What Were Ikuhara’s Inspirations for the Sailor Moon R Movie? (Part 2)

Fiore and his flower minions

Fiore and his flower minions

After finishing the first half of my review of Ikuhara’s director’s notes for the Sailor Moon R movie, I have to admit that I feel like I have a bit of a better understanding of what story he intended to tell.

And you know, I think I like the movie even more. Knowing that there’s actual meaning behind scenes I just glossed over adds a new depth to the movie for me, and it’s definitely moved up on my “to watch” list.

That said, join me as I continue on with Director Ikuhara’s notes for chapters 11 through 16!

Fiore – not a nice guy

Fiore – not a nice guy

11. The flower of Xenian and Fiore

Here Ikuhara goes into a description behind his inspiration in creating Fiore and what type of character he wanted to depict on screen.

I’ll be the first to admit – I’ve never really been much of a fan of Fiore. It’s not that he’s a bad character per se, but more that I just never really understood his motivation. Okay, so Mamoru used to be your friend. Now he’s not. So what?

Of course, there’s also the popular “Fiore is gay, in love with Mamoru, and hates Usagi for taking his man away” interpretation. While I’ve never seen anyone go on record and comment on it either way – and Ikuhara is mum on the matter here as well –  that’s honestly the only way that this story even begins to make any form of sense to me. But I digress.

So what does Ikuhara say on the matter of Fiore?

Interestingly enough, he describes Fiore in terms of a child growing up to become an adult.

When you’re a child, you’re constantly feeling a sense of uncertainty that, as you become an adult, you’ll slowly begin to lose your innocence – your purity.1 Children have a sense of absoluteness about the world: lying is wrong, telling the truth is right; promises should never be broken; you should always do what’s right. Basically, children are idealists.

Adults? Well, they know that’s not the case. And, as Ikuhara posits, children are afraid of having to grow up and live in this world of moral greyness. That’s why they love superhero movies. That’s why they love stories about sailor-suited soldiers of love and justice.

But the only way for children to grow up and push forward with their ideal world, they need a great deal of power. In Fiore’s case, he takes Xenian’s power with him back to Earth in order to bring about his idealized world. Where promises – such as Mamoru’s promise to be friends forever – are never broken.

12. Tuxedo Mask appears! The dapper tinderbox.

Here, Ikuhara discusses how many times people kept coming to him to make the movie more fun, more lighthearted. It was a movie about a show for kids, after all.

He comments here that he actually did try to make a fun movie, and the stress of trying to keep it “fun” even started to get to mess with his head.

Poor guy…

13. Sanatoriums

Ikuhara gives us further insight in how he viewed the movie here, in discussing how he actually included three sanatoriums2 in this movie – the capsule that Mamoru finds himself in to be healed after the battle with Fiore (which Ikuhara describes as “womb-like”); the hospital where Mamoru and Fiore were recovering and began their friendship; and the asteroid where Xenian was locked away and healed Fiore’s emotional scars.

If only Mamoru knew...

If only Mamoru knew…

14. The resolution – Sailor Teleport

Here, Ikuhara goes into how the true enemy of this movie isn’t Xenian, but rather Fiore’s weak will being manipulated by Xenian. While I’m not necessarily sure that I agree that by virtue of the fact that he’s the one who got this ball rolling that he’s necessarily worse than Xenian herself, it is an interesting idea. He also does go on to describe Xenian being created as a “true evil” entity.

In contrast to Fiore, whose strings are being pulled by Xenian, the Sailor Team shows their strength of will here by making their own decision and coming together to do the Sailor Teleport.

15. The asteroid bares its fangs – Sailor Planet Attack

We find out from Ikuhara here more about his intended symbolism behind the asteroid as it approaches the earth. Once it opens up, we find that the asteroid is actually a huge garden of Xenian flowers.

Fiore intends to bring these flowers to Earth to prove that there is such a thing as “eternal friendship.” But his intentions have now changed – he is no longer here to prove it to Mamoru, but rather to prove that he has managed to preserve his child-like innocence and has still maintained the concept of “eternal friendship.”

He will prove this at all costs, even if he has to fight those who say otherwise.

Sailor Mars lets them have it

Sailor Mars lets them have it

16. Fierce fighting in the flower maze

Apparently Ikuhara has a really hard time with the scene of the Sailor Soldiers fighting through the swarms of Xenian flowers. This wasn’t just that he had a hard time with it himself, but also from the comments he got from others working on the movie.

He goes on to say that the animators did an amazing job of the fight scene and, when combined with the music and sound effects, brought about a great feeling of catharsis.3

The problem with the scene – according to others – is that it was far too cruel to be showing this level of violence to kids, even if they’re only fighting flower monsters.

But Ikuhara saw it totally differently. In his opinion, the world needs people – heroes – like that, who will throw themselves into the battle and incinerate their enemies, even if they are beautiful flowers. At the end of the day, he insists that though this exchange between the Sailor Soldiers and Xenian is a battle scene, he wouldn’t consider it a scene of violence.

... because every article needs to end with a laugh?

… because every article needs to end with a laugh?

Aaaand, that’s it for part two! I was really hoping to get through all of these, but I’d rather give each of these scenes the time they deserve rather than rush through it just to meet a deadline. Read on here for Part 3!

While you’re here, though – what do you think of Fiore and his motivation? Is it purely jealousy over a romantic partner? Or fixation on a childhood friend?


References:

  1. Not in that way, sicko
  2. See Sanatorium (Wikipedia)
  3.  See Catharsis (Wikipedia)

8 comments

  • Having just watched the movie recently myself, I’m not sure his intentions came across the way he wanted very well It really does seem like it was more Fiore being in love with Mamoru and hating Usagi for being with him… He doesn’t even know a thing about Usagi, yet he made sooo many assumptions about her, it’s so irrational. Kinda like how people could be when they’re jealous (Or we could just blame the flower for brainwashing him xD)

    Just my 2 cents 🙂

    • I have to agree here. I feel like he had a lot of good ideas, and these may have been true at one time, but these slowly got phased out as the script was rewritten and the movie modified beyond his original draft.

      But what do I know? He’s a big shot director, and I’m a blogger. =p

  • Bub, I love your website and articles.

    I look forward to seeing your insight on the R movie

  • Pingback: What Were Ikuhara’s Inspirations for the Sailor Moon R Movie? (Part 3) – Tuxedo Unmasked

  • In Cygnus And In Health

    It’s easy for people to often dismiss themes in movies like this as superficial. But I appreciate how directors like Ikuhara put some thought into them, even if they don’t necessarily come across that clearly to the viewers. Of course he is something of an eccentric, so who knows what he may really have intended.
    But it gives an interesting new perspective when watching it again, and I’m now wondering what went on behind the scenes of the other two movies. Also interesting that he had little involvement with the R season, but it makes sense to an extent as it didn’t have quite the same tone as the latter two he worked on. It does feel like a transition between Sato’s and his.

    As for Mamoru and Fiore being more then just good friends, I never really saw it myself. But when it comes to relationships that can be vaguely interpreted, I prefer to stick with the ones acknowledged by ‘official’ sources, rather then fandom headcanons. And I think what happened here can be just passed of as run-of-the-mill yaoi-bait.

    I tend to forget about the Xenian flower being the secondary antagonist/puppet master. But it was quite an intriguing concept for a villain, and I’m curious to where it came from, and who/what created it.
    Seeing that it’s a form of parasite, its plausible that it would ensure the host would benefit in some manner in order to remain healthy, while possibly feeding of some of its personalty and desires through some kind of symbiotic link. Maybe it interpreted Fiore’s feelings as sexual? We don’t know entirely how much control one had over the other, and they are aliens after all.

    I find the attitudes towards the ‘violence’ in the series a bit weird. Maybe its because Sailor Moon’s was quite tame to me, at least when compared to typical shonen kids animes (like Dragonball) around the time. And it’s spiritual successor Precure could have some fairly brutal fight scenes, especially in its early days. But perhaps this could be a reaction to the distress the ending of Classic caused, hence the emphasis on ‘fun’.
    But I have found that combat generally tend to be the weakest area of Sailor Moon. Be it the stock footage of the 90’s anime, the cartwheeling of PGSM, and the frankly embarrassing moments of the Senshi being feebly knocked around and being ineffectual in Crystal.
    I’m not saying it needs to be more hardcore. But some more dynamic choreography would have been welcome.

    • Only tangentially related, but something I’ve always wondered about with regard to Fiore, An, and Ail is just how many civilizations they encountered before actually ending up on Earth and running into the Sailor Team. We know that An and Ail don’t seem to last long without energy, so they must’ve had to absorb energy from other living beings at a pretty high rate of speed before coming to Earth.

      In the case of Fiore, we don’t really know much about him, but we do know that he is pretty powerful. He also went throughout the galaxy looking for the most perfect-est flower, so it’s not too inconceivable that he actually went on quite a number of adventures before ultimately being tricked by Xenian.

      On your last point… yeah, the fight scenes in Sailor Moon have never really been all that good, which is probably one reason why they opted to just rely on magical attacks over any actual fighting (in addition to the desire to minimize actual physical violence… oh, and time savings for just re-using the same animation over and over). It’s too bad, because I think it could have been really interesting for them to get more involved, or do my diving and dodging attacks.

  • It’s interesting because I always though that Fiore’s motivation made no sense at all either, but I always found it to be friendship based and not romantic. He is jealous and I do not think it has to be romantic relationship for you to be jealous. I felt he wanted to bring back that flower as he said and when he came back he realized things have changed. Although I do not think that is a motivation for him battling with the others. I can understand it though in a “can’t believe things have changed” sort of way. Maybe it was symbolism for fighting against change in life. The only thing that was confusing and unreal is that how if he was in his alien form (which is different than how the movie portrays him at the beginning) that no one in the hospital is worried why is this alien kid is there. Also I wonder how long he stayed in the hospital further being unrealistic that no one was concerned about the alien. I wonder was that a real scene that Usagi gave Mamoru that rose because that means that Mamoru and Usagi met as a child. It’s confusing.

    I like how they look at it or so the director claims to look at the idea of Fiore in a way of trying to not grow up and hold onto his ideals. I find that the most realistic aspect of his possible motivation behind his attack. He wants to keep things as they were. I do believe that there is no true enemy and Fiore is his own enemy because he was being manipulated, but the Xenian flower is evil for the manipulation. I think that battle was fun and not violent. I can see what they meant though. Usually the soldiers rarely ever defeat that many enemies and their attacks might hurt them. It is usually sailor moon who destroys them and it’s usually 1 per episode. This time their attacks seems stronger and they have destroying several enemies. Either way I did not find it violent since they did not show blood.

    • I really was happy to see the other soldiers actually have a chance to shine and kill enemies in this movie, though I really wish that they fought fewer enemies when doing so. I think it would have shown off their strength/power even better if it was only 1-2 that they were fighting, rather than Sailor Mars blasting through a whole crowd all at once.

      It really is a minor point, but with the way it was depicted in the movie, it seemed more like an “of course the Sailor Soldiers could destroy the enemies… they’re so weak!” rather than emphasizing that they actually are effective soldiers.

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