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the Black Lady musical
Sera Myu (セラミュ; abbreviated from the words "Sailor Moon musical" (セーラームーン・ミュージカル) in katakana) refers to a series of Sailor Moon musicals staged in Japan. Between 1993 and 2005 the musicals were produced by Bandai, then from 2013 onward, by Nelke Planning. Many of the productions were based on plotlines taken from the anime and manga, while others were based on original stories. The musicals have had more than 30 separate productions with over 1000 total performances to date.
In the original run of the Sailor Moon musicals, the stories were based upon the original anime and manga versions, but sometimes drew upon totally original ideas, such as the Kaguya Shima Densetsu (Legend of Kaguya Island) musicals and the Dracul series. Frequently the producers fleshed out concepts from the anime or manga that were never developed, such as a relationship between the four Inner Senshi and the Shitennou, as well as the unrequited love of Sailor Pluto for King Endymion. The storylines of the various musicals would often use a continuity that did not entirely mesh with those of the other versions of canon, and would have different combinations of Sailor Moon's transformation and attack items; she often appeared in multiple versions of her sailor fuku (starting out as Sailor Moon and later powering up to Super Sailor Moon and then Eternal Sailor Moon), and she might perform Moon Healing Escalation using the Spiral Heart Moon Rod or Usagi might be wearing the Cosmic Heart Compact even when she transformed into Eternal Sailor Moon.
It was common for songs to be reused in later musicals, or for some to appear in every musical. For instance, "La Soldier" was performed as a curtain call to every show. The Kaiteiban was another major aspect of the musicals. Generally, new musicals ran in the summer, and then a revision was performed the following winter. The basic plot stayed the same, but revisions often had rearranged scenes or songs, small plot elements expanded upon, and actresses who were "graduating" (a term used when a cast member leaves) often had more solo parts and/or speaking lines.
The last production, Shin Kaguya Shima Densetsu (Kaiteiban) - Marinamoon Final concluded in January 2005, at which time BMO, the official fanclub, said that the musicals would be on a "short hiatus."
In 2013, the musicals began again with the production of La Reconquista. Under the direction of a new company, the revival had a different style from the Bandai productions, with new songs, wardrobe, and storytelling style, although the influence of the original run was clear. While the Bandai shows sometimes had male characters played by female performers, this became the norm in the Nelke productions, as there all cast members were female, similar to the Takarazuka Revue. Each of the musicals in this run corresponded with existing anime and manga story arcs, and most had only one show per year, rarely featuring a revision (the first being Amour Eternal, which was revised in spring 2017).
2015 marked the first time a full musical was performed outside of Japan with the short run of Petite Étrangère in China. In 2017 The Super Live, a production made specifically with an international audience in mind, was performed in France, then in the US in the following year.
There are several terms often used when talking about the Sailor Moon musicals.
- Graduation - When one of the cast members left the musicals, they were referred to as "graduating." A graduating actor/actress had a special farewell at the end of the senshuuraku.
- Guide Video - These videos were sold only at musical performances, and they contained behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the musical, as well as interviews with the cast and Fan Kansha footage.
- Kaiteiban - A revised version of a previous musical.
- Senshuuraku - The final day of a particular musical. Senshuuraku performances often had more ad libs or jokes, and at the end of the performance, the graduating cast members would be given a special farewell.
- Service Numbers - These songs were performed as encore numbers after the curtain call.
The original run of the musicals was divided up into separate stages, which were usually determined by actresses who "graduated." Western fans usually divided up the musicals into four separate stages, coinciding with the actress who played Sailor Moon. Anza Ohyama was the original actress for Sailor Moon, and was also the longest running (summer 1993 to winter 1998). The next stage was Fumina Hara, the shortest running Sailor Moon, who appeared from the summer of 1998 until the summer of 1999. The following stage was Miyuki Kanbe's, from winter 2000 to spring 2001. The fourth and final stage was Marina Kuroki, the second longest running Sailor Moon, from summer 2001 until winter of 2005.
The official stages, as broken down by the producers of the musicals, were quite different, and there were only three stages. The first was the same as Western fans' interpretation, with the First Stage ending when Anza Ohyama graduated with the revision of the Final First Stage musical, Eien Densetsu. The second stage began in summer 1998 and ended in winter 2004 with Kakyuu-Ouhi Kourin, which also marked the graduation of Yuuko Hosaka, the longest running Sailor Pluto. The third stage was the last stage by Bandai, which included only Shin Kaguya Shima Densetsu and its revision.
The new run of the musicals, which began in 2013 with Satomi Okubo as Sailor Moon, has not been officially divided into stages, but fans tend to divide them by types of production - a division that can also been seen in some form at the official website. The first one consisted of Okubo's and Hotaru Nomoto's musicals, which covered the five Sailor Moon story arcs, ending in 2017 with Le Mouvement Final.
After that, Nelke produced a couple of shows with different stylistic choices, namely the Nogizaka46 Version Musical and its revision, sometimes referred to by fans as "Nogi Myu," and The Super Live. Both projects were first released in 2018, having extended runs into the following year, and featured multiple actresses in the role of Sailor Moon.
List of Musicals
- Sailor Moon - Gaiden Dark Kingdom Fukkatsu Hen (1993 Summer Special)
- Sailor Moon - Gaiden Dark Kingdom Fukkatsu Hen (Kaiteiban) (1994 Winter Special)
- Sailor Moon Super Spring Festival (1994 Spring Special)
- Sailor Moon S - Usagi Ai no Senshi e no Michi (1994 Summer Special)
- Sailor Moon S - Henshin - Super Senshi e no Michi (1995 Winter Special)
- Sailor Moon S - Henshin - Super Senshi e no Michi (Kaiteiban) (1995 Spring Special)
- Sailor Moon SuperS - Yume Senshi - Ai - Eien ni... (1995 Summer Special)
- Sailor Moon SuperS - (Kaiteiban) Yume Senshi - Ai - Eien ni... Saturn Fukkatsu Hen (1996 Spring Special)
- Sailor Moon SuperS Special Musical Show (1996 Early Summer Special)
- Sailor Moon Sailor Stars (1996 Summer Special)
- Sailor Moon Sailor Stars (Kaiteiban) (1997 Winter Special)
- Eien Densetsu (1997 Summer Special)
- Eien Densetsu (Kaiteiban) - The Final First Stage (1998 Winter Special)
- Shin Densetsu Kourin (1998 Summer Special)
- Kaguya Shima Densetsu (1999 Spring Special)
- Kaguya Shima Densetsu (Kaiteiban) Natsuyasumi! Houseki Tankentai (1999 Summer Special)
- Shin / Henshin - Super Senshi e no Michi - Last Dracul Jokyoku (2000 Winter Special)
- Kessen / Transylvania no Mori - Shin Toujou! Chibi Moon wo Mamoru Senshi-tachi (2000 Summer Special)
- Kessen / Transylvania no Mori (Kaiteiban) - Saikyou no Kataki Dark Cain no Nazo (2001 Winter Special)
- Last Dracul Saishuu Shou - Chou Wakusei Death Vulcan no Fuuin (2001 Spring Special)
- Tanjou! Ankoku no Princess Black Lady (2001 Summer Special)
- Tanjou! Ankoku no Princess Black Lady (Kaiteiban) - Wakusei Nemesis no Nazo (2002 Winter Special)
- 10th Anniversary Festival - Ai no Sanctuary (2002 Spring Special)
- Mugen Gakuen - Mistress Labyrinth (2002 Summer Special)
- Mugen Gakuen - Mistress Labyrinth (Kaiteiban) (2003 Winter Special)
- Starlights - Ryuusei Densetsu (2003 Summer Special)
- Kakyuu-Ouhi Kourin - The Second Stage Final (2004 Winter Special)
- Shin Kaguya Shima Densetsu (2004 Summer Special)
- Shin Kaguya Shima Densetsu (Kaiteiban) - Marinamoon Final (2005 Winter Special)
- La Reconquista (2013)
- Petite Étrangère (2014-2015)
- Un Nouveau Voyage (2015)
- Amour Eternal (2016-2017)
- Le Mouvement Final (2017)
- Nogizaka46 Version Musical (2018)
- The Super Live (2018-2019, 2023)
- Nogizaka46 Version Musical 2019 (2019)
- Kaguya-hime no Koibito (2021)
- 30th Anniversary Musical Festival -Chronicle- (2022)