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The Sakura Wars Stage Play is a Storm of Romance in the Flesh

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Sakura Wars The Stage

Sakura Wars has a long history of producing bespoke Christmas songs, so it’s fitting that the franchise give its fans a Christmas gift: A look at the stage adaptation of the latest game in the series. Avex and Sega posted a digest video of Shin Sakura Taisen The Stage (going by the game’s Japanese name) December 25th, 2020, and also included Japanese subtitles to boot. The digest video was recorded by Avex during the play’s November 19-23, 2020 run.

The performance features all the Sakura Wars staples: singing, dancing, romance, and fights against demons. There’s even some innovative stage manipulation at work to simulate the girls of the Imperial Combat Revue fighting in their Spiricle Fighters. The cast appears in their costumes straight from the game, as well (though COVID-19 restrictions show them wearing small plastic barriers to keep their breath from traveling too far on stage). And of course, the Sakura Wars franchise itself is a transmedia pioneer of sorts: the original game concept was inspired by the Takarazuka Revue – an all-female acting troupe. And in addition to anime adaptations, spin-offs, and radio plays, the live stage performances continued long after the game line went dormant.

Shin Sakura Taisen the Stage is the first stage play based on the 2019 release of Sakura Wars, which debuted on PlayStation 4 in December 2019 in Japan and April 2020 globally. In it, a new protagonist, Seijuro Kamiyama, joins the Imperial Combat Revue, which is a shadow of its former self after years of decline. He takes command of the revue, featuring new members like Sakura Amamiya, Hatsuho Shinonome, Azami Mochizuki, Anastasia Palma, and Claris Snowflake, and a returning veteran in the form of former top star Sumire Kanzaki. Together they resolve to save their home base at the Imperial Theater by competing at the Combat Revue World Games tournament, taking on experienced fighters from other countries’ Combat Revues, as well as defeating a new demonic threat.

Sakura Wars is immediately available on PS4, and you can check out Siliconera’s playtest here. Check out other Sakura Wars media in our guide, such as Sakura Wars the Animation, an animated sequel (it’s also streaming on Funimation in North America). Sakura Revolution, a mobile spinoff by Fate/Grand Order developer Delightworks, began operations on December 15, 2020, though no global release plans have been announced as yet.

Josh Tolentino
Josh Tolentino helped run Japanator as Managing Editor since 2012, before it and Siliconera teamed up. That said, it's been years since he watched enough anime to keep his otaku license valid. Maybe one day he'll see enough of a given season to pretend to know what's hot. Until then, it's Star Trek reruns, gacha games, and bylines at Destructoid and GameCritics.