Sailor Moon is considered to be one of the most successful manga and anime franchises ever. Since its debut in 1991, the Sailor Scouts and friends have captivated audiences and readers alike from all over the globe and across generations. The year 2014 brought some pretty big changes to the franchise when Sailor Moon Crystal was launched. Many fans have criticized the first two seasons of this revamp of our beloved Sailor Scouts due to the initial changes in style and flow of the story line.
Thankfully, the producers at Kôdansha and Toei Animation heard the fans out, and in Season 3, Sailor Moon Crystal was released with a more true to original style of animation, as well as a more clarified focus to the story lines. Overall, Sailor Moon Crystal has been praised for finally bringing Americans the version of the show its creator, Naoko Takeuchi, intended all audiences to see. Even though this latest, more in depth overhaul reveals much that was forgotten or edited from the shows, books, and films -- there are still many secrets about Sailor Moon many fans have missed. Think you know all there is about the Sailor Scouts? Read on to find out!
20 FORBIDDEN LOVE
In the original Japanese materials, Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus were originally depicted as lovers, not cousins. American TV censors didn’t approve of this relationship for young adults, hence the alteration. This concluded in odd editing and clunky story lines that made many US viewers -- this one included -- wonder why they were such close cousins.
Michiru and Haruka, or as they were dubbed in some English versions, Michelle and Amara, were so intimate, it was downright confusing. We know cousins can be close, but the affection they displayed for one another -- along with their loyalty and willingness to even die for one another -- made the story we got in the States seem over the top. Fortunately, we get to see them reconnect in Sailor Moon Crystal -- and as the lovers they were intended to be, not as “cousins.”
19 GENDER SWAPPED
We are all for the freedom of a more fluid understanding when it comes to gender identity, and Sailor Moon can proudly say it has been too. Unfortunately, the censors in America cannot say the same for themselves. It may come with its own stigmas, but LGBQT behavior has been more openly embraced far longer in Japanese media than in the US. One of the biggest examples of this concerns the super cute -- although evil -- couple Zoisite and Kunzite.
In the Japanese publications, these two partners were both men in a romantic relationship. When brought to the States, however, Zoisite was changed to Zoycite -- apparently it sounds more feminine -- and we saw her as a woman, not a man. Thankfully, this relationship was also revamped as originally intended in Sailor Moon Crystal.
18 SAILOR EARTH
For those who also wondered why Tuxedo Mask is the only male in the Sailor Moon Universe to possess a Sailor Crystal, here you go. In the Japanese originals of Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask’s name is Chiba Mamoru -- which translates to “Protector of the Earth.” The creator and author of the legendary franchise, Naoko Takeuchi, has been quoted as saying that Tuxedo Mask is basically Sailor Earth -- he holds the Golden Crystal which is revealed to be the Starseed of Earth.
This is reinforced by the fact that Chiba Mamoru is a prince -- Prince Endymion of the Golden Earth Kingdom, Elysion -- and all the Sailors are royalty of some kind on their respective planets. Even though the American cuts limit his role to running around throwing roses and mysterious glances, Tuxedo Mask is a pretty powerful character who has a major impact on the Sailors.
17 ALLERGIC TO LOVE
Psychogenic urticaria, which is the scientific term for “psychogenic” or stress-induced hives, would be a major struggle to live with. This would be especially true if you were also a young teen, dealing with all your worries while trying to fight the forces of evil within the galaxy. Poor Ami Misagi, also known as Sailor Mercury, is susceptible to this allergy -- and her trigger appears to be love letters!
If you only watched the show, it would be easy to assume that Sailor Mercury is actually allergic to love and/or love letters in themselves -- but readers of the manga have noted Ami as complaining about “stress buildup” causing her to break out in hives. Stress can be a major inducer of allergic reactions like psychogenic urticaria, and love can be incredibly stressful at times!
16 AMI AND EINSTEIN-SAMA
In the manga, Sailor Mercury stated her ideal male partner would be Albert Einstein. It is super cute and she shows her endearment by referring to him as “Einstein-sama.” Sama translates to a more formal way of addressing someone as “Mister” or “Miss” in Japanese, even more formal than adding “san” onto the end of a name, as we are more familiar with in the West.
Considering “Einstein-sama” was as wise and kind as he was brilliant, we could see how these two bookworms would actually be quite the pair in real life. We cannot help but wonder what would have happened if they had lived during the same time and Sailor Mercury had received love letters from Einstein -- we are imagining quite a lot of blushing and hives.
15 PART ALIEN POSSESSION, PART CYBORG
Sailor Saturn’s backstory stands out from the rest due to its strange and tragic qualities. In both the American and Japanese versions of Sailor Moon, Hotaru Tomeo’s life was drastically changed long before she was reincarnated as Princess Saturn. Hotaru’s father, Souichi Tomeo, was a scientist who had been banned from the scientific community due to some rather sketchy practices.
He kept on with his experiments anyhow, until there was a horrible accident at his lab -- ending the life of his wife and almost taking his daughter’s as well. Desperate to save Hotaru, Souichi repaired her badly damaged body using a mix of cybernetic and genetic tech. He also implanted a Daimon Egg in her, hoping it would also help make her strong. This resulted in Hotaru being possessed by Mistress 9, but her resilience helped her overcome this possession.
14 FURRY ALIENS
It is easy to forget that Luna, Artemis, and their daughter Diana, are aliens from another planet that can transform into human form. Friends, advisers, and guides to the Sailor Scouts -- as well as adorable furry friends that love to purr, cuddle, and steal alarm clocks -- these three characters are so much more than “just cats.”
Although the power of a “normal” companion animal has an inherent otherworldly quality to such a relationship, imagine if your kitty friend was also able to guide you as a warrior and teenage girl! Now that is quite the “companion animal” right there! We are going to assume that their home planet of Mau is covered in these adorable cat-shaped aliens, and it is at the top of our “planets to see before we leave this plane” list.
13 SAILOR SATAN?
All too often, words, concepts, and ideas can get lost in translation. One very funny example of this was when the initial release of the first two Sailor Moon mangas hit Poland. There was a minor typo in the way they spelled Sailor Saturn’s name that would become very major, very fast! Somehow this slipped through the editing cracks, but in Polish her name was translated as “Sailor Satan!”
This would give a very different meaning to Polish readers, we’d imagine! Poor Hotaru, she is so sweet and kind, and has already gone though enough trauma with her childhood accident and possession by the evil entity Mistress 9. Thankfully, the typo was noted and redacted in the Polish interpretation of the third Sailor Moon manga.
12 BASED ON A TRUE STORY
They say that art often imitates life, and Sailor Moon is no exception. The creator and author of Sailor Moon -- Naoko Takeuchi -- has openly stated that she used herself and immediate family as the inspiration for Usagi/Serena Tsukino and her family. That’s right, Sailor Moon herself is based upon Naoko’s personal life! Takeuchi named Usagi’s parents after hers -- Ikuko and Kenji.
Naoko also gave Usagi a younger brother with the same name as her real-life little brother -- Shingo. We think this is a sweet and creative way to pay homage to your loved ones. Takeuchi has been noted to claim that she most closely identifies with Sailor Moon, while she identifies with Sailor Neptune the least of all her Sailor Scouts. Does that mean that Takeuchi loves hamburgers and milkshakes?
11 MERCURY IN RETROGRADE
We cannot imagine the Sailor Scouts existing any other way then their current incarnations, which is why this next fact totally blew us away. Did you know that the shy, kind, book smart Ami Mizuno -- more commonly known as Sailor Mercury -- almost didn’t exist? It is hard for us to believe too, but Sailor Mercury was initially drafted as a “throwaway character!”
Thanks to popular demand by fans in Japan, Ami was kept on the Sailor Scouts beyond her first appearance. Considered an excellent role model to younger audiences for her dedication to her studies -- and a more relatable character to many fans as one of the more reserved of the Sailors -- Sailor Mercury was kept on to become the major character we know and love today. Power to the bookworms!
10 ONE HIT WONDER
Although Naoko Takeuchi has been passionate about manga and anime her whole life, and created her first manga at the tender age of 17 -- "Kare wa No Sugar" or "My Boyfriend is No Sugar" -- Takeuchi’s only major success to date has been Sailor Moon. Originally drafted as “Codename Sailor V,” Naoko inadvertently created what would become one of the most popular manga and anime franchises in history!
It is frustrating when our creative efforts don’t blossom like we imagine, but we are pretty sure that the wild success of Sailor Moon has made up for Naoko’s other works failing to hit the mark. Takeuchi not only wrote the Sailor Moon story lines and created the characters, she also wrote most of the songs for the show -- including “Route Venus,” “Sailor Star Song,” and “Princess Moon.”
9 THE BIZARRE TRANSFORMATIONS OF SAILOR STARLIGHTS
There are a lot of unknowns surrounding the mysterious Sailor Starlights from the Sailor Moon Stars story line. What celestial bodies do the Starlights represent? What is their mythological background? One thing that is a fact, and a very odd one at that, is the Sailor Starlights have the ability to transform into male bodies. While in their “civilian” forms on Earth, the Starlights hid themselves in male forms.
The explanation behind this was they were forming a boy band as a disguised means of seeking out their Princess Kakyuu -- who was hiding from the destroyer Sailor Galaxia. In some interpretations of this story arc, the Sailor Starlights remain female while on Earth but cross-dress as men for the same reasons they transform gender in other versions. This apparently upset Naoko Takeuchi, who despised this transformation -- she intended that only naturally born females could become Sailor Scouts.
8 ALMOST DISNEY PRINCESSES
Too often, we see franchises we love destroyed by efforts to expand the brand beyond its original concepts. How many times has a franchise been overhauled, only to leave fans disappointed and in the heat of nerd rage? This almost happened to Sailor Moon a few times. One such example was when Disney wanted to make a live-action Sailor Moon film tailored for American viewers.
Riding a wave of success with the recently overhauled Disney Princesses -- and noting the popularity of adaptations like Inspector Gadget -- Disney was eager to try and cash in on a combination of the rising popularity of both anime and empowered female characters. Gina Davis was even brought on board as a producer and actress (to play the wicked Queen Beryl). We are envisioning a Beetlejuice version of Sailor Moon -- shudders -- and are so happy the project was scrapped!
7 SABAN MOON
Another time the Sailors dodged an ill fate was in the early 90’s -- when an Americanized version of the show was pitched. The brainchild of Renaissance-Atlantic Entertainment and Toon Makers -- this show would have been a combination of live-action AND animation -- sort of like The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. There is one trailer of “Saban Moon” floating around the internet that is so bad it will make the viewer cry from laughter and despair.
Renaissance-Atlantic handled the adaptations of Super Sentai into Power Rangers for Saban Entertainment, hence the nickname for this never to be show. The concepts seemed strong -- seeking to show diversity through the cast by adjusting some of the characters to be mixed race, and even making Sailor Mercury wheelchair bound -- but were so poorly produced, the concept was literally laughed into oblivion.
6 QUEEN SERENITY WAS ALMOST A MOON FAIRY
There are a lot of facts about Queen Serenity that can be very odd and confusing. Her age, history, and even how she conceived Sailor Moon are all a bit off when you examine them up close. Gods and Goddesses can get away with such things. But, what if Queen Serenity had been a fairy instead? That is how she was originally imagined by Naoko Takeuchi.
In the Materials Collection and Sailor Moon Anime Album for Season 1, fans will note that Queen Serenity appears as a Moon Fairy named Diana who is very chatty and for some reason dislikes Luna. You’d think a Fairy from the Moon would get along with an alien being named after her celestial body, but in this case that would have been a “no.” In the end, Takeuchi revamped the character as Queen of the Moon -- leaving the original fairy concept in the dust.
5 SAILORS’ CAFE
If you are a Sailor Moon fan and ever happen to visit Japan, there is a cafe that you just have to visit! Located in a few major parts of Japan, including Tokyo and Osaka, the Sailors’ Cafe are a collection of restaurants inspired by all things Sailor Moon! The menu varies from year to year -- but always includes adorable and delicious confections inspired by attack moves, characters, and other aspects of the anime and manga.
Including themed foods, desserts, drinks, atmosphere and serving utensils, the Sailors’ Cafe fuses dining with Sailor Moon in such a fun and creative way that reservations have to made months in advance. The Sailors’ Cafe is also seasonal, so be sure to visit their website to keep up with availability, locations, and current menu items.
While pursuing her interests in art and creative expression through manga and anime, Naoko Takeuchi was also following her passions surrounding science and the natural world. Takeuchi earned a degree in Chemistry before Sailor Moon hit big -- hence the many wonderful actual scientific references about space, gemstones, and other facts inserted into Sailor Moon. While writing Sailor Moon, Takeuchi would continue her studies in various scientific fields to make her manga as accurate as possible.
Naoko went so far as to visit places like The Kennedy Space Station in Florida in order to learn more about space. We just love that this show is not only one symbolizing “Girl Power” and leaves the viewers with positive concepts to mull over, but is also scientifically driven! This is still a rare combination in popular stories, and one of the reasons Sailor Moon is still so beloved by fans across the globe.
3 SAILOR RABBIT
There are many legends from around the world based upon markings on the surface of the moon that resemble a rabbit. The ancient folklore of the “rabbit in the moon” supposedly originated in China. Known as “pareidolia,” or an image or sound that appears to be something significant -- Sailor Moon's civilian name is tied into this legend. “Usagi Tsukino” translates to “Rabbit On The Moon” in Japanese.
Stemming from a Japanese myth about a rabbit on the moon who loves to make and eat “mochi” -- super yummy cakes made of fermented and pounded rice -- Usagi has more in common with this cultural symbol than just her name. Sailor Moon’s hairstyle is supposed to resemble mochi buns -- and now we really have a craving for some mochi! Who wants to go to The Sailors’ Cafe?
2 WARRIORS, NOT SCOUTS
In the original Japanese writings, the Sailor Scouts are actually referred to as “Sailor Senshi.” “Senshi” means “Soldier” or “Warrior” in Japanese. We think this interpretation is far superior to the Americanized “Scouts” -- “Warrior” makes more sense, since the Sailors being warriors is so explicitly mentioned and portrayed. The first English dub called the girls “Sailor Scouts” instead, and it has stuck around to this day.
Even when the new English dub was released, the girls were still referred to as “Sailor Guardians.” It appears this mis-translation for the English versions was because of the relation to “Girl Scouts,” and the fact that the Senshi wear sailor suits. Most Japanese school uniforms are styled like sailor suits -- because sailor suits are a symbolic rite of passage for girls in Japan. The story behind how this came to be is fascinating, but would require a list of its own to explain.
1 BEST COSPLAY EVER
Kunihiko Ikuhara is a Japanese creative force most noted for his work as a director. “Ikuni” has overseen many works, including the most excellent anime Revolutionary Girl Utena and Yurikima Arashi. Ikuni has also worked his magic on Sailor Moon -- having directed over 20 episodes of the anime, as well as the full feature Sailor Moon R: The Movie. Ikuni obviously has a passion for anime and manga -- his work speaks for itself.
Ikuni’s love for what he does was taken to a whole new level when he donned a killer Sailor Mars cosplay for Newtype Magazine. Ikuni gets super involved with his method acting -- when asked how the public reacted to him cosplaying Sailor Mars in an interview in 2000, he responded with -- “That wasn't me. That was Rei Hino…” [Rei Hino is Sailor Mars’s civilian name.]