Why Does Ami Think Vampires Like to Eat Flowers?

Lilica Hubert (spoiler: she's a vampire)

Lilica Hubert (spoiler: she’s a vampire)

In the spirit of the season – and for all of you reading this in the future, that means Halloween – I desperately wanted to find some sort of story or mystery relating to Sailor Moon that I could talk about, but unfortunately I didn’t have much luck. There just isn’t a lot of scary things that happen in the show, unless you’re talking about Mamoru’s fashion sense or Taiki’s obnoxiously large forehead.

So I took to social media for suggestions and, as expected, I got a lot of great suggestions that never even crossed my mind. You people rock.

Today, we’ll be talking about about the story of the vampire who once graced the pages of Sailor Moon, and Ami’s seemingly bizarre leap in logic in how she determined this young girl was a blood-sucking demon of the night.

Stick around!

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Today, Usagi turns… 40 years old??

No offense to any 40 year old readers

No offense to any 40 year old readers

That’s right, dear readers! According to the original story as told in the Sailor Moon manga and anime, Usagi would be turning 40 on June 30, 2017.1 Hard to believe that our favorite sailor-suited soldier of love and justice would now be entering her fourth decade of life, isn’t it? While we may know her as a young and energetic junior high school student, she would now have been out of school longer than she ever spent in school.

Due to all of the odd time traveling mechanics and the start of Crystal Tokyo, it’s a bit harder to say anything about ChibiUsa. However, assuming that – like we have to do with Usagi – ChibiUsa was born in a normal universe, she would be turning around 17 years old today.2

In honor of the two birthday girls, I’ve selected five articles each about Usagi and ChibiUsa that may be of interest to you. Articles are in no particular order.

Usagi

ChibiUsa

If you have any questions or suggestions for future articles, I’d love to hear from you!

Why Did ChibiUsa Call Sailor Moon Everyone’s Mother?

To reject a mother

To reject a mother

Though Sailor Moon fans are a pretty diverse lot when it come to the subject of a “favorite” — be in favorite character, season, manga vs. anime, or anything else — I find that the Sailor Moon R movie tends to fare pretty well among fans. Going by sales figures alone, it was definitely the most popular of all three of the movies, grossing nearly 30% more than the Sailor Moon S movie and over double that of ticket sales for Sailor Moon SuperS. It’s no wonder that it’s managed to stand the test of time.

However, one thing that I never really got when I was younger is what is the movie trying to say? It’s only recently that I started to think about ChibiUsa’s famous line to Luna and Artemis: “It’ll be okay, Sailor Moon is everyone’s mom!”

But what did she actually mean by that?

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Why Was ChibiUsa Sad About Returning to the Future?

The Sailor Team Say Their Goodbyes

The Sailor Team Say Their Goodbyes

This is yet another one of those odd questions that at first glance sounds completely obvious, but makes a lot less sense when you stop and actually start to think about it. I mean, of course ChibiUsa is sad to leave Usagi, Mamoru, and the Sailor Team to go back to the future. After all, she has to go all the way back to the future to be with… Usagi, Mamoru, and the Sailor Team? This is unfortunately one of those situations where there is no proper answer to the question, but it’s at least worth taking a look at it in a little further detail!

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Where Did the Inspiration for Usagi’s Hairstyle Come From?

Getting to the Root of the Problem

Getting to the Root of the Problem

One of the most identifiable of Usagi’s character traits – if not the most identifiable – is her signature hair style. It’s what earned her Mamoru’s teasing nickname お団子頭 (odango atama; or “meatball head” in the DiC dub) and led to multiple important elements in the series, from her hair decorations to ChibiUsa’s rabbit-inspired modified hairstyle. But what was the inspiration behind giving her that hairstyle in the first place and was there any other precedent for it before Usagi came into the picture? There’s surprisingly more to it than you’d imagine!

Before we get started, we need to break down the elements of Usagi’s hair into its two main components, which are often mistaken as one related hairstyle: the odango and the twin tails. Both of these hair styles are prevalent in Japanese anime and manga (though odango not so much in real life, it’s definitely not unseen or unheard of). I’ll explain the details of both as we go, but I apologize for just throwing terminology and foreign words left and right.

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What is the Story Behind ChibiUsa / Small Lady’s Name?

An Unreadable Poker Face

An Unreadable Poker Face

What’s in a name? That’s a question we’ve asked many times already, but it’s always worth taking another look at the characters we love just a little bit closer and see if there’s something more to find out about them in something as simple as what we call them. If you want to talk about name mysteries, ChibiUsa definitely has a lot to offer to the conversations — she has a pretty long name after all! Her official name is Usagi Small Lady Serenity,1 though she’s typically referred to as ChibiUsa (Sailor Pluto, however, typically prefers Small Lady in the Black Moon Family arc) in order to avoid confusion with Usagi. So where does the Small Lady name come from?

Though Naoko has never officially remarked on this in detail, we can make some interesting inferences from what we know about language use in manga.

She's not 'chibi,' and don't forget it!

She’s not ‘chibi,’ and don’t forget it!

What’s interesting about the Small Lady name is that it’s already written either in roman characters as “S L” or written out in the Japanese phonetic alphabet, katakana, which is used for foreign words and sound effects.2 Though at first glance, this may imply that there’s no deeper meaning to be had, but that leads us into an interesting use of language in manga: very often, authors will intentionally apply kanji to Western words (to give them context) or will read a kanji with a Western word. One of the more famous examples is the first appearance of Super Saiyans in the Dragon Ball manga. What we all know of as Super Saiyan can be written in Japanese as either スーパーサイヤ人 (su-pa-saiyajin) or as 超サイヤ人 (su-pa-saiyajin),3 though it’s interesting to note that 超 should be read as chou and cannot be read as “super.”4

So why all this talk about Dragon Ball? Well, it was an anime and manga contemporary to Sailor Moon so we know that the phenomenon was already common at the time and gives credence to the idea that there might be some deeper meaning to the Small Lady name. Fortunately for us, the options are pretty limited, but the most likely choice for a kanji reading for Small Lady is: 少女 (shoujo; lit. small lady / maiden)5 If that sounds familiar to you, well, it should: these are the very same characters used in the title of the series: 美少女戦士セーラームーン (bishoujo senshi se-ra-mu-n; Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon). An alternative literal kanji choice would also be 乙女 (otome; lit. small lady / maiden). You would probably recognize this word as the ending theme to the Sailor Moon R anime: 乙女のポリシー (otome no porishi-; Maiden’s Policy).6 More likely than not, the Small Lady name is in reference to the very term her mother, Usagi, used to refer to herself as a sailor-suited soldier of justice.

Usagi Small Lady Serenity

Usagi Small Lady Serenity

The story with ChibiUsa’s name is interesting in general due to the Serenity name connecting her to her mother and even down the line to her grandmother. Even more interesting is that she doesn’t seem to be given a last name (neither Tsukino nor Chiba), which implies that the people of Crystal Tokyo don’t use last names. It may be a small detail, but I’m glad to see that Usagi maintained her independence, even through marriage!

Why Did Usagi Become Queen of Crystal Tokyo at 22?

Our Future Queen

Our Future Queen

There’s one thing that’s always been bothering me about the introduction of ChibiUsa and, by extension, the introduction of the setting behind Crystal Tokyo and its monarch, Neo-Queen Serenity. I don’t mean “bother” in a bad way, of course. More like one of those niggling1 little doubts that always seems a bit off. In a series that is ostensibly about female empowerment, contains many female leaders (Queen Serenity, Queen Beryl, Queen Metalia, Neo-Queen Serenity, Sailor Galaxia… I could go on), and stars a main character that is infinitely more powerful than her romantic interest and male counterpart, why did Ms. Takeuchi decide to have Usagi give birth to ChibiUsa and assume the throne as Neo-Queen Serenity at the age of 22?

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