Yuri Drama CD – Grand Stage Daiundokai (グラン・ステージ 大運動会 ドラマCD)

September 25th, 2016

gsutk Welcome back to a joyful, squeeful look at one of Japan’s Yuri-est exports, The Grand Stage series of Drama CDs. Today we’re looking at the final CD of the first “season” Grand Stage Daiundokai (グラン・ステージ 大運動会), in which the otokoyaku of the Grand Stage Sora-gumi compete in a sports festival against the other groups. (Groups that, until just now, we didn’t know existed.)

There any number of goofy contests, including the bun-eating race, which poses a huge problem for Ryoya, who is disgusted by such low-class food. The otokoyaku are required to read romantic lines into a microphone for the service of the female fans and, of course, there is a relay race in which dramatic things happen and despite injuries and because of sacrifices…they win. Phew! It’s even okay that they don’t win the contest, because they gave it their all and two of them won special achievement awards and they bonded as a team, as nakama. Niji-gumi can have the trophy.

As promised, we meet Kohaku Minami’s older sister Kurea (Claire) who is voiced by Kitamura Eri, who also does Kohaku Minami. In fact, every time we heard the female fans cheering I giggled, knowing the the otokoyaku VAs were voicing the fans, as well.

In between the events, the “boys” performed a song. And as we are at the last  CD of this series I really wanted to take a moment and tall about the music and the singers.

Every other CD has begun with a song called “Yume on Stage”  (夢 on Stage) which I have repeatedly described as the most musically predictable song ever. I’ve found a link to it on what admittedly is some really shady site. Scroll down to click the green “play” button to smile at a song so musically predictable, you’ll know every note that is coming, right down the flourish in the final line. ^_^ It’s not hard at all to imagine a Takarazuka-like revue troupe singing it.

In this drama CD, they take a completely different tack. Last spring when I was in Japan, we spent a day walking around Sunshine 60, because we had nothing else to do particularly and randomly ran into a boy idol group performance. It was surprisingly pleasant. Well, the song from this Drama CD, called “Hisshou ~WE CAN FLY~” (飛翔~WE CAN FLY~) was something you can totally imagine a boy band singing. And you know what? They sing it *really* well!  So I found you a link on a shady site, so you can enjoy at least part of the song. And I want to apologize to Toyoguchi Megumi. Because in Maria-sama ga Miteru, as Sei sits at her graduation ceremony, she murders Aogeba Toutoshi, the song always sung at high school graduations in Japan, I assumed she couldn’t sing. She can. I offer my sincere apologies for not remembering actresses act.

Physical extras with the CD this time is a card with all five of the characters in street clothes (as opposed to costume.)

Before I wrap up, I want to mention the gags built around Akabara-no-kimi, Suoh Yui. She is positioned as the senior otokoyaku of the group, to whom everyone defers. And she is also presumed to be the most cultured and elite of them, even more than the aristocratic Ryouya. So when she asks to join her teammates for lunch, you can imagine the scene as the ranks of waiters carrying trays and  trays of French cuisine across the field. ^_^

After the relay, in which Hiou Akito has been hurt, among other calamities, Akabara-no-kimi offers to help Akito get to her personal physician, I had to laugh again, as Ryoya commented that if the fans saw Yui holding Akito like that, it would be mayhem. ^_^

Overall, this was an extremely enjoyable CD and great way to end the series.

However, it played more with the maleness of the otokoyaku more than was “Yuri.” There’s never any sense of irony as the otokoyaku read romantic lines to “girls” or speak of their partners. They are largely playing the part as boys, rather than as women who play boys.

Ratings:

Overall – 9

I’m more bummed than ever at the thought of losing Saiga Mitsuki as Akabara-no-kimi if they continue, since that is the plot of the live action stage event.  Oh well, I’ve got a bunch more of these to go, and I can always go back and enjoy them all over again.

6 Responses

  1. Mara says:

    Now this is interesting I thought you would go through the other group CD 特別公演 first. Crea really steals the show with her Kohaku fan #1 routine and this is not the last we see of her.

    Although there is not much yuri in this CD, is there not a sequence were some of the characters compare their lunch and I swear at least Akito mentions that her partner had made it or helped her make it? Or did I not fully understand what was being said?

    • I got this one before I got the other special, so it was listened to first. Most of them say their partners made their lunch. Akito’s partner made a massive lunch (which she ate all of, to everyone’s shock.) Also Akito’s partner was concerned about her being injured in the race. She’s asked if they live together, but says no. I can totally see that you heard this as Yuri, but it still felt like a pretty performative heterosexual (slightly high schoolish not-real) relationship, to highlight their boyishness. Rather than a relationship between women.

      • Mara says:

        Ah thank you for the clarification I agree with your point now that I know what they are saying a bit better. The romance review CDs do seem to crank up the yuri so I thought that this was some foreshadowing. The group CDs are really about the relationship between the voice characters so I guess it makes sense that there would be less yuri if all the events of the previous CDs have happened.

        • Yes. The “partners” have been left behind for the “boys” to bond. I’m okay with that, but actually see as less Yuri, when they speak of their “partners” with audible quotes.

          OTOH, I just opened the first CD of the Romance Review series and immediately noted that Akito is drawn in street clothes, with a visible breast shape. I think the interplay in the one CD was just slightly too BL for someone else other than me. ^_^ Because seriously, who is listening to this? It’s not likely to be BL fans.

          • Mara says:

            If there is one thing that the group CDs do fantastically it is really turning this into a kind of yuri/bl fusion. It helps that I find all the characters just as pair-able with each other as with their partners. Not too hard when the characters have more even dialogue with each other.

            Does anyone have any pairings they like in the Grand Stage cast? It would be great to hear about them.

            An even more interesting idea would be all the ‘partners’ getting together to hang out or for an event as it seems they are all different people as well. Would not be a good drama CD without significant changes though.

          • I’ll be honest. I dislike the fakey-BL myself, always have. I’ve seen it done with Takarazuka otokoyaku and it always falls right into the most tiresome BL tropes instantly. I know I’m not the audience for that. Unless the characters were to address the issue of being women who play masculine roles, it wouldn’t appeal to me.

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