Cardfight!! Vanguard Battle Stage stage musical confirms cast, tickets to release in November 2015

On 20th October 2015, TCG publisher Bushiroad’s weekly Cardfight!! Vanguard livestream on Nico Nico Douga unveiled the finalized title and cast list of the previously-announced stage play to be performed in Japan in January 2016, and further information was subsequently added on official minisite on Nelke Planning.

Screenshot of the cast list during the livestream, taken by @tani0521 on twitter

Screenshot of the cast list unveil during the livestream, taken by @tani0521 on twitter

The musical is titled Cardfight!! Vanguard ~Battle Stage~ (「カードファ イト‼︎ヴァンガー ド」〜バーチャル・ and will run for 2 shows daily (for most days) between 5th to 11th January 2016 at the AiiA 2.5 Theater Tokyo.

Alternate logo for the stage, taken from actress Konona Shiba's official twitter

Alternate logo for the stage, taken from actress Konona Shiba’s official twitter

A key visual (below) was unveiled on the minisite, depicting the three main characters in the first season of the Vanguard anime, protagonist Aichi Sendou (middle band), his rival Kai Toshiki (lowermost band) and the main antagonist Ren Suzugamori (uppermost band).

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A short blurb, albeit an extremely generic (to those already familiar to the franchise) explanation to how the protagonist Aichi Sendou picked up the game after receiving a copy of his would-be signature unit, Blaster Blade from his would-be-rival, Kai Toshiki, parallels the first few chapters and episodes of the manga and Season 1 anime:

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This, coupled with the appearance of other characters in the first season of the anime might suggest that Battle Stage will be based off its plot to some extent. This might perhaps be strategic: allowing more casual fans who do have that deep of an understanding of the plot and lores of subsequent seasons to follow the musical more easily, and also because these characters have been around much longer than the current G-era anime series which introduces much newer characters that longtime fans are less familiar with.

The cast list is as follows:

Shunya Ohira <Aichi Sendou> https://twitter.com/trampshunya
Kento <Kai Toshiki> http://ameblo.jp/kento-offcialblog/

Ami Noujou <Misaki Tokura>
Shinta Soma <Kamui Katsunagi>

Shiba Konona <Narumi Asaka>
Reiji Sakagaki <Tetsu Shinjou>
Shinichiro Ueda <Kyou Yahagi>

Mashu Ishiwatari <Miwa Taishi>
Rio Takahashi <Katsumi Morikawa>
Daichi Tanaka <Yuta Izaki>

Shuuta Morishima <Shin Nitta>
Takeuchi Yume <Emi Sendou>
Marina Horiuchi<Mai Tobita>

Someya Toshi <Ren Suzugamori>

Suzuko Mimori <Kourin Tatsunagi>

Among the list, Shuuta Morishima and Suzuko Mimori are also VAs reprising the anime characters they voice for Battle Stage. Curious fans of  Nogizaka46’s Ami Nojou might also be drawn into the stage play.

According to Ami Nojou’s official blog, she expressed her acknowledgement that her fans, along with fans of the Vanguard series might be considerably surprised by her taking up the role in this play which might draw doubt as to whether it would be befitting or otherwise:

“All this while, I’ve been wanting to work on stage plays, and this year’s ‘Joshiraku’ which I had performed in was the beginning. This thought drove me to improve myself, so I was really happy to take up [the vanguard stage musical] as chance to take another step further.

“Everything in the role that I shall perform this time is frankly quite unlike myself, so it isn’t an exaggeration to say that this was very unexpected. So I think that it should be likely that many fans of Vanguard who watched the anime might be wondering why on earth am I taking up this role.

“As more and more people wonder about this, I want to surprise and let everyone see a befitting performance that no one had imagined I was capable of. I think it would be great if I could do it so well as to have everyone not see me as Nojou Ami during the performance.

“As such, I think of it as a chance. I would be really happy if everyone could come to see the musical (o^^o)

Tickets will go on sale starting 10am on 29th November 2015 for 7800 yen, inclusive of tax. The methods of purchase and showtimes are listed and elaborated upon in the website.

Anime-to-stage adaptations have been popular in the 90s with titles like Sailor Moon and Prince of Tennis being brought to the stage, and recently again when many large anime franchises trend on on promoting a 2.5D experience of being able to appreciate their universe with seiyuu and live-action artistes. A recurring challenge these musicals face is that combat is relatively harder to replicate on stage compared to other aspects of the anime, and is thus often short in screen time and aided by accompanying battle themes and other stage effects. This might prompt some fans to question, for the time being, how the card-fights will be played out on stage and if they will be a prominent aspect of the play, considering the game-centered nature of the Vanguard franchise.
Readers may stay tuned for more updates and purchase tickets on Battle Stage at its official minisite in Japanese.

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