Gee, I wonder what this show’s about?
Quick! Name another anime besides Sailor Moon that began airing in 1992!
Pretty tough, huh? Well, that’s probably because out of the forty anime series to debut in 1992, only six of them lasted more than a year — many surviving only a few months.
While we all know Sailor Moon today as a global phenomenon, it’s easy to forget that the series was by no means a guaranteed hit. In fact, many of the parties involved in the series’ creation were so caught off guard by its success that they didn’t even have products lined up to capitalize on it!
So how did Ms. Takeuchi and co. manage to draw so many fans to Sailor Moon? And, possibly even more importantly, how did the critics react to the series?
Today we’re going to travel back to late 1991 to see what the manga/anime landscape looked like through the eyes of a budding shojo fan. Spoiler: even before the series aired, people were making fun of Tuxedo Mask’s name!
Sailor Moon SuperS: What Went Wrong?
In all my years of writing about Sailor Moon, I’ve found that Sailor Moon SuperS seems to be the odd duck of the series. Some fans swear by it as peak Sailor Moon while others recommend skipping it entirely. And yet I hear none of these complaints levied against the manga. In fact, it’s generally well-loved among fans — which I suppose bodes well for the upcoming movies!
The reason for all this, of course, is due to the peculiar decision to take an extreme departure from Ms. Takeuchi’s storyline and try new things with the anime.
But that’s not good enough for me. I want… nay, need answers! Why did the anime production staff decide to deviate from the manga story? Why did they cut so many characters? And why did the story take such a comical turn?
Today we’re going to take a look into what the anime staff were thinking and the reasoning behind their changes. Sit back, grab a coffee, and read on — things are about to get Super!
The Sailor Moon voice cast (left to right: Michie Tomizawa (Rei); Rica Fukami (Minako); Kotono Mitsuishi (Usagi); Aya Hisakawa (Ami); Emi Shinohara (Makoto))
One thing I absolutely love about Sailor Moon is the multitude of reasons why fans love the series and the different routes that brought them into our shared fandom.
Probably like many of you, I was drawn in by the fantastic story, beautiful art, and relatable characters. Sounds familiar, right?
But what kept me sticking around over the past 20+ years was something a little deeper: a fascination with how this story came to be and a passion to learn everything I could about the Sailor Moon universe.
Today we’re going to take a “look behind the curtain,” if you will, and see exactly what went into creating a Sailor Moon episode from start to finish. If you’ve ever wanted to know how all these amazingly talented people came together to create perfection, read on!
Makoto’s Juban Junior High ID card
Pop quiz! When you hear about Japanese schools, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
- A warm and inviting place to freely express yourself.
- A totalitarian environment that makes Joseph Stalin look like a softie.
- An environment centered around nurturing your unique strengths.
While technically none of those are true across the board, I think we can generally agree that 2 is a lot closer to the image of Japanese schools portrayed in most anime and video games.
And yet with all of Miss Sakurada’s throwing Usagi out of her classroom for the mere transgression of eating lunch early, I can’t help but find that Juban Junior High seems to give their students a lot of free reign.
Today we’re going to take a look at the ins and outs of Juban Junior High and see what we can find out. Be sure to comb your hair and tuck your shirt in, kids! We’re playing purely by the rules here.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Senshi?
As I’m sure many of you have already heard, the story about how famed anime Director Kunihiko Ikuhara — known for such works as Sailor Moon, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and the recent smash hit Sarazanmai — secretly directed the one of the first episodes that turned Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into a household name is hitting all the major anime news outlets and taking social media by storm.
In light of his spectacular portfolio and what a revolutionary series Ninja Turtles would become, the story certainly seems believable. What’s more, it’s even backed up by a statement by the story writer, David Wise, himself.
But is this really the case? Well, as they say, if something is too good to be true…
A Sailor… Yell??
Despite having debuted over 25 years ago, Moonlight Densetsu still consistently ranks in the top 100 songs played in karaoke. While it may be the pride and joy of the Sailor Moon fandom, there’s always been a special place in my heart for its oft-forgotten younger sibling, Sailor Star Song.
The song is probably best remembered for setting the dramatically different tone of Sailor Moon‘s fifth and final season, as well as for… well… bordering on being nonsensical.
But today I hope to change that.
Though I may not be able to explain what makes this song so awesome, I hope to at least shed a little light about the story Ms. Takeuchi was trying to tell through her lyrics.
Read on as we discuss just what’s involved in a good, proper Sailor Yell, and how you can give one too!
Kotono Mitsuishi and Kunihiko Ikuhara discussing the Sailor Moon R movie
In the immortal words of the Plain White T’s, “hate is a strong word, but I really, really, really don’t like you.” And, if the internet is to be believed, this pretty much sums up the relationship between Sailor Moon‘s creator and acclaimed anime director (Sailor Moon, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and more) Kunihiko Ikuhara.
It makes a certain amount of sense, when you get right down to it, too. They both have very strong, outspoken personalities, and Director Ikuhara was personally responsible for completely changing Rei in the anime — a sore spot in Ms. Takeuchi’s eyes.
Today, we’re going to take a look into whether there’s any truth behind this rumor and why (or why not!) that may not be the case. Regardless of which side of the anime vs. manga debate you happen to be on, you’ll want to stick around for this!