On August 21st I attended the release event for the Seigaku vs Yamabuki DVD in Osaka. It was a fun event, but one which I genuinely didn’t think I would survive (see the high touch segment at the bottom of this report) but I did, and so I am here to bring you a report from the event. I tried to be as extensive as possible with this and I used numerous Japanese fan’s reports on Twitter to fill in the gaps, so thanks for them because this report would have been shorter without.
The cast members who attended this event were Kamisato Yuki, Takikawa Koudai, Kawakami Shota, Aoki Jin and Tonoshiro Yuma. They looked like this:
By the way, Shota had also been to watch Seigaku vs Hyotei‘s final show in Osaka that afternoon… and came wearing the same outfit he had been wearing for that, as well. Oh, and speaking of which, I wasn’t sure where else to put this, but a fan who was clearly watching Shota as much as I was during this event, drew various sketches of things he got up to (including random things like how he was always looking out into the audience, or fiddling with his t-shirt). You can find the pictures here (you have to log into the site using Twitter to view them. Please only view them there and do not reupload them anywhere else).
When they first came onto the stage, Yuki accidentally kicked his water bottle and spilled water all over the floor. A poor staff member had to come on stage behind them (as the MC convinced them all to just keep going with their introductions) with a mop and then tissues to clean it up.
Yuki commented that on their recent day off they had all gone out for okonomiyaki together, as the MC asked them what food they liked from Osaka.
Shota: “Eh?! I wasn’t invited!!”
Yuki: “Because you weren’t there!”
Shota: “Oh, right…”
Yuma: “Actually, the other day the Yamabuki members went out for kujikatsu.”
Shota: “I wasn’t invited!!”
Yuma: “… Because you weren’t there!”
Shota: “Oh, right…”
I think it was at the point that Yuki said to Shota, “what’s with the long hair?!” (actually, to put it specifically, he said “nandeyanen kore?!” (they’re in Osaka, you know XD) and poked at it a bit, then said, “Okay, I’ll do it too!” and Shota just went, “…… you already did” and poked his hair back.
The first topic of discussion was their first meetings. Apparently Jin and Tomo first met Yuki (and Sana) when they came to the training room. Jin knew Sana from before so apparently he walked in and enthusiasticly waved his hand and yelled Sana’s name, Yuki said they both came over to them with a thud. The MC asked the Yamabuki guys what their first impression of the Seigaku cast had been.
Tono: “They’re huge! Huge! Huge!”
MC: “And how about Seigaku?”
Yuki: “They’re so small! So so small!”
Tono: “… We’re not THAT small.”
Koudai said his first impression of the Yamabuki cast was that they were very cheerful, and Yuki agreed. Koudai then said they were super loud in the dressing room. Jin and Tono blamed Yuji and said he was unable to read atmospheres and was always talking.
The MC mentioned that the first time he had met Shota he had been a little scared but that it had turned out he was a nice person, which led to Shota talking about his experiences meeting the cast for the first time. He said he had first met Mashiro (Dan) properly at the shooting for the visuals (although Mashiro had previously seen him at auditions), and when he had come in at the start of the day he’d greeted Mashiro with an enthusiastic “good morning!” and Mashiro had kind of cowered away and muttered a scared greeting in response. He said this was followed by the same kind of greeting by everyone else.
During this time Shota was speaking he seemed incapable of keeping his mike in front of his mouth and kept waving it around, meaning sometimes his voice disappeared. Yuki told him to use his mike properly, and Shota apologised and said he wasn’t accustomed to using one yet. I’ve noticed that Shota is the kind of guy who uses his hands a lot when he talks, so I’m not surprised he found using a mike hard.
Tono and Jin talked about their roles as new characters. They said that they had wanted to make their role as senior/junior very important. They said it was easy to do because they were senior/junior in real life too. Jin said his first role in a stage had been one in which Tono was starring, and so they had that connection since they had met three years before. Therefore it was easy for them to translate that into their roles on stage.
Jin talked about his acrobatic skills and he said that he had decided to start learning when he was young because he had watched the Olympics and said to himself that he wanted to appear in them some day (Tono said that he hadn’t known that fact). When he met Reo in his first year of Junior High they started break dancing classes together and that was where he had the chance to learn how to do acrobatics. Yuki commented that they had found out Reo’s childhood friend was going to be joining Tenimyu and wondered what kind of amazing person was coming. Then they went to the training camp and…
Koudai: “He couldn’t even do a cartwheel…”
Jin: “Ah (laughs)… I really couldn’t do it.”
MC: “Will you show us?”
Jin demonstrated what had happened, him trying to do a cartwheel while suffering from major muscle pain, and then shouting out to Tono for help. At which point Tono interjected and said that he really had wanted to help him but that he was also suffering from so much muscle pain that he couldn’t move so he just stood there holding his racket and awkwardly watching him.
There was a discussion between the four doubles guys, who talked about working on their scene together. Yuki first commented on how it was the first time in Tenimyu he had played a match with no net, and that he had kept expecting it to be there. He said it had been more difficult to do without a net.
Secondly, they spoke of how they made a LINE chat to discuss the scene, and because there wasn’t much dialogue in it, Yuki would make suggestions as to the kinds of dialogue they could add to make it more interesting. Apparently every idea he had got shot down by the others which is why that scene ended up so silent (he tried…). The MC commented that Yuki should write the script for the next musical. At which point Shota said, “Fuji’s match would last an hour and a half”. (Didn’t we already get that in the first half of the Yamabuki musical. It felt like that long…)
I must point out that this was basically the only thing Shota said during that part of the discussion. Unfortunately he was sat between the two doubles pairs and so he was just sat in the middle spacing out while they were all talking about something he had no part in. At the end, Yuki pointed out that the entire time Shota had been sitting there with his mike in front of his mouth even though he never actually spoke until the end. That’s what happens when you tell him to use his mike properly.
The next discussion was with Shota about his game with Ryoma and his relationship with Kazuki. After their match there is a part where Akutsu threatens to hit Ryoma with his racket. Shota said that during that part Kazuki’s gaze was so angry he would get genuinely irritated and woud use that feeling to make his own actions more realistic. The MC asked him if they’d had any meetings to discuss their scenes. Shota said they weren’t really the kind to do that, but that they’d often gone out to eat together. He said at every city they went they’d go to the same pasta chain. They both like anime so they had talked about that a lot. The MC commented that the thought of Akutsu and Ryoma eating pasta and flailing over anime together was cute.
The talk then moved onto Akutsu and Taka’s scene in the cafe where Akutsu pours water on Taka’s head. For such a short scene, they managed to talk about it a lot! Shota said that as Koudai was his senpai he hadn’t wanted to pour the water on him too hard, but Koudai had told him to just go for it after the first time he had done it in small trickles. He said that since it was Akutsu the feeling of anger had to be stronger. So, after that he would just pour the entire thing on his head, as you’ve probably seen.
When he did that the first time though he couldn’t see Koudai’s head because of his sleeve, and while he was triumphantly thinking about how well he had done pouring it in his head, he moved his arm and realised he had covered Koudai’s mike in water. His thoughts quickly turned to, “oh crap…”
So, after that Koudai would make sure that his head was tilted a little so the water would slide down away from the mike. Shota then realised that when he did that, because Taka’s hair is slanted when he would pour the water it would rebound and hit him too. He asked the audience if anyone noticed that sometimes he was standing there dripping with water when he was trying to be tough.
They also commented that the staff had been worried about using cold water for the scene, so they used warm water. Koudai said that one day it was super hot and he was in so much pain when it was poured on his head, and that all the wax in his hair melted off too.
This thing is….
For this corner, the staff brought a box on stage that contained five rolled up pieces of paper with what they had to talk about. The topic was what they thought was (________) about one of their fellow cast members – it could be anyone, not just the ones who were at the event.
Koudai: “This thing is cute about ○○”.
He chose Tono to talk about, and said that he thought it was cute how much Tono loves amusement parks. He said that he heard that Tono had asked in the Yamabuki LINE group who wanted to go to the amusement park with him, and no one had replied. Koudai thought that was super cute and had felt bad so he had offered to go with him since he likes amusement parks too.
Yuki: “I like this thing about ○○”.
He chose Zaiki. He said he likes that Zaiki has a big heart and always listens to everything they say carefully and says he understands. When he had finished, the MC finished the talk with “Okay, you like Zaiki” and Yuki just melted into an awkward puddle in his seat.Which is actually quite rare for him, usually he seems 100% in control of everything. Something about Zaiki, I guess.
Shota: “I respect this about ○○”.
He chose Reo and said his liveliness is amazing. He said that he always messes around and interferes with things during the break but that he can suddenly switch and become an older-brother like senior. He said he thinks it’s really cool that he can do that.
Tono: “This thing is cool about ○○”.
He chose Kazuki. He said that Kazuki is always rehearsing until late, and that he practices even during their break time. He said he thinks it shows when he goes on stage and he thinks if they all did that they would all level up easily, so he thinks that’s really cool.
Jin: “This thing is interesting about ○○”.
He said that all the members of Yamabuki are interesting but he said in particular, the Jimis. He said in the dressing room they were always so high tension and excited and he thought it was amazing to see them, especially Naoya, to go from that to the way they are on stage so quickly. Tono agreed saying they’re not boring in real life but they become it when they step onto the stage.
The game was a challenge between the two doubles pairs to make Akutsu!Shota laugh. They had various methods of making him laugh in a box, and each pair would pick one out, have a little thinking time, and then had 20 seconds to use that method to make Shota laugh. Shota was supposed to be as Akutsu-like as possible and try not to laugh.
Before I go into the actual game, I have to mention what was going on during the “thinking time”. When the teams would pull their card out, they had time to go into the corner and think about what to do, and this left the others to talk while waiting. The first time, Yuki asked Shota to test out his Akutsu!face and when he did it, Yuki totally wasn’t satisfied. Both him and Koudai were like, “something is wrong” and Yuki suddenly realised, “it’s because his hair isn’t silver.” Shota replied. “Well if it’s about the hair then there’s not much I can do about it.”
The second time, Shota took it upon himself to try and keep us entertained. He was so awkward with it though and had no idea what to do so he just asked us if we had fun over the summer, to which everyone clapped. Luckily for him, at that point he was interrupted by Jin and Tono who had finished their thinking time.
By the third time, he was getting the hang of it and started taking about the Olympics but he was rudely interrupted by the guys finishing just after he’d asked us if we watched it, so he continued during the fourth time. He said his favourite event at the Olympics had been the relay. At this point, Koudai who was in the middle of thinking time with Yuki, suddenly said “I like Judo!” and everyone told him to be quiet and get on with what he was supposed to be doing.
(Some of these topics might be a little messed up, the reports I read to get the card choices vaired a lot for some reason, maybe from what people remembered, but what actually happened is accurate.)
Tono/Jin Team: Song parody
Tono went with a parody of Akutsu’s solo. In particular the first line “Ore no mae ni tatsu na” which he changed to “Ore no mae ni Fastener” (it rhymes in Japanese at least) complete with a zipper gesture. When Shota just stared at him with that Akutsu face (while the others, including Tono himself, were laughing) he said “Ore no mae ni pasta”. Shota still stared. Jin said through laughter, “Hey, the atmosphere is really delicate!” and Tono just said, “hey, I liked it though!” Actually though, Shota did end up laughing in the end but only because Tono was laughing at his own jokes. One point for Yamabuki!
Koudai/Yuki Team: Step
Yuki decided the best way of making Akutsu laugh with this was to do some weird aerobics steps to Yamabuki’s Team song. He was kind of hunched over and swinging his arms and legs around while looking up at Shota, who somehow managed to keep a straight face throughout the entire thing despite the fact that everyone around him was breaking down in laughter. Yuki was clearly getting super embarrassed by his failure and Koudai ordered him to throw away his embarrassment and kept picking fault in his routine. Akutsu was not amused. Zero points.
Tono/Jin Team: Stinky words
Jin took the spotlight this time and covered his face, walking up to Shota and complaining that he couldn’t find his smiling face. Shota did not react at all so he tried something else (which I and the other reports forgot too) and Shota did laugh at this. Apparently it was something they had already seen at the Team Lives… it was Koudai who said that so probably one he was the MC for.
Koudai/Yuki Team: Pantomime
Koudai: “I’m going to throw my embarrassment aside…”
He said, and then immediately launched into an impersonation of a gorilla. It took Shota less than a millisecond to break down in hysterical laughter which didn’t stop while the others kept talking.
Yamabuki guys: “That’s the first time I’ve seen him do something like that!”
Yuki: “Sometimes he does it in the dressing room.”
Koudai: “Everyone, please forget about the gorilla. It stays here.”
Tono/Jin Team: Make him laugh in your own way
They did some weird skit about sensei/senbei. I don’t remember anything other than that but Shota’s face did not change even a little bit, he wasn’t even on the verge of laughing. Failure for Yamabuki.
Koudai/Yuki Team: Tickle
“This we can do,” Koudai said, and Yuki wondered, “how should we attack him?” and then they just went for it, surrounding him and attacking him one from each side. Shota, who obviously hadn’t seen the card and had no idea what was coming, was shocked and then of course, started laughing as soon as they started with their tickle attack. I think they pulled the easiest option. What made it extra amusing though was that they were playing the background music from the Yamabuki musical in the room and just as everything went silent before their attack, Lucky Sengoku started playing.
Jin and Tono were the losing team, and had to face the batsu game. We all wondered what it was going to be when the MC gave Jin a pen and a postcard and asked him to sign it. We soon realised when he pressed the pen down on the paper and got a mini electric shock. Good trick! Tono then took the pen and looked somewhat nervous but they somehow managed to persuade him to press down more and he too got the shock. And that was it for the batsu game, leaving them both standing looking at their hands in bewilderment. Simple but effective.
This is where my flail starts to come out. Let me start by saying that this is technically not the first time I have “met” Kawakami Shota. There were numerous omiokuri chances at the Team Lives, and not only that, at the Yamabuki musical I won one of the handshake tickets and he was one of the people I handshaked. But I didn’t really see it as Shota. He was Akutsu at the time and particulary during the handshake I was more nervous about shaking hands with his character than thinking about who was underneath. The only time I’d seen him close as himself was when he was handing out the nametags at one of the Team Lives.
All that, and the fact that he’s recently become like the King of Oshis for me, meant that I was super nervous and excited to high touch with him, even though I knew from previous events that it would be really fast with no time to talk. When I was sitting in my seat after the event waiting for it, I was surprisingly calm but once I was standing up in line and could actually see him (and that he was first in the line) I felt like I was walking to my death. I was literally counting down the number of people in front of me as they went by him, and then finally I had handed my postcard to the staff and it was my turn to go by.
I reached up and touched his hand and looked at his face and I knew he was going to be super cool, and he really was, and his wide smile was kind of blinding and his “arigatou gozaimasu” was so cool sounding (his voice is just cool). The order after him was Yuma, Jin, Yuki and Koudai but I honestly don’t remember anything about any of them. There is only Shota in my memory. But guys, he was so cool and amazing looking and I am 100% in love (like I wasn’t before) and AHHHH HIS FACE. His everything. My heart was pounding so much and I was shaking for so long afterwards. I even got on a train going in the wrong direction when I got back from the station because I couldn’t focus on anything.
So, we’ve reached the end. As always, this was a really fun event, and I’m really glad I was able to attend. Next will be the release event for the Dream Live DVD in November, it seems!