Of Song, Dance, and Anime: A Look At Anime Stage Play Adaptations

Stage play adaptations of popular anime series have seen a surge in popularity. Unlike live-action shows, stage play adaptations are theatre productions with a full cast performing songs and dance choreographies live in front of an audience for its performance run.

Like any artistic medium, the stage play provides fans with a new experience, emphasizing interactivity and real-life immersion into the characters and their stories. Plenty of popular manga series and anime shows have found its way to the stage and in the process delighted old fans, engaged new audiences and fans, and spawned merchandises and products specific to these musicals and stage plays.

Stage plays and musicals bring something new and different to an anime series that is familiar and well-loved by its audience – and that’s a good thing. It definitely encourages appreciation for the craft of theatre and for the anime fan, reignites our passion for all things anime, and brings us closer to the stories and characters we love.

If the concept of anime stage plays piqued your interest, then be sure to check out these anime adaptations that we’re sure you’re bound to enjoy:

Naruto (Live Spectacle Naruto)

Two-stage play adaptations have been made for Naruto titled Live Spectacle Naruto and Live Spectacle Naruto: The Akatsuki Investigation. The plays feature the titular characters of Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura and other fan favorites. The Naruto stage play has seen performances in Tokyo and Osaka in Japan and in other Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore as well.


Haikyuu (Hyper Projection Play “Haikyuu!!”)

This shonen manga and anime series about the rise of the Karasuno Volleyball Team has been adapted into at least four stage plays – Hyper Projection Play ‘Haikyu!!’, Hyper Projection Play ‘Haikyu!!’: View from the Top, Hyper Projection Play ‘Haikyu!!’: Winners and Losers, and the Hyper Projection Play ‘Haikyu!!’: The Summer of Evolution. The stage plays covered the different arcs of the anime series, including the much-loved inter-high match between Karasuno and Aobajosai.


Black Butler

This dark fantasy anime has a fifth stage play musical which is currently being performed in different cities in Japan. Titled “Kuroshitsuji – Tango on the Campania”, this adaptation is based on the Luxury Liner Arc. Its final performance will be from February 10 – 12, 2018 in Fukuoka, so for those who are in the area, it’s definitely something that you should consider.


Sailor Moon

One of the most popular and enduring anime series, Sailor Moon has been adapted into several musical plays. The most recent performance was the Musical Sailor Moon – Le Movement Final which covered the final arc of Takeuchi Naoko’s work and featured the Sailor Moon and her group of Sailor Senshi, Sailor Galaxia, Sailor Star Fighter, Sailor Star Maker, and Sailor Star Healer.

Sailor Moon fans will also have more adaptations to look forward to as in line with the franchise’s 25th anniversary, three new Sailor Moon concerts/musicals will be hitting the stage sometime in 2018 and 2019.


Tokyo Ghoul

Aside from a live-action adaptation, Tokyo Ghoul has had two stage play adaptations, with the most recent completing its performance run in Tokyo and Osaka. The second play adaptation saw Ryo Matsuda, best known as Hideyasu Jonouchi/Kamen Rider Gridon in Kamen Rider Gaim, taking the helm as protagonist Ken Kaneki vice the first play’s Yuuki Ogoe.

A lot of effort goes into anime stage plays – stunts, choreography, props, lighting, sounds, projection, and stages. Moreover, the cast and crew do their utmost best to remain faithful to their characters and the original materials resulting in an amazing experience for all.

What are your favorite anime stage plays? What anime and manga series do you think should get one? Share your thoughts in the comments.