For the second year running I was able to attend an opening weekend performance of the latest Sailor Moon Musical. This year, Un Nouveau Voyage; the Sailor Moon S musical. Where as in previous years the happenings on stage blew me away, this musical was a little… undercooked. The first act is strong, with good character dynamics and lots of shared stage time between diverse characters. But, the final battle is… dull. The pace of the entire second act is lackluster. Much time is devoted to battling the big baddie and on a simple, sparsely decorated stage this sort of battle sequence just doesn’t have the punch that the first few musical finales had.
The musical opens on Haruka giving a boy-band style idol pop concert at Mugen Academy. Apparently Mugen has combined Open School tour dates with Entrance Ceremony test sittings into one mega festival-like weekend. Haruka’s concert is supposed to lure new students into joining up. Didn’t realize before that Mugen Academy is supposed to go from Kindergarten through college. But, I digress. The Witches 5, students at the school, meet the senshi in civies and instantly recognize them as Not Human and lure them away with the promise of taking an entrance exam to get into the posh Mugen. Did I mention Mugen is posh? You know Mugen is posh because the Witches 5 keep dazzling everyone with their “perfect English”. I shook my head so many times at this.
Mamoru and ChibiUsa also end up showing up to the Open School/Entrance Exam festival because ChibiUsa’s new best friend, Hotaru, is there. Usagi ends up meeting Haruka post-concert and when they touch, Haruka identifies this powerful person as Sailor Moon. Usagi just feels Haruka’s power. Sexual tension. Rawr. After the senshi realize the Witches 5 are, uh, witches, they transform and everybody fights and deduces Mugen is not a good place. Hm.
In the following scenes we lay down that Haruka and Michiru are angsty teens who see everything as themselves against the world. Blah, blah, blah. Also, we get to see ChibiUsa and Hotaru being bestest buddies. ChibiUsa invites Hotaru over for Chinese takeout and gives her a present she made in art class: A replica of some weird chalice that her mother back in Crystal Tokyo was always on about. The girls also have a nice strategy session at Rei’s in which they actually remember to invite Mamoru over to strategize with. Revolutionary!
Much of the last half of the first act pertains to Usagi’s mixed emotions about how hot and powerful Haruka is and also ChibiUsa’s budding best-friendhood with Hotaru. On stage, we see much of Hotaru’s personal turmoil through her playing of piano. She plays piano constantly. When she’s alone and sad, piano. When ChibiUsa comes over to play, two-person piano. When Mistress 9 is slowly overwhelming her personality, angsty piano. One of the most emotionally resonant elements of the first act is when ChibiUsa forgets her bag at Hotaru’s house, barges into her friend’s room to retrieve it, and catches Hotaru in the process of changing her clothes. Half naked, we see why she wears that black dress and tights all the time: She’s chronically ill and covered in bruises. ChibiUsa runs away and is ashamed of her own reaction so they two sing out their emotions in a very, very well done song about their loneliness and such.
It must be said: The Witches 5 are awesome. Not only are the costumes amazing, their on stage banter is the best.
In the conclusion of the musical, we see how Hotaru came to be the host of Mistress 9 via her father’s bad judgement. We see Mistress 9’s awakening. And, then we have like half an hour of defeating various stages of bad guy. Mistress 9’s costume is one of the least impressive of the entirety of revival seramyu. Some of the pearls on the dress became unhooked during the performance I saw, even. But, Super Sailor Moon’s is amazing. The clear plastic, ribbon rimmed, giant pink bow on Super Sailor Moon is an engineering marvel. As a nerd who has been sewing various versions of the senshi fuku for years, I am in love with this design. The Witches 5, the Daimons, and Super Sailor Moon are my now top 3 cosplay desires.
One of the most emotional segments of this musical, for me, was actually the encore. There were three full songs during the encore. First was “Ai no Star Shine” performed now, finally, with all 10 senshi. It was awesome. The whole team! Finally together! Next was Tuxedo Kamen’s song with the Daimons as his backup dancers. So posh. Last, was a rendition of Moonlight Densetsu with, again, the whole cast of heroes. It brought a tear to my nerd eye.
Outside the performance itself, things were even more serious than before. For the first year since the revival began, merchandise was sold outside the ticket gate. You can just walk up to the theater and buy goods. Also, instead of roping off the cafe attached to AiiA Theater Tokyo, this year there was a themed menu offering. As this is the last musical for much of the original revival cast, there were memorial beverages for each girl’s character. I had the “Momoyo Mercury” drink and Tuxedo Kamen pancakes. I tweeted out a selfie with the Momoyo Mercury drink and Momoyo favorited the tweet! I love these girls. Please come back!!!
It was adorable. I chose to get my snacks in after the performance. Near me in the cafe were two sets of mothers and daughters sharing the ChibiUsa parfait. It was truly touching and sweet to see moms my age enjoying Sailor Moon with the next generation. We should all be so lucky. As an elementary school teacher here in Japan, I do get to talk about BSSM with my young students, but it’s not the same.
While I found the last part of the performance itself to be not quite as good as before, the planning outside the show was amazing this year. The official merchandise available doubled over year one. Not only was there a program book and photo set, there was also an additional Visual Book just for extra pictures. Three musical only t-shirts, blind box charms, and the usual phone cases were on sale. Hell, they even reissued the pamphlets for previous musicals!
There were also English-language signs, English translation of the show itself, the themed cafe, and a raffle to meet the cast members. None of that was around for La Reconquista!
Now, the scans:
The Program “Pamphlet”.
The Visual Book.
The September 19th postcard:
The collectible photo set.
Lastly, promotional flyers passed out at the musical venue including the fall Ichiban Kuji promo, the live simulcast, the DVD, and other anime musicals by Nelke including Prince of Tennis, Kuroshitsuji, and Princess Knight.
See the show for yourself on Nico Nico Douga’s “Live Viewing” the first week of October.