In 2021, it was announced the Sailor Moon musical, Kaguya-hime’sBeloved, would stream worldwide. It was available from December 2021 through the beginning of February 2022. I have seen it and it is delightful!
In celebration of this musical, I decided to revisit this classic story from the manga which provided the storyline of the second animated Sailor Moon movie. I’ve written about this story before, looking at a real life “Moon Princess” that influenced this story–Dr. Chiaki Mukai, the first Japanese woman in space. This time, I wanted to take a closer look at the villain of this story, Snow Kaguya.
Last year, the Japan Foundation sponsored a virtual panel on Sailor Moon. Naturally, you can’t talk about Sailor Moon without talking about Takarazuka. The host and panelists promised there would be talk about Takarazuka in the future. Well, that future has arrived! Last month, Takarazuka: The Interplay Between All-Female Musicals and Girls’ Culture in Japan streamed virtually on Youtube. The panel featured the following academics:
How is everyone? As I write this post, it’s been a year of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m hanging in there, but it definitely takes conscious effort to make sure my mental health is on the right track. I hope you are hanging in there too!
Navigating this “new normal” has been an adventure, but I suppose one of the bright spots is virtual events. They allow for a wider audience to access really awesome content and experiences. This past year the Japan Foundation has been hosting a series of virtual panels on anime and manga. They’ve done panels on the works of Satoshi Kon and Ghost in the Shell. So naturally, it was only a matter of time until there was one on Sailor Moon!
This panel featured several academics–Dr. Kumiko Saito, Dr. Samantha Close, Dr. Kathryn Hemmann and Mari Morimoto–who you may remember was one of the translators of the English Sailor Moon manga, the Kodansha 2nd generation edition. I’ve linked the panel above for you to watch, but I wanted to provide a written summary of the event as well.
How’s everyone? I hope you are hanging in there during this pandemic! To assuage your boredom, I have another podcast to recommend you to. Issac Meyer is a historian and teacher who is the creator of the History of Japan podcast. He recently did a three part episcode featuring Japanese feminists Raicho Hiratsuka and Fusae Ichikawa. Definitely check out Part 1 where Shojo Power! gets a shout out!
So I don’t get to listen to podcasts as much as I used to, and I have a list a mile long to dive into, BUT a lovely little podcast that I’ve enjoyed listening to invited me onto their show! That podcast is Manga Machinations, a podcast that focuses on more obscure and unknown manga. Obviously Sailor Moon is not obscure, but I had the opportunity to discuss important Japanese feminists which hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet. LOL.
The podcast features dakazu, darfox8, seamus and Morgana. In addition to being lovely people, each brings their own unique experience and background to the podcast. dakazu lives in Hawaii and seamus lives in Ireland which makes it a podcast that literally spans the globe! Please enjoy!
It’s been a joke among Sailor Moon fans for years–Sailor Star Maker’s attack call is “Star Gentle Uterus.” And now, North American and English speaking fans can finally legally enjoy it with the release of the final season of Sailor Moon, Sailor Stars. I imagine a lot more Sailor Moon fans will be asking the same questions we all have at some point—-how???? Why??? Well, I’m here to shed some light on that!
I, myself, was in the dark for the longest time regarding these questions. In fact, it wasn’t until quite recently that I learned that some fans identify the inspiration for the Sailor Starlights as coming from Hindu mythology. In Hindu mythology, there are three main gods–Brahma (The Creator), Vishnu (The Preserver), and Shiva (The Destroyer). This fits very nicely with the names of the Sailor Starlights–Sailor Star Maker aka The Creator, Sailor Star Healer aka The Preserver and Sailor Star Fighter aka The Destroyer. Which brings us back to Sailor Star Maker’s infamous attack, Star Gentle Uterus.
Claudine was written by Riyoko Ikeda in 1978, just a few years after her megahit Rose of Versailles hit the scene. Rose of Versailles was originally supposed to be a historical fiction work centered on the life of Marie Antoinette, but the handsome and noble soldier Oscar, who was assigned female at birth but lived as a man, quickly became the most popular character. Soon after the manga’s publication, Rose of Versailles was adapted for the Takarazuka stage. The stage production was so popular, it financially saved the all-female theater troupe.
Enter Claudine. I had always thought that perhaps Naoko Takeuchi was the first mangaka to take the characters from the fantastical world of the Takarazuka Revue and put them in the real world. Our favorite lesbian power couple Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune were modeled after Takarazuka actresses–and instead of portraying a heterosexual relationship as they would in a Takarazuka production, they are a lesbian couple. However, I was wrong. Riyoko Ikeda was placing these characters in the real world more than a decade before Sailor Moon hit the scene.
WARNING: SO MANY SPOILERS FOR CLAUDINE!
Content Note: In Claudine, the title character is referred to as female throughout manga. However, in this article I’ve used male pronouns to reflect Claudine’s gender preference. This follows how the translator and others have referred to Claudine as well.
In the past, I’ve written about some trans metaphors in Sailor Moon regarding the Sailor Starlights. But obviously, sometimes metaphors aren’t good enough. And while Sailor Moon gave us the best lesbian power couple ever, it’s 2018—how do trans issues fit into Sailor Moon? I’ve always thought that since trans women are women, trans women have always had a space in Sailor Moon. But since the manga and anime are over, how can that made crystal clear? Well, I’m happy to report that I have two wonderful examples to share with you!
Warning: Some mild spoilers for the Sailor Moon Super Live