Whose Real Life Parenting Experience Inspired a Sailor Moon Episode?

... I'm not sure how I'd feel about seeing this

… I’m not sure how I’d feel about seeing this

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned on many different occasions, I absolutely adore the Cardian story arc from the first half of Sailor Moon R. It’s not so much to do with the fact that the story itself is particularly interesting or that I’m a huge fan of Moonlight Knight,1 but rather it’s precisely because the story itself is less epic in nature. The whole storyline felt like a series of “slice of life”2 episodes where you actually got a know a little more about the day-to-day lives of the characters.

And today, we’re going to talk about one such episode.

K. Mitsuishi (Usagi) and T. Furuya (Mamoru)

K. Mitsuishi (Usagi) and T. Furuya (Mamoru)

Specifically, we’re talking about episode 53 (episode 7 of Sailor Moon R), wherein Usagi and Mamoru are entrusted with taking care of little baby Manami. I’m not really in the business of doing episode summaries – and I’m sure that most of you, dear readers, have seen the episode – so I’ll keep this brief.

Basically, the episode centers around Mamoru and Usagi dealing with the trials and tribulations of having to care for a baby. Considering that Mamoru has no family at all and that Usagi and Shingo are so close in age, this makes them pretty bad candidates to take care of a child.

Anyone familiar with raising children3 is probably familiar with the not-so-enjoyable experience of having a little human pee on you, and I think the anime does a good job capturing the horror.

But even more importantly, it does a great job of showing how the responsibility over caring for a baby pulls Usagi and Mamoru together. It’s all pays off in the end when they are both able to share in the joys of watching Manami take his first steps and utter his first words.

Now, what’s the point in all this, and why am I rambling so long? Well, it turns out that this whole episode was inspired by Toru Furuya’s experience in raising his own daughter, who was born in April 1992.4 That’s right – the voice of Tuxedo Mask was busy raising his first daughter around the time Sailor Moon started!

Adventures in Babysitting

Adventures in Babysitting

Considering that the majority of babies are starting to stand up and even take a few steps around the 9-12 months-old mark,5 that puts the episode right about on-mark for Toru’s life. It makes me wonder just how many of Mamoru’s reactions actually mirror Toru’s experiences in child-rearing…

Also of interest is the fact that many of Moonlight Knight’s speeches were either left up to Toru, or he just went off script and ad-libbed them on his own anyway.6 His lines in this episode were specifically on-mark as words coming from a doting father. I can’t help but imagine that was the case here.

When Moonlight Knight makes his first appearance in this episode, he remarks:

「赤ちゃんは可愛い。とりわけほっぺにチューした時の笑顔は堪らん」
“Children are adorable. The smile on their face from a kiss on the cheek is absolutely irresistible.”

Perhaps I have a cold, dark heart,7 but this line sounds a bit odd coming from a 19-20 year old college student. When departing, Moonlight Knight leaves the Sailor Team with this gem:

「赤ちゃんを、世話して分かる、母の愛…アデュー…」
“You will understand the love of a mother through caring for a child. Adieu…”

Once again, another interesting line that is possibly a look inside the head of the voice behind Tuxedo Mask?

The last thing I have to say about this is that I find it a bit odd that this episode is supposed to focus on Ami (since this is when she gets a new power), but she has such a small part in this episode. She takes a back seat while Mamoru and Usagi address their own relationship.

Ami, being considerate as usual

Ami, being considerate as usual

However, the more I think about this, the more I have to say that it’s very… Ami-ish of her to do that. Rather than jumping in and volunteering to help out with the baby – which you know she must know something about! – she lets Usagi pursue this to spend more time with Mamoru. Good for her!

There’s not much more to say about this episode, but I thought it was a neat fact to share. This isn’t the only time where the real-life circumstances of people working on the anime had shown up in Sailor Moon, but I think I’ll wait until next time before going into that.


References:

  1. Let’s be honest, is anyone a fan of Moonlight Knight?
  2. See Slice of Life
  3. This includes yours truly…
  4.  See p. 145 of “Voice of a Hero: Hyuma, Amura, and My Life as a Voice Artist” by Toru Furuya
  5. See this Child Walking Timeline
  6.  See pp. 81-118 (Chapter 3: There’s No Such Thing As a Wasted Life Experience) of “Voice of a Hero: Hyuma, Amura, and My Life as a Voice Artist” by Toru Furuya
  7. Randomly, Cold Heart and Dark Heart were both amazing Care Bear villains. Personally, though, I’d give props to No Heart as my favorite.

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