What Influence Did Rei’s Voice Actress Have on the Manga?

Naoko's sketch of the VA cast: (left to right) Kotono, Aya, Emi, Michie, Rika

Naoko’s sketch of the VA cast: (left to right) Kotono, Aya, Emi, Michie, Rika

If I were to tell you that Ms. Takeuchi wasn’t much of a fan of how the anime completely changed Rei’s character, I’m pretty sure you’d roll your eyes, tell me ‘thanks, but no thanks,’ and move on with your lives. Fair enough, it’s old hat. We all have heard this one before on the internet.

But what if I told you that Ms. Takeuchi had made changes to Rei’s character in honor of Michie Tomizawa, Rei’s voice actress and one of the leading proponents of changing her character?

Assuming I still have your attention, let’s explore a little bit!

Michie Tomizawa

Michie Tomizawa

Michie Tomizawa1 was already a fairly prolific voice actress when she took the role of Rei Hino in the yet-to-be-tested Sailor Moon anime. Not only that, but she was also the oldest of the five Sailor Soldiers, at 30 years old when she first took on her role. It’s no surprise that she had her own ideas about how Rei should act, and it seems that the anime staff was okay with her suggestions.

Considering how vocal Ms. Takeuchi was about how she disliked the changes made to Re in the anime, you’d think she would also have issues with Michie, right?

Well, quite the contrary! They actually had quite a good relationship. Ms. Takeuchi used to meet up with the voice actresses quite frequently, and often talked about the their exploits together in the manga.2 Speaking of Michie, Ms. Takeuchi says:

おねーさま♡ ハクリョク美人♡
(わーごめんなさーい!)
年のハナシをしたら、”なおこちゃんってぼんじゃうわよっ”としかられました。
よんでよんでっ♡
とってもキレ―なゆびわをしてるの♡

And in English:

An older lady (heart) And a stunning beauty (heart)
(Hey, I’m soooorrry!)
When I asked about her age, she teased me and said “I guess I’ll call ya Naoko-chan then!”
Please do (heart)
She wears a beautiful ring (heart)

Speaking of that age difference, Ms. Takeuchi is five and a half years younger, which can make quite a difference in your early 20s. But alas, we’re getting off track here.

What we’re here to talk about specifically is Casablanca Memories, the manga-only Sailor Moon side story starring Rei, where we learn a bit more about her troubled upbringing and how she came to live at the Hikawa shrine.

And how the name of this book is an homage to Rei’s anime voice actress, Michie.

Before we go forward, if you’re anything like me – and let’s hope you’re not – then you have absolutely no clue what a Casablanca is. I mean, sure, Rei mentions that it’s some kind of flower in the manga, but for some reason, I always assumed it that the story was referring to the 1942 classic, Casablanca.3 So sue me, I’m not good with old movies.

Casablanca Memories and Casablanca

Casablanca Memories and Casablanca

For those of you a little more horticulturally cultured,4 you’ll probably be aware of the casablanca lily5 and that it’s known for it’s pure white color.

So who cares, right? Well, out of all of the flowers that Ms. Takeuchi could choose to represent Rei, why did she choose one known for being white when that is most definitely not the primary color associated with Sailor Mars? Shouldn’t Rei’s favorite flower have been something red?

As it turns out, Ms. Takeuchi already answered this for us in the manga itself!

このオハナシを思いついたきっかけは、ナオコがよくいく某公園の某ホテル。
そこのレストランで、声優さんたちと食事をしたあと(今はもうない)レストランのトナリの花屋の前で「わあキレイな白いゆり」と、セーラームーン、みついしことの嬢がたちどまった。
「それはカサブランカっていうのよ、あたしの大好きな花なの」
そういったのはセーラーマーズ、富沢美智恵おねーさまだった。
そのシュンカンにきめたの。レイちゃんの好きな花はカサブランカにしよう、って。
もしかしたらこのオハナシは、声優、富沢美智恵おねーさまのイメージに重なったちょっぴりオトナのオハナシになったかも知れない。

English you want? Then English you get!

The inspiration behind this story goes back to a certain hotel, in a certain park that I like to go to.
After having lunch with the voice actresses at the the hotel restaurant, Sailor Moon – Kotono – stopped in front of the flower shop next to the restaurant (it’s now gone) and remarked “Those white lilies are so pretty!”
“They’re called Casablanca – my favorite flower.”
That was Sailor Mars – Ms. Michie.
Right in that moment, it was decided. I’d make Rei’s favorite flower the Casablanca.
You know, perhaps this story is a little bit mature, overlaid with the image of her voice actress, Ms. Michie.

So there you have it! As it turns out, Michie had a personal influence in how Rei’s character developed in both the anime and the manga.

Personally, I think Ms. Takeuchi’s disdain for some of Rei’s character development is overstated. Yes, she complained about how Rei was portrayed in some scenes and how the anime took a different course with her characters, but I think her disagreement wasn’t so much about how Michie played Rei in general, and more with how Rei treated Usagi. Oh, and that she was given a more comedic role. A writing problem, really.

Tongue battle! Wait... no.

Tongue battle! Wait… no.

Granted, Rei was much harsher on Usagi in the anime and was quick to put her down compared to her manga counterpart. However, I rather liked that part of her character. It made the final battle to the death all the more poignant when you could see just how much Rei cared. Without a foil to Usagi’s clutziness, I think the series would be less interesting to watch.

But what do you think? Was anime Rei too harsh on Usagi, and taken in too far of a comedic direction? I mean, I realize that Ms. Takeuchi intended for Rei to be something of a cool beauty and that anime Rei goes way against that. But in a fast-paced anime with a lot of extra episodes to fill out, I don’t think that personality would have worked well on screen. Maybe that’s just me!


References:

  1. See Michie Tomizawa (Wikipedia)
  2.  See p. 192, vol. 4 of the original release of the manga
  3.  See Casablanca (Film) (Wikipedia)
  4. Pun intended
  5.  See Casa Blanca Lily

15 comments

  • The Casablanca story is my favorite out of all of the side stories! I think it actually works well with Rei’s character (even though the flower is white instead of red) because it seems like a very sophisticated taste.

    • I like that Naoko went against the grain on this one, and I also disagree with the idea that the characters need to love the same color that they represent. =p This isn’t Power Rangers.

  • Another awesome article. I agree, Michie was the best choice, otherwise, Rei would’ve been cool but dull. And yes! Both death moments were so much more emotional precisely because of her relationship with Usagi. I wouldn’t like it any other way (many more would agree, I’m sure of that…)

    • Glad to hear you found it interesting! While I can totally see what Ms. Takeuchi was going for in the manga, and I honestly really do like that version of Rei, I just don’t think it works in an anime form. There were a few times when the comic relief scenes seemed a little out of place for Rei (like when Usagi uncovers Rei’s huge manga collection – it really doesn’t even fit in with her anime self, in my opinion), but for the most part I felt like she was a much more developed character in the anime than the manga. Being on the same team as Usagi doesn’t mean she has to always agree with the way Usagi does things. I loved that back and forth dynamic between the two of them.

  • I have to find time to read the manga. I will admit I have not read much of the manga I think I have only really read or skimmed the dream arc, and stars arc. I kind of read most of the infinity arc. From scenes where Manga Rei interacted with manga Usagi I don’t see a huge difference. Especially a panel I remember seeing in the dark kingdom arc, I believe. If I actually read through the whole manga I am sure I would find many similaries. I think Manga Rei is just as mean to Usagi. She is more calm and collected, but I have seen re act like her anime version. For example the next chapter after Rei is revealed as Mars she has the same attitude she has in the anime. I actually feel from these moments is how they decided Rei would act the way she did. She is more calm in the manga from what I have seen, but I definitely not on the same level as crystal. Crystal really toned Rei down. In the manga she appeared to say what she felt like just like her anime counterpart. Rei in crystal is More like the cool beauty to me. When I first watched crystal I was thinking oh so this is why people keep saying that Rei is nice. Later I saw panels in the manga that showed exactly where Rei got the personality she got in the anime, according to me anyway. I actually wish they did more of the scenes of Rei’s mean attitude that they cut out of crystal season 1 and 2. They did bring back some of that in season 3, but I wish they never cut those scenes out in the first place.

    • Hmm, really? Which translation of the Sailor Moon manga were you reading, if you don’t mind me asking? There was a pretty stark difference between her characterization in the anime and manga. I wonder if the translation you were reading may have revised the text a bit?

      • I don’t know if I can say it here but I was reading the scanslation of the manga online. I panels that I saw that showed mean moments of Rei were also probably the scanslations of the manga online(although those were posted screenshots so I cannot be completely sure that’s what it was from). From what I’ve seen she can be rude and has an attitude so I can see where they got that personality for her anime character. They aren’t exactly alike, but to me share many of the some traits. Overall, Rei in the anime can go overboard, but she isn’t as far off from the manga as I would have assumed from what people have said about how she is in the manga vs the anime. Maybe the text is just completely different from the actual source or I am just interpreting her very different from how she is supposed to come off in the manga. I need to read through the manga though. I am waiting on the new release, hopefully a more accurate translation.

        • I’m pretty sure the vast majority of those who have read the manga nowadays have probably read the scanlations online, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that! Though oddly enough, I’ve never actually read any of the English manga, with the exception of the Mixx/TokyoPop releases up through Sailor Moon S (Deathbusters). I generally have read it in Japanese, so that means sometimes I’m not always sure what terms Sailor Moon fans are using.

          I guess the biggest difference between anime and manga Rei that often gets to fans is that there was a much bigger comedic angle added to Rei’s personality in the anime. For example, her love for manga, the way she and Usagi would stick their tongues out at each other, the way she chased Mamoru (and he stepped on her head), etc.
          Of course, the way everyone interprets characters is different, so the gap between the two versions are probably smaller/greater depending on the viewer!

          • In Cygnus And in Health

            From what I can see, the only real drastic difference between the two Rei’s, is her stance on men.
            It’s that one particular aspect (as poorly handled as I found it to be) that supporters tend to latch onto regarding the Manga.
            In their eyes, her ‘oath of chastity’ is interpreted as a sign of strength and independence. Which automatically makes her a better character to the hardcore feminist crowd. And that the Anime sabotaged that, ignoring all the positive qualities she exhibits there. To say nothing of the controversy that Crystal created with the whole Shittenou x Senshi thing, which to be fair was rather crow-barred in.
            It also gives fuel to her being a closet lesbian. Unsurprisingly, a lot of them are adamant Reinako shippers.
            Indeed, Rei’s sexuality seems to be one of the most commonly (and tediously) debated things regarding the character.

          • Several thoughts (because I’m not already unpopular enough with trolling people with my opinions?):

            – The Shittenou x Senshi thing was one of the lamer moves I’ve seen pulled in the manga. They absolutely never interacted and the only thing where this comes from is Ms. Takeuchi throwing them together in an artbook picture. I think there may have been a mention in a liner note somewhere about them being past lovers, but that’s just absurd and seemed like a last-minute dash to tie all the other characters up so they had love interests right when the series was ending.

            – Even more absurd to me is that there are a lot of people who like the Ami x Zoisite pairing. Umm… manga Zoisite had zero personality, so that means the only Zoisite you could possibly like is that anime version, and you’re just adding his anime personality onto the manga version. Now, that’s totally fine in my book, except for one teensy problem – anime Zoisite was kinda in a get relationship. Sooo… no Ami?

            – If Rei were a lesbian, I’m 150% positive she wouldn’t be closeted. She’s so adamant and forceful about her opinions, I couldn’t believe that she’d hide it. So my assumption is that she isn’t, but that she doesn’t particularly like men. I actually have a few friends like that, who are just totally okay with having women friends and really don’t want to associate with men because they were teased by them in school. Not an uncommon thing in Japan.

          • In Cygnus And In health

            The Ami/Zoisite pairing seems to come primarily from ‘La Reconquista’, since they were involved in a sub-plot there. But it is indeed a very contrived set-up.

            Rei and Jadeite certainly doesn’t make sense in ‘any’ continuity. Yet oddly that’s the one the Manga seemed to be pushing the most.
            He affectionately touches her hair while commenting on her beauty in act 3. And Casablanca Memory makes a direct comparison between him and Kaidou.

  • In Cygnus And In Health

    As an (unsurprisingly) big fan of Michie Tomizawa, and of course Rei. I am well versed in regards to how Naoko and the voice actresses were good friends with each other.
    It’s also further evidence that the manga and anime simultaneously influenced each other throughout their runs. And that one is no more true then the other.

    I do find that Naoko’s attitude towards the changes has been rather blown out of proportion over the years. From what I’ve seen and read in interviews, she comes across as a perfectly sweet and reserved person.
    Also I do recall her saying that she enjoyed seeing different interpretations of her work. And that she’s glad that people like both Rei’s, as well as sticking up for her friendship with Usagi.
    So whatever issues she might of had originally, seem to have faded over time.
    Especially since she was involved in things like the musicals, and live action series. which also made drastic changes to her plots and characters.
    If it was such a big issue, surely it would have at least come up in conversation with Michie at some point regarding it.

    Saying that, I’m personally not that fond of Casablanca Memory, or rather how it was executed.
    This is mainly due to the whole issue between Rei and her father being sidelined in favour of Kaidou. Who I found to be a rather pointless addition to her back story. As well as providing a very half-baked and flimsy reason behind her attitude towards men. Naoko did have some odd ideas when it came to romance…
    But for me, it just didn’t do the character proper justice as it was likely intended too. And there are far more interesting and tragic aspects of her character you could have explored and expanded upon instead. For one thing, it would have been nice to have learned more about her mother. Or experiencing her powers for the first time, leading to others ostracising her.

    I know there are those who are quick to write the anime version of as a shallow, horrible person. Naturally I don’t agree with any of that nonsense (:P) . But sadly, not everyone is going to like or see the same things in a character that you do.
    Besides which, there are a number of moments in the manga where Rei is rude/harsh to Usagi, as well as loosing her temper. It’s not as noticeable due her not having as (sadly) prominent a role. But it is there.
    I’m not going to hide my displeasure with how Crystal handled her (Crystal in general is a sore subject for me), but I won’t beat the dead horse…

    I for one liked the more comedic elements added into the character. I thought she leant herself to that rather well. Like how she tries to dress herself up as being more mature and grown-up then Usagi, before a brief slip-up shows that they’re more alike then she’d dare admit. Like having an interest and enthusiasm for similar things. Her reaction to Usagi discovering her Takarazuka magazine, is a particulor examle of what I’m talking about.
    Cool, sophisticated and elegant, is what Rei wants the world to see her as.
    Indeed, the fact that she defies the image of the kind of character you’d expect is what makes her so refreshing to me. Like how Makoto doesn’t conform to typical tomboyish traits. Or how Usagi isn’t your typical lead heroine. They’re not perfect, they’re ordinary girls that you could meet on the street.

    I’d also like to include the dynamic with Ami into the mix, that helped make the Nephrite arc one of my favourite parts of the show. I don’t think the trio would have worked so well if Rei wasn’t distinctly more hot-headed in contrast to her more calm/serious demeanour.

    But the bond between her and Usagi was for me very much the heart of the series, especially classic. And without it, I doubt I would have got into the franchise at all. There was something about it that just appealed to me.
    And I can also see where Rei was coming from. Especially when you take into account what a different upbringing, lifestyle, and hard-working attitude she had. In contrast to Usagi, who had a stable family life, and was very lazy. It’s no wonder she looses patience with her at times.
    But I appreciated that Michie Tomizawa played the character in a manner that displayed a warmth behind the strictness. She and Kotono had a good on-screen rapport with each other that made it work.
    I also appreciate how the writers kept their relationship platonic, when it could easily have degraded into a run of the mill yuri pairing. Rei was more like the big sister that Usagi never had. And I also felt that helped enhance her as a character as well, along with bringing her more down to earth. Rather then just having others fall over themselves to obey her every will, because of ‘destiny’ and all that.

    But I’ve gone on a bit too long, so I think that will do.

    On a closing note. I’m curious if any of the other voice actresses influenced their characters in any way. In particular, Emi Shinohara.

    • Wait, you’re a fan of Michie? And Rei?? WHO KNEW!

      I absolutely agree with your point here that the interplay between Usagi and Rei was something the series sorely needed, and I think it added a lot to not only Rei’s character, but Usagi’s as well. Without anyone there to challenge Usagi’s laziness or sometimes totally off-base and stupid ideas, I feel like Usagi herself would have suffered. Though she got angry and emotional and would argue back, I think a lot of the time she saw that Rei did have a point. It wasn’t a purely hostile relationship, which I think is something people often forget.

  • I think your impression of the characters are inevitably going to be different from an incomplete reading. But I agree that there are many similarities to her two versions as well. Madd, I do hope you get back to the full manga at some point! Even the art alone is well worth it ;).

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