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03 September 2011 @ 12:34 am
Julie's Massive Phantom 2011 Review  
I know gummical is on the edge of her seat waiting for this review, but I'm afraid it's going to run long ^_^;;

Hmm. I want to "sandwich" my review with some initial good comments, mention the things I have issues with, and then move on to squee-ing about everybody...

Okay, here goes.

I love a lot of people in Hanagumi, and a lot of the things Hanagumi people did in this show. The music is mostly good -- improved, even, in at least one case -- and it wouldn't be Takarazuka without those gorgeous costumes.

That being said.

Phantom is really difficult for me, as a whole -- as a story.

I went back though my journal and dug up this five-year-old entry (ack) as proof -- I have always had an issue with Phantom. Not just with Osa's and Tomu's, but with Soragumi's too; with Kopit & Yeston's production in general.

So let's get that out of the way. Let's say I'm not comparing any of the productions to each other -- let's not even compare to Webber's PotO, or to the original novel or anything.

Kopit & Yeston's Phantom does not make sense.

It doesn't make SENSE for a guy who's basically lived under an opera house his whole life and had very little human interaction to be so ~*~sensitive~*~ and really just kind at heart, he's only misunderstood because of his face, boo-hoo.

Phantom '11 is the biggest offender in the sense of taking Erik's naïveté and ~*~beautiful soul~*~ to an extreme. So Joseph Bouquet falls to his death, fine. What worries me is Erik doesn't seem upset about it for more than a few seconds. And then if he didn't cart Bouquet's body up to interrupt rehearsals, who did? (This is possibly the most creepy.) And then he stabs Carlotta, and threatens various people with guns / knives... but also keeps a crew of disfigured homeless dudes as his minions and is the sweetest person ever to Christine.

(The minion thing bugged me especially because this time they made it a point to specifically give Erik a line about them being real people whom Erik befriended. WHAT?!?!?!)

It. Doesn't. Make. Sense. It's like he's literally two (or three?) different people. And frankly I wasn't afraid of Tomu's Erik at all.

But I want to -- I feel like I need to -- be afraid of the character of the Phantom.

After all, aren't most people in the Opera House afraid of him, without ever having seen his face? So why is the audience not made to be afraid of him? Why can't Erik have a little darkness?

As I was saying to muffin_song, the Phantom is a tragic figure and the story is a tragic story. It is not, to me, suited to be a grand romance in which I really wish Erik and Christine could run off together. It should be a story in which I pity the Phantom but also fear him, because he is menacing and rather delusional / insane.

(Although I will make one comment comparing to the original novel -- BOO @ *NO* production ever giving much / any attention to Erik's genius. The only shout-out to Leroux' work in Phantom '11 was Erik being all "I could blow up the Opera House, they should all be afraid of me". Whatev. I want more tortured genius Phantom.)

(And yes, I do have Sora Phantom memorized to the point where I noticed every line they changed ^_^;;;)

Most of this is not Tomu's fault. It is the fault of the script. The only thing that may have been Tomu's fault was her make-up, which in addition to being non-frightening was also coming off a lot on the day of the DVD filming. It was very unfortunate and I could not stop looking at it T_____T;;;


* Tomu. Tomu being a top star. Tomu in the big feathers. Tomu actually having a role that's a lot gentler than anything I've seen her do in years! Possibly ever!! Seriously I can't think of the last time I've seen her in such a sweet role. I may have issues with the Phantom character, but at least Tomu's youthful acting wasn't off-putting like how I felt when I saw Chie's Romeo. No, Tomu!Phantom was just sweet, sweet, sweet and okay, occasionally mysterious and a little smexy but mostly just like a pure-hearted but confused young man in love.

And, as anyone could have guessed, every time she danced it was completely amazing. I especially loved "Story of Erik" dance and the tuxedo number ;) Those of you who saw the tuxedo number live, I envy you all ;)


I had a lot, a LOT of misgivings about Tomu doing a revival like Phantom as her top debut, and obviously I have major problems with the story itself... But in a way I think I'm glad Tomu got this role, to show a new side of herself before she reverts back to being the Prince of Making Us Blush. (Seriously a lot of people online call her 赤面王子 ^_^;;;)

Lastly, the final scene -- the way they changed it is so much better... But more than that, right at the end Tomu did that thing where after she lets go of a long note she breathes in and smiles and looks vaguely surprised and it is so random but I love that thing she does, and it reminded me how much I love Tomu and miss her ;___________; ♥ ♥ ♥

* Ran-chan. RAN-CHAN ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ It was a lot easier than I expected to get over that initial shock of seeing her in O-Hana / Ayane-chan's dresses. And even though I was prepared to wince at her singing, I MOSTLY DIDN'T HAVE TO which was so, so impressive to me. She's not really an Angel of Music, but as far as outdoing herself (compared to previous productions) I was very, very pleased. The bistro number especially... and "My True Love", oh god!!!

arlecchinic said to me after seeing this show, "I felt like I understood Erik for the first time". Obviously this was not true for me, but I felt like I understood Christine on a deeper level than ever. When Ran-chan said "show me your face" -- really, and all of her lines leading up to that song... I believed that she believed what she was saying so strongly, and even if her gestures were a bit exaggerated (Tomu's were too), her tone of voice broke my heart. And then again when she was trapped behind the mirror and shaking, calling out for Philippe -- it all made sense to me, how she had panicked and run away because suddenly everything had become very real, she realized she was in a strange underground world with a mysterious, disfigured man, separated from everything and everyone she knew, so who could have blamed her for running away? But she knew immediately that it was wrong, she just wanted someone to strengthen her, to see a familiar face before she went back down to Erik. All of that. I understood.

And I am so proud of Ran-chan for showing all of that to me ;_________; ♥ ♥ ♥

Plus all of the moments where she was adorable, and of course I loved her in everything in the finale except that pink monstrosity in the parade, I hate that dress >.>

* Sou. Killed me. I already knew she could be a pretty kickass ojisan from Me and My Girl, but this time her fatherliness killed me dead. The paternal looks she gave Tomu during their song together were seriously tear-inducing. She's really a very good actor, with all the weight and weariness she portrayed with Carriere, and I have nothing bad to say about her :)

* Miwacchi.

...I'm sorry, she is always so boring to me T______T;;; She can convince me she's a suteki rich count dude for a few minutes and then I've had enough >.>;;;

ON THE PLUS SIDE, Philippe finally got a song which conveyed the right mood of "Christine I'm worried but I will find you" without being jarringly upbeat and annoying like the song from the previous two versions, which bothered me immensely. So yay for that.

- Yakugawari (Cholet): Miwacchi is actually also a kickass ojisan in her own way. I found her Cholet rather unlikable at first (*typical Julie response*) but after a bit I could see that she was actually very good and probably really funny live.

Conclusion -- Miwacchi needs to move to Senka? ^_^;;;

* Ichika.

...ICHIKA ♥ ☆ ♥ ☆ ♥ ☆ ♥ ☆ ♥ ☆ ♥

Aaaaahhhhhh seriously she is the best, everything she did was so bomb, and in a way I somehow liked her Carlotta MORE than Taki-san's! Shocking! But I think it's because Ichika doesn't have quite as much natural stage presence as Taki-san -- obviously she can't compare to Taki-san's total experience as a performer period -- so she made up for it by chewing up the stage in a really aggressive manner :D God, I loved it so much ^_________^

It's almost as if Taki-san's Carlotta was kind of just born talented-but-evil, whereas Ichika's Carlotta fought tooth and nail climbing up the ladder of success so now she doggedly protects her limelight and will seriously bite off the head of anyone who tries to take it away from her XDD;;

SO MUCH LOVE ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

* Mitsuru (Cholet -- I should probably start listing characters now) = the smexiest ojisan 8D Honestly I was pretty disappointed by the initial concept of Mitsuru doing an old man role, but then it got better thinking of Ichika x Mitsuru, and once I saw it I enjoyed her performance quite a bit :D Mitsuru and her evil little goatee and her chin-stroking and her huffing and puffing and disbelieving of ghost stories 8D And making kissy faces at Ichika. So much love X3

- Yakugawari (Sergio / Young Carriere): I CRIED.

Sergio!Mitsuru dancing was great and all, but it only took a DIGEST of Mitsuru in the story of Erik to break. my. HEART. ;___________; ♥ ♥ ♥ She was so... real. She was so EARNEST. Every action, every word she spoke was so 100% believable.


Mitsuru, you are my biggest Hanagumi crush forever *___________* ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

* Maa-kun (Sergio / Young Carriere) -- She was cute. Sergio isn't really a role so much as a dance solo and a couple of lines. Her Young Carriere was... sweet.

...I like Maa-kun. ^_^;; She tries too hard and is big and awkward. She overacts and makes derpy faces. She's all that an 88th should be. See below X3

- Yakugawari (Philippe): It's pretty sad that in Phantom '11, Cholet is a more attractive man than Philippe to me XDD;; But that's because Philippe has no opportunity to be anything but surface-level charming and vaguely caring of a girl with a pretty voice. (But not very caring at all of Sorelli >:\) That being said, I liked Maa-kun slightly more than Miwacchi because mostly was I saw was the big dumb awkward puppy -- the lovable 88th that she is.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I think of Maa-kun the way Hoshigumi fans think of Beni. (Appropriately, also an 88th ;) Everything she does kind of just makes me laugh, and I love her in an "oh, you ♥" kind of way. But every once in a while she does something kind of awesome, because actually she can sing and dance and act decently. Sometimes. X3 A for effort, Maa-kun ;)

And speaking of 88ths...

* Tommy (Mauclerc) -- She had a few lines. *shrugs* :\

* Kirari-chan (Sorelli) -- One of the most thankless musumeyaku roles ever. Such a shame. However...

* Juria (Mme. Daurine) -- This is more of a shame, because it's JURIA. Juria should never be a severe and plain ballet teacher dressed all in black. That is just a crime against musumeyaku. :[ I love Saaya too, and I totally loved her as Valerius, but a part of me wishes Juria could have had at least that. (Then again, I'm not sure if Ichika and Juria's energies would have gone together as well...)

* Saori-san (Mercier) -- Had a lot of facial hair. I thought it bore mentioning, lol.

* Marin-san (Inspector Ledoux) -- She wore a frock coat instead of a uniform and it bugged me the. entire. show. XDD;;; Because at first I forgot who she was even playing! It was so confusing!!

* Fumika-san (Moncharmin) -- I just like seeing her face pop up, and she definitely didn't disappoint in the otokoyaku dance X3 ♥

* Daimon (Richard), Akira (Lachenal) -- They are hot and I approve of them ;)

* Yuma-chan (Flora) -- She got spotlighted in the opening dance. It was a nice gesture ♥

* TenMi (Joseph Bouquet) -- Really good for a bit role, but I wouldn't expect any less because she's always hilarious X3 And I was then amused to see Bouquet alive again in the bistro scene ;)

* Ayase (Meg) -- I didn't think she had the same level of beaming cuteness that Alice-chan had at that age. /biased

* Mirion (Young Erik) -- WAS AMAZING. Augh she is so cute, the only thing wrong with her was that I had such a hard time believing she was a boy because SHE IS TOO CUTE. Shine, Mirion, shine◊◊◊ 95th power☆☆

* Kumi (Belladova) -- Strangely disappointing! Maybe Kumi was just having an off day, her singing was kind of "decent" instead of ~*~angelic~*~. Probably I'm judging harshly because Miki-chan seriously was angelic ;________; ♥

* Patrick (Yuunami Kei, her nickname is not really Patrick I just can't seem to stop calling her that ^_^;;) -- She stood out at least twice! In "Melodie de Paris", and as one of the policemen that Erik threatens in the end! 96th power☆

Lastly (lol),

* Phantom's Followers -- Imacchi. Wins. This is not at all surprising. God I would have loved to see her doing those dances live. Then again, if I had been watching this live, I would have been trying to watch Minami-kun instead >.> Whom I completely failed to spot IN ANY SCENE except the parade <.< *Julie fail* T______T

However, JULIE WINS in the category of spotting Karin-chan :D :D :D I caught her in "Melodie" AND in the rockette! I was so happy!!! ^__________^

Actually lastly, can I say that the parade was kind of weird. I can't really think of any other Zuka show in which I thought "I didn't like the parade", but for some reason this time the medley seemed disconnected and jarring. The Titania song, really? You couldn't give bars from some other song for the wakate to sing, people? :S (Also, in the role-switch digest I couldn't figure out if the three girls walked down in a different order -- god that would be so confusing for them -- or if the DVD makers just showed them in a different order. Also confusing.)

In conclusion...

I like a lot of Hanagumi people. I like what they do. I have issues with this show as a whole, but take the individual pieces and I can add them up to a lot of love :) ♥ Am very, very curious to see where Tomu-gumi goes from here!!☆
Current Mood: productiveproductive
Proactively Untwist Octagonal Hippopotamus Pants: takarazuka - wao phantomdramaturgca on September 3rd, 2011 08:01 am (UTC)
I rewatched Sora!Phantom a couple weeks ago and, given the "grand romance" thing and the fact that Wao's disfigurement is so very very minimal, the impression that I get out of the entire show is that it's all Carriere's fault why is he such a JERK? He's married but he gets another girl pregnant, then when the baby is ugly, he drops her even harder. After the mother dies, he gives his son a mask, tells him he's horrifying and keeps him in the dark under the Opera House. Without actually telling him that they're related. (Sidenote: Who taught Erik to garrotte people? You aren't BORN knowing that kind of thing) Then Carriere visits his son occasionally but other than that he has no company except a portrait of his mother and (possibly imaginary) followers. Are we surprised that Erik goes a little crazy? So Erik, with no actual human interaction to base things on, falls in love with a girl and tries to woo her. The only way he can think of, which is basically that of a socialized 5 year old. He takes her to his house and shows her his toys and gives her things that mean something to him. It's CARRIERE who comes in and says "Oh he couldn't possibly love you, you just look like his mother". Christine mostly runs away because she's been scared by Carriere. THEN, someone messes with his girl and shockingly, Erik reacts. And gets shot. But instead of getting him medical attention or taking responsibility for him, Carriere just decides that if anyone catches Erik, he'll SHOOT him, which conveniently solved the whole "I have a disfigured bastard son" issue.

In conclusion, it's all Carriere's fault.
(no subject) - anthy1306 on September 4th, 2011 06:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
gummical: Kenshin silencegummical on September 3rd, 2011 09:06 am (UTC)
Honestly...I'm not surprised by your review. I had pretty much readied myself for this.

I'm disappointed, coz it sounds like you really didnt enjoy the show, despite your one sentence near the end of ur review, whereas I loved it. I guess because I'm not associating it with the original novel as much as you are.

I am glad that you liked Tomu's acting and dancing, and Ranchan's singing though.
Juliewao_wao on September 3rd, 2011 06:19 pm (UTC)
:\ <3

Unfortunately there are very few shows which trigger an "UNCONDITIONAL LOVE" response in me -- without me analyzing things (sometimes too much?) and making a judgement about the production as a whole.

That being said, it's not like I sat through the whole production hating it. If I had I wouldn't have been able to write good things about so many people. Lots of my feelings on Zuka shows, I think, are about separating the parts from the whole because even if the story is nonsensical and/or shallow (see Understudy) I can take the individual scenes and individual actresses and find a lot to love.

I also don't have the advantage of having sat in the theater and watching everything Tomu did like you. Seeing a live performance can really strengthen a person's reaction one way or the other. And I would have given anything to have seen this in the theater with you.

But...I guess, yeah, you should have expected my reaction to the story because as I said, I've always felt this way. If Wao and Hana couldn't make me completely love this production, no one else was going to be able to. But this is completely separate from the way I feel about Tomu and Ran-chan... Like I said, I liked seeing Tomu in a role like this even though the story doesn't make sense...

Edited at 2011-09-03 06:20 pm (UTC)
luthien_mpl: Kiriyan Pimpernelluthien_mpl on September 4th, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC)
I had the fortune to see it live twice (on the 28th and the 31st last month, so the roles changed in between), and I have to say, I too am one of the people Aine Harei never left much of an impression on, but I LOVED HER CHOLET. She was indeed completely hilarious, plus, Cholet and Carlotta were freaking ADORABLE as a couple. I really thought that Cholet genuinely loved Carlotta enough to spoil her silly, instead of just being extremely whipped. When they had that whole "tsumari, fuyu da!" conversation, at the end he actually PICKED HER UP princess style and rocked her from side to side. Just, cute. *_*

(no subject) - anthy1306 on September 4th, 2011 07:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)