What Is Considered Canon In the Sailor Moon Universe?

Did they every really wear these princess dresses? Well...

Did they every really wear these princess dresses? Well…

When you spend a lot of time analyzing the ins and outs of a given series — and especially one as expansive as Sailor Moon — you’re going to eventually find yourself confronted with the question of what is and is not canon, and what sources you can actually derive meaningful information from.

Over the past 25+ years, we’ve seen the story of Sailor Moon presented to us in the form of a manga, anime, musicals, video games, a live action TV show, more musicals, a completely different anime, and countless book adaptations spread throughout. While I personally like to believe that there’s a general thread of an overarching “one Sailor Moon universe” running between all most of them, the answer is a little more complicated than I’d hope.

So join along, my dear reader, as we take a stroll through the Sailor-verse™ and try to suss out how they all fit together. I hope you like puzzles, because this one’s a level 8!

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What Did Sailor Moon’s Animators Think of the Anime’s Nudity?

I still find it shocking that this is official art by Naoko

I still find it shocking that this is official art by Naoko

If you grew up in the pearl-clutching 80s and 90s in North America, the very concept of nudity appearing in a children’s cartoon was absolutely unfathomable. Exposed flesh on a children’s cartoon? Oh, my word!!

That was one of the biggest shocks for me — and I’m sure many of you — when I first started watching anime in the late 90s: the fact that my favorite characters are here, transforming, battling, or just flying around naked… and it’s all just so normal.1

But one thing that I’ve always wondered is: what did the production staff think about all this? Fortunately for us, Kimiharu Obata,2 key animator for several episodes of Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon R, has kindly put pen to paper to talk about this very issue. Feel free to read this in the office — it’s absolutely SFW!

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What Is the SuperS Movie’s Three O’Clock Fairy Song Referring To?

ChibiUsa is very unimpressed

ChibiUsa is very unimpressed

While the Sailor Moon series is generally a challenge in its own right to translate in such a way that not only gets across what’s being said, but the style and nuance as well, my heart truly goes out to those who are tasked with translating the lyrics to the series’ music.

As a wise person (me) once said (right now): 80% of the meaning of music cant be found in the words that go unspoken.

Today we’re going to take a look back at yet another Sailor Moon lyrical mystery, as we try to uncover just what this fanciful song about fruits, pies, and kidnapping children is all about!

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Who Is the Real Princess Kaguya in the Sailor Moon S Movie?

Won't the real Kaguya please stand up?

Won’t the real Kaguya please stand up?

The nice thing about writing a blog covering a series that went off the air over 20 years ago is that it’s not like there’s any chance that I’m going to be spoiling the story for anyone. Even with the recent U.S. screenings of the Sailor Moon movies, I’d be willing to bet that the majority of those in the audience had already seen the movie, or at least knew what it was about.

So with that said, I really don’t feel too bad about dissecting story of the Sailor Moon S movie, or peeling back the layers to take a deeper look at the Japanese folktale Ms. Takeuchi based her story on.

If you’ve ever stayed up late at night wondering who the heck Princess Kaguya is, this one’s for you!

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What Were Director Shibata’s Inspirations for the Sailor Moon S Movie (Part 2)?

Closing out the story on Sailor Moon S

Closing out the story on Sailor Moon S

Whether you love the Sailor Moon S movie or think that it is a lackluster performance in an otherwise excellent brand, I probably won’t be changing your mind through this series. But regardless of which side of the fence you fall on, I think it can be immensely helpful — and even entertaining — to get a little insight into just what the creative minds behind a movie were thinking as they made it.

Today we’re going to continue our journey through Hiroki Shibata’s1 commentary regarding his directorial debut in Sailor Moon‘s theatrical universe. If we’re really lucky, we might even learn something new by the time we’re done!

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What Were Director Shibata’s Inspirations for the Sailor Moon S Movie (Part 1)?

Aww, it's okay Luna!

Aww, it’s okay Luna!

Asking a Sailor Moon fan which of the three movies is their favorite is akin to walking into a crowded room of strangers and asking them all what they think about the latest political hot-button issue: it’s not going to end well.

While I personally prefer the Sailor Moon R movie, all three of the movies are definitely worth watching, and I can understand why they have their fans.

Today we’re going to try to get a little more insight behind the story of the Sailor Moon S movie by looking at some of the director’s notes provided with the Laser Disc release of the Sailor Moon S movie. If anyone can help win my heart over with a deeper interpretation of the movie — putting aside for a second Naoko’s amazing manga version on which it’s based — I’d say the director is probably out best bet!

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What is Kazuko Tadano’s Secret to Drawing Sailor Moon?

The Sailor Team

The Sailor Team

One question I often (not unreasonably) get asked is: why do I so rarely talk about Sailor Moon Crystal on this blog?

Truth be told, it’s not that I don’t want to talk about it. It’s rather that bringing the Sailor Moon Crystal series into the equation introduces several key issues into what we discuss here, including:

  1. the series takes place decades after the original manga/anime ran, and the world has since changed;
  2. the story tracks closely with the manga and doesn’t add too much new information; and
  3. Sailor Moon Crystal is still a work in progress, so any theories unique to the series could still change.

Fortunately for us, with the recent announcement1 that Kazuko Tadano — character designer for the first two seasons of the 1990s Sailor Moon anime — will be reprising her role as character designer for the upcoming Sailor Moon Crystal movie, this gives us a chance to take a look back into the past to hopefully answer some questions about the series’ future.

Today, we’ll be taking a deeper look into what Ms. Tadano thought of the characters in Sailor Moon, and her philosophy in how she draws women. Stick around, because things are about to get interesting!

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