GACKT’s Butai: MoonSaga II ~ Yoshitsune Hiden ~ Tokyo, August 16 2014

GACKT’s MOON SAGA-義経秘伝-第二章, 16 August 2014, Meijiza Theatre.

Warnings: This post contains spoilers (duh, a la Honest Trailer). Also, typed on the phone while riding the train.

The first thing that surprised me was the different presentation, theatre-wise than the previous one. There was no outer billboard-like poster like there was on the Akasaka Theater. As a matter of fact the Meijiza Theatre seemed to have no MoonSaga poster display at all.

The goods were accessible on one side, for whomever wanted to purchase them, and the ticket holders could access the area through another gate. Once we had acquired goods with next to no wait thanks to this more relaxed system, we headed off to our seats on the upper floor. This time I was much more prepared too, and had brought opera glasses to spy the stage.

This time GACKT himself gets more stage time, which is good because the cast is weaker in my opinion. The visual effects are not as spectacular either. The play opens with Yoshitsune, looking very sad and depressed, throwing stones to a random body of water as Kage (the mononoke from the previous play) speaks off-stage, apologising for dying.

In this moment of depression he encounters an enemy general who seems to be pretty laid-back. A meeting is arranged and then everybody seems to become friends.

This time around, Yoshitsune’s troop is made up by Saburo, the one with healing powers, Hiyori, the mononoke child from the first part, now all grown up. We also have the two brothers whose names I don’t remember and Benkei.

The non-enemy-anymore party is composed by a warlord, the two generals (I’m being very inventive with titles here to improve understanding), the guy we met before and a woman called Nori, who has two pet(ish) monkey-like mononoke who adore her.

So everybody is friends and yay and the witch is still planning Yoshitsune’s downfall with the help of the mean demon who killed Kage when tragedy ensues in the shape of a misunderstanding.

Nori tells the mononoke that evil must be eradicated and he seems to decide that the way to do this is by killing Yoshitsune, who has been the enemy and thus must be evil, right? Thus off he goes to kill our hero, meets one of the brothers, kills him off, much drama ensues as Saburo can’t heal the brother and he dies.

By now all bets are off on who is actually going to survive this play. Nori gets possessed by the evil spirit, kills the warlord, tons of fights and choreographed sword dancing happen.

The demon inside Nori kills Hiyori, which manages to release Yoshitsune’s evilness and an epic fight ensues. This was done with a variation of the Chinese shadows technique: the scene went black and guys wearing black clothes covered by glowing sticks mimicked the fight. It looked pretty awesome after the first wtf moment.

Eventually he kills her and there is a lot of angst and apologies. The main act closed with the witch’s threat: “Yoshitsune, hell begins now.” Now the play is over, everyone salutes and we get the featurette as we did in the first one – Nori ranting at Yoshitsune, him apologising and the promise “we will meet again”. Everybody dead or alive comes onstage and we have another drinking party.

Impressions, in no particular order:

  • Hiyori’s only mission in the play is to die so Yoshitsune’s powers awaken. She only speaks two words as she is killed “Yoshitsune, arigatou”. Don’t really understand the hype about casting her and having two actresses for the same role.
  • The play follows somewhat the lines of the first one. Yoshitsune wants peace and not to be a demon, something tragic happens, lots of people die, then there is a reunion like featurette. It made me feel that the first MoonSaga had been thought as a stand-alone and not with the continuation in mind
  • Pretty much sure that there will be at least a third part
  • General cast and play was weaker than the previous one
  • There was Sakura, chiru and that was awesome.
  • GACK had hurt himself, and when he “landed” from flying he often had to double step. After bowing to the audience he did limp going out of stage
  • The fact that I find it weaker does in no way mean that it is bad. But after the first one, it was difficult to write anything up to the challenge.
  • I purchased the novel. Could not help it…

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About Sakaki Delijah

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