Julie (wao_wao) wrote in gyakuten_saiban,
Julie
wao_wao
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Musical Review

Er, hello there, game fans. I've been avoiding this community, but a friend suggested I cross-post this to "calm the masses".

I saw the 11:00AM performance of Gyakuten Saiban: Yomigaeru Shinjitsu on Friday, February 6th (i.e. the second ever performance). I'm a huge Takarazuka fan, so these opinions are coming from the opposite side, so to speak. And I have delicate feelings so please don't stone me. But I did do some research into the game leading up to seeing the musical.

Here's my take on it.

It's perfect. It's amazing. It really is as if they took the game and put it on a stage.

(A long summary which should be taken with a grain of salt for my comprehension and memory. Includes a spoiler warning.)

The play opens with just another day at home for Phoenix. He types on his laptop and turns away a persistent news reporter. Larry comes over, ostensibly to visit Phoenix but actually to see that cute girl Maya-chan, who isn't there. But pretty soon Maya does come home and goes off to get ready for her play date with Phoenix. A jealous Larry follows her. Phoenix sits down to read the newspaper and watch the news.

"Moeno Crystal" reports the murder of a senator, the prime suspect being Leona Clyde. Game music starts to play. Phoenix jumps up, grabs his coat and dashes off, leaving Maya stranded in her inner tube and flippers.

Scene in front of the curtain with atmospheric cell bars. Leona is cold and emotionless. She gives not a drop of warmth to Phoenix for coming to see her or eventually volunteering to take her case. She only calls Phoenix an idiot and insists that she is guilty.

But Phoenix is determined. Game music starts to play. Phoenix begins to sing slowly over it. Soon enough it picks up, changes tone and becomes the theme song, "Yomigaeru Shinjitsu". I love it so much already. This then turns into the opening dance sequence. Phoenix, Leona, Edgeworth, Gumshoe, Larry, Miller Arthur, Lotta Hart, The Judge, Monica Clyde and Maya Fey come out in their character costumes and dance (yes, the judge dances XDD). The rest of the dancers are in these weird, minimalistic undead bird costumes... OH NO WAIT, I GET IT, THEY'RE PHOENIX COSTUMES. Only black. >.>;;; They make me realize how skinny some of those girls are.

Anyway. The end of the prologue dance is exactly like an anime opening sequence, only live action. There's a screen, and you see Phoenix talking and shuffling papers and doing lawyery things, then the picture freezes and PHOENIX WRIGHT is displayed across the bottom. Same thing for Edgeworth, and then Leona. After the main three characters, the other original game characters (Gumshoe, Larry, Lotta, Maya) plus Monica (Leona's sister) make their way onto the screen. An ocean appears in the background. The eight of them stand in a line, joking and laughing or otherwise being in-character; Larry "splashes" Maya, who splashes back. I don't know how else to explain it; they just pose and stuff.

(Now I understand why Ranju Tomu was saying it would be hard to watch the stage and screen at the same time. The real people were dancing underneath, but the screen was so distracting!!)

Phoenix reminisces back to a time when Leona wasn't an ice queen. Back when they were still in college in California. As Phoenix confesses his feelings to Leona, other young couples are being lovey-dovey behind them.

Then! The city is in an uproar! People have cameras and boom mikes and notepads and pencils! Some of them sing short solos! Naturally, they're all reporters who want to hear from Governor Miller, who feels the need to apologize for being connected to the woman who murdered a senator. Coincidentally, Miller is running for president! No further questions. Miller leaves and his secretary makes sure the reporters don't follow them.

Phoenix and Maya investigate the scene of the crime. There to keep any trespassers away is Dick Gumshoe, the self-proclaimed famous detective. He has a loose tie, a red pencil behind his ear, a band-aid on his forehead and VERY spiky dark hair. He trips all over the place. He ends all of his sentences in "ssu". In other words, he is a completely lovable dork.

And he tells Phoenix and Maya that the lawyer for the prosecution is MILES EDGEWORTH.

Cue the appropriate music.

"Edgeworth..." sings Phoenix. Out comes Edgeworth.

"Edgeworth..." sings Phoenix. Out come five younger dancers dressed in matching Edgeworth costumes.

Edgeworth sings his theme song. It's mostly about being cool and doing whatever it takes to get a guilty verdict and "lu lu". The refrain goes "lu lu" a lot. XDD;;

The end of the song finds us in the courtroom. Gumshoe gives testimony. He's so excited. This is his big moment. He practiced his witness statement many times and was possibly coached by Edgeworth. It was hard to follow, but Phoenix finds a hole in it somewhere. Gumshoe leaves in shame.

Lotta Hart gives testimony. She has a blonde afro and pins on her headband. She speaks in Kansai-ben. She gets snappy with Edgeworth and slams his desk. In other words, she is totally awesome. Phoenix finds discrepancies in the photos she took. He turns the trial around. They are given time to find more evidence.

Phoenix goes to visit Governor Miller. Miller doesn't tell him much before being called away for a phone call. Alone in the governor's office, Phoenix tests out the comfy chair and fiddles with things on the desk. X3 The last thing he picks up is a funny-looking knife, which he nervously pockets when Sarah the secretary comes back in with his coffee. Phoenix also knocks over a stack of books on the desk and when he and Sarah go to put them back, Phoenix notices a photograph and asks her about it. The four people in the picture are Miller, Sarah, the murdered senator (Robert) and a policeman (Robert's brother Louis). Sarah tells Phoenix that Louis was murdered two years ago in the famous Jack Ryan Incident. He pockets the photograph as well.

He tells Maya what he's learned, and they find it suspicious that two brothers were both killed. Once again Phoenix is fired up to find the truth of this case. Everyone comes out for a reprise of "Yomigaeru Shinjitsu". End Act I.

Begin Act II, back at the Wright house. Phoenix tells Maya that he, Leona, Edgeworth and Larry all used to be classmates. One day, an envelope full of lunch money was stolen from the teacher's desk. Phoenix had been absent that day, so everyone blamed him and started a mock trial. Phoenix was overwhelmed and intended to apologize for a crime he didn't commit when little Edgeworth and Leona stood up for him. This is the part where they have an "animation" up on the screen, only it's not really animation -- just still drawings depicting the events. Phoenix, Leona and Edgeworth voice their child selves. It is ADORABLE.

Speaking of the devil, Edgeworth comes a-calling. Maya cries out "the enemyyyyyy~~!!!" and hides behind Phoenix. He sends her off to get them coffee. Edgeworth tries to convince Phoenix to give up his pointless search and stop being ruled by his emotions. Phoenix has unshakable faith in Leona's innocence. Maya comes back with the coffee, which Edgeworth refuses, saying "it's probably poisoned".

"Damn, you got me," says Maya.

Edgeworth leaves. Larry enters. Phoenix leaves. Larry realizes he's alone with Maya. "This is my chance!" X3 He tries to explain to Maya about the feelings between men and women. Maya plays along briefly and then turns him down flat. She changes the subject and asks Larry about when all of them were little. (She also tricks Larry into drinking the coffee, resulting in a very funny face. XP) Larry retells the story of the stolen money, and we change to some kind of flashback dance with Phoenix and Leona. No wait, this was the part where Phoenix thinks back on when Leona broke up with him. Just a short phone call: "I'm sorry. It's over between us. I'm sorry." Cue a dramatic dance where Phoenix and Leona are forced apart by dancers in black (not the bird costumes).

Larry and Maya wrap up the scene when Maya realizes that back in elementary school it was Larry who actually stole the money, and chases him out of the house. ;D

Phoenix visits Leona in jail again and asks her about the Jack Ryan Incident. She can't completely mask her surprise but refuses to admit to any knowledge about the incident. Phoenix, however, has photographic evidence to prove that she was there, studying the case while still a lawyer-in-training. Leona still refuses to tell Phoenix anything.

Mulling over things back at home, Phoenix gets another visitor: Monica, Leona's sister. She's a doctor who always carries her tools with her just in case. Monica begs Phoenix to save her sister, and it turns out that she was also involved in the Jack Ryan Incident. She gives Phoenix information that inspires him to re-enter the courtroom.

Cue a 40-minute trial scene. (Okay, I don't know exactly how long it was, but seriously it was long.) Instead of enumerating the facts as they come to light in the play, it's best to just cut to the chase.

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Two years ago, the criminal Jack Ryan was on the loose in a courthouse. Monica was in a private room waiting for her sister to come meet her. Ryan entered the room, attacked her and rendered her unconscious. Miller came into the room, saw Monica in danger and went after Ryan. In the ensuing scuffle Ryan was stabbed dead. Moments later, Louis the policeman came in, probably looking for Ryan. In order to cover up his accidental crime, Miller stabbed Louis as well, then tampered with the scene to make it look as though Monica had committed the murders. When Leona came to meet up with her sister, Miller convinced Leona that Monica was guilty of a terrible crime and it was up to Leona to save her. They changed the scene to make it look as though Ryan had killed Louis and then killed himself, removing any evidence that Monica had been in the room.

In the present day, Louis' brother Robert admitted to Miller that the facts of the incident had never felt right to him and asked for Miller's help in finding the truth. Afraid that another investigation would bring to light what had actually happened, Miller had no choice but to kill Senator Robert. He then reminded Leona of her pledge to protect her sister and left her to dispose of the body. In doing this Leona was caught by Lotta Hart's camera, and she resigned herself to going to prison in order to keep her sister's secret.

In a lot of the trial bits there are plenty of 'objection's and 'wait a minute's from Phoenix and Edgeworth, which is to be expected, but Leona butts in a lot too. Of course she's a lawyer as well and knows the rules of the courtroom, but Phoenix and the judge have to remind her that in this case she's the defendant and not entitled to argue. ^^;;; At one point, though, when Leona's still desperate to cover everything up she moves to fire Phoenix as her lawyer and end the trial by loudly proclaiming her guilt. All hope seems to be lost for Phoenix and judgment is about to be passed when Edgeworth calls out "wait a minute!" again. Edgeworth is the one who insists that the trial is not over; facts are still being hidden; the truth has not been brought to light yet.

In other words, Edgeworth saves the day. :D

In the end everyone is sorely disappointed in their governor, a person whom they thought stood for justice and the people and would have made a great president. Miller apologizes for disappointing them and goes to pay for his crimes.

Gumshoe and Larry conveniently reappear to congratulate everyone, and Lotta insists on taking a commemorative photo. "But you're not allowed to take pictures in a courtroom!" someone objects. "It's okay," Lotta says. "As long as we have this froofy guy here *points to Edgeworth*, he'll cover for us."

After that the courtroom empties until it's just Phoenix and Edgeworth. Edgeworth thanks Phoenix for reviving inside of him some faith in humanity; the ability to believe in people again. "It's a nostalgic feeling... This mysterious scent..."

"...Edgeworth, why can't you talk like a normal person?"

"...I'm not good at it. I've forgotten how to."

Although Leona is not guilty of any murders, she still helped tamper with evidence. Thus she still has to go to jail for a while. Edgeworth pulls some strings and gets Leona five minutes to talk to Phoenix before they take her away again.

Leona admits to Phoenix how painful it was to be cold to him when he was so desperately fighting to prove her innocence. Phoenix assures Leona that she's never changed. "Come back to me," he says with open arms.

Leona hesitates for a moment and then throws herself onto Phoenix. He greets her with a light touch at first, then hugs her tightly.

"I'll wait for you," he says.

I cried. ;__________;

They sing a reprise of the love song, first apart and then together. I can't remember if the play ended with the love song or the theme song, but probably the latter.

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The end revue had three numbers. First, Nanaho Hikaru (Edgeworth) in a black suit and a red shirt, surrounded by girls in dresses with black tops and red skirts. She reprised a little bit of the Edgeworth song and then they danced. Next, the rest of the otokoyaku showed up in black suits and blue shirts, and eventually Ranju Tomu (Phoenix) took the center in a white suit with black patterns on the jacket and random bits of yellow. (I would have liked it except for the yellow. >.>;;;) After the otokoyaku dance, two younger girls helped Tomu change jackets -- this time she got a long, flowy light blue one. Miwa Asahi (Leona) came back wearing a flowy light blue dress, and the stage filled with fog.

I was moved. They were beautiful.

God, I wrote all that and didn't even talk about the effects in the play. The constant use of screens and photographs. Every time they picked up a piece of evidence, it was just like in the game -- they showed a picture of the object and used the same sound effect. (At one point they even did it for an object which never became evidence; a heavy lamp that Phoenix picked up on Miller's desk.) They used so much of the same music and sound effects for the trial scenes.

And voiceovers. A voiceover of Phoenix introducing himself, and lots of short inner monologues and reminiscings. Voiceovers as Phoenix introduces Larry and Maya to the audience. A voiceover as Larry goes for his "chance" with Maya.

Ranju and Nanaho really did closely study the movements of their characters. The way Phoenix slammed the desk with two hands, the way he pointed, the way Edgeworth tapped his finger... The way Gumshoe scratched his head all the time, for that matter...

Oh, and did I mention Larry's hair? Gelled straight up like an enormous cowlick? Fortunately "Phoenix" and "Larry" (Houshou Dai) fixed their hair for the end revue, and probably "Gumshoe" (Harukaze Misato) did too, but for the play their hair was all ridiculous. <3

In conclusion, any gamer who isn't satisfied with this play is just being petty about hair colors and silly badges. What I saw in this stage was a very faithful rendition, a heartfelt tribute to the game. I was very impressed with how much they did to link the two together.

I want to say so much more. Mostly I just want to see it again, and again, and again.

(original post here, in which I use the actresses' nicknames in a way that's probably very confusing to non-Takarazuka fans)

*EDITS* For those of you who like pictures...
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