History & Origin
Between the years of 1993 and 2005, stage musical adaptations of the Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon saga, nicknamed Sera Myu, short for Sailor Moon musicals, were performed in Japan. While many of these productions were based on plotlines taken from the anime and manga, several original stories and scenarios were created specially for the stage. There were 29 separate productions with over 800 total performances.
Despite being the longest-running version of Sailor Moon, it is possibly the least well-known, due in part to the fact that no performances were released outside Japan. Sera Myu has much to offer Sailor Moon fans from its expression of character and relationship subtleties to the re-telling of familiar stories and the introduction of new ones.
Over 200 songs were written exclusively for the musicals. It was common for many of these songs to be reused in several productions, especially characters', couples', and battle themes. Frequently a song would be performed later, but with new lyrics. Several composers and lyricists who worked on the Sailor Moon anime also wrote songs for the musicals.
The Kaiteiban (Revisions) represent 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 commonly stayed the same, but Revisions often had rearranged scenes or songs, small plot elements were expanded upon, and actresses who were "graduating" (a term used when a cast member left) often had more solo parts and/or speaking lines.
The musicals can be divided up into separate stages, which are usually determined by actresses who "graduate." Western fans usually divide up the musicals into four separate stages, coinciding with the actress who played Sailor Moon during that time. Officially, however, there are only three stages, the first lasting from the musicals' inception until the spring of 1999. The second stage lasted until January of 2004, ending with the graduation of Yuuko Hosaka, the longest running Sailor Pluto. The third and current stage began in the summer of 2004.
The most recent production, Shin Kaguya Shima Densetsu (Kaiteiban), concluded in January of 2005. According to BMO, the official fan club, the musicals are currently on a "short hiatus," but as of yet there have been no signs that any new musicals will be made.