AKB49 Manga ~Ren’ai Kinshi Jourei~ Comes Alive With the Help of AKB48!
The musical for “AKB49 ~ Ren’ai Kinshi Jourei~” opens September 11 and it is a must-see for fans of AKB48!
The only reason that anyone should delay in going to go see the AKB49 musical is if they haven’t read the first 5 volumes of the manga yet, because if you do, it will only make the experience that much better. Also, make sure to buy a container of Jagariko before you go and keep it in your bag for later. If you read the manga, you will understand this reference. Feel free to bring your cyalume but do not be mistaken, just because this musical has AKB48 members, does not mean that you can be waving them the entire time. When the right time comes, you will know.
For the role of Minoru Urayama/Minori Urakawa, Sae Miyazawa said that she cut her already short hair an extra 10 cm, which is probably the shortest it has ever been. Known for being one of the “boyish” characters of the 48 groups, there was no question as to who was going to get this role as soon as the musical was announced. Even then, Miyazawa showed impressive stamina and range, running up and down the stairs of the two-story stage, switching between her two characters, singing, and dancing for almost the entire show.
Mako Kojima and Nana Owada, two rising stars in AKB48, showed why they have been getting pushed lately with their delicate portrayal of Minoru’s love interest/Minori’s fellow kenkyuusei Hiroko Yoshinaga.
Akari Suda as Minori’s rival, the “super kenkyuusei” Ai Okabe, was surprising because the character is a polar opposite to her normal personality. The girl, who is said to make anyone like her after they meet her at a handshake event, seemed to flip a switch as soon as she appeared on stage. It was a whole other side to “Akarin” which fans of hers should look forward to seeing, because it will make them fall in love with her even more!
Kaori Matsumura and Marika Tani from SKE48 were hilarious, playing multiple roles between scenes: otaku telling the audience what they could not do during the performance, Minoru’s male classmates, cleaning ladies, and even AKB48 members.
Veteran actor Youjin Hino was amazing as he switched between playing Minoru and Hiroko’s homeroom teacher and AKB48 theater manager Tomonobu Togasaki. There was even a scene where he walked through the audience as the teacher, appeared as Togasaki on the stage, and a doctor within the span of 3 minutes. During the Q & A before the musical started, Hino remarked that he became an AKB48 fan after working with the members, and that there were times that their performances moved him to tears. Suda’s response “What? I thought you were just MY fan!” showed the camaraderie among the cast members and it was evident in the chemistry on stage.
While there were differences from the manga and the musical adaptation (many of the characters in the manga are no longer in the group), “AKB49 ~ Ren’ai Kinshi Jourei~” is a well-put together production that should warm the hearts of any AKB48 fans out there. Most important is that the musical has the one very important thing that the manga will never have, THE MUSIC! The songs performed are a great mix of AKB48 singles and stage songs. If you only see one musical this fall, make it “AKB49 ~ Ren’ai Kinshi Jourei~”!
(*After writing this review, we discovered that tickets for all 6 days have already been sold out. Sorry.)
Songs Included in the Musical
Mini Skirt no Yosei
Boku wa Ganbaru
Yokaze no Shiwaza
Scandalous ni Ikou
Yuuhi wo Miteiruka?
Mushi no Ballad
Kagami no Naka no Jeanne D’arc
Boku no Sakura
Kimi wa Pegasus
Written by Okkun
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