Sailor Moon Anime News – The Good, the Bad, the Amibiguous

January 10th, 2014

sm20Okay, we finally have some news about the Sailor Moon anime.

First, the bad news: Yesterday, Comic Natalie reported that the upcoming Sailor Moon anime would be delayed again, this time pushed back until July 2014. Originally announced in spring 2013, this will be the second delay. I’m nether surprised nor upset by this. It was obvious that they were trying to squeeze in the thing for the 20th anniversary year and it wasn’t working.

Then came the good news: Umezawa Atsutoshi, the producer for the new series, went on record with news that the anime will not be a remake, but a reboot. (Like, Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood.)

Here’s the ambiguous: We still haven’t heard anything about voice actresses. It is absolutely possible that the delay is to accommodate the schedule of actresses we’d like to see return to their roles, it’s equally as possible that with a reboot, they’ll just choose new voice actresses…especially as some of them have retired or semi-retired, while others were always working.

More importantly, those of us around in the late 1990’s remember Takeuchi-sensei saying that she was never really happy with the anime. The staff was mostly male, they rewrote a lot, and just generally dragged her story out into an even more formulaic kiddy series than it was in the manga. The one thing that bothered her most and, admittedly, a lot of fans as well, was the treatment of the Starlights. (Of course, most western fans will have only seen them if they have watched fansubs.) She insisted they were women cross-dressing and the anime shifted that to them being gender switching. Either way they choose for the news series, someone is bound to be upset.

Our initial gut feeling is that the reboot will be more faithful to the manga – which is, in itself, a double-edged sword. We spend less time with the bad guys in the manga, and are subsequently less like to know about Lead Crow and Aluminum Siren (and that magical moment when they saw the rose petals swirl around Haruka and Michiru.) The manga has some serious problems, including a very messy ending. And the anime has some good elements, so a stricter manga adaptation might not be what we expect or desire.

It’s probably safe to say that Okazu readers are also concerned that Haruka and Michiru might not be at least as couple-y as they were, much less the more we’d like to see. (Although, in interviews, Takeuchi-sensei did say they were a couple and things have changed for the better in regards to LGBTQ representation in anime, so there’s always a slim possibility that we’ll see them more overtly a couple.)

Here’s what I think. If you are already a fan of Sailor Moon, right now, take all your expectations and dreams and desires for the series, carefully tuck them away in a little box in your heart where they cannot be destroyed. Then, watch whatever it is we get, with no expectation or desires and enjoy it or not for what it is, rather than what it isn’t. Manage your expectations and you won’t be disappointed. ^_^

At the moment we know they are still working on an anime that is going to be a clean reboot of the story. Right now they are focusing on the launch of the 美少女戦士セーラームーン THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL TRIBUTE album, with a live event in February.

It’s good, it’s bad, it’s ambiguous and the rumor mill churns on. Here’s to July 2014.


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7 Responses

  1. Grisznak says:

    I’m not sure if using old seiyuu would be good idea. I still love Aya Hisakawa, but I have doubts if she could be a good voice actress for 14-years old girl.
    I remeber how Megumi Hayashibara tried to voice Lina Inverse in Slayers Revolutions after the years. It was terrible. So, they’d better find the ones and if they want to please the fans, they could always make old ones as a guests – for Haruna-sensei, Ikuko or even evil queens.

    • The commercial for the Sailor Moon figurine was voiced by Mitsuishi Kotono and she sounded just like she always had been Usagi. These women are professionals, they do this for a living. ^_^ We’ve hear Hisakawa Aya use a lot of voices over the year, but of all of them, Ami actually sounds very close to her true speaking voice. I don’t doubt they’d all sound great because they are all pros. Of course Seiya would need a new voice actress, as she passed away in 2000.

  2. Healer says:

    To be honest, I think one thing a reader might want to be a little wary of, is Naoko Takeuchi’s definition of “women”. She seems to mean more like “physically female”. She actually includes people who she had already stated be non-binary in terms of mental gender (like Haruka), and about the Starlights she had already agreed their real personalities were masculine in the Materials Collection Art Book. But then she complained about them becoming physically male in the anime. I think her saying they were men only then, but not before, with the words and clothes and everything else left the same, actually came across as transphobic.

    The other thing is, I think the animators had done the right thing to edit her before. A lot of her characters are based on mythology, but Three Lights are based on deities who are not considered mythology at all. That’s the Hindu Holy Trinity (hence the angel wing motif) and they are actually God from the religion of Hinduism. And of course they do typically require a cis male body for theological reasons. So I think they had done the right thing to edit her a bit before, but, in truth I think it would have best if they had just declined to draw them as “sailors” at all. I understand Japan has no monotheistic religions, and people in Japan tend to take that sort of thing less seriously, but I think that is not being very respectful about others’ beliefs. So I am pretty concerned about the idea of her being edited less on these points, and a new anime being made which is even worse. I don’t mean to imply that I am not a fan of the series but I feel that was a mistake and they should have just been left as cis gender men and not drawn as sailors. Or she could invent her own cartoon characters from scratch that are not related to religion, then it wouldn’t matter what she wrote. It just seems really unnecessary to include this sort of thing and then complain about it to try and gain sympathy from people unfamiliar with Hinduism, as though she didn’t know why someone might edit that.

  3. Sammie says:

    As always, thank you so much for keeping us updated with Sailor Moon news!

    Regarding Haruka and Michiru, I can’t imagine the couple aspect being toned down in the reboot as I’m sure (or at least hoping) staying truer to the manga will bring in more mature tones. As you said, more progressive times and all. And Naoko-sensei always seemed ahead of her times to me, though perhaps not versed in the latest queer theory. And quite understandably so with all those deadlines and demands on her. ^^

    But even if Haruka and Michiru don’t become more overt compared to the original anime, that’ll be fine because their innuendos still make the ears of this late-20s woman blush bright red. Those two… *shakes head* I’ll just be happy to see them together again, I think!

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