Dangan Ronpa Stage 2016: A Review
The stage was held at Roppongi’s Zepp Blue Theater. If you have not been there before, please make sure to check the map. There is one entrance on the steep uphill street from the station. I wasn’t paying attention to the map when with my friends, walked to the next street over and was confused when I couldn’t find the entrance, but saw it labeled as “right there” on the map. When I navigated on my phone, it told me to walk around and up the hill a little over 1km. Oops. 25 minutes until showtime. Luckily I wanted to arrive early and purchase stage goods, go to the bathroom, etc. Double lucky is that I’m a runner and I ran all the way there and made it early enough to buy goods.
The theater itself was pretty large! Bigger than Aiia2.5 and seats 900 people. I was sitting in the second row so I had a good view of the stage.
Wow, those stairs are really big. It’s a bit worrisome that they’re climbing up and down what looks like 12” steps. (Standard stair height in the USA is regulated to 6”). I kept thinking, “please be careful.” But everyone did great going up and down.
They used giant board backgrounds on wheels to push around to block off the stage at times they were changing scenes. It was a clever way to have a classroom background, then switch to the common area.
Also clever was the “pop up” from the floor scenes. The death scenes and character flashbacks would appear on the top level of the stage through a trap door in the floor. It was neat to see Fujisaki on the multiple computer set-up appear through the trap door; as well as the death scenes. It made it easier for us to see the character set-ups, then have them casually disappear (so you don’t have a dead body on stage for a prolonged time) and the scene can change easily.
Cast: (Mostly for new cast not in the first 2014 stage)
Sayaka Kanda as Junko Enoshima (returning):
Sayaka stole the show for me. ***( Spoiler if you have not played the game or watched the anime**). Her ability to transform between her dozens of personalities is amazing to see in person. Changing from super cute, to onee-san, to Monokuma, back and forth interlacing other personalities was jaw-dropping to see in person. I had seen the clips online, but in person is a completely different experience. I immediately bought her bromide set after the show. Too bad I didn’t have my tenso address on me or I would have pre-ordered her CD single at the venue to get the bonus sticker. (p.s. Sayaka Kanda is the lead singer of Trustrick. Listen to their music. I love their style!)
Kanata Hongo as Makoto Naegi (returning):
Visually I think Kanata is a good-looking Makoto. But I think of Naegi as more upbeat and a little naïve. I didn’t get that feeling of him being as innocent as I think he should be as the Ultimate Luck. Even though he is MC, I was drawn to other cast members.
Yuichi Nakamura as Byakuya Togami (new cast):
I love Byakuya; and I love Yuichi Nakamura. He is one of the main reasons for me to come see the stage. He has a perfect air of good-looking, pouty, spoiled, intelligent, heir who thinks really highly of himself. It was difficult to not look at him whenever he was on stage. I was looking back and forth between Mondo (Mitsu) and him depending who was on stage. I do prefer Yuichi’s visual moreso than Ryota Ozawa.
Mitsu Murada as Mondo Owada (new cast):
When I heard Mitsu was playing Mondo, I honestly did not think the visual would work. I never though of Mondo as an attractive visual, but Mitsu makes everything work.
Sugie Taishi as Kiyotaka Ishimaru (new cast):
I love Taishi as Ishimaru! I actually didn’t recognize him at first since he looks so visually different. His chemistry with Mitsu really sold their bromance on stage! I kept wondering why they were doing promos together in the beginning. He was really adorable as the Ultimate Moral Compass.
Similar, if not identical, to the 2014 stage, the 2016 stage had the same cuts and edits compared to the original plot of the game. Without giving away spoilers to those who haven’t played, Chapter 3 is completely cut out, Chapter 5 is mostly cut, and death scenes are changed. The show was almost 3 hours long and I was wondering how they would fit an entire game in the time frame.
Mondo’s motorcycle ride. The visual they made using the Monokuma cast, a chair, and Mitsu was incredible. They built a giant visual motorcycle as a silhouette with the cast bouncing and shaking just as a motorcycle would. Please pay close attention to that scene; it really is the best scene.
Sayaka Kanda. The visuals for all of the characters; the way they styled wigs for Mondo, Hagakure, and Celestia were just like the game. The body silhouettes for each actor also, especially Yamada were perfect. The casting and visuals were on point for this stage.
Please watch the stage play! I haven’t seen the 2014 version in its entirety, but I really love the cast for this stage, so some of my comparisons are biased. Being a big fan of the current stage actors and having them play some of your favorite characters is what pushed me to watch this stage. It is a very rushed version of the anime, which is a rushed version of the video game, so if you really want background, play or watch one first, then see the stage play. (especially if you don’t understand Japanese). Thank you Cornflakes.jp for making Mondo hot!