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.

 


References:

  1.  See vol. 1, p. 47 of the original print of the Sailor Moon manga
  2.  See Moon Rabbit (Wikipedia)

11 comments

  • Could that thing on the name tag be a hastily drawn safety pin, holding it on his shirt?

    • I suppose it could be! Though in that case, I’d still assume that the artists drew it that way to suggest rabbit ears, since it’s always drawn in the same location.

      Typically, these types of name tags for students are either in name-tag holders with a safety pin at the very top of it, or are adhesive like a sticker that is attached to the clothing itself.

      But it’s definitely a possibility!

  • I agree, it’s too bad there wasn’t more time to show Usagi and her home life with her family. Obviously they couldn’t have shown as much as they did in season 1 later on, but the occasional quick scene with her mom or Shingo would have gone a long way. Just a quick reminder of her normal life, before going into the crazy adventures.

    • Exactly! Obviously the other main characters need their own screen time too and it gets harder and harder to slip the secondary cast in, but it’d still be nice to get a “I’m still alive!” once in awhile from some of the other characters. I think the drop-off of Naru and Umino was one of the saddest cast cuts for me, though Rei’s grandpa was also a shame (even if he was just a weird, pervy old guy)…

  • In Cygnus And In Health

    This is one of the primary reasons why the first arc of anime is my favourite. In that it had the benefit of a rich supporting cast compared to later on. It added a lot to the whole ‘slice of life’ aspect of the series. By the time we got to Stars, even the Inners had started to become less important.

    If they ever (and I still hope for it) did a prequel series set in the Silver Millennium, it would have been nice to have seen possible past incarnations of Usagi’s parents in cameo roles at least. Along with a glimpse into the other Senshi’s childhoods.

    It’s also occurred to me, that we still don’t even know if Serenity had an actual father. There was this suggestion of a possible virgin birth, but it’s very vague. Serenity Senior herself is a pretty enigmatic character.

    I guess there’s a future article there.

    • It’s kinda amazing just how fleshed out the world had gotten during season one of the anime (and, to a lesser extent, the manga) when you stop and look at all the supporting cast. Even excluding one-shot characters-of-the-day, Usagi’s other friends at school at least got names and some (minor) screen time.

      If you take a look at some of the products which were released really early on in the life of the Sailor Moon anime, Naru, Umino, and even Shingo get a starring role in a lot of the toys and activity books, so you can see that they were going for more of a general focus on Usagi’s life and the world around her. I guess I understand why they had no choice but to cut a lot of these characters in order to make room for the rest of the Sailor Team, but it’s really a huge shame in my opinion and the world felt a whole lot smaller as the series progressed.

      As for Princess Serenity’s father, judging by the way the rest of the series goes, it’s probably rather likely that he died. =p Parents don’t do too well in Naoko’s universe, after all. But what we do know is that the Serenity line on her mother’s side is the royal family, and that the Serenity line only has one daughter, so it does lead to an interesting question of where her father came from. Maybe some sort of dashing court advisor? Stable-boy?

      • In Cygnus And In Health

        I got the impression it wouldn’t have been someone particularly high ranking.
        I just find it odd it wasn’t at least brought up once at any point.

        Who knows, perhaps like her daughter it was some kind of forbidden love.

        • That’d definitely be an interesting idea. There’s definitely a lot of potential if you look back at other family relations in Greco-Roman history. The only problem with trying to look further into more background on this is that the “Serenity” name is re-used across all three heirs to the line, making it nearly impossible to definitively say there’s anything unique about Queen Serenity herself…

          • You’re right. I suspect if Naoko Takeuchi were to come up with a father for Usagi she would draw from mythology… but she’s already made use of the relevant myths for a goddess of the moon.

            The goddess Selene was in love with Endymion. This obviously implies that Usagi is meant for Selene’s role… but then who does Queen Serenity match up with? Selene’s parents were two of the Titans, whose brothers are Cronos and Helios btw. But I don’t think Queen Serenity was a titan unrelated to the moon.

            In the world of Sailor Moon, the title of “Queen Serenity” seems to be hereditary and passed from one long-lived mortal to her daughter, and so on. Maybe Queen Serenity once had her own “Endymion”.

            Mythology also says that Selene had a child with Zeus… maybe Queen Serenity might have had a short relationship with some very powerful being like that? After all, we don’t know that Usagi’s father is dead.. just that he’s not around.

  • In Cygnus And In Health

    Funny that you mention Zeus. A god who amongst other things was infamous for having affairs.

    Be quite a twist if Serenity was the result of a one night stand.

    • If you look at the rest of the Moon Kingdom (Queendom…?) line, though, it seems that they keep expanding their territory with each successive line, so I have to wonder if there was some sort of connection with Queen Serenity’s husband that had added to their domain. Just shooting in the dark, but maybe the Moon Kingdom wasn’t always the ruler of the planetary warriors?

      I guess what I’m saying is that it’s just a bit interesting when you stop and think that prior to Princess Serenity and Prince Endymion meeting and falling in love, the Moon dynasty actually didn’t necessarily rule Earth; it was an independent entity. Assuming (as the series implies?) that ChibiUsa ends up with Helios, then ultimately the Moon/Crystal Tokyo dynasty will also expand into the world of dreams.

      That’s not to imply that each of these marriages are always for political aspirations, but it could imply that Princess Serenity’s father may very well have been someone reasonably important!

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