Answering Your Sailor Moon Questions

Did you know? Usagi is a 1337 computer haxx0r

Did you know? Usagi is a 1337 computer haxx0r

So, it’s the weekend and I’m bored. I usually try to not stray too far off the theme of this blog (i.e., answering one question about the Sailor Moon universe or the creative forces and inspirations behind it), but in the spirit of summer vacation, I figured it would be fun to look through the site logs and see what kind of search engine terms brought some of you here.

And if I can answer some of the questions while we’re at it, all the better!

Me, frantically trying to come up with blog topics

Me, frantically trying to come up with blog topics

It probably goes without saying, but a lot of the questions that people type into Google are actually answered. Which is great, because that means the blog is actually answering people’s questions! Some of the most common ones I get are (in no particular order):

  • How can Makoto live on her own? (Answer)
  • What does the R stand for in Sailor Moon R? (Answer)
  • Who is the strongest Sailor Scout? (Answer…?)
  • Why does Sailor Venus think she’s the princess? (Answer)
  • Why does ChibiUsa have pink hair? (Answer)

But those are boring. I’d rather take a look at some of the questions that either are impossible to answer, or are easily answered and not worth writing a whole article about. Note that all questions come directly from search engines, so I’ve left the spelling as-is.

Let’s take a look!

Why wasn’t Tuxedo Mask in episodes?

Hmm… there are probably a lot of possibilities behind this. Most importantly, there were many situations where he would have added nothing to the plot, so it wasn’t worth putting him in. Alternatively, it’s not uncommon to sign voice actors on for only a certain number of episodes (and not a full season), so it could have been contract-related. Toru Furuya, Mamoru’s voice actor, was pretty active during the 90s and may have had other commitments.

Sailor Mars hating men is petty.

Hmm… not a question, but you’re certainly welcome to your opinion!

Do I think it’s petty? Well yes and no. I think “petty” is too negative of a word for it. But considering how deep of a hatred for men she seems to express in the manga, the story that she “kinda liked a guy who didn’t like her back” is pretty lame. It would have been better either unexplained or with many a history of issues.

Incidentally, hating men from a young age isn’t uncommon in Japan, and there’s even a word for it – 男嫌い (otoko-girai; man-hating). Part of this is due to boys and girls always being socialized totally separately in schools and even through adulthood, so there’s not much of an opportunity to build constructive, friendly relationships with someone of the opposite sex.

But we’re not talking about sociology today.

When put side by side, the DO look different...

When put side by side, the DO look different…

Why was Sailor Pluto darker in Sailor Stars?

Huh, I never really noticed… and to be honest, I’m still not entirely convinced. If she is darker, it could easily have been due to the change in style that happened between SuperS and Stars. You know, new opening, new music, new writers and all that.

Did Usagi have pink hair?

In her very early original character concept art, she did! After that, (and even as late as the first Act!) Sailor Moon was supposed to have silver hair.

Why do people think Makoto from Sailor Moon is bisexual?

Now that is an oddly specific question. I don’t think I can answer this one other than “fans all have their own headcanon, and it’s best to just not get involved.” I guess there are quite a few scenes between Makoto and Ami in the anime that could leave one a bit suspicious, and Makoto was pretty infatuated with Haruka. Though, to be fair, so was everyone else.

On the other hand, Makoto’s love for men is a running gag in the series.

Just kidding...

Just kidding…

Who does Tuxedo Mask end up with?

SPOILERS! Usagi.

What happened to Naru?

Unfortunately, as the series grew, all of the ‘non-essential’ cast got cut out of the series. This includes Haruna, Umino, Naru, and even Usagi’s family. By Sailor Moon S, the vast majority of the non-senshi characters were relegated to a one-shot episode per season.

Of course, I understand it was necessary when you consider screen time, and that they obviously want to sell goods by marketing the main cast, but it’s still a shame. The world felt much smaller to me when the cast got reduced.

Does senshi mean guardian?

It absolutely does not, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar.

Usually I don’t like to get involved in matters of fan preferences, but this is truly and literally wrong. Is the official English name of the series “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon”? Yes. But senshi does not mean “guardian” and never has in Japanese. A senshi (戦士) is a warrior, soldier, or fighter. There are many other words for “guardian,” but not this one.

How powerful is Tuxedo Mask?

Are you talking anime or manga? In the anime, not powerful at all. Really, he’s a laughable joke who throws roses and spouts poetry. You could argue that when he’s Endymion in season 1 he does seem to be pretty powerful. However, you could also argue that this power is actually from Queen Beryl/Metalia, and not his.

In the manga? That’s quite a bit tougher. On his own, I’d say he’s probably on the lower-end of the rest of the Sailor Soldiers. While he does have an attack, he’s really there as support. But when the Golden Crystal comes into the picture in the Dead Moon arc, you could probably make a decent argument that it’s on par with the Silver Crystal – or at least close.

Artemis would never lie to his BFF

Artemis would never lie to his BFF

Does Artemis believe Sailor V is Princess Serenity?

Admittedly, Sailor V isn’t my area of expertise, but from what I remember about the series, I don’t think he does. In fact, Minako makes it pretty clear when she appears and joins the team as Sailor Venus that even she didn’t think she was the princess.

When do the Sailor Moon movies fit into the story?

I’ve seen a lot of attempts to shoehorn the movies into the Sailor Moon timeline, but frankly, the amount of explanations and excuses required to make them fit into the universe are so vast and numerous that I think it’s just easier to accept that they’re unrelated side stories. And that’s coming from me, a person who runs a blog dedicated to outrageous explanations.

Of course, you could probably argue that these movies just occurred during the “downtime” between various attacks and monsters of the day, but personally I’m a believer of the theory that Sailor Moon took place in a pretty short timeline (on the scale of months), so there wouldn’t be enough time for these movie adventures to occur.

But that’s just me.

Sailor Moon had an amnesia and will never remember anything.

I’m sorry to hear that. I hope she gets better. =(

How I look when people ask me questions

How I look when people ask me questions

There you go, a lightning round of Sailor Moon questions you probably never really thought about asking, but… someone else did?

I should mention that I’m always interested in hearing what kinds of questions people have, and I’m open to suggestions. Whether or not I can answer it is another story entirely, but I do have a list I always go back to when trying to come up with new topics.

So what about you? Is there anything you’ve been wondering about?

14 comments

  • Neeeat!

    Ok, since you asked?

    How about articles about IRL reactions to Sailor Moon the show?
    I wonder if it was an unstoppable juggernaut from the get go. Were there critics who thought the central concept, magical girl sentai, was a bridge too far? Ironic statements from rivals who didn’t think it would last? What was it scheduled up against anyhow? Did Sailor Moon effectively do them in? How did they fight back, or did they just flee to another time slot if necessary? What about ill-fated new shows that failed to stand athwart Sailor Moon? (Could be particularly neat if their show runners were then-unknowns who would go on to later successes.)

    You’ve written before that the simultaneous roll out of the manga, the anime, and the merchandise was pretty unprecedented. Did other rival creators throw any shade over that? Who was the person behind the scenes responsible for taking such a gamble? It must have been a gamble, after all. (I’m drawing parallels to an American science fiction film, Krull, that hit theaters with enough merchandise in stores to support a big successful release…. except it bombed pretty hard and the ubiquitous red tagged merchandise must have added up to a biiiig write-down for somebody.) If the show didn’t perform it would have cost someone their career! Did this bold person do other bold stuff?

    Did critics or fans watch Sailor Moon early on and have expectations of what was to come that were way off the mark? Or, towards the end, was their editorializing from critics about other stuff they wish the show had done?

    How about careers of persons involved? We know Junichi Sato and Kunihiko Ikuhara obviously got a boost from their success here. Any others? Particularly cool if they used Sailor Moon as a launching pad to go from obscurity to success.

    What about on the manga end? Naoko Takeuchi married another famous creator, IIRC? Did they ever put in subtle call outs to each other’s work in their comics? Manga flirting, lol. How about her staff? Did any ex-assistants go on to glory?

    Oh, here’s one last one. When I was young i remember “copyright Naoko Takeuchi” in the fine print on the U.S. merchandise I bought in the late 90s. I remember being impressed that she’d been able to retain the rights to her work to such an extent…. particularly since all you ever heard about women in Japan made it sound like such a thing would be impossible. Consider how impressive that looked vs other American properties, where the merch was stamped copyright Marvel or Disney, and that was that! Was this really a major creator victory? Or is that the norm for manga creators in Japan, and things really are just that different here?

    Hope some of that kindles your creative fire!

    • Lots of interesting questions, and I’ll definitely need to look into a few of these (since I don’t have any answers off the top of my head), but I can comments on at least one of them:

      The idea of a manga artist retaining the rights to their work is actually the norm in Japan, unless you’re writing a manga about a previously established property (as was the case with the Pokemon, Kingdom Hearts, Legend of Zelda, and all Disney-based manga). In that case, you likely either only have rights over what happens to your manga or, in some cases, you’re simply paid for the adaptation and aren’t even entitled to royalties.
      In most other cases, it’s pretty much the standard that artists retain the rights to their work (though the publisher may also be a co-owner in this IP).

      In the case of Sailor Moon, my understanding is that it was (is?) a 3- or 4-way split for the IP rights. Kodansha, Naoko, Toei, and possibly Bandai (I don’t recall… maybe not).
      The anime was planned from the very beginning, and it is not a licensed adaptation of the manga. However, as a co-owner of the IP, Naoko had some say in it.

      As for her assistants? It’s very much the industry standard that assistants do not get credit in Japan, so unfortunately, I don’t think we’d ever really know. CLAMP is an outlier, though, in that they actually DO give credit.

  • JAMES TROTTER

    [Edited for clarity]
    Here’s one: is the DiC dub as bad as people say? Well seasons one to R any way. The new actor was to hard to hear season 3 and, unlike what people say, there was death in the show. Just not when the heroes killed some one who was not a monster or when the heroes themselves died, but the bad guys could kill some one and they could die. Yes things were cut, but were the things that were cut really so bad? I think the music was better. I can’t stand the Japanese music. Some of it’s not too bad but the DiC stuff was more like a super hero show.
    And yes cutting out the gay and the name changing like Serenity to Serena was wrong. I am not saying it was better or as good but was it as bad as people say? If it was not for the changes, they would not have been able to put it on tv and so many fans would not have seen it and got in to it, so I am always thankful to it for that.
    I know it is bad here and there but it does have some good points. The intro is in our brains forever. Most fans do say like the Japan trank has some bad ones, the music mainly, so the DiC dub is not great but it does have death and most of the story is still there in some form, so is it really so bad?

    • Whether fans like the DiC dub or not is subjective, so I guess I can’t really say one way or another if it’s “good,” since it depends on the individual viewer. The funny thing about the argument is that, as time goes on, fewer and fewer fans will even have seen the DiC dub, so it’s probably quickly becoming a moot point.

      That being said, what’s my personal opinion on the issue? I like the DiC dub… quite a bit, actually. Not only out of nostalgia because it first introduced me to the series, but I like it as an adaptation/retelling of the Sailor Moon story. Kind of how the manga and anime are both different, and both good in their own ways, I think that the DiC dub adds some interesting characteristics to the characters and tells a fun story in its own unique way.

  • I’ve heard wildly different sides of the interpretation of the text in the Materials Collection on the Shitennou page(s?), where there’s a side comment next to Kunzite that is translated as ‘*has an affection for Kunzite’. One set of people claim it’s mistranslated and should be ‘Zoisite’, and another set claim that it really is ‘Kunzite’ and it’s Naoko’s personal comment about her having a problematic fave among the boys, and another set claim that it’s ‘Kunzite’ and should be interpreted as Kunzite being a narcissist. What are your thoughts on that? 😀

    • Interesting question… I actually am lucky enough to own a physical copy of Materials Collection, so I pulled it out to take a look. For reference, you can see a picture yourself on the Manga Style site. (here)

      So we’ll start with the answer first and then work our back: that translation is wrong for several reasons.

      1. In the manga, Naoko (and now in Sailor Moon Crystal) alludes to a relationship between the Shitennou and the Senshi. That kinda precludes a gay relationship between Kunzite and Zoisite.
      … okay, so it doesn’t preclude it per se, but it would definitely be at odds with the rest of the story.

      2. It should definitely say ‘Zoisite,’ not Kunzite.

      3. The Japanese reads 「ゾイサイトをかわいがってる」. The word used here, 可愛がる (kawaigaru) means to “look after,” or “be fond of” someone. An example would be a grandparent toward their grandchild, or a boss buying a coffee and taking an interest in looking after a new subordinate. It isn’t used in a sexual or romantic fashion.

      4. In case there was still any doubt remaining, on the immediately preceding page, next to Zoisite it says that 「オンナっぽい末っ子タイプ。クンツァイトの弟的存在。」, which translates to “He’s effeminate, and acts like the youngest child in a family. He’s like a younger brother to Kunzite.”

      So I’d say that we can wrap this issue up beyond the shadow of a doubt.

      Nice blog, by the way!

  • My first thought was “nope, I think you’ve answered every Sailor Moon question I could think of on this site, and 100 more beyond that!”

    If you’re desperate for questions though, I could come up with something only slightly related to Sailor Moon. Do you know why, when an anime show has an American character speaking English, that they don’t bother to find someone who can speak it well to perform the role? I expect that the producers don’t really care and neither does the Japanese audience, but still. It can’t be that hard to find a foreigner or a Japanese person who has had some practice speaking English.

    I mean, if I was making a cartoon that includes a Japanese character speaking Japanese, I wouldn’t just let a clueless voice actor act like Tigerseye and go “Nann jye da-SOO ka?” It takes so little effort to find someone who could do it halfway decently.

    Of course it was perfect when Tigerseye did it because he’s not supposed to be an expert on English… but it’s weird when all other British and American characters can’t speak English well at all.

    You know what, here’s one more Sailor Moon question you might know something about. What’s up with episodes 2-7? If I was making this show, I would have had Usagi working alone for two, maybe three episodes at the absolute most. It’s meant to be a team show and works so much better once Ami and Rei join the mix. But this brand new show originally went seven whole weeks with just Usagi and Luna alone.

    The tone of these shows was a little bit darker too… especially episode 6, which seems like it’s from an entirely different series. Usagi goes out to a club disguised with green hair and an outfit no 14 year old should be wearing in public, and hops in a car with a musician to chase down the monster? What happened here?

    And I wouldn’t be surprised if you have an article on this but I missed it… but I’d be interested in knowing more (if you have any info) on the special “summer break” episodes that Sailor Moon and other shows used to always do once a year. It’s such a weird idea but I kind of loved how shows would do this. Like the movies, these episodes seem to be either non-canon or just don’t fit anywhere into the normal storyline… and some, like episode 20, are just really strange. (pointless side note- I never saw episode 20 until 2014, I was shocked to discover it, and I finally knew where the R movie’s flashback scenes came from!)

    One last comment and question. I totally agree with you that the Sailor Moon world felt so small without the side characters any more. Usagi’s family, Rei’s grandpa and Yuuichiro, and all the other regulars made it feel so much more like a real place. Finally, what do you mean by “the theory that Sailor Moon took place in a pretty short timeline (on the scale of months)”?

    You mean each individual season took a few months, don’t you? I don’t see how the entire series could possibly be packed into that short of a time period, especially since the characters get 2 years older and attend a different school. Even if one episode was occuring every single day, that’s still 200 days! Or were you referring to the original manga story?

  • I would love to read an article about Kae Hanazawa – the vocalist behind “Sailor Star Song”. It’s hand-down my favourite song of all time, and it’s truly a shame that we know nothing about the singer. I’m just curious if you are able to find more information about her. Your article about DALI and Moonlight Densetsu was amazingly researched 😀

    BTW, Love your blog

  • David William Coxwell Jr.

    Are the Hell Tree Aliens a Rip off from the Tree of Might from Dragon Ball Z ?

    Why is there so much Filler in the Sailor Moon anime ? 90% of the Anime contains it .

    In the Sailor Moon Manga as well as the anime Momoko Momohara was Chibiusa Tsukino’s best friend outside of the Sailor Senshi In the Japanese Ver. Her original name is Momoko and in Sailor Moon R her name was changed to
    Melissa and her hair was brown . However when Super S began her character was changed to match Rini’s age as well as a new hairstyle and thus that is where in the English dub Melanie comes in .

    like how did you think her hair changed from brown to purple ? what happened to her after Chibiusa returned to Crystal Tokyo in Stars although that sadly that wouldn’t be relevant considering that as you said all of the ‘non-essential’ cast got cut out of the series sad to say .

    Either way Nice job keep up the good work

  • Here’s a fun (if unanswerable) question: There’s clearly merchandise of the senshi, especially Sailor V. We’ve seen dolls of all the characters, the Sailor V video games, even mangas and stuff shown. I know these are generally jokes by animators, but it raises some ethical questions. Who gets the merchandising money for Sailor V? Is all that stuff unlicensed? Is Minako living off royalty checks? What about those other Sailor toys and merch? If I was Usagi I’d be pretty miffed that I wasn’t getting a cut from those dolls in the crane games.

    • While most of the stuff thrown around in the background is probably just an animation gag and we can argue it didn’t really exist in the universe… that’s not true in the case of the Sailor V game, anime, and other things that appear in Sailor Moon.

      As for who gets the merchandising money? I’m not entirely sure that anyone would be responsible to license it (and thus be required to pay any merchandising fees to use their likenesses).
      In the case of the Sailor V game, for example, it really has very little to do with her. She has a gun and shoots monsters for points, which is pretty different from what Sailor V actually does. You might even be able to argue that this was parody, and thus protected.

      The anime might be a little harder, but I guess it’s possible they could play the parody angle, or argue that it’s “current affairs” or related to a crime (since Sailor V is acting outside of the law, her actions are also technically illegal).

      But ultimately, this is all moot, because this would be a civil action and not criminal. Since the companies know that there’s no way Sailor V will sue them for using her likeness, they’re pretty much safe to do whatever they want. The same goes for the in-universe use of Sailor Moon.

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