Sera Myu Update – June 2010 (1 of 3)

Anri Onuki in Special Live Variety Extravaganza!

On July 19th, a special variety show will take place at the Aoyama Round Theatre, Tokyo. The show is called Pandora’s Ark Music X Paint Concert and will feature a harmony of live music, live painting, and story telling. There are a variety of different musicians appearing including guitarists, percussionists, a pianist and a signer, as well as an Erhu player! Among these, is Anri Ohnuki (Sailor Aluminum Siren in 2004) who will be performing a reading at this event. The release introduces her as appearing in Tokyo-Jima. She plays Mary Magdalene in the movie which also stars Tae Kimura (Fisheye from 1995-96) in the leading role! The show sounds like it should be a fun and interesting one to go to, so our readers who will be in Tokyo at the time should check this out!

Tae Kimura Shares Her Favorite Books and in New Commercials!

Speaking of Fisheye, she is sure up to a lot these days! In a recent interview with the Mainichi Shimbun, she was asked about what she likes on her bookshelf. She reveals that she likes to watch people in love, and by the way she talks she sounds like a real romantic! She watched a couple in a car lately, but she likes to watch lovers and surmise about their bond. She uses her observations and ideas when she has to act! Aside from romance novels, she also likes to read fantasy novels, especially those with heroes and heroines. When she reads these she likes dto dream of what the cast would be like! And thirdly, when it comes to classic fantasies, she has two favourites: Peter Pan and Mary Poppins. These are old childhood favorites of her, and she likes to feel like a kid again when she reads these. She especially loved these characters’ ability to float and fly in the air. She especially loves how Mary Poppins could clean a room in a snap!

Softbank is best-known for their dog mascot Oto-san! This white dog is brave, smart, friendly, and the cutest mascot we’ve ever seen. In fact he is so popular that in Japan you can get cell phone themes and other goodies like charms and toys in the dog’s likeness! In a recent series of commercials, Softbank has used the recent election as their inspiration for advertising some new plans. There are some mock debates and other situations featured in these commercials, and Tae Kimura can be seen in them. Look for the long-haired girl here in the commercials posted on June 3rd and 18th! This campaign will continue throughout the summer.

Sailor Moon in Japan Digest – Early June 2010

We’re retiring the old News from the Other Side of the Pond titles and are instead bringing in a new Sailor Moon in Japan Digest title. Mainly because, now Sailor Moon mentions in Japanese media are coming in packs (when they do).

An Article Comparing the Success of Pretty Cure to Sailor Moon in Japan (Again)

Once again, the Mainichi Shimbun has posted an article about Pretty Cure’s 7th year, and this time questions the roots of the series. Sailor Moon is mentioned as the first anime that started the trend of girl superheroes, but the article does not go without making a few controversial remarks about Sailor Moon. Fans can read an English version of the article here. Among the things that really struck a chord with us:

☽ Takashi Washio, a producer with Toei Animation comments: “We wanted to portray girls who don’t depend on other people, but always try to help others, the main characters are working hard towards their dreams, and we wanted audiences to see that as a cool thing.” Fine. Sailor Moon may have been dependent on Tuxedo Kamen to provide that crucial blow to weaken the enemy so she could use her “ultimate weapon”, but aside from that situation, every other character ALWAYS tried to help others. There were so many moments in the series where each of the Senshi were caught in a tough situation on their own. They handled it as best they could, until Sailor Moon could come and save the day. And don’t act like the girls of Pretty Cure aren’t dependent on each other either – they all have to unite for their “ultimate weapon” too.

☽ Akinori Takada, a media theory at Ferris University comments: “‘Sailor Moon‘ tried to work its charms on men, but ‘Pretty Cure‘ is different. I think that audiences have responded to the representation of independent girls fighting and solving problems.” Sailor Moon didn’t primarily try to work its charms on men. While the show did implore a few things to get guys to watch it, it was still at the end of the day an anime that was made for girls, and made to appeal to girls. And, audiences responded to much of the same things back in Sailor Moon’s day too, this doesn’t make Pretty Cure all that different at all.

☽ And finally, a comment from Ryota Fujitsu, 41, an anime critic: “Pretty Cure” focuses on the importance of friendship, and what sets it apart from “Sailor Moon” is the lack of romantic side plots. “The protagonists are cute, but they don’t flaunt their sex appeal, because the anime portrays girls who are vibrant and enjoying life, audiences are able to watch comfortably.” Uhh, there have been some romantic side plots involved with Pretty Cure, since many of the girls had crushes on guys (and vice versa). Nagisa had a crush on Fuji-pi, in the first season, Kento-kun had a crush on Inori last season, and those are just two examples. Sailor Moon focused on the importance of friendship just as much (if not more) than Pretty Cure did. Of course, we also think the protagonists of Pretty Cure have their own sex appeal, but we think we’ve written enough for this post.

Pretty Cure has a lot more in common with Sailor Moon than the people in this article think it does. While we think Pretty Cure has it’s own charm, just because it has had more movies and a much longer run than Sailor Moon, doesn’t bring it close to the legacy Sailor Moon continues to have in the hearts of anime fans all over the world.

Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential Hits Shelves in Japan, On Way Here Soon!

Gigazine posted a review of Brian Ashcraft (Senior Contributing Editor of Kotaku.com) and his wife Shoko Ueda’s book, Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made a Nation Cool. There is also a translation posted on their English site here. In there is a chapter dealing with sailor-style uniforms for any otaku wishing to learn more about how they came to be popular, as well as a section on comic icons which largely seems to focus on Sailor Moon! This book looks like it would be a great read, and we look forward to bringing you a few exclusives ahead of the book’s North American release in August. Brian also told us that he interviewed someone very close to Naoko Takeuchi for this book and we can’t wait to read what they had to say! However, those of you that can’t wait to purchase the book in stores in North America, you can import this book from Japan – it’s published in English there!

People Surprised by Character Ages!

Japan’s biggest social bookmarking site Hatena ran a special feature last week about the ages of different popular characters in anime, manga, and video games. While some people expected that Sailor Moon was around 14 years old, many were surprised by the age of some other favorites! Nintendo’s Mario is around 25, Hiroshi Nohara is thought to be around 35, and Bakabon’s father from the old favorite Tensai Bakabon is around 41. Some ages of these characters were unexpected by Hatena users, but nonetheless a lot of people were interested to find out what the ages of their favorite characters might be.

And to Cap…

Later this week we will talk more about Kunihiko Ikuhara’s recent trip to China, but for now here are a few images from the People’s Daily of Ikuni in action! We think he needs at the very least, a top hat, a mask, and a cape in that last picture to go with that big bouquet of roses… just sayin’ ;)!




Sera Myu Sightings – Late March and April

More Connections to Sera Myu in Minky Momo Musical!

Two actors involved with Sera Myu have just been confirmed to be a part of the 30th anniversary Minky Momo musical! Yoshiya Yukimura (many characters from 2000-2004) and Takayo Ooyama (Sailor Neptune 2004-2005) will be starring as Mocha the Monkey (middle) and Pipil the Bird (right) in the musical. The two of them starred in only one musical together, and we wonder if they spent any time reminiscing about Sera Myu in rehearsals. Along with Sindbook the dog, the three of these animals serve as Minky Momo’s companions. And to remind you, the show is produced by Toshiyuki Takezawa, who produced the Sera Myu musicals and also worked as a producer on PGSM. Yoshiya and Takayo were revealed at a special performance and talk show that took place at the Tokyo Anime Fair on March 28th. They were not there, but images were shown. The other big piece of news about this series at the TAF? There’s a new anime series in the works! Perhaps this is something we can look forward to from Sailor Moon in another ten years?

A New Movie for Mikako Tabe!

Way back in January, it was announced that popular manga title Kimi ni Todoke was going to get a live action movie adaptation. KnT is a shojo romance about a girl named Sawako who unfortunately earns the nickname Sadako because of her resemblance to the character of the same name from the popular movie, The Ring. Everyone at school thinks that Sawako can also speak to the dead and see ghosts. Sawako feels so alone, until she meets the very popular Kazehaya, and the two of them fall in love. Mikako Tabe (Yaten Kou/Sailor Star Healer) will be playing the role of Sawako, alongside the very popular Haruma Miura as Kazehaya. The film is set to open on September 25th in Japan.

Fumina Hara Appears with Salaryman!

On April 8th, NHK began to rebroadcast season 5 of the popular Japanese sketch comedy show, Salaryman Neo. Fumina Hara (Sailor Moon from 1998-1999) appears on the show, and also appeared at a promotional event at the NHK Broadcast Center on March 30th. Here she is posing with the rest of the cast – don’t you hear her saying “I am the business-suited pretty soldier of love and justice, formerly known as Sailor Moon!” At the event, NHK revealed that there is going to be an addition to this rebroadcast – each episode will have a new short story. It makes mention of a skit where Aki Nakada dresses up like a member of the Takarazuka Revue, and played her role very convincingly.

Tae Kimura Gets Fashionable and Controls Men in New Movie (and has a new book too)!

Tae Kimura (Fisheye) has a leading role in the upcoming movie Tokyo-Jima (Toyko Island). She plays Kiyoko, a 43-year-old housewife that suddenly finds herself in an icky situation when she is the only woman of 24 people stranded on an uninhabited island. Her character is tough, and she uses her charms as well as her body to control the men of the island. Even with all of the accolades that Tae has received in the last few years, this must be a challenging role for her to play! In the movie, she cooks for everyone and even caught a sea snake. She told everyone at a recent promotional event that she didn’t worry, because she likes snakes! Tae thinks that the women in the audience will sympathize but isn’t sure what the men in the audience will think. She hopes that everyone will wonder just what they are at the end of the movie. This movie also has a nice bit of a Haute Couture edge to it – French Luxury brand Hermes is the brand of choice for many of the cast members, and is featured prominently. Kiyoko wraps herself in a Hermes scarf during the movie. Japanese women who want the same scarf can purchase it in Hermes stores in Japan for the “affordable” price of ¥48300 (just shy of $520 USD). Fans can check out the R-rated Trailer at the official site (don’t watch it if you are under 18).

Tae also just released a new book of essays about her life as an actress, a daughter, a wife, a mother, and other personas. Entitled Kakato (Translation: Heel), these essays highlight many of her ups and downs in life from her career to her family. She isn’t much of a computer user, but really used it a lot to put this book together, staying up all night in hotel rooms just to get her thoughts written out. But, that isn’t to say that she didn’t write anything in longhand – in fact just to get the right meanings for the words, for some of her essays she wrote them out first. Despite her hardships, she knows that acting is her dream job and she is happy to be an actress, even though she is known as a very emotional and dramatic actress in Japan. As far as the title goes, there’s a very interesting reason why she chose it. It is a symbol of a part of the body that is often neglected to people, so she thinks. We kind of understand it since she feels that she has to show a lot of herself to the public and is always on her feet, never really having the time to lie down and reflect on life. This book is available from Kodansha and costs ¥1350 (or $14 USD).

Yuu Shirota to Dub Voice of Popular Dorama!

IRIS aired from last October to December in South Korea (information in English here), and was a huge hit. So much so, that TBS decided to purchase the dorama for broadcast. IRIS is about best friends Hyun Joon Kim and Seung Hee Choi, who are brought in to work for the NSS, an intelligence organization. The two of them fall in love, but things take a wicked turn when Hyun is sent to Hungary for a solo mission, and he learns that Vick, an assassin from a top secret spy organization known as IRIS, is looking for him. As this mysterious and unpredictable series progresses, Hyun Joon learns what IRIS is. This show has shot episodes all over the world, including the United States, China, Japan, and Russia! Yuu Shirota (Tuxedo Kamen from 2003-2004), will be dubbing the voice of Hyun Joon Kim in Japanese. IRIS will start on TBS on April 21st, and run for approximately 6 months. This show has been renewed for a second season in South Korea, however the actor that plays Hyun Joon Kim (Lee Byung Hun) is unable to return to his role.

Yuu was also featured in another article about singer Jin Akanishi, who just announced that he will be playing two concerts in LA this June. Everyone knows that Jin and Yuu are best friends, but did you know that Yuu considers Jin to be like an older brother to him? The rest of the article goes into other friends of Jin and how they have been caught partying by the tabloids.

Kousei Amano Starts Nightclub Tour!

Hot on the heels of the success of Tough Times at Club Indigo, Kousei Amano (Tuxedo Mask in 1999) is joining some cast members in a special night club tour of 22 Japanese cities to promote the show. They are going to also serve as the club hosts! The first of these party dates happened on March 31st at the Shinjuku Kabukicho Host Club called Club Acqua. By the way, if you are trying to spot him in the photo, he is second from the right in the gray suit. The boys of the Indigo Club sure looked sharp that night, as they partied with clubgoers and poured champagne. Kousei was quoted, saying that he only hopes that he can work hard to please everyone at these 22 cities, and that he understands how hard these hosts have to work to please everyone at the club. Here’s one last picture for all you fangirls to see these “dream hosts”.

Maki Aizawa Represents the Typical Resident of Niigata Prefecture in Japanese Variety Show!

Himitsu no Kenmin Show (Translation: Secrets of the Character of Prefectural Residents
). This show aims to find out what makes the residents of each prefecture in Japan different from one another by looking at these local customs and attitudes in depth. On April 22nd, Maki Aizawa (Loof Merrow in 2004), appeared on the show representing Niigata prefecture. We couldn’t find any more about Maki’s involvement in the show, but did learn a little bit about the episode’s features. There is a new way to enjoy Soba in Toshigi, every February 1st, the people of Aomori look forward to a day of bargain sales, and in Sapporo, the 1972 Olympics inspired a large part of their population to take up the Bobsled! To learn even more about the show and the products seen, visit the other official site of the show here.

And for our Anza Ooyama (Sailor Moon from 1993-1998) fans, she is currently touring in Brazil with her band Head Phones President. Head to SOSMP BR for more, including a video of her band performing a moving, acoustic version of their hit song “Chain”!

3 Days of Sera Myu – Day 2: Sailor Mars, Tuxedo Kamens, and Sailor Star Fighter all in New Doramas!

Risa Honma Stars in New Calligraphy Club Dorama!

Risa Honma, best known for playing CereCere in 2001 and Sailor Mars from 2004-2005, has a supporting role in a new dorama called Tomehane! Suzuri Koko Shodobu. This show is about a girl from Canada who returns to Japan after many years, and finds that she likes Japanese calligraphy. She joins her new high school’s calligraphy club, but the tiny club is in danger of being abolished without enough students. This is a slice of life drama, and Risa plays Arisa Hatakeyama, a member of a prestigious calligraphy school’s staff. The dorama is a live-action adaptation of a popular manga in Japan which ended last year by veteran mangaka Katsuoshi Kawai. Calligraphy is not just about learning the different characters and making them, but also “performance calligraphy” which involves dancing and drawing them. This series began January 7th on NHK. It was only meant to be a 6 episode special, and just ended on February 11th. Since Sera Myu ended, you may be surprised to know that Risa is a budding Sailor Pluto! She lists astrophysics as a hobby, and studied physics at Nihon University, Japan’s largest university!

Kousei Amano Plays a Host and is in a Special Boy Band!

Kousei Amano (Tuxedo Kamen in 1999) is now starring in a dorama that is adapted from a popular novel by Miaki Kato. Indigo no Yoru (or Tough Times at Club Indigo) began on Fuji TV in January, and tells the story of Akira Takahara, a woman who once was a successful editor at a major Japanese publisher. One day, her fiance suddenly disappeared, and an unfortunate embezzlement incident later caused her to lose her job. She ends up as the manager of Club Indigo, a strange host club in Shibuya. With various shenanigans happening every night around the club, she and her hosts become amateur detectives to try to solve the cases. Kousei plays a host named “Inu Man” (or Dog Man in English). But what’s even more interesting is that he is ten years older than the youngest host, and the two of them along with the famed Takagi twins have formed a pop unit! They are called INDIGO 4 and sing the theme song to the show “Kokoro -Dear my friends-“. The single is set to be released today! This show also has a connection to PGSM, as Masu Takeshi (Rei’s Dad) also appears in this show playing a supporting role as Mama Nagisa. And if the name of this author sounds familiar, it is! Miaki also wrote the Mop Girl novels, which were later turned into a dorama starring none other than PGSM Sailor Mars, Keiko Kitagawa! The story has also been adapted for the stage, and is set to debut on April 30th at the New National Theatre in Tokyo.

Yuu Shirota in New Movie Based on Popular Dorama!

Yuu Shirota (Tuxedo Kamen from 2003-2004) reprises his role as the condemned criminal Mariya Kyousuke in the just released Koshonin: Time Limit at 10 000 m Above the Ground. This movie is a spinoff from the popular Koshonin: The Negotiator dorama in Japan which lasted for two seasons. The show’s premise seems very familiar to that of Flashpoint, but with detectives involved with the Special Investigations Team (SIT). An airplane is hijacked in this movie, but the team’s lead negotiator Usagi Reiko is on the flight, and races against time to save the day.

We also came across this very special interview that was conducted by Cinema Today to celebrate his 24th birthday. Yuu Shirota is half-Japanese, half-Spanish, and was largely raised by his Spanish mother. He was asked about cultural differences with Spanish people, and he noted that he lived in Spain when he was a child. He said something interesting that Japanese people are shier than Spanish people. For example if you bump into someone and they drop their handkerchief, in Japan they very hurriedly say “Sorry!” and keep going. In Spain though, people are a lot friendlier and the conversation would go something like “Hey, I dropped my handkerchief!” “Oh, I’m sorry! Can I help you?” He thinks people feel closer in Spain to each other. He has immense respect for his mother since she raised him and his 4 siblings alone in Spain, and had a hard time raising them in Japan where she didn’t understand a word of Japanese. She had been through so many hard times, but she raised them all “splendidly”. He has immense respect for her, and how she helped them all to grow. On his birthday each year, he says that he thanks his mother for giving birth to him. He thinks that the day when children get presents should be a day when they thank their mothers for giving birth to them, since they are the reasons that they are alive and living happily! And, he especially notes that mother hurt her belly giving birth to him, and that the father’s genes are important too.


Mikako Tabe is Everywhere!

Mikako Tabe (Yaten Kou/Sailor Star Healer from 2003-2004) is starring in a new adaptation of a critically acclaimed Japanese novel by Toyoko Yamasaki. Fumo Chitai (The Waste Land) began last October on Fuji TV and continues to run. This series follows Iki Tadashi, a former military leader who was captured by the Soviets during World War II. Treated as a war criminal, he was sentenced to many years of labor in a harsh Siberian detention camp. After 11 years of imprisonment, he is released. He returns to Japan and begins readjusting to life as a civilian, rejecting an offer from his former colleague to work on a defense project. Tadashi has decided to never involve himself in war again, much to the joy of his family. Instead, he attempts to set off on a new path working at a major trading company. Mikako plays his daughter, Naoko in teh series. The series was not only shot in Japan, but also in New Zealand to re-create the Siberian detention camp, and is loosely based on the life of Ryuzo Sejima. This drama is doing very well in the ratings and is one of the more popular shows in Japan.

A brand new recording was released of famed Japanese poet Noriko Ibaragi‘s greatest works. When I was Most Beautiful ~ Words to Live By ~ was released on January 30th, and Mikako can be heard reading her most famous poem “When I was Most Beautiful” about the unfairness of war among the poems included. Fans can read an English translation of the powerful poem here (and wander around and read her other poems too – they are great!). The poem, since its publication in 1957, has been translated into many different languages, and was even put to music by Pete Seeger in the late 60s.

And, last December 4th, Japan’s prestigious Elandor Awards were handed out. These awards recognize excellence in Japanese cinema and TV dramas. Mikako won a “Rookie Award” for her acting in the Japanese fantasy film, Fish Story. Fans can learn more about the time-traveling adventure in a review from Variety (yes, this is in English). She played the schoolgirl Asami in this punk-rock themed movie about fate through the ages. There may be an international release of this film, but as of this writing no one has picked it up internationally (hey FUNImation, here’s a Japanese film actually worth licensing). Congratulations!

Only one more day to go – guess who’s modeling, and guess who won an award for his performance in a Japanese production of a Shakespearean play?

Recent Sailor Moon Finds in Italy

Last night, as we were searching for more information on this not-confirmed rumor that the show is going to return, we did some digging. The interview will either be posted on AnimeFun, or the forum founder’s website, AnimenoCensura. It also looks like the forum is letting fans get in on the interview, so post here if you have any questions for him! It seems one fan has already asked a question about where the rights are to Sailor Moon.

Also, in Italy, the June issue of Cartoni magazine had an eight page feature about Sailor Moon. The article talks about the series, the movies, the characters, the plight it faced in Italy, and also features an interview with Elizabetta Spinelli, the Italian voice of Sailor Moon. It also has a feature quiz asking which Sailor Senshi you would be! To see pictures of the spread, click here to visit Sailor Moon Fantasy!

We also found out that a fan-written book was published in Italy just weeks ago by Iacobelli SRL , a private publisher. I ♡ Anime: Sailor Moon La Bella Ragazza Guerriera was written by an otaku, Elena Romanello, and is part of their Collana I ♡ Anime series. The title translates to: The Beautiful Girl Warrior. The book is about her cultural impact around the world (especially on gender roles), during her run and beyond when she vanished into thin air. There is a special section about complaints (of which there were a lot in Italy) as well as cosplay! From what we have read it is quite a hot seller! The book is available at many online retailers.

And if that wasn’t enough, we found a product named after Sailor Moon. Trucco Minerale has an apricot blush shade called “Sailormoon”. It is described as having a delicate pale apricot color that illuminates the cheekbones. It should be paired with an illuminating eyeshadow. One blogger noted that if used sparingly, the color is delicate, and the name is attractive. Seeing something like this makes us wonder what else have we yet to find that has been named after Sailor Moon?