If you’ve got a favorite series from the hit fantasy series, odds are he’s in the huge cast of this new stage version.

Following last year’s stage version of hit anime and manga Fushigi Yugi, the franchise is once again getting a live performance event. This time, though, it’s not just a play, but a musical, following the latest trend for anime adaptations.

Set to open next month, this new production is unrelated to last year’s, and as such recasts protagonist Miaka and the collection of heroes and villains the Japanese schoolgirl meets after being sucked into a fantasy version of ancient China. Taking over the lead role from teen model Risako Ito is Reina Tanaka, a former J-pop idol previously attached to multi-vocalist group Morning Musume.

▼ Miaka, in her school unform and Suzako no Mika priestess garb

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Opposite Tanaka in the lead role is Ryo Hirano as Tamahome, Mikaka’s often romantically entwined bodyguard and occasional brainwashed tormentor.

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Meanwhile. Miaka’s fellow real-world refuge and former friend Yui, played by Shiori Sakata (who previously took on the role of Sailor Venus in one of the many Sailor Moon stage musical), spends most of her time trying to throw a wrench into Miaka’s plans to find a way home and/or hook up with Tamahome, while Nakago, portrayed by fashion model Juri, is a full-time enemy.

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Given the comparatively small budgets that Japanese theatre productions have to work with, it’s common for stage adaptations of anime to liberally trim the cast down to a fraction of the story’s original size. The Fushigi Yugi musical’s producers, though, seem to be trying to fit as many of the franchise’s memorable characters in as they can. For starters, all seven of Miaka’s personal protectors will make appearances. In addition to the above-seen Tamahome, there’s also delicately handsome emperor Hotohori (Takahiki Maeyama) and female-impersonating courtier Nuriko (who’s played by an actual woman, Mao Miyaji, in the musical).

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Yoshikazu Kotani will step into the bellicose shoes of reformed robber Tasuki, although it remains to be seen if the Tokyo-born Kotani will ape the character’s copious use of Osaka-dialect from the anime. Strapping on the headband of heavy-hearted physician Mitsukake will be Eiji Takigawa.

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Rounding out the Seven Celestial Warriors of Suzaku are Tatsumaru Tachibana as easy-going fan-favorite Chichiri and 28-year-old Daiki Tomida, who thanks to some impressive costuming and hairstyling is transformed into the much younger Chiriko.

▼ Apparently Tachibana isn’t enough of a method actor to cover one of his eyelids with scar tissue for the part.

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All of these heroes need someone to fight against, though. Archvillain Nakago can’t handle that entire workload by himself, so he’ll be joined by emotionally conflicted underling Amiboshi (Tsubasa Hattori) and mountain bandit chieftain Eiken (Zendo Ware).

▼ Something tells us one of these characters is meant to be taken just a little more seriously than the other.

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Finally, the last two cast members to be shown so far in costume are 31-year-old Jun Fujimiya as elderly mystical mentor Taiitsukun, and Mina Kuryu as Mitsukake’s tragically fated lover Shoka.

▼ Because it just wouldn’t be a shojo manga story without a heartrending romance or three.

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Amazingly, fans can expect to see even more characters from the series taking the stage, as the play’s official website lists more than a half-dozen other actors whose specific roles are yet to be revealed.

The Fushigi Yugi musical is scheduled to run from April 8 to 17 at the Ikebukuro Owl Spot theater in Tokyo. Tickets are priced at 8,000 yen (US$71) and can be purchased online here.

Related: Ikebukuro Owl Spot
Source: Fushigi Yugi musical official website via Anime News Network
Images: Fushigi Yugi musical official website