Although I knew that Takki would be performing here in Singapore in August, I still had to attend the Tokyo shows! I didn’t watch the very first Takizawa Enbujo in 2006, but from 2007 onward, I have watched it every year without fail. This was my 9th time watching Takizawa Kabuki (and the Singapore shows would be my 10th ^^).
I only managed to get tickets to two shows this time.
4/23 1800: 1F 10th middle block
4/25 1300: 3F 1st row right side
This was my first time watching from the 3rd floor. I was lucky to get the help of a colleague from my HQ in Tokyo who phoned in on 3/21 and got us these A-seats. As you probably already knew, all shows tickets were sold out within 40mins. Although there were some restrictions in the view, it was a good experience.
Disclaimer: Contains *spoilers* if you are planning to watch the Singapore shows. I tend to digress and go a little off-topic, and I’ve always been long-winded too. So please proceed at your own risk~XD”
< Spring >
1. Takizawa Kabuki Overture
As the lights dimmed, the usual beautiful overture of Takizawa Enbujo/Kabuki played, followed by an English narration about the beauty of Japan and the Japanese, about finding sadness from joy, from past to present. “This is Takizawa Kabuki.”
Goto Hiromi was raised from the trap door of the hanamichi, and he played the second verse on his violin. Then it was Takki’s voice, narrating something similar to the English narration, but in Japanese. “Sore ga Takizawa Kabuki.”
※ Haru no Odori
Takki with Kitayama and Yabu on his sides were on stage this year to do the “Haru no odori wa~ yo~iya saa!” call. They were dressed in white, with beautiful sakura trees in the background. Right after the call, they flew upwards and were blocked by the downward falling curtain in the foreground showing the kanjis of “Takizawa Kabuki”.
The Jrs danced on the stage, and like always, Takki flew out of the cart above the audience on the first floor. He was in red this year. As he landed back on stage, he continued to dance. The platform Takki was on rose up, and beneath it, the words ‘Welcome to Takizawa Kabuki” greeted us, like last year.
Most of this song was the same as last year, except for the part after Takki disappears from the stage. This year, the music turned slow (like a ballad), Yabu appeared alone and sang the verse ‘Night and Day….’, Kitayama then appeared and continued the next verse ‘Wander and drift….’, before Takki showed up on the 2nd floor right side and flew down. The other difference is, while Takki sang the melody, Kitayama and Yabu harmonised.
Takki landed on the hanamichi area and all went dark. The Jrs. introduced themselves, followed by Kitayama and Yabu. Then Yabu introduced Takki, who walked to the front of the stage on a red carpet that had been rolled out from the back to the front. He’s now dressed in a white haori hakama ~kakkoii!!
Takki greeted the audience and thanked everyone for coming. Then he led the cast in a bow to the audience.
4. Feelin’ Good
Takki took off the haori and the music changed to a light-hearted and happy one. This song is really cute and easy to follow! All of us clapped along as Tono and the rest held sticks and hit them according to the beat. I really like this song, which was performed in 2013 too. So glad it’ll make the DVD :)
Takki went over to Kitayama on the left, and then Yabu on the right.
Then he got on top of a large drum and started dancing and tapping on it (like in the very first Takizawa Enbujo in 2006).
After a few rounds on the drum, he came down again to the stage and everyone lined up in a straight row and finished up the dance while we all clapped along again.
5. Shippu! Nezumi Kozo
Kitayama stood alone at the front of the stage, and a screen came down behind him. He said it’s been 6 years since he last stood on this stage, and he’s also like us, a fan of Takizawa Kabuki. Then Yabu walked in, who said he took part in Takizawa Enbujo in 2006 & 2007. The screen started to flash images of Nezumi Kozo. Last year, Hasegawa Jun did the introduction, this year it was Yabu.
When the screen was raised, the stage showed rooftops of houses in the Edo period. Takki as Nezumi Kozo ran on the rooftops. A treasure chest appeared at the top, slid down the roof, and was ‘caught’ by Nezumi (I saw from the trick from the 3rd floor lol). Soon, the whistles sounded and we knew the ‘police men’ led by Kitayama were after him.
The chase scene began with numerous Nezumis appearing and disappearing, doing various stunts, evading his chasers. Then Takki Nezumi appeared alone on stage, and went down to the audience to ask for help. Usually in this segment, the special guest that day would be asked to ‘help’ Nezumi. He would be passed a letter to read out, and Takki would take his place and sit with the audience.
For 4/23, there was no special guest, so Takki chose a guy from the audience. The letter was from Hikaru (HSJ) saying that Yabu is very forgetful, often leaving things behind. Yabu confirmed that he left his wallet behind a few days back.
On 4/25, the guest was Hasegawa Jun and he wore a long beige coat. Kitayama and his group came on stage and one of them shouted, “Sir (to Kitayama), there’s an inspector (keiji-san) there!” haha~ Apparently Hasejun’s dressing was like that of an inspector, something like the one from Detective Conan… just without the hat lol. For the letter-reading segment, they wanted Hasejun to dance Real DX and he did.
Then the chase continued. There were a couple of scenes where Nezumi was on stage with his chasers, ‘joining them’ in the search, like “Yeah, where is Nezumi? Where could he be?” etc. For one of the shows, he even started ‘searching’ for Nezumi in Miyadate’s pants haha.
Finally, Nezumi went onto the topmost roof and thanked the guest that day for helping him. “This is for you, [insert guest’s name], in return for your kindness!” And he threw loads of GOLD into the air. At this moment, it started to rain GOLD in Shimbashi Enbujo!
On 4/25, the machine shooting out all the gold coins was actually just behind me! It was sooo noisy, and my vision was totally covered by GOLD COINS! I couldn’t even see the stage! HAHA! This was what I saw beside me at the end of Act 1 – loads of ‘gold coins’ and ‘sakura petals’ :)
This year, there was a new type of ‘gold coin’, the one with the kanjis “Takizawa Kabuki” on it. Of course everyone was aiming for those. Out of 40-50 pieces of the ‘normal’ gold coins, there was probably only 1 piece with the words on it. I was lucky to be able to pick a few due to my seating position XD
< Summer >
6. Obake ~ Anchin Kiyohime
Girls dressed as ghosts walked down the aisles of the first floor. They scared the audience by suddenly appearing and placing their arms over the audience etc. I got a shock as well as I was a few seats away from the aisle. A few audience screamed out lol. Those ghosts looked really scary, faces painted white, hair over face… Then Takki appeared on stage as Kiyohime the serpent. He caught hold of a Jr. (Anchin) and flew in the air above the audience.
This is the story of Anchin and Kiyohime, which Takki performed for a few years. Kiyohime was a girl who turned into a large serpent out of rage when her lover Anchin had a change of heart.
7. MASK ~ Face Change
※ MASK VTR
There were 2 huge masks of Takki on both sides of the stage, symbolising the two sides of human beings.
※ MASK DANCE
Ah. I call this “Pirates of the Caribbean” lol.
Many Jrs danced in ragged clothes and hats, all of them wearing masks. This is similar to last year’s. I liked this dance, I think it’s really kakkoii. Though I still couldn’t tell who’s who until at the end when they removed their masks.
※ Face Change
Takki did not do the face change alone this year. Kitayama and Yabu did it together with him. At the end of this performance, the three of them did the last ‘flick’ to reveal their faces.
※ Taiko Intro
There was an English narration, which was done in perfect English. This was the same man who narrated the opening. For the entire show, these were the only two narrations in English that were perfect (lol)
The Jrs rolled their drums onto the stage, and Takki walked out to his in the center. This is probably still my favourite segment of Act 1. It’s just too kakkoii~ that body, those abs and biceps, that beautiful face which showed some rare signs of strain. The sound of the Taiko is after all generated from great physical effort and intense concentration.
For both shows I went to, Takki made small little misses with the beats. Luckily the stick didn’t fly out like it did before in one of the shows I attended few years back hehe.
After finishing the first part of the Taiko, Takki went to his second drum, the one mounted on the rotating structure. I always looked at how he fastened the belt over his waist and in between his legs. I had to make sure that I saw him tugging at it at the end. This belt was the most important thing ensuring his safety when the platform rotates upside down. Of course, I also noticed his feet would be underneath some flap… that would be the only grip he’d have if the belt gave way *choi!!!! touch wood!*
Basically, this was the same as 2014’s version. But I’d never get tired of it. The Jrs. also had a hard time as they had to use a lot of their abs muscles in the process… keeping their bodies up at certain angles while striking the drums.
From the 3rd floor, I couldn’t see Takki when he rose above a certain level (as my view was blocked by the top of the stage), so I looked at Kitayama who was just at where my view was. He seemed tsuraisou ne~ and erm, I hope he’ll have defined abs like Tono by the time he comes to Singapore. Ganbare, Mitsu!
※ Itsuka Overture
While the Jrs cleared their drums off stage, Tono puts on his jacket and hat.
To be honest, I used to lament on not having Revenger for this performance. But I’ve grown to like Itsuka as well. And erm, please excuse me hehe…. but as always, I’ll use my binocs during this song to check out the Takizawa happy trail lol.
< Autumn >
10. Takizawa Troupe
※ Dressing Room
This year, it wasn’t only Takki who does the live make up on stage. Kitayama, Yabu, and Snowman took part as well. The background screen played footage from the past years, and Jrs. at the side would be commenting on the footage. The BGM was ‘With Love’ instrumental, which was nice :)
※ Stage Make Up
The BGM changed to a happy one, as each of them took turns to introduce themselves. On 4/23, Takki said he had ramen that day.
Then there was a Q&A segment where for my show on 4/23, it was “what kind of performance item you would like to add for Takizawa Kabuki?” I didn’t really catch what they were all saying cos my eyes was only on Takki… occasionally he would mumble something to Kitayama and they would laugh. Apart from that, all I recall about thsi segment was… Fukazawa urusai! He wanted to answer, so kept raising and waving his hands and shouted “HAI! HAI!! HAIIIIIII!!!” so many times, so loud… I remember Takki saying “urusai!” lol. Eventually he answered “Fukazawa Tatsuya’s ero ero dance”. orz. LOL.
After that, Takki and Kitayama had a little moment on stage. I was too absorbed in that to think straight. I vaguely remember them asking a Jr. to choose who he likes or something (on 4/23), but I can’t remember what happened after that lol.
11. Takizawa Kabuki
4 Jrs. walked out on stage holding umbrellas and gave self-introductions.
※ Dance of Autumn
Some Jrs. did a dance with flowers on sticks. My only recollection of this dance was the background music that was used before in previous years… It was the same BGM as the Shuuchaku Jishi performance in Takizawa Enbujo 2008.
※ Takizawa Goemon
In this performance, Takki does the tachiyaku (male role). He appears at the top of the bridge as Goemon. This item has been performed over the past few years, with emphasis on the quick change of clothes at the hanamichi and the ladder stunts.
Snowman’s Iwamoto threw the katana from the hanamichi to his Miyadate, who caught it perfectly for both shows I attended. Takki then ‘skipped’ off the hanamichi lol.
As MBS grand theatre does not have a hanamichi, I’m wondering if this item will be performed in Singapore. I don’t mind if it’s removed. I’d rather have Sagi Musume or Shuuchaku jishi back in its place actually.
< Winter >
This item was first performed in 2008. This year it started with the puppet of Oshichi reading the scroll, along with the shamisen playing in the background. And this was voiced-over in English… which I couldn’t understand LOL! Well, I could only catch 6 words, “Alas!”, “die”, “Ah!”, “fire”, “tower” and “bell” www.
I knew the 2 Jrs. doing the voiceover were trying their best, but I REALLY HOPE THEY DO IT IN JAPANESE FOR THE SINGAPORE SHOWS. Please… I miss Konno-kun’s shigin. The 2010 version was really perfect.
※ Tsuru (Crane) Dance
This is the new creation added this year. The opening of this item was a dance by Yabu and his group of hunters, all holding bows and arrows. They ran off the stage, seemingly hunting for some ‘prey’.
Then we can see through the translucent screen that a bunch of tsurus (cranes, the bird not the machine haha) were standing with their backs facing us. Tsuru-king and his lover – I call her Tsuru-hime – were in front of the huge tree trunk, and everything looked ‘icy’ (blue/white/snow). While the nice BGM played (the same as Spider Dance’s koto scene, one of my favourite music~), the tsurus did a gentle dance of flapping wings.
Kitayama-tsuru (kind of like the right-hand man of Tsuru-king) danced in along the hanamichi holding a branch of leaves (assuming from the tree). The screen raised, and he handed the branch to Tsuru-king, who turned around to reveal that he was Takki.
Tsuru-king gave the branch to Tsuru-hime (back facing us still), they playfully ran around the tree a couple of times, and finally when Tsuru-hime emerged from behind the tree, she turned to face us, and it was Takki! She did a lovely dance which was my favourite of the Kabuki segment. I love Tsuru-hime~
Then Yabu appeared at the second floor seats on the left, and from there, he shot his arrow towards the stage. Tsuru-hime was shot and as she fell toward the ground, an avalanche of RED fell and covered the entire stage (and our view). When the view cleared, we could see her motionless on the ground, in her ‘pool of blood’. You could sense Tsuru-king’s sadness looking at his lover’s dead body…
The BGM changed to a sad one… And when Tsuru-king turned to look at his attacker, we saw that it was Takki! He has changed back to playing Tsuru-king, If one didn’t pay enough attention, his double quick changes might gone unnoticed!
The tsuru army carried Tsuru-hime off stage, and Tsuru-king followed. When he came out on stage again, he has changed to more of a bird figure, with white hair and red/black painted lines on his face. Although there was no dialogue, one could feel his rage as he sought revenge for his lover. His wings picked up the ‘blood’ from the stage, and he and his army leapt into a dance. The music changed to a fast-paced one, and the ‘fight’ between Tsuru-king’s and Yabu’s gangs started.
The song used for this BGM is actually the same one used for the Takizawa Kabuki Singapore CM. Towards the end, a huge crane was blown up in the background. I was quite amused at first, but found the scene to be rather spectacular! And as they striked their final poses, Act 1 ended with a bang – literally – as red feathers flew and streamers shot out toward the audience. The machine behind me on the third floor shot out sakuras and whatnots and my view of the stage was once again blocked haha. By the time I could see the stage, the curtains were down lol.
I prefer Tsuru Dance compared to last year’s mirror/lightning one, but I still very much love the Spider Dance from before. However, I’m looking forward to seeing this in Singapore as it’s a Takizawa Kabuki original piece, and Takki said he’d be bringing in a snow machine to create ‘real snow’ in MBS Grand Theatre. Tanoshimi!
Phew! Finished Act 1, and shall take a break before starting on Act 2. Hopefully I can still remember lol. Btw, it’s already the 10th Anniversary, yet we haven’t gotten a soundtrack. I’m sure there are enough songs and BGM to fill an OST! Shall we request?!?