How Did the Sailor Soldiers’ Views of Love and Life Differ?

All you need is love! ♪

All you need is love! ♪

With all of the exciting adventures the Sailor Soldiers embark on and the resulting epic battles against the forces of evil, it’s often easy to forget that, at its core, Sailor Moon is a story of teenage romance.

Today, I’d like to take a closer look at the softer side of our sailor-suited heroines and see how their approaches to love and life differed.

So without further ado, let’s get this started!

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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.

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Why Was There No True Leader of the Sailor Team?

Who's in Charge?

Who’s in Charge?

Before you get all excited and start commenting that Sailor Venus was the leader of the Inner Senshi and that this is clearly spelled out in the manga, I’ll stop you right there and point out that I know this. However, outside of one or two mentions in the manga, Sailor Venus never functionally performs any leadership roles, and in the anime I’d say it’s up to debate whether she’s actually leader at all. When you consider that the the battles against the Monsters of the Day end with someone shouting to the effect of “Now, Sailor Moon!” it’s pretty hard to view anyone else but our titular character as the leader. Or… is it?

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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?

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Why Did ChibiUsa Call Sailor Moon Everyone’s Mother?

To reject a mother

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?

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Was Sailor Moon Originally Meant to Be Able to Fly?

They're not flying! They're... falling in style!

They’re not flying! They’re… falling in style!

A frequent topic of conversation for this blog is is just how much the story and characters of Sailor Moon had changed from Ms. Takeuchi’s original plan for the series. Many of the changes, such as Ami originally being a cyborg, were done early in the planning process and before the characters actually came to light while others, like Makoto’s rougher side, slowly were adjusted as the series progressed. What we’re looking at today – Sailor Moon’s ability to fly – is one of those odd situations where it was removed from the series only to be put back in later, for Eternal Sailor Moon. So how was Usagi originally meant to fly?

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How Old Was Usagi’s Mother, Ikuko?

Don't ever ask a woman's age...

Don’t ever ask a woman’s age…

In a series like Sailor Moon which has given us so much trouble when it comes to trying to sort out the time line, it’s refreshing to finally be able to take on a question regarding an age which can actually be answered (… within reason) for once. So just how old is Ikuko Tsukino and – by extension – how old was she when she gave birth to Usagi?

Ikuko is, as implied by her name,1 the quintessential caring mother who isn’t afraid of engaging in a little bit of tough-love in order to get Usagi to actually get around to taking studying seriously. Also implied in her name is the Japanese concept of 教育ママ (kyouiku mama; a mother focused on scholastic achievement), a term which has been around in Japanese culture since at least the 1960s,2 though the concept may be more familiar in the west as a “tiger mother” as popularized in Amy Chua’s book by the same name.3

Usagi's growing up!

Usagi’s growing up!

As for her age, according to an offhand remark Ikuko makes in the manga, we can definitively say that she is 36 years old as of the Sailor Stars arc.4 Similarly, she makes a remark in the anime which puts her age at around her “later 30s,”5 so I would say it’s pretty safe to place her at 36 in both versions of Sailor Moon.

If she’s 36 years old when Usagi is first entering high school (and figuring that Usagi is 16 years old at that time), that would put her at around 20 years old when Usagi was born. And I bet you thought Usagi was young when she had ChibiUsa! In 1977, when Usagi was presumably born,6 the average age at the time of first marriage was 27 and 25 for men and women, respectively. As a point of comparison, those numbers are now 31 for men and 29 for women.7

What this does mean, though, is that Ikuko probably did not go to university, though that wasn’t so uncommon in those days. Back in 1977, only around 13% of Japanese women actually went to a four-year university, which is the same rate as that for Japanese men in 1955!8 This is neither a good thing nor a bad thing, but it might be an additional reason behind Ikuko’s motivation for pushing Usagi to study hard (and since Usagi became the Neo Queen of Crystal Tokyo at 22, she very well could have gone to university).

Ikuko and six year old Usagi

Ikuko and six year old Usagi

What’s most interesting for me about all of this is that it shows that Usagi’s family is actually on the younger end of the scale, meaning that Ikuko would probably be a fair bit younger than the parents of all the other Sailor Soldiers (well, except Makoto’s…). From the point of view of education, it also nicely emphasizes exactly how impressive and rare it would have been for Ami’s mother to have been attending medical school at that time!

I really do which that we knew more about the family lives of the other members of the Sailor Team, but I guess I should be happy that at the very least the Tsukino’s were fleshed out as much as they were. I’d love to know just how much of their personalities were actually based on the members of Ms. Takeuchi’s family!