Move over Holmes, there's a new detective in town.
It was announced todaythat Yabana Rei of the JPOP group 7 MEN Samurai will be stepping into the iconic role of super-solver Akechi Kogoro in an all-new, original stage adaptation of Edogawa Rampo's noir mystery series The Fiend with 20 Faces.
The stage play, which will be held from June 19th to 27th at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel's Stella Ball theatre, will take the form of a dramatic reading akin to fellow 7 MEN Samurai members Motodaka Katsuki and Konno Taiki's fall 2020 adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Happiest Prince. It will also undergo a setting shift from the aristocratic circles of pre-war Japan to a more gritty "retro modern" look as seen in the poster, which released simultaneous to the casting announcement (see header image). Furthermore, while Yabana's Akechi will keep his classic violin, it will be accompanied by an electric guitar and other rock instruments; played live in the production as befitting Yabana's own prodigious musical talents.
This will be Yabana's first starring role and first acting role of any kind outside of original showcase productions of his agency Johnny & Associates. In a statement regarding the announcement, he said:
"When I first got the news I couldn't believe my ears. As someone with such little experience, I kept asking myself 'is this really ok!?' But I knew what was at stake so I think I recovered pretty quickly. I really want to do the best I can to ensure that anyone who comes to see the show is glad they did."
Yabana will be joined by fellow Johnny's artist Toyoda Rikuto of Shonen Ninja, who will play Akechi's enthusiastic sidekick Kobayashi. Check out a special announcement video the two of them shared below!
About the Source Material
Edogawa Rampo (real name: Hirai Taro) is often heralded as one of Japan's greatest early 20th century writers. Heavily influenced by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allen Poe (the latter from whence comes his pseudonym), his most famous works revolve around the adventures of his primary protagonist: the mild-mannered and brilliant self-insert "amateur mystery writer" Akechi Kogoro. The conflicts of these novels often center upon Akechi's long-standing battle of wits with the nefarious and psychotically brilliant "Fiend with 20 Faces," which will be the focus of this new adaptation.