(A complete fangirl report can be found on my Livejournal. The link will be given to those who ask for it.)
A few weeks ago I experienced the most amazing dancing show, that is PLAYZONE. For those of you who are not familiar with it, it’s one of the stage shows that are set up by idols from Johnny’s Entertainment every year. This year, like the previous two years, Imai Tsubasa (one half of Tackey & Tsubasa) led the show – this time with Nakayama Yuma by his side. I went to see the show on August 2, and it was buckets of luck more than anything else that finally let me see it against all odds! And you can probably guess how happy I am about that! Now PLAYZONE is over for this time, but I hope for a new show next year, and then I definitely plan to go again!
My seat was on the second row to the far left on the balcony, so I was a bit worried before I got to the theatre. But it turned out I had a perfect view, even though I was far away from the stage and everything that was going on in the audience on the first floor. Just before the show started, people suddenly started screaming and turning towards the back. I saw a small group of people walking along the isle just beneath the edge of the balcony, one of them held a big camera, so I realized there was someone special watching the show that evening. I couldn’t see who it was, but later during the show I got to know – and see – him: it was Tackey! Yeah, the other half of Tackey & Tsubasa. Both of my favourites were there, I couldn’t have been luckier than that!
The show started with a beautiful space travel in 3D on the movie screen, and when the movie ended ROAD TO PLAYZONE started and all the dancers were lowered onto the stage from the ceiling. They were dressed in something that reminded of spacetravel suits. To get to see Tsubasa and Yuma dance together on the same stage was enough for me as it was, but ROAD TO PLAYZONE is seriously one of the best songs they could have chosen to open the show with!
Then there was one great act after the other – first some guys were singing in a stair and the lighting was so beautiful, then some other guys performed a combined dance act and getting-dressed act, with sparkly jackets being the last thing they put on. The whole act was so well put together that I just sat there with my jaw dropped! And then on the movie screen in the background, a cartoon landscape was rolling and the seasons were changing while small groups of the cast took turns in dancing across the stage. At the end of the song there was a strong snow storm so that everyone (dressed in the spring outfit) were blown onto the stage in the middle of winter… In one act, Yara and four others were standing in a row in spotlights while singing, in another there were guys standing by mic stands and the stands changed colors when the guys switched places, in yet another act they were going around on rollerblades. There was also a 4U skit (and I personally find them very funny).
Some of my favorite acts were in the first part of the show. One of them was Happy Days with Yuma and Travis Japan! In the middle of the stage was a big box that Yuma came out of, and surrounding it were many smaller boxes for Travis Japan. The song is so amazing, and they were all so cute, and the boxes changed colour depending on who was standing/dancing on them. As I said, one of my favourite songs! Another favorite was Tsubasa’s first solo – Hikari! He was standing all alone on a platform, high above the rest of the guys who were dancing around him. And he had this spotlight on him of course, and his moves were incredibly perfect and amazing, as always! After maybe half of the song the platform was lowered to floor level, and he danced together with the others in different formations. One of the best parts of the song was when they put out all the lights on the stage, and then they had really quick spotlights on one small group at a time, and during the few seconds they had they did backflips and stuff.
The last act before the 30 minute break was March! which is another of my favourites. It’s just so awesome! There’s something special about the army, right? Tsubasa and Yuma led the troups, wearing different-looking uniforms. What fascinated me was how they all seemed to just float across the stage while marching! It looked awesome. In the end they all lined up on top of the stage (they had created a stair that decended in both directions) with their backs towards the audience. The letters on the backs of the jackets formed the words UNITY LOVE PEACE, and between the words stood Yuma (between UNITY and LOVE) and then Tsubasa (between LOVE and PEACE), and they were facing the audience and had spotlights on them, to divide the words clearly.
The second act started very suddenly, with a BANG! And I jumped even though I was kind of prepared for it. It was Yuma’s sushi song! Sushi kui ne! So funny! He and some of the others came in dressed as kitchen staff in white and blue clothes, and in the background was this machine that kind of looked like a one-armed bandit or something? But with pictures of different kinds of food that were spinning round and round. Then Yara also came onto the stage with a group of guys, and Yuma and Yara had their own little dance in the middle of the stage, they were so funny!
There were a lot of great acts in the second part of the show as well – 4U bringing motorcycles onto the stage, an act where Tsubasa was sitting on a bed at the beginning and on the wall behind him were posters of Tackey & Tsubasa, a disco act… To mention some of my favorites I can say:
DIAMOND! 4U came into the room through the doors on the sides and walked slowly towards the stage, and here and there they stopped to stare at people in the audience. Even I who was only looking from the balcony thought it felt kind of scary when they were staring like that! When they reached the stage, the spinning diamond appeared on the movie screen behind them – at the same time as Tsubasa appeared in his black and red clothes. I can’t describe how awesome I think this song is. It’s just so unbelievable awesome. So perfect for Tsubasa. So sharp.
Seishun amigo which I didn’t recognize when I read the song list because of my poor kanji knowledge. I love this song so much, it’s the ending theme song for the dorama Nobuta wo Produce that I watched with my family before I moved to Japan. It’s an amazing dorama, and it means a lot more to me than it just being a great story. Back to PLAYZONE! Yuma and another guy performed this song, wearing futuristic red and blue clothes, fighting a group of camouflage-dressed guys (and won, of course).
Guys PLAYZONE, which is just an awesome act of awesomeness! They wore such nice gray clothes, and at first they climbed around in a steel cage, but then all of them got out on the floor instead to dance. I both love and hate this song, because it is soooo amazing and wonderful, but at the same time it’s the final song of the show, and it’s so sad when a show ends! Anyway, I enjoyed every second of it!
The funniest part of the show was Tsuba-nyan! Tsubasa, dressed as a black and white cat, entered the stage on a small tricycle. Another guy was also dressed as a cat, and they started fighting after Tsuba-nyan had asked Takiranger for strength (and received an echoing “TSUBASA!!!” from Tackey…). Tsuba-nyan pulled the tail off the other cat, but then he put it back again, and they left the stage. And at the end of the show, when everyone was thanking the audience, Tsubasa told Tackey to join him on the stage – yay! They talked a little, I don’t really remember what they talked about, but I think they mentioned their new album and perhaps the anniversary events as well.
I’m not sure how I should sum up PLAYZONE ’12. Fantastic, wonderful, funny, sexy… I thought this year’s show was soooo amazing, there were so many songs that I loved, so many acts that were incredibly beautiful, so many songs that I laughed at because they were so entertaining… And there were so many moments when I just sat there thinking “this is actually happening for real, I am actually watching Tsubasa and Yuma and Yara dancing, down there, for real”, and then I felt my heart racing while I tried to see everything that was going on on the stage at the same time… This emotional rollercoaster that I’ve been going through – from “oh, I will be in Tokyo during PLAYZONE!” to “oh no, I can’t get a ticket in time!” to “maybe I will still get some chance to go?” to “I HAVE SEEN PLAYZONE!!” – I really hope that I won’t have to endure something similar again!