It's totally a blast from the past-- before I was into Johnny's, I was into Japanese small theatre and anime musicals, and I was a huge fan of *pnish*. I loved their honkouen-- in fact, I'd go so far as to say the stories of their stageplays formed the basis of my creating AUs once I got into Johnny's. And Samurai Mode was definitely one of my favorites, but never something I thought I'd get to see live, since up until... well, now, they've never done saien of their honkouen (though they have redone them as produce... but of course, it loses some charm when the members aren't all playing their original characters). So naturally, I was excited when I heard Samurai Mode was playing again... but since it's no longer part of my main fandom, it sort of slipped my mind after yomimashou secured our tickets.
But once the show started yesterday, I was drawn in from the very beginning. The story was just as engaging as ever (and made so much more sense than most Johnny's stageplays... lol), and the acting was even better than the first time. When I heard about the cast I was (obviously) sad that Sano Mizuki wasn't back in his original role was Hanyu Ryomei, but the guy they had this time (Sato Hisanori, who was also in the Prince of Tennis musical franchise) was both the right age for the role and a better actor than Mizuki. The other guests were quite good too, but to me, the shining star of the guest cast was the Sakiyama Tsubasa, who played Namikiyo. I never really liked Namikiyo as a character in the original Samurai Mode, since he was sort of whiny and ineffectual, but seeing Namikiyo this round, I was totally a fan! He was bright eyed and bushy tailed and still a huge fanboy of Saiga but without being pathetic, and I really, really enjoyed him.
And of course, *pnish* were great as ever. I'm not really a huge fan of Tuti's character Garakusha or Eiji's character Tachibana, but their acting was great, and I enjoyed the characters for what they were. But oh my goodness, Wasshi's character Shisui and Daiki's character Saiga (* A *) Saiga is my third favorite *pnish* character of all time (anyone remember who 1 and 2 were? XD), and Daiki didn't disappoint me this time around. Seeing him live was surreal, and every second of it was wonderful. Seeing all of the little things when Saiga wasn't the main point of attention and therefore that didn't get on the DVD was really great, and I feel so lucky that I was able to see him live after thinking it was impossible for so many years. And Wasshi, ugh. Just that morning, I had been joking to yomimashou that I'd loved him as my favorite member despite that he was ugly, but seeing him live again, I was right back to my opinion in 2010... he was so cool. I was majorly starry-eyed (or "kyun'd" as I usually jokingly say in reference to Johnny's XD), and his acting was, as usual, flawless. I maintain my point from 6 years ago that Saiga and Shisui deserved more stage time... and of course, their love remained beautiful, and even better seen live, since many of the little glances that they share and knowing looks that pass between them didn't make it onto the DVD.
There were some changes from the original that I didn't feel super thrilled about; I love the original costumes, so the fact that the new version was set in the future with futuristic samurai-themed costumes rather that stylized kimono and hakama was pretty meh to me, but on the other hand, I fully support that they wanted to reboot the show and make it fresh rather than redoing it exactly as they had. Still, especially Saiga's costume, and the complete lack of hakama on everyone, was sad. But all in all, I really loved this show, and I honestly wish I'd been able to see it again. I even bought Wasshi's photoset, I was so giddy and starry-eyed after the show, which I don't regret, but was definitely a throwback. XD I'm also really looking forward to the DVD! I want to watch the show again already!
I know I'm really behind in stuff, but I needed to get all my nostalgic feelings out, ahaha ^^;;; And seriously, if you're into theatre and in Japan, I definitely recommend *pnish*'s works!