From “To Zanarkand” to “to the kabuki stage.”

Tuesday marked the 21st anniversary of the release of Final Fantasy X, a landmark installment in the series. Not only was it the first Final Fantasy game designed for the PlayStation 2 hardware, Final Fantasy X was also the first in the series to feature voice-acting for its characters, as even through the PlayStation 1 era developer Square had made the stylistic decision to render dialogue as text only.

Now Final Fantasy X is poised to once again break new ground for the franchise, as it’s going to become a kabuki stage play.

Among the fans who Final Fantasy X left a deep impression on is Kazuyasu Terashima, who was 24 years old at the time of its release. Terashima is better known under his kabuki actor stage name, Onoe Kikunosuke, and he’ll be both directing and appearing in the Final Fantasy X kabuki play. “Playing the game when it came out, it was so dramatic, and it left a deep impression on me,” says Onoe, the fifth-generation actor to use his stage name. “Those feelings are still important to me, and I hope that people who loved the game, kabuki fans, and even people who have never seen kabuki before will come to see the production,” he commented, along with expressing his desire for the play to be “a bridge between [the] cultures” of video games and traditional artforms.

Speaking of kabuki newcomers, even if you’re not deeply versed in the world of traditional Japanese theater, you might still feel like Onoe’s name rings a bell. If so, it’s probably because he also appeared in the kabuki adaptation of the Hayao Miyazaki anime film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, where he played the titular warrior princess, in keeping with kabuki’s tradition of all roles being played by men.

Final Fantasy X is a game with a large cast, and in addition to Onoe, 11 other actors are attached to the project, including Nakamura Shido and Bando Yajuro. The distribution of the roles has yet to be announced, but with Onoe being given top-billing, it seems most likely he’ll be playing either Tidus or Yuna, Final Fantasy X’s male and female leads.

The play is scheduled to open at the IHI Stage Around Theater in Tokyo’s Toyosu neighborhood in the spring of 2023.

Source: Final Fantasy X Kabuki official website, Final Fantasy official website via Sports Hochi via Otakomu
Top image: Final Fantasy X Kabuki official website
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