Bringing the over-the-top soccer moves of Captain Tsubasa to a live stage seems like a crazy idea, but it’s the kind of crazy Ebina has built a career on.
Captain Tsubasa stands among the true classics of manga and anime. Aside from its endearing and epic tale of the titular soccer player and those he meets, the series if often accredited with sewing the seeds of soccer fandom in Japan, which would give birth to the J-League and modern Japanese World Cup Teams that today have a significant presence in the sports world.
And now it has been announced that Captain Tsubasa will become a theatrical production this summer in Tokyo. The logistics of holding a soccer match live on-stage seem harrowing enough. I mean, how do you control the ball?
But the particular brand of soccer played in the world of Captain Tsubasa is even more daunting. For example, here are one of the many special moves of the series: The Sky Hurricane by the Tachibana Brothers.
Okay, I suppose you could pull that off with wires, but how about the Phoenix Drive Shot?
I don’t care how many wires you have, making a soccer ball morph into a glowing phoenix and back into a ball again before hitting the post in front of a live audience is damn near impossible.
Perhaps that is why the one and only Kenichi Ebina (a.k.a. Ebiken) has been tasked with directing the Captain Tsubasa stage show. You may recall Ebina as the winner of America’s Got Talent a few years back. Anyone who remembers his performances there will know he’s got the right skill set to take on this challenging task.
The stage show’s announcement is light on details, but they say they will present all of the popular special moves depicted in the manga authentically using “dance, martial arts, illusion, and digital.” What exactly they mean by “digital” is unclear, but they go on to say that they will be using the latest technology never before seen in the theater to present a show that can be enjoyed with all five senses.
Upon hearing “latest technology” and “all five senses” it’s hard not to wonder if they plan to incorporate either virtual or augmented reality to recreate some of the more dazzling moves.We certainly wouldn’t put it past Ebina to try something like that.
More details are sure to emerge leading up to its 18 August debut at the Zepp Blue Theater in Roppongi, Tokyo. Expectations are high, not only to see how they pull this off, but how they treat one of Japan’s most beloved and culturally significant manga franchises on the live stage.
Captain Tsubasa: Super Experience Stage / 超体感ステージ「キャプテン翼」
Venue: Zepp Blue Theater Roppongi / Zepp ブルーシアター六本木
Address: 5-11-12 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo
Scheduled run: 23 shows from Friday, 18 August to Sunday, 3 September, 2017