Review: Seigaku vs Yamabuki DVD

The waiting time ended, and on Friday I finally got my copy of the Seigaku vs Yamabuki DVD in my hands. Although I didn’t mean to be, I was at Animate the moment it opened (I had expected it to be open when I arrived, but I actually had to wait for it to open) and so I got hold of it as early as I possibly could have done.

I was itching to watch it in my classroom while I prepared my lessons on Friday, but I decided to hold out to watch it at a time when I could focus on it fully, and although it was hard to wait I was glad that I did when the time finally came yesterday.

First of all, let’s look at the DVD itself. It follows the same theme as all the other 3rd Season DVDs and so there’s nothing particularly distinctive, but for me the cover is pretty special as it’s the first time two of my favourite actors have featured together, with one of them being my favourite character Akutsu Jin (who this review is going to be very biased towards, by the way). The photobook was the special privalege of ordering the DVD at the venue, and has a lot of nice stage shots of each character inside. Inside the DVD case itself is the usual booklet with cast pictures and lyrics to all of the songs. The contents of the DVD are:

  1. The main show (filmed on the last day)
  2. Full stage version (filmed on some other unknown day)
  3. Higawari (various things that changed from show to show)
  4. Backstage (seeing the boys being idiots behind the scenes).

Just a warning before you click on the cut: This is pretty image heavy. I put everything as slide shows so you only see one image at once, but there are a lot there.

1. The main show

There’s not a lot I can say about it that I didn’t already say when I saw the show live 10 times, but the last time I saw it was on February 14th, so it has been quite a while. And, having been unable to watch the last show live or through live-viewing since I was on vacation, this was my first time seeing this particular show which is somehow exciting even if it isn’t live on stage. Of course the majority of it was the same as I had seen, so let’s look at a few of my favourite moments.

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My favourite character. One of my favourite actors. One of my favourite solo songs, Ore no mae ni Tatsu na. (and my favourite song in this musical overall). This song had such a big effect on me every time I saw it, and was one of the times I teared up during the final Dream Live, knowing I wouldn’t be able to see it again. Even though it’s not the same as seeing it live, I’m grateful to now be able to watch it whenever I want to. I’m also really happy that, with the release of this DVD, everyone else can now see this actor that I love so much. I want everyone to love him as much as I do.

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St. Rudolph. My favourite team as a whole with no characters that I really don’t like. They had so much more of a role in this musical than Fudomine did in the Seigaku vs St. Rudolph musical, and it was so nice to see so much of them, especially since so much of it was changed per show. It was like having a different St. Rudolph every time, and as you’ll see later in my review, we got to see a lot of it in this DVD. It was also nice that they were given a new song, Mizuki no Rule.  And speaking of St. Rudolph…

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Having already heard that they had chosen my favourite St. Rudolph after-intermisson scene (one I had also seen in Nagoya) I was really excited to see it again, and Kaneda spitting and yelling at everyone did not disappoint, and neither did Mizuki complaing about Akazawa clinging to him (because it would make him dirty) only to end up cowering behind him because Kaneda is just that scary.

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Somehow, despite being named for being so plain and boring, these guys are really fun to watch just because they’re so ridiculous. And I highly recommend their solo because althugh it’s slightly more exciting than they are as characters, its performed fabuously and their blank faces and sometimes unenthuiastic dancing gets me every time.

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One of my favourite matches in the musicals I’ve seen so far, including one of my favourite songs Yuuki vs Iji. This match goes on for a long time and seems longer than Ryoma’s matches in the other musicals, but I really loved every single moment of it. Watching it again, especially from close up with all the different angles, kept me entranced all over again.

And here are a couple of my not-so-favourite things.

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I’m very sorry to anyone who likes Sengoku Kiyosumi (and I know a few) but the more times I saw him, the more he annoyed me, giving him the spot of my least favourite Tenimyu character so far. I have nothing against his actor Morita Touya whatsoever, but I just really don’t like his character’s personality or look.

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Honestly, this was the one scene that I would get bored of every time I saw it. I know they had a lot of time to fill in this musical, but I wish they hadn’t filled it with Fuji and Ryoma repeating the same move over and over again. I understand that this is how their game went, but I don’t feel like they needed to put it all on stage. Having said that, at least the visuals on the screen when Fuji did his parts were nice.

With my own favourites and least favourite parts out of the way, I can’t finish this section without talking about my emotions and the emotions of the boys on stage.

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I expected to cry at some point during watching this DVD. I expected to cry during Akutsu’s solo right at the beginning but in the end I was more just excited to see it again. What finally broke me was the scene right towards the end of the musical where Akutsu and Dan have their last scene together. Although Dan as a character cries in this scene, Mashiro as an actor was also obviously crying for real, which made it more emotional. Then the part came where Akutsu turns round and says “Taichi…” and that really got me. Remembering back to the Team Lives, I recalled Mashiro talking about how before they did that scene (for the last time), Shota put a hand on his shoulder and told him to do his best to the very end. I remembered that while I was watching too.

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During the ending speeches, we had tears from many people, and most of them seemed to come from Yamabuki this time. Naoya managed to stay surprisingly composed and get most of his words out without his crying effecting them (until of course, he forgot Kenya’s real name and called him “Akazawa Kenya” which rather lightened the moment). Shota spent quite a while blinking and squinting and trying not to cry and then clearly gave up, because we got a shot of him with tears streaming down his cheeks. The others didn’t even try to hide it.

St. Rudolph did surprisingly well this time compared with the past. There were obvious tears, but not so much 100% breaking down. Kaiki managed to keep his in until Kazuki thanked him personally, and Kaisei didn’t cry at all (of course) despite everyone looking at him expectantly when Kenya addressed him during his speech. Yugo looked like he had already cried all of the tears he had in his body by then (along with all of his soul).

With that, the show ended with it’s usual final song Shakariki Fight Bunbun, including all of its team-themed gestures. I happened to notice (which I hadn’t before) that Shota’s Akutsu did not join in (except very occasionally) with any of the other team’s gestures, and didn’t even participate in the rehearsal part for the main gesture. It was nice to see him being a bit of a brat about it and it reminded me of season 2’s Akutsu not joining in with the exercises during the Undoukai.

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One of the last shots we saw was Kazuki jumping into Shota’s arms, proving that Akutsu and Ryoma are friends after all (maybe).

2. Full stage version

I’m putting this as a sub-category but actually, I only skimmed through the full stage version. I find it a little weird watching it with only that one view (even though that’s what I get when I see it live), but it was filmed at a different show to the main one, so I did at least go through it to see the parts that were different. It seems it was filmed at one of the regular Gaisen shows. But since I didn’t really watch it, let’s not dwell on it…

3. Higawari section

The higawari section focussed on four main scenes that were changed at each show. There were probably so many that they couldn’t show every single change, but we got a selection of each. There were other higawari parts that they didn’t include (Oishi’s scene where he tries to stop Ryoma and Fuji’s game, and NomuTaku had a lot as well) but I understand that they probably didn’t film everything and couldn’t include everything there.

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The first was variations on the scene with Muromachi and Sengoku. I don’t really understand Muromachi as a character or really what the point of him being there is, and as I said before, I don’t like Sengoku at all, but I have to say, I didn’t realise there were so many variations on this. I don’t think I was paying enough attention.

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Next was one of the Jimis first appearances where they had various little boring strings of conversation and some weird hand gestures and lots of touching each other. It’s weird that watching two people being 100% boring can be so funny, but these all got a lot of laughs from me and everyone else. And as I stated before, I love the Jimis, so it’s nice that they got these scenes.

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The third was the scene where Inui is counting down for the Seigaku members to start running. My favourite is still the one where Kaidoh and Ryoma get distracted because they suddenly start talking about how Ryoma’s cat is somewhere in the distance, but I have to say, the one where Kikumaru suddenly sneezes and everyone runs off is pretty genius.

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The final scene was St. Rudolph’s after-intermission scenes. During the Nagoya shows, I saw five different variations of the after-intermission scenes where the characters are doing things to help them win against Hyotei. The main show had Kaneda’s, and in the higawari section we saw Mizuki and Atsushi’s. I was somewhat disappointed the other two I saw (for Akazawa and Yanagisawa) weren’t included, but I’m glad I saw them live. The other after-intermission scene involved the members inpersonating Hyotei members. I’ve been reliably told by various people that this is the best one they have seen, but as I haven’t seen Hyotei as characters yet, I can’t say I appreciated it all that much. Perhaps I will watch it again once the Hyotei musical begins.

4. Backstage footage

As someone who loves Tenimyu primarily because of all of the amazing actors and their relationships with each other, the backstage parts of the DVD are always my favourite parts to watch. We had already gotten little snippits of backstage from Tenimo (honestly, everyone needs to join just for the one video where Zaiki is playing with the camera and Shota appears behind him with this really stupid laugh) but with the DVD we got a whole 1 1/2 hours of footage of these idiots.

First of all, the backstage videos also produce extra footage from the shows, so let’s talk about that. We got footage of St. Rudolph’s after-intermission scene from Christmas Eve (the first show) where they dressed in santa hats and handed out gifts. It made me remember the disappointment of the girl in front of me getting a gift from Akazawa, but it was nice to see the scene one more time, especially with Kenya’s weird reindeer noises.

The other main shonichi scene was the ending speech from Kazuki, who congratulated Echizen Ryoma on his birthday, and then reluctantly allowed the crowd to shout happy birthday to Ryosei who also shared that birthday.

For the New Year’s shows, we were treated to St. Rudolph’s special after-intermission scene where they played Hanetsuki. I saw this one live as well, and was particularly amused by the stickers refusing to stay on and Riku giving up and sticking it on Kenya’s arm (and then that one of Yugo’s that fell to the ground on their way off stage, that Kenya had to run back and fetch).

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We also saw the Valentines Day show version, which saw St. Rudolph turned into a chocolate delivery company and throwing candy to lucky people in the crowd. The angles were a little weird on this filming because they only had one camera and we could only hear Atsushi and Yanagisawa’s voices from the third floor, but it was fun to see the scene again.

There were so many moments in the backstage that I wanted to mention, and I probably can’t mention them all, but I’ll choose just some of my favourite moments.

vlcsnap-2016-06-05-15h36m22s139.pngRyosei and Shota discussing that they’re both really tall. They were the tallest cast members in this musical by quite a distance.

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The cast admiring each other (and themselves) in their outfits for the Christmas omiokuri. Kazuki especially enjoyed looking at himself in the camera, and Shun spent the whole of his walk to the omiokuri area saying “I’m a tree, I’m a tree…”

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Zaiki helping Arata to learn the Chinese zodiac. “There’s a horse in there?”

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Yugo spontaniously bursting into tears during Kenya’s New Year’s speech and then blaming Kenya for it.

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Kenya trying to use Kazuki to lead into a talk and Kazuki 100% not catching to what the hell he was talking about, leaving Kenya to awkwardly explain. Then Kazuki finally getting it and just saying, “ah…”. Never rely on Kazuki for anything.

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Miyagi and Yuki fighting while dressed as cats (and Miyagi complaining when Yuki starts punching him with his real hands instead of the paws).

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Kenya diligently rehearsing the dance for You and Me all on his own because Miyagi is late.

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That three-shot with the strawberries.

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After the backstage footage, the section finished with a talk from all three teams, beginning with St. Rudolph, then Yamabuki, and ending with Seigaku. Everyone talked pretty seriously about their time in the musical. It’s always nice to see the boys as normal, not tired or stressed before their performances, not in character. It makes a nice end to the DVD after watching them working so hard on stage.

I think I’ve finally reached the end of this review. If you want to watch this DVD yourself, it has been uploaded over here, but I would encourage you to support the boys and buy a copy yourself if you possibly can. Thank you if you made it to the end of this.

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