So last night, I was digging around in my shelves for something Takarazuka to review and with some surprise I found a DVD set I had previously purchased…and never actually opened up! As I probably bought it 5 years ago, I felt a little sheepish about that as you can imagine. ^_^ Last night I sat down to watch Zorro, The Masked Messiah from 2009, performed by the Snow Troupe. This was the second disk in a 2-disk set, that also included a Japanese period piece, Kaze no Nishiki-E (風の錦絵 / ZORRO 仮面のメサイア).
This performance was everything about Takarazuka all at once. ^_^
On the minus side, the “Indians” were just cringeworthy. Thankfully, they didn’t go full-on redface, but the conflation of Plains tribe headdresses in Southern California made me zap through whole intolerably awful scenes. I just felt upon watching those scenes much as the Japanese may have watching Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado. Like, maybe you just shouldn’t. That would be okay, really.
On the plus side, while Mizu Natsuki was perfectly fine as Don Diego, Ayabuki Mao was brilliant as Mendoza, with a masterful sneer. She was a genuine pleasure to watch and her swagger, for once, was quite appropriate.
Also on the plus side was Shirahane Yuri as Lolita, and “Lady Zorro.” Do you remember the ballroom scene in Zorro: The Gay Blade? (you have watched that, yes? If not go immediately and watch it.) In this version, it is Lolita who organized the many Zorros and she does a great job of holding up the role herself. That was a nice rewrite and fun scene.
A few of the songs were even a little catchy, an added plus.
Overall – 8
Zorro: The Gay Blade still wins all the Zorro adaptations ever, but this one, minus the excruciating bits, was pretty good.