Archive for the Drama CD Category


Drama CD: Grand Stage Special Performance (グラン・ステージ 特別公演)

September 14th, 2017

The Drama CD Grand Stage Special Performance (グラン・ステージ 特別公演) is technically the end of the first season of the series, but I had listened to the second group CD, Grand Stage Daiundokai , first, so I ended up listening to this one last of all the Grand Stage Drama CDs. And I have to tell you, it worked really well as a final CD for the series, so I don’t feel bad at all about it.

In the opening tracks, the established otokayaku of the Sora-gumi troupe, Suoh Yui, Hiou Akito, Subaru Ryoya and Kazmiya Eru meet the newest of their group – Minami Kohaku. Kohaku’s sister Kurea, is well known to all of them, so Kohaku, it turns out, has a reputation to live up to.

The bulk of the CD follows the otoyaku as a group. The leader of the Sora-gumi is planning a special performance and the otokoyaku are being asked to do a play – “Passive-Aggressive Red Riding Hood.” Frankly, I think Ryoya is a natural fit and I’m not the only one, but there’s a problem. The otokoyaku are not well-suited to play the female role. Hiou and Yui try to play the part together, but they both end up sounding like otokoyaku. Eru has a small crisis at the very idea of even attempting to play a female role, something that had this been in any way an LGBTQ series they could have made a plot point. But instead, they just circle around Eru’s insistence on being a cool guy on stage. They do the same for Ryoya’s inability to be in Kabuki. Lost opportunities to speak about gender roles and Japanese culture, but oh well. In the end, they play it for a comedy with Hiou in the role and then look forward to their musumeyaku doing their performance.

Ratings:

Overall – 9

It was a a fun end to what was a more amazing than I could have ever have expected series of Drama CDs. I’m gonna have to listen to them once more from the top. ^_^

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Yuri Drama CD: Grand Stage Romance Review #5 “Akabara no Kimi” Suoh Yui (グラン・ステージ ロマンスレビュー 第5幕「赤薔薇の君 蘇皇唯」)

July 16th, 2017

If you learn one thing from Grand Stage Romance Review #5 “Akabara no Kimi” Suoh Yui (グラン・ステージ ロマンスレビュー 第5幕「赤薔薇の君 蘇皇唯」), it’s that the sound of a nod and a head shaking back and forth as represented by the movement of material sound completely different. How fascinating.

It’s not the only thing we learn, obviously. We also learn that, under her cool, sophisticated exterior, the woman who goes by the name Suoh Yui, the senior otokoyaku of the Grand Stage Sora-gumi, has a very passionate and possessive heart.

She invites us over her apartment to discuss our partnership, but doesn’t hesitate to note she had a large bed. Classy, Yui, classy. But as we speak, she almost offhandedly points out that she lets us see part of her that no one else can ever see. She is, as one might expect, teasing and seductive, but, also as expected, it’s all a joke. After we leave for the night, Yui starts to fret.

The next day, Yui comes across Hiou Akito shopping at a home good store. It turns out that Akito and her partner are talking about moving in together and she’s finding herself looking for furniture. As Akito shares her concerns and doubts with Yui, Yui tells Akito that she reminds her a lot of herself. As Akito talks, she finds her her own unease growing and leaves. Akito says that this is the first time she’s seen Akabara like this. Yui starts to call us over and over. When we finally call back, she sounds desperately lonely…and a little frightening. She comes over to bring us back to her place.

When we get there, Yui tells us that we’re her’s…but when she sees us asleep, she realizes how much she’s fallen for us, watching us on stage. We’re awake and we hear everything she’s said. We embrace, as she asks us to be her Shirayuri-hime. We agree. Holding each other, we go to sleep, but not before she kisses us on the neck.

The next morning it’s all love-love banter between us. Again, Yui points out that we are the only one to see her like this. It’s obvious to us that her true self has been a well-kept secret.

Yui meets Akito once more, who asks about her relationship with her previous partner. Yui is glad to talk about it. Akito’s worried about asking her partner to move in, and is looking for a good time to ask. Yui’s advice is applicable to many situations – no one is like anyone else, every relationship and situation is unique. They both come out of the conversation relieved. Yui admits to being nervous about the announcement of the new Top Stars for the new year.

Yui comes home to find us cooking. She tells us that she kind of nervous and kind of relieved at the announcement, and offers us a “partner ring,” then embraces us and asks us to stay with her forever, her beloved Shirayuri.

The final track is a Spanish guitar-inspired song called “You’re mine.” Which you can hear in this Youtube clip:

As everyone had predicted this is a pretty darn Yuri CD. ^_^; And Saiga Mitsuki fans must have been downright swooning as she really pulls out all the stops her in her 10000x Yuri power up. A fine way to end the character CDs for this series.

Technically the Grand Stage Daiundokai is the final CD of the series, but I listened to the group CDs out of order, so I still have one left.

Ratings:

Overall – 10

The only thing I *don’t* know is who was announced in the stage play as the new Top Star! I can’t find any reviews of the play or spoilers. How vexing. I’m also a little bummed that this series is over and I’m not getting any more sexy-voiced Grand Stage Drama CDs, but I’m really glad to have gotten these. ^_^ And seriously we got two series, so I can’t complain too much. 

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Yuri Drama CD: Grand Stage Romance Review, Volume 4 (Kohaku Minami) / グラン・ステージ ロマンスレビュー 第4幕「美波琥珀」

March 23rd, 2017

All you lovely folks who wrote in to tell me that Grand Stage Romance Review, Volume 4 (Kohaku Minami) / グラン・ステージ ロマンスレビュー 第4幕「美波琥珀」was pretty goshdarn Yuri…you were so right! Although I’m always going to be partial to Hiou Akito’s second drama CD, Minami is pretty wonderful in this disk.

Minami, you may remember from her  first CD, is the second of two Grand Stage stars in her family. Her sister Kurea (Claire) is sort of overbearing in an “I only want you to be happy” kind of way. She’s annoying in her care and attention. She’s also voiced by Kitamura Eri, who voices Minami, who carries this duel role throughout the CD.

Minami has found genuine passion for the Grand Stage and pretty much credits the person she loves for that. It seems obvious that that person is us, her sempai and partner, but either we pretend to not know at first, or haven’t clued in. I was disappointed in us. 

But, eventually Minami comes clean and admits flat out that we are the person she loves. She doesn’t ask for an answer, per se, but confesses like a person who really wants to confess. 

We are, remember, older, wiser and a good friend of Kurea’s. It’s pretty clear that we’re not “in love” with Minami, even though we obvious care deeply about her. So even though we are not leaping into Minami’s arms, it’s both admirable and sweet that she comes right out and tells us her feelings.

The CD ends with Minami singing her song about happiness, “Sachi,” which you can hear on this Youtube preview.

Ratings:

Overall – 8 (A point off for Kurea, she’s just kind of annoying.)

You go, Minami. I bet you’ll win us over one day. ^_^

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Yuri Drama CD: Grand Stage Romance Review, Volume 3 (Kazamiya Eru) ( グラン・ステージ ロマンスレビュー 第3幕「風宮絵琉」)

February 2nd, 2017

Squee! Seriously, could  Inoue Marina get any cuter?  ^_^

In Grand Stage Romance Review, Volume 3 (Kazamiya Eru) ( グラン・ステージ ロマンスレビュー 第3幕「風宮絵琉」) the youngest of the Sora-gumi otokoyaku faces a crisis. It’s a good crisis, but…

The song “Hisshou  ~WE CAN FLY~” (飛翔~WE CAN FLY~), sung by all five principals opens the CD. It’s cute and sticky and you can easily imagine them singing it in boy-band style.  I wondered briefly if the lyrics were online, until I literally slapped myself upside the head and pulled out the little booklet with, DUH, the lyrics. I want to share two things about this song with you, both reliant on the quirks of translation and language, but please be assured I say this all with the utmost love and respect. On the CD track, the song was most unfortunately subject to the vagaries of the R/L issue in Japanese-English translation, with the resulting title “飛翔~WE CAN FRY~”. I chuckled, but I swear, not unkindly. The final line  of the lyrics has an interesting reverse quirk. “Hisshou, We Can Fly” and ” Hit Show, We Can Fight” sounded so similar as sung that had I not looked at the lyrics, I would not have known that was that the lyrics included both those lines.  ^_^ 

Eru, you may remember from the first series, is the Sora-gumi’s Peter Pan, youthful and prone to being adorably hyper. When she’s told by Ryoya that the head of the group has called for her to come to the office, she’s a little too green to realize that Ryoya’s teasing. Worried that she’s been cut from the team, she learns that instead, her greatest dream may have come true.

Having been scouted in New York, it has always been Eru’s dream to perform on Broadway and now, an offer to do that very thing has come up! She rushes to reassure us, her partner, that she won’t leave though, until we respond (with implied forcefulness) that she should go after her dream and not worry about us, we’ll be fine. Of course, we’d be more convincing if we weren’t crying when we said that. Eru reluctantly agrees.

We tearfully part. Eru’s crying voice was heartbreaking and you just know that we’re balls of sniffly mush as she heads off to New York to reach for her dream.

As the new track begins, we find Eru has returned. (Is anyone surprised?) But her reason for returning was uniquely Eru-esque. She’s become accustomed to and enjoys performing male roles. In fact, her goal is to achieve a “cool” guy reputation. But once she arrived in New York, she realized that she’d be performing as a woman. (And so the slightly strange cover image is explained at last.) Not that she objected; it just, she realized, wasn’t her. And so she’s back. AND she promises not to leave us again. In execrable English she tells us that she loves our teary face. Squee!

The final spoken track finds both us and Eru in New York (you can tell, because the BGM is saxophones…duh..) and Eru semi-accurately walks us through Times Square and Broadway. (I know for a fact that Ogata Megumi has been to NYC, because that’s where I met her, so she would have been able to regale the writers with stories of what it looked like 15 years ago. It’s changed a lot since.) And we promise to stay together forever.

I think Sakura speaks for us all here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the CD finishes with “2 be there” a new image song.

Ratings: 

Overall – 9

So, another squeezable Drama CD from the geniuses at  étriere, who clearly just want me to be happy. ^_^

Here is Inoue Marina as Kazamiya Eru singing “2 be there.” I thought it suited her.

 

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Yuri Drama CD – Kindred Spirits on the Roof, Kyuusei Radio (English)

January 13th, 2017

The fourth Drama CD for Kindred Spirits on the Roof, Kyuusei Radio, (屋上の百合霊さんドラマCD「九星ラジオ」) is both charming and vexing in turn, which only serves to highlight the feeling of visiting with old friends that one inevitably gets with post-series media.

It’s been a few years since Yuna met and spoke with two ghosts on the school roof. She and her classmates have all graduated and moved on with their lives. Most of them attend college, including Umi, Sasa and Nena, the broadcasting trio. The three are still friends and, one autumn weekend, team up with the local shopping area to do a special Kyuusei Radio broadcast, highlighting local shops, sales and events. 

In between segments, we learn that Umi, Sasa and Nena are planning a trip to Hawaii and that Nena’s kouhai wants to come. It’s pretty clear that they all think her admiration for Nena crosses a line, but Sasa reminds Umi and, more importantly, us, they just may never become a couple.

The bulk of the drama CD is banter between the three, much of in just as annoying as you might expect with old friends whose jokes you’re not in on. ^_^; But the broadcast is rather sweet and I could easily imagine strolling down a local shotengai visiting the tea store and bakery at their suggestion.

We do get a quick visit with Yuna, at the end, and Ano, Aki and Youka are mentioned, but do not appear. However, someone else does….and, at last, I am vindicated.

This download includes a second disk’s worth of content. Not only do you get an enjoyable hour-long Drama CD, you get the soundtrack  for the series, narrated by none other than…Sachi and Megumi, the ghosts of Shirojo. You may remember that, at the end of my review of the Kindred Spirits VN, I said, “There is a final thing that surprised the heck out of me, but as it’s a huge spoiler, I’ll skip it. Let’s just say that I was surprised again by the end – not what it did, but what it didn’t. Ask me in 6 months when everyone’s had a chance to get through this.” As it’s been a year now, I can spoil this without too much concern.

The final climax (har-har) of the game is Sachi and Megumi finally leaving this mortal plane. I was convinced that, by the end of the game, they would return. I was actually surprised that they didn’t. But here, at the veryyyyyyy final piece of the series, they return. Hah. I knew it. ^_^

Ratings:

Characters – 9 Above all things, extremely realistic.
Story – 8 Pleasant.
Yuri – 5 If you didn’t know Sasa and  Umi were a couple, you might be forgiven for not realizing until they mention it.

Overall – 8

As with all the other CDs, the story is cute, the time spent with characters is entertaining and Nena’s snark is still extremely high-level.

 

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