The boom of stage play adaptations, or 2.5-dimensional stage plays, of anime and manga series traces way back in 2003 with the hit musical Prince of Tennis (ミュージカル・テニスの王子様), commonly known as TeniMyū (テニミュ), based from the acclaimed manga of the same title by Konomi Takeshi. The production attracted a lot of local and international fans, mostly females, and this paved the way for popular manga and anime titles to be brought to life on stage by up-and-coming actors and actresses.

Karasuno High vs Aoba Johsai High Practice Match in Hyper Projection Play “Haikyū!!” | © H.Furudate/ Shueisha, HYPER PROJECTION ENGEKI “HAIKYUU!!” Project | Source: Voyapon.com

In recent years, efforts were stepped up by production companies to make 2.5D productions more realistic and more creative than the precedent plays. This is what made Hyper Projection Play “Haikyū!!” (ハイパープロジェクション演劇「ハイキュー!!」), adapted from the popular manga and anime Haikyū!! (ハイキュー!!) by Haruichi Furudate, really stand out among the 2.5D productions in Japan. It’s no wonder that the stage play also captured the interest of avid fans of the anime here in the Philippines because of the seamless integration of graphics projected on the walls, rotating and tilting stage, choreographed volleyball plays and dance steps, stage props, and on-point portrayals of seasoned and newbie actors to bring altogether an exceptional form of entertainment.

Asuma Kousuke (遊馬晃祐), the 23-year old actor from Gifu who is known as Oikawa Tōru (及川 徹) in Hyper Projection Play “Haikyū!!”, recently visited Manila as a guest at the biggest Japanese pop culture convention in the Philippines, Cosplay Mania 2018 held on September 29 and 30. Otakultura got to sit down with him to get to know him better.

Kousuke started as an actor when he was introduced by a friend. His debut role was Oikawa Tōru in 2015 in which he was able to use his skills in volleyball. With his accurate portrayal of the character and good looks, he instantly became a fan-favorite.

as Oikawa Tōru in Hyper Projection Engeki Haikyu!! Stage | © H.Furudate/ Shueisha, HYPER PROJECTION ENGEKI “HAIKYŪ!!” Project

After Kousuke’s successful performance in Haikyū!!, he portrayed different characters from a number of stage plays, such as Ichimaru Gin (市丸ギン) in ROCK MUSICAL BLEACH ~Another Ground (もうひとつの地上)~, Kawakami Otojirō (川上音二郎) in Meiji Tokyo Renka (明治東亰恋伽), and Hanzō Hattori (服部 半蔵) in Brave 10 to name some. He said he’s challenged by the frequent change in characters, but overcomes this every single time by studying hard, reading the manga, and watching the anime from where the stage play was lifted.

as Mukami Yūma in DIABOLIK LOVERS MORE,BLOOD | © Rejet・IDEA FACTORY/DIABOLIK LOVERS MB PROJECT | © 舞台「DIABOLIK LOVERS MB」製作委員会

Among the characters Kousuke had portrayed, he shared that the most interesting one was Mukami Yūma (無神 ユーマ) from DIABOLIK LOVERS MORE,BLOOD because that was the first time he played as an S (sadist). On the other hand, the character who made a great impact on him was Oikawa Tōru since this was his debut role and he has been playing as him for so long. It was also through this character that got him into acting.

The best part of Kousuke’s job as an actor is being able to bring happiness to his audience. Getting applauded by his fans inspires him to do better to continue earning these applause. He finds acting on stage plays simple but enjoyable which motivates him to keep on doing it. He shared that being on the stage helped him develop his confidence and he will forever be grateful to his fans for it.

Kousuke also mused about receiving a lot of helpful advice, such as to convince yourself that you are Number 1, you are shining on stage, and to play the character accordingly without minding other things. His piece of advice to aspiring actors:

“Despite not knowing when your big break will be, continue to work hard in your preparations and keep chasing your dreams.”

It’s not surprising how he captures hearts across the globe — it’s because of his passion and dedication into acting to make his fans happy (his good looks is just a bonus!).

Kousuke will reprise his role as Oikawa Tōru in the sixth installment of Hyper Projection Play “Haikyū!!” – The Strongest Team (最強の場所), scheduled to open on October 20 and will run until December 16. It will be performed in five cities:
• Tokyo at Tokyo Dome City Hall (Oct. 20 – 28 and Dec. 7 – 16)
• Hiroshima at Hatsukaichi Bunka Hall Skura Pia Big Hall (Nov. 9 – 10)
• Hyogo at Amashin Archaic Hall (Nov 15 – 18)
• Osaka at Umeda Arts Theater Main Hall (Nov. 23 – 25)
• Miyagi at Tagajyou Civic Center, Main Hall (Nov. 30 – Dec. 2)

© H.Furudate/ Shueisha, HYPER PROJECTION ENGEKI “HAIKYUU!!” Project

Follow Kousuke on Instagram and Twitter and read his official blog.

Otakultura is an official media partner of Cosplay Mania 2018.