Drama CD Review: Yoshiwara Lament ~Otoko Yuukaku ni saita Koi~

Those in the Vocaloid/Seiyuu scene may already be aware of this, but EXIT TUNES has been busy rolling out their ACTORS series since March this year. There’s been an increasing amount of seiyuu-niconico collaboration works lately, but ET has Okiayu Ryoutarou and Ono Yuuki so here we go!

BUT. Now they’ve released a Music Situation Drama CD series, which is the main point of this post! Because that is AWESOME – turning Vocaloid songs into drama CD situations, using the ACTORS characters and placing them in the unique locations of each song. Ono Yuuki gets to go first, being the one who covered AsaP’s Yoshiwara Lament.

To those unfamiliar, the ACTORS series basically comprises of seiyuu playing characters in a school setting, covering popular Vocaloid songs. The important part is the music.

Yoshiwara Lament is a song about a courtesan servicing clients in the Yoshiwara red light district of Edo Japan, FYI. Why does AsaP always choose these settings!? Also OnoY does an awesome job because the guy can sing, voice act, and cry really convincingly. Help.

I’ll keep the review as brief as possible because the CD’s contents aren’t very intensive, and time flies by when a drama CD is so good you find yourself shedding tears at 3AM over it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

OnoY’s character, Enjouji Mike, works in Yoshiwara in an otoko yuukaku, a pleasure quarters where all the workers are male. In the CD, Yoshiwara had been divided into two halves for male and female clients. So he entertains women, and has attained a relatively good reputation for himself among clients and as a senior to the newbies.

‘You’ are a girl from the countryside who’s spent over 10 years looking for her younger brother, whom you’ve discovered had been sold to a brothel in Yoshiwara when the both of you were younger. Your parents sold him for money, and you’re trying to find him and bring him home. (I’ll refer to ‘you’ as ‘the main character’ from now on.)

Mike catches the main girl staring at him, and shoos off his juniors so she can approach. After explaining to her that selling their children off was common practice by the poor in that time, and the same had happened to him too, he’s shocked to find that she empathizes deeply with him as she begins to cry – especially because he supposedly resembles her lost brother. Taken aback by the girl’s determination, he decides to bring her into Yoshiwara as a ‘client’, granting her access to the information networks he has.

There’s some filler stuff happening here and there, but some important points to note are that Mike’s character here dislikes rainy days for some reason that had yet to be revealed. Also, he speaks almost entirely in the formal courtesan language of Yoshiwara, and drops the act only when in private with the main girl. It’s shown that he detests his past, and he has no wish to escape from Yoshiwara. Besides, paying off the debt a courtesan owes to their brothel isn’t a joke. When asked, “so why do you keep looking there (outside)?” he just answers that it calms him down. He and the main character steadily grow closer, and he becomes fond of her strength of character.

Drama happens around tracks 3-5 when the main girl is with him on a rainy day. It’s revealed that he’s got some pretty serious emotional scars from when he’d fallen in love with a past client of his – something that was forbidden. She’d gifted him with a hair accessory with bright orange flowers, telling him to take that as a promise that she would come and buy his contract from the brothel soon. However, no matter how long he waited, she never came back. He knew that the price for running away in Yoshiwara was tantamount to death or worse, but couldn’t help himself and ran to see her. It was raining that night. He arrived outside her home and saw her laughing with another man, and realized that the girl he loved had married, presumably arranged. Heartbroken, he’d wished to die when the guards found him, but the owner of the brothel negotiated for him to be let off (but I’ll assume they increased his debt as a ‘take that’). From that day on, he’d started to dislike rainy days and orange flowers as unsuitable for himself.

Having said that, he’s surprised to find the main girl crying for him again. No matter how much he tries to assuade her that it doesn’t pain him anymore, or he doesn’t care, she rebuts by pointing out how close he looks to crying, and how pained he’d sounded when telling her his story. Mike, who’s absolutely awful with his own negative emotions, has a slight panic episode and the main girl calms him down. He’s extremely emotionally needy and he and the main girl spend the night together, with him realizing his feelings for her (which causes more drama later).

The next morning, the main girl overhears a conversation through the paper screen walls. Her younger brother has been found, but…he’s been dead for some time. Mike is still keeping her here in Yoshiwara despite knowing this fact, and hasn’t found the opportunity to break the news to her yet. So for the main girl to find out in such a manner…she’s obviously really angry and upset at him. Mike reacts badly to her accusations, admitting that he’d been lying to her since around Track 2 (when he’d already found out the information she wanted). He kind of freaks out and claims he was lying to her all this while to keep her here, because having someone paying good money nearby is profit for him, and there was no love involved in their relationship from the beginning anyway. His job here is to act and to service clients night after night. Now that she’s found out, she can leave and he can go find new clients now. All this is because he’s an idiot and can’t come to terms with his feelings for the girl and how he wants her to stay too, SIGH!! But OnoY’s performance is amazing in this track.

The main girl slaps him out of rage and leaves. Mike is left alone and tells the owner to leave him when advised to chase after her. He’ll be fine in awhile, and he’ll be good to take clients later tonight. The outburst has shaken him up really badly and he’s made to rest. He tries to tell himself that his feelings don’t matter – shouldn’t matter, didn’t he promise not to feel this way anymore – but he can’t stop crying, and he cries for a good 5mins until he resolves that if he just goes back to his work, get back into the cycle, he can return to the person he was before he’d met that girl.

Skip forward. It begins with Mike repeating the same lines he’d said at the start of Track 1, just with some alterations to his comments on the newbies’ progress to show time has passed. He’s stable now, and just like in Track 1, someone points out to him – there’s someone staring at you. He looks up and is shocked to see the girl there. He shoos the newbies away and asks what she’s doing here, hasn’t he hurt her enough? She explains that the owner (bless his heart) had found her and explained the situation to her, about how Mike was bullshitting only because he hadn’t wanted to hurt her feelings over her brother. Only it got much worse than that but #okcan.

Now she’s back after an undefined period of time to see him, because she does like him even though he’s an idiot. Mike is so touched and tells her that he’ll be able to pay off his own debt soon enough. The main girl tells him that she’ll wait for him, and they can spend their lives together beyond Yoshiwara. Mike is like /CRIES TEARS OF JOY and asks her: once his debt is paid, could she take him away from this place?

The story ends around here with an affirmative happy ending and I just. Freaking hell what did I just listen to, that was amazing. (இдஇ`。)

First, hooray for adapting songs into entire plotlines then rewriting the setting as needed. That’s what adaptations should look like – reminiscent of the original, but still fresh. I loved that some of the lyrics from the song were in the script! Next, hooray for Ono Yuuki’s performance. His crying voice ripped my soul out.

I liked how the setting allowed the main girl to have will and character in trying to push for both Mike and her brother’s freedom, and how she never gave up until the end on either of them. She’s the one who saves the guy, she’s the one who throws open the gates of Yoshiwara for him. It’s Mike who gets emotional and pushes her away, it’s him who cries and breaks down, begging not to be left alone. I love that the song’s setting has allowed a character to be open with his emotions, because I really don’t get “crying and emotional” very often in drama CD males. I think it’s something good and needs to happen more often.

I really enjoyed the CD! I loved the song but I didn’t think I would like the adaptation this much. I’m really surprised. I hit some kind of jackpot with ACTORS because the two seiyuu I like are the first two to have their songs adapted into drama CDs. Okiayu Ryoutarou who covered The Madness of Duke Venomania is having his released mid-October, which is soon!

Since I know how the song ends, I wonder who’ll get KAITO’s role (LOL). ( ・ิω・ิ)

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