Kobe, Japan League: DCL
Learn more about this corps in the corps spotlight:
Hey all, this is the sub's first of many corps spotlights, and today I'm talking about Kanpeki-sa!
"Whatever you can do, the Japanese can do it better" -some Japanese man probably
Founded in late December, 2019 and based in Kobe, Japan, Kanpeki-sa competed in Division III in the second half of S83. That season saw the corps finish 20th overall at Drum Corps Semifinals - Division III, which is probably to be expected given the amount of time this group had to put together a show. Interestingly though, this trend of scoring lower than top 3 but taking an oddly high number of caption awards observed in the current season (85) really got it's start in their first (half) season of competition, where at prelims they, as I mentioned, scored in 20th overall and somehow managed to have the second best colorguard of all the bands competing. I asked the director how he managed to achieve that and he told me he "joined near the end of the season and didn't know much about the game so I just put all of my points into Color Guard xD."
Speaking of the director, I spoke to Jimmy John further about his corps. He had this to say:
Kanpeki-sa, meaning "perfection" in Japanese, originated from the Japanese art of synchronized walking known as "Shuudan Koudou". The group stays true to its roots by providing stunning visual and color guard packages every season, and admits that its Achilles heel is in music performance. Nevertheless, the corps hopes to excel with their season 85 production "May You Never Walk Alone", which will highlight their visual excellence. The corps is suited in all white uniforms that are very similar to the 2010 Phantom Regiment, contrasting to the corps' all black uniforms featured in the prior season production "Into the Fray".
Kanpeki-sa's S85 program, "May You Never Walk Alone" is their third field show in FMA, and among many other things it establishes this corps as one that puts a great deal of time, effort, and thought into their productions even when it's not necessary to compete well, which Kanpeki-sa also does.
The repertoire for Never Walk Alone is for the most part pretty standard, with some interesting pieces in there as well, but I'll let Jimmy John do the talking about his show, "May You Never Walk Alone:"
"May You Never Walk Alone" serves as an immediate sequel to "Into the Fray", where we first meet an adventurer traveling into unknown territory for an unknown reason, but has a definitive purpose. "May You Never Walk Alone" is about the adventurer's long return home and the pitfalls along the way. The show opens with movement 1 entitled "Journey", featuring a powerful rendition of "Homeward Bound" by Brant Karrick followed by fast-paced "Vesuvius" by Frank Ticheli. This depicts the adventurer (color guard soloist) feeling hopeful for his journey home, but instantly meets peril along the way.
The adventurer is now lost, and we move into movement 2 entitled "Astray", featuring "Hymn to a Blue Hour" and "The Next Right Thing". The adventurer finds himself in a very cold and dark setting, and has no more energy to move forward. He fears that he will die here, so he curls up on the ground and closes his eyes. Suddenly, he begins to hear a faint voice, indistinguishable at first but then grows louder. The adventurer, certain that he is going mad at this point, has nothing to lose and listens. The voice tells him to get up and not lose hope, for they are there to guide him. An illuminated path (represented by the color guard) appears and the adventurer begins to stand up. With little strength and hope left, he presses onward.
Movement 3 is entitled "Onward", featuring "Gabriel's Oboe" as the transitional piece between movements and "The Echo Never Fades" and "You'll Never Walk Alone" as closer pieces. The show ends with the adventurer confident in the rest of the journey home, wherever that may be, because he knows that someone is guiding him along the way. We never know if the adventurer makes it home or if the voice was even real or just a figure of his imagination, but still a hopeful ending for sure.
It's really wonderful to see someone putting this much thought into show design when as far as the game is concerned, it's just two little text boxes that you could fill in with something as simple as "unspecified, unspecified" (not to bag on you Unspecified Identity 😉) Joking aside, shows like this definitely add another layer of interest to the game and provide just another thing to look out for each season.
I asked Jimmy what inspired his show, since all this work clearly wasn't put together without thought:
[It's] a little cheesy, I know, but what inspired this show concept was the lyrics from "The Next Right Thing", so I wanted to make that the centerpiece and add a beginning and end.
Competitively, Kanpeki-sa has been scoring very interestingly, so keep an eye out for them in the remainder of S85, but also we already can start looking forward for what's in store for Kanpeki-sa in Season 86 according to Jimmy John: "Stay tuned for season 86, which I'm compiling a repertoire list for and will solidify once we reach finals week."
Thank you to LongSchlongJimmyJohn very much for the interview, and thanks to you for reading this! Let me know what corps I should look into next! - connorgavin7502