Skip to content




Anime Takes the Stage: The Rise of 2.5-Dimensional Musicals and Beyond

Time & Location

March 30, 8pm EDT


What is a 2.5-Dimensional (2.5D) musical?

It is a stage adaptation from two-dimensional media such as anime, manga and video games. This new genre of Japanese pop culture has gained remarkable popularity in Japan since the debut of Musical The Prince of Tennis in 2003.

2.5D culture attempts to recreate the fictional world (2D) in the real world (3D) and is expanding and deepening in Japan. It has manifested itself in different forms such as cosplay, voice actors’ concerts and V-tubers. As a part of the phenomenon, 2.5D musicals have brought anime, manga and video games to the stage and created a whole new cultural practice of theatrical performances.

Join us for the panel discussion with Dr. Akiko Sugawa-Shimada, Dr. Zihui Amethy Lu, and Dr. Mayuko Fujiwara as they introduce the uniqueness of 2.5D musicals using examples such as The Prince of Tennis, Sailor Moon, Naruto, and Touken Ranbu. They will be comparing it with other conventional musicals, history of Japanese theatre, as well as discussing where 2.5D musicals fit in the larger scheme of the 2.5D culture and why they are expanding.

The discussion will be followed by a live Q&A. If you have any questions about the adaptation of anime and manga to the stage, now is your chance to ask the experts. Please ask your question when you register for the event via Eventbrite. Live commentary will also be enabled on the YouTube stream, so you can participate in the Q&A session on air as well.

This event is free. Registrants will receive the link to the stream via email.


Dr. Akiko Sugawa-Shimada is a Professor of Urban Sciences at Yokohama National University in Japan. She specializes in Cultural Studies (anime, manga, games), Gender Studies, Audience Studies, Contents Tourism. Her current research centers on Manga of/for Women in Asia, Cosplay and 2.5-dimensional musicals, and Contents tourism. She is the author of numerous books and papers on Japanese pop culture, including 2.5-dimentional Culture Studies: Stage Plays, Characters, and Fandoms and Representations of Magical Girls and Japanese Female Viewership.
> Official Website

Dr. Zihui Amethy Lu is a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at Southern University of Science and Technology, China. She received her PhD in Japanese Studies from National University of Singapore. She specializes in popular theater in Japan and China, popular culture in contemporary Japan, and intermediality in theater and performance. She is currently working on a manuscript on the development and industry of Japanese 2.5-dimensional theater.
> Official Website

Dr. Mayuko Fujiwara is an invited researcher of Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Tokyo, Japan. She received her PhD from Waseda University. She has interests in stage musicals, Broadway musicals and Japanese musical theater. Currently she is a lecturer of Aoyama Gakuin University and other academic institutions. Her paper “On Musical The Prince of Tennis: An Approach to 2.5 Dimensional Musicals” compares the musicals between 2.5D and Broadway.

Previous Sessions

EP1: Roundtable: Why Do We Study Anime and Manga?
EP2: Through a Glass Darkly: Identity Crises in Ghost in the Shell and Neon Genesis Evangelion
EP3: The Power of Music in Anime
EP4: Satoshi Kon: Tracing the Legacy of an Anime Giant
EP5: Sailor Moon: How These Magical Girls Transformed Our World

  • Featured
  • Pop Culture Events
  • Projects Organized by JFNY