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: (Default)
Takarazuka of Love and Youth
Aoyama Theater -- Feb. 19th, 17:00

Leads:
Mineno Shirayuki (Ryuutan) - Ryuuzaki Kaoru: Makoto Tsubasa
Hoshikaze Suzuko (Tomo) - Yamada Tomoko: Hoshina Yuri
Tachibana Ibuki (Tacchi) - Sawara Ibuki: Ayaki Nao
Benihana Honoka (Beni) - Kawamura Matsu: Ayano Kanami

(Yes, I picked the Tsukigumi OG performance. Ahah.)
Kageyama Kou: Okada Kouki
Hayami Yuusuke: Sakamoto Kenji
Osamu: Matsushita Kouhei


Ensemble:
Ueno Hako (Senda Mayumi '82), Misato Maya ('88), Mitsumi Akiho ('95), Kawazu Megumi (Sono Mikage '95), Kanou Chika ('96), Mizuki Mai ('97), Makise Kai ('97), Ryouma Tomo ('98), Natsuzora Momomi ('00), Mine Makoto (Shimizu Kyouka '01), Hinata San ('01), Ayahashi Miyuu ('01), Sen Hafuri ('02), Yamada Yumiko (Yumeka Ayari '02), Shiotsuki Ayaka (Harusaki Koron '05), Sahane Yuna ('06), Takahashi Hiroshi, Tanimoto Mitsuhiro, Abe Yasunori

First of all: How did I not notice Sakamoto Kenji was in the (tiny) male cast list? I nearly had a happy heart-attack when I saw him come out on stage♥

I'm very, very glad I saw this first live on stage. As many times as I had hoped and started to save up for the '08 DVD, somehow it just never happened. That's good. Although I had a vague idea of the premise and I'd seen enough photos to know that someone dies, the rest was all new and could unfold without me having any expectations. I won't say that it's the cleverest or best thing that I've seen on stage (it wasn't), or that it was the most original (also not), but it was highly entertaining and it did play with your heartstrings like a good musical should. I had big tears rolling down my face at one point, and I could hear most of the audience sniffling.

I'll hit the problem first, which mainly was the fact that because they had four main characters' love stories going on it meant that some weren't really alloted enough time to get you attached to the characters. A couple of the songs seemed a bit out of place too. There was one solo that was really discordant (for obvious reasons), but just didn't seem to fit with the other music at all. And, lastly, I'm a stickler for historical accuracy in the weirdest ways, and the Takarazuka stage costumes were really anachronistic. :/


Plot: )

What I Thought: )

In conclusion, buy the DVD! See the show! It's so worth it. :)
ekusudei: (Rika & Juri-pyon)
Well, I'd rather do this when I have time to give all the details but I just don't think I'm going to have a chance anytime soon. So better the bare outline than nothing at all? XD

T4 - First Concert
March 15th, 12 PM performance
Tokyo International Forum, Hall C


Performers: Shibuki Jun, Kozuki Wataru, Ayaki Nao, Takashiro Kei, Hoshina Yuri, Otori Rei, Shijou Rui, four male back-up dancers and singers, and the choreographer (Honma Kenichi).

[ Official Page ] [ 5 tiny pictures ]

I think the best thing about this concert was how well tailored it was to the individual personalities of the four stars. You could really get a sense of who they were. ...Insane ones and demure ones. ;)

Read more... )

And the good news? At intermission they had a note that there is going to be a DVD. Tentatively planned release date for the end of April. :D
ekusudei: (Rika & Juri-pyon)
Well, I'd rather do this when I have time to give all the details but I just don't think I'm going to have a chance anytime soon. So better the bare outline than nothing at all? XD

T4 - First Concert
March 15th, 12 PM performance
Tokyo International Forum, Hall C


Performers: Shibuki Jun, Kozuki Wataru, Ayaki Nao, Takashiro Kei, Hoshina Yuri, Otori Rei, Shijou Rui, four male back-up dancers and singers, and the choreographer (Honma Kenichi).

[ Official Page ] [ 5 tiny pictures ]

I think the best thing about this concert was how well tailored it was to the individual personalities of the four stars. You could really get a sense of who they were. ...Insane ones and demure ones. ;)

Read more... )

And the good news? At intermission they had a note that there is going to be a DVD. Tentatively planned release date for the end of April. :D

OGs....

Jan. 3rd, 2008 10:31 pm
ekusudei: (Rika & Juri-pyon)
♥♥♥!!! Kazahana Mai updated her blog with backstage photos of herself and a bunch of OGs as a New Year's present to us all. Whoever did their hair and makeup was a genius, and they all look lovely (well, except for Rea's hair ohgod), but Gaichi in particular looks so drop-dead gorgeous (even making silly faces) that I didn't even recognize her at first. (You can also see her in the background of the shot of Mai and Hoshina Yuri.) I want cheekbones like that...

And Shiomi Maho posted a recent photo of herself in her blog as well. The perm must be in this month. ;) I have hat envy, and her nails are the same color as mine! *grin*

OGs....

Jan. 3rd, 2008 10:31 pm
ekusudei: (Rika & Juri-pyon)
♥♥♥!!! Kazahana Mai updated her blog with backstage photos of herself and a bunch of OGs as a New Year's present to us all. Whoever did their hair and makeup was a genius, and they all look lovely (well, except for Rea's hair ohgod), but Gaichi in particular looks so drop-dead gorgeous (even making silly faces) that I didn't even recognize her at first. (You can also see her in the background of the shot of Mai and Hoshina Yuri.) I want cheekbones like that...

And Shiomi Maho posted a recent photo of herself in her blog as well. The perm must be in this month. ;) I have hat envy, and her nails are the same color as mine! *grin*
ekusudei: (play without words)
Excerpts from Kishi Kaori's "Takarazuka: The Fairies' Backstage". (Published by Mainichi Shinbunsha in 2002. ISBN4-620-31555-9) She cracks me up, with her irreverence and rambling from one topic to another in the middle of short two-page essays. Anyway, I thought Zunko fans might find the first one interesting.

Why, Zunko? )

Stage Accessories Are All at Your Own Expense )

Which Ear Does the Earring Go In? )
ekusudei: (Default)
I haven't heard much being said about this yet. Unless perhaps it's all being said somewhere other than lj. ;P

TCA is branching out yet again, and have started their own talent agency... chock full of OGs! At least, that's what I assume it is. I'm having trouble finding confirmation, and their lack of press announcements doesn't make it much clearer. Let's all cross our fingers this means more DVDs of OG shows.... But even if not, I think it's an interesting development. Whew, and check out the warnings on reproducing their official photos at the bottom there. They're more noticeable than the ones at the bottom of the Takarazuka home page; that one is so busy I never really took the time to read them before.
ekusudei: (Default)
I haven't heard much being said about this yet. Unless perhaps it's all being said somewhere other than lj. ;P

TCA is branching out yet again, and have started their own talent agency... chock full of OGs! At least, that's what I assume it is. I'm having trouble finding confirmation, and their lack of press announcements doesn't make it much clearer. Let's all cross our fingers this means more DVDs of OG shows.... But even if not, I think it's an interesting development. Whew, and check out the warnings on reproducing their official photos at the bottom there. They're more noticeable than the ones at the bottom of the Takarazuka home page; that one is so busy I never really took the time to read them before.
ekusudei: (Rika & Juri-pyon)
*grin* About five people have emailed or dropped me a comment to tell me about this Rika interview in the past hour. Thank you, ladies!

Unfortunately, Rika's speaking so softly and the room's acoustics are so bad I can't really hear what she's saying (it'll have to wait until I'm feeling motivated to dig out some headphones -- yes, I ruined my hearing at a young age from blasting rock music too loudly), but she's being rather adorable about her costume.

It's for another production of "Mr. Pinstripe" (12/13 - 12/16 in Tokyo, 12/20 in Osaka), and Tamano Kazunori and Imai Kiyotaka are also on the interview. Hoshina Yuri and Hirasawa Satoshi are also listed in the cast.
ekusudei: (Rika & Juri-pyon)
*grin* About five people have emailed or dropped me a comment to tell me about this Rika interview in the past hour. Thank you, ladies!

Unfortunately, Rika's speaking so softly and the room's acoustics are so bad I can't really hear what she's saying (it'll have to wait until I'm feeling motivated to dig out some headphones -- yes, I ruined my hearing at a young age from blasting rock music too loudly), but she's being rather adorable about her costume.

It's for another production of "Mr. Pinstripe" (12/13 - 12/16 in Tokyo, 12/20 in Osaka), and Tamano Kazunori and Imai Kiyotaka are also on the interview. Hoshina Yuri and Hirasawa Satoshi are also listed in the cast.
ekusudei: (play without words)
Moving this one up the queue, because I told [livejournal.com profile] kyanited I'd review it, and if I don't soon, I'm going to forget. ;)

Yukinojou Henge
Snow Troupe, 1994-95

Leads: Ichiro Maki & Hanafusa Mari

[ TakaWiki Page ]

The World's Shortest Summary:

Read more... )

What I Thought:

A show with both the top star and the nibante in drag (kind of). Sign me up, please? Ichiro Maki makes an absolutely breathtaking onnagata, and her famous cheekbones are in fine form here. The role of Yukinojou was perfect for her, with a very interesting blend of femininity and masculinity. I never felt like I was watching a woman playing a man playing a woman... Yukinojou was definitely male. Oh, Takarazuka.... (*cue singing*) Takane Fubuki, on the other hand, had me blinking a few times, playing the very assertive Ohatsu. But I really liked Fubuki in a female role.

Hanafusa Mari in her first top star role. She seemed so terribly young and fragile, definitely both characteristics of the character she was playing. She didn't have a huge amount of stage time -- this is pre-legend Hana-chan! I liked her chemistry with Ichiro, and suddenly wish that Soragumi had done more Nihonmono. She was very pretty in her kimono. ...... On the other hand, Wao.... Wao was just ridiculously silly. *grins* There were so many young stars here! Wao Youka, Kouju Tatsuki, and Aran Kei were all lackeys and villagers and basically the slapstick-ish characters. Todoroki Yuu was 3-bante, and made a wonderfully roguish Yamitarou. Something about how she did her makeup for this show that I really enjoyed.

Read more... )
ekusudei: (Default)
*whimper* They're trying to kill me. Rika, Miki, Kazahana Mai, and Hoshina Yuri all made appearances in a Tuesday suspense show. And Mao is playing an assistant inspector in another show on the 31st.
ekusudei: (Default)
*whimper* They're trying to kill me. Rika, Miki, Kazahana Mai, and Hoshina Yuri all made appearances in a Tuesday suspense show. And Mao is playing an assistant inspector in another show on the 31st.
ekusudei: (Default)
I just watched Mariko's memory video and sayonara concert yesterday. *sniffle* She's just such a cool lady. Her video includes her walking through the TMS and talking to her old teachers and reminiscing, which I thought was different and unique. Also, baby 'sienne Asaji Saki is the cutest thing ever.

I wasn't sure what to expect from her concert, but I was really surprised. She played a piano concerto from one of her shows, and there were some very cool dance numbers. There was also... a rather intense rendition of Beethoven's 9th sung by the entire troupe. Definitely not something you expect from Takarazuka.

One of my favorite bits from the video was a "special section" called "The Best of Lifts." Who was it mentioning Mariko's amazing lifts recently? [livejournal.com profile] jenebi, I think. Anyway, it's so true! She must be amazingly strong.
ekusudei: (play without words)
TCA Special 1996 - Melodies and Memories

[ TakaWiki Page ]

Participants )


Wow. Wow. I think this is my favorite TCA special so far. It's just so different that it's really intriguing.

Act I

Instead of the usual parade down the stairs or something like that to introduce the troupes, they jump right into doing scenes from famous oriental-style Takarazuka musicals. Starlight People, a Shinsengumi musical originally done in the 70s by Yuki. Here Hana does it, with Maya Miki playing Okita Souji, also includes Shiraki Ayaka, Takane Fubuki, and Makoto Tsubasa. Eternal Tale stars Kuze, Hanafusa, and Todoroki. Red Flowers Falling in Menam tells the story of a Japanese ambassador (Yamada: Asaji Saki) to Shamuro, other cast includes Kazahana Mai, Aika Mire, Shibuki Jun, Shizuki Asato, and Wataru Kozuki. The old favorite, Lover's Suicide shows up again, with Ichiro Maki and Hanafusa Mari playing the lovers, also includes Minoru Kou, Kouju Tatsuki (singing "Kono Yo ni Tada Hitotsu"), and Kaikyou Hiroki.

Act II

We open with a collection of songs from Western musicals, including Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma, West Side Story, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Dean, songs from Kurt Weill, Maury Yeston, and Cole Porter. A medley of Offenbach songs leads us into recent Takarazuka favorites, including a La Nostalgie featuring every sexy otokoyaku to ever exist, EVER. Perhaps the most bizzarre is Ichiro Maki singing "Watashi Dake ni" in her otokoyaku voice. 0.o And then we end with the parade to "Takarazuka Forever."

What I Thought:

Act I was gorgeous and full of angst. Non-chan (Kuze Seika) and Mariko-chan's (Asaji Saki) characters had me in tears. Beautifully, beautifully done. It was interesting to see another version of Lover's Suicide. Ichiro and Hana played it much more desperate than Saeko and Kurara did in the 2004 special, and I can't decide which I like more. Oddly enough, I think I liked Hakushou Kairi's version of "Kono Yo" more than Taatan's, though Taatan's was also gorgeous.

Act II was a lot of fun. For me the best part was the Western musical numbers, and I was absolutely cracking up during The Sound of Music. The South Pacific songs had me all kinds of amused -- ah, Japanese women cross-dressing as WWII American navy men.... I was so very glad I wasn't forced to listen yet again to too many "classic" Takarazuka songs, which they seem to love pulling out for the TCA specials.
ekusudei: (Default)
TCA Special 1997 - The Festival

[ TakaWiki Page ]

Participants )

This special was set up as a competition, with Takarazuka staff members choosing their favorite performance from each round. The rounds included:

Act I

Chansons sung by the top musumeyaku, jazz with the top otokoyaku singing, Japanese pop music sung by groups of 3rd and 4th ranked otokoyaku (SMAP, V6 and other J-pop groups' songs), a hidden talent battle, and then for the finale older Takarazuka songs. The finale also included the 2nd-ranked otokoyaku singing while the lowest otokoyaku on the star tracks danced in dresses.

Act II

Act II began with songs from musicals done that year by each troupe, often with a quirky twist at the end, a dance competition, and then the game corner. Lastly, the prize was awarded to the winning troupe and then they had the parade down the grand staircase.

What I thought: Funny! Very funny. Probably not one I'd recommend if you don't know the stars who were in this performance, but it was definitely amusing.
ekusudei: (Default)
And then the Zuka Overlord said: Let there be Hotness in Turbans. And there was.

Okay, so I promised [livejournal.com profile] mosellegreen a summary, and a summary she shall get!

Dal Lake no Koi
(Love at Dal Lake)

[ TakaWiki Page ]

Hachiman Hariram Kapool (cavalry captain) -- Asaji Saki
Kamara Shandra Kumar (Shandra's granddaughter) -- Hoshina Yuri
Pepele (a swindler from Paris) -- Minoru Kou
Krisna Kumar (Kamara's cousin) -- Emao Yuu
Rita (Kamara's younger sister) -- Hazumi Rui
Michelle (a club madame from Paris) -- Fuji Kyouko
Shandra Kumar (Maha Raja of Benares) -- Natsuki You
Indira Kumar (Shandra's wife) -- Ritsu Tomomi
Jasvir (chief of military police) -- Ema Naoki
Hariram Kapool (Maha Raja of Bengal) -- Chiaki Shin

Summary )


What I thought )
ekusudei: (Default)
TMP Special: Dream Festival '94

[ TakaWiki Page ]

Takarasiennes )

Summary:
First Act
Paris Medley, Takarazuka Medley, top star MC, Hoshigumi "Gone With the Wind ~You and I are Opposites~", Hanagumi "Gone With the Wind ~Spirit World Version~", Spanish In Takarazuka

Second Act
Opening, Yukigumi "Gone With the Wind ~Scarlett Version~", Tsukigumi "Gone With the Wind ~Japan Version~", Dream Festival, Finale (Latin, Chason, Beat), Parade

Thoughts: o.0 Possibly weirder than the Revue Special '98. Takarazuka has given me whole new ways of interpreting GWtW, and I have to admit that Rhett attempting to convince a very, VERY gay Ashley to run away with him has given me a new appreciation for a story I never really enjoyed. ;)

Possibly too many otokoyaku in dresses, if such a thing is possible. A huge crowd of Scarletts including Tom, Taatan, and Wao was a very scary thing. Particularly scary was how nice Anju Mira looked in a dress. Nothing, however, could make Kuze Seika look good in one.

You all know my absolute love for "Night and Day", right? Imagine my delight that there was not one, but two versions of it in this show. One with everyone and their uncle (okay, just Taatan, Rika, Shiokaze, Wao, Zunko, etc...), and one... well. Try to picture it: The staircase lights up. Spotlights fall on Yuri (Amami) and Yoshiko (Asano) in their Rhett and Scarlett Japanese garb (not rich kimonos, mind you, just middle-class). Yuri starts singing "Night and Day", and then the two dance to it, mixing Japanese moves with traditional Takarazuka stairdance poses. I think I fell over laughing at least three times. Tsukigumi, I loooove you!
ekusudei: (Default)
Icon no Yuuwaku (Tokubetsu)

[ TakaWiki Page ]

Mikhail: Asaji Saki
Tatiana: Hoshina Yuri
Leonard: Minoru Kou
Nikita: Ayaki Nao
Georgi: Natsumi You
Olga: Ema Naoki

Criminally short summary: )

Reactions: This is the show that made me a total Asaji Saki adorer, which Elisabeth never managed. Again, her acting is just lovely, and her ballet! The scene with "Serenade" kills me every time I watch it, and I watch it quite a lot. I adore Asaji and Hoshina together. *_* Minoru Kou's Leonard was actually rather cool as well.

I summarized the plot and left out all of the great side-stories. The story and characterization is actually really good. I was impressed. Natsumi You's Georgi was completely twitchy and evil. Otowa's character actually had a scene where he spoke English to try to sell souvenirs to the American (Tatiana), and it was so realistic it had me giggling like mad. I really like Otoko (Otowa Ryou)! Despite the more serious central plot, there was also the mystery, and then several humorous sub-plots which continue to crack me up. Nikita! And the students, who had all of these songs/choruses explaining the plot which were just SO DAMN FUNNY!

"Mama!" *cracks up*

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