Top 10 Things You May Not Have Known About Sailor Moon
For the past twenty four years, Sailor Moon has had an undying influence on not just the Shoujo genre, but anime as a whole. Both its original manga and anime series were published and broadcasted from 1992-1997 in Japan, and became available to numerous nations around the world. Its success still continues to blossom with not just new merchandise, DVD and Bluray releases based on the series from over 20 years ago, but in a new installment called Crystal.
This meant to represent Takeuchi-sensei’s manga that the original anime series did not faithfully follow. For today’s top 10 things you may not know list, we shall explore the groundbreaking Sailor Moon.
10. The US Licensing Process and Original English Names
Toonmakers Saban Sailor Moon - Cleaned up and In HD (Updates!!)
As many of you casual to hardcore fans may know, Bandai and Toon Makers (with Saban as a distributor) originally wanted to air Sailor Moon. Not as the anime that fans around the world know and love, but as something else. In case some of non-fans or noobs may know, Toon Makers wanted to do a new Sailor Moon from scratch. It would be a mix of live action and American animation, but it never took off and for economically logical reasons.
As for why this approach was considered, when the promo came out in the 1990s, Power Rangers was taking off in the US and Power Rangers is a US adaptation of Japan’s super sentai franchise (Sailor Moon took influence from it), in which the Japanese footage was mixed with original American. Based on the instant success of Power Rangers at the time, the company thought they could capitalize on that success but obviously never came to be,
Sailor Moon DIC Promo Commercial
But the story does not end there. When DiC got the rights and released their first promo, the names of the dub were not originally Serena, Amy, Raye, Lita and Mina. Usagi was Victoria, Ami was Blue, Makoto was Sarah, Rei was Dana, and Minako was named Carrie. And Tuxedo Mask’s name would be the Masked Tuxedo. However, Luna and Queen Beryl would still retain their names. Some speculate that these names could have been carried over from Toon Maker’s pitch but the only thing that remained was the official US logo for the series.
9. Manga vs The 90s Anime
Most anime based on hit manga tend to wait anywhere between two to five years to get a series. But in the case of Sailor Moon, the series premiered one month after publication of its manga (with the manga debuting in February 1992). Despite sharing many of the same core elements, its execution took many directions and many important factors from the manga were never in the old anime. In addition, Ali and En in the first Sailor Moon R story arc were filler characters and were never in the original manga.
The String Quartet in the SuperS series were Chibi Moon’s Sailor Senshi team and they were called the meteor Senshi in the manga. In the Sailor Stars anime series, though the Starlights were biologically men in their civilian disguise and could turn into women as Sailor Senshi, in the original manga, they were always biologically women. Takeuchi-sensei personally had an issue with this change because she said only women can be Sailor Senshi.
8. Rei and Religion in Japan
Influenced by Takeuchi-sensei’s brief experience as a Miko, or Shrine Maiden, Rei is a very good analogy of an old saying in Japan about their spirituality and approach to religion. Up until the end of the 90s, the Japanese used to have an old saying that you're born Shinto, live Christian and die Buddhist. How this relates to Rei is that she is a Miko at a Shinto shrine, attends a Christian school, and her attacks like the Burning Mandala are from Buddhism.
7. Controversy in Japan
Between the 1990s and 2000s, hardcore anime fans at the time were openly critical about any slight change and edit to anime on TV. The mentality of US fans at the time was if Japan could handle racy/mature content and still have a low crime rate, why can't American audiences? Granted outlines that emphasized the female anatomy were erased with the transformation sequences, but if there was one group of edits in the US broadcast that could be justified, it was the deaths of the Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Mask in the last battle against Queen Beryl.
In the same vein that Optimus Prime’s death caused a commotion amongst fans and parents with the 1986 Transformers movie, parents in Japan actually complained about the deaths of the Sailor Senshi in season 1 saying it was scaring the children. If this was enough to make Japanese parents concerned, just imagine how Americans would react. Then again, I do give the American version credit for how they tastefully did Nephrite’s death and made it very touching.
6. Seiyuu Stories
Some of the the cast had very interesting stories to getting their roles. For starters, Hisakawa Aya, the voice of Ami/Mercury actually auditioned to play Sailor Moon, but Takeuchi-sensei liked Mitsuishi Kotono the best. Plus, Hisakawa admitted when she heard Mitsuishi’s performance, she admitted she was perfect for the role and couldn't perform like her. However, in the last few episodes of the first season, Mitsuishi fell ill and was briefly replaced by Kae Araki, who would later join the cast full time as Chibi Usa. Last, the core seiyuus of the Sailor Senshi would collaborate to sing some of the songs for both the series and image CDs under the group name, Peach Hips.
5. Takeuchi-sensei Wrote Some of the Songs
In addition to making the original manga, Takeuchi-sensei wrote the lyrics for some of the songs. She is credited with writing the Sailor Star theme song, Princess Moon, Tuxedo Mirage, Hottkenai yo, Route Venus, Nagareboshi he, and a few others.
4. The Senshi’s Last Names are Word Plays
Next, the names of the Senshi are plays on the planets they represent. For starters, the Tsuki in Tsukino 月野means moon and Chiba 地場 means earth. 水野 or Mizuno,is a reference to how to write Mercury 水星 (suisei)in Japanese. 火野 Hino is 火星 (kasei)Mars, 木野 Kino is 木星 (mokusei)for Jupiter, and Venus is kind of a strange exception. While her last name 愛野 does not match how to write the planet Venus in kanji 金星 (kinsei)the first name of Minako in Kanji 美奈子, can also be read as Binasu. 美 can be read as Mi/Bi, 奈 remains as Na, and 子 is read as ko/su. Binasu is the pronunciation of Venus in Japanese phonetics based on their kana syllable based language.
For the outer senshi, with the last names of Tennou 天王 , Kaiou 海王, Meiou冥王, you just put this kanji 星 at the end of each name, and you get the respective translations for Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. For Saturn, 土星 her last name is Tomoe 土萠.
3. Moonlight Knight
In the first story arc of the Sailor Moon R season, Mamoru was not active as Tuxedo Mask due to his memories being erased after the events of season 1. However, his feelings of wanting to protect Sailor Moon manifested as the Moonlight Knight. The character was influenced by a 1950s Tokusatsu series called Moonlight Mask, or Gekkou Kamen (which would later get an anime in the 1970s). However, the series created controversy when children tried to imitate his acrobatics causing some deaths, which led to its cancellation during the time of its original broadcast.
2. Sailor Moon’s Pose
As for how Sailor Moon got her pose for “Tsukini Kawatte, Oshioki yo” or “in the name of the moon I shall punish you,” Sato Junichi, the first director, got the idea from an old and obscure gag anime called Gakideka, the story of a child police officer who makes mischief. The director decided to “feminize” the pose of Komawari-kun’s “shikei” or “death penalty,” to what it is and it became a staple point for the franchise.
1. Influences on Evangelion
Kotono Mitsuishi’s casting as Misato and her role as Sailor Moon played an influence on the design of her character. When the character designer was informed of this news, he actually “borrows” Usagi’s bangs and used them on Misato as a tongue in cheek reference to both characters sharing the same voice actress. In addition, if some of you readers are readers are fans of the Super Robot Wars video game series, Misato and Amuro (from the Mobile Suit Gundam series) have some romantic tensions. The reason for this is because Amuro is voiced by Furuya Tooru, the voice of Tuxedo Mask, and this is meant to be a reference that their characters’ voice actors are eternal lovers in Sailor Moon.
In addition, Ayanami Rei’s name came from Hino Rei, with both names written with the same katakana characters, レイ.
As an honorable mention, I will share just a couple of few bonus facts. As many of you may know, Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities to live in but with the occurrence of Tokyo Tower being a significant part of the franchise, it gives an indication of where the characters live.
The majority of the series takes place around the Azabu Juban neighborhood of the Minato Ward and if the most expensive city in the world has a most expensive area, this has to be it. So it may be probable the parents of the characters made good money before the economic bubble busted while the manga debuted not too long after. Plus, in that area, Rei works at the Hikawa Shrine and there is a real life Hikawa Shrine. The series labels it in this kanji 火川神社 (with the first kanji in reference to Hino/Mars), while the real life shrine is written in this kanji 氷川神社.
And one last quick mention, which most hardcore fans will likely know, just like how Simpsons creator Matt Groening used his family’s names for those characters except Bart, Takeuchi-sensei incorporated the names of her family members, Kenji, Ikuko, and Shingo into Usagi’s family.
So did you know some of these facts? Did you learn something new? Are there any fans out there that can share something we missed or something very intriguing? Please feel free to leave a comment!!!