Why Can Makoto Wear Her Old Uniform at Azabu-Juban Junior High?

Makoto will NOT change for anyone

Makoto will NOT change for anyone

If I had to go on record and choose only one thing that made Makoto such a great character, it’d probably be the fact that she manages to so perfectly balance on that line between being a rough-and-tumble tough girl, all the while maintaining a delicate side to her.

And Makoto’s school uniform, worn defiantly in the face of her teachers and fellow classmates without even a hint of shame, is a perfect example of Makoto’s self-assuredness and determination. She doesn’t have time for stupid little rules, but when it comes to helping her friends, she’ll be the first one there at your side.

So in honor of Makoto’s school uniform, today we’re going to talk about just exactly how she got away with this act of defiance, and whether it’s just an anime myth, or if there’s some real world truth behind it.

Grab your lunch boxes, we’re going on a field trip!

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How Similar Is the Sailor Moon World to the Actual Azabu-Juban?

Disclaimer: this is not a real photo

Disclaimer: this is not a real photo

One thing that I’ve always loved about the world of Sailor Moon just how how much of the real world Ms. Takeuchi, and later the anime staff, included into the series. You can really feel tell that she really did live in Azabu-Juban before choosing it as the backdrop for her series in how detailed and alive the various locations are.

Today, we’re going to talk about something near and dear to my heart – real life locations that appear in the world of Sailor Moon! For the sake of simplicity, we’ll be talking about Sailor Moon Crystal today, but I do plan on sitting down to write an article about the old 90s series and manga once I get enough old pictures together.

Well, let’s get started!

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Was There an Actual Crown Game Center?

Crown Game Center – Real or Legend?

Crown Game Center – Real or Legend?

Anyone who has been around the internet long enough to have been bombarded with clickbait headlines on Twitter, Facebook, and even major new sides on a daily basis is probably familiar with so-called Betteridge’s law of headlines,1 which states:

Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) for me, here we address nothing but questions with answers that are rarely – if ever – as simple as a yes or no answer. On one hand, it’d be nice to quickly confirm or dismiss some of these questions, but that’d kill much of the entertainment and learning value for you, the reader, and the excitement and research value for me, the writer. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that, as usual, the answer to this question is: “it’s complicated.”

Within the Azabu Juban Shotengai (麻布十番商店街; Azabu Juban Shopping District),2 right around the time that Ms. Takeuchi was putting together the world of Codename: Sailor V (and later Sailor Moon), there actually was an entertainment center called “Crown.”

From Left to Right: Pachinko Crown, Crown Game Center, and McDonalds

From Left to Right: Pachinko Crown, Crown Game Center, and McDonalds

The small caveat here is that though the Crown was a game center (i.e., an arcade as we’d know it in the west) in the manga run by a friendly university student, it was actually an incredibly noisy pachinko gambling den that kids were forbidden from entering in real life, known as Pachinko Crown. The business has since shut down and has been converted into a McDonalds, but the design of the building is still noticeable to Sailor Moon fans.

The Crown as it Appeared in 1993

The Crown as it Appeared in 1993

Unfortunately, it seems that the anime didn’t take much of an effort to use the design of the original Crown, but it is nice to see that it was at least something of a festive landmark in the Azabu Juban area. According to a notice posted on the door (which was thankfully preserved online),3 Pachinko Crown closed for business on January 4, 2001.

While on the topic of the Crown shops (which, according to the Sailor Moon lore, was run by Motoki’s family, which explains why both he and his sister worked there despite being students), there is one more interesting thing to share: it seems that the Crown Fruit Parlor was also a real place, though it’s unclear if the businesses were related in real life like they were in the manga/anime. They both are named “Crown,” though, so it’s not too hard to imagine that there may have been a connection in the real world too.

Crown Musk Melon and Crown Fruits Parlor

Crown Musk Melon and Crown Fruits Parlor

The shop with the Crown Musk Melon sign is actually a fruit shop (which doesn’t seem to have an attached cafe) named Marumiya that appears to still be in business.4

So there you have it! For what seemed like a couple of random shops that appeared throughout the Sailor Moon anime and manga (and, in the case of the anime and Central Control, was actually an integral part of the series!), it turns out that there actually was some truth behind the locations and their designs. I’d love to know more about what drew Ms. Takeuchi to these places, if perhaps she used to buy groceries at the fruit shop or used to commute along these roads, but I suppose that sort of history is for now at least lost to time. All the same, though, it’s a great feeling to be able to see my favorite places in the anime actually appear in real life!