What Was Sailor Moon’s Archery Attack?

The long lost Sailor Archery attack

The long lost Sailor Archery attack

Remember that time when Sailor Moon pulled back on the string of her crescent-moon-shaped bow, let loose, and tore the attacking youma asunder? No? That’s strange, because I’ve got this picture right here in front of me.

Oh, that’s right! The attack never actually existed. But it was briefly considered, and a single animation cel was even made of the attack.

Today, we’re talking about attacks suggested by fans to the anime staff!

Sailor Moon could use some new attacks...

Sailor Moon could use some new attacks…

Shortly after the Sailor Moon anime hit the airwaves, the popular anime magazine Animage1 ran a contest for fans to propose characters, attacks, and other story ideas to take place in the Sailor Moon universe. The results of this first contest were judged by members of the production staff and resulted in new catchphrases for Sailor Mercury and Sailor Mars being adapted into the show.

Since I’ve already covered some of the fans’ proposed story developments – though sadly, none were ever adopted – today we’re looking at the attacks that unfortunately were never quite put into practice.

Moon Saber

Moon Saber

First up is the Moon Saber, an idea submitted by Yasutaka Takahashi, of Aichi.

Wow… color me impressed! Mr. Takahashi really put a lot of work into this. He apparently submitted six pages of sketches and descriptions of special attacks, but only the scanned page here ended up in the magazine. What a shame!

According to (what I can read of…) the notes state that Sailor Moon would summon a disk of energy that would slowly grow out into a sword-shape.

Once it reaches its full length, the sword takes its final form with a flash of light and Sailor Moon is ready to use it to fight the forces of evil.

Considering Sailor Moon‘s strong super sentai2 connections, I don’t think it would have been strange at all to see a sword used to cut down youma. In fact, a similar idea was later used nearly ten years later in the live-action series in the form of the Princess Sword.3 Not a bad idea at all!

Hyper Luna(r?) Attack

Hyper Luna(r?) Attack

Next up is the “Hyper Luna Attack,” though a part of me wants to think that this is a mix-up by Shoko Makino, of Saitama, who mistook the Japanese Luna vs. Lunar. Or maybe she really needs Luna for it? Who knows!

Anyway, according to the description, Sailor Moon’s pigtails flip up and connect to form a ring in the shape of a full moon, out of which a powerful blast of energy – the Hyper Luna(r??) Attack – is emitted.

Honestly, this seems pretty believable in terms of attacks that could appear in the anime, so I’m a little disappointed that it didn’t make its way into the series. It could’ve been a fun attack, I think!

Sailor Archery

Sailor Archery

Of course, that brings us to the star of today’s show, Sailor Archery, dreamed up by “Haku[…] HS Math Club,” of Kanagawa. They left one of the kanji out, but my best guess is that this is referring to Kanagawa Prefectural Haku[yo] High School.4 Not like it matters, but you know, let’s be thorough.

Iriya Azuma (producer)5 awarded this idea the grand prize because it did a great job of implementing attributes from all three of the Sailor Soldiers at the time, seeing as this was before the debut of Sailor Jupiter.

The bow is made up of a crescent moon while the arrow itself consists of a stylized combination of Sailor Mercury and Sailor Mars’ symbols. I didn’t notice it at first, but once you point it out… wow! That’s pretty amazing.

They were so impressed with the design, in fact, that the magazine had series character designer, Kazuko Tadano,6 draw an actual animation cell of the attack, seen here.

Sailor Finale

Sailor Finale

Last, but not least, is the “Sailor Finale” attack submitted by Mamibi of Nagano, who is undoubtedly a male viewer. In the words of the creator:

Using attacks drains away their transformation energy, so the more they attack their costumes slowly start to fade away. When they use their energy for a super powerful attack…

Ms. Tadano remarks that the idea of their clothes fading away is interesting, but that the audience – mostly little children! – would probably be turned off (no pun intended) by this.7

I wanted to do a full review of all of the proposed attacks here, but for the second contest put an interest caveat on the types of suggestions they wanted to see: since this is a show about love and justice, the characters should use that “love” to deal with their enemies without killing then – an important hint at the direction the series was to take later on.

Since there are quite a few other ideas taking attacks into this new direction, I’ve decided to put those into another post, which you can read here!

Moon Twilight Flash

Moon Twilight Flash

Out of all of these attacks, which one would you have most liked to see? As much as I’d love to give some love to the incredibly detailed Sailor Archery, I just don’t think the attack fits Sailor Moon’s style. It fits much better with Mars’ Flame Sniper, anyway.

No, I’d have to say my favorite attack was the Hyper Luna(r???) Attack, since it really does seem like something I could imagine seeing in the anime, maybe similar to the manga’s Moon Twilight Flash in terms of how it works. Too bad it never came about!


References:

  1. See Animage (Wikipedia)
  2. See Super Sentai (Wikipedia)
  3.  See Princess Sword
  4.  See Hakuyo High School
  5.  See Iriya Azuma (Wikipedia)
  6. See Kazuko Tadano (Wikipedia)
  7. Because, seriously, you know there are plenty of fans who would’ve been thrilled.

23 comments

  • I think Mars’ flame sniper would have fit better with Sailor Jupiter because Jupiter is the planet connected to the Sagittarius zodiac sign which symbol is the Archer. Maybe a bit complicated for children to understand the message but there are more complicated messages in the Sailor Moon franchise.

    • Thematically, I agree with you that Jupiter would have been a much better candidate for the archery attack. Looking at it from the Japanese fan point of view, though, kyudo (wikipedia) is very much a thing in Japan – even being a popular club at many high schools – and I think that’s probably more what they had in mind for a bow and arrow attack.

      Rei’s character gets all of the Japanese/spiritual attacks, such as the ofuda, Burning Mandala, Fire Soul, etc., so I think from that point of view it makes sense that they’d give an attack steeped in bushido tradition to her.

      At least that’s my take on it!

  • Wow! Some really cool ideas! I love the details in the bow, but I agree, it’s more of a Mars-style attack. Hyper Luna sounds reeeeeeally cheesy. But… it would be fun to see animated at least once!

    You know, in a sense, the Sailor Finale is kind of what happens at the end of Stars. (sort of) I mean, after using up all of her power, Sailor Moon is basically drained and lies on the ground in her transformation ribbons. (I know there’s more to it than that, but it does sort of remind me of this scene.)

    • I think, if tastefully done, the Sailor Finale idea has a lot of potential. In fact, I really like the idea of their power “running out,” so once they transform they need to be careful about how much they attack, how much damage they take, etc. and conserve their power. It could put them into a lot of tight spots of needing to choose to let loose a powerful attack and be vulnerable to another youma, or try to outwit the enemy to stay in their senshi form.

      Unfortunately, the idea can get really pervy really fast, so I think it’d make more sense to simply have them de-transform rather than the gimmick of their clothes fading away.

  • I love your blog and all things you find!
    I was always curious about that illustration with the bow, was pretty sure it was unused idea for attack, but would never thought it was idea by fan!
    I hope for more similar articles in the future, those Animage contests are amazing, like all illustrations done by anime staff for fans.
    Are you planning to post something about stuff from laser discs? I’ve read that there is plenty of extras on them like interviews with anime staff, but I can’t find it anywhere.

    By the way, older anime is my favourite version of Sailor Moon and it makes me a bit sad that series revival and all events became more and more manga/Crystal oriented. Like Sailor Moon Drops game – it started with anime-based plot but since S they are following Crystal plot and mixing it with anime. It’s nice for many people and all, but I really want to see some kind of continuation or spin-off based on anime incarnation. Especially knowing how much fun anime staff had working on it!

    • Thanks! It really means a lot to me that other people actually get some joy out of reading this blog. It’s kind of a cross between an open love letter to Sailor Moon and a research project for me, but it’s been immensely satisfying to work on this for the past year and a half. I hope to continue it for quite a while to come!

      As for the laser discs, I’ve heard that they have liner notes on them and would love to check those out. If nothing else, they’d be great to translate and put up to preserve. I’ve never really looked too deep into what other special features they have, but I’d be interested in finding out.
      The site is growing by quite a bit, which is great, but unfortunately that means I need to start working on a budget for acquiring magazines and other research materials. Finding this old stuff can get pricey…
      I’ll figure it out!

  • In Cygnus and In Health

    Although I personally find swords a tiny bit overused as a lead’s weapon. Someone should really have a go at animating the scene of the Moon Saber forming, based on those images.

    To help answer the query regarding Flame Sniper, it’s also a nod to the planetary symbol of Mars. Oddly, it might have made more sense to give a bird themed attack or companion to Jupiter. As her symbol is partially supposed to represent an Eagle.

    While I can probably see why it wasn’t used, I do love the Sailor Archery attack. Or rather the concept of a weapon made by multiple Senshi. It’s very much a common trope of Sentai to combine gear in that manner.
    The closest equivalent we ever got to something like that, was in episode 21.

    Interesting the emphasis put on the original trio. I’m wondering just how early the Anime staff knew about Makoto. If they had used it, would an extra symbol have been added for each one that joined in?

    Hyper Luna should have been in the series, it’s just so ludicrously Usagi. At the very least it would have weirded the enemy out. I swear I also once saw this hilarious artwork of her using her pigtails as whips.
    It also reminds me a bit of Taiyo-ken. The pose and execution is very similar.

    • Sailor Jupiter still hadn’t been announced when the second contest was started (in the June 1992 issue… which was published in May – contest deadline was 5/31/1992), so it makes sense that all of the submissions only deal with the original three. They did hint in the contest text, though, that there may be more. “Please consider attacks using all three of them… or maybe even a fourth or fifth??” or something like that.

      Interesting to know about the Jupiter/bird connection!

  • Moonchild3000

    I now wonder if Sailor Archery was what inspired the animation for the Sailor Arrow Attack in Sailor Moon: Another Story.

    • Huh, that’s an interesting idea. There’s an interview with one of the game directors in the Another Story strategy guide that I’ve been meaning to translate. I really should check it out one of these days!

  • Pingback: What Kind of Attacks Did Fans Want to See in Sailor Moon? – Tuxedo Unmasked

  • My favorite of the bunch is actually the Moon Saber! I always found it odd there was never a sword in the first season after the manga made a big deal about them finding a sword on the moon. (which even played an important role in the final battle!) The Saber feels like it could have been a good way to adapt it for the anime. Plus, I love swords.

    • I think it also did a really good job at actually explaining how the sword could come about, with her forming it and summoning it into her hand. It always seemed a bit weird in the manga that the sword was kinda… there?

      At least they finally did come back to the sword idea with Sailor Uranus’ Space Sword. It kinda gives an impression of what Sailor Moon’s attack could’ve been like!

      • In Cygnus and In Health

        It always annoyed me how the Moon Sword just disappeared without any explanation after the first arc. Given how important it was seemingly made out to be. It’s like Naoko just forgot about it. Crystal didn’t even bother with one either.

        • At the risk of being murdered by fans for sacrilege, honestly, Naoko was guilty of not following up on a lot of things — particularly in Stars. I feel like she was really good at setting things up and making for a rich universe and story, but when it comes to actually following up on these relatively important plot developments, they oftentimes just faded away to the wayside, never to be discussed again.

          And Crystal… yeah, I appreciate that their goal is to be totally faithful to the manga, but it really couldn’t hurt for them to try to fix up things the manga did wrong. Alas, they almost never do.

      • Agreed! Like, I understand Naoko wanted to recreate the sword pulling legend, but an idea of how it came about would have been nice.

        I hadn’t made that correlation before, but you’re right! Makes me like Uranus’ Space Sword attack even more, haha.

  • Hi, do you know from which magazine does the ”Sailor Archery” art come from (and which month and year of release) ?
    Thank you

  • I love your blog!! I’m a german Sailormoon Fan/addict since 1995 and it’s amazing that there is still something new for me to know. Sorry for my english, i hope you understand what i mean 😀 <3

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