Sailor Moon (and Anime) is Not a Freak Show…

On October 23rd, I came across an article that offended me. Not just as a fan of Sailor Moon, but as the editor of this blog where research is key. I tweeted about this article, but never linked to it. It took them over a week to make changes to the article, however they seemed to just want to make token edits. I wrote the editors of the site, and they did nothing. It only seemed like action was taken after I had written to the VP of the company. What is this article? A piece by Rohin Guha about Hollywood’s Anime Ambitions for BlackBook Magazine.

In this article, he failed to mention the most important thing that Sailor Moon is: a cartoon where the girls are the heroes. Instead, he compared it to “Eastwick meets Star Trek” (of which the show has barely anything in common with) and marked it as a show full of annoying girls He implied that the hallmarks of the series were “lesbians, transsexuals, gays, and some of the most sophisticated pontifications on classical mythology on network TV”. He made Sailor Moon sound like an absolute freak show. Moreover, when talking about an old effort by Disney to make a live action film with Geena Davis playing Queen Beryl, he also wrote that Alicia Silverstone was to be part of the effort. Alicia was never involved with the effort. I had asked BlackBook to correct both of these errors, however they did not. These kinds of strange judgments and shoddy research are appalling, especially considering that BlackBook Magazine has been established for 13 years. Where is your journalistic integrity? A lot of these statements tread on xenophobia – we are sure if he sat down and watched an episode, he would know better.

And then, he posted about the infamous Lindsay Lohan rumor of years ago. I was with Save Our Sailors at the time and I remember how hard we worked to verify or debunk that rumor. One of our members had to go through great lengths to get not one, but two issues of ANIMAGE, only to learn that there was in fact no mention. Other members worked hard in contacting relevant contacts to verify or debunk this rumor. I remember being relieved the day I posted our findings because I really didn’t want to see Lindsay Lohan play Sailor Moon, and I had hoped that the rumor would die. But clearly, it didn’t. At least I was able to succeed in getting this part of the article corrected, though not as strongly as I would have liked to have seen.

Rohin labeled “Japanophiles” (we think he probably meant to use the word “otaku”) as creepy fetishists, and generalized that all anime by virtue of its “choppy, hacky editing and tendency to reuse cels”…”is supposed to be a cost-effective way of mass-producing entertainment.” Has this guy not heard of such legends like Hayao Miyazaki, who won the first ever Oscar for an Animated Motion Picture? Or other major names in anime like Mamoru Oshii, Rintaro, Makoto Shinkai? or Isao Takahata? Not all anime is choppy or hacky edited, and we’re pretty sure that low budget does not equal low appreciation. The Oscar-winning Spirited Away may have only cost under 20 million USD to make, but grossed nearly 365 million USD worldwide. This comes pretty darn close to the profits that major Hollywood hits make these days. We invite Rohin to actually watch some anime, not just shows meant for TV, but movies as well. We’re not going to ask him to appreciate anime, but to think twice about what he writes about entertainment genres he seems to know little about. And maybe, consider doing more than a few minutes of research.

Keiko Kitagawa : Finding Fame in Her Own Way!

Real Sports Web posted an interesting editorial about Keiko Kitagawa, and how her clean past is keeping her with her agency, Stardust Promotion. The agency recently dropped one of its “breadwinner” stars, Erika Sawajiri over allegations of drug abuse. Given the recent arrests of many stars in Japan for drug abuse, Stardust is axing any star with even the slightest hint of a drug problem. The article then talked about how Keiko is now playing many leading roles, such as the recent TV Drama Buzzer Beat, and in her very first Japanese period movie, Hana no Ato. We have a beautiful shot of her from this movie featured today (more can be found here)! Keiko will be featured next in the movie Elevator To The Gallows. She has been called a starlet who is “a step ahead of today’s generation”. Originally, she had been a local model, but later transitioned to drama. Playing Sailor Mars in PGSM was her first role, however in recent times her agency has tried to keep knowledge of that at bay. Keiko has never been one to show very much of her body, and the article makes special mention that she is the only star of PGSM who has not turned to the world of gravure idols (and makes specific mention of Miyuu Sawaii in this context). However, because there were a few shots of her bloomers, this has somewhat taken away from her wholesome image. However, now that Keiko has a more “developed figure” and that she is now a more respected model, this isn’t a huge deal anymore (though some still think that PGSM is an obscure credit). The writer ends the article hoping that Keiko tries more, and that she also cosplays a bit in the future.

In Japanese society though, gravure idols aren’t seen as being “dirty” like they are perceived in North American culture. For many girls in fact, the only way for them to really get their start in the industry most times is to get into gravure modeling. We have to admire Keiko Kitagawa for avoiding these things largely and becoming a respected star in Japan. Fans, what are your thoughts on this? Do you think Keiko necessarily made the wrong decision in not pursuing a gravure career after PGSM ended?

What the Heck Were They Thinking, Again?

We’re getting tired of people comparing Britney Spears to Sailor Moon. Okay, maybe she is starting to clean up and get her life back in order but please. Just because she makes an anime video does not mean that it’s just like Sailor Moon. Anime is so much more than our favorite blonde, odangoed, superhero. First we had to deal with Diane Middleton of the Jacksonville Times-Union, now we have to deal with MuchMusic’s Video on Trial. Video On Trial aims to take every music video ever made and subject it to the judgment of a jury of 5 or 6 people (mostly comedians). We’ve got a video of the review, and around 3:52 you will hear one of the jurors say “But seriously, I hope Sailor Moon is getting royalties.” Maybe with all these horrible references, she should be getting paid. For those of you who are wondering, that isn’t really Celine Dion in the video, but comedienne Laura Landauer.

The New Speed Racer Movie Ain’t Doing So Well At The Box Office…

So – our poll results are in, and thanks to all 55 of you that voted! Seriously, we try to add polls to this site to add a bit of fun and we definitely know there’s more than 55 of you who read this site, so we encourage you all to vote! 61.8% of you voted that you’d go see a Sailor Moon movie with a darker perspective on the plot, just like the new Speed Racer Movie. 16.4% told us that while you thought the flashy effects were cool, you probably wouldn’t go see it, and 21.8% were undecided.

Speed Racer just opened last week in theaters, and so far it isn’t doing so well, raking in a disappointing 6.1 million on Friday. Nearly every review we have read has panned the flick, and we Moon Chase staffers aren’t planning on seeing it for now (though we may brave it for second run theaters). We weren’t too impressed with the first 8 minutes of the movie, and we thought it was a cross between Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and the popular F-Zero GX video game for the Nintendo Game Cube. We really don’t like the outside scenery at around the 3 minute mark – it looks too fake. We’re embedding the first 8 minutes below for you all to see. If any of our readers have gone to see it, we’d love to hear from you! Post a comment below!

This being said, this is only the first in many American adaptations of anime titles to live-action movies to come. Next up is Dragon Ball, and we’ve seen a lot of pictures from the set of this film and our expectations are continuously getting lowered. These blogs (link 1, link 2) are doing a very good job of covering the film’s production. We worry this Fox film won’t do the original anime much justice. Not too long ago, Dreamworks finally announced that they had gotten the rights to make a Ghost in the Shell 3-D Live Action movie. GiTS is one of our favorites here at Moon Chase, and just in case anyone from Dreamworks is reading this, PLEASE DON’T MESS THIS UP! Don’t follow the example of Speed Racer. Since Avi Arad is at the helm of this one, we have a lot more faith in him that he will make this one great – after all, his Iron Man is #1 for the second week in a row !

CBC’s Geminis Update! (They Really Sucked)

Hey Moonies, sadly Maria Vacratsis and the rest of the cast from Showcase’s Rent-a-Goalie didn’t win the award for Best Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Program or Series. The award went to local favorite, Corner Gas. The show just made it’s debut on WGN and for those of you south of the border who haven’t seen it yet, you should definitely catch an episode or two. The show even has a connection to Sailor Moon, David Huband (Serena’s Dad) played a kid’s Dad in the Season 3 episode, Men in Trees.

We need to step aside for a second and comment on the awards show itself. While it definitely turned Regina’s humdrum Conexus Arts Centre theatre into something wonderful, this was one of the poorest structured awards shows we have ever seen. We’re not sure whose brilliant decision it was to cram 10 awards into a 1 hour show, especially when it was complete with skits for entertainment. The winners weren’t even allowed to make speeches, instead a co-host met up with the winners on stage, asked them a question, and then they left the stage. CBC we know you were trying to make the awards more hip to attract more viewers, but come on. Some things should have been censored – even if a fifth grader giving the host the finger was done in jest. Some of the jokes were also a little crude, and the hap-hazardness and rushing after half an hour quickly sent the show down the hill. Some awards were even awarded off-camera. This was supposed to be a celebration of an especially good year in Canadian Television, and it seemed anything but – sorry to offend any of you CBCers who could be reading this, but it’s the truth. Or perhaps Regina should just be grateful that they got a new electronic billboard, new seats, and stage enhancements. We know Regina is capable of much more than this and we are truly disappointed with the production and handling of this event. We truly feel sorry for everything viewers and nominees had to experience tonight.