Who Came Up With Sailor Mercury and Sailor Mars’s Catchphrases?
Admit it, with just these six words, you probably finished the rest of the sentence in your head. Sailor Moon’s self-referential catchphrase is so famous that even the casual fan of the series would probably be able to finish it.
While the catchphrases of the other Sailor Soldiers may be less well known — though I’m sure their fans would be willing to disagree! — the stories behind them are no less interesting.
Today we’re going to talk about who came up with Sailor Mercury and Sailor Mars’s catchphrases and what they almost were instead!
While doing my background research for this article, I tried looking around the internet for the “official” translations of the witty one-liners Sailor Mercury and Sailor Mars throw out as they enter into field of battle, but I’m afraid I didn’t have any luck — and the translations I did find were pretty unimpressive.
Sorry, you’ll be dealing with my translations throughout.1
So what phrases are we talking about? Glad you asked!
- Sailor Mercury
- I am the sailor-suited soldier of intelligence and justice – Sailor Mercury!
Douse yourself and reflect on what you’ve done!
- Sailor Mars
- I am the sailor-suited soldier of courage and justice – Sailor Mars!
By the power of Mars, I will chastise you!
As it turns out, these phrases were actually thought up by fans of the anime and chosen by Iriya Azuma,2 a producer of the Sailor Moon anime.
In the April 1992 issue of Animage, the magazine held a contest together with the animation staff to submit new ideas, phrases, weapons, and even enemies to appear later in the anime.
The contest was so popular that they even launched a second one in the June issue, asking users to think of ideas for special attacks for “these three characters… or maybe even a fourth or fifth!”, hinting for the first time that there may be other Sailor Soldiers on the way.
So who’s to credit for these ideas? Three Animage readers, actually!
The “I am the sailor-suited…!” parts of their speeches and the words “intelligence” and “courage” were suggested by an Aiko Kudo from Hokkaido. Sailor Mars’s “By the power of Mars…” and Sailor Mercury’s “Douse yourself and reflect…” were sent in by Ryohei Kuramochi of Kanagawa and Miyuki Numabukuro of Chiba, respectively.
According to the director, these phrases were chosen and re-arranged from hundreds of submissions, and were ultimately incorporated into the anime from around August of 1992.
What’s perhaps most interesting about this statement is that it implies that the anime was already at least two or three months ahead at that point. I wonder how far Ms. Takeuchi had already worked ahead too, then?
Anyway! Apparently Mr. Azuma wasn’t the only one who had a say in voting on these Sailor Moon ideas – Kotono Mitsuishi,3 Usagi’s voice actress, also had a vote in the various story ideas and sent in by fans.
Though she was ultimately overruled, her vote for Sailor Mercury and Sailor Mars’ catchphrases were:
- Sailor Mercury – Kiyoshi Sano (Kyoto)
- Your scheme is as hopeless as a bubble!
- Sailor Mars – Eri Kodama (Nagano)
- I’ll torch you with my flames and send you to the next life!
I don’t know about you, but I kinda like these a little bit better. With Rei, this was a little more aggressive and to the point – which I like – but I can kinda see how it didn’t fit in with the “private school girl with sophisticated tastes in men” image the anime staff was going for her.
There’s a lot more in this magazine to discuss later, especially with some of the hints the anime staff and contest organizers were dropping for future Sailor Moon developments. I have several more magazines I need to order, but hopefully I can bring more of this behind-the-scenes development information to you soon.
With that said, I’m curious what your opinions are on this. Do you think the phrases they chose suit the characters better, or do you think Kotono was on the right track? I’d love to hear your thoughts!