For my last review before Otakon (Yuri Panel on Friday, Aug.4, 9PM, Panel Room 3 – don’t miss it!) I decided to write about something that I’ve been saving for a special occasion. Itsushika Toshi Mo, the ninth Maria-sama ga Miteru Drama CD, fits the bill nicely.
This drama CD covers the events of the 8th novel, Itoshiki Toshitsuki, often translated as The Loving Times. This is the story of Graduation Day at Lillian Academy, from the varying points of view of Youko, Sei and Eriko, the now-former Rosas Chinensis, Gigantea and Foetida.
We get to listen in as they reminisce on how they met, how they formed their friendships – and rivalries. How Youko is perfectly aware that she can’t stop herself from meddling and how much Sei really has changed over the last year, to Eriko’s fretting about whether Yamanobe is man enough to show up at her request.
Following these reminiscences is the emotionally brutal scene where we listen to Youko’s thoughts as Sachiko, her beloved little sister, breaks down completely on the podium, causing a wave of sobbing throughout the audience and almost making Youko break down.
And, at last, we say good-bye to the three, with pictures, tears, smiles and fond farewells.
This is good shoujo. Really. Emotional without being maudlin, girly without being caricature, and solid, solid voice acting.
Shinohara Emi is universally adored by every group she’s ever worked with – this Drama CD allows her to show some range. Maybe not as much as “Rosa Chinensis’ Greatest Day”, but still. Youko as an eager, energetic middle schooler, Youko as a tired, relieved and slightly stressed high school student, Youko the ever-competent honor student.
Toyoguchi Megumi also has a chance to show some mad voice acting skills. We get a real earful of Sei bored, cold and aloof, compared and contrasting nicely with Sei alive and warm. Of course we also get to enjoy Sei the angry child as well, an added bonus.
Nabatame Hitomi spends most of her time in Eriko’s usual flaky tone, but we get a brief, amusing glimpse of her as Sei’s childhood nemesis, and also a flash of an angry Eriko, something scarier than you’d imagine. ^_^
Thumbs up for the drama, and for lack of melodrama. Just grab some tissues when that Sachiko scene happens….
Story – 8
Character – 9
Voice Acting – 9
Yuri: – 1
Service – 0
Overall – 8
As I frequently do with Marimite Drama CDs, I find myself listening to this CD with a big, stupid grin on my face. It’s just that wonderful. Another great way to spend a few more moments in the company of truly great characters. And, as I always say, a really fun way to practice your Japanese language listening skills.