Yowamushi Pedal ~Hakone Gakuen New Generation, Start Up!~ Review
As with all Yowamushi Pedal stage plays, we’re excited to see what they have in store. As this was one of their ‘in-between’ shows–i.e. not focusing directly on the races of the inter-high–we were curious to see which aspects of the manga storyline that they would cover, and see which characters they truly focused upon. We were not disappointed, as this was overall, one of the best written and exciting plays in the Yowamushi Pedal stage franchise.
We saw this play at the Osaka Orix Theatre, and had excellent seats on the first balcony. This was during the finale, and the theatre was packed. With an excellent view of the stage (we were right near the center and near the sound/effects booth), we were really able to take in the full effects of the show.
The story followed exactly as advertised–the newest generation of the Hakone Gakuen team. This means that the story focused heavily upon the introduction of Doubashi, Ashikiba, Kuroda, and Yuuto to the team, while also showing Manami’s growth throughout the storyline. The story made sure to follow the manga arc in which the previous Hakogaku team passed the torch to the new members, promoting Izumida to captain (with a spicy new hair style) and helped elevate Ashikiba to ace status.
Notably, the stage play really focused on Ashikiba throughout all of this, which was a delight. Higashi Keisuke is a real star, and that means that you really got to hear his amazing singing voice, acting chops, and overall outstanding stage presence.
Higashi Keisuke as Ashikiba Takuto
Absolutely incredible. Higashi Keisuke is a real star, and having watched him grow and mature from playing Chitose Senri in the second season of Tenimyu, it’s safe to say he’s going to be one of Japan’s most popular actors for awhile. He has an amazing singing voice, and as Ashikiba, he really stole the show. His performance during Ashikiba’s Ode to Joy moment was gripping!
Kawaharada Takuya as Izumida Touichirou
Always amazing as Izumida, he was both the stern, controlling captain in this stage play as much as he was Team Dad. His firm hand on Doubashi was both awesome to watch and amusing, and he was genuinely one of the most well-rounded characters, through and through. It’s always amazing to see him on stage!
Akimoto Ryuutarou as Kuroda Yukinari
Kuroda is hilarious and Akimoto-san’s humor never fails to match this. He’s the perfect tsukkomi to Ashikiba, and their chemistry was excellent. It was also great to see him and Izumida really interact on stage!
Tanimizu Riki as Manami Sangaku
We first saw Tanimizu Riki in the Ensemble Stars musical as Isara Mao, and we were really thrilled that he would be Manami in this stage play. Unsurprisingly, he was a delight! He’s absolutely adorable, first and foremost, but his looks weren’t the only awesome thing about him. He’s clever and has a sharpness to him, but still acts as immature as Manami could, cheerfully talking about how Izumida is ‘Tou-chan’ (because he’s his dad, don’t you know).
Kanesaki Kentarou as Doubashi Masakiyo
Being a fan of Kanesaki Kentarou since the the first season of Tenimyu, it was great to see his return to the stage. He was hilarious as Doubashi, and his looming presence really gave the effect of that massive bulldozer that Doubashi is…while still easily being whipped around by Izumida.
Iiyama Yuuta as Shinkai Yuuto
Iiyama Yuuta was the snarky, snappy little brother that Shinkai Yuuto really needed to be, and his parts of the stage play never failed to please. He’ll definitely please you if you want all the sharpness and sulkiness of Shinkai’s little brother, and he’s got the incredibly cute face to match.
Murakami Wataru as Fukutomi Juichi
Many viewers were concerned about Fukutomi’s replacement, but he was as tall and imposing as he needed to be, and just as deadpan funny as well. He played off of Arakita adorably as well, and definitely gave Izumida all the captainly advice needed.
Kido Yuuya as Arakita Yasutomo
It was a surprise to see Kido Yuuya in this stage play, having remembered him from first season Tenimyu! He was an amazing Arakita, however, and definitely had all the presence and aggressive growling to match.
Satou Yuugo as Toudou Jinpachi
We have a new favorite Toudo! Satou Yuugo was a shock and surprise in a good way, and it was hilarious to watch him and Arakita bicker with one another. Being the enthusiastic sempai to Manami was also very entertaining to watch, especially when Manami kept picking on him and teasing him.
Kujirai Kousuke as Teshima Junta
Hashima Ryou as Aoyagi Hajime
Grouping these two together because how can you not–they basically were a manzai act the entire show, and the entire audience was always in stitches. Teshima’s relationship with Ashikiba was also on full display, and their continued phone calls to one another never failed to disappoint.
Miyazaki Shuuto as Shinkai Hayato
Miyazaki Shuuto is always wonderful, and this show was no exception. He even took the time to call out to Murata Mitsu, who had come to watch in the audience for the finale. What a cutie.
This was definitely one of the best Yowamushi Pedal stage plays to date, and we can’t wait to see what is to come with this new cast. The next Inter-High is definitely going to be a great watch, and we’ll be sure to see that play and review it as well!