Weekend Wrap-up – Japanese Fans Look Back on Sailor Moon

The La Reconquista Inner Senshi cast join a karaoke collaboration event

The La Reconquista Inner Senshi cast join a karaoke collaboration event

It’s that time again, where I figure we should ramble about some other things generally Sailor Moon related but that don’t fall under the blog’s goal. It’s the weekend, so we’re allowed to do that, right?

Of course we are! No one ever died from not following the rules, right? Right.

Let your hair down, kick your feet up, and grab yourself a nice cup of cocoa. Today we’re talking about Japanese fans’ thoughts as they look back on their favorite childhood show.

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Who is the Most Popular Sailor Moon Character Now?

There can only be one...!

There can only be one…!

One of the really interesting things about taking a look back at a series that goes back as far as Sailor Moon and yet has still maintained a significant level of popularity today is that, while the characters have stayed (mostly?) the same, society’s values have changed around them.

What that means is that some characters who spoke to a generation back in the 90s may have less to say now as we face different problems. And, of course, the reverse is true as well.

While I’ve already talked at length about the Sailor Soldiers’ (and even the villains!) popularity back in the 90s, today I’d like to talk about how that’s changed and where we stand today.

I hope you like numbers, ’cause it’s gonna be a number-crunching kind of day!

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What Kind of Attacks Did Fans Want to See in Sailor Moon?

This was definitely not recommended by fans

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!

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What Was Sailor Moon’s Archery Attack?

The long lost Sailor Archery attack

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!

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What Fan Suggestions Were Considered for Sailor Moon Episodes?

Usagi has to keep these scripts secret!

Usagi has to keep these scripts secret!

I was surprised to find out recently that way back when the Sailor Moon anime first aired, Animage1 – 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)2 or Iriya Azuma (producer).3 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.

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Why Is Sailor Moon Talking About Safe Sex?

Sailor Moon STI Condom (Front)

Sailor Moon STI Condom (Front)

While I’ve certainly written more than my fair share of off-color topics in the past, from what the Sailor Soldiers wear under their skirts to their mathematically-derived bust sizes, I never thought I’d actually be writing about an authorized Sailor Moon… condom, with Ms. Takeuchi’s seal of approval. While this isn’t the type of trivia I usually discuss, this seemed worthy of a further look and something I thought would be fun to share with fans in the west. So, what’s all this about?

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What’s It Like to Be a Sailor Moon Cosplayer?

Saturn and Saturn

Saturn and Saturn

Whether you’re an anime or manga fan in Japan, Europe, America, or anywhere else around the globe, odds are that you’re intimately familiar with cosplay, and may have even done it yourself. While cosplay isn’t limited to — or even unique to — Japan, it is without a doubt well-known for the high quality of the costumes and incredible attention to detail by the cosplayers who bring our favorite characters to life. Today, I’d like to talk about the experiences of one such cosplayer.

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Was Naru Intended to Be a Bigger Part of Sailor Moon?

Usagi Tsukino and Naru Osaka – BFFs

Usagi Tsukino and Naru Osaka – BFFs

Naru Osaka is one of those secondary characters that is incredibly hard to pin down. At first glance she’s just one of many background characters – like Ms. Haruna SakuradaUsagi’s family, and many other members of the supporting case – but when you actually take time to look at the amount of work put into developing her character, you realize that quite a bit more work was put into her background than many others. So what do we actually know about Usagi’s best friend?

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How Uncommon Are the Names of the Sailor Moon Characters?

The Sailor Team like to think they have pretty normal names...

The Sailor Team like to think they have pretty normal names…

We’ve discussed on several occasions the difficulties involved in localization, particularly when it comes to names, but we haven’t often discussed the names of the main characters themselves (with some exceptions), and how uncommon or strange they may seem. In fact, when the Sailor Moon manga was first being localized into English by Mixxzine1 (before being moved to Smile2 and then serialized by Tokyopop)3 – one of the first magazines for localized manga to be widely distributed in the U.S. – there was a lot of debate among fans over how Usagi’s name was localized.

While many fans either preferred the name Serenaas used in DiC’s localization of the anime, many other fans expressed an affinity for the Japanese original name. Mixx’s choice to translate Usagi’s name literally as Bunny was divisive to say the least. On one side of the argument, you could say that this is how Japanese readers interpreted the name—as a word found in the dictionary. On the other, one could argue that just like Dick Dastardly4 and many other children’s cartoons in the West, the name is simply an extra to give you further insight into the character.

Since there’s no “correct” solution to this issue of nuance in Japanese being lost in localization, I think it’s worth taking a look at this issue from another direction: just how made up are the names of the Sailor Moon cast, and are they really as obscure and fictional as we’ve all been led to believe? How many people can there actually be who are named “… of the moon,” anyway?

Neo Queen Princess Usagi Serena Bunny Serenity Tsukino

Neo Queen Princess Usagi Serena Bunny Serenity Tsukino

There are at least 251 households named Tsukino.

According to this index5 of 19,661,494 Japanese phone book listings, at least. Another site, which uses both phone records and and government census data,6 says that there are approximately 1,500 people with the last name Tsukino, making it the 6,402nd most popular last name in Japan. The site also provides an interesting look into the origin of the last name:

現鹿児島県東部である大隅国曽於郡月野が起源(ルーツ)である。近年、鹿児島県に多数みられる。 「野」は自然のままの広い地を表す。

The origin of the name is the village of Tsukino in the Soo district of Oosumi province in what is now the eastern part of present-day Kagoshima prefecture. There are many with the name found in Kagoshima prefecture. The character for “no” (野) means a wide-open natural space.

That’s right, if you were to go to Soo county in Kagoshima,7 you could very well meet someone named Tsukino. So in terms of realism, how do the rest of the characters fare?

Name No. Households Ranking Most Common In
Tsukino 251~1,500 6,402 Kagoshima
Mizuno 26,216~175,000 105 Aichi
Hino 4~20 64,633 Oita
Kino 1,284~8,700 1,811 Shizuoka
Aino 21~140 26,233 Hokkaido
Chiba 34~230 19,895 Yamagata
Tenoh 13~80 36,041 Hiroshima
Kaioh 0 NA NA
Tomoe 0 NA NA
Meioh 0 NA NA
Osaka 172~1,200 7,346 Osaka

I guess it shouldn’t be all that surprising that Mizuno would be that common of a last name (almost breaking into the top 100!) considering that there’s the Mizuno Corporation,8 a popular brand of sports equipment. More than anything else, though, I was surprised to see that nearly all of the last names of the main cast (with the exception of Michiru, Hotaru, and Setsuna) actually exist in the real world. Even Ms. Naru Osaka, who I always figured was a pure parody name, actually has some real-world relatives in the – big surprise! – Osaka region of Japan.

The Lovely Ms. Osaka

The Lovely Ms. Osaka

So there you have it! Though obviously Ms. Takeuchi picked the character names in order to match them with their representative planets as well as their chosen element and, to be honest, it may simply be a pure coincidence that any of these are real-world names at all, I for one am glad to see that there is at least one more touch of reality in the world of Sailor Moon.

And for anyone who’s curious – no, there’s no one in Japan that I could find named Usagi. Too bad!

Introducing the 2016 Anion Sailor Moon Crystal Cafe Menu!

2016 Anion Sailor Moon Crystal Cafe

2016 Anion Sailor Moon Crystal Cafe

Well, it’s just about time for the debut of the 2016 Sailor Moon Crystal cafe at Anion Station from April 4, 2016 (Mon.) through May 9, 2016 (Mon.). I’ve already made plans to go later this week and am really looking forward to it, but after staring at the menu for awhile and planning what I want to get, I realized that there aren’t really any English resources for fans living abroad and, to make things worse, the menu is all one image online so you can’t even enter it into Google Translate or some other automated translation program to get an idea of what’s going on.

This may or may not be of any interest to anyone, but for anyone who’s curious what flavor a drink inspired by your favorite Sailor Soldier ends up being, this might be helpful! So, without further ado…

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