Why Was There No Fan Reaction to the Deaths of Uranus and Neptune?

There's absolutely no way anything is about to happen

There’s absolutely no way anything is about to happen

There is perhaps no greater proof out there about just how much of an impact Sailor Uranus and Neptune had on young fans than the fact that the Sailor Moon S episode showcasing their death still ranks within the top 5 Sailor Moon memories even 25 years later.1

And yet, in stark contrast to the swift response flooded in from concerned fans and parents after the traumatizing penultimate episode in Sailor Moon‘s first season, fans were surprisingly quiet in the first few days and weeks following the deaths of our favorite Sailor cousins partners. What happened, and what can this tell us about how the Sailor Moon fandom grew as the series progressed?

Fortunately for us, Megumi Ogata (voice of Haruka Tenoh) and Masako Katsuki (voice of Michiru Kaioh) joined Animedia’s reporter2 for a behind-the-glass conversation about what goes on in the recording booth, how episode 110 (“The Death of Uranus and Neptune: The Talismans Appear”) came to be and their reactions to it, and more!

If you’ve always wanted to know more about this famous episode, now’s your chance!

Megumi Ogata and Masako Katsuki

Megumi Ogata and Masako Katsuki

Considering we’re actually picking up in the middle of this interview, it’s worth mentioning that prior to discussing the death scene, the discussion focused initially on the “sensual” hand-holding scene between Haruka and Michiru — something that apparently not only drew a lot of attention from fans, but even from the cast and crew themselves!

In the week following the release of episode 110, the cast and crew went on a vacation together and had talked about the scene in question and why it ended up so… risque. The final conclusion was that it was a “perfect storm” of a perverted writer (Yoji Enokido), perverted director (Kunihiko Ikuhara), Megumi’s husky voice, and Michiru’s sexy vocals.

But that’s neither here nor there. We have a story to tell!

“I won’t let you die on me!” — a heartfelt reading

Interviewer:

I’d like you to tell me everything you remember about [the death scene in episode 110].

Megumi Ogata (voice of Haruka Tenoh):

Right, so Michiru had just been shot and we cut to Haruka memories across several sepia-toned flashbacks. In addition to the scene where their hands are intertwined, we also cut to Michiru by the pool. Michiru was so cute in that scene that I felt a pang of sadness in my chest during recording and was even absorbed in the scene when it finally aired.

Interviewer:

And what about Michiru??

Masako Katsuki (voice of Michiru Kaioh):

Well, I was kind of dead at the time. (laugh) I was just thinking that my work here was done. (laugh)3

Ogata:

And then there were the scenes of each of the Sailor Senshi reflecting on their own emotions.  Ami and the others asked their questions and we’d respond. That was a beautiful scene and it all came together into a beautiful story.

Interviewer:

You’ve been rather quiet this whole time, Ms. Katsuki.

Katsuki:

If we’re going to talk about famous scenes, there’s one we haven’t mentioned yet and I’ve been thinking really hard about how to bring it up.

“I won’t let you die on me!”

You know, that one!

Ogata:

There it is!

Katsuki:

That’s right, that line!! You know, I put everything I had into that one. (laugh)

Read also:  What Did the Sailor Moon Voice Cast Think About Their Roles?

Interviewer:

That line you said to Uranus about ignoring the dangers and moving forward alone?

Katsuki:

That one! I was so overcome with emotion and had to keep it all under control. (laugh)

Interviewer:

Michiru’s true feelings can be found through her actions even as they contradict what she’s saying, right?

Katsuki:

That’s right!

Interviewer:

That was a great line. Do you have any particular lines that stick out, Ms. Ogata?

Ogata:

For me it’d have to be my second recording of the line “You’re so unfair[, Michiru].”

So unfair, it's worth saying twice

So unfair, it’s worth saying twice

Interviewer:

Oh, right! The first time was at the pool which added a lot more power to the second time it came around.

Ogata:

That’s right. All the lines through the series were great, but this one was particularly nice.

Interviewer:

[Yoji] Enokido does a great job writing for Haruka and Michiru.

Katsuki:

He certainly does.

Ogata:

Even if a little sexually-charged. (laugh)

Viewer Reactions

Interviewer:

After such a power performance, the reaction of viewers must’ve been immense.

Katsuki:

The biggest reaction was from mothers, actually.

Interviewer:

Mothers??

Katsuki:

Of course the child fans, my coworkers, and friends like the series and watch the episodes, but these people’s moms are the ones who get really absorbed in the series.

Ogata:

Hmm, you’re probably right about that.

Katsuki:

One of my friend’s mother’s told me that she was always sure to catch every episode. After episode 110 aired, she demanded to know how I could just go and die like that. (laugh) She was relieved when I assured her that I would be coming back. (laugh).

Interviewer:

How about you, Haruka?

Ogata:

Actually, the response I got was a little different from the usual. A lot of the characters I play have some pretty shocking scenes — not just Haruka. When that happens, fan letters from fans saying how emotional it was, how much they loved it, how it brought them to tears and more usually come flooding in.

As we were talking about before [earlier in the interview] about the scene in 106 where I said “I’m not letting you go home tonight,” even that brought in a surprising number of letters. So I expected a ton of letters to come in after episode 110 and yet…

Interviewer:

… and yet?

Ogata:

Nothing came!

Interviewer:

Nothing??

Ogata:

My mailbox was suddenly empty.

Interviewer:

Nothing at all?!

Ogata:

Just a smattering of letters.

Interviewer:

That makes no sense.

A dramatic reenactment of what Megumi Ogata's mailbox usually looks like

A dramatic reenactment of what Megumi Ogata’s mailbox usually looks like

Once the Talismans were found, the end was nigh…

Ogata:

I thought it was pretty weird seeing as there no way that the fans wouldn’t react at all to that… and then the letters came flooding in.

What I learned by reading the fan letters from some of the regular kids who wrote in to me was that there were a lot of people who were simply too affected by the scene that it took awhile to process before they could write. There were kids who just couldn’t eat, others just reduced to tears out of feelings of helplessness, some who watched it on video over and over again, and even others who were so upset about it that they couldn’t even watch the episode anymore and couldn’t focus on anything. I was completely taken aback at the extreme reaction.

Read also:  How Absurdly Expensive Was Haruka and Michiru's Rent in Sailor Moon?

Interviewer:

But you at least knew that your characters were holders of the Talismans, didn’t you?

Katsuki & Ogata:

Nope.

Interviewer:

You didn’t know until you saw the script??

Katsuki & Ogata:

We didn’t have a clue.

Ogata:

But, well, judging by how things were going, even without being told I figured that it must be one of the main cast. Then when we learned it wasn’t Usagi, I kind of figured…

Interviewer:

After eliminating each of the Senshi, then that could only leave…

Katsuki:

Actually, I thought it would be someone completely unrelated. (laugh) I kind of figured that they wouldn’t make it that simple and have it be one of the main cast. (laugh) My thinking was that it wouldn’t be one of the Senshi and that some new person would come along who happened to be the holder of the Talismans.

Interviewer:

And then the story would go off in another direction?

Katsuki:

Right! (laugh)

Interviewer:

So how did you feel when you learned it was you?

Katsuki:

Wow, so there it was… (laugh)

Interviewer:

Michiru always felt like she had a sense for what was really going on, so I had figured that you must have picked up on that.

Ogata:

Is that true??

Katsuki:

Nope!! Not in the slightest. (laugh)

Interviewer:

Did you think your role was done when you died in episode 110?

Ogata:

My schedule was booked throughout [the run of the season], so I figured I’d be back. (laugh)

Katsuki:

All I was thinking was that I had a break the following week. (laugh) Then the next script arrived and that was how I learned I’d be back. Kinda like, “oh, I didn’t die. That’s nice.” (laugh)

Something tells me people weren't nearly as broken up about the death of Pluto

Something tells me people weren’t nearly as broken up about the death of Pluto

Probably most interesting to me is that this is one of the first times where we’ve heard of Sailor Moon‘s fan base — outside of Sailor Mercury’s immense popularity among the older male crowd — maturing even back in the 90s. While kids were still the bread and butter of the franchise, it seems to become more and more apparent that it was the die hard fans of all ages who were following the series as it progressed.

More specifically, the reaction of the fans to the trauma of seeing their favorite characters die (namely, the difference between season 1 and season 3) also shows more maturity and development among the fans in how they took time to process their feelings. Or maybe Megumi Ogata just has a fantastic fan base… that also seems probable!

In any case, it was interesting to take a look back into how little the characters knew as they recorded each and every episode.

Though I usually focus on episode/series analysis, I also have a large backlog of staff and cast interviews sitting around. If there is anyone in particular you’d like to read more interviews from, just let me know down in the comments and I’ll see what I can do!

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References:

  1.  See NHK’s 2020 Sailor Moon Anime Popularity Poll
  2.  See the Climax AR Book accompanying the February 1995 issue of Animedia
  3. Cheap joke absolutely intended. Forgive me.

2 thoughts on “Why Was There No Fan Reaction to the Deaths of Uranus and Neptune?

  1. I guess it wasn’t as big of a deal to me when I first saw it since if I remember correctly, the next day the episode where they come back aired on Cartoon Network, so there wasn’t a lot of time to find out if they’d died or not.
    That extra week of waiting in Japan may have made all the difference.

    While I love this episode and the one following it, I think that the way they come back is a bit anti-climatic.

  2. haha, kind of a tease- “We didn’t get ANY letters! But then we did a couple of weeks later!”. I would imagine that fans by this point had been trained not to accept any of the Sailors’ deaths after the first season tricked them all with the immediate resurrection. Heck, by this point I believe at least one movie had also featured the resurrection power of the Silver Crystal, too. You can only trick the fans like that once XD.

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