Sandpanther (sandpanther) wrote,

Ultraman Premier Stage 3

While in Japan I went to the Ultraman Premier Stage 3 show in Nagoya during Golden Week. It was massively cool, and was one of the high points of my trip. It featured live and in person the actors who played Hayata from the first Ultraman series; Dan from Ultra Seven; Gen from Ultraman Leo; Gamu from Ultraman Gaia; and Rei from Ultra Galaxy Daikaijuu Battle, all in their original roles, as well as Hirata Misato, the actress who played Konomi, in a new role exclusive to this show.

Please forgive the weird lapses and vague descriptions. I tried to get down as much as I remembered, but I didn't take any notes and sometimes my memory (or my language skills) failed me. Anyway, onward.


The first forty-five minutes were an overview/review of Ultra Galaxy: Never Ending Title Galaxy, which made me wish I'd finished watching it already. Oh well. Afterward Minami Shouta (Rei) came out and chatted fro a bit along with the obligatory announcer chick. He said that Rei didn't like peppers, but he didn't tell the others, so they kept feeding him peppers. He kept eating them and they made him stronger. So for all those kids out there who don't like eating certain things like peppers, keep eating them and they'll make you stronger! After they did a drawing for stuff. I didn't win anything. (Bummer, since that included autographs. ;_; ) Then there was an intermission before the main show.

The show opens with a really impressive tableu of a bunch of back-lit Ultras posing. The lights come up and Zoffy tells them there is badness & sends everyone scurrying off to investigate. (They got Igarashi to do Mebi's voice. *LOVES*)

The main baddie for the show is Sharon, from UG:NEO. She's making the new uber-monster and it's almost done. It's only lacking "Satanskull" to finish it. The other baddies (Bogal, Metron-seijin, and Magma-seijin) whine that Satanskull is almost impossible to obtain, but Sharon says no problem, she's got a Clever Plan (tm). She whispers it to the other baddies who all go "ooh, brilliant plan!" Two of Sharon's minons run in and tell her a group of folks from M-78 are approaching. The minions are despairing, but Sharon says she'll open a wormhole and they can escape that way. The Ultras arrive but the main baddies jump through the wormhole. They Ultras are standing around going "hmm..." when Gaia shows up. Through the magic of the Plot Device everyone recognizes him (though, come to think of it, he was in the last Premiere Stage, so maybe there was explanation given then.) Everyone goes "hey, wormhole boy. Check that out." Gaia figures out that the baddies are headed to Earth through the wormhole. He says he'll go to Earth and help Ultraman and the others who are already there investigating weirdness. He takes off and the rest of them jump through the wormhole in pursuit of the baddies.

On Earth Dan is talking a walk, commenting on how pleasant Earth is. He entered through the audience, and the stir as everyone spotted him and went "ooh" was pretty cool. I could hear a mother behind me whispering "honmono da!" ("He's the real one!") As Dan walks toward the stage Gen, dressed as a monk, walks on. I missed Dan's next couple of lines because everyone started applauding when Gen came on stage. Dan goes up on stage and Gen says "Captain! I always knew you were still alive!" They shake hands. (I so wish I could have taken a picture; but they weren't allowing photography during the show, for obvious reasons.) Hayata walks on during this. (The vibe that swept the theatre as the whole audience simultaneously caught their breaths was just electric, and everyone applauded again.) Gen says he sensed badness at a hospital in Nagoya, and the three of them head off stage to investigate.

The curtain opens to a hospital corridor. A nurse walks across stage, nodding to a woman as they pass. The woman goes through a door into a room, and the set rotates on a turntable to show the interior of the room. (They use this turntable extensively throughout the show to flip between inside and outside of rooms, among other things. I thought it was very effectively used and managed to avoid the slight cheesiness that turntables frequently can fall prey to. Thus speaks the former technical theatre major.) Inside a young boy is sitting in bed. His name is Yuuki, and as they talk he's very chipper and upbeat, despite all the operations that his mother mentions he's had to go through recently.His father comes in and is all supportive and encouraging, then says he needs to go back to work. Yuuki tells his father to work hard, and that he'll try hard to get better as well. His parents leave and the set rotates back to the corridor where they talk to his doctor (played by Hirata Misato) about the boy's condition and prospects. She's encouraging, and says the last operation went well.

Meanwhile, back in the wormhole several of the baddies complain that the ship they're on is so old. Knuckle-seijin shows up and says the ship's his, and if anyone has a problem with it he'd be happy to toss them overboard. The Ultras show up and the baddies summon a bunch of monsters to fight them. I think some of the baddies got off the ship to fight, but I don't remember. Hikari shows up to help, and joins the party.

Meanwhile, back at the hospital a young male nurse is pushing a cart along. He stops outside Yuuki's room and, leaving the cart outside, goes inside. The intern looks kind of like Rei, only a calm version (if you can imagine such a thing), and not all angsty-drama-y. The turntable rotates to show the inside of the room. Rei thinks Yuuki is asleep, and turns around to do something. When he turns his back, Dada slowly sits up from the bed! Rei turns back around, see this, and freaks out. It turns out to be Yuuki wearing a mask. They chat for a minute. Yuuki says he wants to be a pilot, and Rei asks him to take him for a flight sometime after he does. Yuuki's doctor comes in and Rei hides some of the props Yuuki used for his prank so she won't find out. After a bit Rei and the doctor leave the room and go outside. They chat a bit and it comes out that 1) Rei's only been working at the hospital for about a week now, and 2) Yuuki has a weird virus that he's been fighting for a while, but isn't getting any better. I think they said he only had half a year to live, but I'm not entirely sure I caught that. (It's mighty hard to hear sometimes when surrounded by a bunch of wiggling kids.)

Memory is a little foggy around how some things happen... I think at this point the Ultras run through again and dialog, though I can't remember what about. Gaia is still with them. He transforms into Gamu (which looked pretty neat, for all that it just involved people ducking through curtains while the lights were out), and then runs off in a different direction from the others.

Meanwhile back on Earth, Hayata is sitting at a desk looking at a computer (a Mac, natch), with Dan looking over his shoulder. Hayata is currently the director of the hospital (no clue why other than plot convenience), and Dan is masquerading as a patient. He's wearing a bandage wrapped around his head. An eager male nurse comes in and delivers some paperwork, and Dan ducks down behind the desk so the nurse doesn't spot him. Hayata asks the nurse if he's noticed anything unusual around the hospital lately. The nurse thinks for a while then loudly say, "Ah!" There is a pregnant pause, then he goes on to say "Nothing!" Hayata is not amused. Yuuki's doctor walks in as the nurse is leaving, and the nurse stops. Hayata and Yuuki's doctor chat for a minute, then Hayata notices the nurse is still there. He shoos him out, then asks the doctor about herself. She gives her name, Komori Anne. When Dan hears "Anne", he pops up from behind the desk. Anne says something like "oh, it's you, Maboroshi-san." The lighting changes to kind of an intimate red color and Dan starts going on about "I'm not human, I'm from another world", a la the end of Seven. I forgot why he stops (I think Anne says something along the lines of "gee, still not feeling well are we? How is that bump on your head doing?") She leaves, and Hayata's all "Nice one. If you kept going she'd have found out who you are." Gen shows up outside the office window. (Don't ask me why he doesn't just come in -- though he's dressed in full on monk's gear, so it would probably look a little weird.) He says he hasn't found the source of the alien presence they're sensing, but he thinks there's a Rayblood seijin around. (Gee, I wonder who...?)

I think it's around here that Anne and Dan chat. Dan asks her why she became a doctor. I didn't catch all of it, since this was something the kids clearly found boring, and the natives were getting restless. There was something about a doctor when she was younger, and it basically breaks down into her wanting to help the people she cares about. Dan gets called off into the doctor's office (different doctor) and Anne goes her own way.

As I recall the next scene Rei is pushing a cart along the hall again. Gen walks toward him from the other direction, and both of them are giving each other the hairy eyeball. They pass each other, then stop. They have a conversation along the lines of "You. You're not from around here. What are you doing here?" I'm assuming it was meant to be telepathic, since neither of the actors were moving their mouths. (Ah, pre-recorded dialog!) It actually looked kinda cool. The interchange starts spinning out of control, and Rei transforms into his Rayblood form and attacks Gen. Gen's all "Ha! Rayblood seijin! You bad!", and fights back, still in human form. Yeah, he's cool enough to throw light attacks like that, go Leo! Rei's all "so why don't you show me what you really are?" Gen transforms (Kangeki! So cool hearing his "Leo!!!" live and in person!) Rei goes "Oh! Ultraman Leo! Oops, terribly sorry. I'm here trying to investigate ebil badness, but clearly you are not the source of it." Leo's all, "Oh, you too?", and Rei offers to help him. They exit the stage.

Gamu dashes in, trying to avoid Ebil Minions. He runs through the audience, then onto stage where he proceeds to do some really impressive acrobatics. (Cartwheels and rolls - serious whoa. Like, oh my word, serious whoa. I expect that from the suit actors, but not from the pretty faces kind of whoa. Was some of the most impressive acrobatics in the entire show -- suit actors included kind of whoa.) He khaks them off-stage, then runs back on, monologues for a moment, then dashes off to the hospital.

Rei, Hayata, Dan, and Leo are hanging out chatting when Gamu shows up. Gamu spots Rei and is all "Ack! Rayblood seijin!" and looks ready for a fight. Gen jumps in with "he's a good guy and helping us" and Gamu's all "oh, okay then." They chat for a while then hear this weird sound. Rei says he's been hearing it around the hospital for a while now, and Gamu says it was the same sound as the ship the baddies are on was making. They figure out that the baddies are doing badness inside Yuuki. Dan says the weird things on Yuuki's X-rays are shards of a Dally monster egg. Rei has a dramatic "oh noes! Why did it have to be the brave kid?" moment. I forget what happens next, but they head off stage.

As they're heading off stage, Nice shows up. He calls to his more serious sempai, but they've left, and ignore him. He complains about getting no respect. Zearth shows up, and the two of them are really silly together. Nice is not amused by Zearth. They go off stage.

Back in Yuuki's room, the Ultras (and friend) gather. Gamu, Hayata, and Gen say they're going to go off and help the other guys while Dan is going to go inside Yuuki to fight the badness within. Hayata tells Rei to help out Dan. The three leave, and after a brief conversation where Rei asks Dan if he's sure this is going to work and Dan says he's been doing the hopeless fight for so long that it's no sweat. Dan micronizes and goes inside Yuuki. Hearing him do the "dyuwa!" on stage live and in person? Also massively cool.

Theatrically, the next section was really nicely done, with a scrim being used to separate out the hospital room from the rest of the stage, and also giving three dimensionality to the innards section. Being a technical theater major, I spent more time staring at the set than I did at the action, since the set was really freaking cool. In the foreground was Rei and the hospital room. In the background, separated by the scrim, was an interior somewhere inside Yuuki. So it looked all blood vessel-y and stuff. Anyway, on with the action. Seven fights the monster within but is getting nowhere. Knuckle seijin shows up in the outside world and makes the monster fight harder. Things are looking a little bad for Seven when Rei shows up. He sends in Gomora to fight the monster, and Miclas to help out poor Seven. The monster is driven back but the fight kind of ends in a draw. Dan comes limping back on and thanks Rei for his help.

IIRC, there's another monster fight, with Sho-man, Leo and Gaia joining in. It doesn't go well for the Ultras, and they retreat. I'm sketchy on the details.

I think around here we have a scene of Yuuki all upset and depressed because things are going badly health-wise for a friend of his in the hospital. Gen comes in and comforts him. It was an interesting juxtaposition with Gen in the monk's outfit comforting Yuuki, who's doing the whole "there is no God. If there was, this kind of thing wouldn't happen. My friend's a good kid, why is this happening to her?"

After Gen leaves, Nice and Zearth show up to cheer up Yuuki. They act really silly for a bit but it doesn't seem to cheer Yuuki up much. They tell him to think of his favorite thing in the world, and Yuuki says he wants to be a pilot so he can fly. Nice thinks about it a minute, then picks the kid up and walks off with him. Zearth's all "hey, what up??" Nice tells him to mind the shop while he's gone, and Zearth does some weird manzai-like comedy bit.

Stuff happens I can't remember, and Hayata, Gamu, and Gen show back up again in the hospital. They're irked with Zearth for letting Nice take off with Yuuki to parts unknown.

Nice, it turns out, has taken Yuuki flying. This was another nice use of the scrim, with Nice and Yuuki (on wires, which unfortunately showed but there's only so much one can do) flying behind the scrim, and neato landscape video being projected onto the front. Bit of a lighting challenge, but it was pretty cool. One of the sequences used was one I recognized from the Seven X ending, and turns out was also used for a bit in Gaia. Tsuburaya stock footage, FTW! Yuuki complains that he's scared, and Nice tells him that if he lets his fear get in the way, then he'll miss all the wonderful scenery. Yuuki calms down and starts enjoying flying and the landscape.

New scene, and Yuuki has reappeared, but has suddenly takes a turn for the worse. Anne decides that he needs an immediate operation. As they're wheeling Yuuki off for it, his parents come in. They tell him that he's leaving the hospital. They're taking him home. They don't want him to have another operation. There's a long back and forth scene between them (with Anne, Rei, and the random nurse being stage ninjas) and Yuuki says he wants to go through with the operation. The parents aren't happy, but Yuuki gets wheeled off for it.

Sho-man, Gaia, Leo, and Seven show up inside Yuuki. The baddies gloat, and bring in the Ultramen they defeated previously and toss them on the floor. (I'm only remember Mebi, Hikari, and Jack, though I believe there were two others. Possibly Tiga.)

The stage changes into two zones. In one section we have a whole horde of Ultramen. In the other, Anne and Rei operate on Yuuki. Both the fight and the operation go badly for Our Heroes, culminating in Yuuki ending up dead. Our Heroes despair. The baddie cackles that their despair is what creates the Satanskull they needed to be able to complete their ultimate monster: EX Z-ton. It comes out and whoops everyone's butts.

Anne conveys the news to Yuuki's parents, and there is a lot of unhappiness.

All looks lost for our Ultra senshi. None of their attacks work against EX Z-ton. The main baddie says this is because their own energy is inside it: the energy of their despair. Ultraman King shows up and tells them yeah, their energy is in it. That means they can defeat it if they're positive. Rei shows up in the audience and tells the kids to cheer. It was actually really an impressive moment, with everyone chorusing "ganbare!" Sent chills down my spine.

The Ultra senshi all revive, and everyone gets chased all over the stage for a bit and we break up into individual fights. Agul shows up for Gaia's individual fight, and there is a certain amount of dorktastic celebrating at the end. (Not as dorktastic as that one bit in the series. But really dorktastic nonetheless.) Max has a fight, as does Tiga. Mebi and Hikari manage to defeat Bogal on their own, without powering up into Phoenix Burning Brave. I forget who else has an individual fight. At the end everyone comes together and fights EX Z-ton and the baddies all leave. Leo gets to do the Leo Kick, and EX Z-ton is defeated! Yay!

Yuuki is now not dead. (No explanation, just magic of the script, FTW!) He's now being discharged from the hospital with appropriate goodbyes. Ditto for the human form Ultras. (I forget exactly how that all concluded.) Before the end Yuuki breaks the fourth wall and tells the audience that he's alive because of everyone's hope, and that he won't waste it. Much coolness.

All the main human actors say a few words at the curtain call. I can't remember most of what they said. Yuuki's actor made some comment referencing a food that Yuuki had said he wanted to have. Sharon's actress said she'd be a good girl from now on. Moritsugu-san said he didn't know how long he'd be able to keep doing this, but with everyone's love he'd keep on for many years to come.

And that's all I can remember.

They got Igarashi to do Mebi's voice! *HEARTS* I'm just so used to hearing his voice now that anyone else doing it rings very off to me. I've really enjoyed the other stage shows I've seen, but in the end, Mebi only has one voice as far as I'm concerned. And for this one, that was it. *happyfangirldance*

I'm 90% sure they got Wada Sanshirou to be the suit actor for Mebi as well. He had the right stocky build, and his musculature looked right. I think they also had Hikari's suit actor doing Hikari, though I'm less used to his physique. (No excuse, since he does Moebius a bunch of times as well.)

Just as genba make me do the little happy dance, having the original actors up close and personal hits a very special set of fangirl buttons for me. I wish I could have gotten tickets closer to the aisle -- not that sitting a mere 20 feet away from Moritsugu Kouji didn't make me bounce in my seat like a four year old as it was. The stir of the crowd when he walked in was magic, and the reverent hush when Kurobe Susumu came on was just amazing. He and Manatsu Ryuu got applause when they came on stage. (Moritsugu-san was in the middle of a line before anyone realized he was there, which was probably why he didn't get applause -- we wanted to hear what he was saying!)

It was really nice seeing Gamu again. Not weird movie I-sacrificed-what-few-character-traits-I-had-to-the-plot Gamu. I mean the Gamu who is geeky and competent and sometimes a bit of a dork who has floppy hair. (It wasn't until I saw the stage show that I realized that Gamu's hair annoys me almost as much as Mirai's does in the movie.) It inspired me to go back and rewatch a bunch of Gaia. I iz happy fangirl, thx.

I like Minami Shouta a whole lot more now. He's kind of puppy-dog cute and enthusiastic in person. Not all grumpy drama Rei. When the curtain went down on the curtain calls he'd crouch down and keep waving, and he waved a whole bunch at the sign-kai as well. He seemed really fan-friendly and nice. I will happily fangirl whatever he does next. (Likely another Ultra Galaxy series, but whatever.)

I am now even more desperately seeking the videos of the other two Premier Stage shows. This one was vastly cool, and I'm betting the other ones are at least as cool. I know copies exist out there because they've aired the first two on some family channel in Japan. Why, oh why has no kind fan recorded them and torrented them? Whaaaaaa!

I hung around out in the lobby for a bit after everyone left. The theatre was on the ninth floor of a building, with elevators being the only way to access it and I had no great desire to get crammed in an elevator with a bunch of kids. Not to mention not being interested in being in the middle of a Japanese-style crowd. *blech* The crowds thinned enough and I was about to head out to see what loot there was for purchase when I noticed a line for autographs. These were for the folks who won the drawings earlier, but they had Moritsugu Kouji (Dan), Manatsu Ryuu (Gen), Minami Shouta (Rei) and Hirata Misato (Anne/Konomi) sitting at the table. *squee* I loitered and tried taking pictures through the crowd. I was an utter wimp and didn't wave to any of the actors or to try call to them. Wimp, I tell you. Big, dorky wimp. What is the point of being able to play the gaijin card if I don't act like an idiot in public at something like this? 'Ttaku.

I did manage to grab pictures of Yoshioka Takeshi (Gamu) and Kurobe Susume (Hayata) when they came out. They didn't linger or do autographs. They just were hustled quickly through the crowd by the stage ninjas.

What I also did do was notice that as the actors were leaving and they filed past the crowd some folks stuck their hands out and the actors would shake their hands. I completely missed Hirata-san and Minami-san, but I managed to get my hand out in time for Manatsu-san. He started doing the perfunctory handshake and muttered "arigatou gozaimasu" then it seemed to click that I was not exactly the average fan and he stopped walking completely, turned to face me, took my hand in both of his, bowed again a little more deeply this time and repeated "arigatou gozaimasu". I was all "^____________^ I got Ultraman Leo to do a double take! Gaijin Smash, FTW!!" He then got hustled off by the stage ninjas. Moritsugu-san I think went out the other way, so I missed him completely, alas.

So I got no autographs, *sniff*, and no pictures with the actors, *sniff*. But I did get some pictures of the actors and kind of a nifty story moment that still makes me do the fangirl smirk. And I got to see a totally awesome show that was well worth the cost of tickets and paying for the Shinkansen from Kyoto to Nagoya cash. (Not a petty amount, alas, but worth every yen of it!) If it wasn't for the cost of the train back, I would have marched over to the box office and seen if I could get a ticket for the next day, I so totally wanted to come back and do it all over again. I am a Very Happy Fangirl, and am plotting how to get back for another show next year.

Sorry for the quality on these. The lighting was poor and I didn't have/take the time to mess with the settings manually. Or, in some cases, to focus. (Alas.)

I have no photos with Moritsugu-san facing my direction. :P

Really bad picture of Yoshioka Takeshi (Gamu)

Kurobe Susumu (Hayata)

Minami Shouta (Rei), Manatsu Ryuu (Gen) and the back of Moritsugu Kouji's (Dan) head

Minami Shouta and Hirata Misato

Tags: hirata misato, kurobe susumu, manatsu ryuu, minami shouta, moritsugu kouji, ultraman premier stage 3, yoshioka takeshi

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