Was Sailor Jupiter Almost Cut from Sailor Moon?

The Original Sailor Team

The Original Sailor Team

While it’s easy to look at the Sailor Moon series now, in its long history spanning nearly two-and-a-half decades, and to say that its monolithic success was basically guaranteed. I mean, when you look at its legacy – an immensely successful five-year run for both anime and manga, a long-running musical, a television drama, and countless other product lines – it’s hard to not look at it with our 20/20 hindsight and say that the series was destined to end up this way.

But is it really that simple? When you take a look at some of the decisions Ms. Takeuchi and the animation staff made, there’s some room to wonder if some emergency plans were made to cut the series short, specifically before Makoto made her appearance. Let’s take a closer look!

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What Weapons Were the Inner Soldiers Supposed to Wield?

The Sailor Team Attacks

The Sailor Team Attacks

One of the interesting key differences about the Outer Sailor Soldiers is that, unlike the Inners, they all have their own weapons / talismans. Even Sailor Moon and Sailor ChibiMoon get on the trend and have their own various sticks, rods, and kaleidoscopes! So why is it that the Inner Sailor Soldiers miss out on this pattern and don’t have their own weapons? The fact of the matter is: it wasn’t always meant to be that way. So what were the Sailor Soldiers armed with?

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Was Naru Intended to Be a Bigger Part of Sailor Moon?

Usagi Tsukino and Naru Osaka – BFFs

Usagi Tsukino and Naru Osaka – BFFs

Naru Osaka is one of those secondary characters that is incredibly hard to pin down. At first glance she’s just one of many background characters – like Ms. Haruna SakuradaUsagi’s family, and many other members of the supporting case – but when you actually take time to look at the amount of work put into developing her character, you realize that quite a bit more work was put into her background than many others. So what do we actually know about Usagi’s best friend?

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Does Usagi’s Family Also Have a Moon Connection?

The Tsukinos

The Tsukinos

The Tsukino family play an interesting part in the Sailor Moon universe since they both have a strong connection to Usagi – the central character in the story – while at the same time supposedly representing what is mundane and normal in the world. Since it’s pretty well known that Ms. Takeuchi was a fan of adding in little touches here and there as in-jokes/references about her characters, often through clever puns in their names, it’s probably worth taking a deeper look at what connections, if any, Usagi’s family has.

First and foremost, it’s worth noting that the Usagi’s family members’ names don’t have any special meanings behind them, since we know that the makeup of her family and the names themselves are based off of Naoko’s real family.1 Though the kanji is likely different, it seems that Kenji, Ikuko, and Shingo are all based on the Takeuchi family.

However, not all is lost for subtle references to rabbits and the moon, at least when it comes to the anime!

Ikuko and Usagi's unique hairstyle

Ikuko and Usagi’s unique hairstyle

Though far more pronounced in the anime than in the manga, if you look closely you can see that both Ikuko and Usagi share a common trait in their hairstyle – particularly, that they have a heart-shaped part in the middle of their bangs. This styling of course can also be seen in Queen Serenity, ChibiUsa, and Chibi Chibi as well. So what’s the point?

Crescent Moon Bangs

Crescent Moon Bangs

Well, it’s not actually a heart-shaped parting in her bangs, but actually two crescent moons facing each other, which gives the appearance of a heart.

While the effect may be subtle, it’s much easier to see when highlighted, as shown here. Ikuko’s hair style varies a bit from episode to episode and is a little less pronounced in the Sailor Moon Crystal anime, but if you look closely, you can definitely see that the two-moon hair style is the same across all of the versions.

Even if Queen Serenity is considered Sailor Moon’s true mother and Ikuko is her mother only through reincarnation, it’s nice to know that Ikuko still has her place in connecting to Usagi!

Moving onto Kenji, well, I’m afraid that unfortunately he doesn’t really seem to play a big part in the series (which isn’t uncommon for fathers in anime/manga, I suppose), so other than the connection to Ms. Takeuchi’s own family, there’s not much to go off of here.

Shingo the Bunny Man

Shingo the Bunny Man

The good news, though, is that Shingo isn’t without his own interesting reference!

Though not directly tied to the moon at first glance, if you take a look at his name tag (which he’s required to wear going to, from, and in school in lieu of a uniform), you’ll notice two little round bits on top of his last name, 月野 (tsukino). This is consistent throughout the first season of the anime, at least, and always appears on his name tag. So what is it?

Much like the odango hairstyle that Usagi uses, these two little circles on top of the moon kanji character are meant to be reminiscent of bunny ears, which ties back into the traditional Asian legend of there being a rabbit on the moon (and the inspiration for Usagi’s name in the first place).2 Now, why Shingo would want to draw rabbit ears, in honor of his sister, on his name tag in the first place is beyond me, but I guess we can assume he has a soft spot in his heart for his sister anyway.

It’s really unfortunate that Usagi’s family really took a back seat as the series progressed in order to make room for more characters, but I suppose it was necessary when you consider that new characters were being added and also needed time in the lime light.

All the same, though, it’s nice to know that the anime producers took the time to at least put in these extra little details for the fans to catch! Yet another little bit of trivia that makes Sailor Moon fun to watch over and over again.

 

Are the Sailor Soldiers’ Bust Sizes Unrealistic?

Rumor has it that Makoto's got talent

Rumor has it that Makoto’s got talent

Before we even begin discussing this question, let me just start out by saying that there’s absolutely no way to talk about this without sounding just a little creepy. For me, it’s not so much an interest in discussing this particular issue — namely, the bust sizes of the Sailor Soldiers — and is more of an interest in trying to figure out how one could go about answering this question. Since the world of Sailor Moon is fictional and the creators didn’t actually bother making up real world data for a lot of questions, fans are left to fill in the gaps. Like, for example, just what exactly the body proportions for the Sailor Soldiers actually are.

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Why Don’t People Wear Seat Belts in Sailor Moon?

Michiru Knows You Should Click-it or Ticket!

Michiru Knows You Should Click-it or Ticket!

Once again we find ourselves looking back at the world of Sailor Moon and applying some of the real world laws and various issues which had a surprising impact on the way the world was presented to us fans. While, sure, this may seem like a minor stylistic choice made by the producers of the anime, Japanese television programs – and particularly those targeted to children – are rather frequently criticized by parents and consumer advocacy groups whenever it’s perceived that they’re promoting unsafe activity or otherwise pose risks to their viewers. So if it’s so unsafe, why do so many characters not wear seat belts??

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[Sailor Games] Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon R (Game Boy)

Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon R for the Game Boy (1994)

Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon R for the Game Boy (1994)

Whether you love the Sailor Moon games developed by Angel or not, you have to be impressed by the developer’s ability to not only keep publishing games at a rather fast pace, but also the fact that they managed to innovate with each and every game, learning from the lessons of the older games and fixing problems for players. This time we’re taking a look at Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon R for the Nintendo Game Boy.

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Why Was ChibiUsa Sad About Returning to the Future?

The Sailor Team Say Their Goodbyes

The Sailor Team Say Their Goodbyes

This is yet another one of those odd questions that at first glance sounds completely obvious, but makes a lot less sense when you stop and actually start to think about it. I mean, of course ChibiUsa is sad to leave Usagi, Mamoru, and the Sailor Team to go back to the future. After all, she has to go all the way back to the future to be with… Usagi, Mamoru, and the Sailor Team? This is unfortunately one of those situations where there is no proper answer to the question, but it’s at least worth taking a look at it in a little further detail!

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Why Does a Fish Keep Appearing in Sailor Moon?

It's rude to look at a lady's underwear... but this is for research!

It’s rude to look at a lady’s underwear… but this is for research!

To be fair, this is probably not a question that has crossed many people’s minds, but I thought it was interesting enough that it was at least worth discussing. After all, while we all know that it’s not uncommon for Japanese anime and manga to make references to each other, for those who have grown up in the west — or are watching Sailor Moon decades after it first aired — the references are no longer instantly obvious. So just why does this odd fish keep appearing, and who/what is it?

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Why Does Sailor Moon Heal Everyone?

Mooooon Healing ESCALATION!

Mooooon Healing ESCALATION!

An alternative title for this question is probably: “Why Doesn’t Sailor Moon Kill More People?” But that seemed a little dark, so I decided for some nicer phrasing. It’s not like we actually want Usagi to kill, right?

One thing that makes this question interesting is that, if Sailor Moon had been a cartoon originally made in the United States back in the early 90’s, I wouldn’t give this a second thought and it wouldn’t even occur to me that it’s odd that the vast majority of the monsters of the day (and even the major villains!) end up being ‘healed’ or otherwise brought over to the side of good. Even when the villains do wind up being killed in the anime, they usually die at their own hands, by being backstabbed by a colleague, or for some reason unrelated to the Sailor Team. But this is Japan, where the concept of showing bad (or even good!) people die in children’s media isn’t considered to be so wrong.

Detective Conan can be surprisingly dark...

Detective Conan can be surprisingly dark…

Take Detective Conan for example. Its target audience is mainly young children, and yet since the anime began its run in 1996, a total of 334 people have died as of episode 631.1 Since the story is meant to take place over just one year (without any of the fancy time-resets Sailor Moon is granted), that works out to 0.9 deaths per day!

Even in the live-action Super Sentai series,2 which Sailor Moon‘s concept is based on, at the very least the daily monsters were generally killed without a second thought.

The first, and most obvious answer, is the argument related to sexism (though not necessarily in a bad way): the Sailor Soldiers are girls, and thus are seen to be pure and shouldn’t be killing people. What makes this a particularly difficult to refute argument is that the Sailor Moon series essentially created the fighting superheroine genre3 in Japan, so we don’t have a lot of examples to go off of. But I personally don’t think that’s 100% of the story.

Moonlight Mask

Moonlight Mask

I wonder if, perhaps, this might be partially related to the major thematic element of the series – the moon. In fact, Japan’s first tv superhero, Moonlight Mask,4 also fought as a “soldier from the moon.” His name (月光仮面; gekkou kamen) actually comes from the Japanese name of the Buddhist bodhisattva Candraprabha,5 whose name is written in Japanese as 月光菩薩 (gakkou bosatsu; Moonlight Bodhisattva).

So how does this connect to the Sailor Soldiers always choosing to show mercy over killing? Well, Moonlight Mask’s motto (as a throwback to his Buddhist inspiration) might be the key:

憎まず、殺さず、許しましょう

“Do not hate, do not kill – let us forgive.”

Moonlight Mask was also known for not killing his enemies, possibly in reference to the Buddhist origins behind his name, but I also believe it’s related to the perception of the moon as a source of unsullied purity; a light in the darkness. This connection also is carried through into the Sailor Moon series, from the purity of the characters themselves and even back to the peace of the Silver Millennium, which was only put to an end due to the greed of humanity. But what about you? Do you think it’s simply a matter of tv viewers not wanting to see women kill, or is there possibly some other, deeper explanation that I missed?

As an interesting aside, between his turban, name, and all white outfit, he’s pretty clearly the inspiration behind Moonlight Knight, and also the second time Mamoru is based on an old Japanese superhero.

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