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?
As with the other Sailor Soldiers, you can see in Ms. Takeuchi’s original concept art1 that some of the items Usagi was supposed to use in her fight against evil got either reworked or thrown out altogether as the series was finally put into production.
Of course, it’s a bit difficult to say which of these powers were actually “cut” when you get down into the particulars when you consider that just because something wasn’t used doesn’t necessarily mean that an attack, power, or item is no longer a valid part of the series (provided that it doesn’t conflict with something else in the universe). For example, if a character is never named in a movie but their name appears in the credits, we can assume the name is still correct.
So what are these additional items / attacks that Ms. Takeuchi had planned?
Let’s take a look!
While this stuff is all pretty interesting, much of what’s written here could actually still be completely true within the series (well, the manga at least) and just wasn’t actually used “on screen,” so-to-speak. I do like the fact that Sailor Moon was given a lot more attacks, though, and seems to have been originally intended to be a far more able fighter, much like Sailor V. I’m not sure how well bombs would fit the theme of the series, but I suppose that’s another issue all together!
But what interests me most of all – and is the entire point behind this article – is this: Sailor Moon’s “Magic (?) Pen.”
I’m not exactly sure why there’s a question mark, to be honest, since it is pretty clear from all the other items and attacks that Ms. Takeuchi has laid out that Sailor Moon is a world with magic in it, but that’s neither here nor there.
Of note, though, is that originally Usagi was meant to have a transformation pen, just like the other Sailor Soldiers, though her notes conflict over whether this pen was used for her transformation or not.2
We can see that Ms. Takeuchi also intended for the pen to be able to answer any problem with ease, which probably is an ability Usagi wishes she had in the actual series. It also served the same function as what would later become the Disguise Pen, so I guess the idea wasn’t entirely scrapped. It also seems that the pen was meant to grow (somewhat akin to the Sealing Wand in Card Captor Sakura?)3 and be used as her staff, possibly in place of the Moon Stick?
Last, but not least, is that apparently the top portion of her pen was meant to stretch out and expand into a giant parasol, with which Usagi was meant to be able to fly / glide. Considering how the world of Sailor Moon would up turning out to be, I’m incredibly curious just how different the series would have been with Sailor Moon being able to glide around on a parasol, or if this was just a one-off scene.
There are always a lot of new things to discover when you take a look back through Ms. Takeuchi’s original concept materials. While I absolutely love the way the world and characters of Sailor Moon turned out, I have to admit that I do sometimes wish that we could have seen more of this alternate universe version and just how different the story would have would up being. I wonder what kind of adventures awaited these alternate Sailor Soldiers?
- See p. 99 of the Nakayoshi Anime Album: Sailor Moon Vol. 1 ↩
- Usagi yells out “Transform!” (変身; henshin) in the bottom panel, but elsewhere the notes mention that her broach is used to transform ↩
- See the Sealing Wand ↩
17 thoughts on “Was Sailor Moon Originally Meant to Be Able to Fly?”
I would have been interesting to see those other elements of her original design… on the other hand, I can see why they wanted to simplify the range of attacks.
As for the characters being able to fly… if you want to see that, just watch Sailor Moon Crystal! Unfortunately, it was never used in an interesting way, and only made you wonder why they didn’t choose to fly in other situations where it would have helped to do so.
I would have loved to at least see how she could have used the feather darts against enemies. Pin them in place? Some kind of piercing attack? Seems like it could have had some interesting uses. The grenade earrings though, I think I’m okay with those being passed up!
She actually *does* use “feather darts” in Act 2 of the manga! That move resembles the way Tuxedo Mask uses roses in the anime.
You’re absolutely right! Totally forgot that that…
It would’ve been nice to see more of Sailor Moon actually going on the offensive though. I really appreciate that it gave the other Sailor Soldiers more time in the limelight, but it’d be kinda fun to see more dynamic fighting from the whole team!
Oh wow that manicure attack thing is interesting and part of me wonders if that had any influence on designing the transformation sequence with the glowing nails despite everyone wearing gloves? Maybe the idea to totally scrap that attack came after the first Sailor Moon sequence was animated? After that they just decided they liked how it looked and included it on the others fitting the theme of make-up?
I also sort of wonder if the unused feather dart might have been the inspiration for Tuxedo Mask’s rose attack in the anime? So it became sorta redundant and thus scrapped? Though dang it they really should have then used this for the Stars season once Tux left so that she wouldn’t have had to be completely useless in fights until the very end of them since her Eternal form took away her tiara attack.
I believe the transformation pen’s problem solving ability was hinted at in Sailor V. It’s capabilities were never really explained that well that I can recall, but I do remember a scene of Artemis yelling at Minako for abusing it to cheat doing homework. It’s a feature that I don’t recall ever making the transition into the manga/anime of Sailor Moon though?
Usagi’s disguise pen turning into the big parasol was exactly what happened in the manga/Crystal? So yeah that was just transferred from one device to the other for that one scene. Heh, though I remember that in America DiC was afraid that kids would try to emulate trying to float with umbrellas because of seeing it on Sailor Moon hence they axed that scene for the anime here. Which does almost make me sort of wonder if there was any fear of that happening with the original if it had been a regular feature of the show instead of just a one time occurrence? Or maybe there just wasn’t much call for her to fall off of buildings…(Other than the time in the manga when Tux caught her when she fell off the tower…which hey why didn’t her disguise pen buzz and auto transform that time?)
As for actual flying…the random flying in Crystal definitely bugged me too. I mean to be fair the floating in giant energy bubbles like a Green Lantern was at least part of the manga too. (so many random out of nowhere one time only powers in the manga during the first arc). The super jump ending in floating down at an absurdly slow gravity defying rate I’m not sure where Crystal got that from…but hot dang was it stupid and awful.
To be fair the original anime also twice had flight show up as a power only never to be used or mentioned again. First was the Sailor Moon R Movie when the girls somehow transition from Sailor Teleport into flying in an energy bubble they can steer. Next was in the Stars season Eternal Sailor Moon flies by apparently emitting pixie dust from her wings/butt during the Nehellenia arc, but then that ability is never shown or mentioned again as the next time she flies was the finale when she has the giant angel wings from her Serenity form. Grrrrr…. Eternal Sailor moon having wings she never used (unless you count knocking over a vase in her house) in the anime has always bugged me…
I knew that the magic, problem-solving pen sounded familiar… after taking a look around online, it seems that apparently such an item (the “Computer Pencil”) appeared in Doraemon back in 1979 (original anime) and in 1992 (anime remake), though it actually dates all the way back to the first volume of the original manga. I wonder if the idea was scrapped because it seemed like too much of a copycat of the Doraemon item? Then again, Usagi rarely ever uses her magic items for every day use (with the exception of her using the Moon Stick in an oh-so-classy manner to destroy her piggy bank), so it might be just another one of those features that didn’t actually appear but may be a legitimate use for her disguise pen.
The flying with the Sailor Teleport always seemed a little strange to me. I mean, first and foremost it’s kinda weird for them to be journeying in open space in my opinion. I know that they supposedly lived on the Moon and the Sailor Soldiers have no problem walking around in the frigid vacuum, but I can always suspend my disbelief that there is some sort of magic life support barrier around the ruins of the Moon Kingdom. Open space, however, even with them in a magic bubble, just seems kinda… non-Sailor Moon. Too sci-fi, I guess? But that’s neither here nor there.
Well a few things…
First I think we saw in the manga that the Silver Millennium’s Moon Kingdom existed inside of a bubble created by the Silver Crystal…so I too kind of always assumed the Silver Crystal generated one of those atmosphere bubbles temporarily for their Moon visit when it deposited them there among the ruins. So I guess if the Crystal was able to do it on that scale then I guess it makes sense to me that it should be able to do it on a smaller scale with the small bubble that surrounds them during their journey to the asteroid.
Next we know the senshi already have some kind of magical environmental protection. I mean for instance when they went to the North Pole in miniskirts they somehow managed to not turn purple and suffer frostbite/hypothermia. Other than Usagi’s initial shivering which was likely a psychological reaction to seeing her environment, none of the senshi show any signs of even being cold here or when Snow Kaguya does her thing. For that matter no one seems to get hot or have breathing issues during the encounter with Eudial when she sets the building they are in on fire trying to get the grail. (Although only Sailor Moon attempts to walk through the fire…which she does so completely unharmed. So why the others did not follow suit…ummm reasons? Purely psychological reasons I guess similar to Usagi’s shivering?)
Third that was not just an asteroid. That was a highly advanced space ship that likely had its own artificial environment in order to sustain those evil flowers growing on the outside of it. (It also kind of looks like there are maybe even some clouds in the distance during their fight there) Even when the flowers were gone did not necessarily the ship itself which was undamaged would have stopped atmosphere generation until it broke apart at which point it had already reached the Earth’s atmosphere.. (We also see a big red glow over the whole thing at one point before it starts entering the atmosphere…so maybe some kind of energy shield?)
Interesting note on the big red glow. Honestly, I assumed that was just the asteroid heating up as it started buffeting against the Earth’s atmosphere, just like how meteorites and space shuttles light up due to super heating on re-entry.
Back to the more important point, though! The technology level of the Silver Millennium is pretty unclear, but I’ve never been able to decide if the Queen Serenity that they met in the ruins of the Moon Kingdom in the anime was a ghost/spirit brought back through magic, or something akin to to the memory crystals in Superman’s Fortress of Solitude which let him communicate with an AI of… his father, I think? (Reference) I really have no good reason for thinking so, but I’ve always felt it was closer to the latter than the former. It just has a very… hologram vibe to it, I guess?
But if that is the case, then I’d be willing to accept that there was some sort of advanced technology on the moon which had made it inhabitable. Obviously the Silver Crystal theory is just as legitimate (and absent of any other good evidence, makes more sense in the manga than advanced technology), but it leaves a lot of questions as to why the other planets were also inhabitable.
Remember when Chibi-Chibi first appears in episode 182 of the anime? She was able to glide with her parasol!
I feel like I’ve seen this in other anime too, like one of the older 1960s or 1970s magical girl anime.
Then again, it might just be a Mary Poppins thing…
The darts attack appears in the manga, on chapter 2, in the scene where the teacher youma attacks Sailor Moon with tests, Sailor Moon stop them with her hair darts
You’re absolutely right! I’ve edited the article now.
Didn’t she fly in the radio station episode?
In the anime, the Senshi seem to do these kind of gravity-defying jumps sometimes.
They can fly in the manga! Usagi flies straight from Tokyo to orbit while Kunzite chases her, the Inner Senshi attack Pharaoh 90 while floating above the three buildings, etc. Also, the final arc has all of them flying all around the galaxy. Crystal was right to adapt that ability, but they just did it very weirdly and inconsistently.
I do like how the anime version retained the manga transformation notes: pink manicure with rainbow effects. Usagi stunning her enemies mid-transformation would’ve been interesting, though 😀
Maybe they did adapt that attack to the anime. It would explain why they never get attacked while transforming. Their opponents are stunned by their nail polish strobe lights.