If you love watching your favorite anime on a screen, can you imagine how awesome it would be to see the characters come to life in a glitzy musical? Well, we have a very special treat for you.
Getting your hands on merch and memorabilia of your favorite anime surely is on the to-do list of every anime fan visiting Tokyo. As promised, we’d like to add another point to everyone’s anime-centric sightseeing list, however: a visit to AiiA 2.5 Theater Tokyo.
What is AiiA 2.5 Theater Tokyo?
AiiA 2.5 Theater Tokyo is Tokyo’s own anime musical theater, showing performances of various shows, but also comedies and dramas, around the year. The “2.5” in the theater’s name refers to a dimension that lies in between the 2D of manga and anime and the 3D of theater. Located in the trendy district of Shibuya, both Japanese and international fans flock to AiiA 2.5 Theater Tokyo regularly to enjoy their favorite anime in an extremely fun and unique way. Today, we’re taking you along to watch a classic show that is loved by people all around the globe: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon!
While fans of Sailor Moon are sure to know both the story and the Sailor Warriors’ key lines – “Tsuki ni kawatte oshioki yo!” – the musical is entirely in Japanese and thus might be a bit hard to follow. Or so you thought! Actually, AiiA 2.5 Theater Tokyo offers Subtitle Glasses for an extra 1,000 yen (tax included), available in up to four languages for certain anime musicals, with fan favorites like Sailor Moon or Naruto almost always offering this service!
So let’s put our glasses on and enjoy the show!
"Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Musical -Le Mouvement Final- Reliving the Anime" - Reliving the Anime, Reliving Childhood
The first thing I heard was the characteristic tunes of the old anime opening song – the one that Sailor Moon fans can recognize immediately and most likely sing along! This alone was enough to give me nostalgia goosebumps, but when Usagi (English readers know her as Bunny) and Mamoru took the stage, I sat there wide-eyed and amazed – the real Sailor Moon! Just as Mamoru was about to tell Usagi something really important, everything turned black and her love was trapped in a crystal-type of prison, oozing with black magic! Collapsing in shock, she is aided by three members of a popular idol group – none other than the Sailor Starlights!
Sailor Moon fans already know what’s going on: called Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Musical -Le Mouvement Final-”, covers the final season of the anime. For those who don’t know what is going on, don’t worry. I am not going to lengthily explain the plot, Instead, let me talk about the anime musical experience.
I don’t know what kind of anime live action movies you have seen, but I have to be honest. I did expect a bit of tackiness. As the show started to unfold, I immediately realized that Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Musical -Le Mouvement Final- isn’t just the real anime experience, it is also a really well-produced musical. The costumes are fantastically made, glittering and shimmering while conveying the designs of the anime perfectly; every character, from the smart and calm Ami to the courageous Haruka, can be recognized immediately, not only by their outfit but also by their distinctive characters.
As a musical, you can also look forward to a lot of original songs. The musical version of the five core Sailor Warriors even changed their hobbies a little bit and formed a band, called the Usagiband! Needless to say, the singing was top notch – Princess Kakyu blew me away with an amazing opera voice, completely unexpected!
The intricate choreographies shine especially during the many fighting scenes when Sailor Moon and her many protectors have to defend themselves from the Sailor Animamates and the main villain, Sailor Galaxia. Her theme song, by the way, was a mixture of rock and metal, perfectly underlining her threatening character and providing a mix of different styles of tunes and music. As she stood at the front of the stage, her golden armor shining in a red, ominous light, and she sang the line: “When the strong stand on top, harmony is restored to the universe!,” Sailor Galaxia set goose bumps crawling down my spine. Signature moves, like Sailor Mars’ flames or Sailor Neptune’s waves, shoot across the stage via colorful and vivid projection mapping, making me feel as if I had really become a part of the world of Sailor Moon!
The Sailor Warrior who won the hearts of the audience undoubtedly was Chibi-Chibi. Introduced with the most adorable little dance routine, she kept popping up here and there to subtly steer the adult warriors in the right direction – and maybe more than that, but you will have to watch the musical to find out!
All in all, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Musical -Le Mouvement Final- was an amazing experience, especially as a fan, but also an extremely well-made performance all around. Recreating an anime in the "2.5-Dimensional Musical" surely is no easy endeavor, especially if there is lots of magic and powers involved. However, the performers, the music, and the special effects really did create an incredibly immersive experience – and I felt the excitement and passion that I had when I was a kid, sitting in front of the TV and rooting for my heroines, come rushing back to me. That feeling alone made the experience an absolutely invaluable one that I would not want to miss.
Anime Heroes Come to Life
Being die-hard Sailor Moon fans since elementary school, the feeling of experiencing our childhood heroines come to life in the most amazing fashion is almost beyond description. Almost: it was sheer awesomeness. Here is what my two companions had to say about the show:
- Holly, another longtime fan of Sailor Moon
"Sailor Moon was one of the first shows to introduce me to Japanese anime, and later was one of the manga that helped me learn Japanese, so to see it live was a dream come true! The music, costumes, and overall performance were more fantastic than I could have imagined!"
- Quentin, a Sailor Moon greenhorn
“I didn’t know much about Sailor Moon before seeing the musical. However, I was very pleased with it: the story is easy to follow and the show was really well made!”
By the way: the Subtitle Glasses worked like a charm! I could change the size of the text as I saw fit, as well as its position. The text was perfectly synchronized with the performers, proving that even people who don’t speak Japanese will have an amazing time at the anime musical!
Current and Upcoming Anime Musicals
Even if you’ve missed the opportunity now, worry not, as Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Musical -Le Mouvement Final- is very likely to return to Aiia 2.5 Theater Tokyo in the future. For everyone in the Osaka area, you still have the chance to enjoy the Sailor Moon as a musical from September 29 to October 1!
If the Sailor Warriors aren’t your cup of tea, look forward to a colorful and fun selection of other anime musicals. Here are just a few of them, the dates referring to Tokyo venues:
・Musical the Prince of Tennis 3rd Season Seigaku vs. Rikkai - September 22 to October 1, 2017 at Tokyo Dome City Hall
・Uta No Prince Sama: Gekidan Shining Masquerade Mirage – September 22 to October 1, 2017 at AiiA 2.5 Theater Tokyo
・Fate/Grand Order The Stage – September 29 to October 8, 2017 at AiiA 2.5 Theater Tokyo
・Touken Ranbu: The Musical Kasyuu Kiyomiysu Solo Performance – September 29 to October 8, 2017 at AiiA 2.5 Theater Tokyo
・Tsukiuta 4th Stage - Lunatic Party – September 29 to October 8, 2017 at AiiA 2.5 Theater Tokyo
・Yowamushi Pedal – October 19 to October 23, 2017 at Tennouzu Ginga Theater
・Hyper Projection Engeki “Haikyu!!”: The Summer of Evolution – October 20 to October 29, 2017 at Tokyo Dome Hall
・Musical: K –Missing Kings– October 26 to October 29, 2017 at Tennouzu Ginga Theater
・Blue Exorcist Stage Play: Shimane Illuminati-hen – October 20 to October 29, 2017 at Zepp Blue Theater Roppongi
The homepage of Japan 2.5-Dimensional Musical Association that run AiiA 2.5 Theater Tokyo reliably tells you which of those musicals feature the Subtitle Glasses and offers a booking system in English, allowing you to get your hands on tickets even outside of Japan! Whether you’re an anime/manga otaku or just love musicals, we urge you to experience Japan 2.5-Dimensional Musical Association’s amazing take on Japanese pop culture for yourself!
AiiA 2.5 Theater Tokyoアイアシアタートーキョー
- Address 2-1-1 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0041 Japan
■ AiiA 2.5 Theater Tokyo
■ Japan 2.5 Dimensional Musical Association
■ Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Musical -Le Mouvement Final-
■ Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon 25th Year Anniversary Project Official Website
Note: The images in this article are for media purposes only. Please keep in mind that any filming and photography of both the show and the audience is strictly forbidden.
© Naoko Takeuchi・PNP / Musical “Sailor Moon” Production Committee 2017
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