I realized how many incompleted posts I have...I guess for the next few posts, I'll be doing a lil'spring cleaning before I post 'em here. This is the first. I believe it was dated somewhere in 2005 though...
Despite my exams being a mere three days away, I still couldn't resist the pull of the Anime-Musicals. Having discovered these new breed of Anime fandom a long time ago, I kept putting the viewing of them off until a new threat provoked my sense of urgency. That's right. It was the Youtube moderators. While browsing through Youtube, I found out that, to my horror, the entire Dream 1st of the Tenimyu series had been removed. It wasn't even completed when I first checked it out! Thus to put the long story short, panic forced me to finish watching an entire musical within the span of four hours.
The storyline was simple. Basically, pitting the Seigaku Regulars against Hyoutei.
Imperial Match Hyoutei Gakuen Winter was impressive in its own right. It featured an all new cast from the Dream 1st and featured characters from FIVE different schools.
1] Sengoku from Yamabuki
2] Fuji Yuuta from St. Rudolph
3] Sakurai & Ishida from Fudomine
4] The Hyoutei Team
5] The Seigaku Team
Yep. I was influenced mostly by the first crew and naturally had assumed the following cast members could never match up to the cast of Dream 1st. And like so many times, my judgment proved me wrong. This cast boasts of many stronger singers and much prettier faces [they're all boys, for that matter].
Inui is portrayed as cold-blooded and indifferent.
1)First, he trained secretly with 2.25 times of Kaidoh's training menu [630 sit-ups!].
2) Then he knocked out Momoshiro in the ranking matches and became a Regular, and he faced Tezuka in yet another challenge [Number 30+].
3)Finally he became double partners with Kaidou so he could make use of him to further train both Kaidou & himself.
I can't say I dislike this Inui, but I much prefer the sadistic, Juice-making Inui in the Anime series. At least he is laughably likable there. This Inui is somewhat threatening in this version. His ruthless determination to win scares me. However, unlike the past Inuis, this one has a slightly more feminine demeanor. I mean, look at the way he pushes up his spectacles.
It's an elegant flowing movement, as though he had meant for seduce someone with that. And his hair is spikier than usual. But the best part is still his voice. He sounds way better than the Inui of Dream 1st.Much smoother and less hoarsed.
Inui-Kaidoh (Emerald Pair?) VS Shishido-Ohtori (Silver Pair)
Kaidoh also had a vast change. This Kaidoh is probably one of the better singers in the musical. However, his voice just isn't deep enough to be like the Anime Kaidoh. The Kaidoh of Dream 1st had this growly, low voice which fits Kaidoh Kaoru even more than the Anime Kaidoh. I've started off watching parts of Dream 1st instead of the Anime and for a while, I was fooled and thought that the person playing Dream 1st Kaidoh was the real seiyuu. But a good thing about this Kaidoh is that he got the snake look right down to a pat.
Tezuka himself became more boyish instead of the mature man-boy he was in Dream 1st. It seems he was trying to imitate Madonna's flared-out hair look.. Not that I'm complaining, but the hair was a tad too salon-fixed for him. Likewise, the deep commanding voice was retained but the singing was great. He, unlike the Dream 1st Tezuka, could maintain pitch and not have a voice break attack while dragging syllabuses. In this myu, Tezuka either had a growth spurt or his teammates [Inui, Fuji particularly] shrank due to excessive comsumption of Inui Juice. The height difference was simply too obvious.
*Swoons* Atobe Keigo was one of, if not the best singer in this myu. And he literally lived the character. Looking at him was akin to looking at the Anime Atobe.
Somehow, there is this aura of arrogance and superiority around him. And it's not about his looks. Atobe keigo was a narcassic, arrogant person who placed himself above others [Hence, "Ore-sama" (the great me)]. Yet this Atobe managed to pull that off while looking magnificent all the while. I couldn't even make myself feel disgusted at his behaviour. To be little more exact, I was both intimidated and intrigued by him. This feeling of awe was further enhanced by the astonishing quality of his mellow voice during "Koori no Emperor". Until now, I am still awed by his dignified demeanor.
Next worthy of mention is none other than Momoshiro-sempai! This Momoshiro did not elude the kind of arrogance and hot-headness of the Dream 1st Momo [Who was played by the equally reckless Moriyama.] He was baby-faced and reminded of a certain stereotype- The overly-enthusiatic but naive boy who is always up for an adventure regardless of the odds *coughGonFreecscough*. Bot to mention, the babyface made expressing angst more impactful. I was after all, struck by the anguished-filled expression on his face after losing the Regular spot. His voice suited the charcter more than Dream 1st Momo. Dream 1st Momo gave me the impression that he was some gangster frat boy who partied all day long. This Momo was able to bring out the boyishness of Momo and yet be mature at the same time.
Next up, Kabaji. Okay, how do I say this? He appears overaged for the myu. He reminds me of a coffeeshop Uncle instead of a Chad-type person.
After all, he was some sort of bodyguard for Atobe. But the funnier parts were when Kabaji SPOKE and the rest were like "He speaks!" "So it is human...". But the match between Kawamura & Kabaji was mildly interesting. How Kawamura gambled with his arm by using one-handed Hakyuryuu repeatedly against the ultimate copy tennis player Kabaji so it became a contest whom results were determined by whose arm gives out first. In the end, it was a tie. Comparetively to the Anime Kabaji, this one was rather vocal.
The Dirty Pair. They had virtually zero Yaoi moments in the myu.
Gakuto was aglie and energetic, performing stunts over and over again. Yuushi however, was the one that left an imprint in my mind. His voice joined the Elite among all the singers and like many descriptions in fanfiction, it was soothingly deep. Like thick cream and flowing silk meshed together. His portrayal of Yuushi was fitting. Calm & collected while his teammates fretted over the Inui-Kaidoh-Silver Pair match.
Gakuto wowed with his energy and flexibility. Still, his personality not aptly shown. What was shown was this impatient brat who was fond of using the paper loudspeaker [a.k.a whacking Jiroh, amplifying Jiroh's wake-up calls] Perhaps I read too much fanfiction where Gakuto was an angsty emotional person who had his own insecurities & was able to be mature at the same time. Haix...I guess I should be satisfied with the performance. At least his physical behaviour is nicely put [Not to mention insanely cool dancing]. But Arrgh! Too bad for the lack of interaction between the Dirty Pair.
Fuji Yuuta smiles too much. Not that I'm complaining. He needs to lighten up. But for a supposedly solemn character hell-bent on defeating his brother, this Yuuta is a little too easy-going for his own good. Admittedly, he possesses a strong voice and praiseworthy singing skills. He can switch from smily to dead serious in backstage and musical. It's probably the influence of the backstage clips I've been watching...But really, he smiles too much.
Aiba Hiroki as Fuji took me quite a while to get used to. He does have the knowing look, but Kimeru (1st Fuji) still wins hands down.
Most of the cast share a common trait- They all are pretty boys[bishounen]. Seriously, it is as though they came from the pages of some cutesy Yaoi fan doujinshi instead of the original Anime. I, however, appreciates the eye candy. Many say the Dream 1st cast was the best vast among all the Tenimyu musicals. I'll say yes and no to that. Yes, because the cast was vastly memorable due to the presence of many now-famous people [E.g. Kimeru(Fuji), Tuti(Oishi), Nagayan(Eiji), Moriyama(Momo)]. But the vocals were weak compared to this Imperial Match Hyoutei Gakuen Winter cast. The names may be unfamilar to most, but they have the substance to make their name known to fans. After all, it is a lethal combination. Pretty faces + Strong Vocals = Recipe for Successful Tenimyu [Note: Side-effects may include rabid fangirls]
This is one of the longest songs in the musical. It chronicates (Is there such a word?) the match between Echizen & Hiyoshi of Hyoutei. Fuji Yuuta has a small part in it. He has little scenes here and there throughout the musical. Sengoku (Yamabuki) & the Ishida-Sakurai Pair also features. What I like about this is that the whole cast appears in the song regardless of song or dialodge. Anyway, it speaks of how everyone hopes for and thinks about Echizen. Enjoy!
"Aitsu koso ga Tennis no Oujisama"