Cast of Characters:
Sakurai Sho as Tony
Star-crossed lover #1. Tony is a gainfully employed youth, who happens to be BFF with a gang leader. That may cause him some trouble later. ;) He falls in love with Maria, a girl from the other side of the gang war.
Kazune Miou as Maria
Star-crossed lover #2. Maria is a
Matsumoto Jun as Bernardo
Bernardo is Maria's protective older brother and leader of the Puerto Rican gang The Sharks. They'll be wearing red in this (okay, almost every) adaption. You may also recognize him by his AWESOME FAUXHAWK and tendency to (hotly) get right up in the faces of the Jets.
Amasei Izuru as Anita
Anita is Bernardo's lady. In any given scene, she's usually either arguing with Bernardo, doing some sexy dancing with Bernardo or generally being tough which is why she's my kind of girl.
Satoshi Ohno as Riff
Riff is the leader of White Kids gang, The Jets and BFF to Tony. You can spot the Jets by the awesomely neon yellow-and-green color scheme (Thanks, Japan!) and Riff will be the badass keeping everyone in line and leading a lot of the super cool dancing.
Ikuta Toma as Action
Action is the right-hand man of Riff, who's a little angry and switch-blade happy. Can be seen yelling in people's faces and singing the lead of "Officer Krupke" in Act II. My favorite of the Japanese interpretation looks, Action has giant ARM TATTOOS and pretty great hair (not nearly as impressive as Matsujun's but that's not really a fair fight).
??? as Anybodys
Okay, maybe this isn't vital to know but Anybodys is the tomboy girl who really wants to join The Jets. I just really like her (and her pixie haircut!) so she gets included. XD
You can find a brief synopsis here @ Wikipedia. The one I'm including here comes from a blogger by the name of independentminded and has more detailed description, in case you need help following along. Um, spoilers if you're not actually here to read the whole plot of West Side Story.
The White Ethnic American Jets, led by Riff, and the newly-arrived Puerto Rican Sharks, led by Bernardo, are vying with each other for a small piece of territory which they must share, thanks to a society and system that has pitted people of various races, cultures, religions, colors and ethnic groups against each other. After an afternoon melee between the two gangs is broken up by Lt. Schrank and Officer Krupke, Riff and the Jets decide to challenge Bernardo and the Sharks to a rumble. Anybodys, who is a tomboy and a Jets "wannabe", is also determined to join in the rumble, but is turned down by the Jets due to being a girl. Despite objections from some of his rank-and-file, Riff decides to call on his old friend, Tony, the founder and ex-leader of the Jets, to be his lieutenant.
Tony, who has been looking for something beyond the gang and street life, but doesn't know what he's looking for, now works fulltime at Doc's Candy Store. Although Tony turns down Riff's request several times, Riff, who proves to be as resourceful as he is persistent, finally persuades Tony to meet him and the Jets at a dance that's being held at a local gym that night, at about ten o'clock, with a "Who knows? Maybe what you're lookin' for will be twitchin' at the dance tonight!". Reluctantly, Tony agrees.
Meanwhile, Anita, who's a seamstress at their local Bridal Shop, is busy altering an old white communion dress for Bernardo's attractive 17-year-old sister Maria (who has been brought to America to marry Chino) to wear to the dance that night. Despite pleas by Maria to Anita to lower the neck, and to distract her by talking about other things, as well as complaints from Maria that she'll be the only one there in a white dress, Anita continues with her work. Maria finally tries on the dress, loves it, and is excited about the upcoming dance and as the beginning of her life as a "young lady of America". The Sharks, Bernardo and Chino, who's Bernardo's right-hand
man, come to pick them up and take them to the dance.
That night, at the dance, the social worker "Glad Hand", attempts to initiate a "get-together" dance between the Jets & Sharks and their girls. It fails miserably, the gangs break off and go with their own kind, and the dance immediately turns into a competition between the Jets & Sharks. Later, Tony arrives, and after being momentarily embraced by his old friend Riff and his girlfriend, Graziella, he spies Maria from across the room, falls in love with her, and they immediately begin to dance together, only to be pulled up short by an enraged Bernardo, who orders all the Sharks and their girls, including Maria, to go home. It is at this point that the already-escalating tensions and hostilities between the Jets & Sharks escalate furthur, and the sparks really begin to fly.
A fight between the two gangs seems eminent, but Riff intervenes at this point, insisting that he, Bernardo, the Jets and Sharks have a midnight pre-rumble War Council at Doc's Candy Store. Bernardo promptly agrees.
Meanwhile, back home, after being admonished by Bernardo for dancing with Tony, Maria retreats to bed. Tony appears, quietly climbs the fire escape to where Maria's bedroom is, quietly calls her name, and causes Maria to appear. After introducing themselves to each other, they pledge to meet at the Bridal Shop where Maria and Anita both work as seamstresses, at six o'clock the next evening. Up on their tenement rooftop, Bernardo, the Sharks and their girls have a party, which evolves into an argument over Maria's having danced with Tony, and then about the virtues of the immigrant experience of being in America.
Shortly before midnight, Riff, the Jets and their girls assemble in front of Doc's Candy Store, where they await the arrival of Bernardo and the Sharks. Officer Krupke stops by, warns the jets against troublemaking, and then departs. After Krupke's departure, the Jets lampoon him. Anybodys, anxious to prove that she's worthy of acceptance in the gang, knocks Baby-John, the youngest Jet, to the ground, only to be pulled off of him by Ice, who's just arrived with his girlfriend, Velma. They all go into the Candy Store and sit down. Riff warns the girls that they have no business being involved in the war council and the rumble, and orders them to leave, which they reluctantly do. Anybodys, who has tried to remain invisible, is finally spotted by Riff, who gestures for her to also leave. Unlike Graziella and Velma, who exit quietly, however, Anybody's shoves the just-arriving Sharks like a big tough guy.
The Jets & Sharks finally sit down. Riff orders some sodas for everybody, and is told to "get down to business" by the Shark gang leader, Bernardo. Despite pleas from Candy Store owner Doc for the two gangs to talk it out instead of rumbling, the Jets and Sharks press ahead. After some recriminations that culminate in the exchange of racial and ethnic insults between the two gangs, Bernardo accepts Riff's challenge to a rumble, and the War Council begins. The two gangleaders, Riff and Bernardo agree to meet the next evening after dark, in an isolated area under the West Side Highway for the rumble, and then shake hands to seal the committment. Just as they're
calling weapons, Tony arrives, listens to the calling of weapons, and insists that a "fair fight" between the best men from each gang, in the form of a fist fight, take place instead. Bernardo agrees to the fair fight, despite his disappointment that Riff's lieutenant, Ice, has been chosen by Riff to fight him, rather than Tony.
Gee-Tar, one of the Jets, who's been sitting near the door as a look-out, whistles, indicating the arrival of Lt. Schrank. Immediately, the jets and Sharks sit among each other at the tables, rather than taking sides. Lt. Schrank, pretending to be pleased, lifts a cigar from the counter, much to the distress of Doc, who's just been getting ready to close the store. After insulting the Sharks, Lt. Schrank roughly banishes them from the Candy Store, and then begins to question the Jets about the upcoming rumble. The jets refuse to answer Lt. Schrank's questions, but Schrank persists, saying "Look, fellas! I'm for you! I want this beat cleaned up and you can do it for me! I'll even lend a hand if it gets rough!" Infuriated by the Jets' persistent refusal to answer Schrank's and respond to his pleas, he begins insulting the Jets for their ethnic backgrounds ("You and that tin-horn immigrant scum ya come from! How's you're old man's D. T's, A-Rab? How's the action on your mother's side of the street, Action?"), indicating the strong prejudices and hatred that Schrank harbors against both the Sharks and the Jets. "I'll find out where you're gonna rumble!" Schrank angrily threatens. "But be sure to finish each other off! "Cause if ya don't, I will!". Turning to Doc, who has been staring aghast at this whole scene, Lt. Schrank says to him "That's what they keep telling me down at headquarters--understand them! Well..you try keeping hoodlums in line and see what it does to you!" , and then angrily storms out of the Candy Store.
Tony, who has been calmly cleaning up the store and listening
to the exchange, explains to Doc that he's in love with Maria, that he's going to see her the next night, and can't wait. Doc, however, is not reassured. I believe that, in this case, Tony and Maria are not yet aware of the reality that's about to set in and cause their romance to go up in smoke, so they persist.
The next evening is the big night, which will have markedly different results for different people. The Jets & Sharks get ready for their rumble, and then meet at their pre-designated place under the West Side Highway. Anita makes plans for a big evening out with Bernardo following the rumble. Tony and Maria meet at the Bridal shop as planned. Anita, who clearly disapproves of Maria & Tony's romance, admonishes Maria to be home in 15 minutes, and then rushes home. After making a reluctant promise to go and stop the rumble at Maria's insistence, Maria that Tony and Maria then pledge their love by staging a mock wedding, using the various
mannequins and wedding outfits in the Bridal Shop.
Under the highway, Bernardo and ice have barely begun to fight, when Tony arrives, gets between the two men, and tries to get them to each back off and not fight. This, unfortunately, backfires, in a big way, especially when Tony, much to the anger and puzzlement of Riff and the other Jets, attempts to shake hands with Bernardo. Infuriated by Tpny's interest in his sister, Bernardo begins roughing up and insulting Tony for his trouble. Despite the interception and warnings to Bernardo by Riff to cease and desist, Bernardo refuses and continues to bait Tony furthur. Losing patience, Riff hauls off and belts Bernardo, switchblade knives are brought to bear, and the two gangleaders begin to fight. Just as Riff is about to run Bernardo through, Tony, who's been held back by Tiger and Ice, breaks free and tries to stop Riff, who, in turn is knifed to death by Bernardo. Anguished and enraged by the death of his old friend, Tony takes the knife that Riff has handed to him as he falls down dead, speedily charges forward and stabs Bernardo to death. A melee breaks out between the remaining Jets & Sharks, who, stunned by the killings, flee the police and go into hiding, leaving behind the bodies of Riff and Bernardo. Tony, meanwhile, totally freaked out about having stabbed Bernardo to death, begins calling Maria's name in bewilderment and grief, until Anybodys appears from the shadows, and pulls Tony away from danger. I believe at this point, that there was a point of no return, and, no matter how hard Tony tried to be gentle and a pacifist for Maria's sake, the "old" Tony emerged, when he avenged his friend, Riff's death by stabbing Bernardo.
Meanwhile, Ice and the Jets are hiding out in a large garage. Baby-John, the youngest Jet gang member, who is moved to tears by the killings, is comforted by his loyal buddy, A-Rab, while Graziella, mourning the death of Riff, is comforted by Velma and other Jets. Ice, who has now assumed leadership of the Jets following Riff's death, admonishes the Jets to keep cool, in order to get past the cops's questioning. After the Jets and their girls spend afew minutes "getting cool", they exit the garage and go back out in to the street, where Anybodys, who's been spying around, meets up with the Jets and tells them what she has learned about Chino's gunning for Tony. Determined to protect Tony from Chino, Ice keeps the sad, angry Jets at bay, determined to come through for him. Determined to find Tony, the Jets and their girls split into all different directions, and Anybodys decides to go "in and out of the shadows".
Meanwhile, Maria awaits eagerly on their tenement rooftop for Tony to arrive, unaware that the rumble has taken place, and that her brother, Bernardo, has been knifed to death by Tony, until she learns of it from Chino, but yet refuses to believe it. Chino, meanwhile, runs downstairs to tell the family, including Anita, about what has just transpired. Hastily , Maria goes down to her bedroom, says a "Hail Mary", and prays that it not be true. Suddenly, Tony climbs into her window, and, Maria, beating at him, swoons in his arms. Despite the deaths of Riff and Bernardo, Tony and Maria refuse to face up to the destruction of their romance by the hatred between the two gangs, are determined to stick together, plan to obtain money from Doc for the bus station, and to elope.
Grieving over the death of Bernardo, Anita knocks on Maria's bedroom door, hearing voices, but not sure of what's being said. Tony escapes out the window and is found by Anybodys, who sends him over to Doc's to hide in the cellar. Realizing that Maria has hidden Tony in her bedroom, Anita furiously upbraids Maria for allowing Tony to be interested in her, and then relates what she's heard from Chino and the Sharks: that Chino is gunning for Tony. Not long afterwards, Lt. Schrank stops in to question Maria about what has happened the night before, stating that her brother had gotten into a heavy argument because she'd danced with the wrong boy at the dance. Maria replies that she'd danced with a boy from her country named Jose, as a matter of protection. On the pretense that she had a worsening headache, Maria requests that Anita go to Doc's Store for her, saying that she couldn't get there immediately. Reluctantly, Anita agrees to go to Doc's Candy Store.
At the Candy Store, Anita encounters the Jets. Out of prejudice against her ethnicity and culture, and fearing that Anita would reveal Tony's cover to Chino, the Jets refuse to believe that she wanted to help protect Tony from Chino, and begin to insult her and rough her up. Just as the assault on Anita by the Jets is approaching its donnybrook, Doc comes in, forcing the Jets to cease and desist. Angry at being humiliated by the Jets, Anita then spits out another message: that Chino has found out about Maria and Tony...and shot her dead. Doc goes down to the cellar with money for Tony, who has been awaiting Maria's arrival. Doc then relays the message from Anita. Devastated and in a state of disbelief, Tony runs from the cellar out into the street, calling for Chino to "come and get him, too". Anybodys appears from the shadows and warns Tony to leave the area, but Tony refuses and continues calling for Chino.
Maria then appears, calling Tony's name, and they fall into each others arms. After a brief moment together, Chino appears suddenly from behind a building and shoots Tony, who dies in Maria's arms. The remaining Jets & Sharks arrive on the playground and seem like they're about to clash once again, but Maria, who has just been handed Chino's gun, but cannot fire, due to hysteria over Tony's death, cries out " You all killed him! And my brother and Riff, too! Not with bullets and guns! With hate! Well, I can kill too, because now I have hate!"
After screaming at Schrank not to touch Tony's body, Maria sits like a woman in mourning, while Baby-John puts her scarf over her head. Meanwhile, several Jets & Sharks come together to carry Tony's body off, hinting of possible reconciliation between the two gangs, and at least a temporary uniting through the momentary understanding in tragedy.