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Over the past few months, there’s been a string of stage adaptations of hit anime and manga announced. But while we’re sure plenty of fans are psyched about the upcoming Naruto play and One Piece kabuki performance, fans of girls’ comics, or anime series with fewer than 600 episodes to wade through, might be feeling a little left out.

Luckily for them, there’s a more female-oriented, reasonably concise franchise about to become live performance theater, with the opening in March of a stage version of the Mysterious Play, or as it’s better known, Fushigi Yugi.

Starting as a manga by creator Yu Watase in 1992, Fushigi Yugi was turned into an anime TV series in 1995, which soon made inroads into the burgeoning American anime fanbase. Technically a girls’ series, its darker tale was a manageable step up from Sailor Moon, featuring themes of war, sacrifice, and betrayal, plus an unusually large number of mistaken assumptions by the supporting cast that the heroine had been raped.

▼ Series leads Miaka and Tamahome, seen in a quiet moment between tragic misunderstandings that leave one running off in tears

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Stepping into the role of Miaka, the junior high school girl who gets transported through a book to a mythical China-like kingdom, is 18-year-old model and entertainment personality Risako Ito, who was born just about the time the Fushigi Yugi TV series was reaching its broadcast finale. Top billing for the production, though, seems to be going to Yutaka Kyan, who’ll be playing Tamahome.

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The 20-year-old entertainer is a member of visual kei musical unit Golden Bomber, and Tamahome will be the Kyan’s first time acting in a play.

One of the secrets to Fushigi Yugi’s popularity, though, is that Tamahome isn’t the only hot guy hanging around and protecting Miaka from the forces of evil while she tries to find her way home. She’s surrounded by a team of seven guardians, all of whom will make appearances in the stage adaptation, where they’ll portrayed by Ikkei Yamamoto (playing Hotohori), Toshiyuki Someya (Nuriko), Yuta Kogawa (Chichiri), Masato Saki (Tasuki), Yusuke Hirose (Mitsukake), and Miku (Chiriko). Standing in opposition to the band of heroes will be Namiko Ito, playing Miaka’s best friend-turned-rival Yui, Yu Yoshioka as treacherous general Nakago, and Reo Sawada as his conflicted subordinate Amiboshi.

The Fushigi Yugi play is set to open March 19 at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel’s Club eX in Tokyo, and will close on March 29. 7,000 yen (US$59) gets you either a spot in the balcony or bench seating on the ground floor, while ponying up 9,000 yen gets you a closer seat on the first floor plus a Fushigi Yugi clear file and set of four post cards, one with a picture of Kyan. Tickets go on sale on February 14, and are expected to be available through the production’s website.

Related: Fushigi Yugi stage play website, Twitter
Source: Jin
Top image: Absolute Anime, Fushigi Yugi stage play website (edited by RocketNews24)
Insert images: Go Pixpic, Fushigi Yugi stage play