What Gun Did ChibiUsa Use to Threaten Usagi?

Say "What" Again

Say “What” Again

Before I go on to answer this question and spout off a bunch of random facts, it’s very important to note that I know nearly nothing about guns. But taking into consideration how far the artists in the original anime and Ms. Takeuchi herself had gone to copy real world cars, books, and even real people, it should come as no surprise that real-world gun designs might be used as well for the unforgettable scene when ChibiUsa first appeared in the second season of Sailor Moon.1

Silly Rabbit, tricks aren't for kids

Silly Rabbit, tricks aren’t for kids

Interestingly enough, it looks like Ms. Takeuchi actually used two different designs for the gun ChibiUsa wields, though seeing as this is a difference between an opening cover image and one of the panels inside the manga itself, it’s actually entirely likely that the images were drawn at two completely different times and she either simply lost track of her reference pictures, or changed her mind later when she had to draw it in color for a close-up.

If you take a look at these two images closely, you can see that the design differs pretty dramatically in the look of the hammer, how the front of the barrel tapers off, the design of the finger guard, and even the diagonal slashes on the left (they go all the way down in the bottom image, but only halfway in the top).

Also, if you look closely (really, really closely), you can see a design like a waving flag underneath where the shell casing ejects from the pistol in the bottom image, which is very similar to the Walther Arms company logo.2 However, I’m unable to find any guns released by them matching this design, so it may just be a Takeuchi-original. You can tell that she didn’t take the scene all that seriously anyway, since even though the gun fires, ChibiUsa’s finger isn’t on the trigger, and the hammer is still cocked back. Interesting!

Shouldn't she be more terrified?

Shouldn’t she be more terrified?

Now, moving onto the Sailor Moon R anime, fortunately it’s a completely different story and here they actually use a pistol that’s pretty easy to trace, design and all!

From what I was able to find, this is a Colt M1911A1 pistol that ChibiUsa here is wielding. Not only was it the go-to gun used by U.S. armed forces since, well, 1911, but it also gained popularity after WWII in other countries throughout the world and – most importantly – was the weapon which the Japanese police were armed with from the 1950s and through the late 1980s.3

One interesting note about the particular version she’s holding here is that, as you can see underneath her thumb in both images, the gun handle has the optional medallion inlay in it. It’s such a small detail that I have to wonder why it got put in. Maybe the reference pictures the artist was looking at had one?

Recently, I asked a few friends of mine (an iPhone game artist and a published manga artist) why it is that so often real-world cards, weapons, and other various day-to-day items appear in anime and manga. Is it an homage? Reference? The answer, I learned, is much simpler than that: it’s easy to imagine an idea of what a car is, but when you have to draw one and convince the viewer, it’s much easier to just draw something real.

I guess it’s obvious now that I think about it, but it’s interesting to know that there’s actually a reason behind this. Though, of course, when it comes to what to copy, there’s still a good deal of lee-way for the artists and designers to express their own interests!

How Smart Is Mamoru in the Anime and Manga?

Mamoru Flexing His Intelligence

Mamoru Flexing His Intelligence

One of the well-known – yet often forgotten – facts about Mamoru’s character is that he’s not only tall, mysterious, rich, and handsome, but he’s actually quite brilliant. In fact, if you were to judge by the levels of the schools he attends, he’s arguably on level with – or even above! – Ami. Of course we’ve already mentioned that Mamoru was changed from a high school student to a university student in the transition from manga to anime, but that actually has very little impact on the conclusions we can make, for reasons we’ll discuss below. So just how smart is Mamoru Chiba? Let’s find out!

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What Book Was Mamoru / Endo Reading When He Was Possessed?

Endo's Book

Endo’s Book

I’ve mentioned it many times before, but it always amazes me just how detailed Ms. Takeuchi is in bringing to life the characters (and world) of Sailor Moon. You can really tell that she researches all the names, places, and characters and even puts in a lot of fun finishing touches here and there that leave a lot of fodder for me to answer questions like this! So, just what book did Mamoru – or, more accurately, Endo – forget and leave behind, only for Reika to come and bring back to him?1

Endo and his book (Vol 3, p 59)

Endo and his book (Vol 3, p 59)

At first glance, the title of the book just seemed pretty generic and like something you’d write as a one-off line, akin to the fake movie titles you hear spouted off in movies. The title translates to “Encyclopedia of Jewelry” (宝飾大全; houshoku taizen) and opens up to a page entitled “Collectors’ Stones,” and shows a variety of different stones on it. This seems a bit odd to those of us who are particularly pedantic because the title of the book is specifically about jewelry, while the book itself shows a page on rare (and not-so-rare) stones. So what gives?

Houseki Taizen

Houseki Taizen

Well, after doing a little bit of research, it turns out that there actually was a book by this exact same title, published by Yomiuri Color Mook in February 1991, over a year before this scene appeared in Nakayoshi. However, after taking a look through the index of the book,2 it seems that while Ms. Takeuchi may have used this book as a reference when looking up different stones and their meanings for the series, it probably isn’t the base for the one Mamoru is reading here. The cover, however, does seem similar! But not quite what we’re looking for on the inside.

Around here, I almost gave up and just figured that this was a simple coincidence that the names matched, and maybe Ms. Takeuchi just made the book up. Seems possible, and there might not really be anything deeper to this story. Going back through my notes again, I made one last check of the Sailor Moon Perfect Edition (完全版; kanzenban) to get some higher quality scans and to see if I could get any further details. Wouldn’t you know it, but it turns out this that is yet another one of the scenes where Ms. Takeuchi actually made changes between the original run of the manga and the newer updates!

Endo and his (second?) book (Vol 2, p 153)

Endo and his (second?) book (Vol 2, p 153)

This time around, the book’s been renamed “General Primer on Gems and Crystals” (総論宝石結晶; soron houseki kesshou) and the inside looks different. Doing a quick search for the title, and bingo! There was a book by a very similar name published back in March 1992 by Relief Systems titled “Crystals and Gems” (結晶と宝石;kesshou to houseki). Now wait a minute, I know I’ve seen this before… and any one who grew up in the early 90s and had to spend time in their school library definitely has too.

Kesshou to Houseki

Kesshou to Houseki

After researching this book more, I found out that this is actually a translation of the book titled “Crystal and Gem,” written by Robert F. Symes, and published by DK Children.3 The book has been around since the 1960s and I assume remains relatively unchanged, since a quick look at the index confirms that on pages 48 and 49 (of the English edition, at least) is a section titled “Collectors’ items.” Not much unlike the section found in the first edition of the manga. Even the art style/layout of the English and Japanese book is incredibly similar to the style which Ms. Takeuchi used in the original scene.

Crystal and Gem pp. 48-49

Crystal and Gem pp. 48-49

In fact, if you take a look at the page and compare it with the image from the manga above, you’ll actually notice that Ms. Takeuchi’s sketch is a near exact copy of these pages! Even more interesting is that page 49 (right page) contains an image in the lower-left corner of Mr. George Kunz, the source of the name for the stone Kunzite. Quite an inside reference!

It’s funny that Ms. Takeuchi actually changed the title of the book in the re-release to be closer to the inspiration, and yet changed the inside of the book to be further away from what the referenced material looks like. It’s not like I don’t understand, though. In the original manga, it was simply a sketch and impossible to get an idea of what the contents of the book were like, while this new version has clearly written text with “Jadeite” and “Beryl” written on it. But it feels a little less nuanced, and more like she’s throwing you a softball.

However, I’m honestly impressed that Ms. Takeuchi went this far to put a reference to Kunzite in here, in a small sketch of a book in one tiny panel. Great job!

How Did the Youma of the Dark Kingdom Get Their Names? (Part 2)

The DD Girls

The DD Girls

Now we move onto the latter half of the first season of Sailor Moon and onto the youma serving under Zoisite. What’s interesting about this is that though we were generally granted our usual “one monster of the day” to meet the quota, for the most part these youma didn’t actually serve under Zoisite, but rather belonged to the Seven Great Youma, which had existed since the time of the Silver Millennium and were simply uncovered by Zoisite or the Sailor Team. Also rarely noted is that Queen Beryl herself also has youma which report directly to her, though to be honest, the structure of the Dark Kingdom is a bit hard to follow in the first place. Anyway, as we did in Part 1, let’s take a look at how the youma of the Dark Kingdom got their names!

Zoisite

  • Yasha: This is the Japanese word for Yaksha,1 a natural spirit appearing in Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist texts. The meaning behind the face mask and the monster form is in reference to the female and male yakshas, which were portrayed respectively as beautiful with round faces and attractive figures, or as fearsome warriors.
    • You may recognize this name as being similar to the character Inuyasha, from the series with the same name. This is the same yasha being referenced.
  • GrapeSuzuran, and Housenka: Often referred to by Western fans as the “Plant Sisters,” though in the Japanese version they’ve been given no name other than the “Three Youma Girls.” Their names are clever plays off of flowers, but by using different kanji also spell out the names of their attacks, though unfortunately I can’t find any sort of deeper meaning behind Grape. As for the other two:
    • Suzuran when written as 鈴蘭 (suzuran) means “lily of the valley,” but by using a clever word play could be written as 鈴乱 (suzuran) which means something akin to “bell disturbance” (harmonic disorder?). Her attack name is 鈴乱れの音 (suzumidare no oto), meaning something like “Sonic Disrupting Screech!”
    • Housenka when written as 鳳仙花 (housenka) means a garden balsam, but the first part of her name can also be written as 砲戦 (housen), which is an artillery barrage. This is likely in reference to the fireballs she shoots.
  • Akan: This is a mix of the Japanese word あかん (akan) meaning bad, wrong, or something you shouldn’t be doing.2 Also, あか (aka) can also mean red, which explains the color.
    • As an interesting bit of trivia, this is the only time which any of the Four Kings other than Kunzite turns a normal human into a youma.

Seven Great Youma

  • Gesen: A direct reference to the Japanese word for arcade — ゲームセンター (game center), often abbreviated as ゲーセン (gesen).
  • Boxy: A Japanese pun which plays on both “boxer,” and the Japanese word for priest, 牧師 (bokushi).
  • Bunbo: Seeing as this youma was reincarnated as Ryo Urawa, one of the few characters to nearly match Ami in intelligence, and he’s themed after stationary supplies, his name — based on the Japanese word 文房具 (bunbougu; stationary supplies) — makes sense!
  • Binah: This is likely in reference to Binah,3 one of the ten Sephirah,4 which are considered to be the revelations of the Creator’s Will.
  • Rikoukeidar: The name is a play on the Japanese term 理工系 (rikoukei) for a person who is considered more logical (rather than artistic) or what we’d consider a science type. Makes sense considering the type of school Reika went to!
  • Jiji: This name is a double pun, based on the slang used to refer to an old man じじ (jiji; derived from おじさん, ojisan) and 獅子 (shishi), the basis for two 狛犬 (komainu) which appear outside Shinto shrines.5
  • Bakene: A play off of 化け猫 (bakeneko),6 one of the youkai, or ghosts/spirits, of Japanese legends.
A Bakeneko Youkai

A Bakeneko Youkai

Kunzite

  • Mitsuami: A direct reference to the Japanese word 三つ編み (mitsuami) meaning hair braided from three strands.
  • Shakoukai: A double pun playing on the term 社交界 (shakoukai) meaning social circle and 貝 (kai) meaning shellfish.
  • Blizzar: With all the hard work they put into names, I’m kinda disappointed that they went with a simple reference to blizzards here. I guess to Japanese speakers the reference isn’t so obvious, though?
  • Zoyrin Geller / Doyrin Geller: The Japanese pronunciation of this name isn’t even known among Japanese fans, much less among the Western audiences. One possible explanation is that the name is in reference to Solingen (pronounced with a Z in German and in Japanese), which is known as the City of Blades,7 which may be in reference to the ice skates.
    • As a bit of trivia, Janelyn (the female member of the pair) is a reference to Janet Lynn,8 an Olympic American figure skater.
  • Papillon: From the French word for butterfly.
  • Oniwabandana: A reference to the 御庭番 (oniwaban),9 secret agents serving under the Tokugawa government as spies and security guards. The second half of the name is also a play on bandana.

Queen Beryl

  • Thetis: A clear reference to the sea nymph of Greek mythology of the same name.10
    • One interesting thing about Thetis is that she’s one of the few youma who actually shows much personality and even interacts within the Dark Kingdom. She also was one of the strongest to appear until the Seven Great Youma.
  • DD Girls: Unfortunately, none of the individual team members have their own name, but rather are just known by their color. However, the group’s name is a reference to the Japanese all-girl pop group C.C. Girls,11 and mixed in with the reference to the D-Point, where the final battle took place.
CC Girls Telephone Card

CC Girls Telephone Card

And there you have it, an in-depth look into the names of all of the youma as they appeared in the first season of Sailor Moon! I gotta admit it was a bit exhausting, but I’m happy to see that the producers of this series went so far out of their way to put so many hidden meanings in these one-shot enemies. Who’d have known!

[(1-20-2015) Edited to add: Thanks for the catch on Boxy and 牧師 goes to Sailormoon Canada on Twitter!]

How Did the Youma of the Dark Kingdom Get Their Names? (Part 1)

The Many Faces of Morga

The Many Faces of Morga

One of the many recurring themes that we keep touching on over and over in the world of Sailor Moon is the significance of names, and the minions of the Dark Kingdom are no different. The majority of their names are either directly related to the specific youma’s power, appearance, or the main character of the day in the episode, but quite a few of them actually have a surprising backstory behind them! So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the names of the youma as they appeared in the first season, separated by who they served under.

Jadeite

  • Morga: This is a hard one since there’s really no direct links in Japanese or English to her name, but judging by her appearance, the ga part of her name is likely in reference to 餓 (ga), meaning “to starve.” She also remarks in the manga that Naru’s mother is likely starving to death and locked up.
    • Speaking of the manga, she’s one of the few “monsters of the day” who appeared in both the manga and the anime throughout the entirety of the Sailor Moon series, though she didn’t have a name in the manga.
  • Balm: A clever play off of the word “palm,” in reference to palm reading and, more generally, fortune telling.
  • Frau: Many people claim this is a play off of the Japanese word 振る (furu; to dump), but that doesn’t make sense in this context. Most likely it’s a play off of “flower,” in reference to the broaches given away that sap listerners’ energy.
  • Iguara: A pretty clear reference to an iguana, due to the pet shop which was opened and the design of the enemy.
    • As an aside, he cute animals that smell all-so-nice in this episode, chanela, are an obvious reference to Chanel, the brand of perfume.
  • Kyurene: Spelled the same in Japanese as Cyrene/Kyrene of Greek mythology, a strong and aggressive female hunter.1
  • Derella: Derived from a shortening of Cinderella.
  • Garoben: A play off of the Japanese term ガリ勉 (gariben) meaning to be fanatic about studying,2 and probably in reference to all the students and how hard they were studying (and as a result, having their energy taken from them).
  • Ramua: An anagram of the Japanese word for “alarm” (as in, alarm clock). A – Ra – Mu = Ra – Mu – A
  • Kigaan: A play off of the Japanese word 祈願 (kigan) meaning prayer,3 which is typically offered up at a Shinto  shrine.
  • Murid: “Dream” written backwards in Japanese. Do – Ri – Mu = Mu – Ri – Do
Ramua – Pretty Terrifying Makeup

Ramua – Pretty Terrifying Makeup

Nephrite

  • Tesuni: An anagram of the Japanese word for “tennis.” Te – Ni – Su = Te – Su – Ni
  • Petasos: This is likely in reference to the ancient Greek hat known by the same name, petasos, in reference to the hat which Nephrite uses to syphon energy.4
  • Widow: Pretty obviously in reference to the black widow spider.
  • Kyameran: Could be interpreted either as: (i) An “n” added to the Japanese word for camera, or (ii) a contraction of “camera” and “man” to become Cameran.
  • Jumeau: In reference to the Bisque dolls5 which were popular in the late 1800s. A French company, Jumeau,6 was one of the most famous manufacturers.
  • Regulus: Direct reference to the star, Regulus.
  • Castor and Pollux: In reference to the stars and the characters by the same name in Roman mythology.7
    • As an interesting aside, it’s said that the models for two of the staff at the animation studio appearing in this episode, Hiromi Matsuno and Kazuko Tadashita, are none other than Hiromi Matsushita and Kazuko Tadano (husband and wife character designers and animators working at Studio Live on producing Sailor Moon episodes at the time)8
Castor and Pollux

Castor and Pollux

This takes us all the way through the first half of the original season of Sailor Moon, but it’s already getting pretty long, so I think we’ll need to hold off for part two until the next time around. Next up, we’ll be taking a look at the youma which service under Zoisite and Kunzite, along with the Seven Great Youma themselves and those that served directly under Queen Beryl. There’s plenty of more trivia to be found!

Read on to part two here!

How Did the Youma Used by the Four Kings Differ?

Reference Sketches for Episode 20

Reference Sketches for Episode 20

While it’s pretty well known that the way each of the Four Kings of the Dark Kingdom went about their job was different (as well as the objectives assigned to them by Queen Beryl), one of the interesting “blink and you’ll miss it” facts about this arc is that the youma1 who served under them were also different. I’d like to also go into how each of their names were also unique/relevant to the episode that they appeared in, but we’ll need to go into that sometime later due to the sheer volume of names we’d have to look at. So for now, let’s take a look at how the youma under each of the Four Kings differed!

Jadeite

In nearly all of the Jadeite episodes, there was generally some sort of transformation taking place, usually in the form of either Jadeite himself or the youma he dispatched dressing up and pretending to be a human. In the first episode, for example, Morga had abducted Naru’s mother and pretended to be her for at least several days. Though it’s unclear how long Naru’s mother was abducted, we do know that jewelry sales were going on for several days and in the manga she remarks that Naru’s mother is dying of starvation as they speak.2 Though it’s not always clear if they take the place of specific humans or sometimes simply make up an identity, this is the running theme throughout the Jadeite arc. Not one to miss out on the cosplay action, Jadeite himself also gets involved in multiple episodes: 3 (as a radio DJ), 10 (bus driver), and 11 (security guard) off the top of my head.

Nephrite

Nephrite is somewhat unique in that he gets involved more directly than the other Kings. However, the youma that he oversaw typically differed with those from Jadeite’s in that they rarely (if ever?) would actually transform into or pretend to be humans, but rather would possess Nephrite’s target as identified through his fortune-telling or something that belonged to and was important to them in order to steal their energy. Tesni and the tennis racket, Widou and the cloth, and Kyameran and the camera are all good examples of this. There is one exception to this rule, though, in episode 19 with Neprite Kamen, but I guess he just wanted a chance to be in the lime light!

Zoisite

Zoisite’s case is a bit different, since the majority of the youma working under (with?) him can’t even be said to be serving under him at all in the first place. However, nearly all of those that appear in this arc are one of the Seven Great Youma, each tied to one of the seven Rainbow Crystal shards and being reincarnated as humans. They were said to have been the strongest of Queen Beryl’s minions, so it’s possible that several millennia they served under Zoisite, but that’s unclear.

Binah – One of the Seven Great Youma (Ep. 28)

Binah – One of the Seven Great Youma (Ep. 28)

So anyway, the youma in this arc are unique in that they are all monsters reborn as humans, which has imbued their human form with special powers. Their youma form typically assumes a trait of the person they inhabited.

That’s not always the case, however, as seen in episodes 23 and 24, with Yasha and the three youma Zoisite sent to kill Nephrite. Unfortunately, with so few examples, we can’t really find a common theme between them.

Kunzite

Kunzite’s situation is interesting in that it’s basically the opposite of what Jadeite did: rather than have youma take the place of (or pretend to be) a human, he simply turned a human into a youma to cause them to do his dirty work. Though it’s not clear (and never really explained in the series) if he causes a youma working under him to possess the human and Sailor Moon uses the power of the Silver Crystal to destroy it or if he simply imbues the human with powers which causes them to become a youma, which Sailor Moon cleanses from them. My guess is the latter, since they still seem to have human emotions and maintain their relationships, as is the case with Janelyn and Misha in episode 39.

For something so minor and that could’ve easily devolved into a “monster of the day” segment, I’m personally glad that the anime producers went so far out of their way as to treat all of the Four Kings differently. Not only were their tasks different, but the way they went after their tasks were also sufficiently different and definitely kept the series interesting through the whole season!

Why Was Diana the Moon Fairy Cut From Sailor Moon?

The Three Lunar Guardians – Luna, Diana, and Artemis

The Three Lunar Guardians – Luna, Diana, and Artemis

One of the great mysteries surrounding the early years of Sailor Moon (and the characters developed for it) is around the character of Diana, the Moon Fairy who was to accompany Luna in her task of awakening Sailor Moon and searching for the Moon Princess. The fact that the name, Diana, was later reused for the daughter born between Luna and Artemis, and ChibiUsa’s post Luna-P companion, certainly makes matters all the more confusing when you try to look up information about her. And believe me, I certainly tried! So, what kind of character was Moon Fairy Diana originally supposed to be like, and what were the reasons for cutting her? Well, let’s find out!

Unfortunately, there’s really not much known about Diana outside of what’s written in the Materials Collection Artbook,1 so it’s hard to really go into much detail here. According to Ms. Takeuchi’s notes, she’s:

  • A cute fairy who’s mischievous, talkative, and sassy. Also a crybaby.
  • Found by the Sailor Team among the ruins of the Moon Palace, she sticks around with Luna and Usagi. She and Luna don’t get along.
  • She has pale blue wings with a light, lemon-yellow lace skirt.

What we do know is that she and Luna would have had a bit of an antagonistic relationship with each other, probably akin to the manzai comedy acts2 which are so popular in Japan. More specifically, most acts are made up of a pair of comedians playing very specific roles: the boke – who’s portrayed as light-headed, stupid, and innocent – and the tsukkomi – who’s serious, easily angered, and doesn’t put up with the nonsense from the boke.3 Here, it’d likely be Diana and Luna playing those roles, respectively.

Luna and Diana – Amateur Comedy Hour

Luna and Diana – Amateur Comedy Hour

So, why was it that Diana was cut from the story? While we’ll never really know for sure (at least without getting official word from Ms. Takeuchi, which seems unlikely this many years later), it’s most likely that she simply was too similar to Usagi. Just by reading the blurb about what her personality was meant to be like – mischievous, talkative, sassy, and a crybaby – there isn’t that too much that differs with Usagi. Also, while Ms. Takeuchi didn’t exactly steer clear from comedic moments (especially in the Codename: Sailor V manga), it seems that as the series progressed the characters had come more into their own and the idea of making Luna into a comedy-relief duo became less and less appealing.

While it’s a shame that we’ll probably never really know what kind of character the Moon Fairy Diana was meant to evolve into, ultimately I think I like her successor – ChibiUsa’s feline guardian – better than what this character would have been. Still, though, I’d love to see more material that ultimately got cut!

What Does Rei’s Name Mean?

What's in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

As anyone who’s started out on the massive undertaking of learning Japanese can probably tell you, there are three different writing systems used in Japanese: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Hiragana and katakana are nearly identical except for their usage – hiragana is used for native Japanese words, while katakana is used for words of foreign origin or for sounding things out (such as onomatopoeia). Kanji is used in conjunction with hiragana1 to add context and meaning to words or names.

The reason why this is important is that Rei’s name not only lacks any kanji associated with it (to be fair, both Usagi and Makoto’s names are typically written only in hiragana as well), but it’s also written in katakana, the system usually reserved for foreign names. Considering that we can be pretty sure that Rei’s not foreign (especially when you consider that Grandfather Hino is about as Japanese as they come, running a Shinto shrine and all), that leads us to the interesting question of why Ms. Takeuchi would choose to write Rei’s name in this manner. So, why did she?

The Mysterious Miko and her Birds

The Mysterious Miko and her Birds

While Ms. Takeuchi has never officially commented on this issue, it’s most likely that her reason for choosing this style is precisely to draw attention to Rei’s name. You see, since Japanese lacks uppercase letters and it doesn’t look so good in bold or italics, one Japanese strategy to emphasize a word or text is by writing it in katakana. For example, this strategy is often employed in video games or manga when robots are speaking. It gives the reader a sense of unease and draws attention to the text, the same way an English writer may put something IN ALL CAPS.

How does this all play out for Rei? Well, it gives the reader an impressing that something just isn’t quite right about this priestess girl and a sense of mystery to her. It also leaves it up to the reader as to which kanji they want to attribute to Rei, depending on what they believe her personality is. Though Usagi and Makoto are written in hiragana, there’s really only one meaning possible for either of their names: rabbit and truth, respectively. Rei, on the other hand, has several prime choices, all of which could be read the same. For example:

  • 玲 = translucent, brilliant, clear 2
  • 麗 = beauty, lovely3
  • 霊 = spirit, soul, ghost4

So by writing the name in katakana, Ms. Takeuchi is in a way able to attribute all of these meanings to Rei, all without actually saying any one in particular.

As one final note, it’s worth mentioning that the Chinese adaptation didn’t have the luxury of spelling out names phonetically and actually did have to choose one of the above. The localization there went for 火野麗 (the second one above),5 though it seems there are several other characters used occasionally by fans. Who knew that how you write the name could mean so much!

What Was Sailor Moon’s Original Title?

The Original Cast of Pretty Soldier Sailor V

The Original Cast of Pretty Soldier Sailor V

One of the details that’s rarely discussed (which isn’t too surprisingly, since it’s not terribly well known) is that the official title of the series that we all know and love – Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon – wasn’t actually decided until the last minute. In fact, as of November 1991 (the material printed in the January 1992 issue seems to have been compiled at this time, as noted by the date written in the lower right of her sketch – November 5, 1991), Ms. Takeuchi and the editors at Nakayoshi magazine were still referring to the series as Pretty Soldier Sailor V.1 Fortunately, that’s not all there is to the secrets that can be found in this old back issue. In fact, there’s even an interview with Ms. Takeuchi in which she discusses some details about the series, some of which weren’t even actually used!

1992’s Super Heroine Appears!
“Pretty Soldier Sailor V” (Naoko Takeuchi)

“Code Name: Sailor V,” which has been massively popular in Nakayoshi‘s spin-off magazine RunRun, has powered up and will now be serialized in Nakayoshi magazine!! Thanks for your support!

Sailor Moon's Pre-Final Design

Sailor Moon’s Pre-Final Design

On page 48 of the January 1992 issue, you can see Sailor Moon’s working design, which differs both from her final design and even from the one which appears in the Sailor Moon Materials Collection artbook. In fact, if you look closely, both of the designs seem to differ slightly, so it looks like she had several designs being worked on at once.

Sailor Moon here is lacking her tiara and broach, but mysteriously has armor-style shoulder pads and even a crown in one of them. One of the designs appears far more reality-based, at least from the one image, due to the normal earrings and more simply school uniform (and not the normal body-forming Sailor Soldier uniform the team is famous for).

 

Several more interesting points can be found in the early-stage sketch of some of the main cast proposed by Ms. Takeuchi, which appear on page 292 of the same issue, in a monthly interview column titled “Nakayoshi Manga Newspaper.” In the picture (which can be seen at the top of this article), you can see the “mysterious cat” which was likely an early design for Luna (though it could be Artemis, it seems unlikely that she wouldn’t just use his name if it were), though it’s white and appears to be fluffy. We also have an “otaku boy” who appears to be Umino, the  “main character and ally of justice – Usagi,” in addition to the Mamoru-looking character on the right: “a nice guy who’s my type… could he be Usagi’s enemy?!” And the Rei-looking character in the middle of the group? Actually, that’s Ms. Takeuchi herself! It says: “I’ve recently gotten my hair straight-permed and started prettying myself up!”

The interview itself isn’t too interesting and doesn’t really give many details, but for those who are interested, here is a rough translation of the interview between the Nakayoshi editorial staff and Ms. Takeuchi:

Editor (Ed): What will the story be about?
Naoko (N): It’ll be a really cool story that’s totally outrageous, with some romance thrown in.

Ed: What’s the main character like?
N: “Usagi” is her name. She’s a crybaby, but she has a sweet and innocent personality.

Ed: It sounds like there’ll be “transforming” involved. When will she transform?
N: When “the Earth is in peril.”

Ed: What kind of enemies will she face?
N: Incredibly beautiful women and remarkably handsome young men… at least that’s what I’m thinking!

And there you have it! The first time that Usagi’s name was announced to the public… and some more of the background on the series before all the final details had even been decided! I’d really like to know more about what all this talk of “Sailor V powered up” was meant to imply, and if there were supposed to be any direct connections between Minako and Usagi. Hopefully one of these days more information will surface!

Why Was Mamoru Changed to a University Student in the Anime?

The Epitome of Maturity

The Epitome of Maturity

The question of why Mamoru was made older in the anime has been one of those questions that has really bothered me ever since I first learned that there were — sometimes significant — differences between the two mediums. First off, it doesn’t seem to really have much of an impact on the story itself since his parents are dead in both and him living alone doesn’t need to be explained and, if anything, it’s actually detrimental. As we discussed previously, Mamoru being a university student adds certain legal questions regarding Usagi and Mamoru dating. And this didn’t just stand out to western audiences, either. A Google search for タキシード仮面 ロリコン (takishiido kamen rorikon; Tuxedo Kamen lolita complex)1 yields over 30,000 hits of various blogs, polls, and sites with Japanese fans asking (or joking) about the same thing. Even fan books and magazines dating back to 1993 were asking the same questions.

So what did the anime producers gain by changing Mamoru from a second-year high school student to a (most probably) first year university student? Unfortunately, I’m unable to find any concrete answers to these questions and these are just personal musings, but taken together with the facts, these may have played a part in the decision to raise Mamoru’s age. So, let’s take a look!

Masked Rider

Masked Rider

Tuxedo Mask Needs a Ride

This is a pretty minor point, but when you consider that despite there really being no strong plot connection or reason for Mamoru to be driving, he appears quite often in either his car or on his motorcycle (an Alfa Romeo SZ and Bimota Tesi 1D, respectively)2 throughout the series. It also seems that someone on the Sailor Moon anime staff was a fan of automobiles, since not only were Mamoru’s based on real-life vehicles, but Usagi’s family car and Nephrite’s car are also based on real models.

Mamoru Doesn’t Have Any Friends

Okay, so it may be a bit harsh to say that he doesn’t have any friends, but… let’s face it — according to the manga, Mamoru really has no social life, friends, or even acquaintances. The only possible exception would be his underclassman, Ittou Asanuma,3 though they don’t really interact.

Motoki, being a character dating back to Code Name: Sailor V, was stuck being a university student (due to Sailor Moon necessarily taking place a year later) and couldn’t be aged down, so moving Mamoru up allowed them to be classmates and to imply something of a social life for Mamoru.

Family Time with the Sailor Team

Family Time with the Sailor Team

The Audience was Older

The most significant reason for making Mamoru older may have very well been the simplest: the show, unlike the manga, was typically watched together as a family, and with older audiences. I discussed before that the manga skewed to a younger audience, but didn’t mention the details on the anime. Throughout its run, Sailor Moon aired on TV Asahi from 7:00 to 7:30pm on Saturdays4 in what is known as the “golden time” (or primetime in the West)5, capturing on average 11.6% of viewers (and 16.3% at its peak) for the time block, which was comparable with its strongest competitors.

It may seem superficial, but from the point of view of older viewers (upper junior high school, high school, and even older), a high school boy doesn’t have the same mystery to him nor the dependability of an older (university) man who’s working various jobs and has money to spare. Mamoru may live in a fancy, upscale apartment in both versions, but he seems to spend that money much more freely in the anime, which may be part of his charm.

As mentioned at the top, everything written here is just personal observations and theories, but it’s an interesting step toward getting clearer understanding of how Mamoru differs in his various incarnations. One day, I really hope this question is posed to Ms. Takeuchi, but unfortunately with the onset of the new Sailor Moon Crystal, I don’t see this happening anytime soon.

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