In Japan, Character Show Musicals (キャラクターショー・ミュージカル?) have run in conjunction with the Pretty Cure series ever since the first, and are organized by theatre company Gekidan Hikosen. The performers wear costumes concealing their own skin and wearing animegao/kigurumi masks to match on how the characters appear in the anime series.
During a live on stage edition of Pretty Cure, the performers only need to do the actions, as the voices heard during the show were pre-recorded by the actual seiyuus that do the anime series on TV. It usually features the main performers in both the super heroines and a couple of villains. The duration of the show lasts for about 20-25 minutes. These shows prominently feature dancing and simple fight scenes, and a simple storyline (always different to those of the actual episodes).
Sometimes these costumed actors appear only in short sessions featuring one or two Cures (usually from previous series to those running) and are given an introduction with a host and even a meet and greet session with the characters from their young loyal fans. In these sessions, there is usually a short quiz where the host will ask a series of questions based on the Cure/Cures that are on stage. This is then usually preceded by a handshake session and/or a photo session with the Cure(s).
Usually close to the releases of All Stars films (with the exception of Pretty Cure's 15th anniversary in 2018), outdoor performances are held with most if not all of the Cures present. However, in recent years, only the three most recent teams appear completely, with the other teams being represented by their lead Cure. These events consist dances of ending/opening themes of various series and a handshake session at the end. No villains or minor characters from any of the series are featured in them.
These shows have taken place in theme parks, department stores, special events & festivals, as well as anime conventions in the Tokyo area.
Near the end of the year, a slightly larger-scale production is run, usually in indoor theme parks (as most of the usual productions are outdoors) which has a different storyline to the smaller productions that run throughout the year. These (sometimes referred to as "Action Stage") usually include advanced fight scenes and special effects, another thing to note is that there are more villains and mascots (usually puppets). There is also a different set of suit actors for the Cures' civilian forms (the normal shows only have suit actors for the Cure forms). During transformation scenes, a special effect is incorporated which allows the civilian form suit actors to switch out for a different set wearing fully transformed Cure outfits. These productions are usually professionally recorded and released on DVD some time after they have taken place.
Starting with Star☆Twinkle Pretty Cure, another type of show is held towards the end of the season's run known as a Thanksgiving (感謝祭 Kanshasai?) show. Like the larger-scale productions, the event is held indoors. The purpose of this Thanksgiving event is to show appreciation to the viewers for supporting the Pretty Cure throughout the year. Unlike the other shows, the voice actors voice the Cures live on stage. Singers that contributed to the season also appear to sing songs live for the audience. The voice actors also read a script sharing an epilogue to the season that goes beyond the final episode. For Star☆Twinkle Pretty Cure's Thanksgiving Show, the script reading told what happened after Hikaru reunited with Lala, while for Healin' Good♥Pretty Cure's it depicted the Cures' future plans.
- Main page: Pretty Cure Live on Stage DVD