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The Lost Glory/Passionate Takarazuka! - Takarazuka Tokyo Theater - 9/15/14 & 9/17/14

This review is actually a mix of both the live performances I saw and the DVD since by the time I got around to writing this, the DVD was already out so figured I'd watch it first and add that in as well. I saw the show itself live twice, the first time on the 15th with a same-day last row B-Seki seat and then again on the 17th with a S-Seki first floor seat. So I got to see this show from both far and close seats, which was actually pretty cool as it gave me two different perspectives. I also spent pretty much the entirety of the first performance JUST watching Chie through my opera glasses. XD Tried to pay more attention to everything else the second time though Chie still got my main attention.

I'm also not afraid to say that I actually really liked both shows. I went in expecting not to like the shows themselves and just got myself determined to find a way to enjoy it anyways since this was my only chance to see my Hoshigumi before Chie/Nene's retirement, but actually ended up liking them despite how almost everyone else before me seemed to rather dislike it. But then again I'm easy to please. Though I did feel rather uncomfortable by the portrayal of two black characters in the show. I found this much more disturbing than the make-up everyone was upset about in Passionate, which really didn't look as bad in person as it did in the promo photos. I think its mainly because to me, just like in Nova Bossa Nova, they just look like Japanese with (bad) tans. But not so much with the characters in Lost Glory who were most definitely doing blackface in my opinion. I really wish they wouldn't do that but I also know they don't really realize why its a bad thing.

The Lost Glory:

The basic plot of this show is based on Othello but set in New York City during the 1920s. I had re-read Othello on the plane ride and so it was still pretty fresh in my mind and so I was able to easily identify all the Othello elements of the story. Yes, a lot of things are different but alternate versions of Shakespeare always are yet the main core and the main players of Othello were all accounted for. And I welcomed all the plot differences because I'm honestly not a big fan of Othello. Its one of my least favorite Shakespeare plays and originally I was a bit dismayed when I found out this show was based on it. So I was very happy to see the parts of Othello I hated the most were taken out. I got the basic plot of the show pretty well. I was happy with how well I could follow it. But the details I was completely lost on. XD Regardless, I was still able to enjoy it.

Todoroki Yuu (Tom) as Otto Goldstein - Tom, being the lead of this show, was of course the Othello character. I've always liked Tom and must admit I was excited to get a chance to see her live, even if it meant Chie was not the lead. Plus it gave Chie the rare chance to play a villain again. I did not realize it'd been about 5 years since Tom last performed on the main zuka stage though so I know realize how big of a deal it must have been for her fans. Tom was just as powerful as I expected she would be though I also never realized how short she really is. For some reason she always seemed really tall to me in the shows I'd seen her in. lol Granted she's still taller than me but most of Hoshi was way taller. Despite this, she never seemed "small" though and her character seemed right in place even though this obviously isn't her troupe. She does have a very different acting style than Chie, much more the old traditional style but it worked well for her character, I think. Otto came to America with nothing and managed to rise up to be a successful and wealthy owner of his own business (construction I believe?). Just like Othello, he starts out as a pretty good guy but is easily swayed by the belief his wife is cheating on him and is consumed by jealousy. However, unlike Othello, Otto does NOT give into this in the end.

Yuzuki Reon (Chie) as Ivano Ricci - Chie got to be the villain of this show, playing the Ianto of the show and boy was it amazing! One of my favorite roles of Chie has always been Chauvelin in Scarlet Pimpernel and one of the downsides of being top star is you don't really get to do roles like that anymore. The top star is always the good guy of the story. So I was thrilled when I found out Chie was getting the chance to be the bad guy again because oh my god, she's so good at it! I was not disappointed at all and sorry Tom, but she totally stole the show in my opinion. I mean granted I'm a Chie fan so my eyes were automatically glued to her both times but maaaaaan. Just everything about her performance was perfect. Her expressions, her movements, her voooooiccceee. *_* It was better than anything I could have imagined. She was so wonderfully evil and her evil laugh gave me chills every time. I was smiling like a big dork for most of the show. Its like I know I'm not supposed to root for the bad guy and Ivano was indeed a pretty despicable character who only had a tiny bit of redemption at the VERY end, but I couldn't help but LOVE Chie as him and found myself delighting every time she did something horrible. XD There was a lot of the show where the focus was on Tom and Chie would just be off to the side or the back looking evil and mmmmph it was so hard to NOT look at her even when she was doing absolutely nothing on stage other than glare. XD Seeing this show was worth it JUST to see evil Chie.

Yumesaki Nene (Nene) as Deanna Campbell - Nene is always so beautiful and this show was definitely no exception. Deanna is of course the Desdemona character, Otto's wife who Ivano tricks Otto into thinking is a harlot when she's completely innocent. I must admit most of my thoughts on Nene during the show was "...wow she's pale" though I think its just cause everyone else has more make-up on than her to make her look more pale in comparison since this was also the case in Napoleon. In both she just looks porcelain white and it kinda disturbs me because it makes her look a little unhealthy to me? Even though I know she's not in real life. Because to me, despite how Hankyu has her look, Nene is most definitely not a fragile little doll. She's a powerful musume and the perfect partner for Chie. I was a little sad I didn't get to see her interact much with Chie in this show since she of course was interacting more with Tom but I got plenty of ChieNene in the revue at least to make up for it. That and there wasn't much on the romance between Otto and Deanna in this show anyways. Though in a way I like the fact that Hankyu has let her interact with others besides Chie quite a bit recently, letting her be more than just a top star's accessory. Her character wasn't as interesting as Josephine in Napoleon was but I definitely liked that she spoke her mind and wasn't as docile as the original Desdemona is. They gave her a little more attitude.

Kurenai Yuzuru (Beni) as Ronald Martin - Ronald is Rodrigo but unlike Rodrigo, Ronald is a lot more naive and nowhere as hotheaded as Rodrigo. Oh Beni, often getting stuck in the role of the guy who's life just really sucks. XD Ronald is a total fool though, just believing whatever Ivano tells him and not really trying to do anything on his own. You'd think he'd get the hint that Deanna isn't interested in him. But I did feel sorry for him and certainly liked him a lot more than Rodrigo, who's just an ass. I feel like Ronald probably would have left Deanna alone if Ivano hadn't made him think she returned his feelings. To be honest, Beni didn't really get to shine much in this role. But she got to be more of her natural Beni dorkdom during the revue, thank god. This role reminded me a lot of her character in An Officer and a Gentleman, except I liked that character a lot more. But I did really like the end where Beni's character finally snaps. There we got to see more of Beni's acting skills. But I enjoyed her in the revue a lot more than in the show and that's just because she got to have a much more fun role there.

Makaze Suzuho (Yurika) as Curtis Donford - The Cassio character, who luckily does not get screwed over quite as badly as Cassio does. lol Yurika got to be a total playboy in this show. XD Instead of Cassio's "scandal" being over a fight, for Curtis its over him being involved with more than one girl at the same time. Though I can't blame the girls fighting for Yurika's attention. She's hot! *_* And I kinda liked the whole mini story between her and Kisaki Airi's character. There wasn't enough of her in this show but that's just cause I always want more Yurika. XD Everyone keeps asking me who I'm going to follow next once Chie is gone...which I hate cause I don't want to think about it but there's a big chance I'll focus on Yurika next if she doesn't retire too (which I highly doubt she will, she's got too many things going for her right now).

Toki Irisu (Masako) as Walter Lyman - Ah Masako always seems to be given the boring (but necessary) roles. XD Which is probably why I never even really started noticing her until last year cause she's never played characters who caught my attention. But she looked good with her mustache, lol. Looked so mature as the big top chairman in the story.

Yuri Otohana (Yuri) as Emma Barnes - I feel like Yuri has kinda become the new Remi. Except not quite because no one can be Remi (sadface) but she seems to be getting Nene's bff roles a lot lately. I've always found her to be lovely and I love the solo she got in Passionate. Her role in Lost Glory was pretty much the same as Napoleon. XD She was also Mikki's gf though which I found super cute.

Tenju Mitsuki (Mikki) as Raymond Walker - I was purposely looking for Mikki when I saw the show, mainly so I could report back to Duskky. XD She was actually in quite a lot of the scenes and had a good number of lines. Her character is a reporter and friend of Yurika's character so she's in pretty much all of Yurika's scenes and got to have Yuri hang off her arm a lot. She's still got such a cute little baby face but its great seeing her getting bigger roles now.

Rei Makoto (Coto) as Pat Bologna - Yeah I have no idea why I spell her nickname with a C instead of a K but I can't stop it seems. XD Anywho, once again Coto is the young boy character who has a solo snuck in here an there. She's got such an amazing voice though so I don't blame them for that. *_* One day she'll get a role that's not a young cutesy boy (or girl) though. lol She's got the voice for a much older character despite her appearance. Her character was a shoeshine boy though he felt more like he was from Newsies to me. XD Super cute though, being the know-it-all on the streets and her solos were super amazing like always.

Azusa Ichijo (Shiran) as Monsieur Vallin - OMG Shiran! She only had one scene but boy was it fabulous. She plays a very flamboyant jeweler and her scene had the whole audience cracking up. XD Especially with the way she exited off stage.

Kisaragi Ren (Renta) as Don - Renta's role was pretty small. She was a pretzel seller who basically just rolled her cart around (in the rehearsal footage its a shopping cart XD) and interacted with Coto's character. She didn't get very many lines sadly.

Shiotsuki Shuu (Shuu) as Stanley Frioni - Shuuuu~ I kept forgetting this was her final show. ;_; But at least they gave her a decent sized role for it. She got to be basically Chie's lackey, following her around and being evil too. XD Mostly helping in screwing Beni's character over. I hope to some day see the raku performance cause there were lots of opportunities where someone could have easily slide a farewell comment to her without breaking character so I'm super curious if they did or not. Though I guess it might be a bit out of character for Chie's character to say it during Lost Glory. XD

Kisaki Airi as Mirabelle - I actually thought her role was cute? I felt really bad for her character though since Yurika totally put the moves on her, only for her to find out there's "another woman" so to speak. But I liked the fact they at least gave some resolution to that part of the story and the fact that her character leaves to go on her own in the end instead of pinning after Yurika's character.

Kai Hayato, Natsuki Rei, & Toa Reiya - Oh hello cuties who I previously knew very little of but suddenly I'm starting to notice. XD I blame the fact I saw the first two during irimachi. Natsuki Rei especially has gotten my attention. They all had small parts but dang did they look good in their business suits. lol Will try to keep my eyes out for them.

The show itself can really just be summed up as follows (or how I see it anyways)...
Tom: 'murica.
Everyone: America yay! :D
Masako: America is dead!
Everyone: OH NOES!
Chie: OH YES!

I kid you not, Masako actually says that line and I couldn't help but crack up both times I saw the show. XD

My favorite scene in the whole show was by far Otto's dream sequence when he's having doubts about Deanna. It starts with Tom and Nene dancing together and then Chie comes out and acts like the puppeteer and tears off Nene's dress to reveal a much more revealing little red dress and then leads her to a line of otokoyaku who all dance with her, representing Otto's belief that she's sleeping around. Chie then continues to dance with Tom in a kinda taunting fashion and then the whole stage rotates as Tom runs after Nene while she dances with both Yurika and Chie, then eventually ends up in Beni's arms while Chie gives Tom a clear gun to shot Nene with. This is the moment where Otto realizes that his thoughts of jealousy are getting too intense, that he would even dream of killing Deanna. So this I liked because in Othello, Othello does give into the jealousy and violently kills Desdemona, refusing to believe her word over Iago's. In this show, Otto does NOT kill Deanna and I was so grateful for that. I went in fully expecting her to die in the end and it was nice that she didn't and that instead Otto comes to his senses. The whole scene is so well choreographed.

I'm a bit disappointed in the way they chose to present it on the DVD though. You miss a lot. I was hoping they would at least have a Chie angle to that scene on the alt angle since I noticed the first few alt angles were just of Chie...only to be very disappointed that the alt angle for that part is just of Tom and while I liked having an angle to watch her too (especially since once she starts going behind the pillars, it was hard to tell where she was while still watching everyone else). I really think they should have given us an angle for both of them. But I'm glad I chose to focus my opera glasses on Chie then since you don't get to see her for a lot of it on the DVD and Chie was just brilliant during the whole scene. They focus on Tom during the actual footage during the dress change which made me sad cause I thought it was really cool how they did that and you can't really see it on the DVD.

When Ronald finally realizes that Ivano has been using him and tricking him this whole time, Beni has a breakdown and tries to attack Chie but is pushed away and falls on her knees. During the first show I saw, Beni kinda slipped during this bit and fell a little earlier so Chie just kinda pushed her when she was already down. XD Chibi and I both agreed it probably wasn't supposed to go that way even though we were seeing it the first time when it happened and sure enough, that didn't happen the 2nd time I saw it. But it was a good save! Beni is pretty good at covering up her mistakes well. I also couldn't help but laugh when Ronald does finally confront Ivano in the end cause all I could think of was this in my head...

Beni: I'm gonna shoot you!
Chie: Pfft, no you're not.
Beni: BANG!
Chie: wtf, you shot me! O_O
Beni: ...O_O oops?

And I know Ronald is a bit out of his mind during this scene but lol I kept being like "Beni where are you even aiming" since several of her shots weren't even really pointed at Chie even though Chie of course reacted to being shot. XD Oh zuka. Though I will admit I totally wibbled at Chie dying. Especially since she kept making these sad little intakes for breathe as she crawled over to the couch. And I missed a lot of what is being said in this scene but I get the idea that Otto is basically telling Ivano that he had no reason to be jealous of Curtis and that despite it all Otto still considers Ivano an important friend. Or something like that since Chie seemed pretty shocked and Tom seemed super sad and kept trying to help Chie, asking for someone to get a doctor and Chie waving her away. Eventually Chie died in Nene's arms and I felt sad, even though Chie's character was pretty despicable, its Chie and dying Chie always makes me sad. Though I didn't cry like I heard a lot of Chie fans did. ^^;; I almost did get up out of my seat though and had to stop myself, reminding that "Oh right, that's not the end of the show." lmao To me it was apparently. Chie's dead, its over. XD Kinda forgot Tom was the main character here and thus still had a few scenes left. I did like how the show ends with everyone being pretty realistic about the future and there was no romantic final kiss between Tom and Nene. I'm not even sure if they still were together by the end. I get the impression they may have decided to at least separate but I'm not sure. I just know it ended with Tom getting on a boat. But I think I would have been mad if it ended with them being all lovey-dovey considering if I was in Deanna's shoes, I certainly would have trust issues with Otto now after everything.

Passionate Takarazuka:

Like I said, I actually ended up really enjoying this revue despite the fact I was worried I wouldn't due to the make-up but it wasn't as bad on stage as it was in the promo photos, which I purposely did not buy any. Its not just the fact they went with such dark make-up for it, but they don't even look good with it on. x_x Though watching the DVD, I did notice that the make-up on Chie's hands and feet didn't look all that even. Kinda looked more like she had dirt on than darker skin there. ^^;; That aside, I was just excited to finally see a zuka revue live and since all the shows I had seen were more serious and had a lot of dark lighting, it was really nice to have something bright and silly for a change. Some of the outfits were way over the top and ridiculous and I totally loved every moment of it. XD Though the big latin themed costumes with the huge poofy sleeves and legs were a bit much. lol No one looked good in them except for maybe Nene. It was funny watching Chie come down the stairs in that outfit though cause it was like she had to kick the legs out each step and it looked so very silly.

But oh my goodness it was sooooo wonderful getting to see Chie dance live! *_* The opening number had me completely entranced since it starts with her doing a dance solo and then going into everyone else coming on stage.

The "Welcome Jungle" section was insanely silly and wonderful. XD Got to see Beni in her element, being a total dork and pretending to be drunk while singing with a beer bottle in her hand. I'm glad the alt angle on the DVD for this part is just focused on Beni because her expressions during the whole thing are hysterical and I missed a lot of that when I saw it live mainly because there was so much going on on the stage at once and it was hard to know who to focus my attention on. There was so much color! Masako has this incredibly bright pink outfit on XD she even sings a line about something "pink" and she seemed to be having a great time hamming it up with Beni. I can't even try to describe the segment itself as it was just a random explosion of color and jungle bugs? Shiran lead this group of evil...I'm not sure what they were supposed to be. Some type of beetle? XD But they attack Beni and everyone and this leads to a very silly "fight" scene which ends with them all getting drunk and playing around with each other in the end.

Chie and Nene had a GORGEOUS dance scene together that was super hot. *_* Especially when they got down on the floor. Oh my goodness! It was also just so nice to see my golden pair finally do a dance together. Yuri sang while they danced too which was a nice touch. And during their pair dance a the end, they did the touching noses things and ahhhhh I died from happiness. ;_;

Yurika had a nice solo number and the song is probably my favorite on the CD. I'm very happy to say there are actually NO song cuts on the DVD! That rarely happens with revues it seems. Like almost all the revues I own have at least one song cut and its always so frustrating. I thought Yurika's song would be the most likely to be cut too since it sounded like it could be some pop song I'm just not familiar with.

The best part was the capoeira segment as many others have already said in their own reports. I was already hyped for this part since I had read those reports before seeing the show so knew this bit was coming. And on Sky Stage they had a bit where some of the Hoshi crew were trying to teach us how to do the dance. XD Not that I'd ever be able to even try it without injuring myself. lol But it really was amazing and so cool to see them do such a cool style of dance since I've never seen them do this style before. Coto of course got to do the solo lead in to this part which I was not surprised. Her voice worked so well for the music too. Then eventually Chie comes in and they do the whole kicking over each other's heads bit that was really impressive though I couldn't help but wonder if any of them have ever accidentally hit each other in the head, or at least during practice. lol

During Beni's nibante solo, Chibi turned to me the first show and pointed out how much Beni's voice has improved. It really has! I noticed this back with Napoleon but of course hearing it live made it even more obvious especially when she's singing a serious song instead of her silly little numbers like in Welcome Jungle. They obviously have had her take some voice lessons and worked her on that especially if she's going to be top star soon (which I would be really really shocked if she doesn't get it though I don't imagine her top star career being very long).

The whole show was full of so much energy and we in the audience spent most of the show clapping along. I was not expecting to have so many clap-a-long numbers. XD It did make it harder to use the opera glasses but I had too much fun clapping along for it to bother me much. That and there was so much going on that it would have been hard deciding who to focus on. The finale was wonderful though it also made me a bit sad since it meant it was ending. Especially the 2nd time I saw the show. I was not ready to say goodbye to everyone. T_T That aside, it was so much fun watching everyone come down the stairs and I giggled at Yurika having to do a crab-walk off to the side so she didn't hit anyone with her feathers when she had to exit off and then come back on after everyone else was in place. I also had the theme song of this revue stuck in my head for days after. XD Its so very catchy!

So all in all I'm glad I saw this show. Though I'm not sure I'd be as attached to it if I didn't see it live. lol Its nothing particularly special or amazing otherwise and if you're not a Hoshi or Tom fan, you may not enjoy it that much. I love Hoshi too much at this point that I eat up anything they throw at me regardless. XD

~Lyn
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