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),1 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!
Gekka Yuusei (“Gekka”) is a doujinshi-centric event started in Spring 20112 with just 50 booths that has to feature the works of a rather respectable 85 artists, writers, and creators.
In fact, that’s one important point that I’d like to touch on now, while I can: while to many people, the idea of a “doujinshi” is just a fan-made comic of a popular franchise (and, indeed, that’s the correct use of the word), the concept has evolved over the years to include a variety of fan-made products, including games, music, novels, coloring books, and more.
The sheer breadth of fan-produced Sailor Moon memorabilia on display was absolutely stunning. And that’s what we’re about to cover here.
Before we go on, I do have to mention that unfortunately pictures at the venue were forbidden, so I can’t really show what the hall looked like. Also, many of the items featured here are from goods purchased by my Sailor Moon partner-in-crime,3 who was kind enough to let me take pictures.
So, let’s get this started!
Thanks to the event’s close proximity to Halloween, there were a surprising amount of Halloween-themed Sailor Moon goods available for purchase, ranging from your pins (shown above) to coasters to acrylic stands. They were adorable, they were great, and they made me wish that Halloween would never end.
My absolute favorite item that was available for purchase, however, would have to be the acrylic stand featuring Haruka (vampire) and Michiru (cat girl) ready for a night on the town doing a little trick-or-treat’ing. Though Michiru might need a coat… that can’t be warm.
Super Sailor Stickers
As someone who grew up in an elementary school that was a firm believer of the sticker reward system, I still love stickers to this very day. Give me a gold star and I’ll be feeling good about myself for the rest of the week! Of course, I’d prefer cash… but stickers are good too.
The opportunity for me to combine my love for stickers together with my love for Sailor Moon was far too much for me to bear, and many of them wound up coming home with me. This is just a small, representative sample of what was available, but believe me when I say that it was absolutely amazing.
To be honest, there’s absolutely no way that I could ever commit to using one of these stickers, for fear that I would wind up eventually losing whatever I put it on, or if I ever wanted to put it elsewhere. But they’re still a nice, fun way to have your favorite Sailor Moon art with you wherever you go!
Pretty Soldier Postcards
As any avid museum-goer can attest, postcards are great. They let you take a sample of what you saw home with you without having to dedicate an entire coffee table to an art book, and don’t have any of the hassle of hanging a print on a wall.
I suspect that postcards are also easy to do for the artists themselves. They have fixed sizes, don’t require any custom cutting, and can be easily produced at volume, meaning that the individual cost per item is much lower. Depending on an individual’s business sense, this means that you could either pass the savings onto the customer (yay!) or reinvest the profits into a larger selection of postcards (also yay!).
Personally speaking, I find postcards the hardest thing to turn down. Not only because of the ability to buy a large amount of art and support your favorite artists for cheap, but also because they’re often sold in sets at a discount. And if you know me in my personal life outside of this blog, I have a horrible weakness for anything sold as a set. Seriously.
Badges? We don’t need no stinking (can) badges!
Imagine for a moment that you’re a passionate Sailor Moon fan and are going to rock out your next itabag as hard as possible.4 There’s only so much official stuff out there, so what’s a fan to do?
Don’t worry — the artists at Gekka have you covered. Following actual doujinshi comics and postcards, I’d say that pins were the third-most common item sold at the event.
The sheer variety was impressive, and I feel like the round form-factor led a lot of artists to step out of the box from their usual full-page art to make simple and iconic designs. They were also often sold in sets which, as we discussed before, is basically like my kryptonite.
Fashion (Star) Fighters
There were actually several books available that were dedicated to introducing different styles for our favorite Sailor Soldiers. I don’t know if this is a new trend or not, but I absolutely hope it isn’t, because we need these to stay around forever.
I loved all of the unique clothing designs in the show, and having the opportunity to see the girls of Sailor Moon show off different, more modern fashions is a lot of fun. Plus, I absolutely love the idea of Usagi putting together a book outlining her different fashion choices over the course of a month.
In addition to all of the amazing stuff I’ve outlined here, there were also a lot of other odds-and-ends that didn’t quite fit into any specific category.
One table that stood out to me was the group selling custom-made Sailor Moon stamps.
I actually watched them carve/clean up several of the designs right in front of me. The sheer amount of talent here is nothing short of amazing.
Then of course there were the selections of acrylic keychains. As someone who has actually looked into doing a production run of acrylic stands/keychains,5 I’m amazed at the expense and effort the artists went through here.
As 3d printing starts dropping in price, I’m starting to wonder if it’s just a matter of time until we start seeing fan-made toys and props available for sale at events like this.
Other toy-related fandoms in the west (such as Transformers, G. I. Joe, and Star Wars) had taken the leap a long time ago of doing batch manufacturing for various props and accessories, so a part of me hopes that in the near future we’ll eventually be able to see some of the less-popular props from the show, like Ami’s super computer, get limited-run releases.
Everything about the event was simply amazing, from the passion of the fans to the amazing cosplay, to the wide array of Sailor Moon merchandise that you’d never be able to buy on store shelves.
However, the most amazing takeaway from this event for me was the sheer number of young fans that were there. Sure, the vast majority of the people I saw were in the mid- to late-20s or older, but there were also fans in their late teens and even younger. I saw a girl who had to have been around 10, dragging her mother around and spending her allowance on Sailor Moon stickers.
After you’ve been in the fandom for over 20 years now, it’s easy to forget that Sailor Moon still can — and does — reach out to new fans. I love that, actually. And I love the idea that a “new generation” of Sailor Moon fans is growing up to make their own discoveries about the series and to share their own insights.
I will definitely be back next year.
- See 美少女戦士セーラームーンオンリーイベント「月華遊星７」 ↩
- The closest date I can get is March 6, 2011, according to an old blog post from someone who attended; see セーラームーンオンリーイベント「月華遊星」 ↩
- Who you can follow on Twitter at @ukiyoe16 ↩
- A type of bag, typically with a clear window, that one fills up with pins, keychains, and stuffed dolls of their favorite character or anime to show their passion on the go; see Trend for Female Geeks: “Painful” Anime Bags ↩
- Don’t ask — it’s a long story ↩