I love theatre. I have so much respect for its actors because acting live is so much different than watching the acting on screen. Acting in theatre has so much risks of mistakes which cannot be redone, so a lot of rehearsals must be faced seriously. The preparation is not easy because of the exercises which must be done, as theatre calls for big movements. Each performance is precious because each is different from another. Having experiences doing backstage work, I also have so much respect for the production and backstage staffs. The set and sound designs are carefully planned to execute the intent of the director and the writer. There should be harmony and cooperation among each actor and staff in order to deliver a good performance.
Now, I have heard of Tenimyu before. It’s the stage musical for the Prince of Tennis, a shounen manga written by Takeshi Konomi. I have so much love for Prince of Tennis before, so I wanted to watch Tenimyu, but I haven’t gotten the chance to take time for it. A few days ago, I got a copy of Haikyuu Hyper Projection, the stage play for my beloved series. Of course, I decided to watch it right away.
Hyper Projection Engeki Haikyuu!! is a 2.5D stage play. When I first read of “2.5D”, I was confused. How could there be a something in between of 2D and 3D? Then, as I watched it, I understood. It’s a clever mix of acting along with the live projections, some of which came from the manga panels.
The wide stage is almost clear, with only just the white circle in the middle of the stage. There are no backdrops nor things dangling from above for clear projection of videos. It may seem plain, but one may be surprised that the circle in the middle of the stage is actually a center piece that rotates and tilts up and down.
The props appear according to what is needed in the scene and are struck in and out by the actors themselves.
The set and props is minimalistic, but it does not look plain or boring at all because of the projections which were projected not only at the back, but also on the floor. They helped showed the passing of time, of change of setting, of panels which are from the manga itself. There are also live projections of the actors which make it look like they are actually in manga panels.
I salute the technical staff of this production. I haven’t experienced being assigned in the technicals, but I know it’s hard work and great concentration is needed. Just a split second delay in the lights or sound may affect a performance. It is most evident in a production like this. There are a lot of scenes, especially the ones which involve matches, that has to have good timing (though the actors needed to get it as well). For example is the scene below which shows Kageyama’s serve. The technicals must time the projection right to not have dead air which is uncalled for a scene like this: a match with increasing intensity. The actor must be on the right spot, hitting at the right moment, too. There are a lot more scenes like this which made me more amazed of the this production. I suddenly want to be part of their staff.
Anyway, of course, along with these elements is the good use of the sound and music. There were drums, piano, and other musical instruments which I really could not point out since I’m not good at distinguishing each instrument. Anyhow, the sound and music clearly sets up the mood, especially the scenes during the matches. Some sound like the OST of the anime. I especially loved the music they played around the end of their performance. It made me tear up. (Though I tear up a lot whenever a play I watched and liked comes to its end.) After searching, I found out that its title is “頂の景色” or in romaji, “Itadaki no Keshiki”. The anime has an OST of the same title, but they’re different. I like both, though.
It covers the story from the start when Hinata first had an interest in volleyball, to when Kageyama and Hinata just joined the team, to the match between the duo and Tsukki and Yamaguchi, to their practice match with Aoba Johsai, and up to Asahi-Noya arc. For a more than 2-hour stage play, they managed to show these stories without feeling rushed.
And they showed it in a way which someone like me, who already re-watched the first and second seasons a lot of times, not be bored. The transitions of scenes are smooth. Props to their choreographer and director because the matches didn’t look chaotic though there were a lot of actors. Moreover, the matches didn’t look boring because of the stunts and different steps they did. (Also because of the lights and sounds.)
Now, the cast. The cast is amazing. I thought a lot of them have voices that sounded like characters’ respective seiyuu’s. Props to the hair and makeup artist/s for making them look closer to the characters. Of course, their costumes were made to look like the ones from the source. Anyway, since they comprise of the members of two teams (sans Narita and Kinoshita) plus a few supporting characters, the cast is large. Still, it was fun to see them all up on the stage.
First, there’s Suga Kenta as Hinata Shōyō. I didn’t recognize him immediately, but when I did, I wanted to smack myself. I liked him in Gakkou no Kaidan (too bad he didn’t have much scene there with his fellow child star and my beloved Kamiki Ryunosuke). Anyway, I thought he portrayed Hinata well, with his childish grin, overwhelming energy, and willpower. I bet it’s exhausting because Hinata’s the type of character which runs all over the place.
The adorable Kageyama Tobio is portrayed by the adorable Kimura Tatsunari (yes, the guy on the featured image here). His Kageyama seems a bit softer here, though there are still the sudden outbursts caused by his temper. He’s not as weird or dull-at-times as Kageyama in the source, but I guess it’s because the story didn’t permit to see much of his side outside the court. In any case, he’s still Kageyama all right. He’s got that smug and swag done right. He was able to show how Kageyama plays beautifully in the court, too! Especially his tosses and serves. *insert hearts here*
Kosaka Ryōtarō brought Tsukki to life along Miura Kairi who played Yamaguchi. I’ve got to say those two successfully gave that “best friends” feel emitting from their characters. How I’d love to see them act their characters’ scenes during the Tokyo Expedition Arc.
Tanaka Keita played Daichi, their team captain. His built is perfect for Daichi since he looks big and strong. He gives off that “leader” aura as well. Too bad he did not reprise his role for the rerun, though I do hope Akisawa Kentaro is good, too.
Meanwhile, there was also Ino Hiroki as Suga. I thought he perfectly portrayed his being the mother of the bunch. Shiota Kohei was able to give a powerful performance as Tanaka with his acting and voice. His intensity is the same as with Hashimoto Shōhei who played as Nishinoya. It was fun seeing them do their signature pose. Hashimoto also had a good chemistry with Tomimori Justin who acted as Asahi. With Justin‘s big built contrasting his soft character (and eyes?), he was able to embody Asahi. Kawahara Kazuma as Ennoshita did well, too! I’m glad he had scenes, though not much as the story is far from where he has his own spotlight. His scenes are memorable, though, because they’re funny.
From the Aoba Johsai cast members, Asuma Kōsuke shone as Oikawa, though he only have a few parts. (Actually, everyone in Aoba Johsai only have a few scenes as themselves.) I just love the scene on the left. I thought he had soft eyes for Oikawa, though he certainly has his charm. He’s also less playful. I thought he needed to assert his character more since he has a stage presence already; it just needs to be stronger. He’s still lovable, though. Too bad he had less scenes with Iwaizumi which was played by Hirata Yūya. Hirata had lesser time on stage. But I can’t deny that their scenes are cute. Those two definitely have chemistry!
Sakamoto Kōta played Kindaichi while Arisawa Shōtarō played Kunimi, Kageyama’s former team mates in Kitagawa Daiichi. I think they had more exposure than Oikawa. In my opinion, they did well, especially Sakamoto, as he showed the tough Kindaichi. His makeup and hairstyle honestly helped. (Everyone’s was.)
Anyway, the rest of the team pretty much did not have lines of their own. They were the ones who acted as the “chorus” along with the other actors who were not on the scene. They were the ones who lifted up Suga and also the ones who handled some props needed for some scenes (so they’re wearing white coats at times), like the balls who were attached to a long poles like the one on the right. (I thought it was a bit funny albeit clever way of presenting the plays. After all, they cannot just serve and hit the balls randomly.)
Oh, and there’s also Uchida Shige, the oldest of the cast, who acted as Takeda. Meanwhile, Hayashi Tsuyoshi acted as coach Ukai. I thought they did a good job, too. I loved the scenes when they were showing their support to the team along with Suga. They were so adorable and funny! Then, there’s also Yamaguchi Kento as Shimada and Sakaguchi Shinnosuke as Takinoue, two guys from the Neighborhood Association Team, who were good support as well.
What I was able to watch was the first run, but I’m excited to see the second run. I hope it’s good, too, (if not better) despite the recasting that happened.
I wish I can watch the stage play live. Watching its DVD release and its live performance are two whole different experiences. Nothing beats the feeling of being able to see the actors do the actual show. Anyhow, I still enjoyed it. At times, I wish the camera shots did not change because I wanted to see what the rest of the characters do while on stage. At times, I wish the camera shots chosen were those with close up shots of the actors so I could see their faces. I can only sigh at my poor pity self who neither lives in Japan nor is capable of going there to watch.
Like the series, there are a lot funny scenes. Sometimes, it’s by the characters speaking. Other times, it’s by the characters on the side. Anyway, this one on the left is an example of one funny scene wherein they broke the fourth wall. There were also the touching scenes, the memorable lines from the source, the chemistry among the characters. (I’m quite sure that they’ll have better chemistry after some more time, though.) I’m glad this adaptation stick closely with the source. But I still wish Aoba Johsai could have had more time.
Anyway, I believe this is a play enjoyable for both the fans and non-fans of the series. Looking forward to see the re-run. In the mean time, here are some more love for these guys:
Oh! And there’s the news about the next play which be entitled, “Hyper Projection Engeki Haikyu!!: Karasuno, Fukkatsu! (Revival!)“. The cast for Nekoma, Date Kou, and that one friend of Sawamura in Tokonami are already revealed on their official site. Can’t wait for this! I hope I’ll be able to have money to buy for the DVD by the time it’s released.
Disclaimer: Only the two screenshots are what I made. GIFs and cast images are not mine. The GIFs are done by nimbus-cloud. The cast images are from the Haikyuu!! wikia.