Sailor Moon Returns to San Francisco!

Ok. Not the real Sailor Moon, but still a cool one anyway! Cosplayer Maria Watanabe is on a mission to bring joy to people visiting Japantown and to teach everyone she can (especially children) about Japanese culture. She cosplays at Sailor Moon on Saturday Afternoons in San Francisco’s Japantown, speaking only as Sailor Moon would in Japanese! Fans can check out a wonderful piece here from the SF Public Press which features an audio clip in which she goes into the legend that Sailor Moon is based on, and how happy she is cosplaying as Sailor Moon! The writer could have gotten the description of Sailor Moon down a little better (she definitely doesn’t have blue hair). She has also started a special group for cosplayers, and welcomes more company to join her at the mall. If any of our readers in San Francisco happen to see her, we’d love to hear of your experiences! While we may not have the real Sailor Moon back in North America, it is refreshing to learn of interesting and creative ways that people are still keeping the spirit of Sailor Moon alive. Domo Arigato Goza Imasu Maria!

Fashion and Culture Notes from Japan!

Toei Animation Collaborates with Japanese Fashion Brand Uniqlo for Exclusive T-Shirt Line!

This broke on Friday, and we would have posted something that evening, except that we were finishing up a little background research on it. Toei has signed a creative and interesting deal with Japanese fashion brand, UNIQLO. UNIQLO has been in Japan for over 60 years, but has experienced a growing popularity in the world market in the last few years. The brand’s feel is casual/trendy and is noted for its affordability. In Spring 2010, UNIQLO will launch a unique line of T-shirts featuring a bunch of Toei Anime properties. The T-shirts will be sold in UNIQLO boutiques in France, Russia, United Kingdom, the United States of America, Hong Kong, China, Singapore and South Korea. We were curious of whether Sailor Moon was going to be included, considering that the franchise is experiencing a resurgence in Japan and Italy. Toei Animation probably finalized this deal through their Japanese office, but the press release was in fact posted on their European site (and nowhere to be found on their Japanese site) and featured a quote from Mr. Kanji Kazahaya, the General Director of Toei Animation Europe. He commented “We are very pleased to conclude this deal with one of the major International apparel retailer”. By proposing this new range, we will give our anime fans the opportunity to enjoy fashionable T-shirts of Dragon Ball, One Piece, Galaxy Express 999, Dr Slump and Saint Seiya very soon.” And judging by the entire list of titles on the release it looks like it’s probably going to be a line of T-shirts for men only. So, unfortunately FUNImation, it doesn’t look like Sailor Moon is going to be included on this line, and the rest of us gals who want to have that Galaxy Express 999 or Dragon Ball T-shirt, have to once again shop in the mens section of a store. Congratulations to Toei though on this deal and we look forward to seeing the results of this collaboration!

Ladies, Here’s How Not To Scare Men?!

This is only peripherally related to Sailor Moon, but since we occasionally report some strange cultural tidbits from Japan, we thought we’d include this. Ameba posted a story expanding on an older post found on a general advice-about-life site called Nanapi. This is a list of nine gestures/mannerisms that women are suggested that they use to make men less frightened of them. It is all about crossing the body (without turning yourself into a pretzel). Take these with a grain of salt, ladies!

1.When holding your cell phone, women should hold it in their right hand up to their left ear. It is more womanly to cross your arm in front of your face, and the article makes special mention of a famous pose by Sailor Moon, where she also crossed her arms. We’ve pictured the pose here, and we have even had an esteemed male fan pose in the same way. We don’t think either of them makes any man less frightened?!

2. When you are in the midst of writing, or finishing writing, you should give a little twirl to a lock of hair on your right side with your left hand. This apparently looks sexy and is often a pose featured in fashion photos.

3. When putting on or taking off earrings, you should use the opposite hand. This makes you doubly feminine, according to the article.

4. When speaking, turn your body approximately 45˚ towards the person you are speaking to. When you gaze towards the person this way as you turn your body slightly, it evokes femininity.

5. When you walk, remember to cross your legs like an X just like the female models on the runway. When men walk on the runway, they do not cross their legs and walk very straight (and why does this matter?).

6. Cross your legs over and over. Men find this sexy.

7. When you touch a person, use the hand that is farther away (ex. Right shoulder with the left hand). This emphasizes femininity and also gives a sense of intimacy.

8. Always pick up dropped items with the opposite hand. Men tend to pick up from the waist and the same side. Women on the other hand, should not. This seems a little impractical.

9. When shaking hands, you should always have your arms and legs crossed. This is the ultimate body crossing gesture, but a man may treat you to a date if you scold him like this during a meeting.

Again, take these with a grain of salt, but this definitely ranks up there on our list of bizarre places we’ve seen Sailor Moon mentioned! Staff member The Me, who was also just as irked by this as you are, offers this:

How about this tip: Just act natural and don’t waste so much energy trying to impress the nonexistant average.

Sailor Moon Musical Number to be Presented by Cosplayers in Seoul!

Since 2005, there has been a festival which happens at the same time in Japan and the Republic of Korea (South Korea) to celebrate friendly ties between the two countries. The Japan-Korea Exchange Omatsuri will begin on September 19th, and will take place simultaneously at the Roppongi Hall Arena in Tokyo , and the Seoul Plaza (which happens to be in front of Seoul City Hall) in Seoul. One very interesting event that we hope someone posts video of, will be Korean cosplay group Moonstone going a step further than their usual Sera Myu cosplay! On September 20th, they will be performing a musical number with the use of traditional Korean and Japanese instruments! We don’t know what song they will sing from Sera Myu, but this sounds like it could be a very interesting and fun show! For those of our readers in South Korea, this will take place at 7:30. We would love to see pictures and video of the event if you are going! From the pictures of their appearance in a cosplay parade last year (we have featured them below), they sure put in a lot of effort into their costumes and we think they are pretty close to the original! Also, if any of you know anything about Moonstone (we haven’t been able to find out a lot about them), please tell us, we’d love to tell the fans a little more about them! There will also be a lot of youth participating in performance groups there as well along with Moonstone. There will also be a Japanese cultural parade in Seoul, and in Tokyo there will be a Korean cultural parade, as well as a Kimchi festival, which will teach Japanese people about how to make it, and also a little bit about Korean culture. Perhaps Keiko Kitagawa and Jung Woo-Sung should attend that (we kid, we kid)!

MOONSTONE Appearance at Omatsuri 2008:

Sailor Moon Animator Muses on Japan Expo in France

In a piece simply titled The French Like the Pop Culture of Japan, animator Kimiharu Obata muses on how Anime has grown in Japan, along with his own observations at the Japan Expo held in early July, in Paris. The expo is dedicated to all aspects of Japanese pop culture, including anime, manga, videogames, cosplay, fashion, and martial arts. It took us a little while to find out exactly who Obata was, but we later learned that he was once a top animator for a few years at Toei, and worked on the Sailor Moon R series. Currently, he is retired from animation, but he teaches at Vantan Design Institute’s College of Film, Anime, and Manga. He seems like a very interesting person, and we recommend you visit Obata-Sensei’s webpage! He even drew Sailor Moon recently for a Vantan flier!

Over the 4 days of the expo, 140,000 people attended, and their interest in Japanese culture was pretty strong. The majority of people knew Japanese culture as more than just anime and manga, but there were also quite a few cosplayers. Through his work with the Vantan Design Institute, he presented some of their animation in the hopes they could sell some of it to some French companies to release on DVD, and he also wanted to interview some of the Expo goers to learn of different perspectives on anime. It was a bit of a challenge too, given the current economic situation, to pitch anime in France to people who have a different understanding of anime than a person would in Japan. They were under a lot of pressure!

Then he began to write about the history of anime in France. We’ll summarize this part for you briefly. In 1978, Go Nagai’s UFO Robot Grendizer made its debut in France, to the delight of many children! Many children played outside pretending to be characters in the show. However, the show’s success was met with some controversy over ethics and violence. During the 90s, Kinnikuman was forbidden to air in France since one of the heroes (Brocken Jr.) derives from a Nazi upbringing. Anime was banned soon after in France, however many fans resorted to fansubs and bootlegs of anime. In 1991, the Dragon Ball manga was published in France, and became hugely popular. In 1999, the ban on anime was lifted, and Pokemon was one of the first anime to air in France in a long time. France later became one of Europe’s most popular countries for anime. Companies later saved money by subcontracting dub contracts to local companies, while still maintaining a high quality. Moreover, France is now a talent hub for other cartoons which air all over the world. You’d be surprised to find out how many North American cartoons in the last 10-15 years have come from France!

Kimiharu also remarks that Japanese dramas are being enjoyed in France through underground sites, simply because they are as original as anime that air. In fact, those dramas which are based on anime are very popular there. He also found it a little strange that a couture powerhouse like France was interested in Japanese fashion, and even drew inspiration from fashion in anime and manga. He was astonished! But, to really make an impact these days, a cartoon must also have a manga, video games, and movies. He also noticed that girls are becoming a lot more interested in anime and manga than they were before, thanks to the shojo genre and titles like NANA.

It is still very hard for Japanese movies that do well in Japan to do just as well in France. He cites a few Studio Ghibli titles as examples such as Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away. Though the concept of a girl superhero was still a little foreign to some people in France, Sailor Moon was a huge hit!

He also spoke with a representative from Glenat Manga, who he names as a premier company for manga sales in France. The representative said he has been visiting Japan several times over the last 20 years to search for good work. He not only licenses manga which he knows that French people will like, but also other manga which may not be big sellers, but just to bring good work to France. He gives an example of how he bought Jiro Tamaguchi’s work to France. He is a veteran cartoonist in Japan, but many young people do not know who he is. However, his work is an “impressive masterpiece of individual conscience”, and slowly he is becoming recognized in France, even winning the Alph’Art of the Best Scenario Award in France in 2003. The rep also said that he was also impressed that during the anime ban, that anime and manga did not lose credibility among the people in France. He feels that the element of surprise is what appeals to people the most of Japanese manga, and that it is also educational entertainment. The French are a very inquisitive people and they are not afraid to be shaken by anime!

Kimiharu ended the article saying that he was fascinated by this fusion of two cultures. The link for the article is here for those of you who want to read it in Japanese, and it’s a very interesting perspective that we don’t hear from often! There are also some great pictures at the Japan Expo’s official site!

EDIT: The article has since been removed, but Obata-sensei has posted this on his website. Read his journal entry here, and a copy of the article here.


Hello readers! I should really stop making announcements that I have time to write posts since that seems to jinx me the very next day… rest assured, I have this entire weekend free! So I’m going to work very hard to get as much done as I can for you all. I was worried that our readership would have slipped significantly during this hiatus, but thankfully it didn’t and (I probably don’t say this enough) thanks to you all for your support!

In the meantime though, if you haven’t checked out The Me’s post below about possibly one of the most hideous Sailor Sightings ever on TV, I highly recommend you do!
Some other posts from other places to keep you busy:
☀ Kotaku makes mentions of perks of upcoming Club Nintendo Memberships in North America, and really makes my day talking about G.i.r.l. !
☀ Recently, a really HQ trailer of the Live Action Dragon Ball Movie popped up on the internet. And, Piccolo reminds us a little bit of Darth Sidious. I’m not any more excited to see this movie after seeing this trailer, are you?
☀And I’ll end with a couple Sailor Moon tidbits for you all! ANN posted a review of a Sailor Moon Arcade game we bet only a few of you have ever heard of , and once again, it seems Sailor Moon has had a strange influence on fashion. This time, with designer Renata Morales, according to Mosha Lundström Halbert, a writer for the Varsity. Check out the pictures from her collection here!