ekusudei: (Default)
OG CHICAGO @ Lincoln Center
Koch Theater
July 20-24, 2016


Cast: Hatsukaze Jun, Mine Saori, Isono Chihiro, Mori Keaki, Asaji Saki, Shizuki Asato, Wao Youka, Kozuki Wataru, Hoshina Yuri, Asami Hikaru, Mizu Natsuki, Yamato Yuuga, Suzu Haruki, Makise Kai, Maishiro Nodoka, Manami Sora, Otohana Yuri, Kayou Kirari, Yuuzumi Shun, Tsukio Kazusa, Hanazuki Yuma, Kaon Yuuki, Mishou Kazuki, Koumi Maito, Kitori Mariya, Urara Moe, Maki Izumi, Hayami Sei

Let me just say straight out up front that I'm not a huge fan of the musical Chicago. However, there were members of this tour group who I thought I would never see live on stage, and others who I thought I would never see again live on stage, so this was very precious to me. When I got into the fandom about 10 years ago, Mariko (Asaji Saki) was eight years retired and living in Brazil with her husband and child. Then she started doing OG performances here and there, but I was never in the right place at the right time. This was AMAZING. And Wataru, who was the top star in the very first live show that I saw in 2005. And Mizu, who I had loved so much as a young star, and Marimo, my absolute favorite top musumeyaku ever, and the list goes on and on.... Even Hayami Sei and Maki Izumi ended up being in the NY cast after all!

I saw the Mariko-Mizu-Tani cast twice, once with Hatsukaze-san and once with Mori-san. I saw the Zunko-Wataru-Komu cast on closing night with Mori-san.

I agree with the NY Times review, the show itself was solid but not anything original or likely to steal your heart away. Of the casts that I saw, the Mariko-Mizu-Tani-Mori was my favorite. Mariko just has that charm and appeal, and while Zunko's singing was of course better she just didn't seem as into the performance. Mizu was hands-down the best performer in the cast. Her charisma just took over the entire stage any time she set foot on it, and her singing was strong and Broadway-esque, which is not true for most Takarazuka voices. Wataru had a lot of fun in the role, and I love her to pieces, but she certainly didn't take over the entire stage like Mizu did. I was not expecting Tani to be my favorite Roxie, but her comedy and comedic faces have always been strong (I still love her Nathan Detroit best), and she didn't pull any punches here. Komu's Roxie was woah sexy, but not as funny. Over-all, the Mizu-Tani interactions were more vicious, and you could really buy them as unrepentant killers, while Wataru and Komu seemed to be enjoying life more.

I wasn't certain about Isono-san's Amos Hart at first, but by the time "Mr Cellophane" rolled around I was sold. Very solid, and strongest in the second act. I was SUPER excited to see Hatsukaze-san live on stage. She was a star in the 60s and 70s, one of the first top musumeyaku when the top star system started to develop, and played Marie-Antoinette in the first Takarazuka production of The Rose of Versailles. She is also Hatsukaze Midori's aunt. She returned to the stage in 2000 with the Toho production of Elisabeth and has been steadily acting since. Her voice is certainly as strong and gorgeous as ever, but she seemed frail on stage and I think she was also having some trouble with her sight.

The two big surprises in this show to me were Mori Keaki and Manami Sora. Stay with me! I've seen Mori-san in TMP Specials, in smaller roles, and possibly in a few shows as top star, but nothing ever grabbed me. But with this production I fell in a big way. Her voice is enormous and rich and lovely and "Broadway-esque." Her encore number "That's Life" was my favorite. Manami Sora, wow was she on point as the Jury. She got the biggest laughs every show with her quick-changes and exaggerated comical performances. Really impressive!

Marimo (Aono Yuki) showed off her dancing chops. She had the intro bit, then she was front and center throughout most of the dance numbers, and then she was really awesome as Go-to-Hell Kitty. Man, the Chicago costumes brought back memories.... I miss her in Moon Troupe. Hoshina Yuri was also excellent as Hunyak. .... Actually, it's a little eerie how those two roles matched the personality of a lot of the roles they played while in the Revue.

There were a couple of places that got laughter that I think they weren't expecting at first, but by closing night they were kind of hamming it up. Like the lines at the very end, where Velma and Roxie talk about how they represent American values. Ironic in the original show, it was hilarious spoken in Japanese.

The rest of the company was also excellent. I was impressed by their dancing every time. And the youngest members, who were not listed in the cast lists for NY, actually were there! (Although only for the Encore.) I was so happy! Especially because I was always stage right and a couple of times Hayami-chan was RIGHT THERE. :3

OK, so let's talk Encore! The gentleman from Lincoln Center who arranged to have the performance is also apparently the one who requested a little mini-revue, so this was something added just for the NYC leg of the tour. And it was AMAZING. Basically a jumble of famous revue numbers from the past.

The first three numbers were in the 2015 "Guys and Dolls" line-dance costumes. Four of the ladies were out in the audience for part of it. It was Koumi Maito (I think?) and Hayami Sei stage right, not sure who was stage left.
"Hello Takarazuka!"
"Mambo! No. 5"
"Mira Cats"

"Solamente Una Vez" - Asaji Saki as otokoyaku, Mizu Natsuki and Yamato Yuuga as femme fatales, not sure who sang the shadow chorus
"El Tango de Roxanne" - Shizuki Asato sang as otokoyaku, Kozuki Wataru, Hoshina Yuri, and Aono Yuki as femme fatales. Zunko is not a dancer, so I am not sure why they had her dancing in this number instead of just singing. She managed to drop someone 2 out of the 3 times that I saw the show, poor thing.
"That's Life" - Mori Keaki as otokoyaku with company. Gorgeous. Takarazuka.
"Glory to Be Takarasiennes (Takarasienne ni Eikou Are)" - aka the "Fairy" song. Wao Youka and Asami Hikaru
"Takarazuka, Home in My Heart (Takarazuka, Wa ga Kokoro Furusato)" - Mine Saori and company (Eeeeeverbody in an otokoyaku gunbu dance. I reeeeaaaaally want to know what the musumeyaku felt to get to dance in it.)
"Sumire no Hana Sakugoro" - Hatsukaze Jun as etoile while the company took their bows with feather fans, and the three principals from the performance came out in feathers.

Each time I saw the show people became more and more confident about clapping when the former top stars made their appearances during their encore numbers. My three times I made certain there was clapping for Marimo and Yuri, who I think a lot of non-fans and younger fans don't really know. After the show and before the encore, the three principals of the cast gave a super-titled talk to introduce Takarazuka and the encore. On closing night Zunko, Wataru, and Komu kept forgetting their lines. XD

It was supremely awesome. So awesome. The best of Takarazuka revue show vibes with 12 former top stars. And my tickets were all row A & B, so this was really the closest I've ever been to the stage during a Takarazuka performance. Those 20 minutes made sitting through Chicago three times worth it. So worth it.


Have you seen a production of OG Chicago? What did you think?
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♥
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: (Default)
puck-poster PUCK / CRYSTAL TAKARAZUKA
Moon Troupe - Tokyo Theater
December 2014

Leads: Ryuu Masaki & Manaki Reika

[ TakaWiki ] [ Daily Sports photos ] [ Asahi photo gallary ]

So, eight years ago I watched and reviewed Suzukaze Mayo's version of PUCK. It was cute, but not the kind of show which I fell in love with. And, indeed, over the years I've become less and less enamored with Takarazuka comedies. I was... less than enthusiastic when I found out Masaki would be doing Puck, and that it would be the 100th anniversary show I would end up seeing because of the timing. But I reminded myself that this might be the last time I would get to see her on a Takarazuka stage, and then I reminded myself that I fell in love with cute, adorable, ken-3 Masaki -- How often does a top star get to play an adorable role like Puck? This was the enormous smile that I first fell for. And, lastly, I think we can all agree that there is a magic to live shows that makes them more special than anything we watch only on DVD.

All of which means that in the end the musical grew on me. Certainly, I felt the romance more than I remember feeling it in Suzukaze's version. And that romance made me happy♥

Anyway, summary can be read on the TakaWiki. It's one of Koike's earlier productions, but even twenty years ago the majority of his shows were serious, dramatic pieces. This one tends to stand out. In his notes in the program, he mentions that at the time (summer of 1991) he had written and directed Great Gatsby, which got some grumbles because people felt that as a summer show it didn't match with the Hankyu theme park Family Land, which used to be beside the Grand Theater. Puck, Koike notes, was his "revenge"--a show that families could see over summer vacation in 1992. Apparently it turned his wife (who had never seen a Takarazuka show before then) into an instant Suzukaze Mayo fan, but Koike's own two young daughters preferred the summer fireworks. ;)

Someone else became a fan of the show, although she never saw it live. Masaki bought the soundtrack (back then they recorded the entire shows and released them on cassette and CD, similar to how they do the 2-acts today) and fell in love with the show, listening to it over and over again and memorizing all of the lines. When she became top star, she went to the theater management and to Koike and begged to be able to revive Puck.

Well, with all of that backstory, I think I appreciated the show even more. *grin* I saw it five times: three times as planned, then once from tachimi, and an amazing Christmas gift from a wonderful friend of a ticket to see closing night.

So! On to the review: )

Overall, recommended for current Moon Troupe fans, for fans of ridiculous Takarazuka comedies, and for fans of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

IMAG1059 CRYSTAL TAKARAZUKA

So, Crystal Takarazuka is by Nakamura Satoru, who is that rare beast who still does an even mix of musical performances and revue shows. Actually, recently he's been doing more directing of special performances and revivals of other playwrights. But a lot of people know his Manon. I also really liked his The Labyrinth of Loving You and Somewhere in Time adaptation. His Dance Romanesque grew on me.

In fact, Crystal Takarazuka has a lot of parallels to Dance Romanesque, including the folk/fairy tale scene, the young otokoyaku pop scene, and the lovely modern dance group number. Check out the Wikipedia page for a run-down of the scenes.

Things which really made me happy about this revue include: the chuzume, the chuzume, the chuzume, and the otokoyaku staircase number.

The chuzume was a Latin bit, using songs by the Gypsy Kings. Shockingly, none of the music was cut for the DVD/blu-ray release. Why did this scene make me happy? Because it was classic Asako, including a resurgence of costumes from Apasionado. Because it meant Masaki trying to make Asako's patented sexy-Latin-face while wearing said ridiculous costumes. Because she pulled it off. Because one day I was dead-center, first row in the balcony and sexy-Latin-face-Masaki looked right at me that part of the balcony for a large portion of the scene and winked at me us. Because I think my heart may have exploded out of my chest about fifteen times. Yes. That.

I also enjoyed this revue because Chapi may be Dancing Queen, but we are not so far behind her. Masaki's dancing has improved enormously in the past 2.5 years. I am so proud of her! I almost didn't have my heart in my throat waiting for her to fall down the Grand Staircase. Except then she said that she's (still) terrified of going down the Grand Staircase and I got my heart in my throat again. Poor baby. We are still not Mariko, but we ARE a Top Star♥♥

And Hayami Sei had an amazing moment with Masaki in the modern dance number that made me literally squeal the first time I saw it. Thank you, Nakamura-S, or Hirasawa-S, or whoever decided to give her that for her last show. You rock a lot.

Umi made a lovely etoile. Now I just have to actually remember her face. (For some reason right now we have an over-abundance of long-faced, mature-ish looking musumeyaku. I think this is awesome, but I cannot tell any of them apart. *weeps*)

Overall, this revue is awesome. Okay, okay, if you're not a Moon Troupe fan you may find it pretty standard Takarazuka fare. But I loved it. Even the obnoxious young otokoyaku pop number was bearable because An-chan was in it.



I was so happy I could be there for Yuumin's last show, and for An-chan's last show with Moon Troupe. The Moon Troupe in Puck was almost unrecognizable to me at first, with all of the retirements and transfers in the past three years. But then I looked deeper, and I realized that Moon Troupe will always be Moon Troupe.
ekusudei: (Moon Troupe)
Arsène Lupin / Fantastic Energy!
Moon Troupe, 2013

Top Stars: Ryuu Masaki & Manaki Reika

[ TakaWiki ] [Daily Sports Online photos ]

Well, okay, we all know I'm enamored of Masatsuka-Sensei's hard-boiled musicals, even though they appear to send every other foreign fan fleeing in the other direction. Masaki's final shinko lead was a Masatsuka-sensei show, so I was curious to see how she would appear in one of his lead roles six years later. (Oh my god, has it been seven years?) Overall, I enjoyed it. I'll admit, however, that even for one of his convoluted plots, this one was super-convoluted. Usually I can follow the hook; this one left me lost on the finer details, and even after skimming through the script there are a few that are still hazy, but I think this was Masatsuka-sensei being subtle. Or, rather, even more so than usual. Save us all. This is what I love about his shows, but it can also be extremely frustrating. All of that said, take my summary with a rather large grain of salt.

Speaking of, I swear I was just going to write a quick summary, but somehow it got away from me.

Summary )

What I Thought )

Overall, I'll repeat what I usually say about a Masatsuka-sensei show: If you don't like his shows in general, then this one is probably not for you. Usually I either really love a Masatsuka-sensei show (Who Is Bad?, La Mariposa, Scout), or I really dislike it (Too Short a Time). It's not often that I like it in spite of itself (although I might argue that case for Last Play). I think that tends to happen when I like the dialogue and certain scenes, but I'm not crazy about the plot in general, and there aren't any outstanding song or dance numbers.


Fantastic Energy! )

Um, can you tell I can't decide how I feel about this show? I didn't fall in love with it, but... it wasn't terrible? I was super-happy to watch Masaki rocking the revue "S."
ekusudei: (Cosmos Troupe)
the WILD Meets the WILD
Cosmos Troupe Bow Hall, 2013

Stars: Hasumi Yuuya & Nanami Hiroki (double otokoyaku lead)

[ TakaWiki ] [ Daily Sports photos ] [ Kobe Newspaper photos] [ Asahi photos ]

First of all, after I watched the show I went back to the TakaWiki to see what the blurb had been that I translated, and I had to laugh. It was apparently one of those times where they completely changed the plot of the show between the time they first announced it and when it was finally performed, because the original summary had included things like the show being set in Dodge City (instead of Tombstone), and one of the cousins being driven out of town and things like that.

Now, Westerns! I ADORE Takarazuka Westerns. Wataru's and Saeko's in '97 and '98 were fabulous (and I recognized some of the costumes from those shows making reappearances here. Heh.). They need to do more, they really do, and this show proved it. Awesome, all around. It was my first exposure to young Ikuta Hirokazu as playwright, and I appreciated how much of the experimental spirit of Bow Hall he incorporated into his show. Lots of clever use of projections and really neat set design ideas. Fun songs which may not have had the best vocals, but were catchy and had impact. A fun story with all of the bizarre twists you would expect of a Takarazuka Bow Hall (I would be disappointed if the plot truly made sense). Most of all, it was a Mystery Western! The storyline (and thus character development) was explained in spaced out flashbacks over the course of the entire show.

Because of this "mystery" aspect to the plot, I'm giving a little intro plot blurb with minimal spoilers first, then the more extensive one for people who want the spoilers. And I'm including a warning that from that point on the entire review will be full of spoilers.

Summary Blurb:

Southwest America in the late 19th century, during the Gold Rush. An adventure story of two young men who grew up together and then followed different paths, set in Tombstone. David Northbrook, leader of the miners, is so caught up in the gold fever that he pays little heed to his younger sister Monica, who has fallen on hard times and become very ill. When she dies, her son Jeremy is taken up by a former miner turned priest, who sends him away to school. While away, Jeremy begins to receive strange letters that purport to come from his dead mother. At first they ask him to do small favors, but soon he finds himself acting as a vigilante (the masked cowboy "Killer Bee") with tragic consequences. Meanwhile, Benjamin is caught up by the darker side of the city and becomes an outlaw cowboy. Shortly after Jeremy returns to Tombstone, there is a shooting incident in the "Bird Cage" theater, and he takes up the role of sheriff to deal with it. But what he sees inside is Benjamin being brought down by the "Bird Cage" actress Emma, who is actually a bounty hunter.

Full Summary:

(As always, events may be out of order or misremembered, as I only watched the recording once.)

Read more... )

What I Thought: )

Overall, wish I could have seen this one live! And I hope it inspires Takarazuka to DO MORE WESTERNS.
ekusudei: (Default)
Too Short a Time to Fall in Love / Heat On Beat!
Moon Troupe - National Tour, 2012

Stars: Ryuu Masaki & Manaki Reika

[ TakaWiki ] [ My Review of '06 Too Short ] [ My "Review" of '09 Heat On Beat! ]

I'll admit that when I heard Masaki would be doing these shows I was less than thrilled. Both of them had been sayonara performances, and trying to squash any top star into another's sayonara performance is a lot like trying to shove an elephant into a Volkswagon Beetle--It just doesn't fit. Add to that the fact that most of the chemistry in Too Short is between the top star and nibante, and Wataru and Touko had had so much history to give that even more poignancy at the time. Finally, well, to be honest I had been disappointed by Chapi in R&J. Juliette is a pretty shallow character and just the sort I really dislike the top musumeyaku doing, and it undid all of the good vibes I had built in Gypsy Baron for her spirited (if a bit hysterical) Violka. Frankly, I was concerned this trend would continue. Which is perhaps why I haven't had the nerve to watch the DVDs that have been collecting dust on my bookshelf. The other reason is that I have no one to watch things with, which takes most of the fun out of it.

But I finally decided I was getting a bit ridiculous, two years into Masaki's run as top star. So, I begin.

Too Short a Time to Fall in Love

Summary: )

What I Thought: )

Heat On Beat!

(See TakaWiki for scene descriptions.)

What I Thought: )
ekusudei: (Moon Troupe)
The Gypsy Baron / Rhapsodic Moon
Moon Troupe, 2010

Stars: Kiriya Hiromu & Aono Yuki

[ TakaWiki ] [ Asahi Photo Gallery ]

The Gypsy Baron

Gypsy is amazing in so many ways<3

I had been hearing a lot about the 6-minute pair dance in the beginning, set to the overture (I think?), and it really blew my mind. As usual, Marimo and Kiriyan move as if they are extensions of each other. They really are the perfect combi, and every time I see Kiriyan do a complicated lift I think of Mariko<3 I LOVE our top combi.

Many of the songs from Strauss's original score are only slightly arranged, I believe, and then some few songs were added. Much of it is in triple-time, which they mention in many interviews gave them some trouble singing and dancing at first, since it's a rhythm they rarely encounter. The chorus arrangements--all of the songs, really--also had that familiar operatic feel. I'll admit, I was quite stunned by the chorus vocals. They blend so well and sound AMAZING. The solos also sounded very good, and the duets were moving as well, although in one they have Marimo singing up at the edge of her range, which can get piercing. In general, though, they have her singing alto, and it's *beautiful*.

From the few photos I had seen, I wasn't sure how fond I'd be of the sets, but the pig house grew on me. It has a charming fairy-tale feel. And the ruins of Sterk's father's castle are just awesome! I love when they use the rotating stage during the play half♥

I adore the costumes, particularly Sterk's and the gypsies'. Lots of blacks and reds and fun designs. The exception being Tamakichi's - She has a long open vest/jacket that hangs straight with no patterns or lines to it at all, and so she looks like the villain in an Arabian tale. (^^; That, or a stork.

I also love Kiriyan and Marimo and Masaki's hair pieces, extensions, and wigs.<3 Kiriyan's in particular is this perfect wild mane that hangs halfway down her back and looks like something out of a medieval romance novel. You really want to be the maiden with that head in your lap. It fits her character perfectly.

Summary )

Actresses & Small Complaints )

Rhapsodic Moon

I just-I..... Yes. It's as loud as people had warned me. But I was expecting the loud colors (we always wear yellow and orange in the specials, after all), and the loud music wasn't as bad from my habitual balcony seat.

I fell in love with the opening with the orange neon outfits. Because it was so Tsukigumi, and because there was Masaki, in the nibante place. It was rather incredible; I don't think I can even explain it. I just sat there and thought about the past four years worth of revue shows, and opera-glassing Masaki back somewhere, moving slowly up. And now, here she was. Granted, sharing with Mirio, but still. There. Right there. It's an *amazing* feeling -- I'm sure I had a very stupid grin on my face the entire time.

Overall, though, I have to admit I'm not really a big fan of Nakamura Kazunori-sensei, or his revues. Still! I looked on the bright side; no chansons.

If you want more info on the various scenes, I've added it to the TakaWiki. But, in summary:

Prologue: LOVE
Castle Shining Under the Moon: Pretty Marimo dancing. Baaaaaad wig, Kiriyan. Mini-Death Mirio, who apparently sometimes turns into mini-Phantom. I have not seen this, but I'm told her face is too small to pull off a half-mask properly. (We all agreed that for the same reason, Masaki should not be allowed anywhere near a half-mask.)
Moon Dance: SUIT MASAKI♥ (Club ladies, you are crazy. She looks just fine in a suit.) Singing Masaki in a spotlight♥ Nibante Masaki♥
LUZ Moonlight: I was not fond of the chuzume, despite the Masaki nibante-ness. BUT. Marimo's scene? Where she sang a solo all by herself in front of the curtain because she is just. That. Awesome? *LOVE!*
CARAVAN & Desert Moon: Intellectually, I know I should love these scenes. I certainly adored the bit with the duet dance. I'll give it some time.
Finale: Giving Sonoka that vocal solo, instead of having her dance in CARAVAN & Desert Moon is a criminal act. Firstly, no Sonoka dancing!? Secondly, this song does not fit her vocals and, oh dear. :( Line dance was the usual. I spent much of it thinking Hanahi Mira was Mippou, which tells you how tired I was by that point. Black tailcoat otokoyaku dance was sexy, but also seemed to lack something. I suspect that was the exhaustion, though. Finale duet dance to "I Will Survive"? Too amazing. Doesn't hurt that Rizu-chan picks up the song with Kijou Mitsuru, after Kiriyan stops singing and starts dancing♥♥
Parade: NIBANTE. NIBANTE.

Altogether, an enjoyable revue, and one I won't mind watching multiple times. But not one that made my heart swell so much it felt like it might burst. At least, if it weren't for NIBANTE MASAKI. That alone will make this revue memorable for me. ;)
ekusudei: (Moon Troupe)
The Gypsy Baron / Rhapsodic Moon
Moon Troupe, 2010

Stars: Kiriya Hiromu & Aono Yuki

[ TakaWiki ] [ Asahi Photo Gallery ]

The Gypsy Baron

Gypsy is amazing in so many ways<3

I had been hearing a lot about the 6-minute pair dance in the beginning, set to the overture (I think?), and it really blew my mind. As usual, Marimo and Kiriyan move as if they are extensions of each other. They really are the perfect combi, and every time I see Kiriyan do a complicated lift I think of Mariko<3 I LOVE our top combi.

Many of the songs from Strauss's original score are only slightly arranged, I believe, and then some few songs were added. Much of it is in triple-time, which they mention in many interviews gave them some trouble singing and dancing at first, since it's a rhythm they rarely encounter. The chorus arrangements--all of the songs, really--also had that familiar operatic feel. I'll admit, I was quite stunned by the chorus vocals. They blend so well and sound AMAZING. The solos also sounded very good, and the duets were moving as well, although in one they have Marimo singing up at the edge of her range, which can get piercing. In general, though, they have her singing alto, and it's *beautiful*.

From the few photos I had seen, I wasn't sure how fond I'd be of the sets, but the pig house grew on me. It has a charming fairy-tale feel. And the ruins of Sterk's father's castle are just awesome! I love when they use the rotating stage during the play half♥

I adore the costumes, particularly Sterk's and the gypsies'. Lots of blacks and reds and fun designs. The exception being Tamakichi's - She has a long open vest/jacket that hangs straight with no patterns or lines to it at all, and so she looks like the villain in an Arabian tale. (^^; That, or a stork.

I also love Kiriyan and Marimo and Masaki's hair pieces, extensions, and wigs.<3 Kiriyan's in particular is this perfect wild mane that hangs halfway down her back and looks like something out of a medieval romance novel. You really want to be the maiden with that head in your lap. It fits her character perfectly.

Summary )

Actresses & Small Complaints )

Rhapsodic Moon

I just-I..... Yes. It's as loud as people had warned me. But I was expecting the loud colors (we always wear yellow and orange in the specials, after all), and the loud music wasn't as bad from my habitual balcony seat.

I fell in love with the opening with the orange neon outfits. Because it was so Tsukigumi, and because there was Masaki, in the nibante place. It was rather incredible; I don't think I can even explain it. I just sat there and thought about the past four years worth of revue shows, and opera-glassing Masaki back somewhere, moving slowly up. And now, here she was. Granted, sharing with Mirio, but still. There. Right there. It's an *amazing* feeling -- I'm sure I had a very stupid grin on my face the entire time.

Overall, though, I have to admit I'm not really a big fan of Nakamura Kazunori-sensei, or his revues. Still! I looked on the bright side; no chansons.

If you want more info on the various scenes, I've added it to the TakaWiki. But, in summary:

Prologue: LOVE
Castle Shining Under the Moon: Pretty Marimo dancing. Baaaaaad wig, Kiriyan. Mini-Death Mirio, who apparently sometimes turns into mini-Phantom. I have not seen this, but I'm told her face is too small to pull off a half-mask properly. (We all agreed that for the same reason, Masaki should not be allowed anywhere near a half-mask.)
Moon Dance: SUIT MASAKI♥ (Club ladies, you are crazy. She looks just fine in a suit.) Singing Masaki in a spotlight♥ Nibante Masaki♥
LUZ Moonlight: I was not fond of the chuzume, despite the Masaki nibante-ness. BUT. Marimo's scene? Where she sang a solo all by herself in front of the curtain because she is just. That. Awesome? *LOVE!*
CARAVAN & Desert Moon: Intellectually, I know I should love these scenes. I certainly adored the bit with the duet dance. I'll give it some time.
Finale: Giving Sonoka that vocal solo, instead of having her dance in CARAVAN & Desert Moon is a criminal act. Firstly, no Sonoka dancing!? Secondly, this song does not fit her vocals and, oh dear. :( Line dance was the usual. I spent much of it thinking Hanahi Mira was Mippou, which tells you how tired I was by that point. Black tailcoat otokoyaku dance was sexy, but also seemed to lack something. I suspect that was the exhaustion, though. Finale duet dance to "I Will Survive"? Too amazing. Doesn't hurt that Rizu-chan picks up the song with Kijou Mitsuru, after Kiriyan stops singing and starts dancing♥♥
Parade: NIBANTE. NIBANTE.

Altogether, an enjoyable revue, and one I won't mind watching multiple times. But not one that made my heart swell so much it felt like it might burst. At least, if it weren't for NIBANTE MASAKI. That alone will make this revue memorable for me. ;)
ekusudei: (Anna Karenina - Tomomin & Marimo)
Anna Karenina
Star Troupe Bow Workshop, 2008 (A Team)

Stars: Yumeno Seika & Aono Yuki

[ TakaWiki ]

Summary: See TakaWiki.

What I Thought:

My only excuse for not watching this sooner is that you need to be in a particular mood to watch something written by Tolstoy. And, after putting it off for six years, it became a bit of a habit. But then Tomomin did it! ... And I still put off watching the new version. And then Marimo was announced top of Moon! ... And I still put it off. There is a pattern here, somewhere. ;)

IT IS AMAZING.

I was totally blown away. I think I'll watch Komu's version next weekend, now, just to check what changes they made. I have a suspicion the sets had been in storage for seven years, because they were incredible (especially Moscow Station), and I doubt they would have spent that kind of money on sets for a mere Bow Workshop.

The musical arrangements were absolutely gorgeous (they put some of those rhapsodies in there just for me), and the choreography as well.

I am not usually much enchanted by otokoyaku in 18th and 19th century military uniforms. But. Well. What can I say? Tomomin is my kind of giant otokoyaku who looks good in them. ;) I loved all of Marimo's dresses. A lot of the costumes looked familiar, as usual, but what does that matter, if they fit the period and look beautiful?

In this show, Tomomin had echoes of Mariko and Tartan, and I fell in love with her all over again♥ Her and Yuzurun's acting was much better than I was expecting -- I suspect Russian novels and Hoshigumi's acting style are a good fit. Heh. Marimo's acting was... inspired. I dare you to find a flaw. She was the true star of this show. And together Tomomin and Marimo simply sizzled♥

Add Otohana Yuri and Mizuse Chiaki's lovely singing, and a nicely balanced chorus, and there wasn't much to complain about.

Tomomin and Suzuho jumping about with horse whips was.... very nice. :3

===

I'm hoping that when/if Yuzuru becomes top star, this one will make it onto commercial DVD. She had some great scenes and speeches as Karenin, so I think they might....
ekusudei: (Anna Karenina - Tomomin & Marimo)
Anna Karenina
Star Troupe Bow Workshop, 2008 (A Team)

Stars: Yumeno Seika & Aono Yuki

[ TakaWiki ]

Summary: See TakaWiki.

What I Thought:

My only excuse for not watching this sooner is that you need to be in a particular mood to watch something written by Tolstoy. And, after putting it off for six years, it became a bit of a habit. But then Tomomin did it! ... And I still put off watching the new version. And then Marimo was announced top of Moon! ... And I still put it off. There is a pattern here, somewhere. ;)

IT IS AMAZING.

I was totally blown away. I think I'll watch Komu's version next weekend, now, just to check what changes they made. I have a suspicion the sets had been in storage for seven years, because they were incredible (especially Moscow Station), and I doubt they would have spent that kind of money on sets for a mere Bow Workshop.

The musical arrangements were absolutely gorgeous (they put some of those rhapsodies in there just for me), and the choreography as well.

I am not usually much enchanted by otokoyaku in 18th and 19th century military uniforms. But. Well. What can I say? Tomomin is my kind of giant otokoyaku who looks good in them. ;) I loved all of Marimo's dresses. A lot of the costumes looked familiar, as usual, but what does that matter, if they fit the period and look beautiful?

In this show, Tomomin had echoes of Mariko and Tartan, and I fell in love with her all over again♥ Her and Yuzurun's acting was much better than I was expecting -- I suspect Russian novels and Hoshigumi's acting style are a good fit. Heh. Marimo's acting was... inspired. I dare you to find a flaw. She was the true star of this show. And together Tomomin and Marimo simply sizzled♥

Add Otohana Yuri and Mizuse Chiaki's lovely singing, and a nicely balanced chorus, and there wasn't much to complain about.

Tomomin and Suzuho jumping about with horse whips was.... very nice. :3

===

I'm hoping that when/if Yuzuru becomes top star, this one will make it onto commercial DVD. She had some great scenes and speeches as Karenin, so I think they might....
ekusudei: (NBN - Tomu & Gun-chan)
Hollywood Lover
Moon Troupe Bow Hall, 2007-08

Stars: Ozora Yuuhi & Shirosaki Ai

[ TakaWiki ] [ TCA Shop ] [ Takarazuka Precious ]

Quick-quick Summary: )

What I Thought:

Another show I have been hoarding for a rainy day, for so many nostalgic reasons.

I'll be honest, I wasn't even certain if I would like it, or if it would be too much like Last Party, which I didn't really care for all that much. But it surprised me. I felt like, especially in the second act, it contained some genuinely touching scenes which transcended the usual angst-fest of a Takarazuka Love Tragedy. When Amane-san gave the photo to Yuuhi, I started crying.

Read more... ) I liked the ways that Ueda-sensei managed to make well-worn scenarios fresh.

The farewell speeches were.... I think Koshino Ryuu was the worst off. She fell apart and made mistakes that set Yuuhi off in stitches♥ She was all: "I can do it, I can do it. [GIANT MISTAKE]" And Yuuhi was all: *warm smile* "Ganbatte!" Tsukigumi♥
ekusudei: (NBN - Tomu & Gun-chan)
Hollywood Lover
Moon Troupe Bow Hall, 2007-08

Stars: Ozora Yuuhi & Shirosaki Ai

[ TakaWiki ] [ TCA Shop ] [ Takarazuka Precious ]

Quick-quick Summary: )

What I Thought:

Another show I have been hoarding for a rainy day, for so many nostalgic reasons.

I'll be honest, I wasn't even certain if I would like it, or if it would be too much like Last Party, which I didn't really care for all that much. But it surprised me. I felt like, especially in the second act, it contained some genuinely touching scenes which transcended the usual angst-fest of a Takarazuka Love Tragedy. When Amane-san gave the photo to Yuuhi, I started crying.

Read more... ) I liked the ways that Ueda-sensei managed to make well-worn scenarios fresh.

The farewell speeches were.... I think Koshino Ryuu was the worst off. She fell apart and made mistakes that set Yuuhi off in stitches♥ She was all: "I can do it, I can do it. [GIANT MISTAKE]" And Yuuhi was all: *warm smile* "Ganbatte!" Tsukigumi♥

Le Mistral

Aug. 11th, 2010 01:51 pm
ekusudei: (Default)
Le Mistral
Moon Troupe, 1994, Drama City

Stars: Amami Yuuki & Asano Kayo

[ TakaWiki ]

Summary: )

What I Thought:

I saw the Amami Yuuki version. Sorry, this will be short because I watched it months and months ago.

Well. It's very Takarazuka in that it's this horrible, terrible tale of betrayal and death and assassins, but it's also rather a comedy. And the two spirits of the mirror are rather strange, interspersed narrators with random song and dance numbers which don't fit the rest of the mood of the piece. I liked the comedy bits quite a lot, but the overall effect was rather disjointed.

Mmm, to be harshly honest I'd say it's a bit too maudlin and not a very coherent piece, without very good music or sets or costumes.

BUT then you have to factor in the cast, which I adore, and the fact that I love Yuri and Kayo together, and that Shiokaze Kou and Wakao Risa were just AWESOME villains, and Ritsu Tomomi was amazing gruff craziness. Aoi Miya was hilarious as the foolish detective in the Sherlock Holmes cape. Aihara Serika was beautifully evil. Koshino Ryuu gave a lovely, adorable ken-2 death scene. And then there was spot-the-Saeko, spot-the-Yuuhi, and spot-the-Mizu♥

The sequence near the beginning where they introduce all of the cast outside of the hotel I LOVE and could watch again and again and again.

So all in all I have to say that I enjoyed it and I love philosophical assassin Yuri very, very, very much♥♥

Le Mistral

Aug. 11th, 2010 01:51 pm
ekusudei: (Default)
Le Mistral
Moon Troupe, 1994, Drama City

Stars: Amami Yuuki & Asano Kayo

[ TakaWiki ]

Summary: )

What I Thought:

I saw the Amami Yuuki version. Sorry, this will be short because I watched it months and months ago.

Well. It's very Takarazuka in that it's this horrible, terrible tale of betrayal and death and assassins, but it's also rather a comedy. And the two spirits of the mirror are rather strange, interspersed narrators with random song and dance numbers which don't fit the rest of the mood of the piece. I liked the comedy bits quite a lot, but the overall effect was rather disjointed.

Mmm, to be harshly honest I'd say it's a bit too maudlin and not a very coherent piece, without very good music or sets or costumes.

BUT then you have to factor in the cast, which I adore, and the fact that I love Yuri and Kayo together, and that Shiokaze Kou and Wakao Risa were just AWESOME villains, and Ritsu Tomomi was amazing gruff craziness. Aoi Miya was hilarious as the foolish detective in the Sherlock Holmes cape. Aihara Serika was beautifully evil. Koshino Ryuu gave a lovely, adorable ken-2 death scene. And then there was spot-the-Saeko, spot-the-Yuuhi, and spot-the-Mizu♥

The sequence near the beginning where they introduce all of the cast outside of the hotel I LOVE and could watch again and again and again.

So all in all I have to say that I enjoyed it and I love philosophical assassin Yuri very, very, very much♥♥

SAUDADE

Aug. 10th, 2010 11:56 pm
ekusudei: (Default)
SAUDADE
Moon Troupe, 2009, Drama City

Star: Sena Jun

[ TakaWiki ]

Why did no one tell me how much dancing was in "SAUDADE"? I would have watched it sooner. XD

I liked the beginning of the first act a lot, although I think to be properly enjoyed you also should be sure to have at least two people so that you can heckle it loudly and make each other laugh. *grin* For me it lagged towards the end of the first act, because I'm not a huge fan of jazz dance.

The first act was nearly a solid block of DANCE♥

Act two had the skit and then the inevitable Asako Latin Section. The skit was fun and had some catchy songs, but also a lot of philosophizing and everything tied up neatly. Asako singing "Fever" was.... sexy. (The Sky Stage version was actually simply the DVD, rather than the usual senshuuraku recording. They put all of the cut music/vocals back in, but didn't modify the text on the screen that tells you the vocals are cut, which made me blink a few times.)

So, not going to go into any detail here, but still wanted to post something, because I don't remember hearing anything amazing about this show from anyone who saw it and I think it's actually quite a lot of fun. A ton of dancing, and also a lot of chances for people like Atsuki Renka and Isshiki Ruka and everyone in the small cast to shine. And kumichou did two lifts in a row♥

The New Sounds band was also in top form, and I liked a lot of the arrangements of familiar songs. And Asako sang "Kuroi Washi" in a black tailcoat and my life was complete. Love that song!

SAUDADE

Aug. 10th, 2010 11:56 pm
ekusudei: (Default)
SAUDADE
Moon Troupe, 2009, Drama City

Star: Sena Jun

[ TakaWiki ]

Why did no one tell me how much dancing was in "SAUDADE"? I would have watched it sooner. XD

I liked the beginning of the first act a lot, although I think to be properly enjoyed you also should be sure to have at least two people so that you can heckle it loudly and make each other laugh. *grin* For me it lagged towards the end of the first act, because I'm not a huge fan of jazz dance.

The first act was nearly a solid block of DANCE♥

Act two had the skit and then the inevitable Asako Latin Section. The skit was fun and had some catchy songs, but also a lot of philosophizing and everything tied up neatly. Asako singing "Fever" was.... sexy. (The Sky Stage version was actually simply the DVD, rather than the usual senshuuraku recording. They put all of the cut music/vocals back in, but didn't modify the text on the screen that tells you the vocals are cut, which made me blink a few times.)

So, not going to go into any detail here, but still wanted to post something, because I don't remember hearing anything amazing about this show from anyone who saw it and I think it's actually quite a lot of fun. A ton of dancing, and also a lot of chances for people like Atsuki Renka and Isshiki Ruka and everyone in the small cast to shine. And kumichou did two lifts in a row♥

The New Sounds band was also in top form, and I liked a lot of the arrangements of familiar songs. And Asako sang "Kuroi Washi" in a black tailcoat and my life was complete. Love that song!
ekusudei: (Yuuhi - The Last Party)
Trafalgar / Funky Sunshine
Tokyo Theater -- July 18th 11:30

Stars: Ozora Yuuhi & Nono Sumika

[ TakaWiki ] [ Stage Graph ]

Although most of the fun in Takarazuka is in watching the younger girls, or rather, in taking in the chorus as a whole, that can cause problems when you want to actually focus on the top stars. And so I think I've come to be grateful that Yuuhi and Sumika were moved to Soragumi, a troupe where I don't really have any other favorites. Most of the time I can concentrate on them and not get distracted.

Which isn't to mean that I don't think there are very many talented people in Soragumi! But they're not really my focus right now. So, as usual, my Soragumi show report is going to be a bit light on people, which isn't meant with any disrespect. Only that I saw the show only once, so I focused on the two who were most important to me, and then on Alice, for obvious reasons. ... Okay, with a healthy dose of Tomochin. ;)

Read more... )


So, hm, final verdict: I enjoyed it and I'm glad I went to see it, but it's not one that I would rave about.
ekusudei: (Yuuhi - The Last Party)
Trafalgar / Funky Sunshine
Tokyo Theater -- July 18th 11:30

Stars: Ozora Yuuhi & Nono Sumika

[ TakaWiki ] [ Stage Graph ]

Although most of the fun in Takarazuka is in watching the younger girls, or rather, in taking in the chorus as a whole, that can cause problems when you want to actually focus on the top stars. And so I think I've come to be grateful that Yuuhi and Sumika were moved to Soragumi, a troupe where I don't really have any other favorites. Most of the time I can concentrate on them and not get distracted.

Which isn't to mean that I don't think there are very many talented people in Soragumi! But they're not really my focus right now. So, as usual, my Soragumi show report is going to be a bit light on people, which isn't meant with any disrespect. Only that I saw the show only once, so I focused on the two who were most important to me, and then on Alice, for obvious reasons. ... Okay, with a healthy dose of Tomochin. ;)

Read more... )


So, hm, final verdict: I enjoyed it and I'm glad I went to see it, but it's not one that I would rave about.

Gu Bijin

Jun. 16th, 2010 11:26 pm
ekusudei: (play without words)
Gu Bijin
Flower Troupe, 2010
May 15th 16:00 & May 30th 16:00 shows


Stars: Matobu Sei & Sakurano Ayane

[ TakaWiki ] [ Asahi Photo Gallery: Gu Bijin ]

I... I keep putting this off until I'll have a full day to work on it, but I've come to realize that's just not going to happen anytime soon. So I'll now attempt a two-hour version of why this is the best show that I've seen since Yume no Ukihashi or Kurotokage.

Here there be SPOILERS!

Summary: )

What I Thought: )

So, in conclusion: If you were saving up for any version of Legend because you like grand Asian costume spectacles, throw away such a thought and get Gu Bijin instead. You won't regret it! ♥

Translation to follow once Tsukigumi leaves Tokyo♥

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