In search of the missing link
Now that it’s been over a quarter of a century since Sailor Moon first hit bookshelves, and hit the airwaves shortly after that, I doubt it’s really much of a surprise to anyone to hear that another series by Ms. Takeuchi, Codename: Sailor V, served as a precursor to our favorite series.
And if you didn’t know… well, surprise! Now you do. Since I have a strict “one tidbit per post” rule, I guess that means that we call get to just go home then.
… or, I could finish what I started.
Today we’ll be talking about the creative process that was involved in turning a one-shot manga starring the no-nonsense beauty Sailor V and her sidekick kitty-pal Artemis into the multimedia powerhouse starring a full-fledged Sailor Team.
I hope you join along for the ride!
Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon: Another Story (1995; Super Famicom)
Released on September 22, 1995, – halfway through the anime’s SuperS season, despite being firmly entrenched in Sailor Moon S lore – Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon: Another Story was a groundbreaking RPG for its time. Not only was it an RPG built from the ground up for a young, female audience, but it also had a much larger cast of characters than most other games in the genre dared to at the time and even included audio from the actual voice talent.
Today I’ll be translating an interview with members of the development staff so we can take a look at some of the challenges they faced in making the game. Let’s get going!
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?
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.
The Tragic Passing of the Sailor Soldiers
Talking about the Sailor Moon timeline is a bit of a grey area right out of the gate, simply because the anime and the manga obviously differ, and pretty greatly at that. Obviously this is a fictional universe so we can’t hold out a lot of hope for things to be 100% accurate, nor should it be. If we were concerned with absolute accuracy, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be talking about junior high school girls fighting the forces of evil to begin with! But to the extent that we can recreate the timeline and make some sense of it, I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor.
We talked in-depth before regarding how long the fight against the Dark Kingdom and Queen Beryl would have taken and ultimately came up with thirty-three days, with a lot of caveats of course. Though I haven’t checked the anime – and with 46 episodes which need to be watched, I’m afraid it would take an incredibly long time to do a thorough analysis – but my gut instinct is that there the battle against the forces of the Dark Kingdom took a little under a year, though seems to be fair to assume that the series followed along close to real time. These timeline issues actually are pretty helpful in answering the above question, regarding how the Sailor Soldiers came back to life after their untimely demise in their battle against the D-Girls in the anime. That’s right! Today, we’ll be talking about the anime timeline, though we’ll turn back and tie this into the manga where we can.
Sailor Moon R for the Super Famicom / Nintendo
[Note: This translation is edited a bit for clarity and comes from an interview in the back of a strategy guide written for the Super Famicom fighting game. You can find the Japanese interview here: Page 94, Page 95, Page 96, Page 97.]
Opening Up on the Unspoken Stories
Jouji Yuno, Developer/Producer at Angel
Continuing with his work on “Sailor Moon” for the SFC.
— That “ChibiUsa” mode is pretty unique!
That’s right, it grew far beyond our expectations, though there’s a reason behind how it came to this. When we started game development, there were still quite a few mysteries behind ChibiUsa, so when we were putting our heads together and debating how we should put her into the game, we decided to take her out of the main game and make a separate “ChibiUsa Mode.”
In this mode, you play as the near-invincible ChibiUsa. This was partially related to her height (laugh), but since we that though that it really wouldn’t look so nice to have ChibiUsa get punched by the enemies, so we made it so that even a little kid could make it to the end. We decided to have her use the umbrella she’s had since her appearance as a weapon, but she’s stopped using it entirely lately (laugh). In the game, the umbrella is really important to her since it makes up for the difference in the enemy’s height. What’s more, it’s a lot cuter than ChibiUsa directly punching and kicking the enemies. However, from the point of view of child-rearing, it’s not ideal to be hitting enemies directly with an umbrella, so she attacks the enemies with the energy from the stars that come shoot from the umbrella.
As much as we worried about how to fit ChibiUsa into the game, it paid off and people fell in love with it.
— What about the other Sailor Soldiers?