Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
A two day concert named “Akiko Kosaka’s 45th Anniversary Sailor Moon Music History Supported by Pretty Guardians” will be taking place in Tokyo on November 9th and 10th. This two days concert will actually include two different performances with completely different artists on each day. November 9th will be a relaxed piano concert with some conversations and the 10th will have a band performance. So what exactly is this? Akiko Kosaka is well known for having written many songs for the original Sailor Moon anime as well as Sailor Moon Crystal but in this case it is likely her involvement writing many songs for the Sailor Moon musicals which is the basis for this concert. We can tell from the other artists appearing at this event that this will almost certainly involve performances of a number of Sailor Moon musical songs as this will involve performers from the musicals. Across the two days actresses who portrayed almost all of the Sailor Guardians in the musicals, that being everyone but Sailor Pluto, as well as others will be performing. Sailor Pluto is likely only absent because Yuuko Hosaka, who originally played Sailor Pluto in some musicals, was originally scheduled to be involved with the event but had to cancel.
With this year’s Sailor Moon musical being delayed until 2020 this concert may serve as a nice alternative for some fans. I can only speculate as to the specific format but with there being performers to represent each characters with no duplicates it seems likely that some effort to have someone take the part of the Sailor Guardian they previously portrayed is likely. Will they wear some sort of costume or just sing some classic songs? Who knows! Here’s a breakdown of who’s going to be involved and when.
Not everyone is going to be involved with both days, but here’s a list of the actors which are going to be there for both November 9th and 10th. Akiko Kosaka, who’s career is being celebrated with this concert, will evidently be there for both days. Anza, the first actress to play Sailor Moon in a musical from 1993 to 1998, will likely be performing as Sailor Moon. Hisano Akamine, the third actress to play Sailor Mercury from 1999 to 2000, will likely be performing as Sailor Mercury. Misako Kotani, the second actress to play Sailor Mars from 1994 to 1997, will likely be performing as Sailor Mars. Emi Kuriyama, the seventh actress to play Sailor Jupiter from 1999 to 2000, will likely be performing as Sailor Jupiter. Akiko Miyazawa, the fourth actress to play Sailor Venus also played Queen Beryl and musical exclusive characters Bilhah Emerald and Elizabeth Bathory, a vampire. She will likely be performing as Sailor Venus. Sanae Kimura, the first actress to play Sailor Uranus from 1994 to 1997, will likely be performing as Sailor Uranus.
Yuuta Mochizuki, the second actor to play Tuxedo Mask, also played Kunzite in the very first musical and later the musical exclusive character Count Dracul. He is also well known for playing the Red Power Ranger in Zyuurangers, the series which was adapted in North America as the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. He will likely be performing as Tuxedo Mask. Hikari Ono has played Hawk’s Eye, Sailor Star Maker, Loof Merrow, a musical exclusive pirate, Bloody Dracul Vampir, a musical exclusive vampire who is Dracula’s daughter, and Prince Demande. It isn’t clear who she would be portraying in this concert as there doesn’t seem to be an actress to represent each of the Sailor Starlights.
The only person who will only be at the first day performance is Sakoto Yoshioka who played Princess Kakyuu in a musical in 1997. While it’s possible that she could be reprising her role as Princess Kakyuu, there is currently only one Sailor Starlight scheduled to be present on the first day so it doesn’t really add up.
There are a more performers who will only be there on the second day. This is when the full cast was originally planned to be together all at once. Yuuka Asami, the sixth actress to play Sailor Neptune from 1999 to 2002, later returned to play Jadeite in 2003. She will likely be performing as Sailor Neptune. Mao Mita, the fourth actress to play Sailor Saturn from 1999 to 2000, will likely be performing as Sailor Saturn. Tamaki Dia Shirai, the third actress to play Chibiusa from 1995 to 1996, will likely be performing as Sailor Chibi Moon. Ryuuji Kasahara played a number of characters including Kunzite, Death Ra, a musical exclusive member of the Death Busters, Tiger’s Eye, MC Fly, a musical exclusive minion of Galaxia, Chaos, Professor Tomoe, Baron Gilles de Rais, a musical exclusive vampire, and Dark Nibiru, a musical exclusive character. It’s not clear who he will be portraying. Momoko Okuyama, the first actress to play Sailor Star Healer in musicals from 1996 to 1998, may be reprising her role but once again as there is no Sailor Star Fighter actress involved we can’t be sure what role she will be playing.
With this event only taking place on a single day it may prove more difficult to get tickets than other musicals. Do any of you hope to be able to make it to this concert? I’m certainly hoping a CD or video release will be made available for fans who aren’t likely to attend.
Big news about something very small! Have you ever wanted to see a real life version of the world of Sailor Moon? Fans in Tokyo will have a chance in Spring 2020 as Sailor Moon comes to the Small Worlds Tokyo miniature theme park. What is this about? Small Worlds Tokyo will feature miniaturized versions of various places. How small? A 1/80th scale meaning one inch of the exhibit will represent some 80 inches or 6′ 8″ of the real world. Sailor Moon and her friends would be less than an inch height!
For reference this would be slightly smaller than the 1/60th scale used by Dungeons and Dragons miniatures and many Gundam models as well as the 1/64th scale which is your standard Hot Wheels and Matchbox car size. So imagine a recreated city in which the cars are a bit smaller than Hot Wheels!
The announcement on the official Sailor Moon site specifies that the exhibit will include a recreation of Tokyo from the Sailor Moon series as well as 30th century Crystal Tokyo, the future which Chibiusa comes from which is featured heavily in the Black Moon arc of the manga which is Sailor Moon R in the original Sailor Moon anime. A preview image shows the front of Game Center Crown and a tiny Tuxedo Mask. Though only “Crown” is seen on the building the arcade machines inside suggest this is the arcade and not Fruits Parlor Crown or Karaoke Crown.
It’s difficult to tell without seeing more of the exhibit just how accurate this will be. The show’s location was heavily based on the real Azuba Juban district of Tokyo, though only certain places were featured in the series. Crown, like many other locations in the series, was a real place in Tokyo. Comparison photos from Serenitatis show us that both the real and manga version look quite a bit like this model. Will the exhibit feature only those highlights or fill in the 1990s real locations which weren’t shown in the series as well? We will see in the Spring when Small Worlds Tokyo opens to the public! I look forward to seeing more!
Are any of you hoping to be able to check this out in person? Doesn’t anyone have a “Honey I Shrunk The Kids” style shrink ray I can borrow?
Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Part 1 was released on DVD and Blu-Ray June 18th but some fans were not pleased with what they got! A relationship chart found in the booklet which is included in the Limited Edition Blu-Ray set refers to Sailor Uranus and Neptune as having a “Friendship”. This was noted by some fans including Erica Friedman of Okazu who wrote an article about it and brought the issue up with Viz directly.
Viz Media responded fairly promptly to the concerns on Twitter and through a statement on their web site. This statement makes it clear! Sailor Uranus and Neptune aren’t friends but partners (that being romantic partners and not a couple of gals selling insurance together).
Though the updated version of that statement clearly addresses the Uranus/Neptune relationship dynamic the original message is all about a problem with the “romaji” lyrics in the booklet. Upon close inspection we see that this is actually a reference to the first words of Moonlight Legend which in the English translation are not translated as “I’m sorry” but left as “Gomen-ne”. This seems like a bit of a non issue all considered. In both cases we can get a bit of context if we look back at past versions of the booklet. supersonicjc did some investigation of earlier versions and found that the lyrics issue had been there since the first season. Looking at past relationship charts and the Sailor Stars chart we can see other issues which I think could use some attention.
First we can look at the Sailor Stars relationship chart and see what else is there and what else is missing. I jokingly put together an updated version of the chart (above) with all sorts of ships which I support but this wasn’t meant to be anything serious. Since Usagi and Mamoru are listed as “Love” and not “Friendship” then we see that there is in fact an option for listing romantic love that is more than mere friendship. The obvious choice would be to put Haruka and Michiru with a “Love” connection. It’s also a bit odd that the link is put between Sailor Guardians rather than their civilian identities, as is done with other relationships. Jokes aside there is one legitimate relationship aside from the many couples I like to ship and that is Luna and Artemis. Though their relationship was a long time coming it was first hinted at in Sailor Moon R, cemented in the Sailor Moon S film which is arguably canon and finally confirmed in Sailor Moon SuperS with the arrival of Diana. No doubt Artemis and Luna of the future are in the relationship, but I think it’s safe to consider present day Luna and Artemis to have a “Love” connection as early as Sailor Moon SuperS as well as in this Sailor Stars chart.
Looking at past relationship charts we see fairly similar things. Sailor Uranus and Neptune are not in Sailor Moon SuperS and so they aren’t in that chart. They are introduced in Sailor Moon S and that chart lists them not as “Friendship” or “Love” but rather as “Partners”. This is technically true but they are also, obviously, much more than partners. The term “Partner” is sometimes used for gay and lesbian couples in place of gender specific terms such as “boyfriend and girlfriend” or “husband and wife” for a number of reasons. It distinguishes the platonic “I’m going out with my girlfriends” from the “I had a hot date with my girlfriend”. Guy don’t often use “boyfriend” in this non romantic sense but we’re not talking about boys here. It’s gender neutral use can also potentially mask the nature of someone’s same sex relationship in a social or professional situation where it’s unknown how others may feel about the term. The term “Partner” could also be preferred by some gay and lesbian couples as it sounds more serious than boyfriend or girlfriend for committed couples who due to whatever legal issues in their country may not be able to marry. So much to say the Sailor Moon S chart should have used “Love” for Sailor Uranus and Neptune as they used for Usagi and Tuxedo Mask. Why it isn’t Usagi and Mamoru or Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask I can’t say I understand. The term “Partners” is exclusively used to describe Sailor Uranus and Neptune in the Sailor Moon S chart where others who are described by the term in other charts, such as Usagi and Luna, are listed as “Friendship” on this one which was likely intentional.
Other couples listed in the Sailor Moon S chart, as well as others, are not romantically linked at all. This includes Usagi’s parents Ikuko and Kenji who are only linked through their children. They are present in the Sailor Moon R, S and SuperS charts and in none of these are they shown to be in “Love” or in any way romantically involved. Naru and Umino are also in the R, S and SuperS charts. Though their relationship grows gradually throughout the series one can not deny that they are in a full on relationship in Sailor Moon S and SuperS, if not earlier, with the first indication of their romance dating back to the first season. They are linked only through mutual “Friendship” to Usagi (listed as “Best Friend” and “Friend” in Sailor Moon R) as well as mutual “Teacher/Student” links to Haruna.
There are others “Lovers” listed in the Sailor Moon R chart, a term unique to that season’s chart, which includes sibling lovers An and Ail as well as Saphir and Petz. The abusive relationships such as Koan and Rubeus or Esmeraude and Demande are not reflected, which is probably for the best.
The term “Partner” which doesn’t appear elsewhere on the Sailor Moon S chart also appears in many places on the Sailor Moon R chart. This includes Luna and Usagi, Luna and Artemis as well as Artemis and Minako. In this sense the usage is not a romantic one, though a case could be made for two of those three couples, but rather in the sense that they are partners in their roles as superheroes.
What does all of this, taken together, tell us? There are a number of relationships in the series which are not acknowledged in these charts. While I can see the concern over Haruka and Michiru’s relationship being downplayed in this way, it’s hard to see how it could have been deliberate “LGBTQ Erasure” as the Okazu blog post puts it, though that text does suggest that “mere lazy editorial decisions” may be the reason. The new dub of Sailor Moon, with this new Sailor Stars dub specifically having a lot of relevant dialogue, makes it very clear that these two are not just friends but lesbians in a romantic relationship. This is an older relationship in which their sexual activities are hinted at as heavily in the dub as they were in the Japanese version. It isn’t something that is, or needs to be, spelled out in black and white but there’s little doubt as to what is going on. As Usagi enters high school in Sailor Stars she suggest, quite awkwardly, that her and Mamoru could take things to the next level, somethings which never happens in the anime. It is clear that Haruka and Michiru already have this more mature relationship between them. Viz has generally stayed true to their commitment to portray this relationship as honestly as the source material did and this relationship chart is at odds with this. It isn’t the 90s anymore and the industry and audience are more permissive about having LGBTQ characters in their fiction, for which we should all be grateful. Whatever the reason for which this occurred, we should be glad that Viz is acknowledging and correcting this oversight.
As for the song lyrics, this really seems like a non issue. If this was such a big deal would someone perhaps have caught the error the last four times these lyrics were included in a booklet? Going back to the first season we see this same error of not translating their first two words of “Moonlight Legend” occurred in every single release. I seriously doubt Viz will be going back and issuing reprints of five different booklets just because of this problem!
If you’re interested in getting this set, be it the Limited Edition with this booklet or any other version, consider supporting the site by buying it through the Amazon links below.
Keep reading for more images showing the exact same lyric error with every booklet.
We’ve seen some odd things associated with the Sailor Moon brand over the past few years including condoms and tampons but this latest partnership with Slim Up Slim weight loss shakes seems inappropriate to me. The image above shows Usagi and Mamoru promoting the shakes with an image accentuating her unrealistically long and slender legs. This just makes me wonder if it’s really appropriate for a 14 year old character from a children’s manga and anime to be used to sell weight loss shakes.
What exactly is Slim Up Slim? It’s a weight loss shake. It’s marketed not just as a diet or weight loss shake but also as a “beauty diet” shake. The purpose of this product does not seem to be weight loss for the sake of health but rather weight loss for the sake of beauty. Many of these products contain collagen, which is not there to help with healthy weight loss but with skin beauty, though there is no evidence that ingesting collagen actually does anything. While calorie reduction will surely result in weight loss, these shakes containing collagen and lactic acid bacteria share many qualities with the type of scam weight loss products such as those promoted by snake oil salesmen like Doctor Oz.
This collaboration strikes me as something which could encourage unrealistic standards for women and girls and potentially lead to eating disorders, something which may be more of a concern to western audiences. Certainly I am aware that I am putting a North American lens on these things. As a Canadian I understand that we have certain body image ideas displayed in the media but also that most people are sensitive to these and ultimately encourage the idea that girls should not be told that they need to be thin to be beautiful as such pressures can be damaging. The other consideration of course is that there is an obesity epidemic in North America, which includes child obesity, and that this is a health concern. Encouraging healthy eating and exercise habits at all stages of life is genially positive, as long as it doesn’t get to the extent of shaming. Obesity is a factor in a large number of health risks, the most obvious ones being heart disease and diabetes, but also many others. That said programs asking children to eat healthy and exercise generally don’t tell them they should do so to be pretty, even if media, advertisement and other pressures may at the same time present a different image.
So much to say, I don’t think the same can be said about Japan or Asia in general. There seem to be strong pressures to be thin in many countries and this campaign as well as what we’ve seen in the series seems to reflect this. Sailor Moon gives many positive messages to girls but the characters in the series are slender, pretty and all fitting to a very similar, albeit not terribly realistic, body type. We expect some liberties in things that are drawn, after all people don’t actually have eyes that big and noses that small, but still this is what we see.
There have been many times in the Sailor Moon anime and manga in which weight gain was stigmatized. In the original Sailor Moon anime the main episode in which this comes up in is episode 4 “Learn How to be Skinny From Usagi” in which Usagi is worried she’s gaining weight and instead of telling her that as a thin 14 year old who shouldn’t worry about this, her family and Luna all agree that this is bad and encourage her to go on a diet. The Dark Kingdom opens up a gym, Shapely, which includes these pods which cause weight loss by draining energy. I found some of this troubling even when I watched this back in 1995, but the episode does have some redeeming ideas. Excessive exercise, starving and binging are generally presented as being bad, and so a reasonable diet seems to be what is argued in the end, but still Usagi’s is repeatedly teased about her weight by pretty much all characters and the takeaway message really is that it’s good to be thin. Perhaps it would have been a better idea to skip dubbing this one and giving us episode 5 or 6 instead!
That episode originally aired in March of 1992. It’s funny that in the episode Usagi comments, while walking by a Sailor V poster, that Sailor V probably never has to diet. She’d actually been through almost the exact same situation in the manga! Canonically the Sailor V manga takes place before the Sailor Moon manga, though many of the stories were actually written later. Two years after episode 4 aired, in March of 1994, Naoko Takeuchi would write Codename Sailor V Volume 9 – Sailor V vs. deVleene!, which has such striking similarities to this episode that there must have been some inspiration.
In the Sailor V story the Dark Agency plots to gather energy in a slightly more elaborate way. They sell cheap and delicious Rainbow Chocolate around the time of Valentine’s Day which causes rates of obesity amongst young girls to rise. Minako is included as those affected by this weight gain and Artemis criticizes her for this. All of the girls who are gaining weight are concerned and look for a solution. The two pronged strategy of the Dark Agency also includes the spa deVleene which includes the same sort of energy draining pods that we saw in episode 4 of the Sailor Moon anime. Compare the images below to see just how similar these were. The story takes an even worse turn when the Dark Agency’s deVleene is defeated leaving the girls of town obese. Kaitou Ace comes in to save them from their weight gain by raining diet candy from the skies as well as giving them flyers promoting weight loss tea (a scam product which doesn’t work in the real world) as well as tips on exercising and dieting. While the anime left us with a somewhat ambiguous takeaway the Sailor V manga certainly does not. The salvation for the girls affected is to lose the weight.
There are other one off mentions of weight in the series and they’re usually the same. For example in Sailor Moon SuperS episode 145 “Become a Prima: Usagi’s Ballet” there are a number of comments about Usagi’s weight gain, as a small bulge is shown protruding from her tutu. This is similar to what we see in Sailor V. Throughout the episode of course Usagi and Sailor Moon keep their normal character designs of a very thin 15 year old. Another minor mention is in the first episode of the live action series where Usagi and Naru show envious attention to a model commenting on how she has a thin waist.
I guess my views on this must be fairly obvious at this point. I’m not terribly pleased with this promotion. Ultimately I think it’s just indicative of a culture which is different from the one I am used to. I don’t say this to defend it but simply to explain it. The other examples from Sailor Moon which similarly push this idea are not directly tied to this campaign. TOEI or Naoko Takeuchi likely aren’t outliers in Japanese culture to push the idea that it’s good to be thin, but both are likely simply reflective of what has been going on in the country for at least the past 27 years. No doubt these kinds of products and pressures exist around the globe, but I’m not seeing them promoted with children’s cartoons here in North America. Obesity is a big problem here but I don’t think the solution is a culture of fat shaming and telling children that being thin is beautiful. For better or for worse pressures to be thin and beautiful do still exist here and they have not managed to reverse the obesity epidemic. I think the trend is mostly related to access to cheap, habit forming high reward value foods. Last year I read a book about this topic, The Hungry Brain by Stephane Guyenet, and found it very enlightening. It discusses the various things which make us wired to gain weight in an environment full of the kinds of food we have around us. You’re probably better off checking out the book than buying some pseudoscience inspired “beauty diet” shakes.
What do you think?
The Sailor Moon Monopoly game is now out in stores and online. I got my copy from an EB Games store in Ottawa (the Canadian equivalent to GameStop) a while back and it seems like many fans have done the same. With the game in hand we can get a good look at exactly what’s going on with the various pieces! As we’d discussed earlier this seems to be Sailor Moon S the game for reasons which I can’t really fathom. The various characters are mostly all from Sailor Moon S, mainly the villains being the Witches 5, Professor Tomoe and Mistress 9 as well as the inclusion of all Sailor Guardians including Sailor Moon S’s new additional Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Saturn. With the Viz video releases now having reached the end of Sailor Moon SuperS this seems an odd way to do it. Perhaps the game was simply in development for too long or this may have been an intentional choice as many of the Sailor Guardians introduced in this season would not appear in Sailor Moon SuperS and a Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Monopoly game would not be as recognisable to fans. For whatever the reasons, it’s Sailor Moon S Monopoly!
As with many other versions of Monopoly this really is the same old game we’ve seen time and time again with a different esthetic. This was immediately obvious to me as I’ve played countless hours of the game in my youth and I even spent quite some time programming a Monopoly computer game in Turbo Pascal when I was a child (the game mostly worked well but lacked houses, hotels, Chance and Community Chest cards). This is good for purists who want to have the same game experience as normal Monopoly. One thing which I think is fairly odd however is the completely random grouping of characters for most of the properties. Allow me to rant a bit about each one.
First we have Luna and Artemis, as a single property, bundled with Mimette of the Witches 5. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just use this, one of the only two pairs of properties, as Luna and Artemis? Mimette does not fit with Luna and Artemis at all. The characters don’t ever actually interact.
Next we have Eudial, Viluy and Tellu. This actually works! They are 3 of the Witches 5 and since there are no sets of five properties (most are groups of three) this sort of works!
Then there’s Cyprene/Ptilol with Kaolinite and … Sailor Chibi Moon! Kaolinite does have a brief interaction with Chibiusa at some point and the two characters do show up together in succession in the later versions of the Sailor Moon S credits. Cyprene and Ptilol fit only with Kaolinite. It would have made more sense to have put Mimette with her fellow Witches and then put Chibiusa with either her parents or maybe with Sailor Saturn!
Next is Sailor Mercury, Mars and Jupiter. There are all Sailor Guardians so this works decently. Aside from Sailor Moon they do spend some time together before Sailor Venus joins the show so I’ll say this is one of the three less terrible one.
Next is Sailor Venus, Professor Tomoe and Sailor Pluto. None of these characters have much to do with each other, except perhaps for a brief interaction between Sailor Venus and Pluto in one episode of Sailor Stars. Sailor Venus belongs with the Sailor Guardians from the first season while Sailor Pluto fits in better with Sailor Uranus and Neptune or even with Sailor Chibi Moon. I would personally have put her with King Endymion but that’s because I like trolling people. Professor Tomoe is a villain and if he’s going to be paired with anyone but his fellow villains from the season it should probably be his daughter, and not the Sailor Guardians who steals his baby from him in Sailor Stars.
Next is Sailor Uranus and Neptune with … Tuxedo Mask! Naturally Sailor Pluto would have worked better here. There’s nothing these two lesbians love more than the show’s male love interest! At least Sailor Uranus and Neptune are together where they belong.
On the last side we have Sailor Moon with Sailor Saturn and Mistress 9. This sort of works since Sailor Moon fights Mistress 9 and sort of saves Sailor Saturn but these characters would fit so much better elsewhere. Saturn should be with her father or her friend Chibiusa and Mistress 9 could easily fit with the villains! It does of course work that two versions of Hotaru be grouped together.
Finally we have the only grouping that works well, and that is Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion. The only issue here is that they don’t really appear in Sailor Moon S so they don’t fit with the game at all.
Other groupings make some sense! The railroads are all items, either Talismans or Sailor Saturn’s Silence Glaive. The utilities are replaced by Sailor Moon’s items, that being her broach and rod. Jail and Free Parking are unchanged. It seems like there’s an opportunity here to use something a bit more Sailor Moon themed for these. Maybe Pharaon 90 sends you to the Tau Star System or something like that. A missed opportunity which leaves art which ultimately clashes with the rest of the game.
When it comes to the game pieces they are nice! These are the three Talismans, Sailor Moon’s Cosmic Heart Compact and Spiral Heart Moon Rod, and the Holy Grail. They’re all things and not characters but then aside from the dog most Monopoly game pieces are just things anyway.
The money is a bit odd. The colours and values are more or less kept from real Monopoly with different characters appearing on each bill. The money is all shown with an M with a slash through it. Moon dollars or something of the sort. It’s not like Sailor Moon takes place in a universe they don’t use normal currency. We frequently see prices and money in the series being yen. Is there some rule that a themed Monopoly came have some weird non existent currency?
Finally we have the Love and Friendship Cards. These seem to basically be Chance and Community Chest cards with the flavour language changed and the same dollar amounts and consequences. The descriptions of what is occurring are just random events occurring during Sailor Moon S.
Should you buy this game? If you wanted to I imagine you already would have! It’s just one of a very, very, very long series of Monopoly games with images based on many franchises. The specific decisions made in adapting this game seem to be pretty poor as someone with a minor amount of effort would likely have been able to put together property groupings and other aspects of the game which work much better. It seems like someone with next to no knowledge of the franchise was given a list of characters, art and perhaps episode summaries of Sailor Moon S and that they threw together a version of Monopoly that superficially seemed to have made sense. For my money the Sailor Moon games by Dyskami Publishing are a much better way to play a Sailor Moon game.
Keep reading for more photos of this game.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
We’ve finally got some specifics on the upcoming showings of the Sailor Moon The Super Live musical which will be taking place in New York City and Washington D.C. We also have specifics of who will be involved in the cast which has been dubbed Team America and I have detailed descriptions of those cast members later in the post. The name “Team America” bears an unfortunately and likely unintended resemblance to the all puppet adult film “Team America World Police” by South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
First! The dates. The Washington D.C. performance will be on March 24th at 7pm at the Warner Theatre. This will be a full performance of the musical! It was previously announced that the cast of the musical would perform something at the opening ceremonies of the National Cherry Blossom Festival held on March 23rd but the length of those ceremonies made it unlikely the entire musical could be performed during the 90 minute ceremony. Fans in the area will be able to get tickets from Live Nation.
The New York City show will have three performances over two days. The first will be Friday March 29th at 8pm followed by two showing on March 30th at 1pm and 5pm. The musical will be performed at the PlayStation theatre on Broadway in Manhattan New York. That’s right! Sailor Moon is finally returning to PlayStation after a long hiatus following the 1996 Sailor Moon SuperS fighting game for the original PlayStation. Fans can order tickets from AXS.
Now a word on the cast! Previously the Sailor Moon The Super Live Musical was performed by three different casts in Japan, those being the ❤ Pink Heart Cast, the ◆ Yellow Diamond Cast and the ♪ Blue Musical Note Cast. We had previously posted those casts list in earlier posts here on the site. So which Team is it that’s making up Team America? It’s actually a bit of a mix! Sailor Moon, Mercury and Mars as well as Queen Beryl are from the ♪ Blue Musical Note Cast while Sailor Jupiter and Venus are from the ◆ Yellow Diamond Cast. Kunzite and Tuxedo Mask were the same actresses for all performances in Japan and they will be reprising their roles in America. Dancers are from all casts, as is detailed at the end of the post.
A bit of background on each of the actresses for those wondering who they might be seeing in these shows!
Usagi Tsukino, Sailor Moon, will be performed by Tomomi Kasai. She was previously a member of the popular Japanese band AKB48. She was also in the Sentai series Kamen Rider W in which she played Elizabeth (the one of the left in the above picture). You can learn more about Tomomi Kasai from her official web site, Twitter feed or Instagram page.
Momoko Kaechi will be playing Sailor Mercury. She previously appeared in a few Japanese drama series and films. You can follow her on Twitter where she occasionally posts images of a Sailor Mercury doll in her travels.
Yui Hasegawa will portray Sailor Mars. Her main acting experience is as a voice actor who’s works include video games such as Phantasy Star Online 2. She has previous stage acting experience as well including portraying Viluy of the Witches 5 in the Sailor Moon Un Nouveau Voyage musical. For more about Yui Hasegawa follow her on Twitter or check out her official web site.
Sailor Jupiter will be played by Kanna Matsuzaki. She is an actress and model who has a small role in a recently released film called Blood Club Dolls. You can follow her on Instagram where she occasionally posts pictures of cats.
Sailor Venus will be portrayed by Yu Nakanishi. She is a dancer and actress from movies and other stage plays including Luna Rossa and Ranpo Chronicle. For more on Yu Nakanishi you can follow her Twitter account or check out her official site.
Queen Beryl is played by Makoto Aikawa. She is an actress who has performed in a number of stage plays in the past couple of years. You can see more of her stuff by following her Twitter feed, Instagram page or checking out her official web site.
Reo Sanada will play Kunzite of the Shitennou. As with all musicals since La reconquista we have all male characters portrayed by women and The Super Live continues with this tradition. Reo Sanada is a transgender woman with experience in acting and dance. Fans looking for more can check out her Instragram page.
The important role of Tuxedo Mask will be performed by Riona Tatemichi who is playing her fourth character in a Sailor Moon musical! She first played Rubeus in the Petite Étrangère musical and then played Hawk’s Eye in the Amour Eternal musical and finally was Taiki Kou, Sailor Star Maker of the Sailor Starlights, in the Le Mouvement Final musical. In addition to her many Sailor Moon credits she has also appeared in a number of other stage musicals including some based on Utena and Gundam. You can find out more about Riona Tatemichi from her Twitter feed or official web site.
Finally we have a group of dancers. Though I have not yet seen the musical we can see from various photos that these five characters appear to be Dark Kingdom monsters of some type. These are generally non singing role which are portrayed by professional dancers. With the original three teams the various dancers often performed on more than one team and here we have a mix of dancers from the three teams. This includes Atsumi Matsubayashi, from the ❤ and ◆ teams, Izumi Niihashi, from the ❤ and ♪ teams, Ayumi Higashikawa, from the ◆ team, Moeko Koizumi from the ◆ and ♪ teams, and finally Hinako Aikawa from the ◆ team. Note that the image below does not feature the five dancers from Team America, as they have not performed together in the past. This is another of the teams from one of the Super Live performances.
Will any of you be lucky enough to be attending either of these showings? These are much closer to my home town than any other musical performance has ever taken place! I’ve taken road trips to New York and Baltimore (near to Washington D.C.) in the past with little trouble. Unfortunately with two children under 2 years old at this time it seems unlikely I’ll be able to make the trip. Please let us know if you plan on attending and how it goes!
(This movie is extremely 18+)
In a recent interview with Parents Magazine Kristen Bell made some comments about Snow White which have been making headlines. Basically she talked about how, while reading stories to her children, she asks them to think about the implications of certain actions in fairy tales and what they mean. One particular example which is relevant to Sailor Moon, as I’ll get to shortly, is Snow White. She asks her children to consider if it’s wise to take an apple from a stranger and if it’s okay to kiss a sleeping person. Various media outlets picked up on this by saying that she is calling out older Disney films, which is surely helped by the Parents Magazine article headline “Kristen Bell Worries Disney Princesses Teach Her Daughters Bad Lessons”. In reality she is specifically speaking to fairy tales in books, many of which happen to have been adapted as Disney films. Though Snow White includes a few questionable life choices the fairy tales of the likes of Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm are ancient tales full of gruesome violence as they are products of an older and much more violent period in human history. Modern versions such as the story books we may see in stores and the Disney films we enjoy will often sanitize these to appeal to our modern sensibilities. Kristen Bell is herself the voice of Anna in Frozen, a film which sets itself apart from other Disney films by calling out tropes like marrying someone you just met, the evil queen and acts of true love coming from a newly acquainted love interest. I’ve probably watched Frozen with my daughter roughly 50 times in the past year so I’ll just stop myself from elaborating on my many thoughts on this film and its relation to other Disney classics. So much to say Kristen Bell has the privilege of having worked on a Disney film which questions the status quo of films that came before it and has a number of positive progressive messages.
All of this brings us to Sailor Moon! I’ve mentioned this time and time again and it always seems to be divisive amongst fans. The idea is that a number of non consensual kisses given to sleeping people in the series are inappropriate due to the sleeping person’s inability to give consent. I am aware of the risk of applying a modern lens to an older work as these weren’t things I thought of in the 90s but I don’t think there’s much harm in discussing these. I am certainly not calling to ban or boycott Sailor Moon but instead, as with the conversations Kristen Bell has with her children, use it as a reason to discuss issues.
Ultimately I think it may be a little simple to give a blanket statement like saying kissing someone who is sleeping is wrong. If I kiss my baby daughter or wife while they sleep this isn’t the same as kissing a stranger. People generally kiss babies when they are too young to give overt consent, though not on the mouth. There’s nothing terribly dangerous about this. That said if I try to kiss my daughter and she says no, I will respect that request and stop. The Snow White example is perhaps not such and open and shut case. It’s not that kissing a sleeping person you’ve never met without consent is okay, however, if there is a good expectation that this will cause the person to be brought out of a comma, one could easily argue that it is morally justifiable. Similarly it may be completely inappropriate to rip a stranger’s shirt off because they are attractive however in an emergency situation it is certainly justifiable to touch someone and remove a piece of their clothing in order to perform life saving intervention. An EMT of course shouldn’t be groping a patient for sexual gratification or go around kissing people they are treating. The motivation behind these actions are the important distinction here. Most adults appreciate this nuance though children may not, hence the value in talking about the stories and media you share with them.
There are two examples in Sailor Moon where a sleeping person is kissed and, to me, it does not seem appropriate. The first falls into a bit of a grey area because of reincarnation and that is the kiss following the Masquerande in the Dark Kingdom story arc of the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal which also takes place in episode 22 of the original anime, “Romance Under the Moon: Usagi’s First Kiss”. In this case Usagi accidentally drinks alcohol thinking it is juice. She passes out drunk after which Tuxedo Mask kisses her. This looks particularly creepy in the original anime as the animation in this particular episode is a bit cheap. The issue here is, as the title of the anime episode title suggests, this is Usagi’s first kiss. Had Mamoru and Usagi been in an established relationship in which this kind of exchange was commonplace enough to be considered normal and he kissed her while she slept, this would not have been the same kind of breach of etiquette however in this case no such relationship existed… well not in this lifetime. The complication of course is that Mamoru and Usagi are reincarnated versions of Endymion and Princess Serenity. They had a relationship in the past and are dealing with fragments of memories of that. In the real world if someone used this as a defense for kissing a person who was passed out drunk they would rightfully be chastised for it as reincarnation isn’t real however in Sailor Moon it’s a real thing so it’s a bit more complicated. That Usagi is herself infatuated with Tuxedo Mask doesn’t really clear him of any wrongdoing as one can’t just assume someone else’s feelings though I think this may be why people feel more comfortable about this exchange. The fact that Usagi and Mamoru ultimately do end up in a relationship makes this seem okay in but this logic only works in retrospect. Mamoru and Rei were actually in a relationship at this time, though that infidelity isn’t even factoring into my objections to this. If you’re not convinced that this is a problem then instead consider if Umino, or anyone else, had found a drunk Usagi and done the same.
This seems to have been a concern for someone at DiC when the original Sailor Moon anime was first dubbed. Episode 22 was heavily edited for a number of reasons, including adding some backwards footage to make it appear as if Serena went back and took the stairs instead of falling off the balcony. In this particular there is no alcoholic punch, Serena never gets drunk and never passes out. The “first kiss” between her and Tuxedo Mask doesn’t really take place. The scene is shown but a voice over by Tuxedo Mask states that it’s simply his dream. So much to say it’s generally considered okay to kiss pretty much anyone in your dream. As a result of this the first on screen kiss for the Sailor Moon English dub takes place in Sailor Moon R right before Rini drops in from the future. This momentous occasion is spoiled by an awkward joke about Darien tasting peanut butter and getting stuck.
Next we have a series of kisses from Sailor Moon S The Movie. These are fresh in my mind having just watched the recently released Blu-Ray release of the film. Many fans would have seen the film in theatres this summer. In this film Luna falls in love with a human. After asking Usagi what a kiss tastes like she takes advantage of Kakeru, the source of her affection, by kissing him while he is asleep. There is no past life relationship between Luna and Kakeru. In fact Kakeru himself has a love interest in Himeko. This isn’t cool! Kakeru does not consent to the act and is in no state to do so. The situation is a bit complicated by the fact that Luna is a cat. I have cats and I have been known to kiss them on occasion. Dogs enjoy licking people’s faces and this is generally not considered to be some violation or assault, but then dogs are animals without human intelligence. Luna is a cat, yes, but a cat who essentially has a human equivalent mind. As an aside there is very little that resembles consent in the animal kingdom as most sexual interactions are forced. This is more or less true of humans until recent history as well, but we’ve come a long way and we should all be glad to live in a world where a person’s autonomy is respected. This isn’t the only kiss in the film as Luna later kisses Kakeru while she is in human form and the two fly around space for a while. Kakeru may believe this surreal experience to be a dream but it is real and Luna doesn’t ask if it is okay to kiss him, but he is awake and he doesn’t back away. This is probably similar to how a lot of human on human kisses take place so I won’t harp on that one too much. In the 90s I don’t think anyone would bat an eye at this but in 2018 some people might take issue with such behaviour.
There are a few Snow White style kisses in the series. The first takes place during Sailor Moon R episode 69 “Awaken the Sleeping Beauty: Mamoru’s Distress” in which Sailor Moon is very much trapped in a Snow White style sleep which Mamoru wakes her up of with a kiss. Something similar occurs in Sailor Moon R The Movie when Sailor Moon literally dies, again, but can be healed through the nectar of the Kisesian Flower. Mamoru sucks up the nectar and gives it to Sailor Moon in a kiss. In both cases this resembles Snow White in that it is a necessary life saving intervention but, unlike in the story of Snow White, Mamoru and Usagi have an established relationship when this happens.
Snow White style kiss that never quite happened however is the kiss between An and Mamoru in Sailor Moon R episode 56 “Steal a Kiss from Mamoru! An’s Project Snow White”. In this episode An orchestrates things so that she will play Snow White in a play and get a chance to kiss Mamoru, who is playing Prince Charming. Things don’t go as planned however as her attempt to kiss him during rehearsal fails and the play is cut short by an attack by a Cardian summoned by none other than her brother lover.
Finally we have the kiss between Sailor Uranus and Sailor Moon in the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal. This a sort of surprise kiss that Sailor Moon doesn’t expect and doesn’t have time to consent to one way or another. This in turn opens up the story to all sorts of interesting questions about sexuality which are quite worthwhile but it’s something I felt was worth pointing out.
All said I think Kristen Bell’s attitude of simply wanting to discuss what she’s reading with her children to be completely reasonable. She’s hardly arguing that Snow White is responsible for all of the ills of society and banning them in her household but rather finding a way to allow her children to consume media which she might not be totally okay with all while using it as a way to start a conversation about a serious topic. This isn’t quite the same attitude that Keira Knightley has, as her recent appearance on Ellen illustrated. She bans certain movies in her house, even some she quite enjoys, such as the Little Mermaid, because she’s concerned they might present a negative message. Far be it for me to tell someone else how to raise their kids! If this works for her than so be it. When I watch The Little Mermaid with my daughter I keep in mind the simple lesson this movie teaches. Don’t make a deal with a Sea Witch to get something you can get from your daddy for free if you’d just learn to communicate. I don’t think Disney is too upset about this either. If it bothers them they can wipe away their tears with some of that Pirates money.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you believe some of these kisses are inappropriate? Am I just overreacting and applying a modern lens to a harmless story? Leave a comment with your thoughts.
You have probably seen this meme somewhere on the Internet! Tuxedo Mask states “My job here is done” to which Sailor Moon replies “But you didn’t do anything”. This lends itself well to a variety of humourous situations in which a person claims to have done something and really did nothing at all. Very funny, but just how accurate is this meme in the first place?
There are really two things to ask ourselves here. The first is whether or not anything close to this exchange ever took place in the show and the other, more general idea, is whether Tuxedo Mask does indeed do anything with his interventions. Let us first look at the scene in question. The images we see in this meme are from the first episode of Sailor Moon “The Crybaby: Usagi’s Beautiful Transformation”. Tuxedo Mask says something to Sailor Moon after her battle with Morga and then departs. Contrary to what the meme states he does not actually say anything which resembles “My job here is done” or “My work here is done”. This can be a bit tricky as there are so many versions of Sailor Moon and its dubs, so let’s look at a few. With Sailor Moon first coming into popularity in North America in 1995 the version most Internet users and casual fans are likely to be familiar with is the DiC English dub. In this version he states “You have done well Sailor Moon and now Molly’s mother and all the other women are free. Others will test you. Do not be afraid. I will fight with you.” to which Sailor Moon responds, after he’s gone, “What a hunky guy”. Note that the response isn’t from the image used in the meme but is said when she has hearts in here eyes moments later.
Sure, you may be saying, but that’s the horrible butchered DiC dub which committed various atrocities to my childhood and humanity! Let’s look at the original line then. This scene appears in the manga, in the original Japanese anime and in Sailor Moon Crystal. It has been translated more or less faithfully a number of times and always gives roughly the same idea. The recent more accurate Viz dub has Tuxedo Mask saying “Well done Sailor Moon. I won’t soon forget what happened here tonight.” to which Sailor Moon responds “He’s so cute”. The subbed version is essentially the same. The manga version is a bit different as there was no rose thrown and Tuxedo Mask actually didn’t do anything, though again there is no dialog which resembles the meme at all. In no version does Tuxedo Mask actually say “My job here is done” or anything like it. Sailor Moon similarly doesn’t respond that he didn’t do anything but this is hardly a surprise as this unexpected response is more meant to be a mocking of what he did rather than what she actually said.
Next then we should look at whether in this episode in question and the series as a whole, Tuxedo Mask actually does anything! In this particular scene the dialogue follows Sailor Moon’s fight with Morga. While Sailor Moon is fighting she is backed against a wall with a bunch of brainwashed jewelry store clients marching against her. Morga extends her claws to Sailor Moon, ready to strike her with a deadly blow. All hope seems lost when … a single rose flies in front of her distracting the enemy. Sailor Moon then cries which causes this amplified sonic attack which is not used again until Sailor Moon SuperS. Luna then tells Sailor Moon to use her tiara which defeats the enemy. Would Sailor Moon still have had the time to use her sonic attack without Tuxedo Mask intervening? It seems very unlikely. The image of Morga reacting to the rose shows that her hand was just in front of Sailor Moon and it seemed unlikely she would have had time to launch her sonic attack. It isn’t terribly fair to say that Tuxedo Mask didn’t do anything in this scenario. He caused a momentary distraction which allowed Sailor Moon to get the upper hand and use her own power to save the day and this is close to how that interaction usually occurs. Had he not been here would Sailor Moon have been killed by Morga? Who knows. Perhaps Sailor Moon would have died and then reincarnated through some plot device. Perhaps she would have cried which caused the light of the Silver Crystal to scare off Morga (though the Crystal in this continuity is split up into seven Rainbow Crystals with Sailor Moon’s tear being the catalyst to bring them together). Perhaps Luna would have sacrificed herself by putting her body between Sailor Moon and the attack, as she does when Fiore tries to kill Sailor Moon in Sailor Moon R The Movie. Lots of options but, generally speaking, it seems like his intervention did in some sense save Sailor Moon here.
In general Tuxedo Mask usually does about the same thing. The monster shows up and things start to get a little tense when a well timed rose shakes things up enough for Sailor Moon and her friends to get their footing and deal a finishing blow to the enemy. Without Tuxedo Mask perhaps some of these close calls would have gone the other way leading to Sailor Moon losing instead of winning some of these close fights. Still Tuxedo Mask has no attacks in the original anime. He fights with roses and a cane which are not terribly lethal and at best helps to give the upper hand rather than actually defeating the monster of the week.
All said this is Sailor Moon’s show. She is the strong capable superhero and is not your typical damsel in distress in constant need of saving. Tuxedo Mask comes in with a quick assist from time to time but he’s not scoring the game winning goal. It’s an odd state where he is made to be protecting Sailor Moon and saving her without doing most of the heavy lifting. This is a tough line to walk and likely an intentional one. Sailor Moon is a role model and inspiration to viewers. She has strength and power of her own and is not helpless next to the man who protects her. Still Tuxedo Mask is the valiant and courageous love interest who protects and helps her because that is a sort of archetype which is appealing to the viewer. Sailor Moon herself is impressed with how he wants to protect her. Tuxedo Mask’s name Mamoru even means “protect” in Japanese. The manga and anime really do try to have it both ways by having Tuxedo Mask protect and rescue Sailor Moon but also have her be strong on her own. This is a hard balance to get. I have certainly heard criticism that Sailor Moon is a damsel in distress but I don’t think this is accurate. She really is strong and really does fight her own battles and Tuxedo Mask does the minimum needed to be the dashing protector and saviour while still making Sailor Moon’s victories her own well earned accomplishment, not to mention Sailor Moon getting along just fine when Tuxedo Mask is busy being evil, a bad boyfriend, injured or dead.
With that I’d say the meme is certainly funny and I understand how in some fundamental way it strikes a cord but ultimately I don’t think it accurately reflects the dynamic between the two. Tuxedo Mask does something. He doesn’t do much and he doesn’t do enough to take away Sailor Moon’s spotlight but he’s a worthwhile low powered sidekick who provides well timed distractions and words of support when they are needed. Beyond that he doesn’t take credit for being the victor in battles which he isn’t actually winning.
What do you think? Is Tuxedo Mask a useless blowhard who takes credit when nothing is done? Is he a harmful stereotype teaching girls they’re damsels in distress who can’t do anything on their own? Am I overthinking this harmless joke?