What Were Some of the Inspirations Behind Tuxedo Mask?

The many masks of Tuxedo Mask

The many masks of Tuxedo Mask

Ah, Mamoru – the “cool” guy that young boys wanted to be and young girls wanted to be with. Putting aside his absolutely atrocious fashion sense for a moment, it’s hard to deny that the image of Tuxedo Mask is nearly just as recognizable as that of Sailor Moon herself.

Today we’re going to take a quick look at some of the characters Ms. Takeuchi looked to for inspiration when she created Tuxedo Mask, and her reasons behind making him wear a tuxedo in the first place.

The Fiend With 20 Faces

The Fiend With 20 Faces

When talking about the history of Tuxedo Mask, obviously I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up Ms. Takeuchi’s mention of the time that she actually witnessed a man in a tuxedo walking through Azabu-juban with a mask on.1 Time-wise, this likely happened after Sailor Moon had been created, but it’s worth mentioning.

With that out of the way, I think it’s also worth bringing up the the original Tuxedo Mask – also known as “the fiend with 20 faces.” He has quite a storied career and the history behind his character development – and all the IP infringement involved! – is pretty fascinating.

But alas, that’s all old hat.2 We’re here to talk about something new, namely:

  • Why did Ms. Takeuchi decide on a tuxedo design?
  • What anime characters was she inspired by?

To answer the first question, we need to talk about why she settled on a school girls’ sailor uniform in the first place. Obviously, this was a continuation of her Codename: Sailor V storyline, so I guess we’ll have to go back to why she decided to give the sailor of love and beauty a school girl look. Fortunately, Naoko answers this for us:3

去年の夏に『なかよし』の増刊として『るんるん』という雑誌が出たときに、「好きなジャンルを描いていい」といわれたんです。それで、担当編集者さんに「前からやってみたかった正義の味方もの描いてみたい」っていったら、担当さんが「だったら、僕はセーラー服の正義の味方がいいなァ」って(笑)。

… and in English?

Last summer, when RunRun was going to be released as a sister magazine to Nakayoshi, they told me that I could do whatever genre I’d like. I told my editor “I’ve been wanting to write about a soldier of justice for awhile now,” to which he responded “in that case, I think a sailor-suited soldier of justice would be good.” (laugh)

I think it’s probably a safe bet that the “editor” in question here is Ami-aficionado,  Fumio “Osabu” Osano.4

Brought to you by a grown man's fetish!

Brought to you by a grown man’s fetish!

So his fetish is to thank for us getting these sailor-suited warriors of love and justice? Huh, good to know. But that is really a long aside for me to get around to answering the question on why Tuxedo Mask wears a tuxedo in the first place. Well, Ms. Takeuchi goes on to explain:5

セーラー服は担当さんの趣味なんですが、タキシードはわたしの趣味なんですよ。(笑)タキシードがすきなので、タキシードのヒーローを出そうと思ったんですよ。

For those who don’t read squiggles:

Sailor uniforms may be my editor’s kick, but I’ve got a thing for tuxedos. (laugh) I really like them, so I thought it’d be nice to make a hero who wore one.6

So that basically answers our first question – much like Osabu loves school uniforms, Ms. Takeuchi loved the look of a man in a tux. Nothing wrong with that.

She continues on in the interview and goes straight into answering question number two, about anime inspirations when asked about who Tuxedo Mask is modeled after:

いろんな人に聞かれるんですけれど、これといったモデルはありません。ただ、アニメでは「宇宙海賊キャプテンハーロック」とか、「装甲兵士ボトムズ」のキリコといったカゲリのあるキャラクターが好きだったんですよ。そんなキャラクターのすきなところを集めたのがタキシード仮面なのかもしれません。

… what? OH!

I get asked this by a lot of people, but there wasn’t a specific model. But I like did like gloomy anime characters like [Captain Harlock] of Space Pirate Captain Harlock 7 and Chirico of Armored Trooper Votoms.8 Maybe Tuxedo Mask is a collection of the things I liked about those characters.

She goes on to give her opinions on how manga and anime Mamoru differ, but alas, that’s beyond the scope of this article. However, I will talk about it – and her opinions on other anime changes – soon!

So what did we learn? Well, not only does Ms. Takeuchi have an extensive background in gems and astronomy, her interests in anime are pretty well varied. Not only does she do excellent work in the world of shojo manga, but she’s also quite a fan of science fiction space operas and elsewhere in the interview discusses her interest in the many super sentai series, on which Sailor Moon is based.

Chirico Cuvie, of Armored Trooper Votoms

Chirico Cuvie, of Armored Trooper Votoms

Have any of you seen either of these series? And, if so, do you notice any similarities between the main characters and Sailor Moon‘s Tuxedo Mask? I have to admit that while I’m aware of them by name, I haven’t seen Harlock or Votoms. Truth be told, I’m more of an late-80s to late-90s anime fan, but that’s neither here nor there.

I’d love to know if there are any notable character traits, though!


References:

  1.  See p. 57, vol. 1 of the original manga release
  2. Pun totally intended; see old hat
  3.  See p. 34 of the September 1992 issue of Animage
  4.  See Fumio Osano
  5.  See p. 35 of the September 1992 issue of Animage
  6. Before anyone throws this throw Google translate and yells at me, the word 趣味 is used in a lot of odd ways. While it typically means a “hobby,” in some cases, it is also an indirect way of referring to a fetish. In this case, it’s somewhere in between.
  7. See Space Pirate Captain Harlock (Wikipedia)
  8.  See Armored Trooper Votoms (Wikipedia)

12 comments

  • Well, there’s a shocker. Honestly, I figured Phoenix from Honey Honey no Sutekina Daibouken was the obvious influence.

  • I really never thought about why he was designed to be wearing a tuxedo! Coincidentally, I’m currently writing an article on masks in Sailor Moon. 🙂

    • Masks in Sailor Moon would be Sailor V, Tuxedo Mask, and… anyone else? I feel like at least one or two villains did in one episode or another, but I can’t recall.

      • Sailor V, Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Moon (goggles), and King Endymion! I’m very curious as to why King Endymion wears a mask and I wrote a few thoughts I had on it. I’m also going to do a short follow-up because I forgot to mention Sailor Uranus’ brief moment where she wore a mask and a cape.

  • Hey! Since you mentioned miss Takeuchi is interested in sci-fi fiction, have you noticed how Sailor Moon’s 3rd arc “Death Busters” is very similar to the anime Akira? The mad scientist (Tomoe) who creates a super human form (Hotaru) that takes control and becomes evil (Mistress 9) but then saves the world with rebirth (Sailor Saturn). This is the storyline in Akira! Maybe it would be interesting to write a post about it..

    • I have to admit that despite having been watching anime for over 20 years now, I’ve somehow never actually sat down and watched Akira. But this definitely sounds interesting! I’ll need to take a look at the story again.

      • Even the part when Sailor Moon jumps into Pharaoh 90 is also similar to Akira. The main character did the exact same thing! Curious to know your opinion when you see it!

  • In Cygnus and In Health

    I always assumed that Zorro may have played some role in the character’s conception. Seeing as he is the great grandfather of the dark, masked superhero archetype. Including Batman.

    • I’ve only been able to find one picture so far, but I feel like Zorro was often pictured with a rose. Is it just me?? That connection seems to be even stronger that way.

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