In terms of work D-BOYS are promoted collectively as a group/troupe but at the same time are encourage to Develop independent careers distanced from the other members of the group. D-BOY work across a large range of media platforms including stage, theatre, film and television projects. The members also work closely with D2 members.
D-BOYS had a leader, Endo Yuya, who was the leader of the group from inception to his graduation in 2013. Yanagai Kotato, who was previously vice-leader, took over the position.
D-BOYS had its start with Tenimyu, and has long had an association with the production, and continues to with D2 members cast in second season roles. As well as Tenimyu, D-BOYS also have been cast in several Tokusatsu series, including Kamen Rider and Super Sentai. The group is also popular with theatre productions, which include both D-Stage and outside D-stage.
Echizen Ryoma | Seigaku Regulars | Rivals
The Prince of Tennis Musical known as “TeniPuri Musical,” “TeniMyu, (テニミュ)” or “GekiPuri” (Stage Prince), is a series of live action stage musicals directed by Yukio Ueshima based on the manga series The Prince of Tennis created by Takeshi Konomi and serialized by Shueisha in Weekly Shonen Jump.
The first musical premiered in the Golden Week of 2003, and was received favourably with unexpected popularity. So much so, more musicals followed that each covered major arcs of the manga storyline, although adaptions to the original story were made such as female characters removed, and irrelevant scenes or minor stories cut. Nonetheless the main storyline stayed the same. And within five years the musical became popular enough to demand for double casting of characters to handle the amount of performances and to allow for overseas performances in Korea and Taiwan. In addition multiple shows were live streamed into theatres all around the country to make up for the lack of enough seats in the actual venue. In May 2010, after seven years, twenty-two musicals, five main casts and about one hundred and fifty different actors had passed, the “first season” came to an end with the last performance of Dream Live 7th on the 23rd.
But lets not forget that majority of the popularity for Tenimyu is because of the actors, many of which who were D-BOYS (and continue to be D2 members). However unlike D2, D-BOYS only acted as Seigaku members as part of the 1st/2nd/3rd/4th/and 5th generation casts. The only exception Wada Masato, who played Lucky Sengoku of Yamabuki.
Seigaku, also known as Seishun Gakuen Tennis Club, is the main tennis team in the Prince of Tennis and appear in every musical and dream live event. The club consists of students of Seishun Gakuen with intra-club matches played regularly to decided which regular (or non-regular) members play at tournament fixtures.
The club is considered strong in their region and is lead by team captain Tezuka Kunimitsu and vice-captain Oishi Shuichiro. Other regular members include third years Shusuke Fuji, Kikumaru Eiji, Kawamura Takashi, and Inui Sadaharu. As well as second years Momoshiro Takeshi and Kaidoh Kaoru. Echizen Ryoma is the only first year player on the team.
Echizen Ryoma is the protagonist of the Prince of Tennis, and respected, even though he is a freshmen, by teammates and rivals as a talented all-rounder tennis prodigy. He is nicknamed the “Prince of Tennis”. His personality is that of a conceited brat, sarcastic and backhanded to even his teammates and family. However, he genuinely cares for the members of his team, and takes on the role of ‘Seigaku’s Pillar’.
In terms of portraying Echizen, the chairman role was played by three D-BOYS members in years past.
The first Echizen, and indeed the first member of D-BOYS, Yanagi Kotaro played the role as part of both the 1st generation and 2nd generation Seigaku cast. Due to his accident, Yanagi however was unable to act in Remarkble 1st Fudomine, nor Side Yamabuki, his good friends KIMERU and Endo Yuya replacing him respectively. Yanagi nonetheless was able to make a come back as part of the 2nd generation Seigaku cast and reprised the role for one final musical performance before he graduated in Dream Live 3rd.
Over the course of Tenimyu, Yanagi acted in a total 5 productions, including 2 Dream Lives. He is credited as being the longest serving actor to play Echizen, as well as one the longest serving actors of Tenimyu.
After leaving a rehearsal for Remarkable 1st Match: Fudomine, less than two weeks before it was due to open, Yanagi was hit by a car. He had extensive damage to his body and vocal cords and was in a coma for two weeks. Doctors predicted he would be bedridden for the rest of his life. After waking up, Yanagi weighed around 30 kg and was unable to get up at all.
However Yanagi was able to make a miraculous recovery and is currently strong enough to act again although he has difficulty with his dancing and singing. His recovery time prevented him from playing in Remarkable 1st and the next two Prince of Tennis musicals; J-pop singer and co-star Kimeru, who was playing the role of Shusuke Fuji, filled in as Echizen for Remarkable 1st, and Endo Yuya was eventually cast as the new Echizen.
After Endo graduated from the musicals after Dream Live 2nd (in which he and Yanagi again shared the role) Yanagi continued playing Echizen with the second Seigaku cast up until he and the cast graduated; although he played the tennis matches, his movements were still slow, and many of the dancing skits he was in had limited choreography so he could keep up with the rest of the cast and vice versa for them.
As a result of the accident, Yanagi now walks with a permanent limp, his voice is forever changed, and his speech pattern is slightly slurred. Despite this Yanagi has been a constant actor in many of the D-BOYs stage plays over the years and continues to act and sing.
As a substitute for Yanagi, Endo played Echizen, and is credited as the second D-BOY member to play the role . pop singer Kimeru had filled in as Echizen Ryoma for one show.
Endo made his debut as the tennis prodigy during the Dream Live 1st concert and continued to play the role till Yanagi returned. Also he co-shared the role with Yanagi after his recovery for two shows; Yanagi performing the acting side while Endo did the dance routines and tennis choreography.
At the Dream Live 2nd concert Endo graduated, returning the role to Yanagi to lead the second generation Seigaku cast. During his run in the musicals Endo was able to work with other fellow D-BOYS members Kaji Masaki, Suzuki Hiroki, Adachi Osamu, Araki Hirofumi, Wada Masato and former member Shirota Yu.
Takahashi Ryuki was cast as the last Echizen – 5th generation Seigaku cast – to play in first season, effectively finishing the Prince of Tennis storyline. His run of performance from 2008-2010, where he graduated with the entire Tenimyu family in Dream Live 7th.
He is considered the best dancing Echizen. In his run he co-starred with good friend Hashimoto Taito.