The Third Day of Christmas – Sailor Moon Dress-Up Magnets
On the third day of (Sailor Moon) Christmas, we have an interesting variation on the kisekae paper dress-up dolls1 that uses magnets to hold the clothes in place rather than flimsy paper fold-over tags.
This particular toy dates back to the Sailor Moon R anime and features six different variations: Usagi 1, Usagi 2, Ami, Rei, Makoto, and Minako. Each of the characters appears in some sort of busy backdrop in which they appear (by default) in their casual/civilian clothes and you can then put them either in their Sailor Soldier uniform or in the clothes for some job they’re apparently working – a stewardess at an airport in the case of Usagi in today’s example. For some reason I don’t totally understand, Luna and or Artemis appear in each one of the backdrops, though I guess it’s to give a little extra Sailor Moon feel to the scenery. The sets include:
- Sailor Moon and Stewardess Usagi
- Usagi and Idol Singer Usagi
- Sailor Mercury and Waitress Ami
- Sailor Mars and Companion Girl (???)2 Rei
- Sailor Jupiter and Fashion Model Makoto
- Sailor Venus and Ballerina Minako
Before going any further, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention: what’s going on with Artemis’ clothes in the ballerina set? You can see a larger image here.
One thing that was really interesting to me when first opened this is that the character board is not actually metal or a magnet. It seems that it must have some iron embedded in the paper (probably put into the mix?) since the magnets stick to it, but it feels like normal cardboard. To be honest, I’m not really sure what the intended purpose of this toy was seeing as it would obviously cost more than a whole book with several characters that could could buy at the time and since you only got two outfits to play with. You’re also stuck with her on the mat, so you can’t even cut this out and decorate.
I don’t mean to be so hard on this of course. For what it does, it does pretty well. Frankly, it’s much sturdier and more substantial than the paper cut-out types and would be good for car rides with young children probably, since the magnetic pieces and Mysterious Iron-Impregnated Cardboard™ do a great job at holding the pieces in place. As a non-Japanese adult male over 20 years later, I can safely say that I’m not even remotely near the target demographic for this product, but even still I think that this is a pretty reasonable product and could be quite a bit of fun for a young child, if sold at the right price. Due to the magnets and relatively substantial package, though, that probably wasn’t the case.
If I could make one last final comment on the product, though, it would be that I wish that they had considered finding some way to put all the Sailor Soldiers into the same or similar poses. I know it might have seemed a bit boring, but that would it would have at least opened up more options for clothing and mixing and matching rather than having two outfits only for each character.
And who wouldn’t want to see Usagi as Sailor Jupiter??
- For more information on kisekae in general and on the digital version that popularized it among anime fans in the west, see Kisekae Set System (Wikipedia) ↩
- Typically, a “companion” refers to a – usually young and attractive – woman who you would pay to attend an event such as a dinner party either with you or to provide eye-candy/entertainment at company parties. In this case, however, it appears that she’s something of a “booth babe” as we’d know it in the West ↩