There have been a lot of ambitious musical theater performances over the years, but I’m hard-pressed to think of one quite as ambitious as the live musical adaptation of the classic ultra-violent manga and anime "Fist of the North Star." Granted it’s been a while since I watched it, but my memories tend to be more of people’s heads exploding in fountains of blood than musical numbers.
Nevertheless, someone decided to take up the ultimate challenge of making this gritty post-apocalyptic martial arts series into an emotionally charged tapestry of music, dance, and acting.
The play, which in Japan goes by the approximate English title of "Fist of the North Star" rather than the manga’s original Japanese title of "Hokuto No Ken," actually premiered last December. Due to the lingering effects of the pandemic, it wasn’t very easy to get out to the theater back then, but that luckily gave the actors and producers time to work out the kinks and create an even stronger performance.
To show it off, they’ve released a new long-version trailer for the musical. Let’s take a look.
This video was released as a lead-up to "Fist of the North Star‘s" return engagement at Tokyo’s Bunkamura Orchard Hall from Sept 25 to 30 as well as a string of shows at Fukuoka’s Canal City Theater from Oct 7-10. Also, on Sept 27, there’ll be a special talk with five of the stars, Yusuke Onuki (Kenshiro), Kanata Irei (Juza), Takuya Uehara (Shin), Yohei Isshiki (young Raoh), and Hiroki Hyakuna (young Toki).
The talk can be viewed both in person at the eplus Living Room Cafe & Dining in Shibuya, Tokyo, or streamed on the internet, and will feature the cast members sharing behind-the-scenes stories about putting together "Fist of the North Star." Normally, I’m not that interested in hearing about how actors prepare for roles, with the one exception of preparing for roles in a musical version of "First of the North Star." In that case, you have my undivided attention, because how the hell do you prepare for something like that?
"Fist of the North Star" is directed by Sachiko Ishimaru, who wrote the live stage musical for "Galaxy Express 999," and was written by Ako Takahashi, who worked on localized versions of theater classics "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" and "Hairspray." The music was written by Frank Wildhorn who, among several Broadway credits, also penned the Whitney Houston hit “Where Do Broken Hearts Go.”
So, it could be good? It’s just too hard to imagine though, so let’s see another montage of moments from the stage show.
I will give Yusuke Onuki credit. It’s got to be hard singing like that while jump-kicking hordes of road warriors, but I still just don’t know… I think the biggest problem is that I’ve yet to see anyone’s head explode. They don’t have to spray the stage down with fake blood or anything. If the character just falls off stage and a red light signifies the head explosion, I could buy into that at least.
Still, I just hope this does work out because it’s such a far-out idea, and I like the fact that they attempted it. The only way to know for sure is to check it out when "Fist of the North Star" rolls into a theater near you.
"Fist of the North Star" / フィスト・オブ・ノーススター～北斗の拳～
Bankamura Orchard Hall
Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Dogenzaka 2-24-1
Canal City Theater
Fukuoka-shi, Hakata-ku, Sumiyoshi 1-2-1, Canal City Hakata North Bldg. 4F
"Fist of the North Star" More After Talk / フィスト・オブ・ノーススター～北斗の拳～Mottoアフタートーク
eplus Living Room Cafe & Dining
Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Dogenza 2-29-5, Shibuya Prime 5F
東京都渋谷区道玄坂2丁目29-5 渋谷プライム 5F
5:45 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., September 27
Admission: 2,000 yen live, 1,500 yen online (online show will be archived until September 30)
Source: PR Times
Insert images: PR Times
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