What Was the Inspiration for the Dark Kingdom’s Uniforms?

Don't even get me started on the Nephrite color-changing issue...

Don’t even get me started on the Nephrite color-changing issue…

Since I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about the importance of school uniforms and their relevance to the series, I think it’s about time that we give some attention to what the men of Sailor Moon are wearing. And that’s what I fully intend to do.

Tuxedo Mask… wears a tuxedo. And a mask. Done.

Now that we’ve got that mystery solved, I’d like to turn your attention to something you’ve probably thought a lot less about: just where did the inspiration for the uniform’s worn by the Dark Kingdom come from? Were they completely made up, or did Ms. Takeuchi take her inspiration from the uniform of some long-forgotten army?

If this is a question that ever has crossed your mind, you’re in luck, because we’re going to take a closer look at exactly that today. It’s time to put on your sleuthing hat, because things are about to get interesting!

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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 Shitennou, 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.