Did Sailor Moon Director Kunihiko Ikuhara Hate Naoko Takeuchi?

Kotono Mitsuishi and Kunihiko Ikuhara discussing the Sailor Moon R movie

Kotono Mitsuishi and Kunihiko Ikuhara discussing the Sailor Moon R movie

In the immortal words of the Plain White T’s, “hate is a strong word, but I really, really, really don’t like you.”1 And, if the internet is to be believed, this pretty much sums up the relationship between Sailor Moon‘s creator and acclaimed anime director (Sailor MoonRevolutionary Girl Utena, and more) Kunihiko Ikuhara.

It makes a certain amount of sense, when you get right down to it, too. They both have very strong, outspoken personalities, and Director Ikuhara was personally responsible for completely changing Rei in the anime — a sore spot in Ms. Takeuchi’s eyes.

Today, we’re going to take a look into whether there’s any truth behind this rumor and why (or why not!) that may not be the case. Regardless of which side of the anime vs. manga debate you happen to be on, you’ll want to stick around for this!

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How Did the Voice Cast React to the End of Sailor Moon?

The five Inner Senshi the week before their last recording session (flowers from Ms. Takeuchi)

The five Inner Senshi the week before their last recording session (flowers from Ms. Takeuchi)

As a wise person1 once said, “all good things must come to an end.” Sailor Moon was no exception to this rule, and aired (what would then be) its final episode on February 8, 1997. Even though the series would live on in the form of musicals, a live action TV series, and even a second anime series, that final airing marked the end of a five year journey for the talented actresses and actors that brought our beloved characters to life.

Today, I’d like to take a look at how the Sailor Moon cast felt about the series they gave five years of their life to, their respective characters, and their favorite scenes — all courtesy of a “Sailor Moon Graduation” commemorative interview conducted by Animage magazine.2

Grab a box of tissues, because there are going to be a lot of tears shed before we’re done!

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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 Other Anime Have the Sailor Moon Cast Worked on Together?

Ready, set, ACT!

Ready, set, ACT!

When you’re confronted with such an amazing cast like the one in Sailor Moon, it’s easy to forget that there are voice actors behind bringing these characters to life. They seem to truly take their roles to heart, and it becomes nearly impossible to separate the voice from the face on screen.

That is until you hear them so expertly perform the role of an entirely different character in another anime… and yet again, they seem perfect for the role!

For awhile now, I’ve been wanting to discuss the Sailor Moon voice cast in some way or another, but hadn’t quite found the right angle to approach it from. So after far too many hours spent trawling the depths of the internet, I thought it would be fun to take a look at what other projects our favorite voice actors and actresses have worked on together.

I hope you have some free time on your hands, because you may end up unexpectedly getting drawn into some new anime series!

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What Does Naoko Takeuchi Credit for Sailor Moon’s Success?

Got a few questions here for Naoko...

Got a few questions here for Naoko…

As the writer of a Sailor Moon blog, invariably the day would come where I’d sit down and put pen to paper fingers to keyboard and weigh in on the “secret to Sailor Moon‘s popularity.” I thought that today would be that day.

But then I started to have second thoughts. Why should I write this?

Why don’t we just go straight to the source, and see what Ms. Takeuchi has to say for herself? With all the dozens (hundreds?) of interviews that she’s done over the years, she must have already answered this question, right?

And, as a matter of fact, she did!

Join me, dear readers, as we follow Ms. Takeuchi’s logic behind just what made Sailor Moon the raging success that we know it to be today!

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5 Often Misreported Sailor Moon “Facts”

That's not true, I tell you!!!

That’s not true, I tell you!!!

When you dedicate a large portion of your free time to crawling through 25+ years of Sailor Moon sources, you eventually just learn to accept that running across inaccurate information is simply a fact of life.

However, thanks to the recent releases of Kodansha and Viz’s manga and anime translations along with the rise of curated (… okay, not really) wikis, the general quality of information you’re going to run into nowadays is worlds better than what I started with as a fan in the late 90s.

That being said, today I’d like to tackle five of the more common myths I often run across in my research and see if I can set them straight. Who knows, maybe some piece of Sailor Moon trivia you’ve “known” about for years could be on this list!

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