Death Note デスノート The Theatrical Representation of Discord
In Japan, anything is drawn from anime and manga to entertain and entertain the public, not least live-action films, some of which even managed to reach us thanks to the cinema, but above all to Netflix. Perhaps, however, not everyone knows that films are the latest product of an evolution of a more rooted and long-lived form of entertainment, which affects the Japanese stages, or theatrical musicals. Despite being a genre of show born in America, it soon spread all over the world and in Japan it has now become a more than natural phenomenon.
Unlike other musicals, the feature that strikes the attention of this title in particular is its production, with an international character: HoriPro, a Japanese production company that had already worked behind the live-action films, for the theatrical transposition.
In 2013 he turned to New York Broadway composer Frank Wildhorn, who, before being contacted, didn't even know what it was. It was his son who pushed him to accept, telling him that "it would be the best thing he had ever done", so he gathered his team: he composer of the music, Jack Murphy who wrote the dialogues and Ivan Menchell who wrote the film script.
On April 14, 2014, the musical, written in English, was presented to Japanese and Korean producers in a closed workshop; the cast included Andy Kelso, Robert Cuccioli and Adrienne Warren; following this a concept album was recorded in December with songs in English sung by: Jeremy Jordan as Light, Jarrod Spector as L, Eric Anderson as Ryuk, Carrie Manolakos as Rem, Michael Lanning in that of Soichiro, Adrienne Warren who played Misa and finally Laura Osnes in the role of Sayu.
[Clicking on the banner below you can listen to the playlist on youtube]
Starting in January of the following year, 2015, the promotional campaign began, with the release of 8 songs from the album ("Playing His Game", "They're Only Human", "When Love Comes", "I'll Only Love You More "," Kira "," Stalemate "," Honor Bound "and" Where Is The Justice ") for free on Youtube, after which the musical premiered on April 6, 2015 at Nissay Theater (日 生 劇場, Nissei Gekijō) in Tokyo , until April 29.
Before going into the details of the musical we need a little preface because there are two versions, in which two different actors have played the role of Light (both available on youtube).
Kenji Urai Version
It is spectacular, of indescribable beauty: all the characters have their own prominence and none, unlike the manga or anime, is in the second role, not even Misa or Sayu. Rem's interpretation is masterful and moving, while that of Soichiro Yagami resembles what we Westerners think are samurai, or men of honor; Sayu and Misa take on more character and Ryuk is, in a way, reminiscent of a sad clown. The two protagonists are exceptional: L becomes dynamic and Light's descent into exaltation and madness is rendered to perfection.
Hayato Kakizawa Version
The difference compared to the first version is played on the character of Light Yagami: in the first, very faithful to the color transposition of the anime, it appears a little "structured", due to the age of the actor; in this case the performer is more normal and realistic, making the drama look like something that really happened.
Death Note The Musical: plot
The plot includes the first 12 volumes of the manga (the narrative arc that sees as the antagonist of Light Yagami, L), consists of 2 acts and has some different details than the original, especially in the ending.
Light Yagami is a brilliant high school student from Tokyo, Japan who despises criminals.
Meanwhile, two Shinigami ("death gods") named Ryuk and Rem discuss how pitiful humans are, before Ryuk, looking for fun, drops a supernatural notebook called "Death Note" into the human world.
Light finds him on the street and after reading the rules of how the notebook works on the first page, he jokingly writes the name of a criminal who is holding a group of children hostage. When the criminal dies of a heart attack, after a fateful 40 seconds, Light is initially shocked and horrified, wondering if he is responsible - until his hatred of criminals prompts him to use the Death Note to rid the world of crime; he takes a liking to it and begins a series of murders that quickly grabs the attention of the police. Following this, chief Soichiro Yagami reluctantly proposes to enlist the enigmatic, and unorthodox detective known only as L.
As Light browses the Death Note in his room, Ryuk appears and identifies as the original owner of the notebook and reveals that he will write Light's name in it when it is his time to die and that only those who have touched the Death Note they can see it. Light confides in his plans to become the savior of the world, using the Internet to show Ryuk that people have gleefully labeled the murders as the work of "Kira" [which derives from "killer"]. Ryuk, amused by the fact that the "hero" of the people is nothing more than a naughty teenager, lets him do it, despite the fact that he reveals that he did not choose Light for this task and that he simply dropped the Death Note out of boredom.
Back home, Light attends an Interpol broadcast in which L reveals himself and vows to capture Kira, causing Light to write his name in the Death Note. However, the transmission is a trap and after the man's death, the voice of the real L enters the scene, explaining that his stunt double was a criminal destined for execution. Terminating the transmission L deduces that Kira is in the Kantō region and reflects on their impending battle, also realizing that his opponent is a high school student. After recklessly falling into L's trap, Light tries to learn more about the Death Note from Ryuk, wondering how far he can manipulate the details of a person's death.
Soichiro, now revealed to be Light's father, enters the room and discusses the case with his son, hinting at L's deduction, based on the murder schedule, that Kira is a student. He then declares that, according to him, L was wrong, on a moral level, to sacrifice his stunt double during the broadcast, advising Light to be as correct as possible.
While L deduces that Kira needs a name and a face to kill, Light asks Ryuk, who can see someone's name above his head, to tell him L's name in case they meet him but Ryuk offers. instead of giving Light his "Eyes of Shinigami" in exchange for half his remaining life. Rejecting the deal, Light changes the murder schedule, revealing Kira's connection to the police and forcing L to probe his own investigation team.
Confident that the task force will retaliate by discovering and exposing L's identity, Light reflects on the outcome of their "game". But not only the Japanese police are looking for him, in fact from America the FBI has sent several agents to Japan, prompting Light to find the identity of an agent, Haley Belle, on his girlfriend's social media profiles. Writing Belle's name in his notebook, Light asks to meet at Shinjuku Station, where the agent writes the names of his colleagues on a Death Note sheet before committing suicide.
After learning about the death of the FBI agents, the task force panics: torn between the duty to capture Kira and the fear of being killed, to stir the situation Soichiro gives each man on the team the opportunity to leave, thus losing one of them abandoning the case.
Meanwhile, Light and L listen to the praises of the citizens of Kira from different positions, while the detective vows to bring him to justice. Suddenly, a second Death Note falls from the sky and is found by the aidol Misa, who has escaped from the clutches of a stalker.
After the crowd praises Kira once again, Rem appears in front of Misa. He reveals that the newly fallen Death Note belonged to a Shinigami named Gelus who broke the Shinigami code by saving Misa from her stalker and then turned to sand. Explaining that Kira punished the man who killed her parents, Misa begs a reluctant Rem to give her Shinigami eyes so she can meet him and help even if it takes away half of her life that remains of hers.
Meanwhile, the task force admits to Soichiro their lack of faith in L, including suspicion that it is Kira; on the other hand, the mysterious detective appears in front of them and proposes his suspect: Light Yagami. Vowing to investigate him closely, he meets the young genius at the university during the opening ceremony of the academic year and takes him by surprise, revealing to him that he is L. While the two plot the fall of each other, Misa writes a new song in which she softly declares her devotion to Kira and while recording it, she takes the opportunity to send a message to a TV station as "second Kira", praying to meet the original in Shibuya, which bothers Light but amuses. Ryuk. This message forces L to accept the impossible, including the likelihood that Shinigami exist.
The next day, in Shibuya, the news of the two Kira is welcomed with joy by the people, hoping that the couple will join forces and so it happens: Light and Misa meet and present their Shinigami to each other. When Misa begs him to become her boyfriend in exchange for her help, Light manipulates her into revealing the name of a member of the task force following them, much to Rem's horror. The two split up with a promise to meet again on the university campus and leaving Ryuk and Rem to reflect on the situation, with Ryuk warning her against getting too attached to Misa.
Later, L's continuing allegations of Light's guilt result in a heated argument with Soichiro, which ends with the revelation that the agent who had tailed Light committed suicide. Convinced that the two Kira are working together, L leaves Soichiro to question his trust in his son.
Back on campus, L challenges Light to a tennis set, the intensity of their mental battle affects the game and after winning, Light questions L about his suspicions, but at that point Misa arrives; Light introduces her to L of her, thus allowing the girl to see the real name of the latter. However, L of her has her arrested before she can reveal what she knows, having found evidence on the envelope sent to the TV station that ties her to Second Kira. Blindfolding and chaining her, L tries to force Misa to confess, but she refuses. Shocked by the interrogation method, Soichiro predicts that L will pay for torturing Misa and reaffirms her faith in Light.
Rem later enters Misa's cell, offering her to erase her Death Note memory so that she doesn't betray Light of her, the young woman accepts, leaving Rem with a broken heart. Rem then finds Light and Ryuk, at which point Light convinces her to write her L's name in the Death Note, assuring her that Misa will save her. Anticipating this, Rem accepts and orchestrates L's death as the boy wishes and specifies, in doing so she sacrifices herself.
With the stage set for the final showdown, L goes to meet Light in an abandoned warehouse on Daikoku Pier. Upon arrival, L holds Light at gunpoint, whereupon the latter confesses to his crimes and reveals both his Death Note and Ryuk, then declares his victory, as L's name has already been spelled out by Rem.
L shoots his enemy, but that's part of Light's plan - he'll tell Soichiro that L was the real Kira and tried to kill him, thus allowing him to join and eventually manipulate the task force as he sees fit. However, L warns him that the game isn't over yet before he is forced to commit suicide by the Death Note. As Ryuk congratulates Light, laments that life will go back to a boring routine without L to challenge him, and writes Light's name in the Death Note as the latter begs to be spared, declaring himself "God of the New World" before dying. . Completed his task, the god of death leaves with the Death Note.
As people mourn the loss of Kira, Soichiro and Sayu find the bodies in the warehouse, wondering what really happened. Meanwhile, Misa finds Rem's remains and scatters them, marking the death of Rem and her story.
Death Note The Musical: the Cast
The cast that makes up the film is made up of characters with a varied career behind them that is not only linked to theater but which blends with cinema, drama and music. Let's see some of the main characters to give you an idea of their background as well. For reasons of space we will limit ourselves to the most important elements of the bibliography, I am sure whoever is interested in learning more about the individual actor will find a lot of information on the net.
Hayato Kakizawa (柿 澤 勇 人) - played the role of Light in the Japanese-language production of Death Note: The Musical in 2015 and 2017, he is also known for most recently playing Love, Life & Goldfish (す く っ て ご ら ん Sukutte Goran 2021) , Dying Eye (ダ イ イ ン グ ・ ア イ 2019) and Two Weeks (2019).
Teppei Koike (小池 徹 平) - is another actor who happily alternates, like Kenji Urai, his theatrical / cinematographic and musical career; with the first he made his debut in 2002 in the drama Tentai Kansoku (天体 観 測 Searchin 'for My Polestar), while the other released with the band WaT, in 2004, the cd indies Sotsugyo Time. In 2007 he started his first solo musical project and in 2015 we see him playing the role of L in the musical Death Note: The Musical, as well as in 2017 and then continuing to shoot films and TV shows, the last of which, both dated 2021. , were Reach Beyond The Blue Sky (青天 を 衝 け, Seiten or Tsuke) and Dragon Sakura 2 (ド ラ ゴ ン 桜 2).
Kenji Urai (浦 井 健 治) - made his acting debut in 2000 in the television series Kamen Rider Kuuga (仮 面 ラ イ ダ ー ク ウ ガ, Kamen Raidā Kūga, Masked Rider Kuuga), later in 2001 as Mamoru Chiba / Tuxedo Mask (ー 場 キ / 仮 面, Takishiido Kamen) in Sailor Moon Musicals (セ ー ラ ー ム ー ン ・ ミ ュ ー ジ カ ル Sērā Mūn myūjikaru, more commonly known by the name SeraMyu セ ラ ミ ュ ー Sērāmyū) and with it begins her theatrical career. And he not only has a theatrical career, in 2013 he formed StarS, a musical unit with Yoshio Inoue (井上 芳 雄 (い の う え よ し お) and Ikusaburo Yamazaki (山崎 育 三郎, Yamazaki Ikusaburō) and is also active as a solo singer.
Fuka Yuzuki (唯 月 ふ う か) - is a singer and actress represented by HoriPro. She originally worked under Stardust Promotion under her real name Momoko Kawakami (川 上 桃子) and is a former member of 3B Junior and Momonaki. In 2015 and 2017 we find her as Misa Amane (海砂 弥) in Death Note: The Musical, while she recently played the role of Eponine in the 30th anniversary production of Les Miserables in 2017, which she reprized in 2019. and in 2021.
Death Note The Musical: post-production
The musical had 3 performances in Japan, the second taking place in September 2017 with the return of most of the main cast. Prior to this the same cast had held 3 performances at the National Taichung Theater [(Chinese: 臺中 國家 歌劇院; pinyin: Táizhōng Guójiā Gējù Yuàn) (POJ: Tâi-Tiong Kok-Ka Koa-Ke̍k-Īⁿ)] in Taichung (Chinese : 臺中市 / 台中市, pinyin: Táizhōng Shì), Taiwan.
The musical was staged for the third time in Tokyo in 2020 with a completely new cast, but the direction has always been entrusted to Tamiya Kuriyama (栗 山民 也). Four of the performances were recorded for release, respectively two of the 2015 live performances were recorded to be broadcast on TV in Japan, as well as in 2017.
The first, with Kenji Urai in the role of Light, aired on October 17, 2015, while the second, with Hayato Kakizawa, on November 7. The title owes its popularity internationally, thanks to the credit of a Russian company that brought the same concert to Russia.
Death Note The Musical: review
The musical was one of the most anticipated of the year in Japan; Wildhorn's soundtrack was praised, while the story was criticized for trying to cram 12 volumes of the manga into just 2 and a half hours of show. The criticism also hit the staging because it is very simplistic and devoid of visual effect, however, in my opinion, since the story of the manga is already based on logic and thought, it is a meager criticism.
Andrea Andros & Sana-chan Kurata