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5 Interesting Facts About Sailor Moon

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published May 28th 2018
How much do you know about the one named Sailor Moon?
5 Interesting Facts About Sailor Moon
Naoko Takeuchi

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Sailor Moon was a popular manga series that ran from 1991 to 1997. It was written and illustrated by Naoko Takeuchi. It was also an extremely successful anime series that aired from 1992 to 1997. A reboot of the anime called Sailor Moon Crystal premiered in Japan in 2014 and is still going strong. The Sailor Moon manga sold over 35 million copies worldwide and has been credited with creating the Magical Girl genre.

Here are 5 interesting facts about Sailor Moon:

1. The Three Talismans are based off Japanese Legend

5 Interesting Facts About Sailor Moon
Sailor Uranus's Space Sword and Sailor Neptune's Deep Aqua Mirror

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In the third season of the show, the plotline has a lot of Christian themes and motifs. The Sailor Guardians must find the "Three Talismans" which can combine to form the "Holy Grail" which can then be used by the Holy Messiah.

It is eventually discovered that the talismans were residing in the pure hearts of Sailor Neptune, Sailor Uranus and Sailor Pluto. They were the Deep Aqua Mirror, the Space Sword and the Garnet Orb. What some people might not know is that these objects were based on three similar items from Japanese legend.

The Deep Aqua Mirror is based off a sacred Japanese mirror called Yata no Kagami. The Space Sword is inspired by a real-life sword called Murakumo no Tsurugi and Sailor Pluto's garnet orb is modelled after a jewel called Yasakani no Magatama
These three items are called the Imperial Regalia of Japan.

5 Interesting Facts About Sailor Moon
The Imperial Regalia of Japan

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The Imperial Regalia of Japan are real things and are the most highly guarded treasures in the country. They represent valour (the sword), wisdom (the mirror), and benevolence (the jewel). They are so heavily protected only a handful of people have seen them. They are housed in three sacred sites spread across the country that are heavily guarded and closed to the public.

2. The Korean adaption was heavily censored

5 Interesting Facts About Sailor Moon
The characters on the left have had their outfits altered to show less flesh

The original English adaptation of Sailor Moon faced a lot of backlash from fans for making a lot of changes to the show that many deemed unnecessary. Character names were changed from Japanese to English, Japanese writing was replaced with English writing, some characters switched genders, original Japanese songs were replaced with English ones, entire scenes were cut and some episodes were scrapped or edited shorter.

What some fans might not know is that the Korean version of the show was so heavily censored it makes the English adaption look good by comparison. The Korean translation removed all Japanese writing from the show but unlike in the English version, either turned it into gibberish or did not replace it with anything.

Characters who were thought to be showing too much skin had their bodies crudely photoshopped to make it look like they were wearing longer tops or pants and the show was particularly harsh when it came to Sailor Mars.

Korea has a difficult relationship with Japan due to historical and political reasons. When the show was first adapted Korea had a ban on Japanese imports at the time.

A total of 44 episodes were cut because they showed the Hikawa Shrine (where Sailor Mars lives) or made any reference to Rei's religion. Character names were changed to sound less Japanese, scenes involving nudity or kissing or violence were edited or cut completely, the Amazon Trio arc was skipped entirely, and references to homosexual and lesbian relationships were removed. In 2012, a new much less censored Korean version of the show was made.

3. Princess Serenity's dress is based off a wedding dress

5 Interesting Facts About Sailor Moon
Naoko Takeuchi

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After Sailor Moon discovers that she was Princess Serenity in a past life, she gains the ability to transform back into her former self in moments of crisis. When Usagi turns into Princess Serenity, her clothes transform into a flowing white dress and a crescent moon symbol appears in the middle of her forehead.

Princess Serenity's white dress is as iconic as Sailor Moon's blue and red sailor suit.

Naoko Takeuchi was inspired by Western bridal fashions when she was coming up with the idea of what the princess dress should look like. In the first art book, she explains how she got the idea for the dress:

"My image of a princess is inspired to a considerable degree by a Western book and magazines specializing in wedding dresses, featuring just dresses like this in this kind of pose. That's right. It's a wedding dress Selenity is wearing! When princesses are in full dress, they wear cloaks. And they sit on pedestals like sanctuary shells, like flowers."

Here is a video of a model wearing the dress:

4. The Moon Kingdom ruins were based on ruins in Syria

5 Interesting Facts About Sailor Moon
Naoko Takeuchi

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The destruction of the Moon Kingdom is an important moment in Sailor Moon. Naoko Takeuchi got inspiration for what the ruins of the Moon Kingdom were going to look like after looking at pictures of the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria.

There is something majestic about the ruins of Palmyra. Once a monumental city of huge influence, it is now one of the most precious archaeological sites in the world, home to ruins that date back to the 1st century.

5 Interesting Facts About Sailor Moon
Palmyra, Syria

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If you compare images of the Moon Kingdom with Palmyra, you can see the similarities between the two. In the second Sailor Moon art book Naoko explains why she chose Syria as her inspiration:

"I drew this picture as part of a set for the February Issue of Nakayoshi in1993. I like this picture although it ended up containing somewhat sad colors. Syria was the place closest to the image of destruction that I had in mind, but I did not have many actual references for it. As a result, I want to see it with my own naked eyes once, at any cost."

5. The Sailor Starlights Gender Swapping Caused Dramas

5 Interesting Facts About Sailor Moon
Naoko Takeuchi

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Naoko Takeuchi has stated in interviews that only females can be Sailor Guardians. There is a Sailor Guardian for every planet, asteroid and moon in the Milky Way galaxy. The Sailor Starlights are Sailor Star Fighter, Sailor Star Healer and Sailor Star Maker. They appear in the "Stars" arc of the manga and the fifth season of the anime. They are Sailor Guardians of planets that exist outside of Earth's solar system. They come to Earth because they are searching for their lost princess.

In the manga, they are three women who disguise themselves as an all-male singing group when they're dressed as civilians. The original anime changed their genders and made them men who transform into women.

This angered and confused Naoko Takeuchi who had said that only girls could be Sailor Guardians. The decision to change their gender was made by director Takuya Igarashi. There is speculation that the reason their gender was changed was due to criticism that the show had received for having Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune be in a lesbian relationship on a show meant for children.

The gender switching Sailor Starlights have always been a magnet for controversy. A lot of countries were unsure how to handle them when translating the show for local audiences.
In Italy, the show attracted a lot of criticism from some parents and psychologists who felt that its violent scenes and sexual references made it unsuitable for young children.

In 1997, a psychologist called Vera Slepoj, claimed that the show was causing children to question their sexual identity. Because of this, the Italian version of the show was heavily censored. The Starlights became men who did not transform or change sex but instead called on their twin sisters to fight for them.

Other countries kept the Starlights as men and continued to refer to them as such even after transforming but gave them different voice actors for their civilian and guardian forms. The Korean dub made them women but edited their outfits so they showed less bare skin. The Mexican and Brazilian dubs kept their gender-swapping abilities but gave them separate voice actors for their male and female selves. The Hebrew dub gave them male voice actors and when they transformed they spoke in a different pitch.

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