Welcome to the second part of this series! This part is going to focus on Toei’s Super Sentai series, which Naoko Takeuchi has admitted to being a fan of. I’m very interested in retro Sentai, but my knowledge of the subject is still very lacking, so I definitely encourage any feedback you might have.
The tokusatsu genre has been a huge part of Japanese pop culture, originating with kabuki performances and finally taking shape in the 50’s with characters such as Godzilla, Super Giant, and Moonlight Mask. A bit later in the 60’s and 70’s came the long-lasting Ultraman and Kamen Rider series. Shortly after the advent of these two icons came Toei’s new league of heroes: Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, which spawned the Super Sentai (or Power Rangers, to English-speakers) series. If you are unfamiliar with the tokusatsu genre, wikipedia has a good article on it here (which also mentions a related nod to the genre in Sailor Moon R).
Tokusatsu has had a huge impact on anime, spawning what we know to be “monster-of-the-week” anime series. The first magical girl to adopt this formula was Cutey Honey in 1973, which remained a niche brand of magical girl until the tokusatsu element was revisited by Naoko Takeuchi and became a staple for the genre. While Cutey Honey was based upon Rainbow Man, Takeuchi based her sailor senshi upon Super Sentai. By looking at the early Sentai series, we can find these direct influences,
From the very beginning of the Sentai series with Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, we can already see an influence for the Sailor Moon series. The main heroes use the color scheme of red (Akarenger), blue (Aorenger), yellow (Kirenger), pink (Momorenger), and green (Midorenger). In the Sailor Moon series, we have Sailor Moon (pink), Sailor Mercury (blue), Sailor Mars (red), Sailor Jupiter (green), and Sailor Venus (yellow). This color scheme is also revisited for another sentai team which we’ll take a look at a little later on in the article.
In 1982, the sixth installment of the Sentai series was introduced: Dai Sentai Goggle V. This team used weapons based around gymnastics and fought against the evil organization Death Dark. Goggle V marks the first major Sentai inspiration for Sailor Moon. In addition to their association with gymnastics equipment, Goggle V also drew power from gemstones and ancient civilizations. Goggle Red’s forehead gem is the ruby, which symbolizes Atlantis; Goggle Black’s forehead gem is the emerald, symbolizing Angkor Wat; Goggle Blue’s forehead gem is the sapphire, symbolizing Egypt; Goggle Yellow’s forehead gem is the topaz, symbolizing Lemuria; and Goggle Pink’s forehead gem is the diamond, symbolizing Maya and Inca. The senshi in Sailor Moon wear gems on their foreheads as well in the form of tiaras as opposed to helmets. The senshi share most of the same gems with Sailor Moon wearing the ruby, Sailor Mercury wearing the sapphire, Sailor Mars wearing the garnet, Sailor Jupiter wearing the emerald, and Sailor Venus wearing the topaz. Also like Goggle V, the senshi are tied to fallen civilizations as they are all princesses to fallen kingdoms of their respective planets. Goggle Pink also uses a hand mirror as one of her weapons, similar to Sailor Neptune, and attacks with heart motifs, much like Sailor Moon, Sailor Chibimoon, and Sailor Venus. After uncovering the gemstones and lost kingdoms, what of the planets?
The tenth Super Sentai incarnation, Choushinsei Flashman, came on air in 1986. The series features five heroes that were abducted by aliens as children and grew up on different planets. They return to Earth to fight against the foe responsible for their abductions and learn that they can only be on the planet for one year before our atmosphere kills the now alien heroes. Like Sailor Moon, Flashman draws their power from the planets that they were individually raised on and have a strong association with. They each reign from planets of their respective colors. Flashman uses the same color scheme as Gorenger, meaning that each of the colors featured is identical to the colors used for the main sailor senshi. One of the most obvious influences that Flashman had on Sailor Moon is the transformation phrase that’s used: “Prism Flash!”, which became “Moon Prism Power, Make Up!” in Sailor Moon.
Naoko Takeuchi has listed the Super Sentai series as one of her key influences with Sailor Moon and looking back, she’s clearly not lying. With the concept that she was going for, it was the best series to draw from. This influence behind Sailor Moon even prompted the series to delve into the tokusatsu genre itself with 2003’s Pretty Guardian Sailormoon.
That covers my article for the influence of the sentai. If you have any sentai influences to add to this article, I welcome your feedback. I’m not sure what the next part will focus on, so you’ll have to wait and see. Until later! —The Anime Hipster
Hey everybody, this is the first part of what I mentioned earlier. I’m loosely going to be making a series of posts that mention major influences for the formula in Sailor Moon (namely the anime, but a lot of this applies to the manga as well). I’m just going into influences from other shows, not real world influences as there’s already a lot of people who have gone over many of those. If there’s anything you’d like to add, please do! I’m no expert on the subject, so feedback is encouraged.
Magical girls and animals seem to go together like bread and butter. Even from the very beginnings of the genre, we have girls like Himitsu no Akko-chan (manga, 1962; anime, 1969) and her cat and Mahou no Mako-chan (1970) with her monkey, Kiko. Sarutobi Ecchan (1971) even had conversations with her dog, Buku. It wasn’t until the late-70’s that the inspiration for Artemis and Luna started to take shape.
In 1979, Toei Animation released its new shoujo/magical girl series, Hana no Ko LunLun. The series introduces LunLun, a French girl who on her 15th birthday meets two peculiar, talking animals on a mission. The cat, Cateau, and the dog, Nouveau, tell LunLun that she is the descendant of a race of fairies that used to live on Earth. These fairies still live on elsewhere, but need a flower from their home planet in order to crown a new ruler of their current home, the Flowern Star. LunLun is the only girl who can find this flower and is dubbed the “Flower Child”. The day after her birthday, they go searching for the multi-colored flower. You can watch the first episode dubbed here.
The set-up used in LunLun is essentially the same as Sailor Moon's: two animals descend to Earth, one male and one female. Both animals are capable of speaking in the native tongue and can be heard by everyone around them, causing reasonable shock. The animals visit the protagonist separately and then finally together in order to discuss a mission they've been sent to recruit the protagonist for. The mission involves finding the proper descendant (LunLun's animals do this by the first episode; Usagi's animals take several episodes) and searching for a prismatic/multi-colored artifact of great power (LunLun has to find the flower, whereas Usagi needs to find the Silver Crystal).
Four years after Hana no Ko LunLun's airing, the next big inspiration for Luna and Artemis appeared.
In 1983, the second era of magical girls debuted with Studio Pierrot’s Mahou no Tenshi Creamy Mami. The story begins with 10-year-old Yuu Morisawa racing toward a strange light in the sky that’s flying around the city. Upon pinpointing the light, she finds a massive airship and two cats, Nega and Poji, who take her aboard. Unbeknownst to her, she ends up helping an alien named Pino Pino find the ship—which he calls the Feather Star—and he grants her the ability to use magic for one full year and sends Nega and Poji to look after her in that time. The cats are able to speak to Yuu only, making average meows and purrs to the common ear. Nega teaches Yuu how to use her magic and she transforms into Creamy Mami. As Creamy Mami, she becomes a top idol in Japan. You can watch the first episode subbed here. [EDIT: I didn’t do my research on years of release prior to writing the first sentence. Mahou no Princess Minky Momo—a product of Ashi Productions, who would later go on to make Mahou no Tenshi Sweet Mint—aired a year prior in 1982.]
While the story itself has little to do Sailor Moon, the combination of a male cat and a female cat as opposed to LunLun’s male dog and female cat is important. Both cats also share similar appearances and are celestial, just as Usagi’s are. Nega’s ability to use alien technology also rings true to both Luna and Artemis being able to access the database within the Sailor V arcade game. Nega and Poji have access to more power than Luna and Artemis, but outside of the Feather Star they seem to be limited mostly to telepathy and transportation, which is along the same lines as Luna and Artemis being able to awaken the girls and spawn items.
While Sailor Moon's cats weren't created solely from these veteran magical girls, it's very clear that they were highly influenced by them. All magical girls tend to borrow ideas off of each other, but next installment I plan to go to a different source for Sailor Moon's inspiration: Toei's Super Sentai series. Take care! —The Anime Hipster
I’m interested in making a list of things that Sailor Moon got its ideas from (the anime, specifically). Some of it is really blatant, to the point where it’s a direct copy. Some of it is more subtle, but definitely there. I still have a lot of research to do however. Would anyone be interested in seeing it?
So excited for the Sailor Moon anime coming in 2013! And incredibly curious about the style they’ll be using. I’ve got my fingers crossed for something wispy and detailed like the manga, which I think could be animated in really interesting ways today. But we shall see! In anycase, this picture was something I put together just for fun as a break between some graphic projects.
The wait continues…
Background by Computerinkt
So far this picture looks closer to the manga’s style of animation.
Sailor Moon Sacrifice (available to watch here) is a fanime by Kaosu Studios that serves as a sequel to Toei’s Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars anime. The series seems to have been in the works for quite some time and will likely have a fairly lengthy run. So far, the story reveals that Princess Serenity had a twin sister (or something of the sort) named Kurai who has been a neatly kept secret up until this point. After temporarily sealing Chaos at the end of Stars, Usagi sees a vision of Kurai and starts having nightmares revolving around her. Usagi goes back to her daily grind until finally she and the inners fight a stronger, new breed of monster—ala the previous seasons—and she awakens Kurai in order to defeat it. As a result of her awakening, Seiya Kou returns to Tokyo and the two leave together after the fight. In the second episode, we see that Kurai and Seiya have apparently known each other for some time. We also see Wise Man (from Sailor Moon R) making a return as the main villian, along with a new crew who have yet to be completely showcased.
When I started watching it, I was fairly impressed. Overall, it’s a really good-looking show. However, I’m not a very big fan of the fact that it recycles everything. There is a fair amount of redrawn material, but it seems to be used very sparingly or for minor fixes. I feel like I’m watching a lot of things I’ve already seen, rather than watching a completely new experience. Masking and tracing are very big things in the Sailor Moon community and it sometimes produces good results, such as Sacrifice and fan transformations/attacks such as Starseed86's and GUHWALKERBH's work. However, I wish there would be more attention to animation and new material rather than edited screencaps and pan shots. Something like celeurmouy's original work or Moonsystem012345's less fluid, but very beautiful work are examples of really taking a project like this by the horns and personalizing it. I really do commend Kaosu Studios' dedication to their series despite these aesthetic differences I have with it, because committing to something like this and following through is pretty impressive on its own.
As far as the story goes, I can’t really comment on it since it hasn’t really unfolded much at all. From what I have seen, it’s definitely entertaining but it doesn’t really have anything to do with what Sailor Moon had previously established. It just doesn’t fit the theme of the show in my opinion. I’m not really sure how I feel about her long, lost twin either. It reminds me too much of the long, lost Sailor Earth plot element that gets brought up way too often. Seiya is also one of my least favorite characters, so her return isn’t something I was really itching to see happen. I am really curious to see how it unfolds though. The pace that the series is going at seems to be hinting that it will be a fairly lengthy season (as far as fanimes go), so there’s a lot of room for things to happen. If anything, they’ve created a series that is entertaining. My final verdict is that it’s a fanime worth checking out. It’s put together fairly well and it’s fun to watch. You can clearly tell that there is a lot of work put into making this series what it is. However, the chosen medium leaves a lot to be desired in some parts and it might not be quite the same experience you were hoping for after Stars. Overall, I’ll give it a 3/5. —The Anime Hipster
[Bear in mind as well that this is my opinion after watching the first 3 acts; the series may be subject to change as it continues.]
michiru ‘unable to communicate outside of ocean metaphors’ kaioh
Rei looks like she’s enjoying that middle picture a bit too much. hahaha These are great though. I’d love to have some kind of poster of the last one. I love the one with Usagi wearing headphones too. Seeing all this makes you wonder what’s in store for the new anime. Cheers to new Sailor Moon!
—The Anime Hipster
Appearances of Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon) in the cartoon W.I.T.C.H.
New button because I drew some teeny tiny sailormoons.
What wonderful concepts could the new anime take from the manga?
Including villains and characters who never made it to the original anime? Retaining elements such as Hotaru having robotic parts? The girls achieving their final Sailor Star forms? Naoko’s art and watercolour style implemented into the series design? Artemis and Diana being given human forms, alongside Luna? Mamoru being treated with respect as an equal character? Pluto being represented as half Roma without getting washed out or turned bright orange? More development of Haruka and Michiru’s relationship? Usagi and Mamoru’s grand wedding, finally animated?
And most of all, Sailor Stars done right.