For the first two hours I was ready to declare this the best Sailor Moon Musical ever made. It was shaping up to be the DEFINITIVE version of this story. This was the story I always wished they would tell in a musical, making the relationships between the soldiers and the shintennou the focus of the story. (I was already picturing a future version of the "myu" Galaxia storyline where the generals are FINALLY revived at the end, are vindicated and get to live their new lives with their lovers.) I was just thrilled beyond belief. I loved the idea of showing Usagi's transition from a childish, whiny brat into a strong, courageous soldier. I loved how they incorporated Queen Serenity and actually showed her being Serenity's mom, which I always wanted to see. (The Greek-style Silver Millennium costumes! Somebody actually looked at the comics!) It came to a head when Zoisite died again with ~EXACTLY~ the same staging as the first time. OMG, that was SO effective and awesome. I thought the whole thing was amazingly well-done.
Then, Sailor Moon killed herself like a whiny little self-centered snot and destroyed the entire thing. From that point on, I checked out. (Forget the fact that after literally seeing it 27 times already, I could not care less about the girls dying. We know what's going to happen. "OMG, the Silver Crystal revived us!" No way, really?? Please move on.)
I know Sailor Moon kills herself this way in the comics, and I've always thought it was stupid there, but it was worse here because at least in the comic it was a spur-of-the-moment reaction. Here, it was thought-out. Apparently Sailor Moon simply decided she didn't need to worry about destroying the ACTUAL enemies or protecting her friends and the rest of the people on the planet from the immediate danger she knew they were in. Ah, big deal - so the bad guys get the Silver Crystal, gain unlimited power and rule the universe! Usagi will be reborn again and get to make out with Mamoru in the park, so who cares, right? (Of course, since the enemies would have the Silver Crystal Usagi probably WOULDN'T ever be reincarnated again - and if she was she wouldn't last a day - but, hey, who needs logic when you're a whiny, self-centered, immature brat?)
And to top if off, they actually had Mamoru be PROUD of her for it?? Really??? That's what he meant when he told her to believe in herself?? "Only think about yourself, and when you don't get what you want, close your eyes and hope it's better when you wake up! If it's not, it's okay - you can always give up and kill yourself again, and maybe someone else will fix it for you!"
What she did completely obliterated whatever they thought they were saying about her "coming of age". This is just bad, bad, baaaaaaaaad writing. I honestly felt sorry for the actresses trying to make this look good. You know everyone on that stage had to have been aware of it.
I have NEVER felt cheated at the end of a Sailor Moon musical. (Not even when Tuxedo Mask WASN'T revived at the end of the original Supers musical and stayed dead. In fact, I thought that was VERY COOL.) This is NOT "sera myu". In "sera myu", this story would never have been put on the stage with such a horrible ending. Say what you want to about any of the old musicals, but they always gave you what you needed by the end (even if it was after a very long, convoluted ?what-the-uh...vampires? storyline).
It could easily have been fixed by tweaking what happened in that scene. (Example A: Evil Endymion stabs Usagi first, and with her last ounce of strength, she kills him and they both die. Example B: Sailor Moon kills Endymion, Beryl kills Sailor Moon, Venus kills Beryl. You could easily come up with others off the top of your head. Apparently they couldn't.) Maybe the budget ran out after they'd finished the first two hours, or the show ran long and they had to cut the part at the end that made the whole thing NOT completely suck.
Being loyal to the comic wasn't their motivation for this. They didn't seem to have much of a problem ignoring what was supposed to happen to Queen Beryl. So Sailor Venus lost potentially the coolest thing she would ever do (killing Beryl), and instead we get the Shitennou playing with her little stick after abruptly coming to their senses for NO APPARENT REASON, Beryl says "oooooh" and, hey presto, we don't see her again so she must be dead, huh? After all that, we don't even get to see what happens to her? She doesn't learn a lesson? No vindication? No one says anything about how tragic what happened to HER was??
Didn't mean for this to be so long, but, oh man - I haven't been this let down by something in a looooong time.
I won't dwell on the mostly cosmetic stuff.
Like how there was NO REASON for "momo-we-can't-sing-why-are-we-famous" or whatever they're called to be involved in this, and playing the "fan service" game lead to the characters repeatedly making use of a video game they were fully aware was MADE BY THE ENEMY THEY WERE FIGHTING SPECIFICALLY TO HURT THEM. (You think Ami would still be carrying that thing around with her for any reason other than to use it to sabotage the enemy??)
Like how a certain set of make-up people needs to learn that they actually DO make stuff that helps keep people's faces from shining like wet saran wrap under stage lights.
Like how Ami looked like a starving refugee who found Judy Garland's "tramp" wig in a dumpster and dyed it blue.
Which is a shame, because Miyabi Matsuura was great. All of them were great. I do think Yamato Yuga was miscast. She'd make a great Uranus. She's too effeminate to play a man. I don't care what she did in Takarazuka, she looked and sounded like a woman playing a man, and the unwise decision to have her constantly melodramaticly flipping her cape made it worse. Also, please be aware that I can see that she's wearing shoes with a 14-inch heel because her blocking keeps forcing her to display them. Maybe don't do that?
Or, let's see... Like, how horrendous
the music was? Some of the songs were okay (a couple stood out - especially Serenity's song - but the rest were messy, forgettable, lazy, disorganized dialogue-set-to-random-music that I have no desire to listen to again). However, playing them on a thirty-year-old $25 Casio keyboard from Toys 'R' Us did NOT help. Even the FIRST "sera myu" had a lot of music recorded with an actual orchestra, and the songs that weren't didn't sound "cheap" at all.
I stand by what I said in a previous post - Kosaka Akiko is a musical genius. Every single song from every "sera myu" was a well-written, memorable song. There was never a single instance of cop-out dialogue-set-to-non-repeating-music. Every song was a fully-formed, stand-alone SONG. I honestly can't think of a single "dud" from the hundreds of songs she wrote. The closet I can come up with is maybe
"Miracle Twister", and that song sounds like "Over the Rainbow" next to some of the half-@ssed junk that was in this show.
Kosaka's songs that were primarily synthesized always used real instruments (horns, strings, guitars) to cut the "artificial" sound, and the sounds were piled on so thick and were mixed so well that even after 15-plus years I'm still hearing things I've never noticed before. (Those recordings are the reason headphones were invented, I think. "OMG, there's a portamento lead thing playing on the far left side!")
One specific example of how sub-par these songs were: I loved that they attempted to do a classic "sera myu" medley at the end of the first act. However, in the old musicals they did it the correct way, introducing memorable songs for different groups throughout act one, then using them as leitmotifs in a medley at the end of the act. (This is EXTREMELY hard to do and requires a lot of forethought.) When we hear them mixed together, it ups the emotional intensity and puts the songs in a new context. The "medley" in "La Reconquista" was just some new "melodies" written to roughly fit over a new piece of music. A total, lazy cop-out and NOT same thing at all.
If you don't believe me when I say that Kosaka's medleys were brilliant and well-thought-out, here's an example. "Triple Dreams" in the Supers musical combined three totally different songs - "Double Moonlight Romance," "Fukkatsu! Crisis Yurusumaji," and "Dead Moon no Kuroi Yume" - and they blended together perfectly when sung over the top of each other. When this song was done again in the 6th musical, the "outer" soldiers had been given a new song, "Kokoro Tabanete Makin' for the Right", which replaced "Fukkatsu! Crisis Yurusumaji" in the medley at the end, and it still fit perfectly. The fact that it fit with the other songs like that was wasn't an accident, it was written that way on purpose from the beginning.
There were more "duds" in this one musical than in Kosaka's entire "myu" career. That's pitiful.
(In all fairness, the lady who wrote and recorded "Anata" is a VERY hard act to follow. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOZ1wDm88QM)
FYI, after the first few scenes I did change my mind. I don't mind them not using Kosaka's songs and treating this musical as its own, new thing. But the new songs need to at least be in the same ballpark quality-wise as the old ones. It needs to sound like you're at least trying. Hire an orchestra for an hour, people. You have the money. (Or at least go get a more recent Casio keyboard from Toys R Us. The new ones let you play more than 4 notes simultaneously!)
Well, I'm going to stop because you will all most likely think I'm a pompous, rude jerk for saying these things (if you managed to even get this far...). I just had to write some of it out because I was really bothered by it. It was sooooooo good, then it was SOOOOOOOO BAD, then it was over.
I hope if they make a "revision" that they'll fix these issues with the story, and that the music will be redone with an orchestra, because this could still be a fantastic show if they went back and took a look at the immense flaws in the story.
At least they fixed Sailor Moon's wig before the show opened!