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Theater / Tou Myu

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One of two distinct stage continuities, Musical Touken Ranbu (or TouMyu as it's affectionately abbreviated) is a series of musicals adapted from the Touken Ranbu franchise. Coming months after the release of the original game in 2015, these musicals take focus on quite a few groups of Touken Danshi as they travel through time and solve their current historical conundrum. Since there's no real overarching story in the games, this particular continuity solves the problem by making up some of its own: so the characters get to tussle with some of history's most interesting characters, fight some unusual adversaries, and sing a verse or two along the way. And after the musicals end, the audience is treated to an extra performance by the cast, one involving all of them doing battle in the modern day the only way they can— by putting on flashy and exciting idol concerts for hundreds of Saniwa!


Wait, what?

Touken Ranbu and Idol Singers mixed together? In canon? It's an unusual combination, but it worked. In fact it worked so well that the series has been running successfully for four years with 6 plays and 3 concerts under its belt — enough to even score solo concerts for its characters and produce very popular in-character singles.

The musicals have quite the international audience; performances in China are not uncommon since at least Bakamatsu Tenrouden, and the cast has performed at the French Japan Expo since 2017. In July 2018, the musical franchise branched out internationally; most of the original cast came back to perform Atsukashiyama Ibun at Japan Expo for the French audience, while the DVDs for the play now come with English subtitles.

  • Atsukashiyama Ibun (The Strange Tale of Mt. Atsukashi)
    • Musical Touken Ranbu: Trial Performance (2015)
    • Atsukashiyama Ibun (2016): Essentially, a revision of the Trial Run. It adds three new songs to the main play (Kogitsunemaru and Ishikirimaru get "Utaka no Komori Uta", Ishikirimaru and Kashuu replace their war conversation with "Mujun to iu Na no Tsubomi", and Imanotsurugi protecting Yoshitsune in the climax is turned into "Oboeteiru"), and some aesthetic changes are made.
    • Atsukashiyama Ibun 2018 - A rerun of the first play for Paris Japan Expo.
  • Bakamatsu Tenrouden (Tale of the Bakamatsu Dog Star) (2016)
  • Mihotose no Komoriuta (The Three Hundred Year Old Lullaby) (2017)
    • 2019 Rerun
  • Tsuwamono Domo ga Yume no Ato (2017)
  • Musubi no Hiki, Hajimari no Ne (2018)
  • Kishou Hongi (2019)

Special Performances

  • Shinkenranbu Sai - The Concert Episode.
    • Shinkenranbu Sai 2016: The casts of Atsukashiyama Ibun and Bakamatsu Tenrouden return for a whole night of dance and song!
    • Shinkenranbu Sai 2017: Featuring the casts of Mihotose and Tsuwamono.
    • Shinkenranbu Sai 2018
  • Kashuu Kiyomitsu Tanki Shutsujin/Solo PerformanceExactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • Tanki Shutsujin 2017
    • Tanki Shutsujin 2018
  • Higekiri Hizamaru Soki Shutsujin 2019 — Similar to Kashuu's solo concerts, except the focus this time is turned to the Genji swords Higekiri and Hizamaru.
  • Utaawase Ranbu Kyouran 2019


Tropes spanning the entire musical series:

  • Action Prologue: Most of the shows open up with a flashy battle sequence in the time period the Touken Danshi will be investigating.
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: You'd better believe it. But in this case, it's only loosely adapted; the basic premise and characters is all the musicals take. The rest is crafted wholesale.
  • Audience Participation Song: Sometimes "Takaramono" is played like this.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: At times, the major players fight in pairs, so there are ample amounts of time when they perform this trope.
  • Blow That Horn: How announcements are made known in this Citadel.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: "Touken Ranbu" is pretty much this and an Expository Theme Tune, having each relevant sword talk about how awesome they themselves are and how they're going to keep fighting until their last breath.
  • Breakout Character: Kashuu by far is the most loved of the stage characters and the actors, scoring an original solo event beginning in 2017 and is thus far the only stage character to obtain one. The Genji swords are not far behind, given that they scored their own event together in 2019.
  • Break-Up Song: "LOVE STORY" seems to be one.
  • Close-Enough Timeline: Really, "correcting history's mistakes" just boils down to this. The good side doesn't much care how history corrected itself, it just needs to have the same events happen to co-align with current history, and they'll be fine.
    • Sure, Yoshitsune and Benkei don't die in the raid by Yasuhashi, and Yoshitsune doesn't commit sepukku, but they still die albeit, by Yoshitsune's hand in Benkei's case and after being possessed in Yoshitsune's case.
    • Kondo Isami still dies at Itabashi; he is not executed by the government, since Soji kills his would be executioners, but instead requests his own death at the hands of the Touken Danshi.
    • Tokugawa Ieyasu does go on to conquer and unify Japan under his rule— at least, with the help of the Touken Danshi replacing his retainers. And Noboyasu still dies, in a way; while he doesn't commit seppuku, he does get "killed" trying to save Ishikirimaru, and escapes the eye of history by becoming an ordinary farmer and renaming himself Gohei.
    • After long thought, Hachisuka outright advocates for this after allowing Yamatonokami to join the Shinsengumi.
    The flow of history is like a large river. A small ripple won't affect the greater flow. Even if it does, we'll have to keep it out of the history books.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Sanjou School swords are mentioned in the beginning of Tenrouden, as Kashuu was relieved of leadership duty for that group. "Yakuwari" is also used as a motif in "Erabarenu Mono".
    • Kashuu's fanservice line in Shinkenranbu Sai ("I'll love you as long as you look at me") references one of his songs from his solo concert (Mitsumekure naru/As long as you look at me).
  • Demonic Possession: Happens quite a few times:
    • After the fight with Yasuhashi, contact with the Retrograde Army somehow led to Yoshitsune's sword coming to life in addition to the immeasurable power given to him, Benkei, and Yasuhira. Yoshitsune's sword ends up taking over by stabbing itself into his body, killing Yoshitsune but leaving him a controllable corpse.
    • Okita Soji's sword is possessed in the climax of Bakamatsu Tenrouden.
  • Excuse Plot: The reason why the Touken Danshi are suddenly singing and dancing on stage? Apparently, this is just how people battle in the 21st century since the era is so much more peaceful than others, and they need to practice their skills as performers as well as swordsmen, as is the way of a true samurai. Why they need the glowsticks and strobe lights is another matter entirely.
  • Fanservice: So very much of it in these musicals:
    • Any time the swords fight, and clothes get torn up along the way. Especially their awakenings.
    • "Otokomichi" has the performing Touken Danshi throw their tops off, revealing their sweaty, slim tops and midriffs/chests to the audience.
    • In the 2016 Shinkenranbu Sai version of "Tokenai Mahou", Kashuu does of a lot of hip thrusts while he's dancing, including with a backup dancer.
    • Tanki Shutsujin is filled with this. One of Kashuu's songs has him bound up singing about how much he loves his master; he and the backup dancers dance more provocatively in some musical numbers, and they get to mess around with him.
    • At one point in Musubi no Hiki, Horikawa is tied up by the Shinsengumi, interrogated by Hijikata himself.
  • Gratuitous English: The concert songs in general are full of this. "Gateway" is the worst offender.
  • Idol Singer: Surprisingly, yes. The Touken Danshi also moonlight as idol singers whenever they travel to the modern day.
  • Men Don't Cry: Generally averted, the boys do cry often and openly here. "Otokomichi" also discusses the sentiment during the bridge:
    On the night our dreams had failed and we shed tears,
    The wind started blowing and spoke to us;
    "Don't be afraid to cry; but if you try again,
    who knows how strong you will become?
  • Mythology Gag:
    • You'll sometimes hear the characters' in-game quotes during the plays, especially when battle rears its head.
    • For the Touken Ranbu franchise's third anniversary, the Musubi no Hiki main cast took photos as their respective Touken Danshi, sitting as they do in their characters' in-game anniversary pictures.
  • Popular History: In full effect here. From the Yoshitsune household to the Bakamatsu era, the series looks at many well known historical figures.
  • Rated M for Manly: Say hello to the "Otokomichi" sequence! Not only is the sequence introduced with the very cool and manly historical figures doing a taiko drum performance, but the song itself is a love letter to the hard and arduous path of masculinity, and when performed in concert remains one of the few songs where the Toudan strip into a more revealing outfit.
  • Revolving Door Casting: No one cast is completely consistent from play to play. There are some consistent teams (Sanjou, Shinsengumi), but even then they'll have different unrelated Touken Danshi coming along for the ride.
  • Running Gag:
    • Kashuu and Yamamtonokami fighting over who gets animal tending duty.
    • Izuminokami's haikus.
    • In the concerts, Kashuu's confusion during the "who skipped training" punishment game.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Yamatonokami is first mentioned in Atsukashiyama Ibun, where Kashuu asks the Saniwa to bring him on their mission (as a more competent member). He doesn't actually show up until the very next play Bakumatsu Tenrouden .
    • In general, the second third of the mainstay cast (the Shinsengumi swords) doesn't appear until the second musical, and the remaining cast members (Sengo and Tonbokiri) don't appear until the third.
  • Silly Love Songs: "Your Song" is definitely a sort of platonic love song to the Danshi's masters. They sing more conventional love songs, like "Blink", "Tokenai Mahou", and "MISTAKE", in the post-play concerts.
  • The Team: In the musical, the main characters form a group. As we see from the main website:
    • Team Sanjou with Kashuu Kiyomitsunote 
      • The fourth musical excises Kashuu and Mikazuki to include the Genji brothers (Higekiri and Hizamaru).
    • Team Shinsengumi with Hachisuka Kotetsu note 
      • The fifth musical slightly changes this lineup to include Tomeagata Naginata and Mutsunokami Yoshiyuki, replacing Kashuu and Hachisuka.
    • Team Mihotosenote 
    • 2019 team note 
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: Series staple "MISTAKE" counts on a few people to come in with their rap verses after the first chorus.
  • World of Ham: Everyone's just as loud and passionate as the person next to them. Scenery flies off the shelves practically every second.

     Atsukashiyama Ibun & Trial Run 
  • Arc Words: "Purpose" (yakuwari).
  • Ax-Crazy: There's really not a scene that goes by when Yasuhira doesn't either scream or laugh maniacally.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: In the beginning of the play, Yoshitsune deliberately decides to burn his household down, since at least he wouldn't be dying at the enemy's hand.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Imanotsurugi came at just the right time to save Yoritomo from execution, enough to have everyone talk it out for a second.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: After Ishikirimaru and Kashuu share a heart to heart about war and an ambush plan, he nods to the audience before being dragged to battle.
  • Brutal Honesty: While Imanotsurugi is ecstatic to see Yoshitsune at a time when he's still alive, Iwatooshi has to give him a very painful reminder that they're only here to correct history and not to further screw up the timeline, which also means they can't let their former masters know who they are. Imanotsurugi takes it so harshly he runs away in near tears.
  • Call-Back: While calming Imanotsurugi down in "I Remember", Iwatooshi tells him to "remember the gift that the clouds gave us/ thousands of twinkling stars"; referencing "Kira Kira" and the ecstatic feeling Imanotsurugi had remembering his master. The same gestures are used here too.
  • Characterization Marches On: You can see some definite differences in how the characters act in the Trial Run versus how they are in Atsukashiyama Ibun:
    • Kashuu is a little less dramatic in the beginning; instead of falling over himself when he's assigned the Sanjou swords, he's just slightly miffed. He's also less childlike than he was in the original (see: his Coy, Girlish Flirt Pose in the original deriefing vs. his more resigned stature in Ibun), but seemingly more insecure about his breaking on the battlefield ("breaking in battle is a sword's highest honor/our worth as swords depends on how many we've killed" vs. "breaking doesn't make us any less of a sword").
    • Munechika's early scene showing how he doesn't get fieldwork is replaced with him playfully using the hoe as a running springboard, better reflecting his easygoing personality.
    • Yoshitsune, in the Trial Run, seemed to joke a lot more given how not seriously he enters.
  • Clothing Damage: As in the game it's based on, some swords get their clothing destroyed in the heat of battle. Iwatooshi and Imanotsurugi get their clothes shredded for their Awakening attacks in the first play.
  • Combination Attack: At the climax of Atsukashiyama Ibun, all of Squad 1 takes their turns whittling down possessed!Yoshitsune , until he finally goes down to Iwatooshi and Imanotsurugi's combined Divine Death Blow.
  • Cue the Sun: The sun rises on our heroes just as they finish taking down the possessed Yoshitsune, right on cue.
  • Double Take: Kashuu was fine with having Imanotsurugi on his team, but as soon as Ishikirimaru is mentioned, he starts questioning the Saniwa's choice of comrades.
  • Driving Question: What is your purpose? Why do you act?
  • Enemy Mine: After learning of their fates from the Historical Revisionists, and after learning he'd be betrayed after his death, Yoshitsune, Benkei, and Yasuhira join forces to take down Yorimoto.
  • Enemy Within: In the end, the Saniwa proposes that Yoshitsune's sword was this for its master. It was willing to do all of the things Yoshitsune rejects in the back of his mind.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Each of Squad 1 has theirs in Atsukashiyama Ibun:
    • Munechika's first shown goofing off while doing fieldwork, showing his easygoing nature.
    • Iwatooshi and Imanotsurugi spar in their first scene together, which quickly turns into a game of tag, showing off their close and brotherly relationship. Iwatooshi is also shown trying to keep Imanotsurugi's best interests in mind and making him happy. Ishikirimaru, who appears in the scene a little later, is seen blessing the Citadel (showing off how seriously he takes his duties).
    • Kashuu is first seen anticipating the Saniwa's word, shuting excited at what he considered "special treatment", and moaning loudly about having to keep the Sanjou swords uner control until the Saniwa places his hopes on him.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Notice how Kashuu wanted Yamatonokami on his team? Or how his issues with his breakage seem to fuel his early actions as a leader? Or how much stock he takes in the Shinsengumi code? Or how he's the only caracter disconnected from the rest of the Sanjou theme? Good thing that's not going to come up in another play...
    • During the mission debriefing, Kashuu points out that most of the team (save Iwatooshi and Imanotsurugi) have been to Atsukashi before, implying that going to a specific event multiple times is normal. The latter two will have plenty of experience by the time they go back in Tsuwamono Domo.
  • Funny Background Event: Notice that before the team get sent off to Atsukashi, Kogitsune runs around in circles chasing his clothes.
  • Frame-Up: Yorimoto was the one trying to kill Yoshitsune. Yasuhira was just called in as a fall guy, so Yorimoto could post-humously pin Yoshitsune's death on the latter man.
  • Have We Met?: After fighting againt Iwatooshi and noticing his fighting style, Benkei asks if they've interacted before. Of course, Iwatooshi declines.
  • Ironic Echo: "Even in death, watch over me!" has been used by Yoshitsune in the beginning of the play, and then again by Yoshitsune or rather, the sword controlling him when he tricks Benkei into letting his guard down so he can attack the man.
  • Laughing Mad: Yasuhira is this on the daily. Yoshitsune is only this after his sword fully possesses him.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Just before "Takaramono" begins, Kashuu sings the final line "Arukidaseru" (i'm setting out), just before he and Kogitsunemaru leave the stage.
  • Leave Him to Me: Whenever Benkei encounters the Touken Danshi in battle, Iwatooshi shoos them away in order to fight the man himself. Who better to fight Musashibo Benkei than his own former weapon?
  • Licking the Blade: Yoshitsune, when bloodthirsty, has this as his Character Tic which is actually just the sword possessing him. Used cruelly when he licks Benkei's blood off of his sword after he kills the latter.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: The Revisionists decide to inform Yoshitsune of Yorimoto's assassination attempt, which, along with somehow making an ally of his would-be killer Yasuhira, allows Yoshitsune and Benkei to survive their fatal final battles. The fact that they're alive at all after this point gives the Touken Danshi reason to investigate this matter and correct it.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • In the beginning of Atsukashi Ibun, Yoshitsune tells the dying Benkei to "meet [him] in the next world, and the ones after next"; later on after the climax, Iwatooshi reaffirms Yoshitsune's statement to Imanotsurugi and gives him a shoulder ride as he did in the beginning of the musical.
    • In the beginning of the Mt. Atsukashi mission, we see Yoshitsune disown his brother after he learns that he tried to kill him. Later on in the climax, Imanotsurugi finally finds the strength to complete his assigned mission after he disowns Yoshitsune, or rather the sword possessing his corpse.
  • Mutual Envy: Yoshitsune looks at Yorimoto's political genius, envious that he has the skills to lead Japan into an era of peace. But Yorimoto doesn't see things that way; being The Unfavorite, he looks at Yoshitsune's military genius, popularity, and how most of their acquaintances want Yoshitsune to take clan head position. Leads into Cain and Abel pretty quickly, considering how he attempts to kill Yoshitsune.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Benkei is compelled to follow Yoshitsune, even when he knows that he's been possessed. Not wanting to lay arms on his young lord, he asks Iwatooshi to either kill him or stop Yoshitsune in his stead, which the Touken Danshi readily agrees to.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Iwtooshi and Imanotsurugi fulfill this role. Iwatooshi because he's a relatively new Touken Danshi, and both him and Imanotsurugi because they've never been on a Mt. Atsukashi mission before and therefore can't handle themselves there like their other partners can.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Sanjou+Kiyomitsu team is treated like one in the beginning. There's no real strategic advantge to putting them together besides theme; Munechika and Kogitsunemaru are too carefree, Ishikirimaru is too busy taking his priest duties seriously, Iwatooshi's completely new, and Kashuu has only just been given a leadership role for this mission. Saniwa even lampshades how unlikely the team would be on a normal basis.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Yoshitsune's completely possessed form is so Obviously Evil it hurts. His wardrobe is black will red accents, with the top covered in a cobweb pattern.
  • Resist the Beast: Benkei certainly tries his best to do so; whenever he catches himself struggling with the dark power his weapon now wields, he bites, struggles, drops his weapon enough to return to a regular state. Yoshitsune does this as well, having to physically restrain the sword from coming out. Fortunately, the former doesn't let it win over him. Unfortunately, the latter forcibly loses control.
  • Retirony: All Yoshitsune wants is to know why Yoritomo tried to have him killed. Once he learns that, he mentions that he wants to retire from his position as military head and become a monk afterwards. Too bad his sword doesn't feel the same way.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: By all accounts, Yoshitsune is trying to collect Yorimoto's head after his failed assassination attempt with Yasuhira.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The only times Yoshitsune ever uses his tantou in Atsukashi Ibun/the Trial Run is when he performs an honorable act; the first time when he commits seppuku, and the second when he frees Yorimoto and tells him to escape the mountain. Any time he uses his other sword is for violence or struggling with the thought of violence.
  • Running Gag: Ishikirimru's slowness, a reference to his Mighty Glacier status in the original game.
  • Schmuck Bait: During the frontal raid on Yoshitsune's castle, Ishikirimaru tosses an enemy a sword to fight with—right before Kashuu comes in to knock it out of his hands.
  • "Silly Me" Gesture: Imnotsurugi does one when he forgets his own name talking to Yoshitsune.
  • Starts with a Suicide: How Atsukashiyama Ibun/Trial Run opens up. After Benkei gives his life defending Yoshitsune to the last, Yoshitsune himself commits seppuku/harakiri to the confused ramblings of Imanotsurugi.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In order to stop Yoshitsune once and for all, Iwatooshi holds the former back and has Munechika run through the both of them. Munechika only manages to hit Yoshitsune, excusing his oldness.
  • Taking the Bullet: Before possessed!Yoshitsune has a chance to slice through Imanotsurugi, Iwatooshi throws him out of the way to take one of his many critical injuries in the climax.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: The older swords invoke this on Iwatooshi and Kashuu as they struggle with their goals during the Mt. Atsukashi mission.
    • According to Kogitsunemaru, Kashuu needs to discover the correct method of leadership by himself, as he won't just give him he answer.
    • Whether or not it's right to act on their own accord or by their master's orders is up to them to decide.
  • Undying Loyalty: Imanotsurugi is hellbent on meeting and protecting his master Yoshitsune, even though that's not what he was sent there to do. The fact that he needs to correct history—which means his master needs to die again—causes him to run off to Atsukashi and try to find Yoshitsune himself, as well as protect the corrupted corpse of Yoshitsune from the other Touken Danshi because of his love for him.
  • Warrior Therapist: Munechika prefers to let fighting (or dancing) do the talking when it comes to conversation. After all, he believes that they're far most honest than words can be.
  • Wham Line: While Yoshitsune is struggling with his sword, we see a glimpse of him that was much less violent than his earlier portrayals showed us:
    "I need to ask my brother! *much softer, saner voice* For what reason did he want to kill me?"
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Yoshitsune's sword, if the Saniwa's words are anything to go by. The Saniwa muses that after the Revisionist came into contact with it, the sword gained its own will and tried to led Yoshitsune down the path it thought best for its master.
  • What Is This Feeling?: As a new recruit, Iwatooshi isn't quite used to having emotions yet, finding himself reacting to everything most haphazardly and putting his feelings in conflict with his duty to the Saniwa. He admits he found it easier to be an inanimate object, because he didn't have to deal with such complications.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Just as Benkei comes close to finishing off the possessed Yoshitsune, suddenly he acts as if he was freed, begging Benkei to keep protecting him. Catching him off his guard, Yoshitsune goes in for the kill.
  • You Remind Me of X: In the musicals, Benkei is taken aback by Imanotsurugi's personality, seeing a younger version of Yoshitsune in him.

    Bakamatsu Tenrouden 
  • Apologetic Attacker: Hachisuka can only give a sad, but firm "I'm sorry!" before taking Kondo Isami's head as history intended.
  • Arc Symbol: Sirius, otherwise referred to as the Dog Star. It shines down on every important historical event in the play, or at the very least is mentioned in other situations. It's ultimately also tied to the camraderie theme the musical focuses on, as Horikawa later muses on the fact that Sirius is actually two stars in close proximity, supporting each other to shine bright much like a teammate or close one would.
  • As You Know:
    • Both Izuminokami and Horikawa muse over the Nagasone/Hachisuka rivalry, explaining to each other and the audience the fact that they're both "Kotetsu" swords, but Nagasone is a fraud.
    • The Saniwa usually does this for every debriefing, talking about their battle against the Retrograde Forces and what they do to one up them. Lampshaded in the second musical, where he opens up such a speech with "I'm sure I don't need to remind you but..."
  • Bait-and-Switch: From the looks of the Retrograde cat showing up where Okita usually is, you would think that the climax of the musical would be facing off against a possessed Okita much like Aktusashiyama Ibun did the same for Minamoto no Yoshitsune. However, the climax of the story is more emotional than physical this time around; thus, Soji's inevitable possession lasts only one scene until Kondo snaps him out of it, and the real emotional climax of the musical happens Revisionist-free.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Subverted in the climax. Soji going to save Kondo from his execution would ordinarily be a pretty BDH moment, but not when it's prompted by the Retrograde Forces for the sole purpose of changing history for their own ends and undermining Kondo's own sacrifice.
  • Book-Ends: The play begins and ends on the Touken Danshi sparring with one another. Yamatonokami and Kashuu get their licks in first, followed by Nagasone and Hachisuka. Izuminokami and Horikawa don't get in on it, but they do muse about certain aspects of the story.
  • Call-Back: At the beginning of the play, Hijikata advertises his Ishida Powder product as a medicine able to cure all ills, and jokes about using it on Soji after beating him thoroughly in training. The joke comes back in a much sadder way later; first when Okita jokingly asks for it following his collapse at the Ikeda Inn, and later when Hijikata brings multiple packets to encourage Soji's health after the latter's untimely retirement from the Shinsengumi. Also counts as a Cerebus Call Back.
  • Cats Are Mean: At parts in the story, a Retrograde Force in the form of a cat will come whenever it concerns Soji's illness. The cat comes back in the climax of Yamatonokami's arc, tempting himinto giving Pkita medicine to withstand sickness; but although Yamatonokami doesn't give in, it preys upon a weakened Soji before Kondo's execution at Itabashi, possessing his sword to go rescue him.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Kashuu my be harsh on Yamatonokami for wanting to be with Soji at the raid, but he only does it because he doesn't want anyone, least of all him, to learn about the pain of seeing their master in danger and not being able to do anything about it. That said, he ultimately lets Yamatonokami go, trusting him not to give in to temptation.
  • Dark Reprise: "Erabarenu Mono" plays again in the climax when Nagasone looks at Kondo's soon to be execution. It plays more triumphantly after Hachisuka executes Kondo, but it's still underscored with a melancholy air given they just killed one of the team's master.
  • Deal with the Devil: The Retrograde cat gives Soji strength enough to save Kondo near the climax, in exchange for possessing his body.
  • Dramatic Irony: Every time Soji talks about his recklessness or not wasting the one life you have, Yamatonokami shrinks, knowing that his master will one day succumb to his illness and die in his prime.
  • Drinking Contest: As part of the pre-mission party Horikawa hosts, Squad 1 has a small drinking contest. Hchisuka, by virtue of having the biggest glass and finishing it in two gulps, ends up the undisputed winner.
  • Empathic Environment: A heavy rainstorm occurs just as Kondo's execution at Itabashi begins. Thunder pervades the area while they fight the Retrograde Forces, and the scene lets up just as they're done fighting.
  • End of an Age: A running theme in the musical. The Shinsengumi swords hold their masters in high esteem mostly because of the trope; they continued to be the Weapon of Choice to their masters even as war and weapons changed around them, which reinforces the Blood Brothers theme surrounding the group and their strong bonds. "Riyuu no Arika" has Horikawa explain this in song to Hachisuka.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Nagasone when we first see him is looked up to by Yamatonokami and Kashuu, tells them and Izuminokami to mind their duties, and in general acts as their older mentor figure.
    • Izuminokami first arrives on the scene itching for a fight, loud, brash, and in general acting immature (i.e. shirking off duty, getting upset when Nagasone has to make time for other engagements, pouting), but still very understanding. Horikawa in the same scene tries to act as The Heart, getting worried over Hachisuka and Nagasone's fighting as well as trying to make Izuminokami look at his doings.
    • Yamatonokami began the play on decent terms with Kashuu, but also half-jokingly sparring to win over the Saniwa's love. That latter point, focusing on his master, fuels a lot of his arc going forwards in the play.
    • When we first meet Hachisuka, he's collected, composed, and refuses to make banter with Nagasone unlike all of the main swords. As soon as their sparring session is over, he cuts off any attempt to bond and leaves straight away.
  • Fantastic Racism: Hachisuka's distaste for counterfeit swords drives his subplot with Nagasone, and is the basis of their constant butting heads. He's perfectly fine with the other swords though, because he both respects them and knows they're authentic. However, his prejudice is also a mask for his envy and confusion towards Nagasone, hating how he shoulders his burdens and never lets anyone really support him. The end of the play only changes this slightly; while he is now able to respect Nagasone as a member of the team, Hachisuka is still far and away from seeing him as a "brother" sword in his own right.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: In the climax, Hachisuka punches Nagasone right before he's supposed to behead Kondo, chastising him for adding one more major event to take on by his lonesome where he has multiple people that are willing to support him.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Right before Hachisuka beheads Kondo, the stage immediately cuts to black.
  • I Have No Son!: I have no brother more like it, which is how Hachisuka dismisses his Fantastic Racism towards Nagasone when called out on it by Izuminokami. He still doesn't consider Nagasone blood by the end of the play, but he does have a better opinion of him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Hachisuka does bring up a good point— he, as the odd man out of Squad 1 lacking their shared Shinsengumi and Bakamatsu era heritage, wouldn't be able to get the job done as leader as efficiently as someone who does. Then he dashes his perfectly good criticism with his anger over being put on the same team as Nagasone.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Kondo laughs off the idea of Hijikata becoming a "demon vice-commander", seeing him as the hotheaded and good hearted youth he really is at the moment.
  • Held Gaze: Both Kondo and Hijikata give Soji one before they set out to Nagareyama in 1868. They want more than anything for Soji to get better, and Soji wants the same, but all three of them look like they're trying to convince each other that they'll have time enough to reunite again.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: Yamatonokami knows that if he gives the medicine over to Soji, he'd be changing history and put himself on the same level as the Retrograde forces. Still, he decides to do it anyway.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Soji, as usual.
  • Innocently Insensitive: While Yamatonokami gives off his reasons to join the Shinsengumi during the mission, his answer to the question of breaking on the job is "I'm not that weak!". He says this right in front of Kashuu, who is the only one of the swords that did break on the battlefield. You can see he's upset when he goes to the wall after that statement.
  • It Was a Gift: The reason Nagasone gives Haachisuka for continuing to fight under the Kotetsu name, knowing he is not a Kotetsu himself. It's a precious alias Kondo gave to his sword, and for that reason alone he bears the name with dignity.
  • "I Want" Song: "Te o Nobaseba" is all about Yamatonokami's desire to get emotionally and physically closer to his former master.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Only barely averted in the end. Kondo, with his execution botched, asks Nagasone to complete the job instead; the guy almost goes through with it, if not for Hachisuka backhanding him and taking on that burden himself.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • "This is how the Shinsengumi fights"; first said by Soji while they were having a triumphant battle in the prologue, then said by Kondo to emphasize the sacrifice and loyalty the organization's leaders have for their men.
    • Nagasone saves Hachisuka from an enemy attack at the Ikeda Inn. In the climax, Hachisuka does the same for Nagasone during an enemy swarm, in the exact same pose and position, which helps emphasize his coming to understand Nagasone's mindset.
  • Manly Tears: Yamtonokami cries as he watches his master's illness get worse, while he can do nothing to stop it. Nagasone also cries near the end of the play, when he's finally told he can rely on others instead of shouldering his burdens and feelings alone, on top of being resolved of the duty of executing his master. Averted with Hijikata, though; there is nothing mature about his crying when he learns of Kondo's plans to surrender; more than anything, he looks like a guy who just lost his big brother.
  • Off with His Head!: The mission ultimately ends at Kondo's execution, where he's beheaded as part of the capital punishment. Of course, he's not executed as the timeline intended here, so Hachisuka beheads him instead.
  • Sue Donym: Yamatonokami goes under the pseudonym "Okizawa" when joining the Shinsengumi.
  • Survivor Guilt: A lot of Yamatonokami's decision to join the Shinsengumi is pretty much this. He feels paratially responsible for not being able to help his master when he needed it most, so he feels like he has a better chance to do so by being closer to him in his same organization.
  • What You Are in the Dark: After spending an entire length agonizing over whether or not to give Soji medicine for his tuberculosis, Yamatonokami ultimately shakes off temptation, stating that the Okita he knew would cease to exist provided he change circumstances in his favor.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Most of the Okita stuff is taken care of in 1864, where Yamatonokami's character arc with Soji comes to a head, Nagasone begins to come through to Hachisuka, and the Ikeda Inn raid built up over the first half of the musical finally comes to a head. However, this time period also isn't the Retrograde Army's last stop this turn around; Itabashi, 1868 is.

     Mihotose no Komoriuta 
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The musicals' first true victory for the Retrograde Forces comes at the very beginning, where they wipe out the whole Matsudaira clan.
  • Book-Ends: At the beginning of the play, Ishikirimaru begins writing his record of the Mikawa mission, and runs into Ookurikara, trying to capture his likeness for the record and asking him to read it when it's done. By the end, Ishikirimaru has left the book while rushing for horsekeeping duty; when Ookurikara comes back, he does end up taking a quick look through the book and even smiles when he gets to his picture.
  • The Big Sleep: How Ieyasu's death is portrayed here. After reflecting on his victories and seeing his son one last time with what he thinks are the shades of his trusted retainers, Ieyasu passes in Monoyoshi's arms singing his childhood lullaby as he slips away.
    Monoyoshi: You lived a good life. Sweet dreams.
  • Continuity Nod: Monoyoshi teaches a young Ieyasu "Kirakira" when they go out to play.
  • Dark Horse Victory: Discussed by Nikkari. Ieyasu, of the major players during the war, was about the least remarkable outside of his going on to unify Japan. He wasn't nearly as charismatic as Nobunaga (and was under the man's thumb for a good amount of it), and not as flashy as Date Masamune; one has to wonder what he did to make himself the success he was.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Gohei in Nobuyasu's arms after Taking the Bullet, and Ieyasu in Monoyoshi's arms when he died of old age.
  • Framing Device: The whole musical is the result of Ishikirimaru reminiscing on their previous mission, so that he can write a record of what happened.
  • Longest Prologue Ever: Quite the big one here. We open with a Touken Danshi being newly summoned, the Matsudaira clan wiped out, the mission of the musical given shortly afterwards, and the Touken Danshi given the baby Tokugawa Ieyasu, all before "Touken Ranbu" even gets a chance to play. That's a good 25 minutes in.
  • Parents for a Day: And then some, since the Touken Danshi raise Ieyasu (and his son) from the cradle on as Parental Substitutes and retainers. Deconstructed, as their growing attachments to their charges prevent them from truly carrying out their mission, and they genuinely start to see them as family (and vice versa).
  • Pyrrhic Victory: At the end of his life, Ieyasu looks at the peaceful, unified Japan outside his window and still curses the large amounts of blood he spilled just to get things the way they currently were. The war took civilians, his men, and even his son's retainer and his son as well, or so he thinks; despite being the overall victor, he still held lots of regret.
  • Seppuku: In the historical timeline, Nobuyasu is ordered to do so by Ieyasu, himself under the orders of Oda Nobunaga. The reasoning varies in historical accounts, but generally assumed to be because of uncooperative and unruly behavior on Nobuyasu's part. However, because of his loving and healthy upbringing in the new timeline, there is no reason for this to happen; so instead, Nobuyasu wants to do it himself because he's tired of war and feels like a disgrace to his family for feeling so. He eventually settles on asking Ishikirimaru to execute him.
  • Skyward Scream: Ishikirimaru has a pretty big one when Nobuyasu sacrifices himself to protect the former from the Kebiishi.
  • What Would X Do?: Tonbokiri has a pretty hard time adjusting to his own master's role in history, not knowing how to live up to his legacy. It takes a good talking to from Monoyoshi to snap him out of it, saying that Tonbo's fear of inadequately filling his shoes is the exact disgrace he was worried about, and tells him to be himself instead.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The whole musical was shown as a flashback to the events of the Ieyasu mission, with the exceptions of the beginning and end segments.
  • Wild Card Excuse: In order to make sure history goes as intended, Monoyoshi gives out strategies and advice accordingly to Ieyasu. Every time he's asked how he came to those conclusions, Monoyoshi always answers "luck".
  • You Will Be Beethoven: But out of necessity; the entire Matsudaira clan was wiped out thanks to the Retrograde Forces, so all Touken Danshi available had to at one point or another, take the place of a person who was important to Ieyasu's history.

    Shinkenranbu Sai 
  • All Just a Dream: What the 2016 performance turns out to be. Kashuu's whole dilemma was in his head; in reality, he was just waiting out the time before a festival at the Citadel.
  • Arc Number: For 2016: 5. The unique members for Atsukashiyama Ibun and Bakamatsu Tenrouden count up to that number in each group if you don't include Kashuu, the Shinsengumi need to climb five hills, and they have until the gong strikes for a fifth time to complete their task.
  • Arc Words: "Are we objects? Or are we human?"
  • Bait-and-Switch: Iwatooshi's challenge is one; when the Shinsengumi swords and Hachisuka arrive, he gets into a battle stance, asking for a fight... and then clarifies that it will be a liberal arts contest instead. Kashuu however politely reminds everyone that Benkei was a Buddhist monk, so nonviolent challenges were to be expected.
  • Call-Back:
    • During the fieldwork segment, Ishikirimaru has Imanotsurugi pray for a good harvest just as he makes the audience do so in the Itsukishima Shrine performance.
    • Munechika recites his initial speech for idol activities (as seen in Atsukashiyama Ibun) as his challenge.
    • Imanotsurugi mentions "until we rise above the purple clouds", just as his master did in Atsukashiyama Ibun.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: All of the logos for the event have the short story's focus character's motif color. 2016 has red for Kashuu, 2017 has blue for Aoe, and 2018 has white for Kunihiro.
  • A Day in the Limelight: While each musical is an ensemble piece, these performances give specific focus to one particular sword every time:
    • For the 2016 performance, Kashuu is the central character after playing leader and member in Atsukashiyama Ibun and Bakamatsu Tenrouden. His dilemma concerns choosing between his two teams and realizing what it means to be a Touken Danshi.
  • Distressed Dude: Kashuu in the 2016 performance. In what seems to be an act of mere jealousy, the Sanjou swords kidnap Kashuu and keep him captive in an electrified cage. Subverted in that he was in no danger at all the whole performance. The worst they do is keep him in the cage in the first scene; the rest of the time, he's able to interact with the Sanjou and Shinsengumi + Hachisuka teams freely. And then even that's less of an impact since Kashuu was dreaming anyway.
  • Enemy Mine: For this performance only, Yoritomo puts aside his rivalry with Yoshitsune to cut down the enemies in their way.
  • Foreshadowing: During the cast listing for Mihotose, the Saniwa deliberately leaves out Motohiro Oota's character, but gives a very distinctive "hu hu hu hu" before saying he'll save the reveal for later. As we now know, Sengo Muramasa was that final Touken Danshi, and that laugh is his signature.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The idols love to interact with the camera, often blowing kisses or waving/saluting. Munechika gets especially personal with it, cradling the camera while he serenades the recording viewers.
  • Funny Background Event: Watch for Ookurikara's un-amused dancing and reactions in 2017. You can tell he really doesn't want to be there.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Kashuu notes how refreshing it was to duet with people outside their usual duos, which is particularly true for this musical series as they never really change them.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: After passing Iwatooshi's challenge, the Shinsengumi swords rush off to the next hill, with Yamatonokami lagging behind crying "wait up!" Not too long after, Kondo, Hijikata, and Soji come rushing through the scene crying out "WAIT UP!"
  • Mood Whiplash: Imanotsurugi's challenge changes the tone of the quest from the hot blood and fighting spirit of Ishikirimaru's challenge to a fun game of copycat with an innocent kid. Nagasone, Izuminokmi, and especially Hachisuka are hit hard by the change.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The Sanjou swords don't make any attempt to hide themselves save for a mask when they capture Kashuu. However, the Tenrouden swords are thoroughly confused— at least, all of them except Horikawa.
    *Aside Glance* Am I the only one seeing this?
  • Race Against the Clock: The Sanjou swords give the Shinsengumi until the gong strikes for a fifth time to climb the five mountains and rescue Kashuu.
  • Secret Test of Character: All the Sanjou team wanted was to see how much either team meant to Kashuu. By choosing neither/both, Kashuu proved that he values both of his past experiences with them, which was what they wanted to see all along.
  • Take a Third Option: As it turns out, the whole trial was to get Kashuu to pick a group to bond and fight with - the Sanjou team, or the Shinsengumi and Hachisuka team. Feeling irreplaceable bonds with both, Kashuu doesn't want to pick between them, so he chooses everyone. That was the right choice, appararently.
  • Void Between the Worlds: The entire event seems to take place in one, with many historical characters appearing alongside their swords despite time travel only existing between the sword company. Subverted at the end, when Kashuu is revealed to be dreaming the whole thing.
    Festivals are the gateway between life and death.

     Other Performances 
Itsukushima Shrine 2016
  • Call-Back: a few to the previous stage shows; Horikawa and Izuminokami look out for Sirius after they finish "The Reason Why", and just like in Bakamatsu Tenrouden, Kashuu and Yamatonokami race for the distinction of not getting animal duty (in this case, deer). Iwatooshi and Imanotsurugi play together just as they did in the beginning of Atsukashiyama Ibun before they sing "Your Song".
  • Mono no Aware: During their talk after performing Nagorizuki, Munechika notes to Iwatooshi the beauty of the moon and of their surroundings, and then goes on to add that their beauty is also precisely because they're going to disappear one day.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Kashuu and Yamatonokami race off the stage so that they don't get deer cleaning duty. The island Itsukushima Shrine is situated on, Miyajima Island, is known for its plentiful deer population.
  • Man in White: All the swords for that performance don white Nonuniform Uniforms for their performance here, as their concert is a ceremony for the Shrine's verification anniversary. They only keep the outfits on until the concert's end.
  • Milestone Celebration: The performance celebrates Itsukushima's 20th year as a registered World Heritage. invoked
  • Self-Deprecation: Nagasone comments on how cold the performance is, while also pointing to his lack of warm clothing.


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