Takarazuka: Singing in the Rain

February 6th, 2007

I am not a Takarazuka fangirl. I know this because I do not know the nicknames of every actress in a particular troupe. I do not follow a particular troupe or actress to the exclusion of all others. I just like what I like with no preference for anyone or anything. Makes *real* fangirls crazy, because I’m like “I have no clue what troupe so-and-so is in.” ^_^

Okay, so way back in the dawn of time, I got a copy of the Takarazuka Rose of Versailles: Oscar et Andre on VHS. It was pretty, and pretty…er…laughable. Mostly because my wife kept singing her own lyrics to the music. But at some point Aran Kei stepped out on the stage as Fersen and my interest in Takarazuka was born. And despite my refusal to obsess, I do still like Aran Kei. ^_^

So Sean Gaffney, in his continuing effort to destroy what little soul I have remaining, brought his DVD of Singing in the Rain starring Aran Kei to what was essentially a Yuricon regional staff meeting with munchies.

I had never before seen the original Singing in the Rain. Isn’t that awful? So, while I vaguely knew the story, it was all really fresh and new to me.  I think I probably liked it better *because* I hadn’t ever seen it before. I was able to follow some of the dialogue, and I honestly marveled at the way the songs were translated. They really worked.

But the number one reason the show works is the combination of Aran Kei as Don Lockwood and Yamato Yuuga as Cosmo Brown. Let me digress for a moment…

When I attended Winter Comiket 2002, I picked, quite at random, a Takarazuka doujinshi which, quite at random, was an Aran Kei book. In fact, it was a “Touko x Tani” book, which translates into English as “Aran Kei x Yamato Yuuga as a BL couple”. ^_^ It’s very bizarre to me, the lesbian who sees the otokoyaku as women in suits, that straight fans see these women as men somehow…

In any case, I went into the show knowing that fans liked the two of them together. And, now that I have seen the show, I agree. The dynamic between them was simply delightful. They aren’t Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor, but their dance moves aren’t too shoddy, either. ^_^ I can see why the doujinshi artists paired them together, and not Aran Kei and Hizuki Hana (who was, btw, quite cute as Kathy.)

In general, I am not a fan of musical theater. But you add in the gender-bending of Takarazuka, and that weird surrealism that comes from translating a thing into Japanese from English and I’m always going to find it much more entertaining. ^_^

Cinematography – 7
Music – 8
Story – 8 (It’s pretty funny in any language)
Characters – 9
Yuri…or is it Yaoi this time? We’ll call it – 3

Overall – 8

Mmm…Aran Kei….

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2 Responses

  1. Stacy L says:

    I’d commit certain heinous deeds to obtain a copy of this show. Singing in the Rain is one of my all-time favourite films, and a Takarazuka version is something that would make me levitate out of my seat, even if no-one can possibly match the charisma singularity of Kelly and O’Connor.


    Just checked and seems to still be available at CD Japan. Having discovered Takarazuka shows on DVD and blu-ray is going to ensure I remain in poverty for some time.

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