In early 2016, the beloved Rurouni Kenshin series will be getting its first musical adaptation by the Takarazuka Revue, Japan’s all-female musical theater troupe! If you’re a fan of the manga and singing, check out when and where the musical will be performed and start planning accordingly.
Nobuhiro Watsuki’s original Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story manga ran in the pages of Shuiesha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine between 1994-1999. The story spawned a hit anime series, critically acclaimed OVAs, and, more recently, a live-action film trilogy that starred heart-throb Takeru Satoh and concluded last fall.
The musical production will be performed by the Takarazuka Revue at both the Takarazuka Grand Theater in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture and at the Tokyo Takarazuka Theater in the capital’s Yurakucho district. The Takarazuka Grand Theater run will be from February 5 to March 14, 2016 (advance tickets will go on sale January 9) and the Tokyo Takarazuka Theater run will be from April 1 to May 8, 2016 (advance tickets will go on sale February 28).
▼ The announcement of the musical in Jump Square
One of the unique characteristics of the Takarazuka Revue, besides its all-female ensemble cast, which is famous for staging such productions as The Rose of Versailles, is the division of its members into five different troupes, each of which specializes in a signature style and/or element. The Rurouni Kenshin musical will be performed by the Revue’s Snow Troupe, which is considered “the upholder of traditional dance and opera for the whole company” — fitting for a work of historical fiction such as Kenshin, which is set after Japan’s Meiji Restoration in 1868.
Along with the announcement come some details regarding the main cast members involved in the production. The Snow Troupe’s top otokoyaku (“male role” actor) Seina Sagiri (早霧せいな) and top musumeyaku (“female role” actor) Miyu Sakihi (咲妃みゆ) will presumably portray main characters Kenshin Himura and Kaoru Kamiya in the musical. Shuichiro Koike will be in charge of the script and production.
▼ Top otokoyaku Seina Sagiri
▼ Top musumeyaku Miyu Sakihi
It’s been almost 16 years since the manga concluded, so it’s been a pleasure to see the Rurouni Kenshin revival over the past few years in the form of live-action movies, new manga spin-offs by the original author, and now this new musical production. Since Kenshin‘s fellow Shonen Jump megahit Dragon Ball is also currently experiencing a revival of sorts with two new animated films and an upcoming anime TV series slated to begin on July 5, is it too much to hope that Dragon Ball will also get its own Takarazuka adaptation? We’d just love to see Vegeta played by a no-nonsense, badass female actor!