I've been scanning a whole lot of things recently, trying to pack up my life here in Japan into a more manageable format. (Not that it'll work for everything, since I've bought TONNES of books, DVDs and CDs...)
But there is one pretty good side benefit, as just about the only thing I can do whilst scanning is listen to drama CDs - about 10 of them so far. And what stood out most so far was this series of drama CDs.
The Men's Only series is a venture by Momo&Grapes, a company that specialises in CDs aimed at women. Like its name suggests, only male seiyuu are involved, even for the female parts - something like Shakespeare or Kabuki. A total of four titles have been released so far:
As the cast commentary on Midsummer's ran, they tend to choose series that have a good balance of male and female parts. The novelty of tackling roles that they would never normally have the chance to play is one of the major aims for the seiyuu, after all, not to mention the major draw point for fans.
I'm short on time at present though, so for the moment, just a few mumblings about them, in the order I heard them in...Romeo and Juliet
The first one I listened to, because I'd just heard HiroC's nya~n, and wondered how he'd have approached this role (Juliet). Since he can do an almost perfect female voice, it really surprised me that he used his normal voice here, albeit giving it a lighter and younger sound, complete with the flourish you'd expect of a young girl in love. Ishitan was also great as Romeo, but my favourite part was probably the special commentary that came with the first printing. Only available second-hand (or online) now, unfortunately...Anne of Green Gables
Yonaga Tsubasa-kun's performance as Anne stunned me...because he really took on a woman's voice. Like HiroC's famed woman's voice, but slightly less refined - Anne is a tomboy, after all. It felt a bit too womanly though, almost as though he and Kishio Daisuke (Diana) should have switched roles. OnoD's Gabriel Blythe was also really cute. ♥A Midsummer Night's Dream
I think this might be my favourite so far, because it's light and fun, and you could tell that the seiyuu were having fun too. (Especially ♥'ing Sakku's Hermia! - really cute! Though we all knew that he could do that, given a certain Geass picture drama...) The talk tracks here were also the most entertaining...e.g. when they were wondering what other series would be done (maybe they'll try Genji, right Sakurai-kun?) and also when Sakku and Nojima-san left Hatano-san (and Shimono-san) panicking with their silence at the start of the free talk! I wish I'd found out about this series over a year ago, when they first released them! I want to collect them, along with the first press CDs! so that I can support Momo&Grapes in producing more! *sighs* The other point that interested me was the seiyuu talking about how they were just told to "act normally"...especially since one of the people who gave that advice was Yonaga-kun (^_^;;) (see above).The Rose of Versailles
This was the most confusing of the lot for me. Partly because I'd never read the manga before (although I'd read summaries a long time ago), but also because they crammed the important points from 9 volumes of manga into a one-hour drama. Well, that's if Oscar's relationships are what you'd consider "the important points". At any rate, this title could really have done with more than just one hour. Shakespeare's plays can be compressed quite well, but a 9 volume manga would normally need at least a 13 episode series, i.e. 4 hours!!
As for future series, I wonder what Momo&Grapes will do. I'd love to see Yuukyan and JunJun please!