The Sailor Team
One question I often (not unreasonably) get asked is: why do I so rarely talk about Sailor Moon Crystal on this blog?
Truth be told, it’s not that I don’t want to talk about it. It’s rather that bringing the Sailor Moon Crystal series into the equation introduces several key issues into what we discuss here, including:
- the series takes place decades after the original manga/anime ran, and the world has since changed;
- the story tracks closely with the manga and doesn’t add too much new information; and
- Sailor Moon Crystal is still a work in progress, so any theories unique to the series could still change.
Fortunately for us, with the recent announcement that Kazuko Tadano — character designer for the first two seasons of the 1990s Sailor Moon anime — will be reprising her role as character designer for the upcoming Sailor Moon Crystal movie, this gives us a chance to take a look back into the past to hopefully answer some questions about the series’ future.
Today, we’ll be taking a deeper look into what Ms. Tadano thought of the characters in Sailor Moon, and her philosophy in how she draws women. Stick around, because things are about to get interesting!
Is this the end for Sailor Moon?
Over a quarter of a century has passed since Sailor Moon first hit the airwaves, and yet the series manages to continue to excite new and old fans alike with a constant stream of new products, musicals, cafes, and even the occasional anime season. It’s easy to forget, though, that the series had actually been relatively dormant in Japan for much of this time.
While hindsight may be 20/20, and we may now know that there was no true “successor” to Sailor Moon in the most direct sense of the word — at least not until the Pretty Cure franchise came around — I think it’s interesting to take a look back in time and see what series fans back in the 90s thought would be the next big anime in the shojo-sphere.
Join me for a trip down memory lane as we take a look at some of the interesting predictions reporters on Japanese anime were making back in the mid-90s. I hope you’re ready for some serious nostalgia!
This was definitely not recommended by fans
Now that we’ve gotten the serious attack suggestions out of the way, it’s time for us to delve a little deeper into Animage’s mail bag and look at some of the… less likely ideas for attacks recommended by Sailor Moon fans, way back in the summer of 1992.
Thought I can’t really imagine any of these attacks ever really appearing in the anime or the manga, it’s nevertheless a fun look back at the fandom in the early days of the series.
Let’s get started!
The long lost Sailor Archery attack
Remember that time when Sailor Moon pulled back on the string of her crescent-moon-shaped bow, let loose, and tore the attacking youma asunder? No? That’s strange, because I’ve got this picture right here in front of me.
Oh, that’s right! The attack never actually existed. But it was briefly considered, and a single animation cel was even made of the attack.
Today, we’re talking about attacks suggested by fans to the anime staff!
Usagi has to keep these scripts secret!
I was surprised to find out recently that way back when the Sailor Moon anime first aired, Animage – one of Japan’s premier anime magazines – held a contest in conjunction with the anime production staff to for fans to send in ideas for what they’d like to see in the series. This was known as the “Sailor Awards” (セーラー大賞; seeraa taishou).
The suggestions were reviewed and comments on several of the better choices were provided by either Junichi Sato (series director) or Iriya Azuma (producer). The best ideas were even ultimately used in the series!
Today we’re going to look at some of the plot suggestions that these early-adopting Sailor Moon fans sent in.
Sailor-suited soldiers of [noun] and justice!
“In the name of the Moon…!”
Admit it, with just these six words, you probably finished the rest of the sentence in your head. Sailor Moon’s self-referential catchphrase is so famous that even the casual fan of the series would probably be able to finish it.
While the catchphrases of the other Sailor Soldiers may be less well known — though I’m sure their fans would be willing to disagree! — the stories behind them are no less interesting.
Today we’re going to talk about who came up with Sailor Mercury and Sailor Mars’s catchphrases and what they almost were instead!
Ami – A Political Powerhouse
One of the enduring mysteries of the Sailor Moon franchise is that of the perplexing popularity of Ami – the shy, bookish brains of the Sailor Team – especially among fans in the West. I’m sure it’s no mystery at all to those who count themselves among her fans, of course, but from a purely objective perspective, it seems a bit strange that the soft-spoken, brainy character (who didn’t even have a particularly abnormal amount of episodes even devoted to her, mind you) would end up constantly ranking at the tops of Japanese polls. So how is it that Ami came to be the most popular of the inners, and what does it tell us about Japanese fans of Sailor Moon as a group?
Before testing any theory, though, it’s important to first see if there’s any truth to your hypothesis. So we should first ask: is Ami actually popular? And how do we know?
In order to answer this question, I dug through the archives of the Japanese anime magazine, Animage, and tallied up their monthly “favorite character” rankings, which allows all of their readers to vote for their favorite anime characters and tallies them up. Since the anime runs on a schedule of March to February and the magazine ships early, I’ll be comparing seasons from June through May for the magazine results. They’re actually pretty surprising! [Note: Popularity counts from 1 down to ~20, so 1 is the highest.]