Our stage greeting was set for 12:25, so yomimashou, britkit27, and I arrived at the theatre around 11:45 to get goods and avoid any problems that might cause us to be late. When we arrived, there was already a bit of a cluster by the elevator to our theatre, but they announced that the doors wouldn't be opening until 12:05, so we had plenty of time to check out the goods! The options at the theatre were the pamphlet, a pencilboard, a set of bookmarks, can-badge pins, and a ceramic mug. I sprung for the pencilboard, the bookmarks, and the pamphlet, though I sort of wish I'd gotten the mug. I'm not sure if there were other options that were sold out at the theatre we went to (which was way nicer than the really run down theatre we usually go to in Ikebukuro XD) or if that was it, but I assume they'll be sold at the NTV shop like previous movie goods have been (so maybe I'll get the mug later. XD)
Outside the escalator to the theatre they had a little Kamen Teacher display set it, which was pretty cool. There was a screen playing a slightly longer trailer than I'd seen in theatres on loop, and then a little case display which had printed scenes from the movie and drama in it, and also actual costume pieces from the drama. They had Araki's necklace, Kusanagi's necklace, and Kinzo's two bracelets, and it was really interesting to see them in person. My main impression was that they were huge. Johnny's never fail to be way bigger than I expect in real life, since I only ever see them around other Johnny's, who are also huge, so I have no scale. I'm 153 cm/between 5' and 5'1", so basically every Johnny's guy who's past puberty (even Chinen) is taller than me. XD; They also had Araki and Kusanagi's Kamen helmets, and it was nice to see them up close. According to the credits of the movie, they hired a special company just to custom make the helmets, so I was impressed.
(photos of the costume pieces courtesy of yomimashou!)
...but I digress. We were able to look at the display for a little while before the opened the escalator to our theatre, and we went up to the top floor to finally be let in. Our seats were split up, so I was by myself in the first row behind the center aisle, which basically gave me an ideal vantage point for being able to see everyone on the stage. I was slightly to the house left/stage right of center, but luckily for me, everyone I wanted to see was on my side anyway, and it really didn't matter because the theatre was so small and there were so few guys. The theatre sat about 400 people, so it was smaller than Crea, but because it was set up like a movie theatre and not a small stage theatre, it felt bigger than Crea. There were more aisles and more space in and between the seats, I think, than at Crea, but I felt like I was closer to the stage, so it was basically comparable. It was basically the size of your average large-ish movie theatre, at any rate, at least in my experience in the United States and Japan.
We all filed in and got in our seats before, around 12:20, the MC appeared. He asked everyone to take their seats, as the actors would soon be arriving. It seemed as if they were on a pretty tight schedule, going from theatre to theatre for a lot of greetings that day, so he asked us to get ready as soon as possible, and to take out our uchiwas and get excited (but to remember that this wasn't a concert and we couldn't stand up, etc). I'd say about 1/3 of the people there had brought uchiwas, but I didn't even have a relevant one to bring (I suppose I could have brought the 優 from Yugo for Kishi, but... XD) so I didn't. I did notice, however, that they had a camera set up, so there's the chance that this will be on the DVD. It was one of only two stage greetings that Kishi appeared in, so I'm guessing either that one or the earlier show at that location will get on the DVD. Watch out for the back of my head if it is! XD;
They started right on time at 12:20 and brought the guys in from a back room. They walked right onto the little stage that had been set up for the greeting in front of the screen, and lined up based on what I presume was a pre-determined order. The back row, standing on a riser, was, from house left to house right, Abe, then Kishi, then Sakuma, then Miyadate, and the front row, again from house left to house right, was Taiga, then Fuma, then Fujigaya in the center, than Tsukada, and then Jesse. As soon as they came in, I could see Fuma looking around the house, and I'm pretty sure he saw me, as I was basically in the perfect place to be seen, right behind the center aisle. Having been to the Sexy Zone handshake event, several Sexy Zone concerts from close-ish, and Johnny's World in the front row (where I know I made eye contact with Fuma), I'm beginning to wonder if he doesn't recognize me by now. I've heard that the guys will start to recognize their fans, Japanese and foreign alike, when they come pretty often, so... maybe? XD;
The MC asked the group to each greet the crowd, and Fujigaya went first, thanking people for spending money and taking the time to come see the movie. Next was Fuma, who was equally polite and cutely earnest, and then Jesse, who said in an incredibly deadpan voice, "I might not seem excited, but I'm actually more excited than Tsukada-kun." I think that this might be an overstatement however, because I'm not sure it's possible to be more excited than Tsukada. XD;;; Either way, it was really clear (as if it hadn't been already) that Jesse is super socially awkward from this stage greeting, and I really wonder why it was chosen for him to be a super pushed Junior, since he really is just painfully awkward at times, especially live, and especially when he's asked to talk/MC for anything. Up next was Tsukada, who'd gone blonde again for this! Or maybe just because he likes being blonde. XD But either way, it was a relief to see him blonde again! He announced himself as "Third Year Class C Kinpatsu-sensei!! ...'s actor, Tsukada Ryoichi!" XD;; It was adorable. He got really excited saying that even though his character wasn't related to the plot, he had so much fun with the drama and was really excited to have appeared in the movie. Fujigaya then started to tease him, saying "What? Unrelated?? Araki is always really inspired by Kinpatsu-sensei! How could you say he's not related??" I think he meant it to be teasing in a nice way, but it came out sort of awkward in my opinion? But Tsukada eventually agreed that he was indeed related and he was mistaken to say that he wasn't related to the plot. Fujigaya then told him, "just be quiet for two minutes!" so that they could move on to the next person.
Next up was Kishi, who clearly had not thought about what he wanted to say (despite having already done a stage greeting that day), and adorable sort of blundered a bit before they moved on to Taiga. I don't recall Taiga, Abe, Sakuma, or Miyadate saying anything particularly interesting, so I think they all just gave your average polite greeting.
Next, the MC asked Fujigaya what he had learned about his coworkers, to which he replied, "They're weirdos." The MC was surprised, and asked, "Weirdos??" because the word that Fujigaya used for weird is not necessarily the most... flattering? XD But Fujigaya replied, "They're really airheaded" (the word he used was tennen or 天然 which means natural or spontaneous and is usually used to describe people like Aiba Masaki from Arashi; I've also heard Taiga described this way fairly often). The MC asked for some examples, and Fujigaya said, "Well, they're all just really airheaded," and told a story about how, for the movie, he'd had costume bandages on once, and Tsukada had really earnestly asked him how he'd hurt himself and if he was okay. Tsukada pointed out that he wasn't really Fujigaya's kouhai and that they had been juniors at the same time, which segued into a discussion of KisuMai being friends with ABC-Z for a while. I was glad to hear them acknowledge it, but it felt really awkward since Fujigaya seemingly doesn't see them or spend time with them that much anymore, based on what he said.
When Fujigaya didn't have any more stories, Fuma offered a story about someone being airheaded, and prefaced it with "Well, I shouldn't really say this, but..." to which Fujigaya replied quickly, "If you shouldn't say it, then don't!" I wonder what Fujigaya thought Fuma was going to say, because Fuma replied, "just listen first, okay?" before starting into a story about Kishi. Apparently, in the Kamen Teacher script, "Kamen Teacher" is abbreviated as "KT" (so his lines look something like KT: Let's begin the extracurricular class). When the cast first met for a reading of the script, apparently, Kishi kept squinting at "KT" and asking "What's KT?" Fuma told him (possibly multiple times?) that it was Kamen Teacher, but he kept forgetting and finally was like "Oh I get it! It's [name of a costume designer who worked on the show whose initials happen to be KT]!!" Everyone was like "why would Araki go into the library and suddenly turn into a designer??" Kishi's response to this story was something like "Well... it was confusing... and I just couldn't remember what KT stood for..." XDD Kishi is so adorably stupid it almost hurts. I really don't understand the way his brain works, but man is it adorable. The whole time when other cast members were talking, the rest of the cast would sort of nod now and again to show they were listening, but Kishi just had on this face of intense concentration like he was trying his absolute hardest to understand every single word and nodding repeatedly, like a continuous nodding movement. It sort of looked like he was trying to understand another language... only, it was his native language. XD;; Poor Kishi. He's so cute.
The MC then asked if they had learned anything about Fujigaya, and Taiga chimed in with a story about being in the dressing room. Fujigaya apparently came in and Taiga and Fuma had been about to go over and say good morning when suddenly he whipped out a music player and put on music, which was apparently Electrical Parade, from Disneyland. Except, Taiga couldn't remember what the title of the song was, so he said "Electronical Parade," to which Fujigaya said there was no song with that title. Taiga then tried, "Electronic Parade," and Fujigaya said he was wrong again. Fuma then joined Taiga, saying that people must know the song, it's from Disneyland, and he and Taiga started to sing the music as if to remind people of what it sounded like and make them recognize the song. It was seriously adorable. XD; Apparently, Fuma and Taiga's reaction was like, "What's with this cute music??" but then added that Kishi had been dancing to it. Kishi replied, "You guys made me dance! Kyomoto-kun and Fuma-kun made me dance!" but Taiga and Fuma replied that actually, it had ben Fujigaya who made Kishi dance. Kishi was sort of like "...oh, right. Well, someone made me dance!" and Fujigaya responded that he had no memory of this. Kishi was really earnestly trying to get him remember it, being like "I danced! I tried really hard! I did my best!" It was seriously the cutest thing, and I was basically exploding from how cute Kishi is. But then Fujigaya was like, "He tells that story at every stage greeting and every time we have to act like it's the first time we've heard it! Please don't tell it next time." XD; Taiga replied that he wanted to show the audience that Fujigaya was cute, and Fujigaya said, "Shouldn't they already know that?? Are you saying they don't think that??" Taiga said he was sure the audience thought Fujigaya was cool, but he just wanted to show his cute side, and the story was hilarious, so whatever. XD;
The MC then asked if they wanted to ask Fujigaya anything, and Miyadate immediately raised his hand and said he had a question that everyone in the whole room was definitely wondering about. Fujigaya seemed skeptical of this and asked "Really? Everyone?" but Miyadate made a big deal about it being something everyone definitely had been thinking about before finally asking, "What did you dream about recently?" XD Fujigaya responded that he had recently had a dream about fighting with Tama over the same girl who was a fan. This elicited a few screams from the audience, but I really had to roll my eyes, because he clearly just made it up on the spot. I understand fan service, but I personally am really not a fan of that sort of pandering, but lots of people seemed to appreciate it. Fujigaya then asked Miyadate what he had dreamed about recently, and Miyadate replied that he'd recently had a dream that started while he was running. And then while he was running, he got shot with a gun and fell to the ground, and that was the end of the dream. Everyone said that was really weird and boring, but for some reason, this dream elicited the strangest laugh/shriek/I don't even know what from Jesse, and everyone turned to stare at him like "Who made that weird laugh?? What the heck was that??" XD; However, Fujigaya turned to the camera person and was like please cut this section, okay? XD;
Next up, Sakuma had a question for Fujigaya, and asked for his mail address (and yomimashou and I were wondering if this actually meant email address anymore or if people just exchange Line profiles, because... who uses email on their phone anymore?) Fujigaya said, "Isn't this something we should discuss backstage?" but Sakuma replied that it was too nerve-wracking to ask backstage. XD; Fujigaya then turned to the crowd and was like "Well, I really want to exchange addresses with everyone here!" ...cue screams from the other fans and groans from me. He jokingly said that they should just put their mail addresses after their names in the credits, to which the MC replied "...we can't do that."
Up next, they said they had time for a few audience questions. Naturally, a bunch of people raised their hands, and Fujigaya turned to the MC and asked if it was okay to pick. The MC said sure, so Fujigaya, instead of picking for himself, turned and said, "Kishi!" calling Kishi to the front and making him choose. Kishi looked around the audience with a (o u o) expression on his face as per usual, then announced suddenly, "The baby!" Apparently, he was pointing at a six-year-old boy, and everyone onstage was like "What?? That's not a baby! Babies can't even talk or ask questions!" But they finally asked the kid who his mom was a fan of, and it turned out to be Fujigaya. Then, they prompted Kishi to get him to ask a question, but instead, Kishi forgot what was going on and asked the kid a question instead. |D;;; Everyone on stage harassed him more for that, but finally, Kishi asked the boy what his name was (Ao, apparently; and then Fujigaya asked the mom what kanji she used for it and it turned into a whole discussion.) Every time the mom spoke, though, Kishi kept turning his hand mic to the audience, as if it would at all pick up what was being said or made a difference, until Fujigaya swatted at him and said, "you're not a TV announcer!" XD; Poor Kishi. He's so cute and airheaded... but luckily, it seems like he's never embarrassed of all the silly things he does. |D;;; The boy's question was how to get better at skating without being scared or discouraged when you fall down, and Fujigaya just sort of gave a pretty standard answer of "you have to keep trying~" and of course managed to work in how bad at skating Miyata is.
Since Kishi being a fail had taken way more time than expected, the MC said they only had time for one more question. Fujigaya asked if it was okay to pick again, and then made Kishi pick again. |D; Kishi's choice this time was "The person who's really, really far away!" When this was not clear enough, he struggled to describe his choice, like "she's wearing white... no, wait... she's wearing grey... she's sitting next to someone with a Fujigaya uchiwa... she has brown hair..." etc XD;; Finally they got the right person, who turned out to also be a Fujigaya fan, and so Fujigaya walked all the way to the back of the theatre to ask her her question. I wasn't on that side of the house, so he wasn't really close to me, but apparently this caused most of the people on yomimashou and britkit27's side of the theatre to freak out. She mentioned he'd said he wanted to do a movie and see how it was different from a drama, and asked him how it was different. He basically gave a really standard answer about how it was fancier and stuff.
At that point, Fujigaya made it back to the stage, and the MC announced that there was no more time, and that the guys had to go. He announced each of their names again, and they all waved at us and left the stage. It was short, but really fun and interesting! Also, at some point in the middle there, I happened to glance at Taiga and meet his eyes briefly before he looked away quickly (I think he was embarrassed to have been startled by a foreigner) and I also noticed Kishi giving me a (O A O) expression at one point, so... yes! I'm not the sort of fan who's obsessed with the guys knowing me or giving me specific attention, but I do like to fancy that they see me once in a while and feel good to know that they have foreign fans.
After the stage greeting was the movie itself. Surprisingly, a lot of fans left immediately, presumably because they 1) were going to another stage greeting, 2) had already seen the movie yesterday or 3) just didn't care? Or some combination of the three? It wasn't surprising that some people left, but I wasn't expecting the theatre to empty out to about 1/3 of capacity before the movie started.
All in all, I felt that the movie was the messiest of the three, but was at a consistent level of character development, in depth plot, empathetic characters and motivations, and general ability to engage me. I cried once during the movie, which is the same as the Bakaleya and Bad Boys J movies. It was also the longest of the three, which led me to believe that they just had too much plot in mind and not enough time to do it in. The transitions at the beginning were incredibly brisk and abrupt, and didn't feel natural or easy to follow at all, and I didn't think the first impression of the movie in the opening was as strong as in Bakaleya or Bad Boys J. They also just got sloppy on a lot of details; for example, the female villain wore high heels in her Kamen suit, but then the stunt double wore flat shoes, and it was clear that they were switching back and forth between cuts. It was pretty awful. XD;
On the good side, though, it held together all the things I loved about the series and didn't fall into any of the traps I was afraid of. The plot was easy to follow and, in my opinion, probably more deep/complex than the one from Bad Boys J. It was equally unbelievable to the series, but since that was the universe they set up, I was okay with it. I did feel like they dropped the ball a little bit in pandering towards Jesse and Fuma fans and forgetting altogether about M4 because they didn't have big name Johnny's as the actors, but they kept up the feel and relationships from before, and it was definitely just as slashable as the series, but in a way that didn't just feel like fanservice, but actual character development.
I was disappointed in the moral of the movie, however; while the series was so intently anti-violence against students, the movie dropped the ball a little. I don't want to divulge too many spoilers, but basically, the movie sort of asserts that if it's to level with a violent student, it's okay to hit that student. I understand that the movie was trying to show that the character in question saw each student as an individual and tried to engage each student in a way or on a level that that student would understand, but just because a student hits a teacher does not make it okay for that teacher to hit the student in my opinion. So while I realize that the movie was trying to encourage caring about students as individuals, I was really pretty disappointed in that one fact.
Other than that, I really did enjoy it quite a bit and I'm sure the person sitting next to me thought I was crazy based on my reactions of crying/gasping/face-palming, etc, but it was really fun to watch. I felt like Ichimura's character was handled really well and I really enjoyed her and Araki's friendship in the movie and the fact that it didn't get romantic (but if you wanted to ship them you could.) I was a little disappointed that Kinzo did so much character development off screen, but the movie was already too long as it was. I think they generally did a good job with continuity and tying off loose ends, and I really enjoyed watching it and am looking forward to seeing it at least twice more with the promotional tickets that I have!
That's all for now~ After I see the movie a few more times, I'm going to write a full summary, but especially with how much the beginning jumped around and how much longer the movie was than earlier movies, I don't think I can do that now. So... sorry! Please wait a few more weeks, and then I'll be back with a full plot summary~
In the meanwhile, has anyone else on my flist seen the movie? What did you think? I'd love to discuss!