This isn’t a review, exactly. These are feels. Because after the show was announced, I looked up the anime and got sucked in for all 46 hours of it. The series ate several weeks of my life and has absolutely fantastic characters that I got very attached to. Hence, feels.
- Good news: the stage show only goes on as far as the finale of the first OVA series, so that’s only 26 episodes and ten hours that you need to watch to know what’s going on if your Japanese is as clumsy as mine.
- …and yes, condensing ten hours of the series with the least amount of space battles into a three-hour show meant things suffered. The Alliance side, in particular, is more of a series of illustrations of fan-favourite moments than any coherent narrative. They would have been better off making it LOGH: Empire and giving Hoshigumi LOGH: Alliance (because that would mean Toki Irisu as Walther von Schoenkopf and I would bounce as much as I did for Tomochin!Oberstein).
- Stage and costumes: I adore it when Zuka goes symbolic and spare, and this staging actually used projections in ways that came off well in the DVD. I’d argue with some of Hilda’s costumes (but see: Hilda in general), but everyone else was very properly shiny and impressive. Top marks to Teru for fantastic dancing in a floor-length cape. I very much approve of a properly managed cape.
- Top marks to Teru overall. Top-notch acting, lovely singing and dancing (in a cape!) and stellar top star debut. She got Reinhard, all his facets from the ruthlessness to the occasional teenage dorkdom and owning the slight gender ambiguousness like a boss. Teru’s one of the best at actual acting in the Revue right now, and she pulled out all the stops.
- Mirion! She’s very good at acting too, and works beautifully with Teru - the pair dance especially, they were vibrating with glee at being able to dance together - so I’m laying the blame for Hilda’s change of personality firmly with Koike-S. And I appreciate that he just made her a little more bubbly and effusive rather than go full-on clinging typical musumeyaku. It was really necessary for plot reasons, because in the series, it takes them forty hours to get together and they had to manage it in three. Also, full points for the chess game with Oberstein, because that was precious.
- Oberstein! I knew Tomochin would make me proud, and oh, such a fantastic villain. The dancing! Looming! The little expressions, the grabby hands, and she carefully put in the things that show us Oberstein gets Reinhard apart from, ah, crushing on him - shooing off the boys when Kirchreis was chewing him out, and the final lunge to protect him.
- Kacha. And here we come to the fact this really would work better as a small show, because she was in act 1 for all of what, 2 minutes? Mind you, all her scenes in act 2 were a tour de force, the whole transformation until the contempt and hatred at the end. Little Kacha can be an awesome villain, I just wish Hankyu would let her spread her wings.
- I was looking out for Kitarou getting along with Sora, but she really didn’t have much to do (see plot complaints). Still, she was earnest and self-deprecating and mostly useless in a fight, so 10/10 for Yang Wenli :)
- Urara-chan’s Julian stole my heart <3 The MANLY poses especially, because oh, that was precious. She would make a fantastic otokoyaku.
- Top marks for all of Team Reinhard in general. They were mostly background, but still got their characters - Chii-chan was a fantastically bitter Reuenthal, this is the first time I’ve noticed Akkii because she managed to convey Bittenfeld’s fire perfectly, and oh gods, Kai-chan. KAI. Just that Admirals&girls number, her Mittermeyer’s one look at his wife conveyed the whole story that took half an hour in the OVA. Dammit, Hakataza probably won’t get a DVD and I’d really love to see Kai-chan’s Oberstein.
- Maa-kun was good, but seemed a bit intimidated. Tara-chan was fantastic as usual. Rere was robbed as much as Kacha and had even less to do. The Fezzani-narrators (BonBon and Oomi Ako) were good, and Monchi has a voice. That’s about it for minor-role spotting…
Overall verdict: A, will watch again. Plot scrolling and lack of dancing is made up for by fantastic acting, rockettes in berets, and a combination of Kitarou!etoile and Tomochin!nibante in the parade.