musical

Sailor Moon ~ La Reconquista Day 2 (of 2)

Recalling our adventures in Part 1, the reason I attended the Sailor Moon musical on Wednesday was because we genuinely believed that our original Friday tickets had been lost in the mail, after being sent out almost a month prior to our trip.

Well… The next day, after learning that our tickets had been held up by Japanese customs, they were finally delivered Thursday night – barely twenty-four hours before the show! It was a close call, way too close…

And so, knowing that we would be going back to see the show a second time (yay!), I sent out a quick message to Coro (Nephlite) to tell her we would be back to again and waiting in the parking lot afterwards – and if it was ok with her, we’d like to meet with her and thank her again. She quickly replied that it would be fine, and confirmed she would be there to meet us. Awesome!

We spent most of the day on Friday with Mark’s cousin Lana and her mom Lise, Mark’s aunt. Lana had been working in Japan for over a year as a teacher, student and part-time model, and Lise was in town for a visit. Along with Mark, Kara and myself, Lana was also coming to the show – she’s a big Sailor Moon fan too and was happy to join us. In fact, she’d bought her own ticket, and during our adventures with the tickets she’d sold hers to another fan who was already coming to see it on Monday – more on that later.

Right before heading out to the Aiia Theater, we stopped by a gourmet burger joint in Shibuya, and while there Kara went into the washroom to change into her little Sailor Moon outfit, which had won her a prize at the Animethon convention in Canada the previous month. She was ready to spread some Moon Power back to the country where it all began!

Just like we did on Wednesday, we headed to the Aiia Theater at about 6:00 pm. It was a nice surprise to see our friend Eric again, who was hoping to get a ticket for himself to see the show one last time.

People were already lined up – perhaps a bigger crowd than Wednesday. This time around, there were more adult males, foreigners, and obviously some couples on a date. No cosplay, but some people were definitively wearing Sailor Moon t-shirts and bringing their own merchandise, such as dolls and Moon wands. The merchandise booth was very popular this time as well, and Lana picked up a cell phone case for herself. Kara was doing her own thing, posing for photos and she started being excited again to see the show. We even saw the helpful staffer from Wednesday night, who spotted Kara from inside and dropped what she was doing to come out and take a picture of Sailor Kara!

Finally, while we had sold Lana’s ticket to a girl who had come to see the show from Scotland, unfortunately she couldn’t find the theater in time – so we left her ticket at the ticket table and went in. She still had a ticket for the final show on Monday though, and ultimately did see the musical.

This time around, we were seated right at the front, in the second row – seats 14 to 17. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Once again, our staff lady provided us with a cushion for Kara so she could see better. But we were so close anyway, we couldn’t miss anything – we were in “upskirt view” territory and saw all sorts of details we couldn’t see from the back, right down to the transparent strappies the actors were wearing on their shoes so they wouldn’t fly off as they ran around the stage.

The show was exactly the same, but it was really great to see it again. The only difference was that we had the “Green Momoclo” member for the Love Cupid App on Mercury’s phone instead of the Red member from Wednesday’s show. Still, it was great to see it for a second time to catch the experience all over again. It was Mark’s first time seeing a Seramyu in person, and despite not understanding the language (or being a Sailor Moon fan), he still enjoyed it a lot. At the final curtain call, we were all waving our goodbyes at the cast and Jupiter and Venus were right in front of us! They spotted Kara and waved at her until the curtain was completely down.

We rejoined Eric at the exit (who also reported that the show was not sold out as there were several empty seats in the back) and on the way out we were met with another surprise – my ticket had been drawn to receive a door prize! We were handed a prize bag which included some “limited edition” Sailor Moon cups, and profusely thanked the staff in many languages as we left.

By 10:00pm, we were patiently waiting outside as people were leaving the premises, except Yuga Yamato’s fanclub who also stayed till she left in her chauffered car. Then suddenly (and much sooner than on Wednesday), almost the entire cast came out looking for us! Moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Nephlite, Zoicite and Queen Serenity all came out to say thank you for coming from Canada to see the show, and had also seen or heard about Kara and her Sailor Moon costume. Everyone was so excited and laughing that Kara was a little bit overwhelmed, in case you were  wondering why she no longer smiling for the group photo!

 

I gave Serenity (Jamie Natsuki) the Canadian maple syrup candies I had brought with us as gifts, for her to share with the whole cast. We then proceeded to take a few group photos – everyone wanted to high-five Kara again, and she was more than happy to oblige!

The cast left quickly after this all-too-brief meet, but with good reason: they were performing a matinee the following day at 1:00pm and needed to rest! We noticed that Satomi (Moon) left with a woman who appeared to be her mother (probably heading home – and after all, she was only sixteen years old) while the rest of the cast regrouped and headed to the nearest train station. Even our favorite staffer came outside to give us a final thank you and goodbye, and take a picture with Kara.

After arranging plans for the following day (Eric would be joining us on our excursion to Yokohama), we left. It didn’t take long for Kara, completely exhausted, to fall asleep in her stroller. Poor baby :) All the same, she’ll have amazing photos for her scrapbook!

 

After we got home from Japan, we learned that the audience had not been allowed to approach the cast after the final performance on Monday – there was a fence and bouncers between the crowd and departing cast, meaning we were among the very few (if not the only ones) to get up close with the actors like this. Once again, I couldn’t believe our luck to have been able to meet the cast, twice! It will definintely be an experience to remember forever…

Sailor Moon La Reconquista – Day 1 (of 2)

I have been a die-hard fan of Sailor Moon since the very beginning. I was fortunate enough to attend the musicals “SeraMyu” back in 2001 and 2002 – but three years later, the musical production was put on indefinite hiatus. I had always promised myself that I would go back to Japan in an instant if they would revive the Sailor Moon musicals. And in early 2013 they finally did, so I returned to the land of the Rising Sun last month with my whole family. Actually, we were *supposed* to travel to Japan sometime in 2013 anyway, as we had won a two-way flight to Japan from Calgary with an Air Canada contest! We just hadn’t picked out dates yet when the new musical was announced. The dates worked out perfectly, and we were able to schedule our two-week long trip to Japan at the same time as the ten-day run of the Sailor Moon musical.

Everything was going according to plan… Until the friend of mine who had purchased our original set of pre-order tickets had a family emergency, and had to leave Japan in a hurry. The tickets were then sent in the mail so we could pick them up later on from one of our family members who was already working in Japan. Days, then weeks went by and the tickets were nowhere to be found. As we arrived and were enjoying our first week in Japan (Osaka, Kyoto…), I grew more and more nervous that our tickets may have been lost in the mail for good. And then back in Tokyo (after the typhoon!), I made the decision that if our tickets were really lost, I had to find a way to attend the show somehow, someway, before we were scheduled to return to Canada. This is why in the early afternoon of  Wednesday September 18th, we dropped everything  and headed to the Aiia Theater in Shibuya to talk to people there to 1) try to attend a show, hoping it wouldn’t be sold out; and 2) to see if there was anything we could do about our lost tickets.

We arrived at the Aiia Theater and it was obviously closed. But then a few minutes later, a young woman came by and was also waiting around in the parking lot. As it looked like she may perhaps be on staff or crew (!!!) we approached her and asked if she could help…  She replied that she was in the cast, and would try to help us out. We asked who she was and she replied that she was… The actor for NEPHLITE! What a shock! Her English was very good, and after inquiring with the staff she explained that tonight`s show was *not* sold out, and that if we would come back one hour before the show, we would easily get tickets. She then introduced us to the actor playing ZOICITE, and they offered to sign our flyer and take a picture with me and my daughter Kara.

Reassured, we then left the theater to spend the rest of the afternoon in Shibuya, which became increasingly busy by late afternoon. We then returned around 5:30 pm to line up at the ticket desk as people gathered for the performance. We were then surprised to discover that Eric, a French Sailor Moon fan that I knew from the early 2000s, was also there at the same time as us! He had already seen the show few days before (and like me, saw previous SeraMyu back in the early 2000s) and was looking to see if he could get more merchandise, as some stuff had sold out the previous nights. We spent the next hour talking about the good old times of Sailor Moon fandom.

When the doors opened, we were first in line and I was able to buy two tickets (one for me, one for my daughter Kara – at 6800 Yen each, OUCH) and made my way inside to buy a few program books, posters and a light stick for Kara.

Eric and Mark left as they had other things to do, and Mark promised to come pick me up after the show. We made our way into the theater – which seemed a bit smaller than the Ikebukuro theater back in the day. We were in Row 19, almost in the back but situated in a way that Kara had no one in front of her, so we had a full view of the stage – and as it happened, a staffer noticed her and was able to get some cushions that would allow her to see even better. As previously told, the show was not sold out. Around us, there was at least 15 empty seats… Kara was the only child in the audience – mostly consisting of older women coming to the show after a day at the office, and a very few non-Japanese. No cosplay or anything like that, although some of the other foreigners were wearing Sailor Moon t-shirts or other memorabilia.

Several reviews of La Reconquista have been posted online already – plus the whole show with subtitles has been shared on torrent and posted on youtube. I would insist that actually *being there* is not the same as looking at it on a computer screen – it is a better experience overall. ;)

So I won’t review or summarize the story of the show but my personal comments would be that I really liked the songs and musics, the costumes and the story. Like most people, it took me a moment to get used to a female Mamoru/Tuxedo Kamen/Endymion but after a while, I didn’t even notice it anymore. There were times where Satomi-Moon’s singing made me cringe a bit but she played a very good Usagi so it was easy to forgive. The acting was never “over-the-top” (as it was in some of the previous SeraMyu) and I really appreciated that. Kara also really enjoyed the show as well, although she was a bit scared when Queen Beryl would act and sing all evil ;)

(I also bought 2 posters and a light stick)

After three hours, the show ended and we all came out. Members of Yuga Yamato (Mamoru)’s fanclub were there and they patiently waited for her to come out and say their thank-yous and goodbyes – Yamato-san is a member of the Takarakuza all-female theatre troupe and has her own legion of fans beyond this musical. After this, I stood outside with Kara for almost an hour (as Mark was late coming back from the improv workshop he had gone to attend), when suddenly most of the cast came out through the back door. Coro (Nephlite) saw me and Kara, and came to ask if I liked the show and was (obviously) able to get tickets – it was then that the rest of the cast also joined in to say “hi” to Kara and give her a few “high fives”. I was speechless and utterly shocked that they were all there (minus Moon), introducing themselves to me and Kara. Unfortunately (for now), I didn’t have the camera nor a phone so I couldn’t take any photos. I told them that we were from Canada, we really liked the show and we were hoping to be back on Friday, providing we were able to get our original tickets on time. Nephlite asked to add me on Facebook, and then they left as a group. Mark arrived shortly afterwards and we finally headed back to our rental suite, tired but content. I had seen the show once… I could sleep in peace now!

To be Continued…