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: (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: (Moon Troupe)
Prince of the Land of Roses / ONE

Leads: Kiriya Hiromu & Aono Yuki

[ TakaWiki ] [ Mainichi Photos ] [ Daily Sports Photos ]

Well.... I didn't instantly fall in love with this show. I'm rather 50/50 on it at the moment. There are things that I really enjoyed, and things that entirely failed to appeal to me, so that I have a hard time condemning it or praising it. To compare, though, it's my least favorite of Kiriyan's three Daigekijo shows so far.

I thought it was interesting that Kimura-sensei said that he chose the theme particularly because he wanted to make a show that would appeal to children, since it would fall during both spring break and Golden Week. Kusano-sensei was more focused on tailoring the revue to Kiriyan, whom he has liked since he worked with her as an underclassman in Hanagumi.

Prince of the Land of Roses:

It was nice to see a fairytale; at a time like this, a fairytale with a happy ending is sorely needed. And I've been hoping for another Takarazuka fairytale for a long time. The sets were lovely and very well done. The story, and the focus on Belle, was sweet. The choreography with the large ensemble was cleverly done and visually impressive.

For me, however, the music was lacking. Aside from one of Belle's solos, no tunes or lyrics that really stuck in my head, and nothing that brought tears to my eyes. Sad, considering most of the dialogue is in song as well. I kind of weighed it against Kimura's Gu Bijin and found it lacking, I guess, although the stories are so very different it's hard to compare them.

I was also really disappointed by the costumes. I understand why they did what they did, because going in and out of full-on make-up jobs/costumes would have been difficult, and too much color would have ruined the uniform nature of the costumes which made the big synchronized dances so cool. But, still... I was so looking forward to colorful animal costumes. On the other hand, the amount of thought that went into their individual character creation was pretty fun -- each person holds their free hand specifically to represent the hoof/claw/paw/wing, etc. of their animal.

Kiriyan's Beast was as sweet as you'd expect. Amusingly, the little children in my seating area were squealing in fear and fun over the Beast's costume. Marimo's Belle was fantabulous. Masaki's King was a deliberate diversion from the usual sexy villain, and, in fact, Kimura told her not to think of herself as a villain, but as a straightforward and rather blind character. To be baldly honest, not the most interesting of roles, though she did come out with some of the more elaborate costumes♥

Kumicho looked good in her goatee. Magee & Touka made amusing evil step-sisters. Morie was exactly what she tried for -- a fairytale nobleman with lovely hair. She said she brought a comic book to the wig maker to show exactly what kind of wig she wanted. Mirio was a cute white tiger.

I only saw the show once, so didn't really have a chance to find out many in the ensemble. Did finally memorize the eye-marks on Rizu's mask enough to be able to tell her apart from the other birds. The birds were all entirely adorable.

ONE:

I think maybe this revue will grow on me when/if I see it again in Tokyo. As it was, I'm afraid it just didn't really push many of my buttons.

Exception #1 is the Unicorn number, which just about everyone--fans and seito alike--seem to be listing as their favorite. It calls out to the 12-year-old girl in all of us, I think♥ Magee said it makes her cry. *grin* It's just pretty, and I LOVE the stars, and the flashlights and the choreography, and the music, and the story♥

I think I would have liked machine-gun Masaki a lot more if I weren't so overly-sensitive about swathes of bodies at the moment. On the other hand, hurrah for miraculously escaping the horrid "American" costumes.

Exception #2 is Masaki singing the nibante solo on the ginkyou.

Exception #3 is Masaki in real nibante feathers in the finale parade.

Other good things of note: Lots more lovely Kiriyan/Marimo pair dance loveliness, and a very nice otokoyaku in tuxedoes stairdance number. Also. Ken Ruisu getting her hands all over Marimo in the Heartjack scene♥ Yay for taidansha getting prominence!

I felt like there really wasn't enough Sonoka, but people tell me it's there.
ekusudei: (Moon Troupe)
Heya!

So, I feel a bit like I've lost track of the underclassmen ever since I moved back to Japan. Ironically, I see less of them because I spend all my money on tickets instead of DVDs and I haven't been able to see most of the smaller theater shows where the younger actresses get bigger parts.

So! Please introduce me to the underclassmen in your troupes! And... let's make it ken-5 (2006) or under? :D

I'll start, using the shinko cast for BaraKuni as a guideline. Our shinko leads this time are Akizuki Saya ('06) and Aikaze Yume ('08). Although both are having their first leads, they have played nibante roles previously. Hm. Actually, I can't tell you much about Yuuki, because she has NEVER been in a smaller show with us. In '07 it was "Hello! Dancing", in '08 it was "Hoffmann", in '09 it was "SAUDADE", in '10 it was "Yukariko", in '11 "Dancing Heroes". I know [livejournal.com profile] sumire_no_hana likes her quite a lot. Yume, on the other hand, was with us in '09 in "Kinsmen" and even back then when she was a ken-1 I heard from other fans that she was a very diligent and talented girl, that the company liked her, and that she'd probably be going far.

Tamaki Ryou ('08) got her big break in playing Laertes last year as a ken-2. She certainly won me over with her passionate (if sometimes a little amateurish) acting. She also had the lead in the "Scarlet Pimpernel" shinko last year. Off stage she is an incredibly sweet girl who takes time with her fans and staff.

Kizuki Yuuma ('09) also bears watching, I think. Although she hasn't had any big roles on the main stage yet, she has had some interesting upperclassmen roles in shinkos. I think this year or the next will be when she starts getting more star-tracked roles in shinkos. Kijou Mitsuru ('07) is a singer and I think one of those solid troupe members who will get decent supporting roles for all of her career, even if she's never star-tracked. I think the same for Chinami Karan ('06), although she's more a dancer than a singer. Karan is also another one of those seito who is incredibly sweet to fans.

I'm unsure yet about Houzuki An ('06) and whether they're setting her up to be a solid member or semi-star-tracked, maybe? I hope for her to be star-tracked because I think she's really talented, but she's been pretty solidly settled in Aoki Izumi and Seijou Kaitou's shinko roles for two years. Hm, I guess next year ('12) will be the telling one for her.

I also really like Harune Aki ('09). Sometimes getting a lot of boy roles isn't a good sign for an advancing career, and she's perhaps too short to be promoted, but I'm not sure. I hold out hope. She completely caught my attention during "Gypsy Baron" from her intense performance in the ensemble.

Two more, and then I'm done. Hayami Sei ('08) is an excellent dancer and I think she has that charisma that catches fans. She hasn't been promoted too heavily yet, but Masaki seems to like her and there's certainly still time. And the last is little Manaki Reika ('09). She's gotten two large parts in Grand Theater shows, but one was a boy and one a woman. She hasn't gotten any large shinko roles yet, but they seem to be placing her prominently in the group dance formations of revues and such, though, and I'm curious to see if this still holds true during "ONE" this spring.

So those are some of the up-and-comings of Tsukigumi. How about your troupes?
ekusudei: (Moon Troupe)
Heya!

So, I feel a bit like I've lost track of the underclassmen ever since I moved back to Japan. Ironically, I see less of them because I spend all my money on tickets instead of DVDs and I haven't been able to see most of the smaller theater shows where the younger actresses get bigger parts.

So! Please introduce me to the underclassmen in your troupes! And... let's make it ken-5 (2006) or under? :D

I'll start, using the shinko cast for BaraKuni as a guideline. Our shinko leads this time are Akizuki Saya ('06) and Aikaze Yume ('08). Although both are having their first leads, they have played nibante roles previously. Hm. Actually, I can't tell you much about Yuuki, because she has NEVER been in a smaller show with us. In '07 it was "Hello! Dancing", in '08 it was "Hoffmann", in '09 it was "SAUDADE", in '10 it was "Yukariko", in '11 "Dancing Heroes". I know [livejournal.com profile] sumire_no_hana likes her quite a lot. Yume, on the other hand, was with us in '09 in "Kinsmen" and even back then when she was a ken-1 I heard from other fans that she was a very diligent and talented girl, that the company liked her, and that she'd probably be going far.

Tamaki Ryou ('08) got her big break in playing Laertes last year as a ken-2. She certainly won me over with her passionate (if sometimes a little amateurish) acting. She also had the lead in the "Scarlet Pimpernel" shinko last year. Off stage she is an incredibly sweet girl who takes time with her fans and staff.

Kizuki Yuuma ('09) also bears watching, I think. Although she hasn't had any big roles on the main stage yet, she has had some interesting upperclassmen roles in shinkos. I think this year or the next will be when she starts getting more star-tracked roles in shinkos. Kijou Mitsuru ('07) is a singer and I think one of those solid troupe members who will get decent supporting roles for all of her career, even if she's never star-tracked. I think the same for Chinami Karan ('06), although she's more a dancer than a singer. Karan is also another one of those seito who is incredibly sweet to fans.

I'm unsure yet about Houzuki An ('06) and whether they're setting her up to be a solid member or semi-star-tracked, maybe? I hope for her to be star-tracked because I think she's really talented, but she's been pretty solidly settled in Aoki Izumi and Seijou Kaitou's shinko roles for two years. Hm, I guess next year ('12) will be the telling one for her.

I also really like Harune Aki ('09). Sometimes getting a lot of boy roles isn't a good sign for an advancing career, and she's perhaps too short to be promoted, but I'm not sure. I hold out hope. She completely caught my attention during "Gypsy Baron" from her intense performance in the ensemble.

Two more, and then I'm done. Hayami Sei ('08) is an excellent dancer and I think she has that charisma that catches fans. She hasn't been promoted too heavily yet, but Masaki seems to like her and there's certainly still time. And the last is little Manaki Reika ('09). She's gotten two large parts in Grand Theater shows, but one was a boy and one a woman. She hasn't gotten any large shinko roles yet, but they seem to be placing her prominently in the group dance formations of revues and such, though, and I'm curious to see if this still holds true during "ONE" this spring.

So those are some of the up-and-comings of Tsukigumi. How about your troupes?

Studio 54

Jan. 24th, 2011 10:52 pm
ekusudei: (Moon Troupe)
Events in the sumary may be slightly out of order, but that doesn't affect the story itself, I think.

Studio 54
Moon Troupe, Nippon Seinenkan
Jan 16th performance


Stars: Kiriya Hiromu & Aono Yuki

[ TakaWiki ] [ Asahi Stage Gallery ]

I'm becoming hopelessly fond of the Nippon Seinenkan, despite always ending up in the balcony (monieeeeee~~~). This time I was up on the 2nd floor, off to house right. (Luckily, as it turned out for Rizu-viewing, not too far right.)

I was too slow on the grab to get one of the last of the free pamphlet "Hot Week"s that they had left over from Bow run -- From what I could see from reading over someone's shoulder, and from what other people told me, they were pretty hilarious. I'm kind of dying to know what the cast wrote, though, in their comments section. I want to know what Nozomu said. T_T


This show made me fall even more in love than I already was with Kiriyan and Marimo as a combi. (I know, I can see you rolling your eyes at me and saying it isn't possible for me to get any more mushy over these two, but they are so perfect together. Hankyu knows what they're about, as usual.)

Summary: )

What I Thought: )

Overall a really fun play. I left the theater grinning and with that Takarazuka buzz, wishing I could see it again. I think it'll be one of those smaller shows that Tsukigumi fans refer to for a long time to come. :)

From what I understand, there are two alternate finales, either Disco 54 or Showa 54. Even before the lights went up, the people around me started murmuring "Showa 54! Showa 54!" as the cast moved into place on the darkened stage. Then the lights went up and "Showa 54" flashed on the curtain. It was a fun medley of 70s disco numbers, the Japanese versions of English ones, and original Japanese ones.
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: (Default)
Sorry, even more scrappy English than usual. I'd blame it on being sick, but the truth is I did most of this last week before the cold hit, so I guess being sick just means I feel even less inclined to re-write the bits that don't sound at all natural in English? ;)

Maybe I'm reading between the lines too much here, but I find the references to Moon Troupe seito needing to be "once more [...] taught stage manners and etiquette" to be interesting.

I like Tani-sensei's focus on breaking through Kiriyan's wall. I've definitely felt it a lot since she became nibante, so I hope the plan works. In the same way, if we can get some spontaneity out of Tani-sensei's direction, along with some stricter stage manners, that will be very nice for Tsuki too, I think. I feel like they've been going about things too much by rote, lately, and re-staging famous plays like Elisabeth and Pimpernel wasn't helping.

And I love, as always, reference to our otonappoi combi♥ I hope they will always continue to be used in this very promising way.


Round-Table
"Der Zigeunerbaron"
Moon Troupe Grand Theater Performance, Running until Oct. 4th


Members: (Director) Tani Masazumi, (Article) Okada Takayuki, (Senka) Natori Rei, (Moon) Koshino Ryū, Kiriya Hiromu, Hanase Mizuka, Kiryū Sonoka, Mihō Aya, Aoki Izumi, Seijō Kaito, Ryū Masaki, Asumi Rio, Aono Yuki, Ayahoshi Rion


Read more... )
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♥♥

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: (Default)
You guys are very bad at ignoring things, aren't you? *grins* Well, fine, make me log in then.


Anyway! Things I've been meaning to post!

So, Hatsuhime Saaya (for those who don't know, 'hatsuhime' means 'first princess') went to help Mame out with her makeup in her first princess role. <3 Awesomeness.


AND! Poster of Love! Eheehee. :3
ekusudei: (Default)
Normally I would post this under filter, but as I honestly believe Masaki wants the word spread on this I'm going to leave it unlocked. I'm putting it at the top of my semi-review because it's integral to my reactions to things.

I haven't seen much posted about this in the English-speaking fandom, and I'm not sure if it's because people are filtering posts or simply not talking about it, but in any case it's been pretty rampant all over mixi and the Japanese-language boards and comms. Masaki has exhausted her voice. I think the 11 AM show on the 2nd was the worst, as I heard about it from English- and Japanese-speaking friends she actually wasn't able to sing entire portions of one song, which the chorus had to carry, and her eyes teared up as she was singing the "A Piece of Courage" reprise at the end and her voice died. I don't know the music well enough to tell, but people told me that they re-arranged the music for her during some of the songs so that she could sing low instead of high. I saw the 3 PM show on the 2nd, and her voice was a little better (she could carry the notes), but she couldn't project at all.

The 3rd was a two-show day and the ochakai, and we were all very worried, but were told her intention was NOT to communicate via writing (as she had done to preserve her voice during Hamlet). I saw the evening show on the 3rd and her singing voice was nearly back to normal (she was projecting again), but it still sounded extremely painful and her speaking voice was too low and husky. Still, she could talk with nearly her normal voice at the ochakai. It seemed she was continually improving; where we thought the week as Chauvelin would make things worse, she was instead getting better♥

At the ochakai she took a moment to address the subject, saying (paraphrased): I've gotten a lot of letters and words from many people over how worried they are. I want to apologize sincerely for causing you all to worry. I did too much over the last year, and my throat is sore. However, I'm being very careful, and I have consulted many doctors and teachers. There is no damage to my throat, no calluses; it's simply sore. So please don't worry any more. I'm taking care of myself and I'm going to continue to do my best to make this the best production possible.

And, indeed, against all logic, friends who saw the show on the 4th told me that her voice was returned to nearly full strength and they had stopped using the lowered score for her.

So there you have it, the worry and the resolution. Now, on to the show:

-----

The Scarlet Pimpernel
Grand Theater 2010

Leads: Kiriya Hiromu & Aono Yuki

[Taka Wiki ] [ Special Site ] [ Asahi Stage Gallery ]

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the show for the first time. Hoshigumi's had impressed me, but that was mostly because Chie's performance blew me away. This show doesn't have the technically amazing singers, but it has an earnestness to it, a genuineness, that I love. The troupe is proud of their new top stars, and proud of what they can do. The particularly warm outpouring of love from the audience after every one of Kiriyan's solos at kumisouken made me so happy.

Read more... )

Overall I like it more than Hoshigumi's, which I'll admit I wasn't expecting. Whether it's troupe bias or whether other opinions will bear me out, I don't know. In any case, Tsukigumi holds their own, powerfully♥ There's a reason they're known as the Western Musical troupe. ;)

With the added problem of Masaki's voice, I'm even more curious now as to who they'll put on the DVD as Chauvelin....
ekusudei: (Default)
The Last Play / Heat on Beat!
Moon Troupe 2009 Tokyo
Nov. 27th, 2009


Star: Sena Jun

[ TakaWiki ] [ Sanspo Sumire Style Stage Graph ]

Summary:

spoilers behind most of the cuts )

What I Thought:

Just want to get my first impressions down before I see it again, so this'll be quick.

This is Tsukigumi. The suit troupe. The gangster troupe. The western musical troupe. The troupe of ridiculously hot tangos. The troupe that I fell in love with. All of the things that I love about Daichi Mao's troupe, and Tsurugi Miyuki's troupe, and Amami Yuuki's troupe, and Kuze Seika's troupe, and Tsubasa Makoto's troupe, and Shibuki Jun's troupe, and Sena Jun's troupe. The people might be completely different, but something intrinsically Tsukigumi is always there. That's why--although of course I'm sad about the retirements!--I'm not devastated. It will still be Tsukigumi♥

Read more... )

On the Revue:

I've added in the little blurbs for all of the revue acts on the TakaWiki.

Read more... )
ekusudei: (NBN - Tomu & Gun-chan)
I'm not sure if anyone posted this link before, but there are absolutely *enormous* photos of Tsukigumi raku on this blog entry, once you click on them. And the angle is different than the usual news photos, so I think they're interesting.

http://blog.livedoor.jp/enbublog-journal/archives/1229457.html

Also, EMAO (The Artist Formerly Known as Emao Yuu) is going to star in a movie about the Sakai Noriko scandal, due out next year. Which is just, wow. The dust from the scandal hasn't even all settled yet. o_0 The movie is titled "Setsuna" (A Moment), and is due out in January. Emao will be playing a female reporter chasing the story.

http://www.theaterguide.co.jp/theater_news/2009/11/25.php
ekusudei: (NBN - Tomu & Gun-chan)
I'm not sure if anyone posted this link before, but there are absolutely *enormous* photos of Tsukigumi raku on this blog entry, once you click on them. And the angle is different than the usual news photos, so I think they're interesting.

http://blog.livedoor.jp/enbublog-journal/archives/1229457.html

Also, EMAO (The Artist Formerly Known as Emao Yuu) is going to star in a movie about the Sakai Noriko scandal, due out next year. Which is just, wow. The dust from the scandal hasn't even all settled yet. o_0 The movie is titled "Setsuna" (A Moment), and is due out in January. Emao will be playing a female reporter chasing the story.

http://www.theaterguide.co.jp/theater_news/2009/11/25.php
ekusudei: (Default)
A bunch more Last Play photos have gone up on Daily Sports. But this photo... This photo makes me happy and sad at the same time. She's really becoming a star-tracked upperclassman now, with all the weight-loss and loss of ... whatever it is that they lose when they get to the point where they are no longer put into all the "energetic young boy" roles. .... Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? (Although they pointed out in the round-table that Asako is playing Young Alistair in this musical too, and she says she was kind of looking forward to the challenge. XD)
ekusudei: (Default)
A bunch more Last Play photos have gone up on Daily Sports. But this photo... This photo makes me happy and sad at the same time. She's really becoming a star-tracked upperclassman now, with all the weight-loss and loss of ... whatever it is that they lose when they get to the point where they are no longer put into all the "energetic young boy" roles. .... Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? (Although they pointed out in the round-table that Asako is playing Young Alistair in this musical too, and she says she was kind of looking forward to the challenge. XD)

Non-Stop!!

Oct. 12th, 2009 08:42 pm
ekusudei: (Yuuhi - The Last Party)
Non-Stop!!
Moon Troupe 1997, Bow Hall

[ TakaWiki ]

Lead: Kuze Seika

Cast: Misa Noeru (Senka), Natsukawa Yura, Yoshizuki Eri, Juri Sakiho, Takashou Mizuki, Hoshino Hitomi, Mahoroba Yuu, Jouka Azuki, Naruse Kouki, Oozora Yuuhi, Minashiro Hikari, Mizu Natsuki, Mizusawa Hazuki, Yamato Yuuga, Hanase Mizuka, Saijou Mie, Kanou Chika

Summary:

Act I

Aspiring actor Lover Brightman attends auditions for a music company and just makes it in. There he endures strict training from very odd teachers, is used to help a promising classmate, and eventually loses his girlfriend. He looses his innocent confidence, but is re-inspired by his ever helpful theater spirit boy and eventually makes it.

Act II

Lover Brightman performs. Eventually, his spirit comes to lead him off, as he will join the theater spirits.

What I Thought:

More a revue-show type performance, with the paper-thin plot only there to string together the musical numbers. The theater spirits and the idea of the candle/lantern on stage were completely re-used by Fujii-Sensei when he did Touko's "A Bientot" last year.

The cast was great, and very nostalgic. Kuze Seika was... adorable. Also, snooty rocker Mizu Natsuki (ken-5) was worth any amount of pain. Hanase Mizuka was her cute self. I approved of Sakiho Juri and Yoshizuki Eri being Kuze Seika's main back-ups in a lot of numbers. (And Juri and Hoshino Hitomi were hilarious as the teachers.) Yamato Yuuga in that costume was.... ahahah. The duet dance between Natsukawa Yura and Non-chan was hot. Non-chan singing a Japanese version of "Bohemian Rhapsody" was.... unusual. The tuxedo number and the bit with the musumeyaku in the pink things was both hot and hilarious.

But the show was thrown in between the Takarazuka and Tokyo runs of Non-chan's farewell show, and you could tell they didn't have much time to practice. The choreography was much too difficult for the amount of time that they did have, and it shows. Also, the costumes suffer from late-90s Takarazuka Revue fashionitis. On the other hand, there is a costume which... which... which really cannot be described. It must be experienced. And I thought I had seen them all.....

Over-all, a must see for fans of late-90s Tsukigumi, or late-90s craziness. Otherwise, you can probably give it a miss.
ekusudei: (Default)
Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] lliri_blanc for checking it over for me. :)

Round-Table
Elisabeth -Rondo of Love and Death-

Moon Troupe Grand Theater Performance


Members: Koike Shuuichirou (Director/Script Adaption), Yoshida Youko (Music Director), Kiba Takeshi (Interviewer), Sena Jun, Koshino Ryuu, Kiriya Hiromu, Hanase Mizuka, Isshiki Ruka, Ryouga Haruhi, Ken Ruisu, Kiryuu Sonoka, Mihou Aya, Aoki Izumi, Shirosaki Ai, Ryuu Masaki, Asumi Rio, Hazakura Shizuku (Moon), Nagina Ruumi (Cosmos)

( pages 1 - 12 )

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