Naoko Takeuchi is something of an interesting character, even by Japanese manga artist standards. As you follow her career, she seems to waffle between two extremes — sometimes she’s intensely private, and other times she’ll write about deeply personal stories and publish them in comics with massive, nationwide circulation.
And for that, I’m immensely thankful. How often do we have a chance to get such a close look “behind the curtain,” so to speak, of our favorite creators?
Today, I’d like to take a closer look at Ms. Takeuchi’s relationship with the equally-famous manga artist Yoshihiro Togashi. Or, more accurately, how she very nearly called the marriage off. It’s a pretty epic tale, as told by our favorite eccentric artist herself, so you might wanna stick around!
The Mita Suzuki Building in Minako-ku
As any longtime reader can probably tell you, many of the landmarks shown in Sailor Moon are often grounded in the real world. From the iconic Tokyo Tower — a staple of nearly any pre-2000s anime — to the pachinko-parlor-turned-game-center Pachinko Crown, there’s no end to the references to keep your budding Japanophile busy researching late into the night.
But as I’m sure you also know, I’m not exactly interested in rehashing the same tired trivia you can find anywhere else on the internet. Nope, I built my self-proclaimed Sailor Moon “blogging career” around the concept of discussing the minutia that is so bizarre, so seemingly insignificant that you wouldn’t even think to question it.
So today I’m going to talk about five of my favorite blink-and-you’ll-miss-it real world locations that showed up in the Sailor Moon anime. Whether you’re preparing for a round of Trivial Pursuit: Anime Edition or just happen to be a fan of early 90s Japanese pop culture, you won’t want to miss this one!
Gekka 7 Promotional Pamphlet
When I learned that there was a Sailor Moon-only doujinshi event being held in Tokyo, it was pretty much a given that I would definitely be there. No matter what I had to do to make it happen, I absolutely needed to be surrounded by the epitome of Japanese Sailor Moon fandom.
In addition to the obvious selfish reasons, this also was a great opportunity for me to introduce the Japanese fan community to readers in the west, who may not have as much exposure to what it’s like to be a fan of Sailor Moon in the land where it originated.
So today I’m going to take you along on my trip to 月華遊星 (Gekka Yuusei; lit. Alluring Moon & Planets), an annual by-fans-for-fans Sailor Moon event held in Tokyo. Stick around — there are a lot of pics here you won’t want to miss!
Seriously Luna, explain yourself!
When talking about an anime/manga series with a well-developed and passionate fan base, you often have to keep in mind that a lot of the “mysteries” out there are probably already common knowledge to fans of the series.
The rabbit imagery in Sailor Moon is a great example of this. If you asked a random person on the street about the connection between rabbits and the moon, you’d probably be met with a blank stare. A seasoned Sailor Moon fan, however, could talk your ear off about the lunar-dwelling mochi-makin’ rabbit.
No, if I’m going to be true to my word of working to “unravel Sailor Moon mysteries,” we’re going to need to go deeper, and far more obscure.
That’s why we’ll be talking today about the cats that made Sailor Moon possible… and just why the heck Ms. Takeuchi chose cats in the first place! I hope you’re emotionally prepared for this, because things are about to get down right pawsome!
The mandala, it burns!!
It certainly does seem like we keep coming back to Sailor Mars, time and again, in our effort to answer yet more Sailor Moon mysteries.
And it’s not like we don’t have a good reason for it, either.
While I’m certain that most fans the world over are perfectly capable of figuring out what a “Supreme Thunder” is, or parsing out the meaning behind a “Love and Beauty Shock,” Sailor Mars is something of a different story for the western world. Steeped in Shinto tradition, and yet having nearly no Shinto-inspired powers, the attacks wielded by the Sailor Soldier of fire have a surprisingly deep and convoluted background.
Join me as we dissect the Burning Mandala, and figure out once and for all what those symbols she’s summoning up actually mean. You may want to grab a snack, because this is gonna be quite a ride!
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!
More like Inverted Sailor Moon
Parallel Sailor Moon has always held a special place in my heart due to its unique place in the history of the series: technically speaking, it’s the last Sailor Moon manga written by Ms. Takeuchi… well, ever.
Though she did draw a few short comics about the series in her Naoko Punch comic series, and was involved in designing the live-action series’ very own Sailor Luna, this was the last story that Ms. Takeuchi would write in the world of Sailor Moon.
But just how seriously should we take Parallel Sailor Moon, and where does it tie in to the greater lore of the series?
If you’ve ever been kept up at night wondering about these issues and more, stick around! Once we’re done, you might finally have that restful sleep you’ve been hoping for!