TOKYOPOP Fam: Konbanwa 今晩は from Tokyo!!
It's supposedly spring but it's been rainy and cold - at least it was nice during sakura season! But rain and cold is a good time to stay indoors - and watch a live theater performance of everyone's favorite ninja, Naruto!
The Shibuya Tourist Association has gone out of its way to support a very cool theater - AiiA in Shibuya, where Naruto is playing. The Japan 2.5 Dimensional Musical Association is dedicated to theatrical performances (typically musicals) of anime, manga and game properties. And their line up is pretty amazing (I'm checking out Death Note tomorrow night!) !!
So, one thing that makes Naruto 2.5 (and other 2.5 theater performances) special is the high-tech subtitle method. You can rent goggles which project subtitles in front of you while you're watching the play - a version of augmented reality.
As far as the play itself goes, they actually did a fantastic job! Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura are featured along with a dozen or so supporting cast as they embark on their post-graduation mission. The cast does a great job, with fun choreography ("is it fighting or is it dancing?") and vocal performances. The production design is creative, using anime-influenced visual effects, Broadway-influenced stage backgrounds and detail-oriented costumes.
With English, French and Chinese subtitles all available, the 2.5 Theater group is reaching out to international audiences to visit Shibuya and enjoy Naruto - as well as the upcoming performances like Sailor Moon. They'll take the Naruto theater to Singapore, Malaysia and Macau, and plan on going overseas with other shows in the future.
I was able to do a brief interview with Naomi Toda from Japan 2.5 Dimensional Musical Association, as well as show off the subtitle glasses. Check out that video, as well as various pics and the Naruto play intro video below.