Shoujo ☆ Kageki Revue Starlight

[Two] “Ma Claudine” — Shoujo ☆ Kageki Revue Starlight

From it’s opening act, it was clear that Shoujo ☆ Kageki Revue Starlight had something to say about the stage — what young women give to it, what they receive from it, all wrapped up in a Takarazuka package. Karen Aijou has what is quickly revealed to be an impossible dream in Takarazuka: to occupy position zero, center stage, with her friend Hikari Kagura. Seisho Music Academy and its enigmatic giraffe host naturally guide her down the traditional path of fighting others for the top star position, pitting Karen and her classmates against one another in seemingly inevitable conflict.

That is, until Karen breaks the cycle and shatters the status quo, dragging Hikari and their other classmates with her. Laying the groundwork for Karen and Hikari are Claudine Saijou and Maya Tendou.

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[Eleven] The 99th troupe’s 99th performance — Shoujo ☆ Kageki Revue Starlight

Within my first month of high school, I carried an armful of drop cloths down a narrow flight of stairs, deep into the heart of the old building, a place that few students knew existed. The door opened, pushed with a considerable amount of force by one of the upperclassmen. He loomed over us in the doorway, made slightly menacing by the grey lighting, somehow dull while still making us wince and cover our eyes. Dust rose and fell in small clouds at my feet as I walked, kept low by the autumn humidity. Beside me, the few other freshmen tasked with carting props and supplies back and forth from the auditorium shivered from a chill in the air.

The old building was connected to two newer buildings by narrow hallways that never seemed to quite fit in with the existing decor. My history class in that same building had Cold War blackout curtains. As we shuffled forward, stepping around a variety of odd furniture, textile piles, a candelabra, and a painted carriage, two of my classmates began to snicker, pointing at a hole in the insulation next to a sign that read, “Danger! Asbestos.”

This was a Cold War bomb shelter. It also was the drama club prop and set storage room.

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