Earlier this week I posted about some newly unearthed images which appear to be art from the original planned Sailor V anime series which was ultimately retooled as the Sailor Moon anime we all known and love. I mentioned a few character names but wasn’t sure where those had come from. Twitter user @MinakoMoments posted a couple of images and their translations which are the source of a lot of the older information around about these. While these looked familiar I had obviously missed out on this information. These are from the Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art book, which is a very rare book showing a lot of images of characters from Sailor Moon drawn by other artists and people involved with the series. These images looked familiar to me because I have this book but as I don’t read Japanese I assumed these were simply early designs for Rei, Makoto and Ami. While this is technically true, these are actually Miyabi, Mamoru and Hikaru from the planned Sailor V anime!
Based on the resolution it looks like the Japanese originals from those pages in question come from the Three Lights dot net scans of the Infinity art book. The translation is attributed to a friend of the @MinakoMoments account’s poster @switchpoint. Some of the details from this image were mentioned in yesterday’s article but there’s a bit more here that we can dig into. While I fully realize this may be old news to many this was new to me so I’m sharing it here for the benefit of others who may not have known the specifics before. Close up photos were taken from my copy of the Infinity art book.
At the top of the page is Amano. He was the Umino lookalike from Codename Sailor V. Perhaps I’m saying this wrong. Umino looks like Amano much like Ami looks like Hikaru, not the other way around. Those characters came first and Sailor Moon’s characters came afterwards. It is mentioned that Amano looks handsome when he took his glasses off. In the Masquerade Dance Party chapter of the Sailor Moon manga when Princess D is found to be beautiful behind her googly glasses the girls speculate that Umino must similarly be handsome behind his. Amano seems to resemble Umino in this way as well!
Minako is presented more or less as she is in Codename Sailor V and Sailor Moon with some minor differences. She, along with a few others characters, is 15. Minako was only 13 at the start of Codename Sailor V while Usagi and the other girls are 14 at the start of the Sailor Moon manga and anime series. The plan seemed to have been to age them up a bit for this series. This would put them all in high school, which is something which doesn’t occur until the Dream Arc of the Sailor Moon manga and the Sailor Stars season of the anime. Note that the crescent moon on Minako’s forehead is upside down compared to what we see in Codename Sailor V and Sailor Moon. She looks like a member of the Black Moon clan! In her character description it’s mentioned that she has no specific ability besides her super powers, which is a big difference in this story as her friends do not actually transform. They use their worldly and otherworldly gifts to assist Sailor V. It says that Minako’s special skill is love! She really was the Usagi of this series. It seems that Minako was retooled as Usagi but then was herself brought back into the series as another character, so it’s no surprise that the two characters share some similarities.
Next up is Miyabi Yoronu. In my previous article I called her a Rei like character but now I see that she’s had a real name all along! The image seen through the page I mentioned is in fact this image of Miyabi. She uses a scroll with Rei’s catchphrase “Akuryou Taisan”, an incantation used to exercise evil spirits. That Miyabi had supernatural powers that weren’t related to being a Sailor Guardian is an interesting explanation for why Rei has powers that seem to be completely unrelated to her being Sailor Mars. The character she was adapted from needed these powers because she didn’t actually transform!
Mamoru Chino is not actually related to Mamoru Chiba in any way but by name. This character was clearly later adapted into Makoto Kino. This image of her smoking is why many people were mentioning that she smoked. She is 17, a full two years older than the other characters, and so she would not be in their class or grade though she would still be at their school as both 15 year olds and 17 year olds are high school aged in Japan. Mamoru is known for being strong, like Makoto, but is referenced as having “herculean strength”. Whether this means she truly had the superhuman strength of demi-god Hercules or not isn’t clear. Regardless she still has super powers! Mamoru has telekinesis, the ability to teleport and ESP (extra sensory perception). She also runs fast, which may simply be a side effect of her super strength. Surprised she doesn’t get out of breath what with her smoking. Surprisingly, Mamoru is associated with the planet Saturn and not Jupiter.
Next is Hikaru who is already a character in the Codename Sailor V manga. In this series she was to be the intelligent one which was the obvious inspiration for Ami. In the Sailor V manga Hikaru isn’t mentioned as being particularly brilliant. Though she physically resembles Ami her role was similar to Naru’s as she was simply Minako’s friend and classmate.
So there were only four girls in this series instead of five? The fifth woman on this page is a female human Artemis! She is credited as “fifth beautiful girl” and is shown nude wearing a tiara adorned with Artemis’s crescent moon. What the exact plan was for this gender bending male cat who transformed into a a female human isn’t clear. Perhaps Artemis was meant to be female in this series? It is mentioned in the Codename Sailor V manga that Artemis is a woman’s name, though this seemed to be intended as a joke.
One other odd piece is this ad for the Sailor V Manga where it appears that Usagi is the one dressed as Sailor V along with a white cat, presumably Artemis. This ad was published though by the time the manga it advertised was out, it was quite different than what was in the ad.
So what happened to this series? I believe it was incorrect for me to say that this series was abandoned or scrapped. It’s more accurate to say that Sailor V evolved into Sailor Moon. I’m not privy to all of the behind the scenes decisions but it seems like Codename Sailor V showed promise to be a series. The idea of a girl fighting crime alone was expanded into more of a group show, like we see with these characters who would have helped out Minako. This was in turn further expanded into the girl version of Super Sentai which was Sailor Moon. Minako become Usagi, Hikaru became Ami, Miyabi became Rei, Mamoru became Makoto and then the original Minako became the slightly different Minako. Many of the other elements don’t really map from one series to another. The Dark Agency is not terribly similar to the Dark Kingdom and there wasn’t a real equivalent to Mamoru in Sailor V, though surely some sort of love interest would have popped up eventually. It seems like Sailor Moon, the manga, was made with the intention of it being adapted into an anime series. The Sailor V anime concept was just a step on that path. Wouldn’t it be great if that series had been made? It kind of did, there were just a lot of changes in getting there. The Sailor V anime is like Star Trek with Captain Pike and Number One. Sailor Moon is what we got after the idea evolved a bit.