The Ninth Day of Christmas – Early Sailor Moon Puzzle
On the ninth day of (Sailor Moon) Christmas, we were able to get our hands on an interesting little puzzle dating back to the really early days of the Sailor Moon series, and probably one of the first commercial products released early in the life of the soon-to-be massive hit. So what is it about the puzzle that makes it so noteworthy? Let’s take a look!
The character selection in this puzzle is probably – to me, at least – the most noteworthy thing about this puzzle. Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask, and even Jadeite are all obvious choices, but then comes Naru (I guess she makes sense) and… Shingo? Usagi’s younger brother? I’m just not really sure I can see where they were coming from with this choice of characters, other than the simple fact that this must have been incredibly early into the life of the anime series and there weren’t many choices to pull from.
I’m having a hard time making a determination on the art, as well. It does an amazing job capturing the anime likeness of the characters, though it’s hard for me to call it one way or another as to whether the unique art for the puzzle and was either done by one of the anime art groups – of which there were several – or whether it was done by a third party artist who did a great job capturing the feel. Considering that the majority of the art for products which anime character licensing (to the best of my knowledge) is generally done by the actual licensor in Japan as opposed to simply granting the right to draw the character, as is often done in the West,1 it’s probably safe to assume that this is done by one of the teams who worked on the anime.
So while on the surface it’s easy to see this as just a puzzle, this is a pretty nice artifact, frozen in time, of what the outlook for the Sailor Moon anime was at that time. The character choices are a little strange, and it makes me wonder if there was still a strong impression that Shingo would develop into more of a character than he wound up being (which is a shame really, as I’m sure he had potential). Most of all, though, I think it’s nice that we actually got some additional art of Jadeite – a character so early in the series that he was often neglected after his death – that you usually don’t get to see. It’d be nice to see if this picture also popped up on more products around that time, such as on posters or pencil boards!