Mar. 29th, 2016

ekusudei: (Moon Troupe)
1789 -Lovers of the Bastille-
Moon Troupe, 2015

Top Stars: Ryuu Masaki & Manaki Reika

[ TakaWiki ] [ TCA Pictures Press: shopping links and preview video ]

This is a bit delayed... Erm. To be honest, my Zuka watching has slowed to a crawl since I left Japan. Going back to grad school, then getting a new job and a new apartment haven't really helped the financial angle much. I told myself not to get any CS recordings because I wanted to spend the money to support Masaki, so... Delay. But then I did get the Blu-ray for this show a couple of months ago. I ordered it just before she announced her retirement, so when it came it kind of went on the bookshelf for a rainy day. And then I pulled it out one day when I was sick and miserable and... I should have expected I would have a sour opinion of it after slipping in and out of sleep while watching it. ^^;;; So, I waited until I was in a better mood to watch it again. Which was today!

I was so out of practice, really, that I was watching it all wrong. Which means what, you wonder? I'm not saying there is a wrong way to watch Takarazuka, don't worry. Just there there is a wrong way for me to watch it. See, I've missed so much over the last four years, and to be honest my enthusiasm for Masaki's Tsukigumi has never been what I would like. They moved in a bunch of actresses who I was pretty meh about, and a lot of their current "new hope"s are really not my type. So every time I see one of Masaki's shows as top star there's a part of me going "meh." And this makes me very sad. But today I spent the entire show peering around and catching sight of all of the Tsukigumi-ko that I miss so much. And then I watched all the alternate angles and did it again. And they were there, lurking in the shadows and the edges of the screen. Spending all that time in Japan opera-glassing has truly spoiled me, I admit. I was also a bit pre-disposed not to like 1789 because I watched a bunch of the French music videos and went "ugh," and because I really and truly found Romeo & Juliette to be so awful I couldn't even find the energy to hate it. (Yes, I realize I may be the only person in the fandom to feel this way. But, come on, the lyrics were insipid.) I've been trying to censor myself while Masaki is still in the Revue, but the hell with it, we're close enough to the finish line now, I guess.

So, okay, a lot of negative stuff all out of the way. Now, having watched it a couple more times I will freely admit that it has not only grown on me, but that I've come to enjoy it. Let me explain the seriousness of my change of heart: I was bummed I bought the Blu-ray and not the DVD, because that means I can't rip it to make myself a soundtrack for my ride to work every day.

The changes they made to the music for Takarazuka made it a little more to my taste (still a bit too electronic-y in places, but not as bad). So many of the costumes are reworked from ScaPim that it's not even funny. Am I crazy, or is one of de Polignac's first dresses Margarite's pink dress with a few extra flowers and bows? (Actually, now I'm looking at her still photo that someone put up on TakaWiki and it definitely is, you can see the gold beadwork on the front panel.) Anyway, not a problem for me! Many of Masaki's costumes weren't my taste, but all of the other costumes were pretty awesome. Chapi and Suzuna's wigs were all awesome, ditto the whore brigade's. I'm not as much a fan of MiyaRuri's, and I'm hoping its only appeared again at the NOBUNAGA press conference because she hasn't had time to shop for something new.... The sets weren't hugely striking, but the larger props were pretty neat (the cross and stained-glass windows in the cathedral, the carts at Palais-Royal, etc.) Some of the choreography was a bit weird, but I think a lot of that was because they adopted some of it from the French musical? I really loved the choreography in the final scene with the stage rotating and all of the cast singing, that was neat and kudos to KAORI. Really was not at all impressed by the pair dance choreography. I know Masaki's a pretty weak dancer, but that was just lame. But I guess that's what you get when you have a J-pop choreographer doing your pair dance? A strike against TETSUHARU. (Kids these days and their all-capsy, Romanji artistic names. *grin*) I think both of these choreographers were new to the Revue, so it's interesting to see what works and what doesn't. And, finally, the stage makeup continues to follow the darker, more subtle hues with brown undertones. Which was actually a bit weird because I think the stage lighting had some blue tint to it and combined with the HD of the Blu-ray I felt like a lot of the actresses were on the brink of death. It made them look very tired and it was harder to hide mistakes. (Was it just me, or was there one short scene where Chapi didn't have the screen or whatever they call it at the front of the tall wig fastened down all the way against her skin? It was wrinkling up and making her forehead look a bit wizened.)

All right, on to the plot. Actually, I'll point you to the blurb on the TakaWiki. Has anyone not seen the show yet who wants more detail? If so, I'll add more here. Otherwise I'll spare us all the ink. ;) In general, I enjoyed the story. The Revue loves their French Revolution, no shock there. The story itself... isn't really a story. I mean, there are a couple threads of plot going on, but a lot of it just kind of goes: FLASHY DRAMA, ILLEGAL PRINTING, ANGST, HOT IRONS, VIVA LA REVOLUTION, no, but i'm just the king, do you like my locks model guillotine. what?) You don't really spend a lot of time with any particular set of characters enough to really feel for them, with the exception of Marie Antoinette, and that's mostly just because Chapi is awesome. All that said, it's entertaining, there are a lot of chorus scenes (I think the chorus had more quick changes than the main cast in this show), and the music was catchy like an ear-worm so that I came to enjoy it. It's a spectacle, just like it says on the tin. Just don't watch it for the "romance" (awkward).


So! Let's play Tsukigumi-ko Love!

Touka Yurino (de Polignac) never ceases to amaze me, and she pulls out another great performance here. Not only is she a superb actress, she also got the etoile during the parade! ♥

Wait, no, back up a moment for some Senka love. Because Mishiro Ren rocked as King Louis XVI. She is definitely comfortable as Senka now, and woah did I have a double-take when she first came on stage because she looks so much like Natori Rei that it's a bit eerie. And I can't forget that Saou Kurama (Danton) was Senka already in this show! So weird to think of her as Senka, but I hope it gives her lots of great roles. This one was not a huge challenge for her, I think, but she had a couple nice stirring songs and a romance with Ronan's fallen sister which was very sweet.

Masaki was so very Masaki throughout this whole show that it just squeezes my heart. She's not a fabulous anything, but she has so much love for her job and so much awkward charisma that she just kind of Masakis her way through everything. And Ronan is a very Masaki role, so it all works out well. Except I felt like she had -200% chemistry with Saotome Wakaba. Ugh, what were they thinking? SO AWKWARD. I think she ate her ear in one scene. Anyone who saw this live, was Masaki any better with Umino? Also, that torture scene? What was that? No, seriously? I don't think I should be giggling when my hiiki is being branded. T-T

Okay, this was Maggy's last show as a tsukigumi-ko, and she didn't even make it into the parade lineup properly? U SUCK HANKYU. After the first act I was also a bit angry that she had no stage time, but they made up for that a bit in the second act. Also, she was a bit too enthusiastic with the whip but what can one expect of Maggy?♥

SERI (Marat)!!! Was actually in line and singing on par with a lot of the "star" otokoyaku during their numbers, and that made my little heart glow. Seri is awesome. I really hope she doesn't retire with her douki.

RUUTAN (Necker)!!!! Had a very distinguished wig. Oh my god, is she really that much of an upperclassman? This kills me every time. Anyway, her acting was great.

MiyaRuri, who I hope we keep forever and ever, but I wonder with Tamakichi becoming top (still, Kuze Seika held on while Amami Yuuki was top!), anyway despite the horrific hair she was really having a good time hamming it up as the over-the-top villain (Count of Artois). Who apparently has a God Complex. Truly. XD And they gave her the nibante "theme song reprise" bit during the revue bit at the end, which made me super happy.

Really angry that Hibikichi isn't listed as a named character on the web site, because she was all over the place being awesome and is clearly Doctor Guillotin on the Blu-ray and in the programme. So there.

I'm just going to put all the print shop workers here, because they were also awesome (And turned up all over the place as soldiers and prisoners and such, so their psychology bills must have been enormous). A lot of them also didn't show up on the web site, boo, hiss.: Toshi (Jacques) was so deadly serious and lovely and not ever in the camera's view, Man-chan (Yves) was EVERYWHERE with her spiky black hair of doom (I would so have joined her revolution), Yuuki (Michèl) had very red/pink hair, very French (??), Karan (Julien) will forever be that one in the back, but she is still SO CUTE, how can she be so cute at ken-11?

Azusa (Lucile) managed to be one of a handful of musumeyaku with a named role with lines and worked as a semi-plot device helping Solène get off the streets. As a ken-12 musumeyaku, I'm glad they gave her this much for her last show.

SPEAKING OF MUSUMEYAKU. Let's just take this spot here to mention the other ones, shall we? Chapi was quite simply amazing. She brought a depth to her character and a subtle emotional palate that was just amazing. Plus her singing! When did it become so solid? Also, she has a swan neck of doom. You cannot avoid it in act II. It's almost freakishly long, it really is. Anyway, staying on track: Gorgeous performance. Gorgeous singing. GORGEOUS stage makeup! In the Blu-ray recording, Harune Aki plays Solene. I was so happy. Like, tears happy. This girl who stood out amid the crowd in the dance scenes in Rose Prince is suddenly center stage being amazing. Girl, you deserve it. You deserve more, really. Why are you not properly star-tracked? I hope it's because you don't want to be. (side note: I WANT TO SEE HANAHI MIRA'S SOLENE. WTF, HANKYU!!!? If this were otokoyaku sharing a role, you know there would be a digest at the very least, if not its own release. Not cool. I need to track down the CS senshuuraku recording when it airs this summer.)

Shimon (Ramard) and Mayupon (Tournemain) were hilarious. If they keep giving Shimon roles like this, I won't throw too big of a fit. Although that scene where they were going over the ginkyo with the lanterns (in the "Bastille") was totally re-using gags from LUNA. I mean, I know it's been a few years, but Tsukigumi fans don't forget that easily, Koike-S.

Yukarino Koyuki really rocked as Charlotte, and Maihina Kanon's Louis Joseph was surprisingly touching, if a bit stock.

I promised myself I would bite my tongue about negative comments about actresses, but this isn't really negative so much as hilarious, because Akatsuki Chisei (Fersen) ...? Hilarious. Was she terrified? Had she just had plastic surgery? WHY DID HER FACE NEVER MOVE? Why was she mysteriously grimacing for the entire show? I know there must be more to her than this, and it's not fair to judge on one performance of a huge run, but... really? This baby is who they chose to play glorious and subtle Chapi's love interest? Not judging, not judging, she gets a few more strikes, I promise.

What else? Joe! Joe was always hovering on the edges of everything♥ Nacchan and the other upperclassmen onnayaku were really and truly awesome as the ladies of the night. I wish the camera spent more time on them. Moeka Yuria got a little spin dance duet with Masaki in one of the Palais-Royal scenes that made my heart glad because douki♥ Zawa was also everywhere. Oh my god, I remember when she was the little baby who was absolutely last and at the bottom of the Tsukigumi list. XD Hoshina Yutaka was making the most hilarious angry grimaces while in prison. Bless. And, despite being in about three scenes in the entire show, Hanahi Mira did get to walk down the center in the main parade with Harune Aki and Tamakichi.

And I could go on incoherently for ages, but let's take it as a given that Tsukigumi makes me happy♥

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