From November 30th to December 3rd 2017, I stayed in Tokyo to watch all five shows of Bancho Boys 10th stage, Crows Zero. This was the second Bancho Boys stage I’ve watched all the shows of, and although this was a completely different experience to the randomness of Amaku wa nai ze 2, I can still say that I enjoyed each and every show, even though the content was a lot more rigid than their other stages I’ve seen.
Please note that this review does contain spoilers. If you have seen the movie then the plot is the same and so reading won’t spoil anything, but if you haven’t then I suggest you don’t read on unless you don’t mind about being spoiled about the plot.
Back in June this year, I spent most of the month travelling back and forth to Tokyo for the release events for Gingadan’s first single Galaxy Cluster. Despite being tiring at times, and very expensive, it was one of the happiest months of the year for me. I got to meet the members I love many times, hear songs I really liked, and met so many great fans. So when I found out that I’d be able to do it all over again for their second single Galaxy Cluster 2 I couldn’t help but have a lot of positive expectations, if not a lot of time and money worries.
I wished I had documented the June release events properly away from Twitter, so I decided to make the effort this time and report on each event individually and compile them into one post. It took me a while to compile everything and be happy with it, but I’ve finally managed to put together what I think is a good reflection of my experience.
On Saturday July 1st, I went to DRESS_No. and Gingadan’s joint release event at Tamaplaza Terrace in Kanagawa. It was my first time in a while seeing DRESS_No. (but definitely not first time in a while for Gingadan since I’d seen them almost every weekend for the past month).
I arrived at the stage area at the mall at around 10am when the mall opened. There were a few fans standing around but when the staff arrived they told us not to stand in front of the stage because they had to put up tents. They put two tents up with seating underneath, since it was due to rain that day. Some people really wanted the tent to be closer to the stage because there was quite a gap, but the staff were really good and wanted it that way because if the tent was too close to the stage, people wouldn’t be able to watch from the second floor. Luckily once the tents were up we were allowed to claim a seat, which is always important when you arrive early for these kinds of events because it means you can finally put down your stuff and leave and not have to hang around until the event starts. I used the opportunity to go and get food, and came back in time for the event.
This was the second of these lives that they have done, and was arranged by Dress_No, who also invited other acts to perform. One of the acts they invited this time was Gingadan, and it was that which finalised that I definitely wanted to go.
The space was a little bit of a mess (which I imagine is normal) and in the beginning I could not work out where the goods line was because they were being sold upstairs but the line started downstairs with no indication of what the line was (I thought it was the bathroom line until I saw people with their money). Unfortunately thanks to me being too relaxed and not rushing to get in line, Dress_No’s cheki tickets all sold out before I could get to the front of the line, meaning I was unable to get a picture with Kazuma. While I was disappointed, I did of course manage to pre-order my Gingadan CD which would get me a handshake with each of them and that definitely made up for it.
On Saturday February 25th I took a quick visit to Tokyo to go and watch the Bancho Boys 1st Live. I bought the tickets spontaneously after I fell head-over-heels in love with Yasui Kazuma. I didn’t even hesitate on buying the tickets and the ride to Tokyo, because I knew I wouldn’t regret it. I was particularly drawn to his group Dress_No. being special guests, because I knew it would mean more focus on him. If not only for him, there was also Akira (my second favourite from the Ensemble Stars stage), Nozaki Yutaka (also from Ensemble Stars), and my current favourites from Tenimyu, Futaba Kaname and Yashiro Takuya. With all of that, how could I resist? I apologise that this report is a little Kazuma-biased but obviously I was watching him most of the time.
On September 17th, I took an early bus into Tokyo to attend Nakao Kenya’s First Fan Event. Looking at the venue details online before I left, the details stated that it had a “homely atmosphere” perfect for talk shows. It made me wonder what the place would be like, and there were three interesting things I noticed when I entered.
- At the door, we had to remove our shoes and they supplied slippers for us to wear in the room.
- There were only four rows of seats, with about 18 seats in each. It meant the room was quite wide, but it didn’t prevent a good view.
- The venue was called “The Kitchen” and there was an actual kitchen on the side of the staging area, and several roll out counter tops. I’m guessing the venue is used a lot as a studio for cooking shows, but it was an interesting feature.
The show began with Sagawa Daiki (St. Rudolph’s Nomura), who was the MC for the event, entering the room. He introduced himself, and then finally he had us shout Kenya’s name, and he entered too. Kenya came into the room in complete silence, got to the front, and promptly said, “ah, I forgot to shout in excitement on my way in.” Typical Nakao Kenya failure.
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.