Is Rei Hino / Sailor Mars Part Demon?

This can't be normal

This can’t be normal

While most of the Sailor Soldiers don’t seem to show any sort of magical aptitude outside of their post-henshin’d form, Rei (and, okay, Hotaru) is unique in that she has supernatural abilities even in her “normal” form. After all, shortly after Rei’s first appearance in the manga we’re already given accounts of her having mysterious powers.1

And that’s saying nothing of her fire reading abilities or stunning people with ofuda in both the anime and manga.

So we’re gonna take a look at the interesting possibility that this may be at least somewhat attributable to Rei being part demon. How, you ask? Read on and find out!

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What Was the Inspiration Behind Zoisite and Kunzite’s Relationship?

Who could it be?

Who could it be?

Among all of the liberties that the anime took when it came to redefining the characters of Sailor Moon — and there were certainly plenty — the reworking of Zoisite and Kunzite’s relationship is one of the examples that stands out strongly in my mind.

Today, we’re here to talk about the 1978 manga and subsequent 1982 anime that may have served as an inspiration for how Zoisite and Kunzite’s relationship developed into what we saw in the anime.

And if that doesn’t sound interesting, well then, I guess I just don’t even know who my readers are. If you’ve made it this far, then, I hope you join along for the ride!

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How Different Were the Four Kings of the Dark Kingdom in the Anime and Manga?

You can't deny the Four Kings are cute

You can’t deny the Four Kings are cute

“Is this another topic on the differences between the anime and manga,” I can hear you groaning. But before you give up in search of something else to read, hang in there – how the characters of the Shintennou, the “Four Kings,” differed between the anime and manga, and especially the differences in Zoisite and Kunzite’s relationship, is actually pretty interesting!

Or… at least it is to me. Your results may vary.

But in any case, today I’m going to take a look in how the Four Kings of the Dark Kingdom changed. Wanna come along?

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Who Was the Most Popular Sailor Moon Villain?

Who Could It Be?

Who Could It Be?

Spoiler: It’s definitely not who you think it is!

One thing I absolutely love about doing this blog is being to stop down and actually look at the nitty-gritty details of this series that I love so much, and open my eyes up to new things that I either never noticed before, or never gave a second thought.

Today, I’m stopping to take an in-depth look into something you’ve probably never wondered about before – who is the most popular Sailor Moon villain? The answer will definitely surprise you!

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Why Were Both Queen Beryl and Luna Voiced by Keiko Han?

The Evil Queen We Will Defeat

The Evil Queen We Will Defeat

One of the more endearing “behind the scene” mysteries to me about the development of the Sailor Moon anime is just why, exactly, did Luna and Queen Beryl share a voice actress. Certainly, Keiko Han was a very talented – and veteran – voice actress who’s been active in the industry since her debut in 1977,1 but that doesn’t explain why the anime would choose to reuse her talent for two major roles. Today, we’ll take a look at one theory to explain this.

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What Does Nephrite’s Cursed Symbol Mean?

The Target is Chosen

The Target is Chosen

One of the interesting things about the Classic season of the Sailor Moon anime is that each of the Four Kings of the Dark Kingdom not only had their own unique objectives, but they also had their own youma and their own ways of trying to achieve their goals. While Jadeite may have decided to get energy en masse, for example, Nephrite chose to get energy from a person when they were at their peak. But there’s one thing that I always wondered about many years ago when I watched Nephrite put his mark on his future victims: does that mark actually have any sort of meaning behind it?

The answer to this question is unfortunately, like is often the case when discussing the world of Sailor Moon, both yes and no. While the producers behind the anime were no strangers to adding in obscure hidden references into the background of scenes or playing games with character names, the answer to this question is rather straightforward – if you know where to look for the answer.

The Curse of Nephrite

The Curse of Nephrite

Since we see Nephrite use this symbol in multiple episodes when he puts his mark on a possession important to each of his victims, we can pretty definitively state what the proper orientation is (i.e., which way is up and, thus, how it should be interpreted). When you look closely at it, you can see that this symbol is really nothing more than a stylized form of the katakana used to spell out his name in Japanese – more specifically, the ネ (ne) in ネフライト (nefuraito).

But that’s no good reason to get disappointed, not yet at least! First, we need a brief history lesson.1

Hiragana and katakana,2 the two Japanese syllabic alphabets, developed from evolutions – simplifications, really – of kanji, which had been previously used in the form of man’yogana3 wherein kanji was read not for its symbolic meaning, but was used to phonetically spell out Japanese words. This was obviously not ideal for several reasons:

  1. Very little consistency between authors over which kanji was used to represent which sound (i.e., there are dozens of kanji that can be pronounced ne, so which do you use?)
  2. Kanji is time-consuming to write and requires more finesse for fine lines
  3. It was unclear when a kanji should be read for pronunciation and when it should be read for meaning (a proper noun, for example)

The katakana symbol ネ (ne) comes from a simplification of the kanji 祢 (ne),4 more specifically, the left radical of that kanji. When you take a look at how the kanji is simplified when writing in one of the various cursive styles of Japanese calligraphy, you can see the similarities with Nephrite’s mark.

Japanese Cursive Styles

Japanese Cursive Styles

You can see that as the kanji is written in more stylistic manners, the left radical bears a strong resemblance to the mark that Nephrite leaves on all of his victims. It looks like what we have here is a case of the anime producers actually looking back to the past in order to create something new and unique. I told you this wasn’t a complete disappointment!

Now if only someone could explain to me why it would be okay for Nephrite and Naru to date, like the trouble with Usagi and Mamoru in the anime, I think all of my questions would be answered.

What Do Queen Serenity and Queen Metalia Have in Common?

Queen Serenity and Queen Beryl

Queen Serenity and Queen Beryl

Whether you look at the anime or manga or even the live-action series, despite how important they were to setting up the story behind the Sailor Moon series, Queen Serenity and Queen Metalia both get incredibly minor roles with very little explained about their past or motivations. What’s worse, the Serenity name is passed onto her daughter, Princess Serenity, who then passes it on to her daughter, Princess Usagi Small Lady Serenity. But is there more to these characters than meets the eye? I think so, and that’s what we’re here to look into!

Queen Serenity

Starting with the Serenity line, it’s fortunately pretty easy to track down the meaning and history behind her name, though most of it is probably connected more to Princess Serenity / Usagi more-so than her mother. The most obvious and meaningful connection is the Greek myth of the relationship between Selene, the moon goddess, and the mortal Endymion.1 This gets us partly to the name “Serenity,” though we have one (or possibly two!) other sources of inspiration, all inspired by the Greek connection to the moon.

We all know that Ms. Takeuchi had a strong attachment to astronomy during her developmental years and did a lot of research when making the series, so it should come as no surprise that Usagi’s royal name would be connected to a basin on the Moon, the Mare Serenitatis — or, in English, the Sea of Serenity.2 This is also, incidentally, where the Moon Kingdom was said to be located and where the Sailor Team head in both the anime and manga to consult with the memory of Queen Serenity among the ruins of the Silver Millenium.

Naturally Occurring Selenite and Crystal Tokyo

Naturally Occurring Selenite and Crystal Tokyo

So then, what is this third possible reference? Though less of a connection to the late Queen Serenity herself, there seems to be a strong implied connection between Neo-Queen Serenity, Crystal Tokyo, and the mineral known as selenite.3 Selenite is most often clear, though can appear white, pearl, or a variety of other colors depending on impurities. Most notably, it often is found in columns and in tubular designs, not much unlike the designs of the Crystal Tokyo Palace and the Silver Crystal.

Queen Metalia

Chrysoberyl (Alexandrite)

Chrysoberyl (Alexandrite)

Like the Four Kings, the connections to geology are a lot more obvious with the Dark Kingdom. There are two notes about the dual monarchy — Queen Beryl and Queen Metalia — that are not obvious at first glance, however. First off, while the most obvious connection with Queen Beryl is to the gemstone beryl.4 However, it’s a little more complicated than that. You see, the Japanese word for queen is 王女 (oujo; queen) though Ms. Takeuchi tends to write the titles (e.g., princess, queen, etc.) out phonetically, such as クイーン (kui-n; queen). However, the titles for both Queen Beryl and Queen Metalia are misspelled in Japanese, and are written as クイン (kuin; no meaning). Why is that?

Well, it’s to give it a double meaning. While it still sounds reasonably close to queen (and is treated canonically that way), it also looks similar to クリソ (kuriso; chryso). So actually, Queen Beryl’s name is more strongly connected to chrysoberyl.5 Just by looking, you can see that this stone much more closely matches the color scheme associated with Queen Beryl, so it’s pretty clear that this is more likely a closer source for her inspiration than normal beryl.

That means that the chryso- connection probably also remains true for Queen Metalia as well, since her name is also written in the same (misspelled) manner. Since here’s no substance known as metalia, we can rule out any special connection there other than it simply being a reference to metal, but with the chryso- prefix attached,6 it modifies the meaning to the metal, gold.

What that ultimately leaves us with is the villain, an evil queen born of hatred from the sun and named in honor of the mineral gold fighting against the Silver Millenium, ruled by the queen of the moon.

The Forces of the Dark Kingdom

The Forces of the Dark Kingdom

Though we never did learn as much about the motivations behind Beryl, Metalia, and the formation of the Dark Kingdom (outside of the musical, of course!) as I would have liked, it’s nice to know that Ms. Takeuchi went through quite a bit of effort to put a little more detail into their names than you’d initially assume. I have to admit, she’s pretty tricky!