I’ve wanted to see Ad-Live for a while now, and when SuzuKen announced Kiiyan and Okamoto in the same show, no way I was missing it. My friends and I were 0 for … every lottery, though, and, needless to say, no luck with the general sale. But I wasn’t to be denied, particularly since the show was two days after my friend Nancy’s birthday, so I was persistent, and ended up getting a pair to the 13:00 show for a reasonable price. Last row, second floor, but there! And Nancy was lucky in the lottery for the 16:00 show live viewing, so we were set.
I was a little trepidatious since my listening skills are still wanting, to be kind, and I feared not understanding anything. I’ll admit, I missed a lot, but got enough from context (and occasionally asking), that I’d recommend the experience for fans with even marginal listening skills. We’re guessing that the general premise is the same for each show, so, if you’re going to next weekend’s shows, don’t read!
I did take a picture of the stage (*ahem*), but don’t feel right posting it. So I’ll just say that it was on a turntable, with one half set up as the employee break room of a company (Tomodachi Factory) and the other side changed, depending on the scene. The break room was very detailed — table with chairs, a couch, drink dispensers, a phone and a TV. There were two ways in and out — a door and an ‘elevator.’ They used the same sets for both shows; what changed were their roles and their personalities. The basic setup for each show was the same: two guys coming to Tomodachi Factory to find a friend, and they have to go through a series of “tests” before they decide if they like the other guy. And at random points in the event, they would reach into their bags to pull out random words and phrases to use, of course.
SuzuKen played the same role for both shows, a company employee guiding his two customers, but his personality was so very, very different! For the day show he was confident, self-assured and talked really quickly. Nobu-kun was a very timid “youtuber,” Okamura Shoutarou, dressed all in black, very introverted … and with a love of orange juice. So much so that when Suzu got him a second cup and held it out, he scurried over and started drinking out of it right from Suzu’s hand. And it turns out he has a childhood fear of leopard print. Cue SuzuKen fetching Kiiyan, aka Hayashi Kentarou, dressed in a black tank top with gold detailing, snazzy high top sneakers and … leopard print shorts, causing Shou-chan to cower in fear, going “Kowaiii!” (Kyaaaa! Nobu was SO CUTE). Kiiyan’s hair was very smooth and slicked down … and it turns out his Kentarou works in a beauty salon.
After a quick review of the several hundred page contract, the two guys are led up to the 35th floor (oh, yes, Kentarou insists he’s 35, but Shou-chan doesn’t believe him … and I say Shou-chan, because that’s what Kentarou starts calling him from the get-go almost). Their first test is a a tiny matsuri run by an older guy who says nothing. They need to earn 30 points at a game to get their first tomodachi medal. The game turns out to be blowing into a dart gun to pop balloons with a dart. For the record, Nobu sucks at this, missing twice on this go ‘round. Kiiyan rocks this game and got two. But instead of points, he had to answer riddles. And that he failed miserably (and cutely). So no medal for the guys, alas.
Next, it’s back down to the break room to go over their privacy statements. Where we … and apparently Nobu, to judge by his reaction, find out that Kiiyan’s Kentarou is douseiai … or in other words, he’s a gay hairdresser. You better believe we were all howling with laughter at this point. After Suzu takes Shou-chan aside for a quick talk, they’re off to their next test … which has them going up to the 40th floor and Kiiyan getting strapped into what looks like a barber’s chair, but with lights on top, while Nobu donned a pair of Vegas-style wings with bells on them, and had to play charades, acting out things like skydiving and a snake. He was really good at it!
I think they got a medal for this, but … Kiiyan still had to do a batsu game, and the chair spun around while he had to answer questions. And then … their floor lost power, save for the TV, which was playing this odd company news video interspliced with the company mascots and … a bomb. Yow!
Nobu figures out how to free Kiiyan from the chair with the help of Suzu’s disembodied voice, and the two of them get to chat for a bit, Nobu’s Shou-chan having come out of his shell, even calling Kentarou “Ken-chan.” After a bit, the elevator opens up, they go back down to the break room, where Suzu apologizes and has them sit down for a meal. The meal includes a bottle of wine, which Suzu had to name after one of the adlib cards … Bakayarou! Heh. And … Shou-chan had mentioned earlier that it was his birthday (Nobu’s 29th birthday is later in the month), so a small cake came out after the meal. And yes, Nobu likes his sweets, oh yes. He made short work of his part. All the while the two are chatting, getting along fabulously.
And then … in a bizarre twist, it’s time for a game of Russian Roulette. No, really … they draw lots, and Nobu’s up first. He shoots at Suzu and … empty. Suzu’s next and again, empty. Next up is Kiiyan, who takes aim with his left hand and BANG! Suzu falls over, chest bloody. Needless to say the guys are rattled, and head into the elevator when it opens.
This time it goes down, and down, and down to the B35 floor, where there’s a futuristic looking room with a phone, a tv and what looks like a space capsule. The tv plays a video and explains that they have five minutes before a bomb goes off to decide who will go into the capsule and be saved. Of course Ken-chan wants to save Shou-chan, so he opens up the capsule, urges the younger man in. But wait, there’s a catch! There’s a panel with lights and buttons, and if they push the right one, the bomb will be stopped. With time running out, Kiiyan gets Nobu into the capsule and slaps the blue button. And the countdown stops! Phew!
When they get back to the break room, turns out Suzu’s staffer is just fine! He shows them their two medals, sits them down and goes to get two two-sided signs — one sign says friend. And they have to say if they’re friends or not. And of course they are!
I know my write-up’s kind of dry, but Nobu and Kiiyan were sweet and adorable and did pretty well for not having done this sort of thing before. Nobu really only lost it at the douseiai reveal. I was really rooting for Shou-chan and Ken-chan to hit it off despite Shou’s fear of leopard print. I didn’t catch a lot of the actual ad-libs in this one, but as you might expect, some times they were perfect, and other times it was difficult to fit the words in. At the very end, when they’re taking their bows and chatting briefly, they read the ones left in their bags. And here’s the only time Kiiyan played up that Ken-chan was gay, flipping his hair and making cute, sporty poses. Oh, and there’s a pic taken when the guys meet, and at the very end — much better pic for these two at the end, needless to say!
The whole show ran about an hour and forty minutes, which meant we had to scramble to get from the theater in Misato to the movie theatre Saitama Shin-toshin for the 16:00 live viewing. But we made it (along with other folks from the show) and settled into the second row with popcorn to watch. And it turned out to be even better.
This time around Kiiyan was a salaryman, in a suit easily two times too big, who worked in foreign affairs and with an odd obsession with his nose hair. His actual hair had been brushed out and crimped. His character showed up first this time, to be joined by … well, Nobu looking to me like he walked out of a D&D game — boots, tunic and pants and cape. A cape his bag kept getting caught up in, pffffft. And when introduced, he said his name was Yuusha …. Yuusha Go (Hero 5). Apparently a Dragon Quest 5 reference. Only he wasn’t just a guy dressed up as a hero … he really WAS a hero.
We had assumed it would be Kiiyan who was the timid one this time. Nope. He was a bit more brash, Nobu … more confident. And Suzu was the knock-kneed, bumbling clerk type. Heh. Same tests as before. This time Nobu managed one balloon! Worth -20 points. Ha! Kiiyan got two again, and both times got riddles again, causing him to break the 4th wall a bit and whine about getting 4 riddles. And the last one was a real stinker of a pun. The question was a place you could go to heat your body up. Gamely, Kiiyan answered “sauna,” but the answer was a HOTel. /facepalm. He actually played around with one of the other props, a recorder, while waiting for Suzu’s timid clerk to finish saying something. He played it, very briefly. Heh.
No big privacy reveal this time, but during the explanation, Suzu talked about something being maxed out and pumped his fist in the air while saying “Max!” dramatically … which led Kiiyan to copying him … repeatedly, throughout the show. Silly boy.
Kiiyan’s turn to wear the wings … and a ginormous bell which hit him around, ah, crotch level. The wing harness was a bit too small, so they sat kind of cutely lopsided on him. Kiiyan’s clues were a little harder than Nobu’s, but Nobu’s a great guesser! We got to see Kiiyan do a pyramid, a bodybuilder and … Michael Jackson. Most of us might think to moonwalk to act out MJ, but not Kiiyan. He hiked up his pants and mimed MJ’s crotch grabbing. Of course he did. XDD I think Nobu got them all right, but again the batsu game and the ominous video. (The chair this time failed to stop where Nobu could watch the video, so Kiiyan had to explain to him what it showed). This time, after freeing Nobu, Kiiyan pelted him with questions about whether he preferred blondes or, ah, blue-haired women.
Back down to the dinner, where this time they had a nice merlot. I missed the name, but in another 4th wall moment, Kiiyan compared it to the Bakayarou from the first skit. Heh. The clerk ended up pouring himself a glass of wine, and was promptly drunk after just a sip. They poured water into him, and, in an effort to keep him out of the wine, Nobu downed his second glass in record time and, ah, Kiiyan guzzled straight from the bottle. Somewhere earlier, it had come out that Kiiyan’s character was “level 40,” and when Suzu came back with an even bigger cake this time, Nobu said he was level 24 going on level 29 (again referencing his upcoming birthday).
Suzu’s clerk was distracted while he was cutting the cake into four pieces, and when he dashed away out of the room, one piece threatened to fall, so Nobu reached out and grabbed with his left hand … ¼ of the whole cake, and started chowing down. He ended up with frosting on his cape, and all Kiiyan could do was laugh and go “Sugeeee.” They managed to chat around his eating, but dang, he finished off by shoving enough cake into his mouth that he should’ve looked like a chipmunk, heh.
Suzu came back with the gun case … and grabbed the bottle and pretty much downed most of what was left before they could stop him. Turns out his mild-mannered clerk is a domineering bully when drunk! This time around the gun had a balloon on the end, so when Kiiyan went first, all he did was pop the balloon … at which point the other Tomodachi Factory staffer (who had worked the matsuri, wheeled in their food, etc.) came in and shot Suzu’s character (plot twist!). Our two panicked guys flailed for a minute, then headed down in the elevator.
This time, our cake-loving hero wanted to save the salaryman, but Kiiyan’s character was stubborn and there were only 77 seconds left when he finally got into the capsule and Nobu hit the button to stop the bomb. Back upstairs to find one hungover clerk. Heh. This time, in their final chat, the words drawn were priceless. Kiiyan got that he was a weapon (Yuusha’s weapon?!) and he told Nobu “You are my hero.” Eeeeee! Nobu … his final words were that Kiiyan’s character was his missing puzzle piece. D’aaaaaaw. Of course they opted to be friends.
In the goodbyes this time, it turns out the last ad-lib in Kiiyan’s bag was “Muri da!” (Impossible!) and Nobu’s was about video rentals. So glad they didn’t choose those. They also thanked everyone who went to the live viewings, which was nice.
I will so be back next year. And hope that both Kiiyan and Nobu get to come back to. Would love to see Kiiyan with Sakurai, Morikubo, NamiDai or Ono Kensho….