Ignore this if you don't know anything about Takarazuka ^^;
I think I originally got my DVD a month ago, but I wanted to wait until I had a chance to rewatch it with Julie and Teffy.
Honestly, my biggest complaint with this show is that I wish that Micchan had more stage time. Yes, I realize this is extremely petty :P When I was complaining about this to wao_wao and kirakira_sora , they pointed out that at least she got a distinctive role. They’re right, but then a few minutes later we all resigned ourselves to the fact that we always want everything for our girls. Similarly, I wish Tomu had a more significant role (will talk about this further down). Every time she came on stage I found myself thinking, "Tomu! I almost forgot you were in this show!" T_____________T
On my first viewing, I was annoyed that most people did the same kinds of roles that they usually do. Yes, I know that *everybody* in Takarazuka gets typecast, but it's frustrating both as a fan and in terms of various siennes' careers. After I watched the show once I knew what to expect, so it bothered me less on subsequent viewings.
But now that I have those out of the way…it’s a really well put together show. In between the Pia-no-jaC music, the neo-Japanese costumes, and the science fiction story line, it has a very distinctive, stylized feel. It wasn't quite as video game-esque as I had thought it could be, but my inner Final Fantasy fan was still pleased XD
I LOVED the costumes and the anime-style wigs. I'm not sure why Tomu (and Dai-chan and Tara-chan for that matter) were the only ones to wear western clothing, but they all still looked good.
There are a few vocal songs and all of the major characters get to sing at least once, but a lot of the songs are dance numbers. Kazumi-Boy's choreography was sharp and I didn't find myself missing the vocals. The Pia-no-jaC tunes are pretty catchy too :D I think palais summed it up best on Twitter when she said that all she needed was a DDR pad :D :D :D
I'm unfortunately still not much of a Sumika fan, which always makes it hard for me to get invested in Yuuhi/Sumika romances. Like Casablanca, I ultimately found myself much more invested in Yuuhi's personal journey than her romance with Sumika. Still, I liked the way they slowly found a connection with each other, and the way their story is eventually resolved.
My fangirl complaints about Micchan and Tomu aside, Koyanagi-sensei did a really good job of utilizing everyone in the cast. Many more people than usual got distinctive roles (even as young as the 94ths and 95ths! <3) Evenwith people who didn't get named parts, there were a lot of ensemble dance scenes where everyone could shine.
Oozora Yuuhi (Sora): Yes, Yuuhi does these sorts of roles a lot and I do get annoyed with the typecasting. That being said, I really liked her Sora and her journey from a lost and bewildered amnesiac to a man who has come to terms with his past. Yuuhi is a little quieter than some of her top star peers. Because of this, I remember everyone wondering whether she would ever make top. Now that it's actually happened, I like the stories in her shows. Sometimes it's nice to have the focus be on the subtler guy.
Nono Sumika (Miu): I’m afraid I’ve never been much of a Sumika fan. That being said, I liked her Miu more than her Ilsa. (This unfortunately still doesn’t say much -_-;) I thought Sumika had more as Miu spunk than I’ve seen her possess previously, but I’ve never liked the way she intones a lot of her lines, and Miu is no exception. *shrug* Obviously your mileage may vary.
Ranju Tomu (Ran): Unfortunately didn’t get a lot to do T_________T She had an okay amount of stage time, but her character didn’t really evolve or change. But Tomu is still Tomu, meaning she’s extraordinarily charismatic and can put life into even a bland role. I really liked her scene in Act I where she’s thrown in jail, and bitterly muses to Seiko about whether her work had actually done any good. Unfortunately she doesn’t get to do a whole lot else in terms of an emotional arc T__________T There’s a question of whether she can forgive Sora in the second act, but it’s not nearly as great as say, Ice’s arc. But still, Tomu love <3
Hokushou Kairi (Kai): As a diehard fan girl, I wish Micchan had gotten more stage time, and I wish she had gotten a role other than the pure-hearted boy (Ralph in Paradise Prince, Francis in Bara ni Furu Ame…she’s been playing these kinds of characters a lot recently). Also, a lot of her stage appearances consist of her calling after her brother. Obviously it makes sense that Koyanagi-sensei had underclassmen play young Sora, Kai, etc. The underclassmen did a truly amazing job, and I’m really glad that they got the opportunity to get such big roles. But I still feel a little “jealous” that Micchan didn’t get to be in the scenes, as they provide a lot of the emotional core of Sora and Kai’s relationship.
All of this being said, the adult Kai is still an interesting character. On one hand he’s a grown adult who will do things like lash out at Ice in anger, but on the other hand he’s learned helplessness. It makes for an interesting contrast. I thought Micchan did an excellent job of portraying Kai’s blindness without making it ridiculous or overdone. Also, her last scene really, really got to me T_______________T
It should probably be mentioned that Micchan, Tomu, and Tomochin have a really cool song at the end of Act I where they do some very pretty harmonizing. I also really liked Micchan’s dancing in the group bits.
Yuumi Hiro (Ice): Poor Tomochin, will she ever get her pure white role? ;) Regardless, Ice is my favorite of her villains. Yes, she’s a villain, but she really did start off with the best intentions. Her journey from typical Tomochin!Villain to the choices she makes at the end of the show was really moving. Awesome, awesome character <3
As a side note… Don’t get me wrong, I thought Tomochin was amazing and I’m glad she got the opportunity to play this role. But in terms of awarding the nibante a role with significance and depth (not to mention stage time), I wonder what would have happened if she and Tomu had switched roles. (This is when wao_wao and I start talking about whether the nibante makes the role or if the role makes the nibante).
Suzuna Saya (Yun): Plays Tomu's mother, and has a very sweet scene with Tomu in the second act. I actually liked her fishnet stockings, as I thought they made her more bad-ass :P
Amou Tamaki (Yan-Yan): Not sure what else there is to say other than that TamaTama is always love <3
Toki Irisu (Fon): WAS THE BEST OLD MAN EVER. (It cracks me up that this is the third time she’s played a father role to someone older than her…she was Tani’s father in A/L, Yuuhi’s in Ooeyama Kaden, and now Tomu’s in this show). Her character definitely fell into the "BWA HA HA MASAKO" category, but her kindness towards the people she met was always very sweet.
Houshou Dai (Bunjaku): For whatever reason I tend not to have a strong opinion of Dai-chan either way *shrug* Still, Bunjaku was a tougher and more forceful character than she usually plays, so good for Dai-chan for doing something new. She’s also one of the few characters who wears western clothing in this show and it suited her very nicely :D
Hasumi Yuuya (Hyou): I loved how Chii-chan’s Hyou was ruthless in fulfilling her various missions, and yet so tender in her relationship with Yuuhi. They had some really, really wonderful scenes in Act I. Chii-chan and Eri-chan made a fun pair (and with wigs and make up, did a decent job of actually being twins). Oh, and Chii-chan was definitely another sienne who looked really good in the costumes for this show :D
Nanami Hiroki (Rui): Rui was a very typical Kai-chan character, aka the earnest, energetic boy. But Kai-chan always is very endearing in these sorts of roles, and Shangri-La is no exception <33333 I especially love the bit where she keeps on asking questions about the laptop (she’s never seen one before) and finally Dai-chan has to tell her to shut up XD
Junya Chitose (Fog): Seiko is a strong singer, but I’ve never been a fan of her acting. I did like her much better though in the mature role of Fog (as opposed to her girlish Luce in Phoenix Wright 2).
Aihana Chisaki (Hien): Unfortunately Tara-chan didn’t get a ton to do other than run around with Dai-chan, but I will never, ever complain about a musumeyaku who gets to be tough, sexy AND fire and gun :D
Fujisaki Eri (Mizore): ASDFJKL. Seriously, Eri-chan was so, so sexy, particularly when she shows up to TamaTama’s restaurant in her Chinese dress. But more than that, I loved how ruthless and cold Mizore was (and yet she would occasionally have a moment of emotion shine through). This isn’t your typical musumeyaku role, and I’m so glad that Eri-chan got to experience it.
Aizuki Hikaru + Sorahane Riku (Kou and Sou): Were both very cute as junior members of Masako’s traveling entertainer troupe. I especially loved the bit where Masako makes them push the car to start it, and then they’re forced to run behind the car as everyone else takes a relaxing drive XD
Ayaka Mari: She played Young Sora. Given that the young!whoever roles weren’t listed in the original cast list, this turned out to be a pretty big role. I loved Shii-chan’s determination in her Young Sora. She’s one to keep an eye on.
Mamiya Ryouko: Played Young Kai. She also made a really good young boy and had some moments that really tore at the heart strings. As tsuki_in_sora said in her review, I really have to give Mamiya Ryouko and Ayaka Mari credit for bringing so much heart in the Sora/Kai relationship, allowing Yuuhi and Micchan to build on this later.
Unfortunately I’m not at home and can’t look up who played the other kid roles. However, I want to give a shout out to whoever played Young Ice (I think Fuuma Kakeru?). For a ken-2 at the time, she was extremely otokoyaku-rashii. Another one to keep an eye on.
If you actually made it through this entire review, you get a cookie ^^;;