What Went Into Producing a Sailor Moon Episode?

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!

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Did Sailor Moon’s Ikuhara Really Direct a Ninja Turtles Cartoon?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Senshi?

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 MoonRevolutionary 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 true1

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Did Sailor Moon Director Kunihiko Ikuhara Hate Naoko Takeuchi?

Kotono Mitsuishi and Kunihiko Ikuhara discussing the Sailor Moon R movie

Kotono Mitsuishi and Kunihiko Ikuhara discussing the Sailor Moon R movie

In the immortal words of the Plain White T’s, “hate is a strong word, but I really, really, really don’t like you.”1 And, if the internet is to be believed, this pretty much sums up the relationship between Sailor Moon‘s creator and acclaimed anime director (Sailor MoonRevolutionary Girl Utena, and more) Kunihiko Ikuhara.

It makes a certain amount of sense, when you get right down to it, too. They both have very strong, outspoken personalities, and Director Ikuhara was personally responsible for completely changing Rei in the anime — a sore spot in Ms. Takeuchi’s eyes.

Today, we’re going to take a look into whether there’s any truth behind this rumor and why (or why not!) that may not be the case. Regardless of which side of the anime vs. manga debate you happen to be on, you’ll want to stick around for this!

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What Is the Meaning Behind the Song Moon Revenge?

"That's no moon, it's a..." Sailor Soldier

“That’s no moon, it’s a…” Sailor Soldier

Remember that time that Usagi sang about beautiful corpses, painful tattoos, and wanting to control your lover until every little breath of theirs belongs to you? Of course you do, because how could you possibly forget Moon Revenge, the bizarre ending theme to the Sailor Moon R movie.

But like most things that get lost in translation, these sort of thing can make at least a little more sense when looked at in the proper context. And today, that’s what we’re going to talk about!

If you’ve ever been up late at night fretting over lovely corpses and engraved tattoos, this one’s for you!

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Who Was Responsible for Rei’s Change in the Anime?

Okay, whose fault is it??

Okay, whose fault is it??

I know that I’ve talked at length about how Rei was portrayed quite differently in the anime and manga, and I’m sure at some point you might be wondering when the commentary on this issue will end.

Well, depending on your opinion of the issue, I have some good or bad news for you — today is not that day.

That’s right! We’ll be looking at an exclusive interview done in the November 1992 issue of Animage1 between the magazine’s editorial staff, Rei’s voice actress, and the top production crew for the Sailor Moon anime.

Come for the trivia, stay for the drama!

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What Were Ikuhara’s Inspirations for the Sailor Moon R Movie? (Part 3)

Ikuhara (left) trying the "zero-fashion-sense Mamoru" look

Ikuhara (left) trying the “zero-fashion-sense Mamoru” look

It’s been a long road here, but we’ve finally made it to the end of our three part special, where we review Director Ikuhara’s notes explaining his thoughts on the story of the Sailor Moon R movie. You can find Part 1 and Part 2 here, respectively.

If you’re new to this series, a little background: Kunihiko Ikuhara1 was the director and major creative force behind the Sailor Moon R movie. Included with the LaserDisc release of the movie was a six page summary of his “interpretation” – basically, his thoughts and inspirations – of the story, separated by chapter.

Today, I’ll be finishing up with comments 17 through 22! Why don’t you join along?

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What Were Ikuhara’s Inspirations for the Sailor Moon R Movie? (Part 2)

Fiore and his flower minions

Fiore and his flower minions

After finishing the first half of my review of Ikuhara’s director’s notes for the Sailor Moon R movie, I have to admit that I feel like I have a bit of a better understanding of what story he intended to tell.

And you know, I think I like the movie even more. Knowing that there’s actual meaning behind scenes I just glossed over adds a new depth to the movie for me, and it’s definitely moved up on my “to watch” list.

That said, join me as I continue on with Director Ikuhara’s notes for chapters 11 through 16!

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