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30 August 2009 @ 12:08 am
I feel like I'm in the right mood to do this. (Sorry, still no Phoenix 2 summary, but...)

I think it's about time to give up.

I've been telling myself all month that it's time to let go of the dream.

Alice-chan is never going to be a top star.

Earlier this year, three new top musumeyaku slots were opening up, with one already standing unfilled. Each time that spot was given to someone younger than Alice-chan, and the Tsukigumi slot still remains open.

I let myself keep dreaming for a while. Each time I thought what if, what if, maybe she would be good for so-and-so, maybe maybe maybe. With the Tsukigumi issue, my hopes have risen and fallen and I really need to just stop kidding myself already.

Even if they do grace Kiriyan with a partner eventually, why would they give it to Alice-chan? No matter how I tell myself that Alice-chan can pair with anyone, I doubt she would really "fit" with Kiriyan. And as we all know, the #1 requirement for a top musumeyaku is that she make her top star look good.

Better they give it to Marimo, or Nacchan, who are a little easier for me to imagine with Kiriyan.

Marimo and Nacchan have had less shinko leads, but they're still in their shinko years, after all. And they've both had more Bow leads. Nacchan has had four, in fact. And Marimo is about to do her third lead in Drama City / Seinenkan with Tom.

You could say Alice-chan hasn't gone gotten more leads due to extenuating circumstances (doing an outside lead right around the time of Second Life); you could say getting her dream role opposite a top star (Singin' in the Rain) must count for something... but that never would've happened if Ume-chan hadn't broken her leg. (In an alternate universe one could argue that Alice-chan would've gotten one of the Junjou leads, but we'll never know that reality.)

No, the company just doesn't love her as much as it does other musumeyaku. Or she was never in the right place at the right time.

Alice-chan got to where she is now not by any promotion, but by the depletion of all the other good Soragumi musumeyaku. Sakian with RuiRui, then Tacchin, then Masami with Ume-chan. As much as I love them they were all her competition, and she never rose above them. She just stayed while they all dropped out one by one.

The company doesn't love her enough. I should've seen it, I mean... I must have started worrying over a year ago with the Musumeyaku Switch of 2008. I did, a little; I said to myself, that's great for Nene and Shizuku and Seiko and all, but what about my girl?

And at this point (warning: sarcasm ahead) she's too old. Even if, god forbid, another top musumeyaku spot opens up next year, why would they give it to Alice-chan? Two years out of shinkos? Practically ancient. She's now the fourth most senior musumeyaku in Soragumi, did you know?

Upperclassmen musumeyaku -- who wants them as top stars anymore?

Becca made a good point when she said many of us were spoiled when we first got into the fandom. A time when all the top musumeyaku were mature, who did make top after their shinko years were over. Except for Ayane -- she signaled the return to ridiculously young musumeyaku tops.

And like Cate said, when Ayane was announced as the next Hanagumi top, what must the Asuka fans have thought? The Naru fans?

What about Minami Mari? What about Miwa Asahi, Shirosaki Ai, Yamashina Ai, Akisono Mio, Hanase Mizuka even? What about the great talent we lost in Saijou Mie when Kurara became top?

Where did all their hard work get them? Hanase Mizuka is keeping on, and good for her, but seriously.

Takarazuka, after all, has otokoyaku as their selling point (and not without reason). For every one musumeyaku "star" I see two or three or four otokoyaku being pushed from every year in every troupe.

It's hard to be a fan of musumeyaku when so many people ignore them, underestimate them, take them for granted. My feelings on the continued lack of a Tsukigumi top musumeyaku is a whole other rant, but the company should know that they can't get away with that kind of thing for too long. A top star without a top partner loses some of her shine. A theater company populated with only women in suits would get old pretty quickly.

...I lost my train of thought.

Oh, giving up the dream.

I'm making myself come to terms with the fact that Kochou may have been Alice-chan's best role ever -- and it might always be her best role ever. The six times I saw her onstage in Hakata -- shining, shining so brilliantly in both halves of the performance -- that may be the best thing she ever gets to do in Takarazuka.

Because a nibante musumeyaku role can be even better than the top musumeyaku's, as I saw... but they can also be really thankless (see: Sakura Ichika in "Me and My Girl").

Letting go of the dream, of course, in no way means quitting my support of Alice-chan. When things are looking down for your star -- that's when it's the most important to keep cheering them on. But everything she does from now on, I'll just have to appreciate how hard she keeps working -- and anything the company throws her way, a Bow lead next year or something... those will just be pleasant surprises.

I'm lowering my expectations. I'm not hoping anymore. I've gone through the grieving period, the loss of this dream, and now I'm just daring Hankyuu to prove me wrong.

I think I left out the part of this rant where I was going to say that I think super-young top musumeyaku make their top partners look old... and I'm skipping the "blah blah Sumika it's not fair blah blah blah" part too. If I tried to add those back in, this would be even less cohesive than it already is.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Becca: Micchan and Tacchin in The Second Lifemuffin_song on August 29th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
I really don't envy the position that musumeyaku fans have. Otokoyaku the company will make room for. Musumeyaku, on the other hand...you really have to be in the right place in the right time, and both you and I know that it's really not fair.

With things so utterly out of our control, I think all we can do is support the ones we love. To some extent this even goes for the otokoyaku, albeit not as much.

(For the record, I worry about Nacchan. She's been virtually ignored ever since Mika became top, and now she's stuck with the nibante musumeyaku role in Chigi's Bow. If the slots for top musumeyaku had been open a year ago when her career was super hot then maybe, but now...yeah, I worry)
Julie: alice samantha glarewao_wao on August 29th, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC)
Once I was hanging out with a bunch of Hoshigumi fans, and when I said whose club I was in one of them was like, "I feel sorry for Alice-chan! And Ai-chan, and Nacchan!"

I was like... yeah, thanks, me too :/
Becca: Micchan and Tacchin in The Second Lifemuffin_song on August 29th, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC)
I just woke up, I didn't mean to offend! :( (Angry!Alice in that icon looks very Angry)

*Julie love*
Julie: alice kochou arrowswao_wao on August 29th, 2009 03:40 pm (UTC)
lol. I'm not offended! Like I said, I'm letting go of the hurt feelings!

You probably just think I'm angry because I've started using icons again. ;)
Tellychan: ehsailortelevator on August 29th, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC)
Totally butting in (lol sorry ^^). See i thought Nacchan would get totally forgotten now that they chose Mika, but I mean, I still feel that she got lots of spotlight in Russian Blue. I mean, yeah, I probably would've liked to see her in the Top more than Mika, but Mika was good and Nacchan still got attention so I guess I can't complain too much. I still hope they make her top one day tho but maybe she's getting too old too? I'm not too great with the workings of musumeyakus. :P

*ducks out*
(Deleted comment)
Julie: alice micchan dancewao_wao on September 1st, 2009 04:03 am (UTC)
The phrase "seito larceny" alone merits a reply to this comment. ;)

Anyway, part of this new tactic is to not think too far into the future. We're all keenly aware that everyone has to retire eventually, but I'd rather not contemplate who's going to leave us or who's going to be transferred where next year.
(Deleted comment)
Es ist Zeit zu Leben.: Nacchan & Mika // Vintage.violet_tango on August 29th, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
Actually, I see Nacchan walk the way of Haruka Midori and vanish quietly in the background of the stage.
I don't want her to, but recently, Mimi and Mika get all the attention and Hankyu doesn't pay that much attention to her anymore. She had a big part in Karamazov in winter, but the roles that followed were rather ridiculous, and absolutely background, not even close to the ones Alice-chan is getting at the moment.

I'll never get my Kaname/Nacchan mini combi again, that's clear enough. But I will keep the faint hope up that it might be Yumiko/Nacchan, if Hankyu is willing to make her top at such an age.

On the Kiriyan matter... I have to admit Kiriyan/Nacchan is a thought that doesn't touch me yet. I can't really imagine it.

After all, top musumeyaku doesn't neccessarily mean to get treated better than a nibante musumeyaku.

If you're a Tonami, or an Asuka, or an Ayane-chan, then being a top musumeyaku means quite a lot.

But other actresses like Maa-chan or Emi-chan never got actually outstanding parts in their careers. That doesn't make their performance worse (Maa-chan is one of my all time favourites, and the point about her is how very well she manages to bring her shy, silent roles to gorgeous life).

Actually, my wish for Nacchan is that rather seldomly seen thin line between nibante musumeyaku and honoured upperclassmen. Something like what Hamako and Kitarou do in otokoyaku version. Something like Amase is/was (yeah, okay, she was an otokoyaku once).
Rather a long, glorious not-top career than a short, flat top one.
I know top careers are not neccessarily flat, and even those bear wonderfulness like pair dances and feathers, extra attention and specicals, but I try to make the best of what I can get.
You should do the same with Alice-chan.
(And use your normal icons again ;_; I miss cheerful Julie-icons.)
KyaniteD / 藍晶石-D: Yumiko redkyanited on August 29th, 2009 07:57 pm (UTC)
Thank God, I'm not alone in my ridiculous hopes for Yumiko/Nacchan... :D <3 <3
Julie: alice meg smirkwao_wao on August 30th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)
She had a big part in Karamazov in winter, but the roles that followed were rather ridiculous, and absolutely background...

What! There have only been two shows since then!! (Are you putting Karamazov and Mariposa out of order? ;P) Admittedly I don't remember her part in Zorro (>.>;;), but I think her treatment in Russian Blue / Rio is awesome.

But other actresses like Maa-chan or Emi-chan never got actually outstanding parts in their careers.

Really? Their entire careers, nothing you really liked?

Anyway, I know it's true that "heroine" roles can be dim, weak, shallow and downright annoying. I know that.

But it's the principle of the thing. It's that great honor, that shiny gold star that says "TOP", that I think some people deserved to get before certain young upstarts. :P

Edited at 2009-08-30 02:16 am (UTC)
Es ist Zeit zu Leben.: Mihoko // I'm a lady!violet_tango on August 30th, 2009 08:06 am (UTC)
Admittedly I don't remember her part in Zorro (>.>;;), but I think her treatment in Russian Blue / Rio is awesome.

Okay, in that case I am relieved. Even on the pictures on Daily Sports, Nacchans part seems to be backbackbackground, so I expected it to be another one of the Zorro kind (she was one of Tonami's maids there).
I guess I'm just a little disappointed, given how big her role in Komu's last main show and for example Je t'aime was, and now she isn't even in the tour to be nibante musumeyaku there, and I am admittedly scared her bow role is something like Kaori's role in Wasure Yuki.

Really? Their entire careers, nothing you really liked?

It's not about what I like. ;)
I liked them in their roles, yes. But their parts were barely as challenging as parts like Marguerite, Elisabeth, Kurotokage and such. Of course you can turn every role into something challenging. But most of what Emi-chan and Maa-chan played in their career are rather flat roles that needed quite a lot of input from their own side to change it into something with a profile.

Actually, I would have liked Mizu and Alice-chan together, I think. I just don't know whether you would have been willing to live with the naughtiness you never get Mizu without. ;)
And I had thought about Yuuhi/Alice-chan before, actually, and I think they'd have made a good match.
I have to admit, my #1 choice for Kiriyan is way younger than everyone else. It's Mimi. That's based on the fact what Mimi is to me, and that I think she and Kiriyan would work perfectly together, they have chemistry for me just imagining them together.
And if Hankyu should seriously decide not to announce a top musumeyaku for Kiriyan, we should probably start a petition.
+Elise+faux_semblant on August 29th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
I think she is too tall for Kiriyan ....
My first thought was that Hankyu wanted to wait that she grow up because she was like a sweet baby .... but now....she is ready since a long time so ....
I often wonder how they are choosing the top (vote? they tell their choice and mister hankyu decide?)
but anyway Takarazuka is hard and crual sometimes ...you mentioned all the great musumeyaku, but it s the same for otokoyaku (how beautiful top would have been Shii-chan *.*)
and of course it s not about talent but only personal taste and many other criterias I guess that we can t even imagine .
Nacchan was ready, she can play , cry, sing, dance, but they chose Mika who can t sing ..... but I can understand it, if I were Miss Hankyu ... I would have done the same ... there is something i don t like in Nacchan face , facial expression and something I love in Mika's marui face ^^; taste ... taste
michiru42: Wao and Hana: Recuerdemichiru42 on August 29th, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
The thing is, just because we've got a run of babies this time doesn't mean that'll be true forver. Zuka has had many, many baby top (4 years or less), twice as many of an average age (which I put at 5-8 years), and every once in awhile, are suprised with one of 9 years of more like Rui or Aki. (There've been five of those in the company's history.) Alice having been in for seven years doesn't even put her out of the range of getting to top in an average amount of time.

Then again, like you said, Alice-chan not being top won't stand in her way. Her roles have been very interesting and varied up until now, and unlike a top musumeyaku, she's not dependant on an otokoyaku; her roles are interesting, and she shines for herself.

I know how you feel, musumeyaku freak that I am. Like you said, I've learned to enjoy watching musumeyaku shine as they can, in bow hall roles, or lovely elderly roles, or cute kiddie roles. We were lucky to have so many talented and beloved musumeyaku make top in such a short time, but even now I love musumeyaku because they know how to shine, even in times of...less than ideal circumstances. Especially ones like Alice, who have a natural glow about them and could be awesome standing on one foot and reading from McDonalds menus. :)
Ms. Brittladybretagne on August 29th, 2009 07:19 pm (UTC)
*sighs and looks at that list of ignored musumeyaku* That's a depressing number of my favorites. Minami and Machami and and Hideki and Ai-chan and Tacchin and even Kaori from Yuki and Kotokoto from Hoshi. They're all so lovely and talented and deserved more. I don't think it's time to give up hope for Alice-chan yet, look at Asuka, but even if Hankyu does miss out on what a special girl they have there, I would be honored to have her in Sora for a good long time and for her to play roles like Aoi and Keiko have.
KyaniteD / 藍晶石-D: Asako sadkyanited on August 29th, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
Hm... I think I realized it when I saw Je t'aime... Yamashina Ai paired with Hiromi. I started to look at the musumeyaku and realized that my favorites are all too old for a realistic chance at being top star.

And I had such high hopes for Alice! And now the years have passed and nothing has happened. I was looking forward to the parade we'd have here on LJ.
It's disappointing and I feel for you and her. I still think, though, you made a good choice and that she's very lucky to have your support and the support of her other fans. Without you she may not even have lasted that long.

They are trying to get them before they have developed a personality, don't they.

Just a few days ago I was thinking about it, I think it was an extended thought connected to the tsuki retirement announcements. We cannot shake our western views and beliefs and it shows now how different our wishes and expectations are, and how little they matter. :( They want them (musumeyaku and otokoyaku) young and moldable, while we're more drawn to the mature and confident.

The next thought was that they may try to get the average age down... and then I got myself a drink and started to read some manga.
Jen: HEARTS!caithion on August 30th, 2009 04:06 am (UTC)
I have to admit that I'm happy to see this post. Because... Julie!icons have returned♥

I think we have this tendency lately to make ourselves miserable thinking "She should have *this*!" or "*This* is just going to happen, I know it!" Instead of fuming or dreading, my new policy is to enjoy what we have while we have it, and not to get my expectations too high. Then, if something wonderful happens, I'm pleasantly surprised, and if something unhappy happens, well, I'll have many good memories gathered.

At this point I'm not entirely certain that I'm happy to be in the club of a star-tracked girl, but I've decided that I'm going to be happy, for her.
Becca: Kiriyan muffin_song on August 30th, 2009 05:17 am (UTC)
I have to admit that I'm happy to see this post. Because... Julie!icons have returned♥

I strongly second this!!! You have some really lovely icons and I'm happy to see them again ♥

(I also do agree with the other things Jen said).
Julie: alice kochou arrowswao_wao on September 1st, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)
I'm flattered that people are so happy to see me using icons again ^^;;; It means that Julie's Long Sulk is over.

And honestly, I feel for you as far as not being sure if your girl getting this much promotion is a good thing. Before the "letting go" stage, I went through a slightly melodramatic "if she's going to be this overworked I never *want* her to be top" stage. :P

This doesn't erase my base feeling that certain people "deserved" better and "should have" been promoted / made top before certain other people... But like you, and I, said -- not getting expectations too high. *shrugs*
utena1409: Wao/Mariutena1409 on August 30th, 2009 08:44 pm (UTC)
Maybe it is better to be pleasantly surprised than being disappointed by decisions that may come. :/
But I still think that Alice's chances for top musume are not over yet. She still looks very young and cute, so she isn't too old per se I would say. But of course we have no real idea about how this all actually works behind the scenes... >_>
ruderal_speciesruderal_species on September 1st, 2009 12:25 am (UTC)
I understand a lot of these feelings because I've gone through them over and over lo these many years. Actually, I think it's not really fair to say it doesn't happen to otokoyaku fans. I could rattle off an equally long list of otokoyaku who've been dreadfully treated by the company. *coughAhicough*

I also think you're giving up too soon, though I know that feeling of "We've been passed over AGAIN, I should just give up..." EXTREMELY WELL. Alice is still young and, to echo what you said but in a different way, her age isn't what's important, it's how well she fits with a top star. I agree that Kiriyan doesn't feel right for her, but that doesn't mean the next won't go, "I want Alice-chan because she's so amazing!"

This didn't come out quite as coherent as I intended.... :/
Julie: alice windowwao_wao on September 1st, 2009 03:52 am (UTC)
It was pretty coherent to me. ;)

Oh, I don't think I said (and hope I didn't imply) that this doesn't happen to otokoyaku / their fans as well. What I meant was, more otokoyaku get more chances to shine -- to at least get *some* standout role before they retire -- than musumeyaku do. You could list even more otokoyaku who have been slighted because I'm sure more people remember them. But in the end, obviously, there are an equally small number of top otokoyaku and musumeyaku spots (plus, er, Tom ^^;;;).

I appreciate the voices saying "you're giving up too soon" as well as the ones just agreeing with me that it's time. I guess there will remain in me a tiny sliver of hope, even if I don't want to admit it. :P

That and the general sentiment of "I still believe in Alice-chan because she's so amazing!" :) ♥