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Does humanization always ruin a work? Let's check out 2.5D stage plays

People who enjoy Japanese games and anime might have heard of the term '2.5d'. As the 2.5d is becoming increasingly popular, it has affected the community.

So, what makes '2.5-dimensional stage plays' so captivating? Let me give you a quick rundown.

What is a 2.5-dimensional Musical?

A 2.5d musical means a musical that is based on a game, anime, or manga, which usually can be considered 2d. 2.5d does not have to be musical, it can also be other kinds of a stage play.

Since The Rose of Versailles musicals, a stage play dramatized by Takarazuka Revue, has become popular, 2.5d musicals started to pop up. Much famous manga and anime series like Saint Seiya and Sailor Moon, all had their own 2.5d musicals. 

Because of the huge popularity of 2.5d musicals among young female audiences, stage play producers started adding new elements. Thus the first 2.5d musical, the Prince of Tennis is born. Nowadays, the Prince of Tennis has become a classic.

The charm of 2.5d musical

The difference between normal stage plays and 2.5d musicals is that 2.5d usually is based on an anime, game, or manga which is popular among young people. Usually, the producers will choose young actors to recreate those good-looking anime characters from the original story. The voice and the outfit will also closely fit with the original character.

The props in the stage play are also well prepared. Many 2.5d musicals will have some giant moveable props. To make sure you have a fun time watching the stage play no matter where you sit in the theater. The visual is already worth the whole price.

In addition to the visuals, there will be many stage combat during the stage play. For example, Toukenranbu is famous for its stage combat. Actors use a large variety of weapons to fight their enemies perfectly. Even viewing this scene using a monitor screen will be very enjoyable.

Some popular 2.5d Musical

(1)Touken Ranbu

Touken Ranbu is one of the 2.5d musical series that can represent 2.5d musicals and is famous around the world. They have two types: stage plays and musicals. Even though the same characters are used in both types, the characters and the actors are totally different. You can have different types of enjoyment while watching these two types of stage plays.

The stories happen at the end of the Bakufu period, a group of historical revisionists who wanted to change history had conflicts with the government. To protect the course of history, saniwa brings out the spirit residing within swords and lets the Touken Danshi be born. Together with Touken Dashi, the saniwa have dedicated themselves to fighting to protect history.

In the stage play, except for the stage combat, the different kinds of Japanese weapons like tachi, Ootachi, Yari, etc. that are used in the performance are also a viewpoint of the stage. On the other hand, Touken Ranbu Musical is usually split into two parts: the first part is a Musical, and the second part is usually a concert and stage performance. Touken Ranbu has also performed outside Japan before. There are more than 10 DVDs from the past performance stage. It is never too late to check out.

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Keyword(English): Touken Ranbu stage play

Keyword(Japanese): 刀剣乱舞 舞台/刀剣乱舞 舞台 グッズ

(2)the Prince of Tennis

The Prince of Tennis had its first performance in 2003. At that time the 2.5d musical was not well known by the people. After the news of making a 2.5d musical based on the manga, people were not really accepting this idea in the very beginning. However, the reputation of the musical largely changed after the first performance. When talking about 2.5d musicals, the Prince of Tennis is still one of the 2.5d musicals people know by heart.

If you have read the Prince of Tennis manga, you definitely know about some 'buzzing scenes' in the manga. Like the tennis ball catching on fire, the ball destroying the racket, etc. The musical version boldly referenced the manga too. Make the musical to have those shonen manga feelings too.

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Keyword(English): the Prince of Tennis Musical

Keyword(Japanese): テニスの王子様 舞台/テニスの王子様 舞台 グッズ

(3)Yowamushi Pedal

Original manga already increased the popularity of bicycles. The original manga told a story about a highschooler named Sakamichi Onoda who joined his school's bicycle club, then started to discover the bicycle racing world.

There are difficulties in how to perform bicycle racing on stage because bicycles can not be used on the stage. In the end, they decided to let the actors only hold the handlebars to perform the bicycle race in the sense.

You always can see actors holding handlebars and acting out like bicycle racing. Most of the time in the stage play you can see them trying their best to 'race'. Also, they would change the angle of perspective of the bicycle racing. It is almost like watching a real bike race. If you are interested, do not miss it.

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Keyword (English): Yowamushi Pedal stage play

Keyword (Japanese): 弱虫ペダル 舞台/弱虫ペダル 舞台 グッズ

(4)Demon Slayer

Demon Slayer, recently gaining many fans may still be relatively new compared to other 2.5d series introduced. However, since its first performance in 2020, Demon Slayer's stage player has already performed in many theaters in Japan. The new performance will start during September and October, with many fans looking forward to it.

In the anime, the 'Total Concentration Breathing' gives people a strong impression. On the stage, the Total Concentration Breathing is performed with the actor's fabulous stage combat and giant monitor screen for adding more effects. These kinds of performances bring a better viewing experience for the audience. 

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Keyword (English): Demon Slayer stage play

Keyword (Japanese): 鬼滅の刃 舞台/鬼滅の刃 舞台 グッズ

(5)Takarazuka Revue

When talking about the stage play, we have to talk about one of the best in this field: Takarazuka Revue. Takarazuka Revue is a musical theater troupe that has a history of over 100 years. All the cast in Takarazuka Revue is unmarried females. Even the male characters in the play are played by females. Different from men, the elegance of women gives the man character a totally different feel. The most famous piece from Takarazuka Revue is The Rose of Versailles musicals and the Oscar. The concept of lady with a genderless outlook can easily catches women's heart.

There are five main troupes in the Takarazuka Revue: The Flower troupe, The Moon troupe, The Snow troupe, and The Cosmo troupe. Each troupe has its own advantages and characteristics. For example, the Flower troupe has a more operatic stage style and has the name of the 'treasure chest' of otokoyaku. The famous otokoyaku Rei Yuzuka is also from the Flower troupe.

The Phantom of the Opera, Gone with the Wind, Elisabeth, etc. is all worth watching too. Recently, Takarazuka Revue also has musicals of Sengoku BASARA, Ace Attorney, City Hunter, and more musicals that are based on anime, games and manga. You can find any types of plays you want.

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Keywords (English): Takarazuka Stage

Keywords (Japanese): 宝塚 舞台/宝塚 舞台 グッズ

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