テゴぴょん (tegopyon) wrote,

Comic Jack

Yesterday, I went to Tokyo to watch Comic Jack: The Return at the Kinokunia Southern Theater. I went to both the afternoon and evening shows that day. I only wish I could have stayed overnight to see it the next day too, because I had that much fun. Having known very little of the story beforehand and having not seen the previous version, all I really had to go on was pictures and the fact that it had one of my favourite actors in, which is not much to go on at all.

The story of the play follows Asato, a passionate mangaka whose editor is not happy at all with the quality of his work, and tells him a good manga needs "action, violence and spectacle". While trying his best to work out how to fill these requirements, he is unexpectedly transported into the world of his own manga. There, he finds that his own characters are not following his script. His hero, Jin, "Gateman", who has the power to banish people through a gate into another world, is 100% fed up of being a hero and appears on the scene drunk and reluctant (and hates Asato for giving him such a horrible outfit and cheesy lines). From there, Asato tries to persuade his characters to follow the story he has created, but realizes along the way that his idea of a good manga is a lot different to his editor's.

The main characters (I'm sorry there aren't pictures of them all, they're posting different characters for each show on their Twitter it seems, and so they didn't do them all yet. I'll keep updating as the shows go by):

Asato (Kido Yuya)
Asato is the mangaka who created the world in which most of the play is set. He's dreamed about being a mangaka since he was very young and really wants to make a popular manga but doesn't seem entirely sure what he should be writing. What he wants to wrte and what he believes should be written to make something popular (as fed to him by his editor) don't really match up, and so he spends a lot of time curled up contemplating and being conflicted internally (along with many tormented facial expressions). My favourite scene of his was him trying in vain to get Jin to recite his lines while he was hungover and not wanting to do anything. He ended up saying the lines so well himself that everyone momentarily believed HE was Gateman.

Jin (Izaki Ryujiro)
Jin is our reluctant hero, "Gateman" who manages to ward off a whole group of enemies despite being so drunk he can barely stand, but then promptly vomits over a wall and on a chair.  He is very apologetic about the entire thing but he still does not want to be a hero, even though he just can't stand by and watch when people are getting attacked. Doesn't mean he has to be happy about it, right? I'm biased because IZAKI but his character really was one of the highlights of the play and Izaki did an amazing job as always. I got hints of both of his previous roles in there too at times, which was interesting. My favourite scene of his, aside from watching him stagger around drink while successfully kicking people in the head, is watching him trying to confess his love for a girl (he would rather try and saw off his own arm, it seems).

Mana (Fujiki Kaoru)
Mana is Jin's female equivalent, or at least she wishes she was. She spends most of the play trying to steal a weird artifact from the villains but always seems to end up having to be saved by Jin who spends a lot of time chasing her around because honestly, he's quite happy for her to have his job and continually tries to hand all of his responsibilities over to her. Despite her toughness though, she also seems to have quite a big heart which comes out when she eventually reveals how much she likes Jin. My favourite scene of hers happens to be this scene as well, because it's so sudden after all the toughness she's had through the entire play up to then.

Kisumi (Ohkubo Satomi)

The other main female character, Kisumi is an enthusiastic girl who is interested in Asato from the moment he falls into their world, even though he never calls her by name and just calls her "kimi", much to her annoyance. Her relevance to the story and to Asato himself become apparent later on in the show, and she's an important character. I especially liked watching her take Asato to look at the world he had created from a distance.

Slander (Kogawa Yuta)
Slander is a spoilt brat of some kind of royalty with two servants who follow him around even though he spends most of his time yelling and whining at them and sometimes even hitting them. He is one of several people trying to get his hands on some mysterious artifact that doubles as a machine gun and cellphone and perhaps various other things that are never quite discovered. Slander was always a pleasure to see on stage, and my second favourite character. My favourite moment of his was Asato feeding him lines and making him stand in particular places, and Slander going along with it for a while until he realized he could do what he wanted. Also, him crying for his mother and father when he's been banished (bless).

Nandai (Naito Taiki)
A police officer who always appeared at the wrong moment and tried to save the day but always made some kind of misunderstanding, picked on the wrong person,  or ended up getting himself beaten up instead. He caused a laugh each and every time he appeared on stage because he would leap onto the scene with all the enthusiasm the world without really having any understanding of what exactly is going on. Nandai is also a huge lover of idols who just can't die RIGHT NOW because there are still so many idols in the world whose signs he doesn't have. My favourite scene of his is him using his favourite idol's sign as a weapon (it works).

Nezumi Danshi
First of all, I got hit by a mouse tail by the way, lol. When they ran up the aisle I was sitting on one of their tails swiped my arm on their way past. These guys were super cute. I have to admit I would have preferred it if they had used the other group (because Macha is there) but either way, they were cute. They had a lot of fans in the audience who would do their dance along with them. My favourite was the orange guy Hansu if only because he was the cutest and because he cried when Asato yelled at him (and Asato is really not that threatening).

A few general thoughts on the play itself.

The whole play had a very comic feeling to it, of course. After the first couple of scenes, they did opening credits, where the characters came on holding large colorful speech bubbles that had their name/character name, and there was a banner hanging from the top with the play's name. The costumes and props were very bright and colorful and purposely unrealistic. There were largely exaggerated sound effects when anyone got hit or when something was thrown on the ground. Oh, and there were mentions of other manga. At one point, the editor, after just having been told by Asato that he was "in his manga world" decided to google how he could get into a manga world, listed off about five 2.5 stage plays and then complained he couldn't possibly get into one of them because they were full of ikemen.

The play was, fundamentally, a comedy. Not only that, it was one that appealed to everyone. There was a 7 or 8 year old kid sitting in the row behind me who laughed just as much as all the adults (he did spend the 10 minutes before the show asking his mother every minute or so "is it starting yet?" but once it started, he was all good lol). There were jokes for everyone! Also, it was obvious there were people there supporting many of the actors, and that many people there loved at least one of the actors (I was sitting near the goods stand in the lobby and I saw most people buy only one photoset, but there were a lot of different photosets bought). It made the atmosphere really nice.

After the first show, we had a short after talk from Kido Yuya (Asato), Ohkubo Satomi (Kasumi), with guests Akutsu Shintaro and Tano Asami (who played the same roles in the original Comic Jack). A lot of the talk was about how much bigger the stage and props had been last time (I guess because it was a bigger production last time) and although they had a lot of the same set, everything was higher. They have a pole that characters slide down during the play and Kido Yuya said if it had been any higher he would have been doomed because he's scared of heights and he struggled even at the height it was. Shintaro decided to try pole dancing on the pole but his hands were sweating so he gave up. They said that Kasumi's second costume (a dress) was the same dress that they had used in the original version. In that dress, the character is standing behind the gate when it opens, and Asami said during her run she had stood in the wrong place when it opened so she wasn't there. Then, the second day, she forgot the hat that goes with the costume. Asato's costume was almost the same but the original shirt had been orange. Shintaro said they couldn't use it this time because they had given it to him.

After the second show, there was no after talk but we got an omiokuri from the nezumi danshi. They were super cute as expected and one of them just kept telling EVERYONE that it was cold outside and so we should be careful.
And on a personal note:

I'll admit that the reason I went to see this stage play was Izaki. I didn't know any of the other actors, or the story, but I bought a ticket the moment they went on sale, because of him. And of course, I wasn't disappointed. But more than that, Izaki Ryujiro makes me so happy to be his fan.No matter what role he's playing or who is around him, he puts every bit of his heart into it. I see it when he's on stage, and I see it when he talks about it before and afterwards. This is what he wants to be doing, and I'm happy to have been able to support him from his "beginning" in Tenimyu. I really hope that he continues in this way and keeps getting new stage plays (I don't doubt that he will) Maybe I should be telling HIM this, not you guys. I can tell him next week (if I can get those words out in Japanese XD). By the way, I've also been happy to see that so many of the Tenimyu cast have been to watch him perform in it as well.

During my second show, I was sitting in the front row. It's nice to watch from the front row (even if I did feel every vibration every time someone jumped on the stage), but it's also very difficult. It's a lot easier to stare from further back. Izaki's character spent a lot of time passed out, rolling around, or trying to regain his strength, and most of those things, he did right in front of my seat. I stared a lot. Luckily he wasn't looking in my direction and so I could mostly watch him safely. His hair was super messy from on top, I can tell you that, lol

Anyway, that's about it! Now I'm hoping for a DVD so that I can see it again.
Tags: actor: izaki ryujiro, fandom: event report, stage play: comic jack

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