Whose Real Life Parenting Experience Inspired a Sailor Moon Episode?

... I'm not sure how I'd feel about seeing this

… I’m not sure how I’d feel about seeing this

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned on many different occasions, I absolutely adore the Cardian story arc from the first half of Sailor Moon R. It’s not so much to do with the fact that the story itself is particularly interesting or that I’m a huge fan of Moonlight Knight,1 but rather it’s precisely because the story itself is less epic in nature. The whole storyline felt like a series of “slice of life”2 episodes where you actually got a know a little more about the day-to-day lives of the characters.

And today, we’re going to talk about one such episode.

Continue reading

Did Mamoru Meet Usagi In the Hospital As a Child?

Did this actually happen?

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?

Continue reading

Why Did Rei Pursue Mamoru in the Anime?

Rei Locked on to Her Target (ep. 15)

Rei Locked on to Her Target (ep. 15)

While there are quite a few differences between Rei in the anime and the manga, one of the more striking differences between the two is the storyline where Rei and Mamoru briefly dated in the first season of the Sailor Moon anime. Though Mamoru himself was no stranger to differences between the two mediums, how it is that the cool, mysterious, and boy-hating1 (!) Rei from the manga went so far into the opposite direction and ended up pursuing Mamoru so aggressively is more than a bit out of character for her. So how did this wind up happening and what does this tell us about Rei’s character in the anime?

Rei’s reasons for pursuing Mamoru were actually pretty simple (some would say superficial, but I’m not one to judge). According to Rei:2


“He’s attractive, going to a good school, and is rich.”

Rei finds her prey...

Rei finds her prey…

More than likely, this is in reference to what is known in Japanese as 三高 (sankou; the three highs): high salary, high-class education, and physical height.3 During the bubble economy4 – from the late 80’s to early 90’s – these attributes were said to be what was most valued by Japanese women when choosing a potential boyfriend or future husband. From Rei’s point of view, as the daughter of a politician and a student at an elite private school, it was only natural that Mamoru would make a good match for her. It’s possible, I suppose, that she could also sense Mamoru and Usagi’s budding feelings for each other and this was meant to be antagonistic, but that’s just speculation and I really don’t see Rei as that type of person.

Perhaps the greatest source of information on (anime) Rei’s outlook on love and romance comes from an interview5 with Michie Tomizawa, Iriya Azuma, and Sukehiro Tomita (Rei’s voice actress and Sailor Moon‘s producer and scenario writer, respectively). In it, the producer (Azuma) admits that Rei and Michie have the strongest resemblance between all of the voice actresses of their respective characters, and even that the animation staff often sit in on the post-recordings and take notes for how to evolve the characters.

Newtype: 「シリーズが進むうちに、レイちゃんと富沢さんの性格が接近してきたということですね。」
Azuma: 「ええ。スタッフも、アフレコなどでよく声優さんを観察していますから・・・あっ、似てきたといっても、富沢さんがイジワルだってわけじゃないですよ(笑)。」

Newtype: “So Rei and Ms. Tomizawa’s personalities are getting more and more alike as the series progresses.”
Azuma: “That’s right. The staff is often watching the voice actresses during the post-recordings, you see. Well, it’s not like Ms. Tomizawa is ill-tempered or anything! (laugh)”

Later in the interview, Ms. Tomizawa discusses the brief relationship between Rei and Mamoru, describing it as Rei mistaking her feelings of admiration for Mamoru for romantic love. Even more interesting, and possibly even more relevant to Rei’s feelings towards love with regard to Yuichiro, Ms. Tomizawa describes herself as:

Tomizawa: 「 ・・・わたし、子供のころからずっとスポーツギャルで、仲のいい男の子の友達もいっぱいいたんですけど、好きになった人に対しては口もきけないようなタイプでした。」

Tomizawa: “… I’ve always been a sporty girl and have had lots of male friends ever since I was a child, but when it comes to people I liked, I couldn’t talk to them.”

This may help explain her completely different approaches toward her relationships with Mamoru and Yuichiro, wherein she directly pursues Mamoru but seems to interact with him more like a friend, particularly in the Sailor Moon R anime where she can occasionally be seen spending time together with Mamoru and ChibiUsa, while completely ignoring or even yelling at Yuichiro. Further discussion on her relationship with him, however, will have to wait for another time!

A romance never meant to be...

A romance never meant to be…

Whether you love or hate the way Rei differed in the anime and manga, she did serve as an interesting foil in the series to play against Usagi and even helped bring out some of Usagi’s feelings toward Mamoru prior to the big Tuxedo Mask reveal (something which fans often describe as happening too fast in the manga). It’s interesting to see that a lot of this actually came about from Ms. Tomizawa’s take on the character and how the production staff chose to adapt Rei’s personality to match the person providing her voice (both literally and figuratively)!

Who Was the Original Tuxedo Mask?

The Fiend With Twenty Faces (1977)

The Fiend With Twenty Faces (1977)

While the idea of a masked hero coming to save the day isn’t exactly novel or unique, nor was Sailor Moon the first media in which one appeared, one thing that always did seem special about Tuxedo Mask was that he dressed up in such a fancy outfit while he did it. In some odd way, it seems oddly fitting for a high school/college student to dress in a suit and cape while throwing roses to save sailor-suited soldiers of justice. What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that there’s actually quite a bit of history to the creation of the character of Tuxedo Mask, from a popular Japanese character based on the Japanese adaptation of a French story, and has connections going back nearly one hundred years, and even has overlaps with the Sherlock Holme franchise. So who was the source of inspiration for Tuxedo Mask, and where did Ms. Takeuchi pick up the basis for his design?

Continue reading

Did Moonlight Knight Make a Mistake in French?

The Moonlight Night... er.. Knight!

The Moonlight Night… er.. Knight!

Moonlight Knight is a bit of an oddball character in the Sailor Moon anime, as he’s one of the few “hero” characters that exist only in the anime with no manga connections at all. The whole Cardian Arc1 was completely made up for the anime only, supposedly to give Ms. Takeuchi a chance to prepare her next story arc while the anime rushed ahead of her, though I’ve always suspected that the true purpose of this was to give them a sort of teaser for the upcoming Sailor Moon R movie. That, however, is a story for another time. What we’re here to look at is: what’s with Moonlight Knight’s use of French?

* Not a subtitling error

* Not a subtitling error

Possibly even more than Tuxedo Mask himself, Moonlight Knight was fond of long, dramatic speeches.2 More interesting to me, though, is what he said when he departed. Despite his strong Arabian design, Moonlight Knight always leaves the Sailor Team with a fancy “adieu.” What’s noteworthy about this is that it appears to have been a mistake by the anime production staff, directly translating his さようなら (sayounara; good bye) into something more fancy-sounding without looking into the cultural context. The issue here is that adieu implies that you don’t believe that you will see the other party again (at least not soon), and that you are saying good bye with a sense of finality. What he should have said was au revoir, which is used when you do believe that you will be crossing paths in the near future.3

While I would like to say that there was some sort of deeper meaning to this word choice and over-analyze the issue, I’m afraid that this is pretty much clearly a case of not having done the appropriate cultural research. If I were to read into the issue, however, I would say that you could make the assertion that this was Moonlight Knight’s way of expressing that he hoped he and Mamoru would soon re-join (i.e., Mamoru’s physical / human form and his sense of duty to protect the Sailor Soldiers) and was bidding them farewell. Put another way, by implying he would see them again would suggest that Moonlight Knight did not intend to return to Mamoru and resume his activities in the form of Tuxedo Mask.

Of course, this is probably looking way too into it, but it’s at least an interesting tidbit, if nothing else! Since Mamoru is a university student in the anime, and many university students are required to learn a second foreign language (other than English), it’s entirely plausible that he did study some French. You’re pretty clever, Mamoru!

How Was Mamoru Affected by His Amnesia?

Usagi brings Mamoru a Rose (Sailor Moon R Movie)

Usagi brings Mamoru a Rose (Sailor Moon R Movie)

While we know that Mamoru was pretty different between the manga and the anime and that his alter-ego Tuxedo Mask wasn’t spared from changes, it’s also worth taking a look at how one of the more notable traits about Mamoru – his amnesia – was treated between the two versions. As happens with a great majority of the cast of Sailor Moon, it all starts with the tragic death of Mamoru’s parents, when he’s six years old (according to the manga, on his sixth birthday). As the story goes, he and his family get into a car accident and he’s the only survivor, though he’s been left with amnesia. This is where I think things get interesting.

Let’s stop for a moment and think about what this amnesia means for a bit. Though we usually talk about amnesia as one big, abstract thing, there are actually multiple forms. What is typically referred to in the Sailor Moon series is the form where, due to some form of emotional or physical trauma, you lose your memories of events leading up to it. This is known as retrograde amnesia.1 While this is made out to be a big thing, when you think about it, it actually has very little impact on him. If he lost all of his memories at six years old and, at the time of the series, he’s 16 or 18 years old (in the manga and anime, respectively), that would mean that he’s spent more years gaining new memories than he’s lost. In fact, due to a phenomenon known as childhood amnesia,2 most people don’t remember anything prior to the age of three.

The Chiba Family (Act 7, vol. 2, p. 53)

The Chiba Family (Act 7, vol. 2, p. 53)

Now, I don’t mean to trivialize his hardship, but that means that Mamoru had 10-12 years to rebuild and make new memories to replace the three years of his life that he forgot. I don’t know about you, but I’d say that it’s actually a relatively minor issue, in the grand scheme of things. In fact, manga Mamoru doesn’t seem terribly affected by this other than mentioning concern over whether he really is Mamoru Chiba and that he has dreams of a woman telling him to find the Silver Crystal.3 What about anime Mamoru, then?

Mamoru's Transformation (ep. 19)

Mamoru’s Transformation (ep. 19)

Unfortunately, from what we see throughout the anime, he’s much worse off here. Not only does he suffer amnesia from before the accident, he also seems to suffer from occasional bouts of what’s known as anterograde amnesia,4 i.e., losing track of time and failing to create new memories as things happen. This seems to occur in conjunction with his transformation into Tuxedo Mask which, unlike in the manga, he’s actually unaware of his alternate identity entirely.

In Mamoru’s big reveal as Tuxedo Mask in the anime,5 upon sensing that Sailor Moon is in trouble trying to save Naru from Nephrite in his costume as the Tuxedo Mask imposter, Mamoru suddenly suffers from a massive headache as he’s walking down the street and drops to his knees before transforming into Tuxedo Mask.

What’s interesting here is that as he’s falling down, he says:

「ま、またか、頭がッ」 (ma, mataka, atama ga…)

“N.. not again, my head!”

So it seems that all of his transformations into Tuxedo Mask are not only happening without his knowledge, but he’s also left without any memories of it either.

I think it’s definitely interesting to see how both the manga and anime took the impact of the accident on Mamoru to completely different places. While it affected his sense of self in the manga (his sense of a missing past), more than anything else it seems to have caused a rift inside him in the anime, leading to the creation of Tuxedo Mask as a separate identity and his loss of memories during his transformation. Now if only someday someone would explain where all that money came from!

How Different Was Tuxedo Mask in the Anime and Manga?

The Dueling Masks

The Dueling Masks

Second only to Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask was one of the original suited soldiers of justice fighting for peace and love on behalf of the citizens of Tokyo. In addition to the rather substantial differences between anime and manga Mamoru, Tuxedo Mask (when taken as an individual character) was also rather different between the two. Today, we’re going to look at a few of those differences.

Continue reading