[Lunar Logs] Naoko Discusses Love and Life Before Sailor Moon

Naoko opens up on her pre-Sailor Moon years

Naoko opens up on her pre-Sailor Moon years

Lunar Logs is a weekly series featuring full translations of interviews with Ms. Takeuchi and others — such as the directors, writers, voice cast, and more — responsible for making Sailor Moon into the massively popular franchise we know it as today. Though not every interview will directly address or even mention Sailor Moon, I find it an interesting look into the minds of these influential figures.

Today’s interview is with Sailor Moon‘s creator herself, Naoko Takeuchi, as she takes on such varied topics of love, life, and even a little-known manga she was working on prior to Sailor Moon‘s debut!1

Read on and learn a little bit about what series influenced Ms. Takeuchi’s early years and what kinds of Things That Make [her] Go Hmmmm!

A sketch of Ms. Takeuchi

A sketch of Ms. Takeuchi

Pre-debut

I was a senior in high school when I first started submitting [manga]. I was a bit of a rare case in that I wasn’t [submitting manga] out of a desire to become a manga artist, but rather that I was drawing manga to escape the stress of studying for university entrance exams. (laugh) I submitted four stories and the fourth one was carried in Nakayoshi Deluxe as a “manga to keep an eye on.” The person in charge [of the section in the magazine?] at that time reached out to me and told me to keep on drawing, so that’s how, even though I still hadn’t set my heart on being a manga artist, I pressed on and made my manga debut with Love Call when I was a sophomore in university.

A love for manga

I love reading manga. In that sense, no matter how much time passes, I still strongly considering myself a reader of manga. Even now as a professional, it feels like I’ve spent more time reading manga than actually drawing it. Of course once Sailor Moon got started, I’ve been spending much more time drawing.

In the past, I would buy manga like some kind of ravenous monster. I loved manga so much that it’s like I just happened to end up on this path.

At my peak in junior high and high school, I read every shojo manga [on the market]. I’m impressed I could even afford it. When I was in high school, my desire [to read manga] could no longer be sated by shojo manga alone and I become hooked on shonen manga motorcycle stories. I loved Baribari DensetsuFutari Daka, and Pelican Road. Oh, and I loved SF stories too.

But even that wasn’t enough for me and I started picking up doujinshi fan comics. Back in those days, they would rent out a space in a public hall and hold direct sales events in Yamanashi. I still have and cherish the doujinshi and stationary I bought back then. They’re quite important to me. (laugh) I’ve never done doujinshi myself, so in that sense I’m merely a consumer.

After that I became obsessed with some artist groups. I’m a huge fan of Yuki Hijiri’s Locke the Superman. I remember how excited I was when it was carried in Shonen King. Even now, I still have pages I cut out from the magazine and saved. (laugh) I love clipping out pages and still have a lot of the colored pages from works I loved.

A woman based in logic

I also really enjoyed reading the bishojo anthology comic [magazine], Pucchi Apple Pie. I think it was just starting out right around then. I was a huge fan of Akira Kagami and loved how refreshing the combination of cute girls and mechanical designs could be.

I’ve loved miniature scale models and plastic models ever since I was young, and I loved telescopes too. Kinda strange, being that I’m a girl and all. (laugh) My father was always building miniature scale models, so that may have had an impact. Also, the boys I liked might have had an impact too.

When it came to studying, I was good with science-related subjects and I continued down that path.

In the past, items such as potpourri and snacks were commonplace in Nakayoshi, but I tended to use stranger, more boy-focused items.

University days

I enjoyed my university days like any other co-ed university girl, joining hobby clubs, going out drinking, and going to dance parties. I generally recall being busy having fun. (laugh)

Since I was in the department of pharmacology, there were a lot of labs with strict attendance requirements. Like, ‘I don’t care if you’re hospitalized, you better come crawling in to class!’ kind of thing, so playing hooky was out of the question. So I was pretty busy just being a student and didn’t really draw much manga.

Once I graduated and got a job at a university hospital, I really waffled over whether I wanted to really give it my all to become a manga artist, or stick with my job that I’d always wanted.

Love

I’m the type of person who, when I’ve found someone I like, that takes precedence over my work. That’s why I tend to depict the people I like, and what our dating style is like, in my manga. My manga tells all. (laugh) In a sense, it’s pretty scary. (laugh) Some of the male characters are modeled after men I was dating and things like that. (laugh)

I like dark and mysterious men of few words. I like giving these foreboding men with all sorts of issues a sound thrashing. (laugh) After beating them down, I’ll say ‘hey, don’t be sad… cheer up!’ (laugh)

Editor’s note: It’s possible that Ms. Takeuchi is insane…

Unfortunately, they all kind of run away during the beat down. And right when things were just about to get good, you know? (laugh)

You know how Mamoru Chiba (Tuxedo Mask) is emotionally distant and kind of pathetic? Well, I like that. Though my assistants yell at me about it: ‘He doesn’t need to be that pathetic!’ (laugh)

The perfect man

When I tell my manga artist friends that my ideal man is taciturn, dark, has a hidden side, and is a little scary, they often reply ‘like that guy in Golgo 13?’ (laugh) ‘Never stand behind me’2 kind of thing? (laugh) No, that’s not what I mean at all!

I also really love the main character Chirico from Armored Trooper VOTOMS. He’s close to my image of an ideal man. Oh, and Captain Harlock.

Miss Rain

I’m really what you’d call a ‘rain woman,’ or a woman who it always seems to bring the rainy weather with her. I’m not always like that, but whenever I have a really important event, you can bet it’ll rain. That’s why when it doesn’t rain, I can tell that something isn’t important to me. Miss Rain is a manga created based off of that part of myself.

The mystical manga

Right around the time Sailor Moon entered publication, I had actually been planning on doing an idol manga. The characters and their backgrounds were all written up and I even drew a color promotional ad. (laugh) The main character had short, black hair, and I really wanted to draw that story. (laugh)

Girls and boys

Most of the men I’ve dated thus far were all a little pathetic. For some reason, I just seem to fall for that type. Whenever we fight, I’m always the one who ends up angry and the guy gives in and starts apologizing. Most of my relationships tend to end up with me thinking about how I really need to get a better handle on myself.

Even when talking with my friends about our love lives, we tend to end up at the conclusion that ‘you can’t rely on men,’ ‘we need to stand up on our own two feet’ and the like. (laugh) Maybe that’s why Sailor Moon has the theme of girls being so strong.

Future plans

The artbook that people have been begging for is finally coming out. And in three volumes, at that! Amazing! (laugh) It’s generally split up between Sailor Moon‘s first, second, and third story arcs. I think the first book will come out before summer. I think I’ll draw some more mature, full-colored images that I can’t really draw in the manga itself. I’d love it if you’d check it out.

Also, one of my earlier works, Prism Time, is releasing in comic form. I bet readers will be surprised how different the art and story are from what I do now, so I can’t really recommend it, I guess. (laugh)

A message to the readers

I didn’t think that Puff’s readers were reading my work, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that some of my work had made it into the Best 10. Thank you so much!!

After reading this interview, I imagine some of the male readers may assume I’m a really strong-willed, awful woman, but that’s not true at all. I cry easily and often. (laugh) I hope you don’t dwell on this and continue to support me in the future.

Sailor Pluto's standing just a liiiiiiittle too close to Mamoru there...

Sailor Pluto’s standing just a liiiiiiittle too close to Mamoru there…

Reading this really makes me curious about just which men in Ms. Takeuchi’s series are inspired by people she’s dated. Of course, the most obvious assumption would be Mamoru, but the way she describes the relationship dynamics (i.e., the girl getting angry and the guy quickly giving in and apologizing) sounds a lot more like the anime and not like how their relationship works in the manga.

Read also:  Where Did the Members of Shadow Galactica Get Their Names?

Now, I can’t really prove this in any way, shape, or form and this is nothing more than pure conjecture… but something tells me that there was a Jadeite in her past. Why? Well, initially Jadeite’s design was supposed to be the main male lead (= Mamoru), but since she already used a blonde guy as the main male love interest in The Cherry Project, she had no choice but to use his design for the main villain. So that leaves us with two guys who look pretty similar, and then you throw Motoki into the mix, which makes three. Of course, I’m just guessing here, but it’s interesting to consider.

As always, I hope you enjoyed reading through this interview and please let me know your thoughts down below!

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References:

  1. See pp. 10-11 of the May 1994 issue of Puff (ぱふ)
  2. This is a popular catchphrase from the main character of Golgo 13. Though, interestingly enough, the catchphrase was never actually uttered anywhere in the series.

2 thoughts on “[Lunar Logs] Naoko Discusses Love and Life Before Sailor Moon

  1. I had never heard that Jadeite’s design was originally meant for Mamoru. I love that all these years later you can still find interesting bits of trivia like that.

  2. Words alone cannot express how much brighter my day becomes when you put out a new interview with my favourite mangaka. I love everything you do on this website, but this type of content is my best favourite! <3 Thank you oh so much for sharing all this neat info with us.

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