ekusudei: (Default)
The Brothers Karamazov
Snow Troupe - Akasaka ACT Theater
2009


Leads: Mizu Natsuki & Shirahane Yuri

[ TakaWiki ]

Good lord, has it been seven years since this show debuted? That is... a little depressing.

I didn't see it when it came to Tokyo, as I was deep in the middle of Yume no Ukihashi adoration and had no money or time to spare for anything else. And then it aired on Sky Stage, and I got a copy.... and it sat in a box of discs for a long time. Er, a very long time, apparently. I knew it must be something special, because everyone who saw it was singing its praises, but I think you have to be in the right mood for a Russian novel, and I was apparently never in the right mood. But Chung asked me for a copy and I figured I had better make sure the disc hadn't degraded, so...

Well, first, the plot. I haven't read the novel it is based on, but I did some quick internet research and it seems to follow the main plotline closely with the exception of the ending. (Which, really? Weird changes.) Um, no one has added a summary to the TakaWiki, so I threw together a quick one, but I've only seen it once. So if any of the fanatical fans want to replace it, or fix it, please be my guest!

What I Thought:

(This is going to be a very short review. Check out yukinojou's and michiru42's linked at the bottom the TakaWiki page for a much more thorough analysis!)

I am a huge fan of Tonami and Mizu, and most of the main cast of this musical. It was bitter-sweet to watch them all acting their hearts out here when so many have retired now. There were some really great scenes from Yumiko as Ivan and Hiromi as Pavel in particular, and Mayumi's dancing as the Hallucination was really fun to watch (and harkened back to that Zuka staple "Marlene Dietrich in a tux"). If you are a fan of any of the main cast, you will definitely want to see this show.

However, all that said... I wasn't a huge fan. The songs didn't really grab me. I felt like Tonami was directed to really over-play her attitude in the first act (Although I loved how throaty her speaking voice was as Grushenka). Hamako didn't get to sing enough. It really seemed to drag in places. I don't know, I guess it just wasn't for me. :(

I did enjoy the second act better than the first, though, and some of the scenes there, especially the final one between Yumiko and Hiromi, were intense in all the right ways. I'd probably give it 3 stars out of 5, with a Your Mileage May Vary warning.

(It's strange, but the more Saitou shows I see, the more iffy I get about him. Even though he was the genius who finally brought Takarazuka together with an Aoike work first and the fact that I have to love him for that. Psst, still waiting for Eroica, Saitou-S!)
ekusudei: (Mizu Natsuki)
One highly-biased review, coming up! ;)

The Dawn at Solferino / Carnevale: A Sleeping Dream
Snow Troupe 2010
Tokyo Theater, April 11th 11:30 AM

Leads: Mizu Natsuki & Aihara Mika

[ TakaWiki ] [ Sanspo Stage Graph ]

The Dawn at Solferino

Overall I didn't care for the musical show, and I'll tell you why. I enjoy talky productions, but I enjoy them because the dialogue is snappy, and because there is some over-arching mystery or spy drama going on. I don't enjoy talky productions with stale, repetitive dialogue, where the same four characters rehash the same arguments over and over and over. There was no mystery -- there wasn't even really any worry of how the show would end, since we all know Dunant succeeds. I suppose the "growth" of Aihara's character is supposed to be where the dramatic tension is, but I found her annoying, and, again, thanks to typical Ueda-Sensei dialogue, every time she opened her mouth she was just saying the same thing again and again. Not caring at all what happened to her sucks the small seeds of engagement out of the show.

Read more... )

I think it's a show that will appeal to Yukigumi fans on account of how well Ueda-Sensei was at giving everyone stage time, and giving fair time to Yumiko in her last show.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Carnevale: A Sleeping Dream

LOVED THE REVUE SHOW!!!!

Mizu danced a lot, which made me very, very happy. Hamako sang a lot of hauntingly lovely songs, which made me ecstatic.

In fact, Hamako was on stage nearly the entire time, decorating the apron stages, so I'm afraid I missed a lot of the revue, except out of the corner of my eye. She grinned, she made faces, she passed out and collected hats and capes and, of course (being a Mask Seller), masks♥

Read more... )

Best of all? I checked the DVD/CD pages -- no music or scene cuts! Inaba-Sensei's first grade for a Grand Theater production = A+

In summary: LOVED it, want Inaba-S for Tsukigumi instead of Nakamura. *pout*
ekusudei: (Default)
Yumiko is getting a special DVD box set!

* Her dinner show "Thank You" and her sayonara show will be released on a DVD together.
*"Tsuki no Hokage" and "Naked City" will be released on DVD.

♥ Release date for all three DVDs (and the box set of all three + "Love Letter") is April 23rd.
ekusudei: (Default)
Yumiko is getting a special DVD box set!

* Her dinner show "Thank You" and her sayonara show will be released on a DVD together.
*"Tsuki no Hokage" and "Naked City" will be released on DVD.

♥ Release date for all three DVDs (and the box set of all three + "Love Letter") is April 23rd.
ekusudei: (Yuuhi - The Last Party)
*sigh* Full points to the rumor mill -- Ayabuki Mao is indeed retiring at the end of Solferino, on April 25th. An as yet untitled dinner show for her in Takarazuka (3/11~12) and Tokyo (3/13~14) has been announced, and a sayonara show is planned for after the senshuuraku performances in the Grand Theater and Tokyo Theater.

http://kageki.hankyu.co.jp/news/detail/4d15242c7ea144da01dec814d1c5c238.html
ekusudei: (Yuuhi - The Last Party)
*sigh* Full points to the rumor mill -- Ayabuki Mao is indeed retiring at the end of Solferino, on April 25th. An as yet untitled dinner show for her in Takarazuka (3/11~12) and Tokyo (3/13~14) has been announced, and a sayonara show is planned for after the senshuuraku performances in the Grand Theater and Tokyo Theater.

http://kageki.hankyu.co.jp/news/detail/4d15242c7ea144da01dec814d1c5c238.html
ekusudei: (NBN - Tomu & Gun-chan)
Tsuki no Hokage
Flower Troupe Bow Hall, 2002

Stars: Ayabuki Mao, Ranju Tomu, Sawaki Kurumi

[ TakaWiki ]


Summary:

Read more... )

What I Thought:

Read more... )
ekusudei: (Rika & Juri-pyon)
Kaze no Nishiki-e / Zorro
Snow Troupe, Tokyo Opening Night 2009

Stars: Mizu Natsuki & Shirahane Yuri

[ TakaWiki ] [ Sanspo Stage Graph ]

Kaze no Nishiki

Okay, so, to be honest, this wasn't the kind of Nihonmono revue that really appeals to me. I love the ones where they do the folk dances and folk songs, and there was some of that in here, but it was on the whole too cracky for me. There are some songs that really shouldn't be mutilated like that. *grin* Some things weren't meant to be jazzy, and I include "Soran" and "Sakura" in that category.

That said, I adored the opening sequence, with mischievous detective Tonami out to get poor, defenseless, manly, thief Mizu. <3 And I stared really hard at Sagiri Seina, trying to see how the chemistry was between herself and Yukigumi this first time she performed with them. Nothing felt awkward.

Not so fond of the Tom, sadly, though the choreography between her and Ugly-Mustache-Wearing-Mizu was interesting. I don't know much about Uesugi Kenshin or Takeda Shingen, but I like choreographed dance-battles.<3

Matsumoto-sensei seemed a bit unlucky. She had a big piece of hair caught in her eyelashes during one number, and then nearly fumbled her faux-towel thing during the other (though she made a very graceful save in the end, and didn't miss a beat).

The monk and cat-girl line dance just freaked me out.

Yep. That's all I'm going to say about the revue, for my own safety. ;)

~*~*~

Zorro

If it had ended with Kaze no Nishiki-e, I would have been safe and content with my decision to only see this show once, but.... Aaaagh. Zorro. Zorro. ...Zorro.

Mizu, Mizu, I'm sorry I haven't paid you much attention since you became top star; I don't care much for top stars. But I'm reminded now of why you and Yuuhi were my co-favorites for three years. SO HOT. And dancing. Dancing Mizu is all I really need to make me happy.

And I got it. Yay for mini-revues before and after the musical. I think I may have stopped breathing a few times when Mizu was dancing around in her Zorro outfit on the staircase. Ngh.

So! Plot! (With many warnings that this is based on one viewing, and my head was kind of muddled, because my brain kept repeating: 'Oh my god, oh my god.' I completely missed the Hamako storyline.)

Summary: )

What I Thought:

Yes please. Again.

All right, in all seriousness. )


So, revue was meh for me, but the musical was a!ma!zing! adventure fun, and I'll count the opening and finale of the musical as my heart's revue. ;)
ekusudei: (NBN - Tomu & Gun-chan)
King Solomon's Ring / La Mariposa
Snow Troupe, 2008

Stars: Mizu Natsuki & Shirahane Yuri

[ TakaWiki ] [ Stage Graph ]

I went into this one cautious but full of hope, because I have one of two reactions to Masatsuka-Sensei's shows (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13) ... I either love them to pieces or I find them very dull. However, in general he's my favorite Takarazuka playwright/director. Strangely, the ones that I love are his talky, political ones, so when everyone started talking about how dull the play was, I perked up. And I wasn't disappointed in the least.

But that's jumping ahead, because first is King Solomon's Ring. Ogita Kouichi is another playwright/director that I enjoy. Babylon was the first revue show that I really fell in love with, and Romantica Takarazuka '04 is also beautiful and exotic-feeling. But Solomon... Solomon was like those two revues mixed together on speed.

King Solomon's Ring: )

La Mariposa: )

So, I think... Solomon might improve on DVD, but I didn't care for it. Mariposa is probably not going to have many fans among the foreign fan base, and will probably be boring if you don't speak Japanese. But it pushed all of my buttons and I simply adored it.♥

As an addendum, Snow Troupe seems to almost have too many big otokoyaku stars floating about at the moment. They'll need to keep doing original Takarazuka shows if they want to give them all a chance to shine....
ekusudei: (Default)
Tuesday, I discovered that I've had a copy of the Sky Stage broadcast of Hoshikage / Joyful!! II ... probably for a few months at least. *head->desk* This is what happens when life sucks and you get apathetic -- you miss the important things.

Man of Stardust
Snow Troupe, 2007 - Chunichi Theater

[ TakaWiki ] [ Takarazuka Precious ]

Stars: Mizu Natsuki & Shirahane Yuri

The debut show of my current favorite top combi. Mizu I've loved madly for... three years now. Tonami grew on me as I watched her with Wataru, though my first impression of her wasn't that great (I love Nagasaki to bits, but every repeat watching makes me want to strangle her character). And it's a Snow Troupe Nihonmono! Originally staring Migiwa Natsuko!! And.... Shinsengumi!!!♥♥♥ I've fallen into the trap of Shinsengumi love through exposure to Rurouni Kenshin at an impressionable age and the watching of too many period dramas on TV when it was too cold out to leave my apartment and kotatsu.

So, with all that said I guess you know what I'm going to say about this show. LOVED. IT.

Summary: )

What I Thought:

Loved it. But I go weak in the knees for Shinsengumi haori♥ Still, the combination of Shinsengumi uniforms and the many geisha and maiko in flashy and gorgeous kimono made this a show complete with lovely costumes. I liked all of the music, including the musumeyaku songs -- strong singers in Yamashina Ai, Haruka Midori, etc. I liked that there were so many minor character storylines that all got a part to play. Mirai Yuuki's Yamazaki was love, as was Ouki Kaname's Katsura and Ayabuki Mao's Hijikata. Just... everyone was wonderful. It was Shinsengumi legends portrayed at their most romantic.

Yukigumi should do many, many, many more Edo- and Meiji-Era Nihonmono with Mizu and Tonami and Yumiko at the helm.
ekusudei: (Default)
Marrakech: A Crimson Tombstone
Flower, 2005

Leads: Haruno Sumire & Fuzuki Miyo

[ TakaWiki ] [ TCA Shop ]
[ ENAK Sumire Style GRAPH ]

Since there's such a nice summary up on the wiki, I can skip that bit. ;)

What I Thought:

I- I should have loved this show. I still can't understand why it couldn't hold my attention for more than a few minutes at a time. The music, I will say, is excellent. Very fun "Arabian" flavor to it. The suits are also excellent on Leon's swindlers. Leon is love. Chair-dancing be-suited otokoyaku are love. Suzukake Miyuki's Snake Dancer costume/makeup was awesome.

I think my main problem with this show is that I didn't really care much about the main characters. I realize this is scandalous of me, and I hope Lucia will be able to forgive me one day. ;) But Ludwig never appealed to me. I didn't feel sympathy for him and his tragic past, because it didn't strike me as tragic. spoilers )

As an Osa show I was, frankly, disappointed. But I think this was just a personal preference because I didn't care for the main characters / main story. If it were an option, I would recommend for people to buy the shinjinkoen instead, because the cast acted their little hearts out, and they were adorable. Asaka Manato has gown a lot between that show and where she is now, but I feel certain Sakurano Ayane sprang completely knowledgeable from the womb. She continues to amaze. Also, sleazy underling Hinata San is love. Someday I'll give them their own, proper review.
ekusudei: (BAD has never been so GOOD)
Elisabeth
2007 Snow Troupe

Leads: Mizu Natsuki & Shirahane Yuri

[ TakaWiki ] [ TCA Shop ] [ ENAK Sumire Style GRAPH ]

To be honest, I wasn't sure if I wanted to see this show, at the same time that I was dying to see it. Since I first fell in love with Takarazuka, Mizu was one of my magic trio (Rika, Yuuhi, Mizu). It's been kind of hard watching everyone suddenly become a fan because she's a top star now and because she happened to get to play Death. I know, it's not rational, but that's the way it is. Because of that, the DVD has been kind of low on my priority list. I really wanted to see Hoshikage first, but I haven't been able to afford it yet. But Julie brought Elisabeth over with her, so of course I gave in to the temptation in .2 seconds flat. ;)

And of course, I was really worried. I wanted to like my top combi together, but I'd heard lukewarm things about Shirahane Yuri's Sissi.

So...

What I Thought )

Overall, I found the changes they made interesting. Often I couldn't say: "Oh, I liked the old way better", or "Oh, I like this way better". I think this new round of Elisabeths is going to be just different enough that they're not comparable with the first five productions.

Phantom

Sep. 8th, 2007 11:00 pm
ekusudei: (Default)
Phantom
Flower Troupe, 2006

Leads: Haruno Sumire & Sakurano Ayane

[ TakaWiki Page ] [ TCA Pictures Shop ] [ ENAK Sumire Style Graph ]

Looong summary already on the Wiki, and I think most everyone is familiar with the plot, so I won't repost it here. ;)

So. I don't think it's very surprising that out of the two, I enjoyed Hanagumi's more than Soragumi's. As much as I enjoyed Soragumi's, the cast in Hanagumi's version just seemed to have much better chemistry with each other. It's been a long time since I watched the other, so I can't really compare them point-for-point.

Read more... )
ekusudei: (Default)
The Energy 5

Cosmos - Black Rose of the Desert: Kuon Maya & Toono Asuka
Moon - LUNA: Yamato Yuuga & Hanase Mizuka
Flower - Asaki Yume Mishi: Ayabuki Mao & Fuzuki Miyo
Star - Golden Pharaoh: Asazumi Kei & Hisato Rie


Black Rose of the Desert )

LUNA )

Asaki Yume Mishi )

Golden Pharaoh )

Wow. Two shows I didn't really care for as honkoen that I enjoyed/loved as shinjinkoen.
ekusudei: (Default)
A little belated, but:

Press conference for Dancin' Crazy. I am very amused that Rika has decided to grovel fangirl, where others did not. As, for example: )

---

And Kazahana finally caught up with Rika to get her picture, since she missed her on her last photo-taking spree.

---

The Kean poster was unveiled along with the news conference for it. Trust the media queen to get the media blitz. ;)

Takarazuka Official Website
Takarazuka Precious 1 2
Enak Sumire Style
Sanspo

---

And why am I not shocked at all that it's Yumiko done up like a vampire, even though according to the show summary it's Otsuki Sayu who will be playing the bloodsucker? *amused*
ekusudei: (Default)
A little belated, but:

Press conference for Dancin' Crazy. I am very amused that Rika has decided to grovel fangirl, where others did not. As, for example: )

---

And Kazahana finally caught up with Rika to get her picture, since she missed her on her last photo-taking spree.

---

The Kean poster was unveiled along with the news conference for it. Trust the media queen to get the media blitz. ;)

Takarazuka Official Website
Takarazuka Precious 1 2
Enak Sumire Style
Sanspo

---

And why am I not shocked at all that it's Yumiko done up like a vampire, even though according to the show summary it's Otsuki Sayu who will be playing the bloodsucker? *amused*
ekusudei: (Default)
2004 was a busy year for Hanagumi...

How did I never review this show? o.0 I remember when I first saw the poster and heard about the theme for the revue show. My bone-deep reaction was: WANT. Add to that the fact that this was one of the switched-cast productions from the 90th anniversary and it has Kiriyan and Mizu, and... well....

La Esperanza / Takarazuka's Dancing Dreams
Flower Troupe, 2004

Top Stars: Haruno Sumire & Fuzuki Miyo

[ TakaWiki Page ] [ ENAK Sumire Style Graph ]

[ TCA Pictures Shop ] [ Takarazuka Video Shop ]


Cast and Summary on the TakaWiki.

What I Thought: )

(This is one of those video's that's half-off until the end of this month.)
ekusudei: (Default)
Lovers' Suicide - Love in Yamatoji
Snow Troupe Bow Hall, 1998

Leads: Shiokaze Kou & Kisaki Miri

[ TakaWiki Page ]

Available on VHS, but out of print.

Cast and Summary on the wiki.

What I Thought: )

Oh so very, very much love for this show. If you can find a used copy on auction, I highly recommend it! Now I need to find a recording of one of Setouchi Miya's performances. And speaking of Setouchi Miya, she'll be performing the role of Chuubei again this year, in the OG/Senka version which Takarazuka is staging in April. *love* *LOVE*
ekusudei: (Default)
Shop Pages
[ TCA Pictures ] [ Takarazuka Video ]

I've been a good girl. Lucia, do I get a pat on the head?

So, that's the summary of Appartement Cinéma. For my review: SQUEE!

...Oh, you want something more comprehensive?

1 - Matobu Sei.... still Hoshigumi in my head, but sexy as sin and reminding me more and more of Bun-chan every day.
2 - Chiga-san... you da bomb! *hearts*
3 - Sakurano is unbelievably cute!
4 - Osa... should always be Osa.
5 - Hm. Ayabuki and angst. And yet her dimples somehow survive the experience to make brief appearances.
6 - The ending! LOVE the ending.

Seriously, it has a very interesting plot, and some great characters. It tends to focus on Osa, Sakurano, Yumiko, Un, and Sara the most, so not as scrambled as some of these ensemble shows can get. Chiga Teruko's character was absolute love! Her tai chi scene had me cracking up like mad. My other favorite scene was Wolf and Leonard's first meeting at the hotel. Poor Wolf... Leonard is just too cute for him.

Leonard: Going out this late?
Wolf: ....No.
Leonard: Thanks for earlier.
Wolf: You don't...
Leonard: Everyone carried me to the room, didn't they?
Wolf: Yeah.
Leonard: Thanks to that, I've recovered.
Wolf: That's good.
Leonard: Ah, I'm Leonard Foster.
Wolf: *silence*
Leonard: ...Leonard Foster. Nice to meet you.
Wolf: .... Leonard?
Leonard: Yes.
Wolf: Really?
Leo: I wouldn't lie about my own name. And you?
Wolf: I'm ....... Wolf.
Leo: Wolf. ... Very cool.
Wolf: Thanks.
Leo: If it's all right with you, can we talk a bit?
Wolf: Well, it's fine with me, but...
Leo: Are you going out somewhere?
Wolf: No...
Leo: You've been standing all this time...
Wolf: I like standing.
Leo: I see.
Wolf: Yeah.
*silence*
Leo: You're not very good at conversation, are you?
Wolf: ...You're feeling better?
Leo: All recovered. ... I said that earlier.
Wolf: That's good....
ekusudei: (Default)
Fumetsu no Toge

[ TakaWiki Page ]

Shop Pages
[ TCA Pictures ] [ Takarazuka Video ]

Errol Maxwell/Eri MacGregor/Eri Makropulos: Haruno Sumire
Frida Gregor/Frida Pulos: Fuzuki Miyo
Albert: Sena Jun
Hans: Ayabuki Mao
Corinati: Natsumi You
Tachiana: Rika Masumi
Camellia: Kotobuki Tsukasa
Christina: Tohno Asuka

As usual, I point you elsewhere for a plot summary. ;)

Impressions: Hm. I think this is my favorite performance of Fuu-chan's that I've seen; I like her much more playing a stronger character. The entire cast is particularly strong vocally, so this was a rare *g* treat for the ears. I really enjoyed all of the songs, and even though the dancing didn't stand out amazingly (except for Eri's dance with Camellia), it was all well done. The play itself was very heavy, and I admit I'm getting a little tired of angsty dramas lately. However, I really enjoyed it, particularly the second act where the pace picked up a little. There were brilliant moments of dialogue that just stab you right through the heart, particularly Fuu-chan's last line (or maybe I really am an angsty sap after all *grin*).

Favorite moments included Eri's cross-dressing performance, just about every one of Fuu-chan's songs, and what I shall hereafter refer to as The Bathrobe Dance. Only Takarazuka can make a drunk dance in a bathrobe classy, ennui-filled, and despairing at the same time.

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