What Were Ikuhara’s Inspirations for the Sailor Moon R Movie? (Part 3)
It’s been a long road here, but we’ve finally made it to the end of our three part special, where we review Director Ikuhara’s notes explaining his thoughts on the story of the Sailor Moon R movie. You can find Part 1 and Part 2 here, respectively.
If you’re new to this series, a little background: Kunihiko Ikuhara1 was the director and major creative force behind the Sailor Moon R movie. Included with the LaserDisc release of the movie was a six page summary of his “interpretation” – basically, his thoughts and inspirations – of the story, separated by chapter.
Today, I’ll be finishing up with comments 17 through 22! Why don’t you join along?
17. The choice – Xenian’s thorns
Despite their best efforts, the Sailor Soldiers are finally captured by Fiore/Xenian and their army of flower monsters. You know, just saying that sounds really awesome. But I digress.
Ikuhara comments that he took this as his chance to show why it is that the Sailor Soldiers fight – why they’re willing to throw their lives on the line for Sailor Moon, and what it is that they’re trying to defend. Apparently, while the movie was still in development, there was still no solid word on whether the series would continue on for a third season, so he thought that this was his chance to explore that.
He also took this opportunity to combine Fiore and Xenian’s designs, to visually show how they’re interconnected.
18. The lonely flowery knoll – Risky age
Here, Ikuhara describes that his his goal was to explore the concept of ‘loneliness’ and what it means to be all alone. According to him, loneliness isn’t about being ‘alone’ right now. Rather, true loneliness for people is about thinking how you will continue to be alone from here on out.
If we were to extrapolate that out, I guess it could explain away how Fiore was okay with being alone for so long because he always knew that the feeling would eventually end when he returned to Mamoru, but after finding Mamoru and being faced with rejection and the concept of being alone forever on, he snaps.
… yeah, okay, I don’t buy it either. But it is interesting what he thinks about the human spirit and conquering being alone.
19. You’re not alone
Oh, huh. Looks like I didn’t need to refute the point – Usagi was ready to do it for me!
According to Ikuhara, this scene of Usagi – Princess Serenity – facing off against Fiore and expressing her love for all people and trying to confront him not through strength, but friendship, was what the entire movie was created around. Though the way the scene played out differs from how he originally imagined it, essentially the movie was created to lead up to this scene. He describes the initial plot outline as follows:
The final battle takes place in a garden of monstrous flowers. Enemy A believes that the only way to make the world into his ideal is to blanket the Earth with these evil flowers. However, these flowers will bring about the end of the planet.
At the end of a desperate fight, Sailor Moon and the Sailor Team have emerged victorious. The garden of evil flowers is destroyed, and the surrounding is an desolate wasteland.
Enemy A, having lost his flower minions and his dreams in ruins, summons all his might and launches his hand through Sailor Moon’s heart! She’s in pain. Her transformation fades, and large ribbons start to grow out of her, to form into the shape circlet of flowers. But why?
Where did all these flowers, whose hopes had already been destroyed, come from out of this desolate wasteland? Enemy A is in shock. Who is this woman standing in front of him?
A light erupts from her chest, and finally he sees…
Alas, Ikuhara doesn’t finish his thought here. But I, for one, would have loved to see this cut of the movie. Even if the near death of Sailor Moon would likely have been pretty traumatizing for young fans.
20. The Silver Crystal and Sailor Moon’s flower
Ikuhara calls our attention to the exchange between young Mamoru and Usagi in the hospital:
How about in English?
Young Mamoru: “My best friend is about to leave… but, I can’t do anything for him.”
Young Usagi: “Hmm… well, I’mma be a big sister from today. Mama had a baby! I brought these to as a gift. Here, congrats!”
He notes that many people have asked him about this conversation, specifically why Usagi says “congrats” (おめでとう; omedetou)2 at the end. Ikuhara says that the reason behind that line is the key to the conversation.
So what does it mean? Unfortunately, Ikuhara provides no further hints, and I’m quite possibly too deficient in my ability to analyze stories to find any deeper meaning here. I mean, I always assumed that Usagi meant it as a furthering of her congratulating her mother on bringing out a new child into this world. But I guess if you want to look at it from another angle, maybe Usagi is congratulating Mamoru on… his next step in life on losing a friend and growing as a person?
Dunno… I just don’t see any deeper meaning here. Do you?
21. Moon Revenge
Here we find Ikuhara going on to explain how Usagi is depicted as the ideal of motherhood, but not to be mistaken with someone who will forgive anything and everything. She feels strongly, and she both empathizes and sides with her friends, and has absolutely no sympathy for those who are pathetic and won’t do anything for themselves, like Fiore.
He feels that Moon Revenge expresses this part of Usagi’s personality well.
Aaaand, I’m not totally sure what part of Moon Revenge he’s thinking of, but I never really saw it as portraying Usagi in a really “independent woman” light. But then again, I’m not very good at interpreting art, so what do I know?
22. The flower of life
Closing up on Ikuhara’s director’s notes, he discusses the idea of a flower of life. Much like how all of the flowers from the asteroid, and the hopes and dreams of human-kind, all came together to give Usagi the energy she needed, he goes on to thank all of the staff who made this movie possible.
Throughout the process of making this film, various members of the production staff approached Ikuhara to discuss how they wanted to make their dreams a reality through their work on this film.
Their work, in his words, were akin to the energy that came to Usagi to bring life to her and the Sailor Soldiers.
And that brings us to the end of our review of Director Ikuhara’s notes on the Sailor Moon R movie! What did you think about all of this? Did he do a decent job getting his thoughts on the story across through the imagery and storytelling? Or was he totally off-base?
Personally, I think he has some interesting ideas here on the characters and their motivations, but I feel like some of them were shoe-horned in, or might have gotten phased out during script rewrites, thus kinda invalidating his original intents and motivations for the characters. But that’s just my opinion – I’d love to hear yours!