First Episode of the Zannen, Canada Podcast Features Sailor Moon Memories

Hello, Sailor Moon fans!

I took part as a speaker in the first episode of the Zannen, Canada podcast and there was plenty of talk about Sailor Moon. I reminisced about how I got into Sailor Moon and my experiences as an early fan of the franchise before the Internet age. There’s also discussion of missed opportunities for anime in Canada and hopes for the future.

Some of you may remember Jesse Betteridge’s previous version of Zannen, Canada which was a Canadian focused anime news site. The podcast is like the next generation of that, with lots of discussions about anime and future interviews with industry figures. She podcast has a primarily Canadian focus, but should be of interest even if you’re outside of Canada and would like to hear more about anime in North America.


If you’d like to listen to the first episode of the Zannen, Canada podcast, you can check it out here.

Top Ten Sailor Moon Items to Buy

Sailor Moon has had a storm of merchandise released in the past few months, from figures, to clothing, office goods, stationary, and electronic accessories. So to make shopping easier, here is a list of the ten most interesting and useful Sailor Moon items currently for sale and preorder.

  1. The 20th Anniversary CD


Although not much is known about this CD on preorder for January, what we do know is that it will be ten tracks long featuring some of the original voice actresses, well as Momorio Clover Z with remakes of Sailor Moon’s classic songs such as Moonlight Densetsu.

 2.       Proplica’s Moon Stick       

      Proplica Moon Stick

The cosplay/display item of your dreams, Proplica’s high quality Moon Stick features sounds and lights as well as recordings by Sailor Moon herself, Kotono Mitsuishi. Full scale and with a beautiful stand to display the Moon Stick when it is not in use, it’s a fantastic nostalgia piece that anyone can enjoy.

 3.   Sailor Moon PJs 
Sailor Moon PJ's

Along with the lingerie Peach John and Bandai created, they also made this adorable short and t-shirt set. Also available in pink, the approximate $50 price tag may be a little hefty, but it’s hard to deny that they look comfy.

 4.     Stained Glass Phone Case 


There are over a dozen or so phone cases out now, but this one has the most sophisticated look. All of the Inner Sailors and Princess Serenity in a pastel stained glass motif. Available for iPhones 4/4s, 5/5s, and the 5c. As well as the Samsung Galaxy S4.

 5.       ‘Makeup’ T-Shirt      


Sailor Moon strikes a pose in this transformation incantation t-shirt! The color gradient type in the background calls out “Moon Prism Power, make up!” All four Inners have a matching design, so you can complete the set if you choose. The only downside is that they cost far more than Hot Topic’s selection

6.       Brooch Earbuds         


Pretty in pink, Sailor Moon’s original brooch adorns these plug style earbuds with a bonus Luna cord slider to keep things tangle free. A perfect match for that phone case above!

 7.       Portable Charger


Let Luna and Artemis take care of your electronics with this portable charger. This takes AA batteries in order to charge whatever you may have that needs some juice. Comes with a micro USB cable.

      8.       Mini Figurine Set           


Puchi-Chara has created a cute, mini alternative for those of us who can’t afford the S.H. Figurearts figurines. You’ll get six figures chosen from a set of twelve, with either the Sailors posing normally or winking. Tuxedo Mask gets the alternate option of removing his mask.

 9.       Schedule Book  


Keep your new year organized with this planner featuring all of the Inner Sailors. Featuring blank note pages and patterned calendar blocks this is perfect for any Moonie.

 10.   Sailor Moon Silhouette Cup


Luna and Artemis are here again on this cup also showing off the Inner Sailors silhouettes on the alternate side. One of the most affordable pieces of fandom on this list, the listing claims it’s a limited edition item, while it also may prove to be one of the most useful.

Little Known Fact About Keiko Kitagawa’s PGSM Audition!

While perusing Japanese news aggregators for anything interesting I could find for our readers, I came across this tidbit.  Keiko Kitagawa (Sailor Mars in PGSM) blogged a few days ago about meeting PGSM producer Shinichiro Shirakura and PGSM director Ryuta Tasaki, and they mentioned to her that it had been 10 years since she had acted in PGSM.  Keiko could not believe that much time had passed! She then shared the story of her audition for the show.  When she was just 17 year old, Keiko didn’t think she was very attractive, nor could she sing, dance, or do any sort of rhythmic gymnastics.  She considered herself to have no talent, and was just your average, boring, high school student.  The night before the audition, she still didn’t know what to do, so she cut a sweet potato in half and wrapped it in plastic, and put a chisel in her bag.  She slipped past the more attractive girls in the audition that had their skilled performances ready, and silently carved a potato stamp in front of the judges. She passed! And the rest is history.  She has not forgotten the generosity of Shirakura and Tasaki for accepting her act.  And with this potato, Keiko is living history that one of the biggest lessons we have all learned from Sailor Moon still holds true: be yourself no matter what!

Otakon 2011: Roland Kelts Cites SM During ‘Multipolar Japan’ Panel

Author Roland Kelts

One of the most interesting panels I attended at Otakon this year was “Pop Culture From a Multipolar Japan,” hosted by Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S. I read Japanamericarecently, so some of Kelts’ points were familiar to me, but hearing him explain in detail how anime reflects the crucial bases of Japanese culture was still enlightening.

However, I was a little surprised when he mentioned Sailor Moon as an example of Japan’s multipolarity. Basically, Kelts said that when the Emperor was revealed to be powerless at the end of World War II, the idea of a trustworthy father figure was taken from Japanese culture in a way it has never really recovered from- hence the “the great leader is actually corrupt” subtext present in many anime.

“I’m trying to get you to think a little bit about this idea that Japan is a multifarious, blender of a culture…a multipolar state because it lost its binaries. It lost its sense of a leader and a people…and so when you have these artists like Tezuka and subsequent generations- Otomo, etc.- writing about the world they live in, it’s much more multipolar in depiction that what you expect from, for example, U.S. popular culture. The superhero stories…instead you get the girls of Sailor Moon.

“You get teams, right? Groups of people who have to work off each other and figure things out. You don’t get the great leader. And if you do get the great leader, the great leader’s corrupt,” said Kelts.

In general terms, I believe Kelts is right- I think the popularity of team-based stories in Japanese culture has to do with the way Japan had to radically realign itself (and in some cases, have itself forcefully realigned by the U.S.) after WWII, including, but by no means limited to, the reduction of the Emperor from the leader of the nation to a powerless symbolic figure. However, how well does Sailor Moon fit his example?

After all, the Senshi may be a team, but Sailor Moon, a.k.a. the Princess, definitely emerges as the ultimate authority figure by the end, doesn’t she? And we all know the other Senshi were kind of useless anyway after Sailor Moon S (oh yeah, I went there! *rimshot*.)

The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that there were other parallels to the situation Kelts described in the story. In the first season, the Senshi are looking for the Princess, this sort of divine figure that will hopefully make sense of everything for them. And it turns out to be…Usagi, seemingly at that time the weakest and most immature out of the whole group. She may not have been corrupt (at least not until PGSM at any rate), but it’s still easy to see that plot point as an expression of the idea that the “great leader” will always ultimately be a disappointment.

And yet, in the end Usagi isn’t a disappointment, is she? Did the Japanese really give up on the idea of a leader figure, or did they just give up on the Confucian, patriarchal version? I think it’s the latter; I apologize if this all seems a bit out of character for this blog, but these are the kinds of questions considering Sailor Moon in a Japanese context, not just an entertainment context, leads you to ask.

Whether you agree with Kelt’s assertion that Sailor Moon is one example of Japan’s trend towards multipolarity post-WWII or not, I highly recommend Japanameria, even though Sailor Moon is only mentioned in passing in the book. It was written before the 2008 financial crisis, which means some aspects of the interplay between the U.S. and Japan have changed in the few short years since Kelts wrote it, but it’s still a great resource if you’re looking to understand why our favorite anime are the way they are.

Check Out This Blog!

There isn’t a lot happening in the Sailor Moon world right now, but for those of you who are craving the revival through a fan’s perspective in Japan, I recommend you check out the blog “Moon Light“. I’ve been following this blog for a while now, as this blogger was one of the few that blogged about her experience at the DVD Collection Launch Event in December of 2009. She was also there at Anza Ooyama’s recent concert, and just visited the Toei Animation Gallery and has lots of photos of the cels there (Sailor Moon and Pretty Cure included) as well as figures. Kind of a neat blog to check out for anyone who wants to know what the fans in Japan are experiencing!