Ideas: The Takarazuka Revue, an all-female musical theater troupe, is most identified because of the success of Rose of Versailles, a manga written throughout a pivotal cultural turning level of Japan. Since then, there have been a number of interpretations and portrayals of Tarazuka Revue, however none as profitable as Rose of Versailles within the anime world. Shōjo Kageki Revue Starlight (2017) made its personal unique tackle the theater troupe by means of fantastical components, however Kageki Shojo opted as a substitute to take the grounded route by analyzing the coaching that goes into changing into a performer and the potential issues ladies face throughout its expertise.
Kageki Shojo focuses on a college that trains younger ladies for his or her entrance into the Takarazuka Revue. Sarasa, a bombastic, starry-eyed lady with a sophisticated previous, clashes badly with Narata, an aloof ex-idol who determined she was fed up with males and needed to spend the remainder of her life surrounded by solely women and girls. As the 2 wrestle to kind a friendship, they meet different colourful classmates who all purpose to cross the “silver bridge” with a purpose to change into the perfect of their class and profitable feminine performers.
For anybody who may not be acquainted with this performing artwork, Takarazuka Revue is just like American Broadway performances with one specific caveat — solely girls carry out, and thus, girls play each the female and male roles. In reality, the roles are so particular that ladies are sometimes divided into “male” roles and “feminine” roles early of their coaching with little, if any, likelihood of crossing over. This can be very aggressive, and age hierarchy performs an enormous consider coaching.
The anime chooses to point out that by not simply specializing in a single class but additionally by introducing supporting characters from the category above Sarasa and Narata. Nevertheless, what impressed me essentially the most about this inclusion is that the story doesn’t assign type, mentor-like personalities for the upperclassmen. One character specifically is passive-aggressive and simply envious along with consistently abusing her energy in manipulative methods with a candy smile on her face. Even worse, she faces no retribution all through your entire collection. It’s one of many darker sides of Takarazuka Revue, and Kageki Shojo correctly chooses to include it in a practical method.
I additionally love how Sarasa’s character is utilized to focus on the opposite aspect of the efficiency coin — the artwork type of kabuki, a men-only efficiency troupe the place each the feminine and male characters are carried out by actors. Satirically, kabuki was first invented by a lady and popularized by girls. Nevertheless, resulting from an emperor’s decree within the Edo interval that made it unlawful for girls to carry out, kabuki to at the present time continues to be a strictly male-only efficiency medium, which causes Sarasa grief. After discovering her ardour to carry out in kabuki as a baby, she discovered her desires shattered when the gender-specific guidelines reared its ugly head and compelled her to desert the concept of ever performing as a kabuki actor. She determined to pursue her love of efficiency by means of the Takarazuka Revue as a substitute. The anime is ready to seamlessly examine and distinction the 2 gender-restricted stage performances whereas illustrating how the all-women theater troupe turns into a liberating issue to the Kabuki curse that hangs over Sarasa all through the collection.
Different characters get gorgeous character narrative arcs as properly. My favourite belongs to Ayako Yamada. Her arc options an precisely portrayed spiral into consuming issues and the way the leisure industries will usually encourage these behaviors, solely to hypocritically communicate towards them. Moreover, the central characters to Ayako’s arc of self-confidence are members of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood: the instructor that genuinely helps her by means of her consuming dysfunction is a self-proclaimed queer man and a classmate that evokes Ayako’s efficiency is a lady who confesses her romantic emotions to Ayako. Takarazuka Revue is without doubt one of the few leisure mediums by which members of the LGBTQ+ communities are overtly anticipated, so you will need to current members of that neighborhood in a storyline that’s grounded on the fact of changing into a troupe performer.
Satirically, the weakest hyperlink of the story belonged to Narata, who’s the primary character and narrator. I can write paragraphs in regards to the magnificence behind Kaoru’s arc, the inspiration in Sugimoto’s narrative, and the significance of Chika and Chiaki’s tales. Nevertheless, Narata’s arc finally ends up hurting greater than it helps. Narata’s refusal of males comes from a very traumatic and upsetting background, and it resulted in her coping mechanism to by no means kind bonds and keep emotionally chilly to everybody who she meets.
Sadly, the decision of her coping mechanism is just not her getting the emotional help, consolation, and recognition that she deserves. As an alternative, it ends together with her having to apologize to different individuals for her traumatized habits and to get berated all through your entire episode by Sarasa till she is the one pursuing Sarasa to change into her pal. I discover Narata’s arc extremely insulting to her as a personality, and it’s the one low level in an in any other case strong storytelling anime.
Whatever the disappointment I really feel for Narata, I believe her voice actress did an excellent job. In reality, your entire solid of Kageki Shojo shines. In an anime that fairly actually focuses on performances, the voice actresses all should play many alternative variations of their very own characters — the precise characters’ personalities, the roles the characters check out for, and the roles the characters should play. Due to your entire solid’s dedication and talents, I felt myself believing within the characters’ performing in a narrative that’s not even live-action.
Finally, I loved Kageki Shojo. The characters’ progress and depth gasoline the story’s momentum, and the anime has taught me many extra issues in regards to the efficiency troupe than I’ve researched a very long time in the past. It’s well-acted, it’s fairly, and, except for a blip in Narata’s arc, it’s well-written. For an anime whose focus is on a performing artwork that highlights the significance of women and girls having their very own areas within the leisure trade, the anime did justice for the characters and why this theater troupe is essential to their lives.