They did it in a really cool way, to make the audience really feel like they were part of the whole Tiger & Bunny world. It started out like we were all attending a concert as part of Hero TV Super Live Blue Rose Cold & Hold Tour. And of course, she would be joined by special guests Wild Tiger and Barnaby Brooks Jr., for a revival of the superhero unit BTB. They had some heroes from the...um...I don't remember what the subtitles called it. The minor league? The second string? The new group of heroes they brought onto Hero TV to take care of the more petty crimes. They had a couple of them come on to give the audience some guidelines, like keep the aisles clear and turn off your cell phone. And only use your light-sticks during Blue Rose's concert and the curtain call. One of the heroes had sumo powers, and he would do a sumo stomp, and then the other hero would jump like the floor shook. It was awesome.
So after we got all those instructions, it was finally time to see Blue Rose come out and perform Go Next, followed by My Song. We think she really played the piano for that one, but it's hard to be sure. While she was getting ready for the next song, they gave us some news updates about how someone was going around kidnapping musicians, and they suspected there was a Next involved, and said all the heroes who weren't performing in the concert were on the case! And Kotetsu was like, "I should go help!" and Agnes and Barnaby were like, "No!"
It was great, because Kotetsu came on stage, and he sounded just like the real Wild Tiger! ...I kid. We're well aware that Kotetsu was played by the same actor who played him in the anime. It was especially interesting, though, because Barnaby (also played by his original voice actor) didn't quite sound like Barnaby, except when he was in his suit. The heroes with helmets all had different actors in the suits, and they provided the voices from offstage.
Anyway, as part of the concert and media and everything, they had a reporter go around talking to audience members about where they came from and how excited are they to see Blue Rose. One girl (the audience was mostly female; I don't think they were all there to see Blue Rose) said she was from Tokyo, and the reporter was like, "Oh, that's right next to Stern Bild!" After he talked to a couple of girls, he said, "Hey, I found a really cute girl over here!" and went to talk to her. Athena saw her and thought, "She is really cute! ...Hey, wait a minute!" Because she was Kaede! She was the first person to admit to being there to see Barnaby. And then her dad showed up out of nowhere to tell her to go home, and she was like, "Shut up, Dad! I hate you!" or something like that, and the reporter was like, "So, you're here to see Blue Rose?" "Uh...no." "Barnaby, then? You can't possibly be here to see Wild Tiger." Poor Kotetsu.
Then the reporter went backstage and accidentally caught Blue Rose and Barnaby arguing about creative differences. The whole unit went on stage to perform a song, and afterward, Blue Rose and Barnaby announced that BTB was splitting up, much to Wild Tiger's surprise. He tried to go on with the show, and was having a really hard time of it when he had the good fortune of being visited (onstage) by legendary guitarist Bryan. He started a pretty cool guitar solo, and suddenly all these shadows started appearing! It was really cool! A bunch of them came crawling down from the ceiling!
This is where their fancy backdrops really came into play. The backgrounds were made of (what I assume to be high-definition) monitors, where they usually just displayed backgrounds, but could also show videos (on those backgrounds) of, for example, more shadows. So Tiger started fighting the shadows, and sometimes he'd fight a person in a suit, and sometimes he'd punch a shadow on the screen, and it would go "poof!" Or sometimes he'd grab a shadow and throw it into the air (as shown on the monitor). Sometimes, he would run behind the screen, only as soon as he was behind it, there'd be a video of him on it, and he would jump to the top of the monitor, and then there he'd be in real life! Jumping super high! And then he'd jump down onto more shadows. It was so cool. That's also how they were able to show Fire Emblem and Dragon Kid and Origami Cyclone and Blue Rose using their powers. It was pretty cool for Origami Cyclone, because he walked behind a screen, only he was shown on the screen, where he did a pose, and then they did some fancy animation, and he turned into one of the shadows! Oh man, it was so awesome.
And then Bryan kidnapped Kaede as a hostage and so Kotetsu was really eager for the whole show to go stop the badguys and rescue his daughter. Apparently it takes place before the series ended, for certain reasons that would be spoilers if anybody reading this hasn't seen the whole thing.
Anyway, the cast was really awesome. We were sad for the lack of Sky High. His suited version was still in it, and the actor still did the voice, so he was in all the action scenes. But while they were waiting for some clues as to where the kidnapper was, they had a big long scene in the training room that had fun moments with all the characters. It was amazing how everybody looked exactly like the character in the anime (except, oddly enough XD, for Tiger and Bunny). This random guy showed up, and everybody started cheering, and we were like, "...He must be a famous actor, because he's not in the anime." We looked him up on Wikipedia afterward, and sure enough, he was famous.
He was a Hero Academy instructor! And he was here to...I don't even know for sure, but I guess he was mostly there to teach the heroes choreography. Because what a hero really needs is a good sense of rhythm. And so all the heroes performed a dance number! And there was a new song sung by Tiger & Bunny! Aaaah, we didn't realize it was actually Tiger & Bunny the Musical! Barnaby got a little carried away with the music, and at the end he did a Michael Jackson pose...after which point he walked off a little ways and kicked at the wall to get his mind off the pain. When he came back, Fire Emblem asked if he was okay. He said he was fine. Incidentally, as I said, all the characters looked just like they did in the anime, but especially Fire Emblem. It was uncanny! At the curtain call or the encore or something, the cast was all talking about the show, and Hirata-san (Kotetsu) said, "We've been rehearsing this for a month, and this guy (indicating Rock Bison) has been scaring me the whole time!" Morita-oniisan♥ (Barnaby) said, "I was more scared of this guy! (indicating Fire Emblem)" And Fire Emblem was like, "Handsome... Kowaku nai wa yo♥"
The best part! of the training room scene was when the instructor said Kotetsu could go after the kidnapper if he beat him first. So they fought for a little bit, and then Barnaby realized that the instructor had been testing Barnaby the whole time, and so he had to team up with Kotetsu to fight him! When we read on Anime News Network that Morita-san was going to play Barnaby, but not in the suit, I was a little sad, because we thought that meant he wouldn't be doing any action. If we're not mistaken, Masakazu Morita got his start voice acting by playing Tidus in Final Fantasy X, after he had done motion modelling for Final Fantasies VIII and (we found out later) IX. But the point is, he was the motion model for Zell, and Zell's introduction movie has him doing martial arts and handsprings and all kinds of stuff. It has been several years since Final Fantasy VIII, so maybe he was rusty or something, but we convinced ourselves that it was just because those suits would take forever to get into and out of, and Tiger & Bunny would be onstage a lot.
Turns out, our theory is a lot more plausible, because Morita-san did do a lot of fighting! Yay! (And so did Hirata-san, but not quite as much.) And when he started fighting, he started bouncing up and down just like Zell! (This is so exciting that Athena exclaims it loudly, startling Page. But it definitely pulls at our fangirl heartstrings.) It was so great!
Um...so eventually they track down Bryan, who was working for someone who promised to take away his Next powers, which he hated because he had to stop being a musician because whenever he plays the guitar, he destroys stuff. They beat him and discover that he was actually working for the music producer that had been talking to Agnes since the beginning of the show about recruiting Blue Rose for his label. Of course they discover this as soon as Blue Rose runs into him, alone. And he summons a bazillion shadows! It was really cool, too, because the shadows were all crowding around him and fawning on him and stuff, and they just worked so well together creating this really creepy badguy.
So then they track him down and have a bunch more super awesome fight scenes while Tiger and Bunny go change into their suits. Aww. (Incidentally, Origami Cyclone and Rock Bison never once wore their suits. I guess they decided full suits of armor and shoulder drills and giant shuriken aren't practical for stage performance.) And they won! And they saved Kaede! Yay! And Tiger was like, "Let's tell her that Barnaby saved her." (I think it was actually Origami Cyclone or Rock Bison. Speaking of Rock Bison, there was a really great part in the training room where the instructor had them count off, and they were like, "Ichi! Ni! San! Shi! Go! Roku! Bison." And Rock Bison got this look on his face like, "You know that's right.")
So Kotetsu took Kaede home, and he told her Barnaby saved her, and she was like, "Why didn't you get his autograph!? You're so stupid, Dad!" And she ran away. Poor Kotetsu.
Then they had the curtain call, and they performed the first ending them to the show in sign language! At least, we assume it's sign language. It could have just been para-para, but the hand movements seemed awfully specific, the way they were moving fingers and stuff. And it was the whole cast doing it! They came out for like a million encores, and the audience was singing along, and they just kept going and going and going. In fact, at one point, all the lights were off (except for the light sticks), and they faded the music out just so we could all hear the audience still singing! The actual bows were done to our favorite song, "You Are the Hero," and Dragon Kid was crying! She was sooo cute! (She was also almost taller than Blue Rose.) There was one part of the encore where all the heroes were standing shoulder to shoulder, and Rock Bison was on one end and Fire Emblem was on the other, and they were the only ones with free hands, and everyone was still singing the song, but they were doing the actions, too, because they had free hands.
I don't think I've really expressed how much this stage show made us fall in love with Masakazu Morita, so I just wanted to say something here. And now I've said it. Oh my gosh, we watched the behind-the-scenes feature, and he was just...there was one part where he had Blue Rose's freeze guns, and she walks by and says, "You broke them!? You're the worst!" and he was like, "No, they broke." (The exchange works a little better in Japanese, because there's a different verb for transitive "break" and for intransitive "break.") "They're fixed now." And there was one part where he was doing all the mic checks, and he'd pick up somebody's mic and say, "This is mic number eight, Origami Cyclone's microphone," and then say something character appropriate. Every time he introduced himself as Barnaby, he said, "Hi! I'm the member of Tiger & Bunny who..." just like in the previews of the episodes!
So, in sum, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE♥
Today I'm thankful for getting to see Tiger & Bunny the Live, the amazing cast, the amazing sets, the amazing crew (I assume they were amazing, anyway), and not being too exhausted from staying up so late being excited about Tiger & Bunny.