Why Is There No Sailor Sun in the Sailor Moon Universe?

Shush, Endymion, and let me tell you about my OC, Sailor Sun...

Shush, Endymion, and let me tell you about my OC, Sailor Sun…

The longer the Sailor Moon series went on, the more Sailor Soldiers we were introduced to, with Sailor Soldiers practically crawling out of the woodwork to join the cast in the fifth and final season, Sailor Stars.

And yet, despite the fact that we had countless Sailor Soldiers of planets, asteroids, dwarf planets, and even stars, there’s someone suspiciously absent from our solar system lineup: a Sailor Sun.

Today we’re going to talk about Sailor Sun’s absence in the Sailor Moon roster, and how this possibly relates all the way back to the Moon Kingdom and the Silver Crystal. I hope you left some room for breakfast, because this article is most definitely going to be sunny side up!1

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What Do the Sailor Moon Transformations Look Like to Other People?

Do they really henshin in front of people?

Do they really henshin in front of people?

Though I’m not a betting man, I’d feel relatively comfortable saying that nearly every Sailor Moon fan out there that has watched the anime with a friend or family member who isn’t a fan of the genre has had to deal with the question: “why doesn’t the bad guy just attack her when she’s transforming?”

And can you blame them? It’s a really good question.

Though fans have come up with a multitude of reasons to explain this away over the years — with answers ranging from the Youma wanting a fair fight to the Sailor Soldiers teleporting away during the henshin sequence — we’re actually here to address a much more fundamental question today.

Do these transformations actually take place, or are they like the eye catches between commercial breaks, and only for the viewer’s benefit?

Stick around, it’s about to get interesting!

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What Were Some of the Inspirations Behind Tuxedo Mask?

The many masks of Tuxedo Mask

The many masks of Tuxedo Mask

Ah, Mamoru – the “cool” guy that young boys wanted to be and young girls wanted to be with. Putting aside his absolutely atrocious fashion sense for a moment, it’s hard to deny that the image of Tuxedo Mask is nearly just as recognizable as that of Sailor Moon herself.

Today we’re going to take a quick look at some of the characters Ms. Takeuchi looked to for inspiration when she created Tuxedo Mask, and her reasons behind making him wear a tuxedo in the first place.

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Whose Real Life Parenting Experience Inspired a Sailor Moon Episode?

... I'm not sure how I'd feel about seeing this

… I’m not sure how I’d feel about seeing this

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned on many different occasions, I absolutely adore the Cardian story arc from the first half of Sailor Moon R. It’s not so much to do with the fact that the story itself is particularly interesting or that I’m a huge fan of Moonlight Knight,1 but rather it’s precisely because the story itself is less epic in nature. The whole storyline felt like a series of “slice of life”2 episodes where you actually got a know a little more about the day-to-day lives of the characters.

And today, we’re going to talk about one such episode.

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How Uncommon Are the Names of the Sailor Moon Characters?

The Sailor Team like to think they have pretty normal names...

The Sailor Team like to think they have pretty normal names…

We’ve discussed on several occasions the difficulties involved in localization, particularly when it comes to names, but we haven’t often discussed the names of the main characters themselves (with some exceptions), and how uncommon or strange they may seem. In fact, when the Sailor Moon manga was first being localized into English by Mixxzine1 (before being moved to Smile2 and then serialized by Tokyopop)3 – one of the first magazines for localized manga to be widely distributed in the U.S. – there was a lot of debate among fans over how Usagi’s name was localized.

While many fans either preferred the name Serenaas used in DiC’s localization of the anime, many other fans expressed an affinity for the Japanese original name. Mixx’s choice to translate Usagi’s name literally as Bunny was divisive to say the least. On one side of the argument, you could say that this is how Japanese readers interpreted the name—as a word found in the dictionary. On the other, one could argue that just like Dick Dastardly4 and many other children’s cartoons in the West, the name is simply an extra to give you further insight into the character.

Since there’s no “correct” solution to this issue of nuance in Japanese being lost in localization, I think it’s worth taking a look at this issue from another direction: just how made up are the names of the Sailor Moon cast, and are they really as obscure and fictional as we’ve all been led to believe? How many people can there actually be who are named “… of the moon,” anyway?

Neo Queen Princess Usagi Serena Bunny Serenity Tsukino

Neo Queen Princess Usagi Serena Bunny Serenity Tsukino

There are at least 251 households named Tsukino.

According to this index5 of 19,661,494 Japanese phone book listings, at least. Another site, which uses both phone records and and government census data,6 says that there are approximately 1,500 people with the last name Tsukino, making it the 6,402nd most popular last name in Japan. The site also provides an interesting look into the origin of the last name:

現鹿児島県東部である大隅国曽於郡月野が起源(ルーツ)である。近年、鹿児島県に多数みられる。 「野」は自然のままの広い地を表す。

The origin of the name is the village of Tsukino in the Soo district of Oosumi province in what is now the eastern part of present-day Kagoshima prefecture. There are many with the name found in Kagoshima prefecture. The character for “no” (野) means a wide-open natural space.

That’s right, if you were to go to Soo county in Kagoshima,7 you could very well meet someone named Tsukino. So in terms of realism, how do the rest of the characters fare?

Name No. Households Ranking Most Common In
Tsukino 251~1,500 6,402 Kagoshima
Mizuno 26,216~175,000 105 Aichi
Hino 4~20 64,633 Oita
Kino 1,284~8,700 1,811 Shizuoka
Aino 21~140 26,233 Hokkaido
Chiba 34~230 19,895 Yamagata
Tenoh 13~80 36,041 Hiroshima
Kaioh 0 NA NA
Tomoe 0 NA NA
Meioh 0 NA NA
Osaka 172~1,200 7,346 Osaka

I guess it shouldn’t be all that surprising that Mizuno would be that common of a last name (almost breaking into the top 100!) considering that there’s the Mizuno Corporation,8 a popular brand of sports equipment. More than anything else, though, I was surprised to see that nearly all of the last names of the main cast (with the exception of Michiru, Hotaru, and Setsuna) actually exist in the real world. Even Ms. Naru Osaka, who I always figured was a pure parody name, actually has some real-world relatives in the – big surprise! – Osaka region of Japan.

The Lovely Ms. Osaka

The Lovely Ms. Osaka

So there you have it! Though obviously Ms. Takeuchi picked the character names in order to match them with their representative planets as well as their chosen element and, to be honest, it may simply be a pure coincidence that any of these are real-world names at all, I for one am glad to see that there is at least one more touch of reality in the world of Sailor Moon.

And for anyone who’s curious – no, there’s no one in Japan that I could find named Usagi. Too bad!

Who Was the Original Tuxedo Mask?

The Fiend With Twenty Faces (1977)

The Fiend With Twenty Faces (1977)

While the idea of a masked hero coming to save the day isn’t exactly novel or unique, nor was Sailor Moon the first media in which one appeared, one thing that always did seem special about Tuxedo Mask was that he dressed up in such a fancy outfit while he did it. In some odd way, it seems oddly fitting for a high school/college student to dress in a suit and cape while throwing roses to save sailor-suited soldiers of justice. What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that there’s actually quite a bit of history to the creation of the character of Tuxedo Mask, from a popular Japanese character based on the Japanese adaptation of a French story, and has connections going back nearly one hundred years, and even has overlaps with the Sherlock Holme franchise. So who was the source of inspiration for Tuxedo Mask, and where did Ms. Takeuchi pick up the basis for his design?

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Did Moonlight Knight Make a Mistake in French?

The Moonlight Night... er.. Knight!

The Moonlight Night… er.. Knight!

Moonlight Knight is a bit of an oddball character in the Sailor Moon anime, as he’s one of the few “hero” characters that exist only in the anime with no manga connections at all. The whole Cardian Arc1 was completely made up for the anime only, supposedly to give Ms. Takeuchi a chance to prepare her next story arc while the anime rushed ahead of her, though I’ve always suspected that the true purpose of this was to give them a sort of teaser for the upcoming Sailor Moon R movie. That, however, is a story for another time. What we’re here to look at is: what’s with Moonlight Knight’s use of French?

* Not a subtitling error

* Not a subtitling error

Possibly even more than Tuxedo Mask himself, Moonlight Knight was fond of long, dramatic speeches.2 More interesting to me, though, is what he said when he departed. Despite his strong Arabian design, Moonlight Knight always leaves the Sailor Team with a fancy “adieu.” What’s noteworthy about this is that it appears to have been a mistake by the anime production staff, directly translating his さようなら (sayounara; good bye) into something more fancy-sounding without looking into the cultural context. The issue here is that adieu implies that you don’t believe that you will see the other party again (at least not soon), and that you are saying good bye with a sense of finality. What he should have said was au revoir, which is used when you do believe that you will be crossing paths in the near future.3

While I would like to say that there was some sort of deeper meaning to this word choice and over-analyze the issue, I’m afraid that this is pretty much clearly a case of not having done the appropriate cultural research. If I were to read into the issue, however, I would say that you could make the assertion that this was Moonlight Knight’s way of expressing that he hoped he and Mamoru would soon re-join (i.e., Mamoru’s physical / human form and his sense of duty to protect the Sailor Soldiers) and was bidding them farewell. Put another way, by implying he would see them again would suggest that Moonlight Knight did not intend to return to Mamoru and resume his activities in the form of Tuxedo Mask.

Of course, this is probably looking way too into it, but it’s at least an interesting tidbit, if nothing else! Since Mamoru is a university student in the anime, and many university students are required to learn a second foreign language (other than English), it’s entirely plausible that he did study some French. You’re pretty clever, Mamoru!