The Tenth Day of Christmas – Sailor Moon Picnic Set
On the tenth day of (Sailor Moon) Christmas, we have something a little bit more bizarre than what we’ve been looking at over the past nine days – a picnic / birthday party set dating back to the run of the Sailor Moon R anime. I know it may seem (… okay, it is) silly to get excited over party favors to be used at little kids’ birthday parties or at picnics nearly twenty-some-odd years later, but when you take a look at stuff like this and see the wide variety of products that the Sailor Moon branding machine ended up on, you start to realize just how deeply into Japanese society the series permeated. It wasn’t just one of many anime that appeared on TV, but a cultural phenomenon. Let’s take a look, shall we?
There are tons of Sailor Moon products worth talking about and lots of popular toys and figures from back in the day that have been covered elsewhere on the internet, so I figured this was a great opportunity to look at the less-common things that were prevalent back when the series was still on TV.
What we’ve got today is a full set of birthday party-favors (or picnic-set, as it was described to me when I bought it) from R! The plate itself has some great art on it, and does a great job in implementing the characters into it. You can see, for example, that each of the Sailor Team break out from the borders ever-so-slightly (Rei’s hand, Makoto’s head, Usagi’s legs, etc.) which adds a nice bit of interest to it.
Next up is a set of wooden/disposable chopsticks, known in Japan as waribashi (割り箸; wari means to split, and bashi being the word for chopsticks). They went above and beyond the call of duty here and actually took the effort to print the Sailor Moon R logo and a picture of Usagi on the chopstick themselves, which is a nice bit of effort. However, after taking a look at the poses of the characters here, I’m starting to think that the producers of this set only actually licensed one picture from the show. These poses look awfully familiar.
They did pull off a nice surprise on the reverse side, though with another full-color print of the Sailor Team, this time with them in super-deformed versions and a green background (which, incidentally, fits our Christmas theme pretty nicely).
Aaand, my suspicions play out once we get to the napkins. I appreciate that they went for 4-color printing here and actually managed to fairly faithfully re-create the whole team, though it’s a bit sad to see both Mars and Mercury ending up nearly exactly the same colors. A different image here would’ve definitely been nice, or at least trying to re-arrange the posts slightly (like was done on the chopsticks) to make it stand out from the plate, but given the fact that I’m writing for over 500 words here about napkins and paper plates, I suppose I have to accept that they did a pretty good job over all.
Last but not least, we have party favors! This memo pad is surprisingly well made and has full-color images printed inside, with a nice pink design on the back for writing memos to your friends. I like the art used on it as well, which seems to come from the Carddass card collection. From what I’ve found online, these types of memo pads were released throughout the run of the series, but was updated with each season to feature different characters as they appeared throughout the run.
As I mentioned at the beginning, it seems a bit odd to sit here and take such an in-depth look at a set of utensils and simple goods that were used without much thought over twenty years ago, but that’s actually what my goal was when I started making the arrangements for this. The anime, manga, video games, and dolls were all of course a part of Sailor Moon‘s popularity when it aired in Japan, but that’s not all there was to it. The things I’ve covered over the past ten days are the same toys that the people my age that I work, talk, and live with day to day bought, played with, and threw away when they were children. It’s kinda neat when you look at it that way!