Ikuhara chilling on a park bench, as he is wont to do
Lunar Logs is a weekly series featuring full translations of interviews with Ms. Takeuchi and others — such as the directors, writers, voice cast, and more — responsible for making Sailor Moon into the massively popular franchise we know it as today. Though not every interview will directly address or even mention Sailor Moon, I find it an interesting look into the minds of these influential figures.
Today’s essay, titled “My First Time,” was penned by
Sailor Moon director Kunihiko Ikuhara and first appeared in the August 1996 issue of Animage.
Read on and I hope you enjoy his curious tale of the circumstances that led to his proverbial cherry being popped… and it absolutely isn’t what you’re thinking!
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!
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…
Did this actually happen?
Ever since starting this blog, I’m always very careful to try to avoid ever saying something stated or depicted within the anime or manga is either a lie or didn’t happen, at least not without compelling proof to the contrary. Once you start going down the rabbit hole of saying that “Maybe Usagi was lying when she said she was 150cm!” or that “Makoto is probably just estranged from her family,” you really can’t say anything definitive about the series since all of your proof is suspect.
But sometimes, the situation can justify a deeper analysis. Such as, for example, Usagi and Mamoru’s purported “first meeting” in the Sailor Moon R movie. So, did they really meet as kids?
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?