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.

150cm exactly!

150cm exactly!

Before we can talk about body sizes and proportions, we need at least one data point to work off of: height. Fortunately for us, we have Usagi’s height,1 which I’ve used as a basis to estimate the heights of all the other characters.

All of these heights are restricted purely to the anime, since we don’t actually have any data on the manga. To be fair, though, since the anime was drawn by multiple artists and had to strive for a certain amount of consistency, while the manga was drawn only by Ms. Takeuchi, I think it’s fine to restrict our analysis only to the Sailor Moon anime.

With height out of the way, the next important information we’ll need are what are the three data points for bust, waist, and hips — colloquially known in Japan as the “three sizes” (スリーサイズ; suri- saizu).2

Once again, we’re in luck. It turns out that the lingerie manufacturer Wacoal has done an intensive study following a group of women for over 30 years and carried out over 40,000 measurements.3 In 1995, after analyzing their data, Wacoal released the figures for what they called the “Golden Canon,” mathematical proportions for the ideal unique figure (in terms of objective beauty) for Japanese women.4 The Golden Canon is calculated as follows:

Ideal bust = height x 0.54
Ideal waist = height x 0.38
Ideal hips = height x 0.54

It goes without saying that since the Sailor Soldiers are animated depictions of women, these numbers should be a reasonably safe basis for us to use in calculating the figures of the Sailor Moon cast. So assuming that girls are all firmly in the Japanese “Golden Canon” camp, what would their figures end up looking like?

I’ve included the averages for real-world Japanese ninth grade students as a point of comparison.5

Wacoal's Golden Canon

Wacoal’s Golden Canon

Taking a look at this chart, you can see that — even using the “idealized” Golden Canon — the Sailor Team doesn’t actually deviate too far off from reality. Since we don’t have hard data for waist or hip sizes (though from what I’ve seen, hip sizes across the board in Japan tend to be larger than the Golden Canon would suggest), our sailor-suited heroines are a bit more on the curvy side than the rest of the general population, in addition to being taller.

We could probably call the question off here and say that, assuming the Sailor Soldiers are depicted in the ballpark of the Japanese standards of idealized body proportions, they’re not too far off from reality.

However, using these numbers would imply that all of the Sailor Soldiers have exactly the same figure shape and have exactly the same proportions, which I have a hard time believing. That raises the unique challenge of just how one can get individual proportions for each member of the Sailor Team.

The many SeraMyu actresses

The many SeraMyu actresses

To get a more specific idea, in aggregate, of what the individual figures for the inner Sailor Soldiers would look like,6 I decided to look to our strongest sources of real-world portrayals of the sailor-suited warriors of love and justice: the live action tv drama from 20037 and the large number of musicals which have been running since nearly the beginning of Sailor Moon and well into modern day.

My assumption is that when hiring the various actresses to portray their respective characters, the casting directors and producers are obviously doing their best to find the person who most accurately portrays the character, not much unlike the highly detailed hiring process for Disney’s so-called “face characters” at their theme parks.8

Since every person is different and these characters obviously don’t exist in the real world, it’d be unreasonable to just pick, say, one actresses and call her the representative example of Ami’s figure. There’s also an issue with the fact that nearly none of the actresses are as short as any of the characters they represent (due to the obvious age differences). So to get around this, must like with what Wacoal chose to do, I took the average proportions from all of the actresses for each character to find something of a “Golden Canon” on a character-by-character basis.9

So what would the proportions of the Sailor Soldiers look like if they were to exist in the real world (using their respective actresses for body ratios)? Here’s a breakdown:

While these stats are by no means official, I do find that it gives an interesting insight into how their respective figures are perceived. While Usagi’s pretty much spot on from what we can estimate from the anime, I find it pretty impressive how Ami and Makoto differ, with the actresses portraying Ami being a bit more on the full-figured side (maybe due to Osa-P’s love for Ami?) and Makoto being slimmer than in the anime.

This is certainly one way to get measurements...

This is certainly one way to get measurements…

What does this tell us? Well, considering that the average bust size for Japanese women well into adulthood is around 82.4cm, using the “idealized” Golden Canon sizes would probably put us closer to what we see in the anime, with nearly all of the Sailor Soldiers (except for Usagi) ranking above average. This shouldn’t be too surprising, though, considering that they are all above average in height as well.

When you look at the more realistic proportions of the women chosen to portray them, however, you get a slightly different picture and are able to see a clearer image of the discrepancy in how the characters were perceived – at least as far as casting directors were concerned.

So what do you think? Even considering that this is an anime, were the characters portrayed fairly? Without doing a frame-by-frame analysis and measuring the actual images I’m afraid this is the closest we can get to sizes, but I do think it helps illustrate some interesting differences between the characters!


References:

5 comments

  • Hah… this is one topic I wasn’t expecting to see (complete with charts and everything!)

    I think that body sizes are the one thing Sailor Moon got right a lot of the time, at least for the heroes anyway. They all look pretty normal… yeah, maybe their arms and legs are drawn a bit skinny at times, but they typically seem to appear like normal girls. And it’s not like there aren’t people their age who actually do have thin arms and legs like that.

    Though there were some enemies (especially MOTD) with ridiculous bodies with giant boobs. And then there’s some just plain odd stuff, like the Amazon Quartet and Momo-chan being far more developed than they ought to be (in the manga this happens with Chibiusa as well).

    And then with the change in artists for Sailor Stars, the super-skinny limbs started to get a little worse.

    • You can definitely tell the difference between what art studio did which episodes in the Sailor Moon anime, and I think the first season had this problem a lot. There’s one specific team (though the name escapes me at the moment) that always drew the girls with ridiculously long legs. You could always tell something was a little off.

      That said, I have to say that the anime definitely did a decent job of making them actually look like real, normal girls and not the well-endowed caricatures anime is often known for. Though that’s probably credited to this being an anime more focused on children, and girls to boot. The manga, though, is another story entirely (and that’s why I didn’t consider it). As much as I absolutely adore Ms. Takeuchi’s art in the manga, she had a tendency to draw the girls of a rather… well-endowed nature. Even Chibi Chibi gets the treatment in some of her artwork!

  • Your article never fail to amaze me… charts and comparisons, you should write a thesis instead

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  • Proportions in Sailor Moon are in all fairness pretty modest compared to quite a lot of anime, even in it’s own age group. There’s no infamous Gainex boob bouncing thankfully.

    Let’s not try to pretend Japan doesn’t have a tendency to sex up girls. Indeed the Senshi outfits can certainly be seen as titillating to a number of people.
    Funny thing is the anime (primarily made by men) actually toned down the more supermodellish aspect from Naoko’s work.
    Which is why I disliked the artstyle for the first part of Crystal. Barely anyone looked the age they were supposed to be.

Any thoughts? Leave a comment!