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20 September 2009 @ 08:07 pm
This could become a series if I really wanted to bombard you all with blather ;)  
Introductory note: this is a rambling, speculative post -- mostly full of rhetorical questions. I invite people to air their own theories if they wish... but everyone is just as free to skip all of this. ;P

1. Ootsuki Sayu

I don't get it, Hankyuu. What are you doing with Nacchan?

She has an awesome role in Russian Blue. In my opinion, it's much more interesting and memorable than Amase Izuru's. While Izuru is just somehow related to Team Bad Guys (how many people are on this team is a point of question within the play), Nacchan is... Well, she's Yumiko's younger sister; Yumiko the manservant and Nacchan the maid to Mizu. But she's definitely not just a scurrying-around-in-the-background maid. She narrates the beginning and end of the play. She SINGS -- with *Keiko-san* (and Yumiko). She gets sent out in search of unsavory items with which to make a love potion. She kicks and punches as she's held back by Mika's lackeys.

In an alternate universe, it's the kind of role I'd be fairly satisfied seeing Alice-chan doing. A fun, spunky, standout musumeyaku role.

And next up, she's... in Chigi and Koma's Bow show. Only not as the female lead.

I tried to see the logic in choosing Mimi as the romantic interest for the two 87ths, but... no, actually, I don't. Mimi is cute and short and fresh-faced and young, but Nacchan is ALSO still young and sweet-faced and the same height as Mimi -- so she doesn't threaten the 87th shorties with her stature. I think her look would complement Chigi's just as well as Mimi's, perhaps better, although admittedly I'm not sure about Koma x Nacchan. (I've just never seen them together -- thoughts, people who know the Elisabeth shinko and such?)

I don't see why they have to widen the gap between otokoyaku and their musumeyaku partners even at that age.

And I mean, what's going to happen to Rio de Bravo on tour? Who's going to fight for Yumiko's love and such? Ayucchi? No, even AYUCCHI won't be on tour -- I checked, and she'll be in Kimu's dinner show. It's like they took ALL of the really star-tracked musumeyaku out of the tour. And it seems there's at least some kind of "nibante musumeyaku" role in Passionate Barcelona, so... Jeez, what are they going to do, give Suzuhana Risa more attention again? Sahana Mako? I don't even know.

Anyway, admittedly the Bow show is still very much an unknown entity. There could be a place in there for Nacchan to be another love interest in addition to Mimi.

But the fact that they announced Mimi early and not Nacchan is pretty telling to me.

I don't see why Nacchan can't be nibante musumeyaku to Mika though. An 89th just under a 90th isn't nearly as insulting strange as, say, an 88th under a 91st. And I mean, Masami was a year above Ume-chan but still enjoyed nibante musumeyaku status the entire time the two shared Soragumi.

*shrugs, throws up hands and moves on to the next question*

2. Nagina Ruumi

Looking back, I realized that the company has been pushing Kacha quickly from the start.

But then again, they haven't.

At the very least, Kacha jumping over the 88ths was never anything new. Hatsubutai in 2003, and from 2004 - 2005 she played Tomochin's roles in shinkos (Tomochin was then 5-bante-ish) while the 88ths got comparatively background roles. By late 2006 she had moved up to Micchan's role (4-bante in Ryoma-den) and only then, for the first time, did it really look like any 88th had a leg up on her (Chii-chan in the nibante role).

Plus there were all the non-shinko things. Appearing in Gaichi's concert the same year she debuted. Speaking parts in small theater shows almost immediately. Her sharing a role with Chigi in Berubara was not new -- she also did it in the double-cast Le Petit Jardin (2005). The only 88th in LPJ was Chii-chan, sharing her role with Kai-chan (Kacha's classmate).

Bit parts in revues. And dinner shows. And then bigger parts in revues. Even in Grand Theater shows, really. Even then Kacha was basically just behind Chigi, not the 88ths.

...Until Chigi was about to graduate from shinkos. Chigi's last shinko was Valencia, where she played the nibante role.

Do you know the one thing Kacha has never had? A(n otokoyaku) lead role of any kind.

Chigi graduated from shinkos and things started to look up for the 88ths. Each time *someone* was a little behind Kacha, but 2007 - 2008 it was all 88th leads. Summer 2008, the two Bow Hall leads were Chigi and Chii-chan.

Kacha has never had a Bow lead. Her classmate Mirio (why am I bringing her up for comparison) has had *two* leads. (Okay, one was a double lead.)

She (Kacha) is in her last year of shinkos now. She could potentially be the next Komu (never had a shinko lead) if it didn't seem so certain that she'll get Casablanca. Kai-chan did the BaraAme shinko lead while Kacha was enjoying the fame of arguably the number one female role in Takarazuka... But still, it constitutes a lost opportunity for Kacha to get a shinko lead.

As you might guess, most of the above is just me organizing thoughts and data in my head. My question is:

If the company was going to push Kacha over the 88ths so fast, why didn't they give her a lead sooner? Why is your treatment of Kacha so confusing, Hankyuu?

This leads to the third topic.

3. Sora 88ths

"Who's #1 of the 88ths" has long been a source of discussion between me and my Soragumi fangirls-in-arms.

It's obvious to me now that Kacha will ultimately "win out" over all of them, although it only struck me earlier this year.

But I've been saying that Mii-chan was #1 for a while... although I'm kind of wondering about the two others. What made me re-think my convictions was the treatment of Dai-chan and Chii-chan in Ooeyama vs. who was ahead in the program.

Program picture order, if you didn't know, can be quite telling. I went back to 2006 to work it out.

(2006) Never Say Goodbye: Kacha = a larger photo but not a proper still. 88ths = generic small photos with the rest of the underclassmen.
(2006) Ryoma-den: Kacha's first still. Mii-chan next to her with a larger photo but not a proper still. Still in the underclassmen section, Dai-chan listed ahead of Chii-chan (as per grade order).
(2007) Valencia: Mii-chan and Chii-chan get their first stills, with Kacha still ahead of them. Dai-chan in the underclassmen section.
(2008) Reimei: Dai-chan gets her first still. The order goes Kacha, Mii-chan, Chii-chan, Risa-chan (an 87th), Dai-chan.
(2008) ParaPuri: Mii-chan, Kacha, Chii-chan, Risa-chan, Dai-chan.
(2009) BaraAme: Mii-chan, Chii-chan, Dai-chan. Kacha was absent, and Dai-chan finally moved above Risa-chan (right as the latter retired ;_______;).

(Aside: Teffy, in case you're curious, Eriko got her first still in Lightning in the Daytime and never looked like she was going to be one-upped by Chigi or Kacha. :P)

The order of star treatment has long been, as I saw it, "Mii-chan, Chii-chan, Dai-chan". It's Hakataza that's thrown it off.

Dai-chan got the better role in Ooeyama. She got two roles, in fact -- both with a romantic interest (played by Tara-chan). More lines, more memorable, more desirable... while Chii-chan was among the demons, with only a few more lines and a bigger *wig* than the underclassmen. :P Pretty easy to miss her, really, unless you were looking. And then Apasionado -- Dai-chan was the one on par with Masako, standing right next to Yuuhi in the soldier dance, while Chii-chan was behind Masako. Despite Chii-chan being arguably the better dancer.

A fanclub friend persuaded me to admit that even if Dai-chan has had two shinko leads while Mii-chan has had one and Chii-chan zero, Chii-chan got a proper Bow lead -- 16 performances over 10 days of Junjou. That automatically counts the highest.

Was Hakataza just a fluke? Everything in Grand Theater shows points toward Mii-chan > Chii-chan > Dai-chan, even though their grade order is Mii-chan > Dai-chan > Chii-chan. Dai-chan may have fared well in Ooeyama, but she didn't even have a role name / any speaking lines in BaraAme.

I guess I'll stop questioning. It seems pretty clear that with no 88th being the far-and-away favorite, they won't rise much more... and none of them will ever make top.

Kacha seems to have a pretty decent shot at it.

I'll finish this off with the disclaimer that as much as I like to speculate about who's above who on the star track, I still love all of them very much. Mii-chan is my least favorite of the "88ths + Kacha", but asking about my "least favorite" in my beloved Soragumi is like asking what my least favorite dessert is. They're all sweet and I love (and cheer for) each one of them, I just love certain ones more. (Dislike for people in Soragumi is generally reserved for interlopers transfers messing up the ranking and Sorahane Riku, who -- although I hate to admit it -- has really been winning over Monchi since the beginning... except for the fact that Monchi got the Sky Fairy position >:D.)

Wow. Long block of text is LONG.

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
happy_riceball on September 20th, 2009 01:32 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid to say any Nacchan theories because I fear I'll jinx my hopes. ^^;

*takes down Soragumi notes*
Julie: alice windowwao_wao on September 20th, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC)
*laughs* Well at least someone read this and got something out of it.

I can guess what you hope for Nacchan; I've heard a few people saying it. But honestly, as much as my heart cries with each new young musumeyaku top... I don't really want to see any of them have super-short careers. That's just crummy for anyone. :\
michiru42: Hanafusa Mari as Carmenmichiru42 on September 20th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
Is this hope for Nacchan the hope that I mentioned in my "Bonnie and Clyde" review? (Not saying it directly for the reasons stated above!)

Thanks for telling me about her role in Russian blue. Both my inner lover of good stories and my inner musumeyaku fan are madly in love with Oono-sensei, who has never failed to give me good musumeyaku roles or a good story. And if Nacchan is the only other "rising musumeyaku" in the upcoming Bow Hall play, that gives me even more hope for her. Heck, think of Nagisa Aki, who got no leads after her first few years; she just got lots of meaty nibante musumeyaku roles in Bow Halls and the Daigekijou.

I've come to realize that a musumeyaku with career aspirations doesn't need to be a top star, given how well a lot of the supporting gals are doing outside Zuka. Top would be great, but as long as Nacchan continues to get great roles, even supporting ones, I'll be very happy for her.

Ooh, I can't wait to get the Russian Blue DVD!
(no subject) - wao_wao on September 21st, 2009 02:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - michiru42 on September 21st, 2009 03:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wao_wao on September 21st, 2009 03:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - michiru42 on September 21st, 2009 04:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wao_wao on September 21st, 2009 08:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - michiru42 on September 21st, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wao_wao on September 21st, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - michiru42 on September 22nd, 2009 01:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wao_wao on September 22nd, 2009 04:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - michiru42 on September 22nd, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wao_wao on September 23rd, 2009 07:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - michiru42 on September 23rd, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Es ist Zeit zu Leben.: Nacchan // ô_oviolet_tango on September 20th, 2009 02:22 pm (UTC)
Hm... but after all, Nacchan did the same as Mimi did.
In 2006, she suddenly appeared and got all the big roles, and Kaori, who was in that position before, vanished into the background.

I have a list of things I hope to happen, but I guess we can't do something else than waiting. :(
Julie: alice katherine shoulderswao_wao on September 20th, 2009 02:31 pm (UTC)
It's a fickle game, being a Takarazuka star. :( ♥

(I see your musumeyaku-in-white-looking-over-her-shoulder icon and raise you a musumeyaku looking over her shoulder in a strapless gown! ;D)
Es ist Zeit zu Leben.: Nacchan // ô_oviolet_tango on September 20th, 2009 03:03 pm (UTC)
Nacchan and Alice seem not to be too happy with Hankyu politicd, do they?
(no subject) - wao_wao on September 20th, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Ms. Britt: [dai-chan2]ladybretagne on September 20th, 2009 04:59 pm (UTC)
In true cultist fashion I have undying optimism that the 88ths never making top is not a foregone conclusion. They remind me of Touko, Komu and Naruse circa Wonder Three (in fact an 88th Wonder Three is one of my deepest DEEPEST wishes). Now granted the 77ths were more prominent than the 88ths at the time (at least that seems to be the case), but I can definitely see the similarities. And honestly, I'm entirely okay with Dai never making top if it means she's happy and she hangs around as an awesome upperclassman, but I do still think it's too early to tell what's going to happen with them. It seems to be such a constant back and forth, and I don't know if it's accurate to say that Chii-chan is automatically ahead because she had a Bow Hall lead, when Dai-chan had two shinko leads and Mii-chan had a shinko lead and a number of other prominent roles. I think part of what muddies the waters with the three of them is that they're such different types so it really starts to just depend on what the available roles are like.
Julie: chii-chan dancingwao_wao on September 21st, 2009 02:12 am (UTC)
Of course the last thing I want is to shoot down other people's dreams. I encourage optimism! This is just a lot of me musing.

But I do feel like in the last year it's become more obvious to me about the 88ths, I mean...

Paradise Prince
Mii-chan = cool person on Team Ume
Chii-chan = dorky person on Team Tani
Dai-chan = dead person portraying flashbacks behind a screen :(

Bara ni Furu Ame
Mii-chan = two roles, one as a waiter with a couple of lines but also prominently featured in a sexy dance
Chii-chan = one role with only a few lines as a policeman
Dai-chan = no proper roles, no lines, just background stuff like chatting silently in a cafe

And I also feel like when Mii-chan and Dai-chan are placed in the same small-theater show, Mii-chan has gotten the "cooler" role... AmeUta, Mii-chan = enthusiastic film director vs. Dai-chan = put-upon diction coach... Phoenix 1, okay, Gumshoe and Larry are both dorky but Larry is slightly more dorky? XDD;;; But yeah, Ooeyama has made me ponder.

All that being said.

88th "Wonder Three" = HELL YES. I mean... that Bow show next year... what if it was one -- or two -- or three of them??
Ms. Brittladybretagne on September 21st, 2009 02:38 am (UTC)
Re: ParaPuri, I think you have to take shinko leads in account there, because from all I've gathered Dai-chan tends to stress out a lot and I think she probably needed to not have a larger role in the honkoen if she was going to tackle the shinko lead. BaraAme obviously I don't know, but I think AmeUta probably comes out as a wash between Mii-chan and Dai-chan.

But yeah, honestly I don't know what they're doing and I've got absolutely no objectivity anyway so... eh. Dai-chan is such a raving, RAVING fangirl that I don't really worry that she's going to up and retire on me if she gets passed over, but I would be totally lying if I said it didn't make me sad to think of NONE of them getting the kind of attention that I think all three of them do and seriously Maakun, seriously if she ends up the big star of their class I will freaking lose it.

But YES, that Bow show, double or triple lead, the 88ths, it would be AMAZING and it would be about damn time Hankyu. You hear me?
(no subject) - wao_wao on September 21st, 2009 02:44 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladybretagne on September 21st, 2009 03:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wao_wao on September 21st, 2009 03:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladybretagne on September 21st, 2009 03:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wao_wao on September 21st, 2009 03:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ladybretagne on September 21st, 2009 04:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Julie: mii-chan ecchan smexwao_wao on September 21st, 2009 02:17 am (UTC)
*laughs* I think Takarazuka encourages us to be shallow; I mean, at the very least the basic concept of a company full of hundreds of women from which we are able to decide who we find the most beautiful...

Anyway, seeing as you yourself admit to being uninformed, I should tell you that they're ALL interesting. You're just not watching as closely as some of us. ;)
(Deleted comment)
Becca: Hanakage Arisu muffin_song on September 20th, 2009 11:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Nacchan...I don't get it either. And I find it horribly unfair that she doesn't even get the nibante role in Kanashimi no Cordova :P

If the company was going to push Kacha over the 88ths so fast, why didn't they give her a lead sooner? Why is your treatment of Kacha so confusing, Hankyuu?

Obviously Bara ni Furu Ame was a missed opportunity for Kacha. But as for before that, even though I think that Kacha will eventually jump over the 88ts, it may have been a bit much for her to jump over all three of them for the Valencia, Reimei, and ParaPuri shinkos. (That being said, she managed to jump over Mii-chan and Chii-chan for Tomu's role in both. Er, well, Chii-chan did better than her in Reimei, but you get the idea)
Julie: kacha oscar angstwao_wao on September 21st, 2009 02:38 am (UTC)
Kanashimi no Cordova

Hoo boy, have you got your tours confused XDDD;;;

That being said, she managed to jump over Mii-chan and Chii-chan for Tomu's role in both...

See, that's exactly my point. "Each time *someone* was a little behind Kacha," if not two of them.

I don't think it's so out of the question for Kacha to have jumped over all the 88ths in 2007, or even earlier. You could say it was "a bit much" for Chie to spring up and hog all the Hoshigumi shinkos, but she still did it -- and now Makaze Suzuho's looking to follow the same pattern.
Becca: Finch muffin_song on September 21st, 2009 03:18 am (UTC)
Hoo boy, have you got your tours confused XDDD;;;

They're both angsty and set in Spain :P

Honestly, I like how the soragumi shinkos have not been dominated by one person for a while now. I feel bad for the hoshigumi fans in that Suzuho is dominating their shinkos. (I haven't seen Suzuho and have nothing against her. It's just that I think it's boring when anyone gets more than say, three shinko leads in a row. And even three is pushing it a little).

Now, the downside is obviously none of the soragumi 88ths are coming out ahead :/ But I think they're something of a special case since there are three of them in one class.
(no subject) - wao_wao on September 21st, 2009 03:23 am (UTC) (Expand)