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[Stageplay] RONINGAI (Karasawa Toshiaki, Matsu Takako, etc)

Talk about the culture and entertainment from Nihon.
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[Stageplay] RONINGAI (Karasawa Toshiaki, Matsu Takako, etc)

Post by yanie » Oct 11th, '07, 12:18

RONINGAI
~The Street of Masterless Samurai~


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Roningai is a novel written by Itaro Yamagami in the 1920s. It has been adapted to movie adaptations several times since then, and the latest movie adaptation was being produced in 1990, starring Harada Yoshio, Higuchi Kanako, and Ishibashi Renji, with the same title.

The very latest adaptation of RONINGAI was a stage play in May-June 2004, starring Karasawa Toshiaki, Matsu Takako, Nakamura Shido, Ihara Tsuyoshi, Tanaka Misato, and Narimiya Hiroki.

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The stageplay was released as DVD in the end of 2004. And I just watched this DVD. I have to say that this stageplay production is MAGNIFICENT!!! The storyplot itself is quite captivating. Not to mention the actors and actresses' superb actings!

Actually the story might not be that great, but I was drawn with the well-built characters and also the unbelievable long-fighting scenes as the climax of this stageplay! RONINGAI is a story that emphasize on swordplays, and I must say the staffs and casts did such a wonderful job with those swordplay climax scenes!

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Set in the end of 19th century, where the Meiji Restoration just started, the hero, Aramaki Gennai (Karasawa Toshiaki) does not act so much like a "hero". He's a drunkard ronin (masterless samurai) who loves to lazy around in the house all day, and depend on his girlfriend for money. He doesn't care at all about anything or what happen in the world. Rumours has it that he has an unbelievably excellent skill of swordplay, but no one has ever seen him demonstrating it.

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Oshin (Matsu Takako) is Aramaki's girlfriend... or maybe, rather than a girlfriend, like how Aramaki himself, always says, "Ore no onna(my woman)..." ... she's Aramaki's woman. Oshin is a frivolous girl who works in the "Iroha" drinking bar at Edo, owned by her uncle, with pickpocket as a side-job. Oshin is a boy-ish type of girl, she's stubborn, likes challenges and very bold to face danger. She met with Aramaki some years ago and now she supply money for Aramaki. Though Aramaki clearly takes advantage of her, Oshin cannot make herself separate with Aramaki, coz she loves him deeply. She also knows Aramaki had been playing around in the brothel with other women... but it doesn't change her feelings for him. She had try to shoot Aramaki with pistol twice, but she always lost to Aramaki's sweet talks. Oshin is the only person who had seen Aramaki's true sword-fighting skill.

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Another ronin who likes to hangout at Iroha, is Akaushi (Nakamura Shido), or known simply as Ushi(Bull). Akaushi is a good friend of Oshin and protects her from any samurai who tries to bother her. Hence, he doesn't like Aramaki coz he thinks Aramaki is only taking advantage of her. The first time he met Aramaki in the drinking bar, they had a sword fight to prove who is stronger. But Aramaki didn't really show his true skill here and underestimated him. Indeed, Aramaki won the fight. But after the fight, they become friends.

There's also Hori Gonbee (Ihara Tsuyoshi), a well-known and respected ronin in the neighbourhood. And he is hopelessly in love with Oshin. Oshin's uncle tries to persuade Oshin to marry Gonbee, but Oshin refused firmly because she loves Aramaki only. Gonbee finally learn about this, and choose to step back and decided to go to Kyoto.

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However, lately, there had been continuous murder nights at Iroha's neighbourhood. A mysterious group of samurai slaughtered some prostitutes visciously. Not only prostitutes, but also the town's officials. The peak was when Oshin's uncle got slaughtered too. Aramaki didn't look surprise and care at all about it, and it hurts Oshin. Aramaki thinks what happen to strangers are none of his business. Oshin tries to confirm that is she a stranger to him? And Aramaki said that she is obviously a stranger to him, and that all people in this world are strangers to each other. Oshin tells him that he is not a human at all, because a human is someone who can die for the person they love and she, too, can die for him. But Aramaki stated that it's silly and says that he'll never die for her.

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Meanwhile, Ushi found the mysterious group of samurai and sold his soul to them. He became their companion. Oshin tried to take revenge of her uncle, and she was surprised to see Ushi is on their side. Ushi told the leader of the group, that if they can arrest Oshin, Aramaki might come to save her...and that he'll be famous if he can defeat Aramaki. So they captured Oshin.

Aramaki heard about the news from Oshin's cousin, but he acted like he doesn't care. He knows that group and he said that it's impossible to win. So he thinks he better not danger his own life just for Oshin.
But after a talk with a brothel's prostitute and a fight with a samurai on the street. He started to wonder why is there only Oshin in his eyes right now. And he wonder if its only him too, in Oshin's eyes. He finally decided to rescue Oshin.

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Aramaki comes to the mysterious group's headquarter and fight with 100 samurai-s there. Not long after, Gonbee comes to help him too. The focus turn to Gonbee's solo fight with about 50 samurai-s. Then, turns to Aramaki's solo with the rest. It was quite intensed, coz Aramaki is also being poured by barrels of oil, that makes him hard to move and keep slipping down. Those samurai-s about to throw fire torches to him, but he managed to escape that.

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Suddenly, Ushi comes to the middle of the fight, and to everyone's surprise, he's slashing the samurai-s instead and fight for Aramaki's side.
The three ronin-s fight the 100 samurai-s for awhile, then Aramaki made it to the top to cut off the ropes that tied Oshin. Oshin is so happy to see Aramaki, and they're kissing and hugging each other. This is a funny scene! Coz the whole stage stopped their moves to look at them kissing, lol! Until Ushi finally let out a voice, "KORRRAAA~~!!!! You can do that slowly, LATER!!!!" ...haha!

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Ushi said they can trust those samurai-s to him, and they better escape from there. Aramaki is surprised coz that means suicide. Ushi, indeed, mean to die with the enemies in this fight. Aramaki, Oshin and Gonbee escaped from the place, leaving the fight to Ushi. And after a tough fight to the last drop of blood, he died along with the 100 samurai-s.

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The ending scene is Aramaki and Oshin saying goodbye to Gonbee who's going to Kyoto. When he's gone, Oshin is laughing and turn out she managed to snatch Gonbee's money pouch^^ Then, it's a happy ending for Aramaki and Oshin ^_^

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The curtain's closed and when all of the casts gathered at the stage, Karasawa Toshiaki was about to start a speech. But from the audience some girls screamed, "Narimiya-kuuun~~!". Karasawa jokingly acts offended and screamed to them, "Oyy~!!! Come to the stage if you dare!!". Narimiya was grinning and lower his head to Karasawa over and over, like apologizing for his fans.
The whole audience laugh and this time some screamed, "Karasawa-saaan~~!!". LOL! Karasawa said, "Shouganai naaa(oh well, alright)..."... then he posed a cool pose :hehe: This man is as hillarious as always!! I wonder if his wife (Yamaguchi Tomoko) watch this play ^v^

Now, I'd really love to see the widescreen movie version with the same casts!!! I think only Karasawa Toshiaki can play the role as the drunkard and ignorant ronin who loves to joke around, Aramaki Gennai. Matsu Takako was superb as Oshin too... totally different than her "lady from the royal family" image. She acts exactly like a rough woman grown in inaka (the village).
Nakamura Shido (FYI, Matsu's cousin), was great as Ushi! I think his real personality resembles Ushi too. During the closing speech, Nakamura Shido really can't stay still, and Matsu had to hold his arm to make him stand still...haha~

In the interview, they said they were having so much fun. And the director suggested, "Then let's do it again someday!". I really hope that's true! And in a wide-screen movie version^^

I made a music video of this Roningai play, slides of screencaps and about 3 short video clips joined inside. Doozo, go-yukkuri...^^

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Size: 71 MB
Duration: 5 mins 11 secs
Link:
MU http://www.megaupload.com/?d=8RNIQCAY
MF http://www.mediafire.com/?7bu1bl8112s
Last edited by yanie on May 31st, '09, 16:30, edited 3 times in total.

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groink
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Post by groink » Oct 11th, '07, 19:31

Karasawa Toshiaki is good in stage plays. I saw him live, along with Sakai Noriko when they did a Broadway-like version of "Big" in Japan.

--- groink

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Post by Corona » Oct 11th, '07, 20:12

Looks interesting ^^ Thanks for your review/report! :)

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Post by yanie » Oct 12th, '07, 10:06

groink wrote:Karasawa Toshiaki is good in stage plays. I saw him live, along with Sakai Noriko when they did a Broadway-like version of "Big" in Japan.
Yeah, he is. This year, he's acting in a stageplay again, titled "The Tragedy of Coriolanus", an adaptation of a Greek play.

I miss Toshiaki in a TV dorama. He had only been acting in drama specials lately. Can't wait for his guest appearance in Galileo!

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Post by Maryvel » Oct 12th, '07, 10:20

Wow, thank you very much!
Sounds like a great play, I wish I could see it. :-(
I'm downloading the musicvideo right now, I'm sure I'll enjoy it!

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