Actually, I wrote this review around 8 years ago when I went to see MUSASHI stageplay in London. However due to the tragedy of my previous blog, I lost that post. So let me re-post it.
Bear in mind, this review is based on sort-of-fangirl-ish point of view.
First of all, because I only watched it once, there were some part of the story that got mixed up in my head and even a bit forgotten but I think I still remember most of it!
Written by : Inoue Hisashi
Directed by : Ninagawa Yukio
Music Composed by : Miyagawa Akira
Miyamoto Musashi – Fujiwara Tatsuya
Sasaki Kojiro – Katsuji Ryo
Fudeya Otome – Suzuki Anne
Takuan Soho – Musaka Naomasa
Yagyu Munenori – Yoshida Koutarou
Kiya Mai – Kayoko Shiraishi
Heishin — Oishi Keita
Chusuke – Tsukamoto Yukio
Asakawa Jinbei – Iida Kunihiro
Asakawa Kanbei – Hori Fumisaki
Tadano Yuzen – Inomo Takeshi
The opening scene was a battle between Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro. Musashi arrived late on the island by boat with a long wooden sword. He stood with his back to the sun facing Kojiro which is a disadvantage for Kojiro because he couldn’t see Musashi’s face clearly and he’s already exhausted and furious from waiting too long. At the end of the battle, Kojiro lost but he still breathing and might still alive, so Musashi called someone to help Kojiro while he leave the place abruptly.
In this opening scene, my jaw literally dropped when they starts talking! OMG! They really took my breath away. I just sucked right into the story there and then!
The next scene (after some period of time which I honestly forgot) took place in a temple in Kamakura. Here we saw the other characters, 2 monks of the temple (Takuan & Heishin), a shogun swordsmanship teacher who performed songs of the Noh when he’s excited (Yagyu), a former dancer (Kiya Mai) and a lady (Otome). Musashi took part in a retreat in that temple when suddenly Kojiro appear to take a revenge. He challenged Musashi for another battle which is going to take place in 3 days.
Until that day, Kojiro is going to stay in the temple with them (here we know from the conversation between Heishin and Kojiro that Kojiro kept half of a mirror with him) but in order to prevent the two samurai from killing each other, the other 3 guys (Takuan, Yagyu, Heishin) used one particular method which is tying the two samurai’s to them by their feet with one of them on either side of the samurai, so that they couldn’t reach each other. Still Musashi and Kojiro starts bickering in the middle of the night which creates a really funny scenes because the other three (who were actually still sleeping) were also dragged along with them!
The next day, Chusuke (Otome’s servant) came and asked the two great samurai (which was interrupted by a cough from Yagyu because he’s also a samurai) for help because Asakawa Jinbei is coming and apparently Otome challenged him for a battle to take a revenge for her father.
The funny thing about it is the fact that Otome challenged Asakawa on the same day, time and place as Musashi and Kojiro’s duel! She said that she don’t know what to do so she just copied Kojiro’s challenge letter! XD
This is one of my fave scenes when they asked why Asakawa hated Otome’s father. Turn out that Otome’s father is a brilliant tea taster and always win in a tea tasting battle, on the other hand Asakawa always be the runner-up. Everyone were commenting on how annoyed Asakawa must’ve been because of that when Musashi walked toward Kojiro and said…”Yes, it must be annoying to always be the runner-up!”.
Otome, Kiya Mai and Chusuke asked Kojiro and Musashi to teach them swordsmanship. Kojiro then teach the basic movement for swordsmanship by showing them the movement while shouting “Migi…Hidari…” while moving his right and left feet to the front and back. Then we can see that the monks, Yagyu and Musashi joined in (Musashi said he might learn something new!). The simple movements later turn into a funny dance scene!
Musashi then said that there is no way they could master the swordsmanship in only a few days. When they asked Musashi if he got any plan, he said his plan is “A Plan with No Plan” or something like that. The plan was that they would just run towards Asawaka & co. and just swing their sword towards them.
Before they are ready to go to the battle, Asakawa & co came to the temple and demand to do the battle right away! Otome & co then proceed with Musashi’s plan and ended up winning with Otome cutting the revenge ‘line’.
I am a bit blur at this part but I remember that Kiya Mai told a story about how hard her life is where she had to moved to 10 different places where she had to change her names in every cities. She also said that she had an affair with an aristocrat where she ended up pregnant but had to gave up her child. Apparently the aristocrat is the emperor’s family (sort of forgot the relationship XD, was it cousin? or brother? or something). Which made her son being 18th in line of the throne. She said that she gave half of a mirror to her baby while she kept the other half.
Kiya Mai said that her son is Kojiro and saying that if Musashi killed him, it means that he killed a future king! At first Musashi and Kojiro didn’t believe it at all but turn out that the mirror is matched to Kojiro’s mirror!
Again, this is one of my fave scenes when Kojiro realised that he’s going to be 18th in line! “Dai Juuhachi???!!” and faint right there and then. In this scene, during the conversation between the other characters, Kojiro would woke up randomly and shouted “Dai Juuhachi??!!” and fainted again.
At one point, Musashi asked Kiya Mai about her name changing but left out 3 places where actually based on her previous story are significant in her life. However, she didn’t realise that Musashi didn’t mention those places. Here Musashi realise that she was actually lied about being Kojiro’s mother.
Later that night, Musashi went to see Kojiro who was still laying on the futon and tried to woke him up to tell him that he got tricked. This scene was also really funny because we can see the usually hot blooded Kojiro turned into a mama-boy when he woke up and was looking for his mom LOL To wake him up completely, Musashi had to hit his head with a fan which was done a lot of time because evidently Kojiro was not completely regain his consciousness.
When he finally wide awake and understand what Musashi said, they decided to still have the duel. They went out and threw away a huge rock in front of the temple, which led to a change in the weather to storm with full of lightning.
Suddenly all of the people (all characters minus Musashi and Kojiro) appear in front of them wearing white clothes which actually wore by one in one’s funeral. Turn out that all of the other characters already died and the wanted to trick Musashi and Kojiro so that they would stop fighting.
Here we can really see the moral of the story right there and then! They all told a story about how they died and how they thought however bad their life was, it was much much better than death and would give anything to be alive once again.
Then everything back to normal and Musashi and Kojiro decided to stop their fight and Musashi even introduced Kojiro as his ‘Yuujin’ (friend).
Bonus point :
After the show, one of my friends jokingly said we should go to the back door. So, we went out of the building and found the backstage door.
We then waited outside for quite sometimes in the cold weather along with my suit case which I still bring along since Chester. First, the older cast members went out of the door and actually I was thinking about getting their autograph but I think I was rather slow because when I realised, they already walked away. Then suddenly Ninagawa-san came out! I was really excited and we all bowed and said “Otsukare-sama” to him but before any of us can do anything else, again he walked away.
Not long after that, Fujiwara Tatsuya appear from inside. He tried to open the door but it was locked so someone had to open it for him. I was speechless because he’s one of the first Japanese actors that I actually like since I watched Battle Royale 14 years ago (after randomly finding BR VCR in my hall of residence in Cambridge where I did my A-Level). To tell you the truth, I don’t remember everything because I was too excited! LOL
Then I saw Suzuki Anne came out and again I was speechless! She’s one of my idol! She’s in a lot of my fave dramas and one person that I really admire and looked up to as my inspiration in acting. Cathy (one of my friends) and I came up to her to asked for an autograph but turn out my pen wasn’t working so I took Cathy’s pen (Sorry Cathy, I realise that I didn’t say anything when I took your pen! LOL).
I was really nervous and forgot all my Japanese but I told Anne-san that I tweet her saying that I’m a fan from England and she tweeted me back telling me about MUSASHI. At first she was like…”ohhh…” normally but suddenly changed to “OOHHH!!!”. I think she remembered that tweet. Then I told her that I came because of that tweet and that I’m a fan since Kindaichi no Shounen no Jikenbo and Stand Up!!. What I love about her is the fact that she looked really enthusiastic listening to me which I really appreciate! I asked her if I can take a picture with her but she said I can’t. After that she went to talked to the other.
Right there I saw a really familiar figure standing near the door! Katsuji Ryo!! I wanted to asked for his autograph but a few people were talking to him for a while so me and my friends waited. I was afraid that they have to go right away and when the girls done with the pictures and everything, Katsuji already had to go!
All the cast and crew except Katsuji walked to go back home and I saw Anne-san and she waved at me saying,”I’ll see you on Twitter!!”. Nothing I can do other than saying the exact same thing!
The girls finally done with the pictures and I don’t want to waste any more time and asked Katsuji for his autograph. As he gave his autograph to my friends, I checked my camera and silently saying,”Can I take a picture with you?”. I wasn’t really talking to him more like practicing on what I’d say to him but he turned to me and moved his head closer and said,”Sorry?”. To be honest, I can’t remember anything at that point! Katsuji Ryo talked to me! Then he sort of figured out that we asked for picture and we took a couple pictures with him.