Today I saw the Takarazuka Revue’s performance of Rurouni Kenshin. It was everything I hoped it would be and a little more. 🙂
If you’re wondering what the Takarazuka Revue is check out this link: Takarazuka Revue.
If you are my friend or random follower, and for some reason you don’t know Rurouni Kenshin (Please don’t admit this to me. I’ll just be disappointed. :p), check out this link: Rurouni Kenshin.
Beyond this point there will be spoilers for the show.
You have been warned.
My initial feeling was full-on excitement, which I felt like I had to restrain a bit since I was surrounded by Japanese people. (They tend not to show as much emotion in public as westerners do.) I was doing a happy-dance in my seat and trying very hard not to “squee” out loud as the music started and the curtain went up. And it continued through the first scene of the show. Many of the characters from the manga were present. The story basically covered parts of Kenshin’s past and the beginning of the manga through the end of the Kanryu Takeda arc.
Then, after doing his thing as an assassin, Hitokiri Battousai broke into a song and dance. 😄 Watching the various Rurouni Kenshin characters sing and dance was pretty comical at times, but also really cool. I had trouble taking the singing and dancing Battousai seriously though.
All the characters had their signature lines from the manga. I’m really glad I’ve watched the anime in Japanese, because I was able to easily pick out the lines and quickly understand their meaning. Having watched the anime a few times, read the manga and watched the live action movies, I’m sure I know the RuroKen story pretty well. So even if I wasn’t able to catch all of the Japanese, I wasn’t completely lost.
Specific character comments
Himura Kenshin: The actress seemed to mix her take on the character and Satou Takeru’s, from the live action movie. The “oro” sound that Kenshin made wasn’t quite right. So that left a slightly incomplete feeling for me. But everything else was perfect. The mannerisms and personality were spot on. I think the actress looked so good, she could have actually been the real Kenshin. ❤
Sagara Sanosuke: Sano’s actress made a pretty cute Sano. :3 She portrayed him very well. Doing his macho thing and being a doofus. Seeing Sano and Kenshin interact was great too. One of my favorite scenes is the Kenshin vs. Sano fight. They made it a lot more lighthearted in this version. There were some kabuki elements thrown in that made it especially entertaining.
Saitou Hajime: Saitou’s actress was hot. 😀 She pulled off the stern, stoic, grumpy Saitou perfectly. Sometimes Saitou would just be standing off to the side of the stage during a scene. Not actively participating, just observing things as he does, smoking a cigarette. My only complaint with Saitou is that he didn’t hold his sword properly during his signature move, the Gatotsu. In the show, he held it with the sharp edge pointing down. But in the manga/anime, he holds it kind of sideways, so when you see the pose from the side the sword looks like it’s upside down, sharp edge pointing up. Like this:
- Kanryu Takeda had an extremely entertaining song & dance number with his gatling gun. 😀 This version of Kanryu was particularly attractive, even though the character is a bad guy. They kind of made him a bumbling idiot villain in this version.
- Tae, Tsubame (both from the Akabeko) and Tae’s parents being made to do opium… And then they were trying to get Kenshin to do it. I think he actually did because then Kenshin is seen fighting the shadow of himself as an assassin, through a drug-induced haze. I was a little disturbed during this scene. Because Kenshin, and all of his friends, are very much against opium and they’re horrified that Megumi has been making it for Kanryu. But then Kenshin is forced to do it and he ends up having a mental battle with his other personality.
- Kano Sozaburo gets Kenshin drunk during another scene. That was kind of funny. It only took one drink, too. Kano is making a toast with Kenshin, but he doesn’t drink it. Instead he dumps it out over a plant.
- Saitou calls Kenshin “Hitokirazu Battousai” (人斬らず抜刀斎) Seems to be the first usage of this exact wording. :3 Hitokiri Battousai is the name given to Kenshin when he was an assassin for the Isshin Shishi at the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Hitokiri means assassin or manslayer, and Battousai is the name given to Kenshin because he’s mastered a particular move in his sword style, the Battoujutsu. Hitokiri is person and kill. -kirazu basically means “without killing.” When Saitou changes it to Hitokirazu, he’s commenting on the fact that Kenshin has decided not to kill people anymore. Basically, I was pleased with myself for understanding this change in Kenshin’s title as soon as Saitou said it. ^_^”
- I really liked the way they portrayed Shinomori Aoshi’s ninja/subordinates. In the manga/anime, they’re extremely exaggerated in clothing and body types. But in the show they gave them all similar outfits, like a ninja’s uniform, and they all wore different masks. The kind of masks that you might find in kabuki or noh performances.
I bought 2 clear files, the program, a furoshiki that came with candy and a postcard, and many beautiful pictures of the cast. (Clear files are folders, but they’re made of plastic. And they’re everywhere in Japan.)
One of the things that surprised me were the costumes that the 3 leads were wearing at the end of the show. It’s the picture at the bottom left. They’re basically wearing some spectacularly crazy, peacock-like outfit. It’s really beautiful, and completely unexpected. Especially since the rest of the cast was still wearing their character’s costumes.
I hope you enjoyed my review. I don’t know if it’s particularly useful, but if I never blog about anything again, I wanted to make sure that I definitely posted about this. Rurouni Kenshin is a very important and special series for me. If you’d like to geek out with me about RuroKen in the comments, go for it. 😀 And please don’t hesitate to ask any questions.
The DVD/Blu-ray for the show will be released in April. You know I’ll be buying a copy. 😀 I can’t wait to watch the show again! If anyone would like for me to try to purchase a copy of the DVD/Blu-ray for them, we can talk. Send me a message or mention it in your comment.