Sawaii Miyu, who portrayed Usagi/Sailor Moon in the live action series in 2003-2004, has recently been starring in a musical adaption of the classic fairy tale Snow White. The musical production of Snow White began its eight day run on July 16th. Miyu has also been spotted in a Box Corporation program to celebrate the company’s 30th anniversary. http://www.sanspo.com/geino/news/100717/gnj1007170501003-n1.htm
Fans of Aya Sugimoto (PGSM Queen Beryl) will definitely want to check out the new feature length Kamen Rider movie “Double Forever: A to Z/The Gaia Memories of Fate”, where she will be appearing as a guest character named Maria S Cranberry. The movie was recorded with 3D technology in mind, making it the first feature length movie of the 3D Kamen Rider series. The movie will hit theaters on August 7, 2010. (http://www.japantoday.com/category/entertainment/view/aya-sugimoto-to-appear-in-3-d-kamen-rider-movie)
Ayaka Komatsu (Minako Aino/Sailor Venus) has been busy lately promoting a new movie called “Neck”. The movie, which was assembled by Shirakawa Professional, is a hybrid of both horror and comedy as it details the twists and turns of a group of junior college students.(http://www.moviecollection.jp/news/detail.html?p=1379)
Rina Koike (Sailor Luna) has also landed a new role as the main heroine in the detective drama production “Akechi Three Generations”. Right now in Japan, Koike can be spotted making some public appearances to support her new acting role, alongside her current co-star Tanabe Seiiti. http://journal.mycom.co.jp/news/2010/06/27/008/?rt=na
Finally, no PGSM news update would be complete without some Keiko Kitagawa sightings. The live action Sailor Mars actress was recently a presenter at the 12th annual Taipei Film Festival, where she was greeted with huge support from her Taiwanese fan base. Keiko admitted to being nervous about the presentation on her blog, and she was relieved to have finished it successfully. Keiko can also be caught starring in a new Fuji TV drama called “Lovers Of The Moon”. http://www.cinematoday.jp/page/N0025561 Apparently the recording schedule for the show was gruelling – Keiko stated on her blog that she was getting as little as 2 hours of sleep at night.
Rika Izumi (PGSM Sailor Mercury) recently made an appearance on the TV Asahi program Easy Sports. The purpose of Easy Sports is to make athletics and a healthy lifestyle accessible to women of all body types and ages. Viewers who were watching the program during the week of January 18 to January 22 would have been treated to some footage of Izumi performing various yoga lessons. Izumi, who lists Pilates as one of her favourite sports on her profile, showed viewers five different poses for the week long stretch that she was featured. We’re also linking you to videos that we have been able to find! Monday’s lesson was for a triangle pose, which enhances thigh flexibility and strength of physique. Tuesday’s lesson was an Extended Side Angle pose, which helps the back and improves blood circulation. Wednesday’s exercise was the Bound Angle Pose which strengthens the back and abdomen. Thursday’s exercise was the Upward Dog Pose, which strengthens the back of the legs and improves posture. Finally, Friday’s lesson was the Bridge Pose, which strengthens the abdominal and back legs. For pictures and descriptions of Izumi’s lesson, visit here.
In other Rika Izumi news, the former PGSM actress will be appearing in a supporting role on “BeeTV”, a station geared towards mobile devices and the internet. She will be making some cameo appearances on the omnibus love dorama, “Onna-tachi wa Nido Asobu”. Aibu Saki, Koyuki, Hazegawa Kyoko, Yuuka and Misukawa Asami will be the full time cast members that Izumi will be acting with. A typical episode of this show will feature five different mini-episodes within its 24 minute run time. Also Buzzing Around on BeeTV is A Turtleman!
Suntory, a company which specializes in various drinks, has put together a special campaign for Jug-Nana, a popular line of beer. Suntory has gathered six young idols for its latest promotion, one representing each day of the week. Sharing Thursday for this promotion is none other than Mew Azama (PGSM Sailor Jupiter) . Some of the idols representing the other days of the week are Yuriko Yoshitaka (Monday), Sayo Aizawa (Tuesday), Airi Taira (Wednesday), and Inamori Izumi (Friday). All six idols will represent Saturday and Sunday.
PGSM Stars Reunite (Well, Almost…)
Special thanks to reader RB for sending in this sighting! Mew Azama and Ayaka Komatsu (Sailor Venus) hosted a combined birthday party for Mew and a New Years’ Party a little over 2 weeks ago. The only one who couldn’t make it this time was Keiko Kitagawa (Sailor Mars). Miyuu Sawaii (Sailor Moon), Rika, and Ayaka all posted images and a few thoughts on their blogs! Rika remarked that it was fun to get together with everyone again after a long time, and that they are so close that they can talk for hours. Ayaka also said that she was happy to see everyone, and that they were so restless when they caught up with each other! Miyuu just wrote that they had a great time and they talked a lot. Here come the photos:
From Rika’s Blog:
From Ayaka’s Blog:
From Miyuu’s blog:
Keiko Kitagawa is Valentine’s Queen, Journalist Offender, and a Hair-Raiser!
Keiko is too busy doing promotions for her new productions and filming others, but she still continues to make some quirky appearances in Japanese news. On February 3rd, she was voted a Valentine’s Day Queen in the categories of Drama Heroine and Most Fascinating Female Celebrity. This was a survey done by 300 Japanese High Schoolers sponsored by both Oricon and Pocky. Valentine’s Day is a little different in Japan – women give men chocolate, and then men return the favor giving women chocolate exactly a month later. So, Keiko was voted the woman that these High Schoolers would most like to receive chocolate from! Standing alongside her is Japanese idol Masuwaka Tsubasa (who is best known for her Gyaru modeling). Keiko was quoted during the event: “I attended a girls’ school for junior high and high school. Making homemade chocolates was not one of my strong points. Instead, I often received really cute chocolates made by other girls.” Mishapen or lumpy Keiko, it’s the thought that counts! Fans can watch some highlights from the event here. Keiko also wrote something that offended journalists a few days later on her blog (English translation here), ranting about how she finds it difficult to keep her answers consistent during interviews ahead of the March 10th premiere of her upcoming movie After the Flowers, and that she thought she put all the intense stress on her brain away after she graduated. We hope that this doesn’t hurt the press because the movie looks really good (and could hopefully be picked up for international distribution). On the bright side, some critics have already lauded her performance in this movie “Hair-Raising”,”Trembling” and “impressive” at a preview screening held on January 26th.
Natsumi Kiyoura Releasing First Album!
Natsumi Kiyoura (Sailor M) is releasing her debut album, and boy has she come a long way since her days on PGSM. She is a singer, and has even sung the theme song for Spice and Wolf “Tabi no Tochu”. The song is featured on her upcoming album “19 Colors”, which is produced by many big names in the industry. It even has a song (“Anone Demone”) produced by Yoko Kanno, who is legendary among anime fans for her work on anime movie and TV show soundtracks. This long awaited release will come out on February 24th, and fans should order it now from overseas retailers as it is predicted to be a hit!
2009 has been a significant year in the world of Sailor Moon. Hard to believe, but it has been 5 years since PGSM has come to an end. Many fans of PGSM have continued to follow the careers of the cast members since the show has ended, and there is some recent news to report.
Masaya Kikawada Goes to Vienna!
Masaya Kikawada (Motoki Furuhata) co-hosted a documentary about life in Vienna, Austria, along with Japanese actress Yoshino Kimura. Yoshino appeared in the movie Sukiyaki Western Django (which is not a movie that is everyone’s cup of tea). In the documentary, Yoshino sought to discover what made life comfortable in Vienna, and also met with the conductor of the world famous Vienna Philharmonic (Rainer Kuchl). Masaya took another route and learned about how the people live in Vienna, and visited lots of markets and taverns. Producer Yutaro Mimuro was quoted that he aimed to look beyond the history and tradition, to discover why the people of Vienna had such a richness in life. While we were unable to find any pictures of Masaya in the documentary, we did find an entry on his official blog with a picture of him in the Vienna airport. He said that he was having a fun time and was sad that the final scenes were going to be shot that next week. It was an experience that he will never forget!
New Voice Role For Ayaka Komatsu!
Ayaka Komatsu, who recently portrayed Minako Aino (Sailor Venus) in the live action version of Sailor Moon, is turning towards voice acting for her latest role. PGSM fans might want to check out a movie called Goey-ETO, which is an adaption of a one-off manga chapter in the June 1998 edition of Weekly Shonen Jump. The story is centered on the relationship between male and female rabbit like aliens. In this movie, Komatsu will be voicing a male character named Shibushige.
Host Club Drama for Takeshi!
Masu Takeshi, who portrayed Rei’s father in PGSM is currently starring in a host club drama called “Rondo Of The Wind”. This soap opera is part of Tokai Fuji’s “TV’s Night Indigo”, and its start date is January 5, 2010. In this drama, a successful female editor loses her husband and her job due to an embezzlement accusation, leading her to decide to manage a host club. The female editor and her co-workers work together as a team of detectives in an attempt to restore her reputation.
Keiko Kitagawa Rumored to be Dating? and is Cast Once Again!
Kitagawa has continued to obtain acting roles in the wake of the success she has earned playing Sailor Mars in PGSM. Kitagawa will portray the role of Rie Saito (a number 1 hostess) in the TBS drama Hitsudan Hostess. The story is somewhat based off of Saito’s personal life, as the title character becomes deaf at the age of one due to an illness, and she rebels against her strict parents. Kitagawa’s new role will require very little dialogue, making this one of her most challenging acting roles to date. The two hour long episode is based off of a best selling book by Rie Saito, of which Keiko is a big fan of. Keiko is looking forward to utilizing her skills in calligraphy and writing – skills that she obtained in her childhood.
Kaori Moriwaka Writes Hit Song!
In September of this year, popular J-Pop singer Maki Goto (pictured) released a new album with her new collaboration featuring her record label Avex, popular radio station J-Wave, and Japanese social networking site Mixi. She called the collaboration (and the album) “SWEET BLACK” because those two words describe perfectly the positives and the negatives in the life of today’s women. The album has 8 tracks, featuring unique collaborations with people like Japanese reggae star BIGGA RAIJI, mangaka Erika Sakurazawa, and Japanese rapper Ken the 390. The song TEAR DROPS, featuring the singer KG is a sad and beautiful song, and has a connection to PGSM – Kaori Moriwaka (Ikuko Tsukino) wrote the song! This is a little different since we’re normally used to hearing rockier tunes from her! Fans can watch the video here, and read a lyrics translation here.
Two Rival Fashion Magazines Get Together For a Fashion Show That Thunders! and Jupiter Speaks Up.
Excuse the horrible Sailor Jupiter pun! Mew Azama was one of a handful of CanCam magazine models chosen to appear in a special fashion show with rival models from ViVi magazine that was sponsored by Sony Ericsson. Sony Ericsson was launching the S002 “THE SUPER FIT” which is a phone being marketed as the worlds smallest “WanseguKeitai” (or “oneseg” cell phone capable of mobile TV). The fashion show took place on December 1st at Tokyo’s JCB Hall, and some of the fashions modeled had a “sexy santa” theme. Fans can check out more pictures here – and Mew is sporting a new, shorter, haircut! She’s the one in the beige gown pictured here! It’s a relief to see some pictures of Mew in classier clothing compared to the ridiculous things she sometimes wears as the weather girl on NTV’s Zoom! Saturday.
And speaking of which: Mew Azama was also featured in a Hochi Sports (part of Daily Yomiuri) article! For the first time, she speaks of her role as a weathercaster on NTV’s Zoom Saturday! She made her debut on the show over a year ago in October of 2008. She was anxious since she didn’t think that she was good at public speaking, but got serious and took lessons! It was a struggle, but she persevered! When she first started, even though she had her script memorized, she kept stopping because she was so nervous. She would often fear she would forget something on her cheat sheet when it would be taken away from her and she worried that people could tell that she was in a hurry. Sometimes she would have to wake up at 2 or 3 to get to her shoots on time, and sometimes she couldn’t operate on a couple hours of sleep! Now she is fully adjusted to her schedule and she is also getting used to this just like she had to for her early morning modeling shoots.
We’ve featured a few of her strange costumes on this blog before, asking fans to caption the photos! But her fans in Japan have come to love her costumes, and also the clothing she wears on the show. She even talks about her outfits on her blog. She looks forward to doing more in 2010, and hopes to be an anime seiyuu too. Our fearless Mew can accomplish anything she puts her mind to, with a little perseverance!
New Idol DVD and a Strange Dream for Rina Koike!
PGSM’s youngest star has another new idol DVD out, this time co-starring two other young stars, Yui Koike and Aya Koike. Despite sharing surnames these three are not closely related in real life, but they play sisters in the movie. Rina also made mention of a strange dream she had involving Michael Jackson. As best we can tell, she dreamed she was on a plane that crashed in a jungle in the Amazon, and Michael Jackson came riding in on a blue throne set on an elephant and brought two other people to rescue her. After Rina had the dream, she called her friend and she said it was all in her head. An interesting dream indeed!
Gundam Character Astrology Book!
Keiko Han (Luna in the anime and PGSM) has a new book out, “Fortune Telling of Sune” Written from the perspective of her character Lalah Sune from Mobile Suit Gundam. The book is illustrated by Hideki Ohwada, author of a Gundam parody comic and is meant for Gundam fans to enjoy!
It seems Keiko Kitagawa (Sailor Mars in PGSM) has been the subject of many tabloids’ fodder lately. The first one came a little over a week ago, where she was compared to Aya Ueto. Aya Ueto is an idol who has a nickname in the Japanese press, she is known as the “low-ratings idol” since she mostly appears in magazine, commercials, and low-rated dramas. According to this article, Aya has some competition with her “low-ratings” crown in the form of Keiko Kitagawa, who over the last nine months has been seen in the same sorts of things that Aya used to conquer! The article goes on to say that Aya has had a 10-year career, while Keiko has only been on the scene for 6 years. But it makes light of dramas which they starred in and their dwindling ratings. There’s an error in this article, as he calls Keiko only an actress and Aya an actress and a singer. Keiko has sung songs for PGSM which we’re pretty sure were well loved (at least it wasn’t Miyuu Sawaii’s singing). The writer of this article, at the end shows a shred of humanity saying that he doesn’t want fans to be angry with his decision about who the new low-ratings idol is. He ends saying Keiko is winning against Aya right now, but has more faith in Keiko having a better career in the future. He also notes that it is hard for many idols to achieve a lot of popularity. Aya is pictured here ->.
Yes, we know this article was garbage, but we really don’t think that this was fair to even put her in that category! Sure her latest dramas haven’t had wide appeal (Homeroom on the Beachsidelost ratings steadily), however she is one of the few stars of PGSM who is steadily working hard towards stardom (even though she is not as successful as others)! Plus, she is featured frequently on commercials for cosmetics giant Kanebo (as is Aya). We remember reading in an interview a long time ago that she didn’t feel like she was worthy enough to be with all the other, more beautiful, idols that were in the commercials. To us, Keiko seems willing to try different things to put herself out there, and we know that she will never be a low-ratings queen to us!
We also came across this scan of Keiko’s various romantic interests and other men she has starred in movies and dramas with. We can’t name any of them unfortunately – if any of you know who they are, please tell us! Miyuu Sawai and Ayaka Komatsu are only in there to connect to her debut work, PGSM.
And thirdly, it seems that Keiko was involved in yet another scandalous mishap! Last week, she appeared on Tunnels: Food Prejudice King, a variety show in Japan. Tunnels features a campy quiz show for the first 20 minutes, and then the other 40 are devoted to celebrity food tasting, and then everyone has to guess the food that the other one hated. Alongside Keiko was a South Korean actor named Jung Woo-sung. Unfortunately, at the end of the show, he spelled Kimchi wrong (writing Kimuchi instead of Kimchi), and many South Koreans got offended. This led him to issue a huge apology out to his fans. We have a couple clips from the show for you all!
First: The Introductions, and Wine Tasting! Keiko doesn’t like the wine and seems a little shy…
For those of you who want to know about Korean romanization and why “Kimuchi” causes a bit of an uproar, hit the jump for a very special explanation from our seasonal writer, Starcat!
Here’s Starcat’s explanation!
(please note that for this article I don’t use a standard romanization system — I simply write out how I think things are best phonetically pronounced to American English speakers, with hyphens to indicate between syllables. If you are from another country or have another accent you might not sound “Korean” when you pronounce things this way, but I think it works the best to my eyes and ears! I’m also calling it the “English” alphabet rather than Latin because romanization tends to follow the English way of pronouncing each letter.)
The Korean language, 한국어 (han-guk-oh), and Korean alphabet, 한글 (han-guhl), don’t really match the typical sounds given to English letters, so there can be a lot of variation for one word. It can get somewhat closer to most English words than Japanese due to the use of final consonants other than n (as in kim-bap, kal-bi, ta-sot, and an-nyohng–yes, the ng is one letter in Korean!) Some words are really easy to romanize into English — kimchi is written very much as it is in Hangul: ㄱㅣ ㅁ (김) ㅊ ㅣ (치), 김치. it can be spelt gimchi as well (and some people/places write kimchee or other variations on the same pronunciation) because the first consonant, ㄱ, falls slightly between these two English letters. (There are two more variations on this letter that produce a more distinct k-sound or a short gg/kk sound, as well, further complicating romanization into English, but since we’re only concerned with a simple word, kimchi, it’s not our problem.) The -chi part is slightly less complicated, because the ch, ㅊ, is already what’s called an “aspirated” consonant, which means it’s pronounced almost exactly like “ch” is in English. The letter it’s based on, ㅈ, is more of a j/ch combination–again, causing romanization problems in a different way.
Japanese, though, does not have these ending consonants. To write “kimchi” in Japanese, you must write ki-mu-chi, or キムチ. The u sound is usually dropped or only briefly pronounced so it ends up sounding very close to kimchi in Korean. It’s not a problem, right?
Well, to the Korean people, it is. The Japanese occupied Korea for a long time, and there is still a bit of jealousy and tension between the two countries. Japan has tried to get Korea’s national dish standardized in English as “kimuchi”. While I am not a Korean national or even Korean by heritage, my guess is that this misspelling was so offensive because of two reasons: for one, it’s the Japanese way, not the Korean way; for two, an unknowing English speaker would pronounce kimuchi different than kimchi. In short, the romanization directly from Korean is the best way and to do it otherwise is weird and insulting, particularly for such a high-profile dish! Even though this K-Pop star was in Japan, he should have been representing Korea and spelling it the Korean way.
I’m still a learning Korean student–if anyone knows if “kimuchi” is a real word in Korean (the basic hangul spellings I tried in Google Translate produced nothing) please write in and let us know!
Ayaka Komatsu (PGSM Sailor Venus) turned 22 on July 23rd, but didn’t have her birthday party until last Thursday! Joining her were her other four costars from PGSM, Miyuu Sawai (Sailor Moon), Rika Izumi (Sailor Mercury), Keiko Kitagawa (Sailor Mars) and Mew Azama (Sailor Jupiter). Three of them blogged about it and all featured this picture that they took at a restaurant with Ayaka’s amazing birthday pastries (we hope they tasted as good as they looked). Our birthday girl remarked on her blog that it had been a long time since she had seen her costars, and that they are so strong when they are together. She couldn’t believe that they have known each other for five years already! Keiko had invited them for a preview and press conference for her upcoming movie, Handsome Suits and Ayaka (while looking forward to Keiko’s movie) also put in a quick plug about her own movie, Pandemic which will be out in theaters shortly in Japan. Ayaka was also lucky enough to be given a bottle of champagne that was personalized!Mew says that she is a little scared of turning 22, and she will be there in a few months. She wrote that the time really flew from her PGSM days until now, but she was glad to see everyone and that the party could not have been great unless all five of them were there! Keiko blogged that at the press conference, she wore a very trendyDonna Karan pink spangled dress. Her character in the movie wore clothes that weren’t very fashionable and with light makeup so she wanted to show up at this conference with a bang! She had invited all her PGSM costars to come, but Miyuu Sawai couldn’t make it because she had to work. At Ayaka’s birthday party the day after, she wrote that they were told a lot by the crew that when the 5 girls would get together that they would fight a lot. But it still isn’t true, the 5 of them are still the best of friends years later. They talk a lot about their auditions and the 14 months they spent together on PGSM. They will all be friends for life, she says! She also thinks her acting in PGSM was so horrible for her own debut that she doesn’t want to watch it anymore, but she is so glad she met the other actresses! She hopes that they can get together again for her birthday party, and ended her entry with some old PGSM pictures for old times’ sake!
In other PGSM news, Mew Azama is now part of an elite group of models whose blogs on Ameblo have been fused with idol magazine CanCam. This new portal will also allow users of Ameblo to access some pretty cool features, including the same skins that the models use on their blogs. Mew sure seems to be doing a lot these days with the cyber world, in our last update we learned that she is now a special celebrity answerer with MSN’s Questionbox. Rika Izumi is now a model with Sun Music Brain, and has posed for photos with Ray Magazine. Ayaka Komatsu’s movie Pandemic has something to do with the world being hit with some kind of superbug and will be out in January. Keiko Kitagawa’s Handsome Suits is a comedy about a man who is a horrible Italian Chef, but who one day has a change of heart in his career and opts to work at a men’s fine clothing store! This one will be released sometime in November. Aya Sugimoto (Queen Beryl) achieved tabloid notoriety again when Jason Lewis (who played Smith Jerrod in the Sex and the City Movie) appeared for a promotional event ahead of the movie’s release in Japan. Aya appeared on the stage and he swept her off her feet with a typical Hollywood kiss (and that’s what we’ve got pictured). As of this writing, we’re not entirely sure if she had a dubbing role with the movie in Japanese or if she was just at the premiere because of her celebrity status.
Moon Chase! is an independent, non-profit collective. We're your source for just about everything happening in the Sailor Moon world from the actors of the anime (in English and Japanese), PGSM and Sera Myu, sightings in pop culture, and anything else we find that could be of interest to Sailor Moon fans.