Sunday, August 14, 2011

Comiket Days 2 & 3, Takarazuka, and Kabuki

After months of anticipation, Comiket's over. ^^

Today was the big shopping day for me, when the doujinshi circles whose booths I most wanted to find were selling doujinshi- Myao (Morinaga Milk), UKOZ, Sakuraike, Atelier Miyabi (Miyabi Fujieda and Minamoto Hisanari), and Kaishaku. UKOZ, Sakuraike, and Atelier Miyabi were in the West Halls, while Myao and Kaishaku were in the East. I mostly bought what I wanted to buy and told the mangaka from whom I bought it, "I love your manga!"/"I'm a fan of your manga!"/"I love so-and-so-title!" (Or in Kaishaku's case, "I've read your manga.") Morinaga Milk was the first person I tracked down (she's very sweet, seems to be in her 30's, has long auburn hair), and the person who I got chills from meeting the most. (I reverently asked a woman helping her sell her doujinshi, "Are you Morinaga Milk?" and she said, "No, she is", pointing to the woman seated next to her. I hope Morinaga didn't see me when I jumped after walking away from her table. ^_^;;;) She seemed really surprised by my saying that I was a fan of Kuchibiru Tameiki Sakurairo and Girl Friends (every person I introduced myself to today reacted with some surprise), and wanted to know which country I was from. She was selling a Madoka Magica doujinshi, an Ami x Rei Sailor Moon doujinshi and the one I was most excited about, her Ai no Chikara ("The Power of Love") doujinshi, about two police women. UKOZ sold several original doujinshi and a couple of Hayate x Blade books. Sakuraike sold all-original doujinshi, two of which were yuri. Atelier Miyabi sold a Madoka Magica doujinshi, a rather thick The Idolm@ster doujinshi called White Platinum, a Tiger & Bunny doujinshi, a Touhou doujinshi, and some K-ON! doujinshi. I found Kaishaku last, since I accidentally wrote that they were in the West area instead of the East. ^_^; They didn't have any doujinshi displayed (and I didn't especially want any, although I would have bought one if it were out), but I introduced myself anyway. It's fascinating to actually see the people behind so many of the titles I've read over the years, having spun larger than life impressions of them based on their work.

After Comiket yesterday, I attended my first Takarazuka show. The Flower Troupe performed Phantom, Takarazuka's version of The Phantom of the Opera. It was excellent. The actresses played their characters flawlessly. The actress who played Carlotta, especially, seemed to have fun with her role. It was lush and glitzy and over-the-top and everything I expected from Takarazuka, complete with a final music hall dance number that had absolutely nothing to do with the main story. I got some souvenirs at the gift shop (including an admittedly hot clear file of the Flower Troupe's Top Star, Ranju Tomu, and possibly a fan t-shirt; each troupe's Top Star has her own merchandise area in the store) during the intermission. After the show, I went outside where the fans were lining up along both sides of the street in front of the theater to snap photos of, squeal over, and hand letters to the show's stars as they slowly (very slowly) came out one by one and walked to their cars with security escorting them. Some fans continued to watch them intently as they drove away, still snapping photos. (One star waved from her car, prompting a burst of waves from the fans who were watching her.) It was quite fun. ^_^

This past Friday, I attended Takarazuka's most popular male equivalent, Kabuki, at the Shinbashi Enbujo Theater. It began with a 30 minute comedy about a lord and his wife. At first, the wife was a "good" wife who gave her husband massages, served him his drinks, etc, but she eventually realized that he was a good-for-nothing. Of course, this meant that she became a domineering shrew, but she learned the error of her ways after her husband feigned being attacked by a burglar. The second, longer play- which I liked more- was a ghost story. A famous painter's apprentice wanted the painter's wife so, after raping her under the threat of killing her baby, he threatened the painter's loyal servant (who acted as the play's clown) to help him kill the painter. He took over the painter's estate and ordered the servant to take the baby to a waterfall and drown it. The painter's ghost saved the baby and gave it back to the servant, who was then attacked by a man the apprentice sent to make sure he did what he was supposed to. The ghost killed the would-be murderer by dragging him into the water, and temporarily paralyzed (but didn't kill, for some reason) the apprentice when he showed up to kill the servant and baby. The stage had a large running waterfall during this scene, and it was a lot of fun to see the actors chase and fight each other in it. Finally, an actor introducing himself as the story's "author" showed up and told the audience that the servant raised the baby using "milk-like water" that dripped from a miraculous tree. When the baby was five, he avenged his father's death. For the waterfall, the one actor who played three roles, and the ludicrous ending, it was fun. (But not nearly as awesome as Takarazuka.) So, yup. Enjoyable past few days.


Anonymous said...

omg im so jealous that you get to meet morinaga milk >< (or even the fact that you can go to comiket lol)

Nina.W said...

I'm glad you could meet with all those artists and introduce yourself to them ^^ I'm sure they appreciate the fact that fans overseas enjoy their work too and come all the way to tell them in person (remember shying away several times during my first Comiket, too much pressure for me xD).

Question about Miyabi sensei booth: did he cosplay his staff this time? He always get very cute assistants to sell his doujins, but only noticed last winter they were cosplaying (such a pleasure to wait in line to get his works xDD )

Also, Takarazuka sounds wonderful! Only recently did I started to look into it so never tried to see them on stage before, but definitly on my "to do" list now >.<. Any tips on how to get tickets? (>人<;)

Have a safe trip back home o/

Katherine Hanson said...

@Nina. W- Thanks! (^ ^)/ So far, so good. (Just waiting for my final flight, to Miami.)

I don't remember seeing any cosplaying folks at his booth, alas. (I saw some cosplayers selling doujinshi at other booths, which I thought was pretty great.)

As for Takarazuka, I got my tickets by going to the ticket sales window at the front of the Tokyo theater. If you tell the salesperson what date you'd like to attend the show on, she'll pull out a seat chart and indicate which seats are available, and for how much. There are other ways to buy tickets (vending machines, auction sites, ticket-selling websites), but I felt better interacting/less likely to mess up with a salesperson. (Buying at the theater is what others normally recommend also.) I hope that helps! (It's sooo much fun- you really should see it at least once. XD )