my first play of the year about two weeks ago! (Technically my first play cos Touken Ranbu LV doesn’t count because I wasn’t in the theatre in person xD)

Official Website here
Stage Details here
Official Twitter here

NON SPOILER:

Overall: It was nice and enjoyable with a serious over-tone and random comedy moments that hit really well - oh did I mention it was short?! Only 70mins!! I'm not used to that xD It was a quick interesting, thoughtful stage and I cannot wait to see JP’s next work obviously xD

Rating: 6/10

---

SPOILERS:

It was Yasukawa Junpei’s play and I went into it knowing nothing except, judging on the ticket price, it was a small production. And I was right; the audience was practically all kankeishas except like me and 8 other people xD There was probably a total of 40 or 50 people in the audience so yeah, SUPER intimate and the staff were nice and it wasn’t even seat coded! So I chose second row and to the side which was luckily the side JP usually stayed on! Let’s get on with the story:

 

( JP and Ikemen! ) )

 

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I doubt there's a DVD of this so just assume this is the best English review of this stage you're ever gunna get.

---

PS. Apologies if this feels rushed or there’s lots of mispellings. I did have a perfectly nice review but then my pc crashed and I lost it all so out of stress and anger you’re getting the shittier version.

 
 
aikokanzaki
18 January 2017 @ 01:18 pm

FINALLY! FUCKING FINALLY!! FAN FRIDGING-TASTIC FINALLY!!! I FINALLY FUCKING WATCHED TOUSTAGE (somewhat) IN PERSON LIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GIVE ME A MINUITE TO CALM!!!


I have been waiting months....


Months....



MONTHS!!!!


ALMOST A WHOLE YEAR IN FACT!




I fought in ticket battles every BLOODY time and didn't hit.



I even used two different email accounts in order to try and get tickets! I still didn't hit!



I tried Toujitsuken (on the day ticket) and DIDN'T HIT....


I followed FAN REPORTS every PERFORMANCE!!



THERE WERE 37 PERFORMANCES IN TOTAL THIS TIME!!




I EVENTUALLY HIT FOR THE LIVE VIEWING SENKOU!




SHIT SEAT






DID NOT MATTER!!!





BECAUSE IT WAS FOUR (YES FOUR!!!!) GLORIOUS FUCKING HOURS WHERE I LAUGHED AND CRIED!




AND NOT ONLY THAT!!!

AT THE END THEY FUCKING ANNOUNCED THEY'RE DOING A SECOND ONE IN JUNE AND JULY!!!!

MAKICHAN IS BACK!!!!! (more details later)

I AM IN SWORD HELL AND I DO NOT CARE!!!






I FUCKING LOVE TOUSTAGE!!!!!




Lets get onto the review now that I've calmed down....


Now I'm not gunna write everything out; we all know Toustage, we all know the story of it; we've all seen the first DVD multiple times. So I'm just going to write down everything that was different this time including the gungi scene, the curtain call etc. Ready?! Okay!


Oh Official Website here.

( man I love toustage ) )

 
 
aikokanzaki
01 January 2017 @ 12:18 pm
Hey guys!! Here I am with a fun list!! It's always great to look back on a year and talk about things that really got me crazy and obsessed and fangirling hard. There are going to be quite a few lists, and some may seem like I'm cheating, but lets enjoy!!

1. Top 5 Anime

- Hakuouki - this one broke my heart and ripped it up and I loved every minute of it and I already want to rewatch it!
- K: Return of Kings - this one gets here because of how surprising it was! I didn't like the first season and the movie didn't make any sense but this second season of K blew me away and I enjoyed it so much and it's made me a K fan now xD
- Yuri on Ice - everyone freaking loved this this past season! It was so much funa nd so juicy and the romance was great and the animation quality itself was awesome and the international coverage and attention it got too was amazing! Give me a second season now!!
- Touken Ranbu Hanamaru - I love Touken Ranbu; I loved this anime; I need more. TOUKEN RANBU!! <3
- Yowamushi Pedal - another that blew me away this year and I am so obsessed with it now! Even if you're not a fan of sports anime - because I still don't think I am - just give this a try for 4 episodes at least. The characters are great, story is good, the comedy is wonderful, I so enjoyed this!


2. Top 5 3 Books

- Elantris and Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson - I love Sanderson's work so these are automatics.
- The Martian by Andy Weir - it was my first hard science book but it was accessible and very funny too and I very enjoyed the progression of the book and it's just a very good read! It's better than the movie ;)


3. Top 5 Movies

- Pink to Grey - this was visually beautiful and clevel, I loved the plot, the way they shot it was amazing, the acting was flawless, that change part way through the film is still mindblowing to me and Nakajima proved himself as an actor in this. Also Suda Masaki will always be flawless in his performances.
- Creepy - this one scared me at the cinema but in a thriller and mystery and brain-tension way. I still vividlly remember this. And even though I may never watch it again. I was definitely enterained and this is DARK and something I think people will enjoy if you like dark, crime, mysteries that have a lot of silent scariness and you like films that make you think.
- Article 9 - this was a film I went for because of the actors and actually turned out to be a topic of something I know very well about and I really enjoyed the way they created this movie. It gave a lot of good for and against arguments and I really enjoyed seeing everyone have their own opinions and it's just a great film to make you think about some real world topics such as politics and how we should defend ourselves and own country. Also this has Aramaki/Maki-Chan in so <3 the more I think about it too, ths more I really liked the ending.
- Vancounver no Asahi
- Joker Game - of course Kamenashi is going to be on this damn list! I finally watched his two films that I've been dying to see for years and I enjoyed both of them and I wasn't disapponted so of course they're going to be here!

4. Top 5 Doramas

- Kaitou Yamaneko - again Kamenashi Kazuya, this dorama was amazing and funny and enteraining and I need a season two and lets all take a second to mourn the fact that Narimiya has left the entertainment industry =[ he's definitely a loss to the industry and as always he was just as amazing in this as everything else he's ever done!
- ToQger - this one guys.... I was so against watching it for so long and when I finally did? I was in love and I was so obsessed I watched it at work and I cried my eyes out and it's definitely a Sentai favourite of mine now!
- Watashi ha Kekkon Dekinai janakute, Shinai - this one was so good! I really enjoyed watching it AND subbing it with everyone!
- Shitamachi Rocket - this one was one I had on hold for years and I finally watched it and I honestly didn't think I'd like it but damn I got so invested and I found it fascinating, and I love how the story developed and I also loved the relationship between two of the guys and I liked the MC and his daughter's relationship and how that progressed. It was good!
- Sunao ni Narenakute - this one is a little hazy in my mind but I do remember really enjoying it and the characters and I remember there was a lot of character journies and developments in this and I also watched it alongside my friend so we could fangirl about it together and Eita proved himself as an actor as always. This one I have a fond, warm, glowing memory of.

5. Top 5 10 Actors (including stage actors)

*This is more like 'who's in my top 10' rather than a 'who in 2016 is new/impressed me'. Basically these actors I've seen/watched regularly and I'm never disappointed by them and/or they keep impressing me and/or I thoroughly enjoy whatever they make that I see.

- Kamenashi Kazuya
- Yanagishita Tomohisa
- Seto Koji
- Aramaki Yoshihiko
- Ikematsu Sousuke
- Kagawa Teruyuki
- Suda Masaki
- Ueda Keisuke
- Ogoe Yuuki
- Hirose Suzu << she won me over this year, she deserves to be here

*YamaKen is still around in my head but I'm so ready for him to do something different so that's why he's not here. He's been stuck doing the High school romance MC role all year and it's boring now, I want to see him really act again.

*Honourable mentions: Mackenyu, Murakami Nijiro, Kentarou and Onodera Akira.



7. Top 5 Stages (seen live)

- Onigiri
- Orphans
- Binan Koukou Chikyuu Boueibu Love
- Daddy Who?
- Makai Ouji: Devils and Realists

8. Top 3 Stage Series

- Messiah
- Hakuouki
- Touken Ranbu (Musicals and Stage together)


I don't think I have any more lists!

What and/or who would make your list? Let me know below!
 
 
aikokanzaki
31 December 2016 @ 02:45 pm
This one I know is going to be ridiculously long so I put it in a separate one. First I'll do all the stages I saw live throughout 2016


( Month by Month List ) )

PHEW! I think I've gotten everything... That's 39 plays (not including if I saw them multiple times) in total and including the idol/actor events that makes it 48!! I think keeping events at 2 to 4 times a month is just right for me *checks January - March's schedule* which I seem to be sticking to for next year (although I think I'm always gunna end up randomly going to events making it like 5 a month but I really shouldn't xD). So hopefully with my stricter schedule next year I can enjoy just as many amazing productions (by focusing on actors and stories I actually care about) as well as save money xD

And now for the ridiculous list of stages that I marathoned on DVD:

( Extra Ridiculous List ) )


That's a total of 79 stages! I should really learn to control my marathoning but it's just so easy to do and so much fun! But I shall try to control it next year also.

So there we have it! I somehow successfully managed to watch 118 stages this year... and now we all know why my movies and doramas are way down this year xD

And I'm pretty confident I've forgotten some...
 
 
aikokanzaki
15 December 2016 @ 07:19 pm
I watched this yesterday! And I was very apprehensive going into it because my friends Tina and Josie had watched it the weekend before and told me that they do so many stunts and that my anxiety is going to go haywire. They were in fact 100% right. I was in anxiety hell the entire time BUT I also super enjoyed myself and (unfortunately for the actor's health) I wanted to see them do more of the sport. But we're already jumped ahead so let's go back to the very beginning which is the story.


Official Website
Official Twitter
News Coverage 1, 2, 3


Story

Prince of Stride is a game but also an anime (only 12 episodes) that aired in 2015. The first Episode/Stage leans more towards the game's story BUT you can still follow it if you only watched the anime like I did.

I really liked the story in this Episode and I enjoyed how much comedy they added into this compared to the anime! It was very funny and I was laughing hard a lot of time and even giggling quietly during other parts because something would amuse me. I paid a lot of attention to characters in the background rather than whoever was taking the main stage at the time because it was far more interesting and you saw more character development that way in my opinion.

Episode One of the stage covers character introductions, reviving the Stride club, their trial race at their school, and versus Mihashi, we also got the whole idol performance and Saisei meeting too. There were a few new scenes I think but now I can't remember exactly.

Theatre

I was super lucky to get 5th row and I was smack in the middle so I missed out on the boys running byside me -- they used the entire spare space in the theatre as their spaces to run. BUT then again I had no one to the right of me at all and there was a big gap between me and the two girls on the left so technically they DID run past me xD I was shocked though that 5th row was that empty yet everything behind me was full! What happened to the people who got such good seats at the front?! Moving on...

OH! AND I went on filming day!

Music and Opening

The music leading up to the show starting was really good! Totally got me in the mood for running and in the mood to watch this epic sports show. FYI Stride is not a real sport but I so wish it was! It's a combination of relay running and parkour << how amazing does that sound! And the actors have been training and learning Parkour for over 9 months in preparation to not fuck up or hurt themselves during these shows, which I'm very thankful for but it didn't ease my anxiety!

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Also speaking of the music they used the anime song for the opening and the ending - check it out here! << who doesn't feel like running at full speed when they hear this?! It's so pumpy and great! Which made me flail inside so hard! The opening scene itself is impressive because they're ALL running around the stage doing parkour during the opening (with that song!) and it's more fascinating and mezmerising than it is worrying in a way. There's SO many of them and so much going on that you just want them to keep doing the opening scene over and over so you can see what each actor/character does xD and I cried okay! I cried at the freaking opening! Just the whole using this song and I really like the anime and seeing this hectic but entertaining opening and seeing Izaki as Riku, it was all a bit too much for me and I cried - I have no shame! xD

Staging and Functions

The stage itself by the way is CRAZY. They have three BIG apparatuses at the back of the stage which have a gap between them so they can jump between them. Then we have some smaller and different types apparatuses that come on and off the stage throughout the play such as steps and ones with slanted handrails as well as a few pummel horses (gymnastic apparatus).

I want to give HUGE props to all the POS (Prince of Stride) team who were constantly shifting the apparatuses every few seconds so it looked like the boys really were traveling over the city to the different locations. They had to move so fast and so in time or else the boys, who would be running AROUND the theatre to give the staff time to change it around in seconds, wouldn't be able to slow down or edit the choreography really. And once they had finished moving the apparatus they would have to hide under them and hold them in place! That's absolutely crazy and takes talent, power and perfect timing to pull such a thing off! Amazing.

The Sport

I really really really do wish Stride was a real sport! It looks so epic! Can you imagine them doing this at the olympics or something! I understand it's difficult to close roads and stuff, especially in Japan for sports events and it probably has a high injury risk than most sports but omg this would be epic! And I want to be a part of it!!

Even when I saw the anime for the first time I was like: I WANT THIS TO BE REAL!!! And I want to do it!! << I think this mindset is what helped my anxiety while watching it; it was impressive and I was too busy thinking 'damn why isn't this real and why can't I do it' to be worried about them hurting themselves but I was pretty shook up after that one guy fell << explained later.

Also I feel like, because the Epsiode 4 final venue hasn't been announced yet, they should do what they did for Tenimyu Sport Events and finish it off by doing an actual course around an arena. I know this would be very strenuous on their health and would probably mean they'd have to rev up their exercise scheme but like I want more! I want to see them really do stride! Not just running around a theatre. A proper course for them to run around is what I want. I don't need ANY dialogue or ANY story in episode 4, I just wanna see them do an actual stride race in an arena xD


Characters and Cast

The cast is too big to list in one go so I will just list the character and actor as I go through and comment on them, their performance and the characters:

( Honan > Saisei > Mihashi ) )

Goods



My Character Ranking

I vaguely mentioned 'ranking' in this review but basically; I originally had a ranking when I first watching the anime but after rewatching the anime and seeing the stage my ranking has changed completely and I want to share it with you all now, I'll just do top ten cos most of the characters are a blur and don't really care for:

Kuga
Takeru << this is HUGELY thanks to Jin's influence in the stage
Reiji
Kohinata << huge actor influence
Kaeda
Riku
Aoi Shima << actor influence
Heath
Ayumu << actor influence
Himemiya Yuuri*
Banchan
Natsunagi Toya*

*These are not in the stage yet.

SO I ended up with 12 so what! I'm sure this ranking is NOT set but currently I'm really feeling Kuga from the anime and I'm super all about Jin's Takeru in the stage. Riku used to be my first but after rewatching the anime and seeing the stage, he's now a bit too childish for my liking.


RANDOM PHOTO!!

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Sho-san from TokiEnta (the company MakiChan is part off and TokiEnta is like my LIFE atm. As a company I love them!) went and watched it the day before me!! He's in the same company as Kishimoto who plays Heath <3

Overall: This was super fun! I was a fan of the anime, I fangirled hard when it got announced as a stage and I was not disappointed! It was so much fun and the stunts were great and the coordination between staff, cast and timing was awesome! Naturally seeing them run acorss the stage and jumping over giant apparatuses my poor heart and anxiety was high BUT luckily it was more than impressive enough to make me even consider watching the second episode full of anxiety too xD Aoki Jin was the biggest surprise for me ^_^
Rating: 8.5/10
 
 
aikokanzaki
30 November 2016 @ 12:57 pm
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I found it highly amusing that the theatre I went to on the Thursday was exactly NEXT to the the theatre I went to on the Friday:

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The theatre is like way underground-ish which was surprisng but the entrance looked TINY so I'm glad that once you went down the stairs and such that it opened up a little but it was still rather small. The seating area in the theare itself was only about 6 rows of 12 chairs! Luckily it was full too! I was luckily 3rd row and I didn't need my good glasses I was that close!! Also before the stage started three of the members came out to tell us the rules but told us in such a hilarious way that we couldn't stop laughing. Being thrid row naturally they ALL spotted my straight away! Kimura kept looking my way first out of shock and then more out of curiosity xD

Then the show started!

STORY

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*unfortunately there's no character names listed in the pamphlet so I'll be using actor's names.

One day it's Subaru's father's funeral and him and 7 other young people have been gathered together. Nomura reveals that they're all actually related and have the same father so it's all about finding proof that they are all actually related and if they realy do all have the same father. As it's turns out Subaru's father who died is gay and this super nice father so took in each of their mothers in times of need (sometimes to get away from their abusive soon-to-be-ex husbands or simply because they were poor single mothers almost having no place to stay etc) and would put his names on the birth certificates and marry the mothers until they got back on their feet. Not only did he help the mothers out but also it allowed him to fulfill his wish of being a father. How pure is that?!?! Oh jesus I'm starting to cry now thinking about it.

There's a lot of elements to this story including a lot of improvised comedy and emotions that just hit you right in the feels! There's also some very real topics of discussion such as DV, adoption, trying to be yourself, trying to hide yourself, homosexuality and being family even if you're not blood related. All these topics were handled VERY VERY well. I was especially impressed by how they handled the last two. Very quickly all the characters are like 'so what if he's gay or bi? He's our father no matter what! Even if he's not really our father by blood, even if we aren't really related, we're all now siblings thanks to our father helping our mothers.' << oh god I'm crying again...

This stage really did hit me right in the feels.

If you don't know about me. I have one mother, two fathers, and while none of them have sexuality or DV problems, just the whole 'my step father is my father no matter what, even if he's not blood related to me' and 'my dad will always be there even if he isn't physically and I know he'd do anything for me' just like their father in this, and it really does hit a range of emotions (obviously all positive) for me. Unfortunately I went on filming day (again xD two days in a row!) and I purchased the DVD SO I'll probably be able to hear my crying when it comes out xD


CAST/CHARACTERS

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There's actually about four casts: Shirakura Group, Kimura Group and Two Shuffle Groups

( Beware of excessive JP and Kimura praise xD ) )

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Overall: This was so funny! A lot of improvisation and a lot of great chemistry between the cast too! I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I was lucky enough to go on filming day too and it was so enjoyable that I preordered the DVD right there! I was luckily enough to speak to the cast after the show too which was an amazing experience <3 I'm so glad I went! And this stage impressed me so much that I'm going to even keep an eye on not only Kimura but also the acting company itself and try the other shows it does in the future. This was also a very touching and close to home story so it had me in tears at the end but tears of happiness! I love how they handled topics like sexuality and non-blood-related family ties too.
Rating: 9/10
 
 
aikokanzaki
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I went to a play full of people I didn't know last Thursday for the first time in a long time, and it was really nice going in with no expectations, especially after Kuroshitsuji's disappointment (see here) and before Death Note's disappointment (review coming soon)! I really enjoyed myself at this play!! It was so nice just going in blank and enjoying it to it's fullest! I think I'm gunna start taking a step back from 2.5 (which is blowing up at a crazy rate) and start going to these more... niche(?) or at least with less known actors. Same thing happened last Friday but that review will come after this one xD Lets get started shall we!


--

Useful Links
Official Website
News Coverage 1
Videos 1

--


STORY

The story was actually very straight forward but first let me break down the groups we had in the stage:

Youkai Protectors: Jin, Sakura, Shizukagoen, Yoshitsune, Momotarou, Susanou, Valkrie, Ryuuko, Kaguya, Jikfrik, Amaterasu

Youkai Enemies: Oppenheimer, Veronika, Basara, Usume

Scientists/Youkai Changers: Doctor Shubalts, Jami, Tengu/Shisou

Youkai: Kizuke, Mitsumesumashi, Jinbee, Daruma

Jami is also a Youkai but you'll understand why he's not in this Youkai group. Also apparently Jin and possibly Momotarou are demons so there's that too. Anyways! Onto the story:

So apparently the Enemies and the Youkai Protectors are constantly coming to blows because naturally the Enemies want to destroy and kill all the Youkai while the protectors want to save the ones that really aren't a threat. But one day a youkai gets changed into a human and slowly more and more are getting turned into humans and it's all down to the work of Doctor Shubalts. The Protectors friend the Youkai, especially one they end up calling Kisuke BUT the human-turned-youkais begin to have outbursts of rage and attack anyone in their path, naturally Kisuke doesn't want to hurt her new friends so together her and the Portectors try to find the Doctor so they can turn her back into a Youkai. While this is going on the enemy are naturally taking advantaging of this situation and raging around killing all the new turned human-youkai. So the Protectors not only have to find the doctor for the sake of Kisuke but they also have to stop the enemy from attacking Kisuke and other human-turned-youkai as well as try to stop the Doctor from creating anymore youkai-humans that keep going on rampages.

I may have made this sound super confusing but it's actually REALLy simple and I love how simple the plot it yet it ends up being really touching and exciting! Also we get a lot of character backstory -- which really impressed me because it didn't feel like too much was getting thrown at us yet we not only got the main story, but also backstories for Yoshitsune, Tengu, Jami, Jin (a little), Miroku, Momotarou (a little) AND Basara!! How crazy it that! Yet it never felt like too much << that's impressive!

I'll go onto the backstories a little:

( A lot of pics below ) )



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Overall: It was so refreshing going into a play without any expectations, not knowing the story and the cast and just being simply entertained for two hours. It was so much fun! A lot of up and coming actors in this too that I'd like to keep an eye on. The story was simple but touching (I did cry!). I went on filming day luckily and I am DEFINITELY buying the DVD! But dammit I wish I'd had the balls to talk to the actors after the show -__-
Rating: 8/10
 
 
aikokanzaki
23 November 2016 @ 11:39 pm
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I watched this yesterday! I funnily enough I've been following KuroMyu pretty much since it first came out on DVD by some random coincidence I came across the musicals and enjoyed them (obviously this was after I began reading the manga but... I think before I even started the anime!!). So I was SUPER pumped to see this! Especially because they were gunna be doing one of my favourite arcs in the world; the circus arc!! <3


Useful Links
Official Site
Press 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

PreShow


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I will admit the stage looked freaking amazing on standby and it had some many thngs going on and it loked super kool!
I was also somehow lucky enough to get an arena seat which I've never experienced at Tokyo Dome City Hall before!! So I felt super VIP because I know how hard it is to get a ticket for arena for like Tenimyu and I know KuroMyu is super popular too so I think myself miraculously lucky to get such a seat!

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The musical started with two comedic people coming on stage and doing tricks like juggling and playing with kendama and it was very funny, also some people walked in later while they were walking around the arena and they stalked them over to their seats and then asked another girl who she'd come for and such and if the tricks ever went wrong they were like 'It's cos I'm not taking it seriously yet' xD

I'm not going to discuss the plot, I'm sure you can find the summary of the circus arc here.

Okay let's do ALL the aesthetics first

( There are criticisms so you've been warned ) )

Okay I'm done! How many want to kill me?


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Overall: While I was super impressed with the entire look of it all and those kid actors were/are seriously amazing. I felt too much of what Kuroshitsuji is supposed to be was cut out for the sake of replacing it with the entertainment-factor, which is not what I want from my Kuroshitsuji's.
Rating: 6.5/10 << Yes I understand I said a lot of positives in this review but I already don't particularly feel anything for this musical so I can't really put it anything above a 7 or something.
 
 
aikokanzaki
08 November 2016 @ 01:07 pm
tonomonogatari

Last night I went and watched Tono Monogatari which is Seto's newest play. It actually has a rather long run and the theater has three floors! It was fully packed! I honestly had no idea what it was about and was under the impression that because it was starting at the end of October, that it was going to be a horror story. But on Sunday a student kindly informed me that Tono is an area in Japan that's famous for monsters, ghosts and yokai, so naturally my mind changed on as to what the story would be about.


*Important Links

Official Website here
Image credits and new article coverage here and here
Seto Video Comments here and here


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Thanks to the FC lottery I got a really good seat! Row F! So I was super close to the stage! Thank you Seto Koji! BUT I was surrounded by either couples (which is odd but they were much older so I can understand that) or girls who were obviously there because of Seto but more so the former. In fact 90% of the audience were much older (50s and 60s) and I'd say at least 40% were male! Clearly a crowd I'm not used to but have experienced now and again through the year. It's only naturally because the two main characters and actors are not only very famous, but also in their 50s-ish so it matches the audience.

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The beginning starts off which the main actor (who also wrote the script) explaining how he'll be using a lot of different dialects (Tokyo, Tohoku etc.) in the story including his own which is kansai-ben. He also released tension in the room by cracking a few jokes which I wasn't expecting and surprisingly it continued on into the story too, but I'll explain that more later.

Cast

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Nakamura Tooru
Seto Koji
Yamauchi Takaya
Iketani Nobue
Yasui Junpei
Hamada Shinya
Ando Wakou
Ishiyama Renge
Ginpuncho

*PS. My kanji reading for names is getting so good! I hardly had to google how to read these! xD

( Story, Stage, Seto Fangirling and Accent Discussion ) )


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And there we have it! This review took longer than expected but it definitely didn't take a much time as it normally does. I hope it was coherent enough to be understood, especially in the parts where I try to explain the story dynamics.

Have a good day! ^_^

 
 
aikokanzaki
On Tuesday I finally went to my last two shows of the month - it's been an absolutely CRAZY month! And let me tell you, the craziness started BEFORE the show even began!

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This play is the 3rd installment for the series and the basic plot is (this is gunna be so shitty, I understand the plot completely in my mind but explaining it is hard):

Kase and Naoya are reincarnations of past feudal war lords, and it is basically their job to live in through different reincarnations and different generations and times fighting against evil spirits that are tring to get revenge or are posessing other people. Every time our main characters die, they take on another's body and life.

Did that make enough sense? Does that sound interesting enough? Good!

Oh and one more small thing; every time they get reincarnated they have a decision between taking on this body's person's memories and possibly losing their own, or throwing away that person's life in order to keep on to who they are as a person. Complicated right? Sorry!

And they (Sho and MakiChan) had said on a stream that even first timers will understand the story and plot of this installment so I didn't have to worry about watching any of the others before seeing this ^_^

The PreShow

Well I just sold my soul. I came with 30,000 for the day and I was stood at the front of the counter trying to figure out how to save 400yen cos I'd gone over my budget. But in my defense the DVDs I bought are my Christmas presents -- but now I'm paying for it because I have no money to afford all my senkou tickets for this month =[ so I might have to cancel a few tickets (including my Seto one) if I hit...

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^^ Everything I bought... I regret nothing!!

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^^ The freebies <3

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^^ My christmas presents!


Now onto theseating. I got an aisle seat for the first one which is awesome! And my second seat wasn't too bad either which is nice ^_^ Got a good view whatever =]

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Also before the show, they announced that the play is 2hours and 30mins without a break which shocked me a little... also a girl next to me was writing a letter and was writing her address on the back of her letter envelope. I've never thought of doing that!! Most of my Japanese friends go 'why do you not write your line or your email in your letters'? and my only answer is 'Cos it's like a rule not to!' But the more people ask me why I don't, the more I think 'why the fuck not' because in reality if the actor has a brain, he ain't gunna contact a fan is he?! If he does... he's an idiot. In my opinion haha anyway...

ALSO! There was a specific announcement on the blog before the show performances even started which stated 'do not look at your pamphlet until after the show and if you do look, please do it somewhere where others won't see it,' yet some mother fucker sat next to me was flipping through the pamphlet wide open! I tried so hard not to look! But it really made me angry that they clearly hadn't seen the twitter OR blog announcement of it.... -_- respect the system!

Anyway! Now onto the show!!


The Show

**Quick note. I made 39 mental notes during my second viewing of this stage BUT I've forgotten at least 10 of the points so sorry! Wish I had the balls to sit with my notebook and quickly write notes as I watched plays...

CAST

Actual Main Characters:
Kase - Tamita Sho
Naoya - Aramaki Yoshihiko

Other Main Characters:
Mari - Tsukui Minami
Ryo - Fujimoto Ryo
Sasaki - Kasahra Shinji

Other Characters:
Kuchiki - Masuda Yuuki
James D Handou - Hayashi Shuji
Cain - Saikawa Koji
Ryanchi - Ando Ayaka
Kanezaki - Nishijo Yoshimasa
Mizutani Atsushi

Enemble:
Okamoto Ruri
Saiou Masako
Ikeuchi Risa
Sugawara Takeshi
Ogasawara Tatsuya
Kitamuta Kai
Yuasa Masayuki


First thing I noticed; the music and the projection mapping! The projection mapping is very good! I really like the opening graphics and it's so cool how they introduce everyone while using the projection mapping and the power spell things are super cool too! And the music is amazing! I really hope they put it on a soundtrack CD!! Seriously, it's so good and very empowering and very actiony. The theme music?! OMG give it to me now!! BUT in contrast to the music which is very empowering, the play itself is very slow and there's like no action in it. Which really surprised me because I was expecting a lot of action and fight scenes and a lot of powers being used etc. but it wasn't this at all! So that really shocked me the first time and disppointed and bored me a little the first time around. The second showing I knew what I was getting into so could enjoy it a little more.

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I really enjoyed how the stage worked too! First: not a lot of stairs! So naturally my anxiety wasn't playing up xD Also they would open sections and pull out whole settings which was cool and simply pull them back to change the scene and such. And of couse the projection mapping helped with setting the scene (the switches between the settings where they would have black and white shots of old Shanghai and in another Tokyo Tower being built etc. so beatiful!).

(Most of my negatives are mainly from my first viewing.) At the end of the first show I was also a little confused because I felt the first half didn't have anything to do with the actual main story of the play which took place in the second half of the stage! Also the main characters are literally non-existent in the first half of this show which again is a little disappointing. BUT turns out that it's true that it's not really suppose to relate to the main plot of the stage. The first half of the stage is just simply showing previous lives of three out of our five main characters. Seemingly, according to my friend who I spoke to after the stage, this whole first half is there to make up for the lack of backstory of the three-non-main-main characters we got in the previous two plays. So in a sense I get why this first half way needed but personally, I could do without those three MC's back stories. The only two people and characters that matter are the two actual main characters am I right?!?! xD

Also I was expecting it to be very action packed and that just didn't happen so I was a little disappointed there too... anyway! To the good stuff!

( Enjoy the historical adventure xD ) )



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This was a lot easier to write than Okimesu xD thank god!
Enjoy!!

 
 
aikokanzaki
Okay I am a crazy motherchucker who went and watched his 5, yes five, times! But also in my defense, when I hit for ALL 5 back in May, you either paid for all the tickets or didn't pay for any (you couldn't pick and choose) so technically it's their fault xD but anyway!


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Before the play I obviously read the actual Shakespearian play and while it took me a few acts to get used to the language again, I had no problem understanding it which is awesome! But I was super surprised at how many people hadn't read Shakespeare! Like people were ridiculously shocked at some moments and I was like 'read the book! How have you not read the book?!?!' but I kinda have to remember that Shakespeare isn't in the school cirriculum here... but still! Don't people usually read the adapted books before they see something?!?!?! Or again, is that just me?

Luckily the play follows the script rather faithfully and even more luckily is that in Japanese? They use SUPER modern and simple Japanese, unlike the Shakespearian language, so the stage was easy to understand too! ^_^

Some pictures from the performances can be found here and here.

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CAST/CHARACTERS

Yanagishita Tomo - Orlando
Maeyama Takahisa - Rosalind
Nishii Yukito - Celia
Makita Tetsuya - Touchstone
Kaji Masaki - Charles // Jacques
Mikami Shinji - Oliver // Collin
Endo Yuya - Le Beau // Forest Guy // Audrey
Yamada Yusuke - Forest Guy // Phoebe // Priest
Ishida Keisuke - Adam // William
Matsuo Kiji - Duke Frederick // Duke Senior
Suzuki Souma - Lord Amiens // Haymen
Okubou Shoutarou - Silvius


I'll go through the story and such and the scenes in as much order as I can and then I'll do little sections between where things changes as I went through the performances... make sense? I hope it did xD

So first thing which surprised me is that when I walked in, BAM(!) Tomo is stood at the front of the stage looking straight at me. Every performance from doors opening the actors would be on stage preparing. First it would be Tomo-Mae-Nishi, Then Mikami would come on and soon after Tomo would leave, but then Kaji-Yamada-Okubo-Endo-Yamada would come on and they would probably laugh and talk amongst themselves or they would start to play games (like wink murder or this game where you have to say 'shashashashasha jijijijiji' which always killed me xD And during this opening, Mae, Nishii, Mikami would leave. Finally Mikami, Mae and Nishi would come back on, Mikami was in charge of telling the audience to turn their phones off etc. and finally the Duke Senior would come on in full clothing and the show would begin.

10/18 (= October 18th) Tomo's control of handstands is amazing! He would do cartwheels and handstands on the stage (he did it another few times too during the performances I watched). Today they played the whistle song was hilarious xD One of the guys couldn't actually whistle! We all lost it >.< also, Nishi really does remind me of my sister xD
10/20 Probably because they saw me, they would start saying (in English) 'Who are you?! I'm Celia! I'm Orlando!' etc. Nishi cannot pronounce Celia in English to save his life, he said SHEEEElia instead xD totally cute. But everyone in the audience laughed so it's not just be who knew it sounded wrong.
10/24 Tomo had even MORE control over his handstands this day. And they did the English thing again xD Also Yamada told Kaji and Okubou that he'd gotten his nose hairs (ripped) taken out and Kaji was like 'that's bad! You no long have a forest to protect you from germs getting inside... what if you sneeze?!' which is actually a very valid point but also amusing to hear.

We first begin with the music and those on stage would do a clapping opening. I can't really explain it but I really enjoy the scene a lot! (I just checked the script one last time and yes it follows the play exactly - although I feel an Audrey/Touchstone scene got moved up but that's about it, so I'm not gunna explain much of the actual scenes, you can read scene summaries for that!)

( There's a lot -- sorry! ) )



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And there we have it! I should really be more organised. I should write one review and just add to it as I go through the performances... but I didn't do that so I had a mass of notes in DATE order rather than story order xD

Enjoy!
 
 
aikokanzaki
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I promised my friends I wouldn't spoilt his for them on tweet so I'm writing it on here asap because I SERIOUSLY need to talk about this musical! Because OH MY GOD! I think it's won best musical of the year for me seriously! But more of that later!


Pre-Show Antics

It was A LOT quieter and nicer at the theater than I'm usually used to. I think because A. this has SUCH a long run in Tokyo (something like 30 shows!) and it was a week day, that goods and everything were VERY easy and quick to get through this time! ^_^

I had row 9 today and I luckily got an Aisle seat too! <3

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About 5 minutes before the play started a guy walks in from the curtain to the right of me and straight away I recognised it was Kuroba Mario! Even though he had a facemask on that covered pretty much his entire face bar his eyes and had this HUGE hat on. I knew straight away! <3 But because I'd already turned my phone off, I immediately thought 'I'm gunna spend the next 2 hours and 10mins wanting to tell twitter' and to be honest, it was in the back of my mind the entire time xD when I saw him my brain went 'MARIOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!' xD


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Also once the first part of the show started and we had a little break, I noticed I had a perfectly clear diagonal shot of him and he is gorgeous in real life(!) and out of costume! And his hair was really nice too! Also, it didn't look like he'd cried at the first part either (more on mine and everyone else's tears later).

Mario was in the previous Touken Musical (See my review here) as Mikatsuki aka Jiji!

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And then it began!! So now onto the good stuff!

Story

RUN TIME: 2hrs 10
LIVE RUN TIME: 40mins

TOTAL: 2hrs 50mins plus 15 minute break (19:00 ~ 22:00)


We follow the Shinsengumi and Okita Souji. The story begins with Hijikata, Kondo and Okita before the Shinsengumi group forms and then again during the Ikedaya incident and again once Okita is hospitalised, and the end with Kondo. If you've ever seen Hakuouki then that's all you need to remember. I'd researched SO much about the Bakumatsu before watching this so I would be able to understand BUT as soon as it started with the historical scenes, I thought 'Oh! This happened in Hakuouki! And this scene too! And this too!' So just go watch that anime to know what history you're gunna get xD

It could possibly be because I'm much more familiar with the Shinsengumi rather than Yoshitsune (the plot/story line from the previous TouMyu (=Touken Ranbu Musical)), BUT I found this one MUCH easier to follow and understand! I can't think of a moment where I was actually lot or didn't understand what was happening or being said which is great!

The Cast and Characters

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Cast (Character then Actor named):

TOUKEN DANSHI
Kashuu Kiyomitsu - Sato Ryuji
Yamatonokami Yasusada - Torigoe Yuki
Izuminokami Kanesada - Arisawa Shotaro
Horikawa Kunihiro - Ogoe Yuuki (also known as Ogotan)
Hachitsuka Kotetsu - Takahashi Kensuke
Nagasone Kotetsu - Imari Yu

SHINSENGUMI
Kondou Isami - Gomoto Naoya
Hijikata Toshizo - Takagi Tomoyuki
Okita Souji - Tochihara Rakuto
+ Ensemble of 18 members

( All the spoilers below the cut! ) )




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Photo credits:

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Rating: 9.5/10 (I gotta take some off forsome dodgy singing and hated character xD)
Overall: This is THE best musical of the year for me. I would say best play of the year but remember how much Orphans blew me away? And I've still (hopefully) got Touken STAGE in December which I imagine will win best 2.5 Theater Stage for me this year xD They stepped it up tremendously!

**I've edited in two new parts so just Control F and search 'Edit' (I've added a bit more to justify my thoughts on Nagasone and Hachisuka and I've added a completely new section for the staging and soundtrack!)

Holy crap 5 hours later and I'm done! You better appreciate it!! xD

 
 
aikokanzaki
20 September 2016 @ 01:03 pm
After 11 days of solid work, I finally started my holiday off by going to a play! Which was my first one in about 2 weeks! Seriously, stage-withdrawal-symptoms are real! I was having dreams of going to stages like EVERY night it was that bad xD

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Stage Site here.
Dress Rehearsal video here.

I had speed read the manga in English and only volume one of it in Japanese before seeing the play. I was super excited because it was by a writer I love (she's also written MESSIAH! and we all know how much I love the Messiah series!) so I had high hopes for both the play and the manga; I was disappointed!

Synopsis (for the manga)

Japan, Year 2055, Old Tokyo. As the population continues drop due to a mysterious disease, through a certain incident, the fates of two youths, the orphan Noel, and Rikka, the heir of a distinguished Russian Mafia family, will cross… A thriller, depicting the tale of their "Bond of Blood"…


Cast

Rikka - Ueda Keisuke (known as UeChan)
Noel - Hirano Ryo
Sasha - Fujita Rei (known as Fajita Rei)
Cloud - Yamauchi Keisuke
Snake - Kuwano Kosuke
Olive - Fujiawara Yuuki
Wiwi - Karahashi Mitsuru
Black Santa - Nakamura Ryusuke

Pre-Play


I watched this at Tokyo Dome and because I'd finished work so early, I actually took time (for the first time ever) to properly look at and around Tokyo Dome City. Normally I'm too busy running to get KAT-TUN goods or I'm too busy running to Tenimyu to actually look at the place and it's actually a really nice location!

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Once again beautiful flowers everywhere! xD During the run of Inferno it wasn't only UeChan's 27th birthday (September 5th) but it was also (either September 3rd or 4th) his 10th anniversary since his debut! So lots of flowers were around celebrating that ^_^


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I was very surprised to find how BIG the theatre was! I knew Super Sentai performed here but it's like.... probably one of the biggest (in terms of seating availability) theatres I've been to! I was really shocked.


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It also worried me that the place wouldn't fill up but I shouldn't have doubted cos the guys in this play are VERY well known and the theatre was pretty much full! ^_^ phew! I was sat behind two girls who were fangirling over Kuwano's bromides before the start of the play which made me happy. I've seen Kuwano pop up in quite a few things but I'm not his fan and I wasn't sure if he was one of the popular ones, so I was glad to see he had some love from the audience ^_^


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The staging was very interesting. The audience seats went up while the stage had placed a chair on the bottom floor and then had staging and background on the stage. I was so curious about that chair... and I was shocked how much time they did end up on that bottom floor.


The Play Itself


First and foremost; if you enjoy Messiah (I still need to make a Series group post about it on here) then you're gunna enjoy Inferno! It has a lot of similar themes and tropes. There's a lot of action in both, there's a lot of mafianess in both, the music in both is very similar and to pull even more similarities; we have Fajita and Nakamura who star in both of them <3 the whole Rikka x Noel thing is very Messiah like also in that they live to protect each other and care deeply for each other on a slightly homo-implied level <3 it so cute!!! But we'll get to more of that later. It kind of reminded me of Makai Ouji as well for some reason... maybe because the stage set up is similar and Rikka and Noel remind me a lot of Dantalion and Wiliam; both relationships are very similar. Same could be said for Kuro and Ciel in Kuroshitsuji and some people has said Inferno is similar to Kuroshitsuji also. So yes Inferno is Messiah meets Kuroshitsuji meets Makai Ouji, okay? Okay! xD

( You're My Messiah - I mean Father ) )



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**Credit to those who took the stage pictures! They are not mine.

Rating: 7/10 (<< I keep giving this rating a lot recently... am I geting harsh in my reviewing?!)
Overall: Inferno is a cross between Messiah (similar music score, lots of actions, guns etc.), Kuroshitsuji and Makai Ouji (due to Rikka and Noel's relationship being very similar to Kuro/Ciel and Dantalion/William). I was very impressed with the character development in this stage and feel they developed the characters a lot more than what's currently in the manga. I was impressed by the amount and difficulty of choreography and I was thorough entertained by the comedic moments. Ueda Keisuke is definitely my king in the 2.5 theatre world!

 
 
aikokanzaki
I'm sorry I've fallen behind YET again on reviews! I have this one, and at least a Nikoniko Live report left and then on Sunday I'm at another play so that makes it 3 reviews and hopefully I'll get them ALL done before I go on holiday next Monday! ^_^ So here we go; HAKUMYU LIVE 2!

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The Basics

So if you don't know what Hakuouki is; fix that straigh away! The anime is only 26 episodes long and I've heard the games are pretty easy to get through but they are Otome games so they might not be your cup of team. If you don't wanna waste that time the basics are; A girl joins the Shinsengumi in hopes of finding her father and depending on which stage or game you're watching/playing the Shinsengumi guy who ends up with her in the end changes and the story is tweaked and changed a little each version too. HakuMyu Live 2 is the second live from the musical series (it's like the... 9th installment?) and it's essentially a two hour concert where they sing their songs from the musical and have some fun and games in between too. This is the first live to first the Second and Third (4th Gen Hijikata too) gens of the actors/characters.


The Live Viewing Experience

Now I went and watched this as an LV which means Live Viewing. This is essentially, paying for a ticket half the price to watch it live from a theatre rather than going and seeing it in person. I had NO chance of getting tickets for this so I ended up doing the LV instead and it was my first LV.

Long story short: I wouldn't recommend doing LV but I think maybe I got a bad crowd. Before the LV began, we got a lovely message from the cinema which was like 'please have fun, it's okay to clap, make sure you have your pen light on and act like you're really there' so I was raring to go, thinking 'yeah everyone's gunna be so on board!' I was WRONG! There were only like three people will lights, it was completely silence unless someone was crying, or something comical happened on stage, or something funny was said by the actors, and hardly anyone clapped during the curtain call which personally I think is fucking rude as hell cos I even clap when I'm watching the freaking DVD! Have some respect for the actor busting their ass on there! What the hell?! Other bad things I wanna cover:

1. Doesn't feel real. Feels like you're just watching a DVD.
2. There's the fear (and warning that they put up) that the connection might be lost in parts.
3. I think you lose some emotion and tenseness by not being there actually in person because (as I said) just feels like you're watching a DVD.
4. You have no control over who you can watch cos the camera will choose the focus and close ups for you which sucks cos it meant my MakiChan stalking time was completely shot down.
5. I hated the crowd I was with and kinda ruined MY enjoyment of it - already explained.
6. The performance will be the same as the one on the DVD which is a shame so I'll only have seen one version rather than two different ones...
7. The sound quality at my cinema sucked! Could hardly hear Hashimoto and MakiChan at some points, especially when they were singing! I know they have delicate and soft voices but come on! -_-

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But I will say some good things:

1. Half the price of a normal ticket so you're saving money there
2. No bad seating
3. Camera close ups so you don't need glasses and you'll be able to see everything better than if you went in person
4. If you seriously do wanna see a play badly and you don't wanna wait for the DVD. Then it's worth it.

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So it does have good points but overall either just get the DVD or see it live in person.

Now onto the actual live!

What Shenanigans Went On?!

Luckily I managed to find someone who wrote up the entire set list so I'll put that here first ^_^

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Let me know if you want the English list! Though it might take me sometime to 'translate' it depending on the kanji and if I can remember the performance xD


Now the cast list:

Hijikata - Matsuda Gaku
Okita - Aramaki Yoshihiko [usually referred to as MakiChan]
Saito - Hashimoto Shohei
Chizuru - Fujikoso Yumi
Heisuke - Kizu Tsubasa*
Harada - Higashi Keisuke [usually referred to as TonChan]
Shinpachi - Fukuyama Shouta*
Yamazaki - Takasaki Shouta [usually referred to as TakaChan]
Kondou - Imata Taira
Ibuki - Shiramata Atsushi [sometimes referred to as MataChan]
Serizawa - Kubodera Akira
Shiranui - Kashiwagi Yusuke
Yukimura - Edogawa Manji
Kazama - Suzuki Shougo/Shogo

*These were the two new guys to the cast for this so now we're on 3rd Gen Heisuke and Shinpachi

This is (possibly) gunna be a very all about type of review (and as usual I'll switch between actor name and character name) because I don't actually remember a lot and it's probably because I felt like I was watching a DVD so I didn't pay as much attention as I would've been if I'd been in person. But I'll try and go down the list. I'll mark my paragraphs and sections matching the Set List numbers.

( Yaisa! Yaisa! Yaisa! ) )

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Holy moly i finally wrote it!!

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Overall: This was SO good! I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with all the songs and I'm SO happy that I got to finally see MakiChan sing Paint It Blood because it's my favourite song! I'm very happy with the new Heisuke too but not too sure on new Shinpachi. I am excited for the next installment but very worried about whether Suzuki Shogo will be continuing as Kazama or not =S

Rating: 9/10

I'm done! Now let me eat!! This took me like 4 hours to write!
 
 
aikokanzaki
22 August 2016 @ 06:16 pm
I had been eyeing this one since Konchuuger ended and I finally gave in and bought tickets for it last month. Once again, another MMJ production with a stella cast but felt like more people were toujitsuken-ing it than actual people who bought tickets previous to the stage starting and I don't know why because I have been left impressed two now. And you'll see why...

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PreShow

I don't know what was going on but at about row 6 or 7 there seem to be like 2 or 3 manager looking people and some could-be-actors young guys and like a guy two rows behind them stood up and greeted them and shook hands and clearly some business deal or something was going on. So could've been scouters or managers taking their newbies to see a stage or something? Whatever it was, they were definitely people from the business. Was interesting to watch...


Oh and the flower outside the place were gorgeous! Normally I don't really pay attention to what the flowers look like but this time some REALLY caught my eye and I had to take pictures! The last flowers are my favourite <3

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And once again I got super lucky(!): smack in the middle! How do I always manage to get this luck?! I guess it does run out (we all remember the ticket fails of June and July right?!) but yes I was super happy! But also made me super nervous at the end when all the lights were up and like yeah, in direct eye line for Someya!


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Story

So it's about 6 best friends who have just turned twenty and it's set 20 years after the Meiji Era begins and the Edo Era ends. Our main guy (finds pamphlet), Nagase decides that it's time for him to find a job and so informs his friends that he's gunna join the police force and become a police man. His friends aren't sure at first but like best friends, and also the fact they have no idea what to do with their lives, they end up following him to Police Training Camp where we find there are three other groups: The Reds known as Satsuma group: The senpais of the group that have been there the longest and are rather aragont about their position in the camp and are very forward thinking about the Meiji era; The Blues known as The Shizuoka Group: came over from Shizukoka and therefore are still very old fashioned and have a strong dialect and are seen as the outsides because they're the only two not from Tokyo, and akso, in true Sugie style, they're a little camp (xD); and The Yellows known as Edo: the most traditional of the group; one follows the way of the samurai and the other, the way of the ninja. The 6 friends are Green as known as Wakasamagumi (meaning something like 'Young Masters Group') because of A. how young they are and B. how irresponsible they are.
So we follow them as they go through their training which is interrupted when Nagase's childhood friend, and crush, Koizumi, is shot at twice and killed and the murder is pinned on Nagase, so now they try and find the real culprit.

The Cast


Irie Jingi as Nagase
Miyazaki Karen as Koizumi
Kubota Hidetoshi as Soneyama
Someya Toshiyuki as Fukuda
Akimoto Ryuutarou as Hirata
Yasukawa Junpei (<3) as Koyama
Saeki Daichi as Oonou
Kido Yuuya as Minagawa
Kamakari Kenta as Tamai
Ozeki Riku as Sakuma
Wagou Shinichi as Osamu (?)
Sugie Taishi as Himeda
Itakura Takeshi as Kondou
Iwai Kenshirou as Toya
Aoki Juna as Kitao
Nemoto Masakazu as Nakamura
Nakamura Seijirou as Ariba


( Brace yourself for a big one! ) )


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And there is my accidentally MASSIVE review which took me like 4 hours to write over the course of 4 days xD

This review may seem a but more tame and longer and more professional compared to previous ones. I have something ticking away in my brain and I guess I'm unconciously and conciously working towards it to see if it's a possibility in the very near future. So yeah... vague I know xD

ANYWAYS, if you're still reading by this time and you read all that ^^^ then seriously give yourself a cookie! Cos it was a lot!! ^_^

Overall: Oh my this was so good! I was thoroughly impressed once again by a MMJ production and they're definitely going on my radar as a company to trsut and follow because this is the second time they've impressed me (they did Konchuuger). This play was SO funny, so hysterical, all the characters are unique and amazing and I wanted to be able to either see it a second time, and/or have 12 pairs of eyes so I could watch everyone! The props were unique too and I loved the dancers! I'm definitely gunna be buying this DVD, if I hopefully have money in October (that's when the preorder finishes).
Rating: 9/10