There are several Takarazuka productions that I have seen on VHS or DVD that I have never reviewed…for many reasons. One was so awful I needed my brain scrubbed and as the Top Star couple is very popular, I didn’t want to deal with the backlash. ^_^; One was just very complicated and I will one day review it. One was brutally dull. But among these many Takarazuka shows I have not reviewed is the very first one I ever saw. It seemed to me that this is the perfect time to revisit it.
In 2003 or so, I obtained a copy of La Rose de Versailles 2001, Oscar et Andre (ベルサイユのばら 2001 – オスカルとアンドレ編). Of course, Takarazuka has done this show countless times, and written versions that focus on Fersen and Marie Antoinette, as well as Oscar and Andre. I knew of Takarazuka when I got the VHS, but I had never actually watched any. (How did we survive before Youtube?) So this was my first experience with the idea. Sure, I was open to the idea of women in uniforms, and I knew the story of Rose of Versailles, so it seemed like the perfect fit.
My wife and I sat down to watch it and after 15 minutes of an opening number that mostly consisted of the word “Love” repeated over and over over and over and over and over, I thought….”Are you kidding me?”
My wife took another tack and started making up her own lyrics to the songs. They were hysterical and it got us through the first bit. I couldn’t help but notice that Minoru Kou as Oscar had to duck down to be shorter than Kouju Tatsuki as Andre every minute and my enthusiasm was slipping….until Aran Kei walked out on the stage as Hans Axel von Fersen. She started speaking and I remember saying out loud, “Oh, now I get it!” ^_^
I’m never going to love the music for this show, it had all the the weaknesses of music written by the Takarazuka staff – one (or no) musical theme, no peaks, just a slow crescendo then it sort of peters off, nothing catchy. And while I’ve been a fan ever since, I’m really glad that my first live Takarazuka show was Elizabeth, not Rose of Versailles.
Overall – 7
It’s not as bad as the Fersen and Antoinette focused version, but not stunning, except for Aran Kei, who was stunning. Here’s a bit of the show for you to enjoy and make your own decisions. Yay Youtube!