Why Was the Sailor Moon SuperS Anime So Different From the Manga?

Sailor Moon SuperS: What Went Wrong?

Sailor Moon SuperS: What Went Wrong?

In all my years of writing about Sailor Moon, I’ve found that Sailor Moon SuperS seems to be the odd duck of the series. Some fans swear by it as peak Sailor Moon while others recommend skipping it entirely.1 And yet I hear none of these complaints levied against the manga. In fact, it’s generally well-loved among fans — which I suppose bodes well for the upcoming movies!

The reason for all this, of course, is due to the peculiar decision to take an extreme departure from Ms. Takeuchi’s storyline and try new things with the anime.

But that’s not good enough for me. I want… nay, need answers! Why did the anime production staff decide to deviate from the manga story? Why did they cut so many characters? And why did the story take such a comical turn?

Today we’re going to take a look into what the anime staff were thinking and the reasoning behind their changes. Sit back, grab a coffee, and read on — things are about to get Super!

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Sailor Moon Editor Fumio “Osabu” Osano Discusses the Series’ Creation

The Sailor Team

The Sailor Team

Whether you’re a casual fan of the series or a dyed-in-the-wool Moonie, you have to admit that very few anime series do birthdays quite like the Sailor Moon franchise does.

The June 30, 2019 event was no different, with a slew of large announcements awaiting eager fans, including some tantalizing glimpses of the character art for the upcoming Sailor Moon Crystal movie, led by the 90s Sailor Moon art director veteran Kazuko Tadano, as well as information on a Sailor Moon ice show, cafe, and more.1

But in addition to offering this exciting images of Sailor Moon‘s future, we were also lucky enough to get a “behind the curtain” look at the creation of the series through the eyes of Naoko Takeuchi’s Nakayoshi editor, Fumio “Osabu” Osano, via an interview with the Japanese pop culture news site, Natalie.2

There’s a lot of interesting background information here that I wanted to share, so I decided to translate the whole interview across several parts. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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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 Considered Canon In the Sailor Moon Universe?

Did they every really wear these princess dresses? Well...

Did they every really wear these princess dresses? Well…

When you spend a lot of time analyzing the ins and outs of a given series — and especially one as expansive as Sailor Moon — you’re going to eventually find yourself confronted with the question of what is and is not canon, and what sources you can actually derive meaningful information from.

Over the past 25+ years, we’ve seen the story of Sailor Moon presented to us in the form of a manga, anime, musicals, video games, a live action TV show, more musicals, a completely different anime, and countless book adaptations spread throughout. While I personally like to believe that there’s a general thread of an overarching “one Sailor Moon universe” running between all most of them, the answer is a little more complicated than I’d hope.

So join along, my dear reader, as we take a stroll through the Sailor-verse™ and try to suss out how they all fit together. I hope you like puzzles, because this one’s a level 8!

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5 Often Misreported Sailor Moon “Facts”

That's not true, I tell you!!!

That’s not true, I tell you!!!

When you dedicate a large portion of your free time to crawling through 25+ years of Sailor Moon sources, you eventually just learn to accept that running across inaccurate information is simply a fact of life.

However, thanks to the recent releases of Kodansha and Viz’s manga and anime translations along with the rise of curated (… okay, not really) wikis, the general quality of information you’re going to run into nowadays is worlds better than what I started with as a fan in the late 90s.

That being said, today I’d like to tackle five of the more common myths I often run across in my research and see if I can set them straight. Who knows, maybe some piece of Sailor Moon trivia you’ve “known” about for years could be on this list!

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Who Knows the True Identities of Sailor Moon and the Sailor Team?

Usagi makes the decision to transform in front of Mamoru

Usagi makes the decision to transform in front of Mamoru

To be completely honest, I love casually posing the question of who knows the Sailor Soldiers’ identities to other fans. Responses span the entire gamut of a vehement “no one!” to pretty much every member of the supporting cast, who were apparently just too nice to tell Usagi that they knew the truth.

Like all things in life, however, the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes.

Join along as we take a magnifying glass to the Sailor Moon anime and manga in an attempt to suss out just who actually has figured out the secret identities of our favorite sailor-suited soldiers of love and justice!

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