Monday, 17 October 2016

Kobushi Factory in Week End Survivor

As a fairly new Hello!Project fan, I was much more into seeing the girls in musicals and stage plays than music shows and things of that sort. So, ever since Engeki Joshibu was announced to be a thing, I was jumping in joy because it would mean there'd be more musicals for me to watch during my spare time. The first few musicals were great, naturally, but for some reason I did not know what to expect when Week End Survivor was first announced. When I first found out about this I thought that it was pretty cool we would be getting another Kenshuusei play, especially one with Hamaura Ayano as I enjoyed her performance in Bokutachi Karenna Shounen Gasshoudan as Youko/Johann in the Kikyuu ni Notte Dokomademo version, and was looking forward to seeing how she improved from then, but I realised that I did not know half of the members as I did not follow the Kenshuusei as much as, say, Morning Musume. Because of this, I wasn't as hyped but I was still going to watch it.

However, with the announcement of Kobushi Factory in early January 2015, as well as the promotional photos coming out around the same time, it took me quite a while to notice that the same group will be doing Week End Survivor along with Engeki Joshibu's Playing Manager (and former Berryz Kobo member) Sudou Maasa. This got me pretty excited for it, because I thought I could determine who my Kobushi Factory oshimen would be just by watching this musical.

Rio looks like she's about to punch you. Run.

The synopsis was hinting at something pretty dark, mentioning a psychological warfare of some sorts. Since the previous plays--with the exception of Sengoku Jieitai and Lilium--were pretty cute and fluffy, I was definitely looking forward to seeing something not as fluffy for once, with me being a big fan of Japanese mystery novels. It wasn't until I heard the four-episode radio drama, where six out of the eight Magnolias participated in with different roles than that of their musical roles, that I was certain just what direction this was going to head into. I was now definitely excited to see the musical version, seeing how differently everyone will play their roles.

The general idea of Week End Survivor is fairly simple and even familiar (to me, at least), according to the radio drama. There are a group of kids trapped in a cellar and is thrown into a survival game. This game is played with the use of smartphones and an app called Survivor. They are given one minute to choose one player and cast a vote on them, and the one with the most votes will be sacrificed for a provision that is most needed, such as food. The main character, a junior high student by the name of Natsu, along with her classmates Yuuto, Takeshi, Chiaki, Mina, and Arisa, are pitted against one another in order to survive. Kirimoto, which is played by Sudou on both the drama and the musical, is not as present as the others but she takes on being the maid of Arisa's family.

Now, with all stories like this, there must be some twist. Without spoiling so much, I was pretty satisfied with the outcome of the drama. Of course, I thought the musical would follow the same storyline with the same twists, just with minor differences. Boy, was I wrong.


I knew the Kobushi kids were playing different roles in the musical. The lead role Natsu (played by Hirose in the drama) is played by Hamaura; Yuuto (Hamaura) is played by Hirose; Takeshi (Taguchi) is played by Fujii; Chiaki (Ogawa) is played by Nomura; Mina (Nomura) is played by Taguchi; Arisa (Inoue) is played by Ogawa; and the two new roles Keiko and Urara are played by Inoue and Wada respectively. To make it easier, they have name tags on their clothes for a certain reason.

The general idea that the radio drama had was carried on over to the musical, but with major differences. At first, I was a bit disappointed that the outcome of each voting session is less brutal than in the drama, but as I finished watching it, the reason for that made so much sense. The characters sort of have different personalities as well, which definitely made the outcome of the entire play that much more of a surprise to me. There were similarities as well, but most of it was just different especially the twist at the end. You would not believe the amount of screaming I did the first time I saw this musical, from the climax up until the very end. It felt like I went through that entire musical blind, that the radio drama was something completely different. At some point I didn't even know what was going on because the shock of the twist hit me so hard I was just speechless.

The musical was brilliant, I must admit. For something that seemed like it can't possibly happen in real life, the characters were definitely realistic in my opinion. Being forced to participate in not just a survival game, but also a game of trust, could really bring out a person's true colours. What I was more impressed of, however, was that this was the majority of the Kobushi Factory members' first play (with the exception of Hamaura, Nomura, and Taguchi), but for some reason it did not seem like that. Of course, some of them still need work, which is understandable, but I was overly impressed with how each girl played out their characters, especially the former NGP Trainees Hirose and Inoue. 

The songs itself were awesome, as well. Even though a good chunk of the soundtrack are just 40 second instrumentals (and trust me, even those are pretty great), the musical had a lot of great tracks. I was pretty happy that Survivor, the main theme of the musical, happens to be the second A-side to Kobushi Factory's indies single because it is probably one of my favourite musical theme songs in Engeki Joshibu. Each of the songs have their own individual feel, but they all do a great job of setting the mood for whatever scene they are in. Even the way they are sang gives it some sort of weird effect that I can't even explain, but all I know is that it's just too amazing

I definitely recommend this musical to those who want a break from the love stories that Engeki Joshibu musicals seem to have, or those who want their minds to be all jumbled up (or both!). Listening to the radio drama is not necessary, because either way it won't necessarily affect your knowledge of the musical. 

HD (1280x720 softsubbed mkv) - Mega | Aidoru!Online
SD (854x480 hardsubbed mp4) - Mega
Script - Mediafire