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30 November 2016 @ 02:56 am
2016.11.24 OniGiri: The Powerful Performance Review!  
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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!


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Useful Links
Official Website
News Coverage 1
Videos 1

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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:

Yoshitsune x Tengu: Turns out Yoshitsune used to be really really weak but years ago Tengu found her and became her Shisou (her master) and trained her so she would be stronger. And after 3 years she was strong enough to beat him when they trained.

Tengu x Doctor: Possibly the second monster the Doctor ever turned into a human and because of that he naturally follows him as a leader.

Jami x Doctor: The first youkai the doctor ever turned human and at first Jami was against it because he hated his animalistic, violent instincts. While he wasn't successfully turned 100% human, he became human enough and was very thankful to the doctor and continued to follow him. The doctor has great affection for Jami who was his first human-turn AND has always been by his side and always been there when he needed to be protected.

Jin x Momotarou: (my memory is a little fuzzy here but) either both Jin and Momotarou are demons and they naturally met one day and called a truce in order to help youkai instead and are now pretty close and good friends, OR Jin is a demon and Momotarou is another human-turned-youkai who hated demons but decided to work together on him on a mission once and now they're pretty close and good friends.

Miroku x Basara: Used to be friends but due to a difference opinion they ended up being enemies but their long past stops them from fully trying to kill each other.

This stage is (I think) just under two hours yet we got a main story and ALL this backstory information too!! Also Jin and Sakura are brother and sister! And Valkyrie and Jikfrik are like a personified sword power that comes out from another dimension when Jin x Miroku and Sakura x (I think) Amaterasu join their powers together and summon them. So much information but told and explained VERY well.

Also I found the story very touching and actually ended up crying!!

STAGE

The stage SCARED me xD Like it's Santamall Hall (where Honoo no Mirage was - review here.) And you can clearly see from the full cast pictures that there was like NO room even when HALF the cast were on stage! And there were stairs and a slanting slope at the front and just too small for a cast SO big! xD

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But I really like how it was designed and while there was action everywhere, luckily there were no mistakes or anything so I enjoy how they used all the space and everything too ^_^

Although we did have one stage roll off BUT (and I'm hoping) I think it was like an on-purpose stunt. The audience were in stitches laughing when it happened. Unforutnately it was on my side of the theatre and I was too busy focusing on other people that I didn't see it.

Speaking of the Audience!

AUDIENCE

I was very surprised at how many males, and older males, turned up to this but then I remembered that the actresses are mainly wearing sexy clothing just as much as the actors are so visually this stage is attractive to both sexes, also the game is quite old and looks like it was more for a male audience so naturally they would wanna see this game-adaptation come to life. So had a nice mix of young girls (my age, early 20s) there for the actors and older men (by older I mean probably early 30s-ish) there for the actresses, therefore in a way it had a nice balance.

CAST/CHARACTERS

Jin - Ukai Mondo
Sakura - Takahashi Kurumi
Shizukagozen - Yasaka Saori
Yoshitsune - Kuryu Mina
Oppenheimer - Muro Tatsuki
Momotarou - Sueno Takuma
Kisuke - Nagayoshi Asuka
Miroku - Nihira Shougo
Susanoo - Igarashi Keisuke
Valkrie - Mochida Chihira
Doctor Shubalts - Takaki Souichirou
Ryuuko - Aina
Kaguya - Maikawa Miyako
Veronika - Furuhata Keisuke
Usume - Ando Ayaka
Basara - Oguri Ryo
Jami - Iwasa Yuuki
Jikfrik - Tanaka Hiroki
Amaterasu - Mogami Miyuu
Tengu/Shisou - Sugamoto Ikumi
Mitsumesumashi - Fukuda Kento
Jinbee - Mori Keisuke
Daruma - Kobayashi Yusuke
Ensemble: Narusa Takanori, Tajima Yuuri, Kamishiro Yoshiki, Miyazaki Kanako, Koko Natsu.

As already mentioned, the cast was huge but they somehow managed to get loads of character development and story lines in without feeling over powered.

I originally went to this play because of Nihira Shougo who I've been following on twitter for about 2 months, and basically he likes all my tweets I send him so naturally I'm inclined to want to support him so when he posted about this play I bought a ticket instantly! And I saw it and he character was so cute!! And the muscle showing was much appreciated!

But not only did I enjoy his character but I surprisingly enjoyed almost everyone in this!! Cast AND Characters! I'll try and talk about as many as I can but I will put a * next to the characters/actors who stood out to me the most and there will also be a ** for the actor(s) who really, really stood out to me.

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Jin* - Ukai very much reminds me of Kishimoto Takuya and Kawakami Shota in terms of physical looks. His character was a slow burn, I didn't like him immediately but by the end of the play I was loving his character! The whole him being a demon was an inticing storyline also! But damn that sword is so BIG!! I kind of felt sorry for the actors arms. During the aftertalk too he seemed like a very nice and interesting person.


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Sakura - She was cute! She had a nice voice too. We didn't get to see much of her though so I can't really give an opinon.


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Shizukagozen - Out of the main Protector group, I think she got the least stage time even though she's listed as a main in the cast. She was very much the mother role in the family and being all 'we should be working together and protecting people!' type of character. I liked her hairstyle xD Her weapon of bow and arrow was obviously was winner for me too.

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Yoshitsune - I really liked her character! Totally badass and her and Shisou's story line was super interesting and it was super emotional towards the end when she has to battle him at the end yet she doesn't want to but has too! I really liked her outfit too. Turns out her, Kisuke's actress and Amaterasu's actress are all the same age and I was very shocked to learn after that they'll older than me! They're all tiny and so cute! But I probably liked her the most out of all the female characters.

Oppenheimer - his was like the leader of the enemy group. He had very good humour and he was visually interesting too! Unfortuntaely I didn't really pay much attention to the enemy group outside Veronika and Basara so I can only remember the comedy parts he was in but I do remember he was very calm and collected even during the fighting parts and he was very dedicated to his master too. I saw him after the show but again, will talk about this later. The scene I remember the best with him in was when his group was still in their lair and Veronika is holding a pot and I don't know if you know but recently PPAP is HUGE in Japan and freaking everywhere (see here) and this stage AND Daddy Who? did skits of it and in this scene the music started and it went:

Usume: I have an egg
Oppenheimer: I have a flour
Together: UGH
Oppenheimer: Hot cake! << and he pulled it out of the pot.

I literally and seriously face palmed at this moment, I'm totally over PPAP but the fact they did it in this I couldn't believe it xD

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Momotarou* - He was another that took a while for me to notice. But once his bad story came out and I got more of a look at his outfit, I realised how cool he looked and his backstory with Jin was really nice! He butts heads a lot with Jin but their friendship is so great!

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Kisuke - Such a cute character! And such a self sacrificing character! After the first time Kisuke rampages and decides she wants to be a youkai again, she does it so she never hurts her friends and that's so selfless and then towards the end she uses herself as a shield for Jin so he doesn't get killed but in exchange she dies as a human and it's just so sad! And when everything goes crazy at the end she 'comes back' and they remember her messaged that she was glad to become their friend and that they should all continue to protect the youkai. This is what got me crying!! Kisuke is such a pure and cute and great character! The actress too is super nice << talk more about her in the aftertalk section.


Miroku** - Nihira!!!! <3 but first, can we appreciate the muscles first?!

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So cute am I right?!?!?! xD
As already mentioned I came to the stage because of him and it was actually my first time seeing him act and I'm so glad he didn't disappoint! His character is so cheery and cute, and his fight scenes were  really good! Whenever he was onstage he was always doing something interesting too! For example during one part he was feeding some choco-like thing to Ryuuko and she offered him her alcohol in exchanged and he tried it and couldn't keep it down at all xD another moment was when him and Jin were talking together but wouldn't stop slapping each other and they were get harder each time, which was very funny. Miroku's backstory with Basara was super interesting too! I sort of want to know and see more of their backstory. I really liked their fights together.


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There was a lot of natural touching and holding hands between all the characters and members in this which I really appreciated. I like when things like holding hands is such a natural thing because it's still such an alien thing here in Japan.


Susanoo - I really liked this character's costume design and while he seemed important, unfortunately I don't really remember what the point of him was. His weapon is super interesting though! Although how you would actually fight with it, I don't know!! xD


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Valkrie - Super cute!!! We didn't really see her much but towards the end we saw her fight which was nice and I really like her costume and her visual look and I get good vibes from the actress also. But her time was short so we didn't really get any characterisation about her except that she's a summoned power.


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Doctor Shubalts* - Is it just me or does he look like Ohno Satoshi from Arashi?!?! I felt the entire time that he reminded me of him...

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No? Just me then... This guy was absolutely hilarious! I swear most of his lines were adlib, they were so funny and everyone was laughing hard whenever he cracked a joke. The ones I remember are:

During one conversation with the other three youkai (excluding Kisuke) the youkai saw him and they began to storm off and as they did Daruma turned around and went 'fattie!' and he as like 'fattie? ... you're one to talk!'. Also, during this time the Daruma's red wrap around one of his feet had come off and Takaki picked it up and went completely behind stage like 'you forget this... まだいるの?!/ you're still here!!' and came back on stage. His comedy was gold and I'm SO glad I went on the day they were filming! << yes I did!! If this actor every does a comedy stage I am so going! He definitely has talent for comedic jokes and timing.

Ryuuko* - She reminded me very much of Jiroutachi from Touken Ranbu << always drinking and fighting style gets better after a drink and always complaining when the drink runs out xD She was interesting enough but there was a scene between her and Usume where they started talked about how Ryuuko was jealous of how big Usume's chest was in the middle of their fight and I understand that was put in for the male comedy but it was a little... poor-taste for me personally.



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Kaguya - Her costume is really interesting, I really like that her weapon is a machine gun which is hilarious BUT she's not very good at using it which is also interesting. Another very interesting and important part about this character is that she is a huge advocate for BL!! And at one part Momotarou storms off saying he's going to bed and she's like "going to bed... to bed... WITH JIN?! I must see this!!" and runs off stage. She very much understands my heart xD


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Veronika - I absolutely love how this role was filled in by an actor! He did an amazing job and looked so good as Veronika! He reminded me very much of a young Suzuki Hiroki.

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I really enjoyed this character! She was like this cute girl a time and then other times was crazy and would do the whole switch-to-a-deep-voice thing which was another comedy aspect to this stage. She also had a teddy bear which was adorable too! Her weapon was like this pot that would take the souls once a youkai was defeated. I'm not really sure what she could actually do though xD except at the end when unleasing it all created this GIANT monster.

Usume - She had this running joke and constantly being called an old woman but she definitely could kick ass! And while I'm impressed at her figure, I have to say, it is a little thin for my liking BUT she clearly had enough stamina to do quite a bit of choreography and fighting. I'm only just learning now that she's 36!! So I guess the old woman joke was put in the script more so for her rather than the character itself?


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Basara* - He reminds me of a few actors but I can't think of any specifically right now. I really liked this character and I've already explained his dynamics with Miroku and I really enjoyed their numerous battles together and he was interesting because he had both a sword and a gun to fight with (he's the only character with two weapons I think!). His costume is super nice too! Don't you agree?


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Jami* - He's so cute!!!! I love his little cat ears and I love his sad history and I love how dedicated he is to the Doctor and how he's just trying his best to protect the people he loves! And there was this whole scene towards the end when the Doctor he realises how much he loved Jami and how much Jami loved him and just hits you right in the heart <3 Once again, amazing custome!! Shame he was killed at the end ='[ did I mention I really liked his backstory? xD

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Jikfrik** - This guy KNOCKED ME OUT the moment he came on stage! He came on and I was like 'FUCK this is MY guy!!!!' now before I continue look at his visuals and tell me he doesn't like strangely like another character that I'm also in love with?


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(More info about the other character, see here).


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Not only does this character look visually cool, his weapon is also cool, his fighting style was cool, he had this presence on stage and the actor himself is so cute!!!! I really did fall for him straight away! His voice is super cute too!! I saw him after the show but I was like 'OMG he's adorable I can't talk to him *dead*' But I did immediately go and buy his bromides after watching the stage. Just look at him!!


NIHIRA AND HIROKI TOGETHER!!! <3


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I am definitely gunna try and keep an eye on this guy in the future <3 *dead*


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Amaterasu - She's so cute!! I really liked her costume and her power was that she could heal her members just with the flick of her fan. She's super cute! That's the only thing I can say about her! SO CUTE!!


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Tengu/Shisou - I basically said everything I wanted about his character when I talked about Yoshitsune.

Mitsumesumashi, Jinbee and Daruma - Jinbee was definitely the most impressionable and funniest out of the three but I understand they were needed to represent the whole 'other youkai are getting turned' thing.

Ensemble - it was really nice and refreshing having stuntwomen in this group, they were badass and did a very good job! Out of all of them Tajima Yuuri stood out the most to me. His acrobatics were very good. And out of the two girls I think Miyazaki was the one who I felt was really good with the students, Coco played more of the random villager role rather than the action scenes. But I did accidently bump into Kamishiro after the stage and completely didn't recognise him xD


EFFECTS/LIGHTING

There wasn't really any major effects and if they were, they were very low budget and they even used the OLD game (like Windows XP quality) graphic scenes which were super nostalgic but clearly very pixilated but I don't think any of use minded xD it was a nice change from this fancy projection mapping we're all being spoiled with these days.

The lighting was rather basic but very colourful at times so that was visually nice.

Speaking of lighting; I was very lucky to get 5th row and the right side's aisle seat! But also it was kind of a curse BECAUSE it meant I was RIGHT where the actors would stop if they were using the aisle during the stage, so naturally when the spotlights shone on the actors right next to me, I was also being lit up perfectly well and I can imagine ALL the actors clearly saw me *kill me now*

AFTERTALK

The aftertalk involved Takaki as MC then Ukai, Sueno, Kuryu, Nagayoshi and Mogami. The topic was 'Interesting Rehearsal stories' but they ended up just talking about food. First Nagayoshi mentioned how set in his ways Ukai is about his food, 'he'll defnitely eat youkan every day.' and he was like 'is eating youkan that strange?! Who here had youkan today?! See two people!! If this was the population of Tokyo it'd be a decent number!' xD then he spoke about how Nagayoshi would stare at him straight in the face as she would take his sweets without asking and how they have catering brought everyday and she will just stand and take it all xD and she's like 'yeah I've gotten fat since this outfit was fitted' xD there was another story but I can't remember. It was a great food talk though xD by the way, this is youkan:


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It's sweet bean.

AFTER THE SHOW

After the show, a lot of the cast were in the lobby just talking to everything and recieving presents and such. I'm so used to there being 'NO WAITING FOR THE ACTORS' rules that I felt very comfortable in this situation. Also it was SUPER crowded and I didn't see Nihira even though I could clearly see Hiroki in this corner and I already mentioned I accidently bumped into Kamishiro after the show but completely didn't realise it was him (just thought he was a random audience member). But I was attracting enough attention on my own so thought best to leave, so I handed in my questionnaire to Muro and left. But goddammit I should've stayed and at least tried to find Nihira some more and I could clearly see Hiroki so I should've really spoken to him however as I explained I'm not used to it being okay to approach and talk to actors so I didn't do it.

BUT I really regret not staying behind longer and talking to Hirok and Nihira =( SO I made up for it in Dadddy Who? (again, review coming soon!)

GOODS


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You can clearly see the 'paint me like one of your french girls' shots right?! xD


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^^ This is from Nihira's twitter and my letter is in here <3 Can you guess which one?!


EXTRA PICS

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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