[Report] Takizawa Kabuki – Act 2

Act 1 report can be found here.

Duration of Act 2:

  • Approx. 1hr 10mins

Takizawa film: Prologue to Masakado

The curtains raised, and the Takizawa short film played on the screen.

The main actor in the film is Yamamoto Ryota. He really does look like Yamada Ryosuke of HSJ in this film lol. He’s dressed in modern day casual shirt and jeans, and climbed up a ladder in a deserted house, up to the attic. There was a samurai headgear and a katana placed up there… and sometimes the film was shown from the headgear’s POV.

It’s a little eerie… and finally when Yamamoto touched the katana, he clutches his head in pain, and many scenes of killings, blood splashes, etc from the past flashed back…

Finally there was a close up of Masakado (Takki) – we can see his eye, and I remember it’s slightly reddish, and a scene from the past – of Masakado standing on a pathway in his full samurai headgear & armour.

The film ended there, and we’re brought back into the past, onto the stage…

Yamamoto Ryota was now Taroumaru. He was lying on some steps, holding the same katana that was shown in the short film. There was chaos and lotsa fighting and killings around Taroumaru. When I first watched it, I thought it was Yamamoto touching the katana and then going back to the past. But later on, I think that it’s modern day Yamamoto that was the reincarnation of Taromaru. And when he touched the katana, he could see scenes from the past i.e. the entire story of Masakado in Act 2 is a flashback.

There was a bright red circle (sun) shown in the background. I love the music that came along with that. This was the start of the story of Masakado.

① Masadako must die ~ Assasination of Yukihira

There was a fire burning in the backdrop, and some chanting in the background. Many people, one by one, started saying “Masakado must die”. Masakado was standing on the raised stage, with his back facing us. He slowly raised his katana, then made a slash.

Then it went dark and the spotlight was on Yukihira (Tatsumi).

Yukihira’s kerai reported to him something about Masakado, and I remember this kerai walking up the steps to the raised stage while the platform rotated. But he stopped in his steps suddenly.

Masakado appeared and the way he spoke was so cool~

Yukihira walked up towards Masakado bravely at first, but later on he started to become afraid. Masakado didn’t look a single bit afraid. He just said “Die!” before killing Yukihira. KAKKOII! haha~

Masakado sat on the steps, and after a while, he asked “What about you?” and a timid Taroumaru walked out from behind, hugging the katana. He asked if Masakado was going to kill him. Masakado noticed the katana in Taroumaru’s hands. Taromaru offered him the katana. And surprisingly, Masakado spared his life. Sutejuu (Kawai) commented at the side of the stage that it was rare of Masakado to do such a thing.

Some Jrs ran down the aisles to kill Masakado, but when Masakado appeared, they got afraid and ran off. His mere presence was scary.

② Burn and Attack

Hanzou (Yara) and his 2 friends/followers, played by Goseki and Tsukada, went around killing some villagers. Matsuzaki was one of the villagers who asked Hanzou to stop killing, only to get killed in return. As there were no females in the cast, the ‘woman’ holding a baby was played by a Jr. (not sure who coz his face was always covered). This woman was the only one that got away.

Hidesato (Tottsu) was a friend of Masakado, but always calm and polite, and perhaps the only ‘good’ or ‘well-mannered’ guy among them.

③ Saburou and Gorou of Toyoda Village

Masakado had 2 kerais, Saburou (Takahashi) and Gorou (not sure of his name). Masakado walked in from the left, and sat on the steps. In his hand was a bag of something. He threw the bag to Saburou, and in it was a head. While his kerais looked shocked to see it, Masakado was cool-ly drinking from a bottle.

Masakado and Hidesato stood with their backs facing each other. Hidesato advised Masakado not to kill recklessly or something. At first they shared the same spotlight. I think this symbolized them sharing the same dream. Then they walked away slowly from each other. And the spotlights split into two. It was at this point that Hidesato said “We have the same dream, but our paths are different.”

From the 2nd floor during my first show, I noticed the lighting. I was drawn to the patterns made on the ground which looked like a flowered path, and how the middle part darkened out when they stepped away from each other. I’m not sure, but I think this might be Takki’s idea as well.

④ Assasin, and the 7 shadow warriors

Masakado was alone now. And Hanzou appeared suddenly, and said “Masakado, I will have that life of yours!” and he slashed Masakado, who fell onto the ground.

But a few seconds later, another Masakado appeared, and told Hanzou that the Masakado he killed was only a shadow.

Hanzou went mad and started killing many Masakados, but all were only his shadows haha~ This part was really cool! The coordination of the Masakado-doubles, and the staff who moved the props must be really good.

Meanwhile, the real Masakado (Takki) walked in briskly down the left aisle on the 1st floor. On 4/26, N-san was sitting right at the aisle, and I was beside her. So we saw Takki walking past! On 4/27 and 5/2, I turned my head back to see Takki, and each time he would walk briskly down the aisle. But he must have ran from the stage to the theatre door ne, coz the killing of the shadows happened really fast.

When the real Masakado walked up to the stage, Sutejuu from the side was commenting if that was the real Masakado, or was he only a shadow…

⑤ Evil Spirit and Onmyoudou (the way of Yin and Yang)

This scene was like in the other world or something lol~ the background VTR screen showed lightning… and Masakado was on the raised stage, with many men in black behind him. Two of them (Dominic and Jeremiah, I think) held sticks with black eagles or crows… Masakado walked really slowly. The setting was a bit eerie and dark.

On the stage itself was Seimei (Fukuda), an Onmyoudou specialist who worked for the emperor. He spoke with his hands outstretched, and his words echoed through the theatre.

Hidesato was captured and then tortured by Seimei’s followers. Masakado saved Hidesato. But Hidesato asked Masakado to kill him. I think he felt that he would be an obstacle to Masakado or something. Masakado hesitated at first, but finally said a quick “gomen” and killed Hidesato.

As Tottsu ran off the stage, I saw someone passing Takki a Hidesato ‘head’. Then I remember there was strong light shone at the audience (it was blinding from the first floor).

⑥ Hanzou

On the stage now were Hanzou and his 2 friends, talking about where their money would go if they die etc. Tsukada was kinda drunk. And Hanzou was still fuming over not being able to kill the real Masakado.

⇒ Nails Adlib

Sutejuu was alone on the stage, and on the video screen was a huge figure of Masakado’s silhouette shown on the right side of the screen. Sutejuu went down on his knee to greet that Masakado silhouette. However, the real Masakado walked out from the left, and said “Over here! You fool!” LOL

And Kawai said things like “Oh, you were too small (so I couldn’t see you)~”, making fun of Takki’s height lol! Then, Takki and Kawai sat down at the steps of the front stage.

Masakado said that they can’t keep long nails if they want to fight battles, so he asked Sutejuu to search among the audience for people with long nails. Thanks, nyanco, for explaining this to me. I didn’t really know what Kawai was searching for lol. This part was very funny during every show, but it’s hard to explain. Kawai went to the audience on the left side first, then to the right side. He would take a long time and Masakado would get impatient.

On 5/2, Kawai did a cartwheel behind Takki, on the stage! And we all laughed! Takki was wondering what made us all laugh, so he told Kawai to do it one more time. And this time, Takki sat and faced the stage to look at Kawai! haha~ Takki complained that Kawai was taking too long, but Kawai said it’s ok because this segment would be gone tomorrow (the next show was the Children’s Day special and the entire Act 2 was replaced by Takiranger and Show Time).

It was so cute looking at Takki’s expression during this part. He got impatient with Kawai’s endless talking, and even shut him up with a cool “urusee na~” I remember Kawai leaning onto Takki’s shoulder, and Takki was like “you’re too close…” lol. He had to maintain cool-ness and fierce-ness coz he was Masakado, yet sometimes he wanted to laugh lol.

⑦ Defeated by the blade of vengence

The emperor (Hasshi) announced that there was a price on Masakado’s head. And Masakado asked his kerais what they’d do. Saburou decided that money was more important, and he changed sides (lol~ stark contrast to Yoshitsune-sama’s Saburou!).

I think Gorou decided that he wouldn’t join any sides, and he left Masakado too. But Sutejuu said that he was Masakado’s shadow. Without Masakado, there wouldn’t be a shadow, so he stuck with Masakado till the end. *Yay!*

And then it was the start of the battle.

⇒ 4D Flying

It’s like we were watching from the top view. It looked difficult to control the fight coz they’re moving and fighting sideways, suspended by some huge ring around their waists.

Masakado and Hanzou fought from mountain to bridge, and back to mountain. There’s a particular part which I liked, where after their swords clashed, there was a ‘ring’ of ‘fire’ kind of thing that came out from the middle. Cool!

Sutejuu, as Masakado’s shadow, was dressed like Masakado, and he took on the enemies bravely. He even proclaimed loudly, “I am Masakado!”. But he was outnumbered, and just before his last breath, the real Masakado came out and saved him. It was quite touching ne~ Masakado told Sutejuu that he did a brilliant job! *pachi pachi* Sutejuu to Masakado-sama reminded me of Benkei & Saburou to Yoshitsune-sama.

Everyone else from both sides died (Hanzou even killed his friend Goseki too lol~), and it was a one-on-one battle between Masakado and Hanzou.

They fought brilliantly, and Hanzou slashed at Masakado. Masakado fell onto the floor, motionless. Hanzou thought he had killed Masakado, but suddenly, Masakado stood up and killed Hanzou! It was like his last burst of energy or something, coz he was badly injured.

After killing Hanzou, he laid on the ground. And that’s when Taroumaru appeared, still holding that same blade (the one in the short film). Masakado asked Taroumaru to kill him. He wanted to be killed by Taroumaru, by that blade. He told him to be a good warrior and carry on his dream for the country, something like that. My nihongo listening is still very bad lol~

While Masakado laid on the ground, I kept looking at his face via my binocs. His eyes were sparkling, and he was just staring into the space above. His face was sparkling too. That image is still stuck in my mind now. The story of Masakado generally wasn’t as touching as Yoshitsune (I cried like mad last year just by seeing Yoshitsune passing the knife to Saburou lol~) as it was more focused on action than the bonding… but still I was touched on 4/27, and there were tears in my eyes. It just didn’t flow down like last year lol~

⇒ My Dream〜永遠〜

Taroumaru finally gave Masakado the killing slash. Masakado told Taroumaru to run away and escape. And now Masakado was all alone, and dying. He stood in the middle of the stage, and held his position there for a long time while he talked about his life and how he lived it.

On 5/2, someone in the audience clapped loudly when Taroumaru ran off the stage. Before that, I think the same person clapped loudly during one scene too (when Masakado killed Hanzou, I think). The first time it happened, we clapped as well. But during this scene with Taroumaru, there was nothing to clap about yo~ I thought it was rather rude, and I think the rest of the audience felt the same too, so we didn’t clap. But Takki on stage didn’t seem distracted by any of that at all. He remained in character, and focused throughout. He was really professional ne~

Then the piano introduction from the Masakado theme song “My Dream ~ 永遠 ~” played, followed by Takki’s really yasashii voice (the first few words were rather high notes~):

触れると 溶け雪
冷たくても なんだか温かい
この 場所 だけに残る
Forever Dream

Then there was voice-over of Masakado when he was a child… (one of the chibi Jrs. voices was used, saying) “When I grow up, I want to become a samurai… I want to change the country… I want to become the king…” etc. And Masakado finally collapsed onto the ground, and a HUGE amount of snow fell, onto the stage, and onto him!

When I first watched this on 4/25, I had my binocs on Takki. So I was really SHOCKED by the white stuff that filled my binocs suddenly lol. But I love how the snow fell! It was impactful, along with the background music. The whole stage was filled with snow (made from I dunno – white paper or foam – anyway…), and it was only Masakado, a lonely figure, in the middle of the stage.

And then more of “My Dream” played, and the curtains came down at the end of the song. I’m not really sure if the words are correct, but it was something like:

静かに 目を閉じ
願いを胸に このまま眠りたい
もし...もし...
叶うことが出来るなら
Forever Dream
もし...もし...
出来るなら
My Dream

I love the lyrics~~ it’s so suitable for this scene of Masakado’s death. Silently closing his eyes, wanting his wish to sleep forever in this heart, but what if… the dream can be fulfilled… I hope this song will be released, perhaps along with “Revenger” in a new single, or better still, an album!

I wish there is an OST for Takizawa Enbujo/Kabuki ne. I love all the songs, from Takizawa Enbujo theme, to the Mugen no Hane and With Love variations. Even the background music during the last battle scene and dying scene are nice ne~

Curtain Call:「WITH LOVE〜命(love)ある限り」

As we continued to applaud in the dark, Takki’s voice came on, talking about Takizawa Enbujo and Takizawa Kabuki… and finally thanking everyone. The curtains raised and Takki was standing there, already changed into the modern red suit for “With Love”. We continued to applaud while the introduction for “With Love” played.

In the background, there was a slide show of photographs of the cast, starting with Takki as a photographer! These were behind-the-scene photos ne, and they showed their names along with the photos (which were happy ones with loads of peace signs ^^). I felt so happy watching the entire montage… The photos were probably taken by Takki himself. At the end, there was also a (self-taken shot?) of Takki! *peace sign*

The juniors came out on stage and I applauded for them too, especially Kawai, Tottsu, Matsuzaki, Fukuda, Tatsumi, and of course, for Yara too. Everyone doing the last chorus hand signs, and singing it together, always touches me. WITH LOVE is such a beautiful song~~ still my favourite ever Takki song. The melody is soooo nice~~~ and the words are soooo meaningful~~~ and it just fits the entire Takizawa Enbujo/Kabuki world. No Enbujo show can end without “With Love” :)

Anyway, I tried my best to do the hand signs. I see some people around me doing it as well. There was a live video feed in the background screen, so looking at that helped a bit. And this stage photo was taken during the “(kimi ni…) massugu…” part. I must really practice more!

withlove

Towards the end of the song, they stood and formed the characters:

L O ♡ V E

Takki was the bottom tip of the ♡ :)

Standing Ovation

During the instrumental outro, Takki led the cast to bow to the audience – on the right, left and then centre. We all stood up and gave them a standing ovation for ALL of the shows I attended. On 5/2, we were one of the first few to stand up. The people in front of us took a bit longer, so… I think Takki saw my bf LOL… coz we happened to be right in the middle, and my bf was taller than the people around us… erm, and he’s a guy lol…

⇒ Opera Curtain Closing!

This must be the best closing ever in the history of Takizawa butai! Lol~~ I mentioned how the curtains were “sucked” into the box during the opening ya… And now, the curtains seemed to appear from NOWHERE, to close the show!

What happened was… After bowing to the audience, Takki turned back to face the cast, and all the cast turned back as well. Then they all shouted “HEY!” and ran towards the back of the stage. They turned their bodies back towards us, and Takki gave a quick wave of his hand… and all the REDness miraculously flew onto the stage from all directions lol~ like WOW!! *sorry I’m bad at describing haha~* The curtains filled the stage, and it looked like how it was at the beginning of the show (minus the gramophone). The effect was really good especially on 5/2 when I was seated right in the middle. It was really a good seat ne~

Indeed, Nissay is a modern theatre. And hence we had a modern western opening (with the two black dancers speaking in English), and then with the disappearance of the modern opera curtain in Act 1, we were sucked into a traditional Japanese (Takizawa) world… for 3 hours… and at the end of it, the opera curtain flew back onto the stage, and we left the theatre with a modern feel again. That’s how I felt. I really love the curtains idea this time.

And I’m glad that this was Takki’s idea, and something he was persistent about :) Iyaaa~ I feel that Takki is a really really good stage director!!! I’m looking forward to the DVD!!! XDD No matter how many versions there might be, I’m gonna buy them all! LOL~

Which means I’d better start my job hunt soon…

5 Responses to “[Report] Takizawa Kabuki – Act 2”

  1. PUI says:

    Finally you can finish act 2 report, and finally I know all kabuki’s conte

    You are the best reporter who has the best memory and the best describtion skill.

    Thank you to share your wonderful memory to us.

  2. faricsyung says:

    I also think I’d need to buy all versions, seeing that they even have a different act for Children’s Day and all.. LOL.

    Thanks for the report! I really feel as though I was there watching. I can’t wait to see the curtain effects for myself. DVD, come faster!! XDD

  3. leelin says:

    mich, thanks for the detailed report…yes, yes i agree with you WITH LOVE fits Enbuju/Kabuki world…its such a beautiful song..

  4. simone says:

    Thanks for a very clear report. I have to admit I was a bit confused at times during the second Act, and really regretted not seeing twice..

  5. Marie says:

    mich, thank you so much for this great report!
    I am so impressed how well you can describe the show in detail!
    I wish I could do that, too.

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