Russian Otaku Has Her Chance To Voice Her Experience

ASCII.jp featured a very interesting interview with a girl named Jenya, who is in Japan all the way from Novosibirsk, Siberia. She is an example of how the internet has made Japanese entertainment popular, and this interview chronicles how Russians learn about anime and what it is like to be a Russian Otaku.

Jenya was 13 years old when she first watched Transformers, and 17 when Sailor Moon first came to Russia. She missed a few episodes here and there but would always try to record it on VHS because she was in school when the shows were on. She thought the voices of the shows and the singing voices of the songs were very beautiful. This later inspired her to listen to more Japanese music, and has since earned her the nickname of Usagi in college. She says anime came to Russia around 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. It has been a lot easier to watch it in the last 15 years especially.

The interviewer, Satoshi Endo, then asked her how she came to know about the Japanese version. Jenya went on to say that Russia’s Sailor Moon dub came from a translation of the German version (and not the English or the original Japanese)! The show did include the Japanese version of the theme songs. She wanted to know more about what the original version was, so she started studying Japanese. She wondered why she was called Bunny in the Russian/German version, and learned that Usagi’s name meant rabbit in Japanese. She didn’t like how the Russians called her Bunny but thought the original was much better than the dub she was watching. As she grew older, more and more anime came to Russia and she became a bigger fan.

She came to Japan 3 years ago in the hopes of becoming a Voice Artist, but unfortunately it is not within her reach. So then she thought she would try to be a singer, and that didn’t happen either. She is now working with the production aspects of Russian dubs, and worked on Black Lagoon and Kishin Taisen Gigantic Formula. She moved to Japan right out of University and first worked in the IT sector. She even has her own blog in Japanese that tells of her adventures as a Russian Otaku in Japan! She is living her dream as best she can, and she was only 20 when she came to Japan. She came with her father, and jokes that since he is a part of the Russian military, that they bought tanks along with them.

Even at -40̊C , the few Otaku in Russia got together and formed a club , “Ranma” and exchanged tapes of fansubs. There were around 200 in Moscow in 1995, she says. When she was 18, she became a director of a club in her own town. She jokes that -20̊C is warm for her , which is the weather in snowy Niigata region of Japan. Some of us know all too well having experienced certain winters in North America, just what she is talking about! Her city, Novosibirsk, is sister cities with Sapporo. She was lucky enough that there was a Siberia Hokkaido cultural center, where she was able to learn Japanese. Later, she was able to use those facilities to start an anime club in Novosibirsk. They even threw a few conventions, where there was anime karaoke, cosplay, and even some Japanese visitors came out as well! She called the club Otaku. To this day, she still keeps up with what is happening with anime and manga in Russia. There is one small anime magazine that is in Russia and it is selling very well, and she has made a good friend in the editor of that magazine.

She goes on to talk about how cosplay is popular and what series are hot in Russia, and these are no surprise to us to hear because these series are pretty popular here too. They include Macross, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Code Geass, Tower of Druaga, Pokemon, and Lucky Star. Maid Cafes aren’t very popular outside of St. Petersburg, and she suspects that around 70% of the girl Otaku in Russia “don’t get it”. Nintendo became very popular when she was 15, and everyone in Russia knows who Mario is. It is hard for them to find any anime merchandise in Russia, and some fans are lucky enough to travel to Japan just for this purpose.

We salute Jenya and her dream , and she joins the ranks of our Special People. She strives to make anime and manga better for her people back home in Russia, and the spark plug that initiated all of this was Sailor Moon! We wish you the best of luck in the future!

Naoko, Are You Reading This?

Letter Wins State Competition!

前略 – 草々武内直子:

寒い日が続いておりますが、いかがお過ごしですか。どこにいるの? 2008年に再びあなたに会うことを願っています。

敬具,
月追

Of course, we would like to write more to Naoko Takeuchi. In the United States, there is a competition known as “Letters About Literature”, where readers write a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre. The readers then go on to explain how that author’s work changed their way of thinking about the world or themselves. One state winner, Ashley Crossman, wrote a very moving letter to Naoko Takeuchi. We think it would be great if in the case of those authors who are still living, if the Library of Congress would pay for these letters to be sent to them. Ashley, you now join the list of Moon Chase’s Special People for your letter and your unwavering spirit inspired by Chibi-Usa!

Sailor Moon in the Top 10?

We came across this very interesting article today. Two weeks ago, the Sailor Moon S and the SS movies scored at #9 and #10 in anime DVD sales in Malaysia. These titles have been out of print for a very long time anywhere outside of Japan, and we are wondering why those two titles are so popular, and why now of all times. If any of our Malaysian readers has an answer, we would love to hear it!

English Sailor Moon Newsround!

Hey Moonies, we came across some wonderful mentions of Sailor Moon in English news. There’s even been a few for the What the Heck Were They Thinking? pile and hopefully I’ll get that up sometime soon. But for now…

Back in the Day, Sailor Moon Was Cool Enough to Have a Virus Named After Her?!

Ahh computer viruses. Those pesky fiends which have long been the bane of Windows users since it’s birth recently topped the million mark. We have a couple harmless favorites here at Moon Chase, the first being the BS virus, which when clicked on, displays an animation which appears as if a user’s entire hard drive is being deleted! The second one was actually put out by Coca-Cola, and when a user clicked on it, the CD tray would pop out and a pop-up would appear saying “Enjoy a Coke in your new drink holder!” or something to that effect. Some people didn’t get it for a very long time! The girls and technology blog Shiny Shiny posted a list of their top 10 best virus names of all time. Little did we know that in 1995, during the glory days of Sailor Moon‘s popularity in North America, a virus was named after our favorite superhero’s likeness. Die Hard 2 (The Unbeatable) Sailor Moon wreaked havoc on machines by very cleverly activating on June the 7th of each year with the message,

“*** SW DIE HARD 2 (The Return of the Doom) ***
Thanks God for making me alive again!
[IVP]”
and deleting sectors on the hard drives. But wait, there’s more! The virus also attaches itself to other program files (so it runs when they are run too) and multiplies faster than bunnies. We do NOT recommend users download this, Sailor Moon will not appear (and she probably won’t save your machine either). Alas, we are very amused that a superhero’s unbeatability has inspired the name of a virus!

University of Toronto Humor Newspaper Speculates on the Whereabouts of Sailor Moon!

The University of Toronto has wonderful student newspapers – and we definitely recommend anyone in the vicinity go grab a copy of The Varsity or The Toike Oike if they can! They really are good reads! The Toike Oike published a story last month, “Where Are They Now?”, taking a humorous look at the whereabouts of some beloved characters from our childhood, including Captain Planet, Miss Frizzle, Bill Nye The Science Guy, and of course, Sailor Moon! According to them, Sailor Moon got pregnant at 16 with Tuxedo Mask’s child, and left the baby in shame at a Moon Kingdom church. She returned to Earth and gave up on saving the world. Then she turned to drugs, alcohol, and other unspeakable deeds to ease the pain of her troubles. Sailor Moon staged a comeback against the “Mega Super Scary Shiny Monster”, but was defeated. And now the Earth has been taken over by the evil “Darkness Kingdom”. We think Luna and the other Senshi would have done a good job of keeping Usagi in line and none of this stuff would happen! But who knows, really. Maybe Sailor Moon has been put under a sleeping spell until Naoko Takeuchi can decide what she wants to do with the character next!

A Very Original Idea For A Figure Skating Show!

When we read this, we had to add these skaters to our list of Special People! The Silver Wings skaters of Bonavista, Newfoundland holds an annual ice show each year. This year’s took place on April 1st, and was simply titled Do You Remember When? Coach Jamie Seaward chose the theme in her final show with the club. She chose music from all her years that she had worked with them. The youngest skaters skated to theme songs from Arthur, The Pink Panther, and Sailor Moon. Some of the kids even dressed up like these characters! The show served as a memoir of the years the club spent with Jamie, as well as bringing back happy memories of cartoon nostalgia! To these young skaters in the Canskate program, we salute you in your perseverance to become Starskaters, and are very honored that your coach choseSailor Moon to be a part of your evening! It looks like you had a lot of fun doing it!

A few fans have wondered what makes a person qualify for this category. It’s quite simple, really. Anyone who has used Sailor Moon in a project or as an inspiration in the name of their community is a member of Moon Chase’s Special People! Using Sailor Moon in a very creative way to enrich the lives of others or present it in a way that is original and unique keeps Sailor Moon in the eyes of the masses. We like to think that little things like this would look very good in the future should anyone have doubts of Sailor Moon ever being popular with the fans again in the case of a possible re-release. And, we think that these people are cool for what they did and though they may not get much recognition from people around them, we are happy to give them recognition among Sailor Moon fans!

Sailor Moon News Roundup February-March 2008!

Hey Moonies! Here comes the first of a few updates this week as we get back to our regular schedule! I saw the new trailer for Speed Racer yesterday and I wasn’t impressed. Sure the graphics were great and all but the plot just didn’t seem as fun as the original, and seemed a little darker than the original. Which is what has inspired our latest poll over there –>! Please vote, we’re kind of curious what the fans would go for if Sailor Moon was given the same treatment. Without further ado…

New Book Looks At Truth Behind Myth!

Bill Brioux (a former staff writer for TV Guide Canada), published a book late last year that looks at some of the myths behind popular television shows. Truth and Rumors: The Reality Behind TV’s Most Famous Myths looks at a few myths including: was Pamela Anderson really cast before Teri Hatcher in Desperate Housewives ? Was Jerry Mathers of Leave It To Beaver killed in Vietnam? Did Sailor Moon cause convulsions in kids? We’ve never heard that rumor before. We know that Sailor Moon and Sailor Saturn were notorious for fainting or seizures, but we never actually heard about the show affecting viewers! Though we do remember a lot of ruckus about a Pokemon episode that gave children in Japan seizures with its strobing screens, and that particular episode when dubbed was toned down a bit. Nonetheless, we are trying to track down a copy of this book and once we do we’ll let you know if the myth was real or not!

Malaysian Students Go On Exchange to Japan!

When we read this, we wondered why none of our schools had any cool exchanges like this! Some high school students were honored enough to be picked as Malaysian Ambassadors to Japan for a two week exchange! This was made possible by the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths (JENESYS), a program of the Antarabudaya Malaysia (AFS). This exchange was fully sponsored by the Japanese Government to promote mutual understanding and trust among youths. A student, Lee Theng Ying recounted his experiences. They got to visit lots of cool places such as Naritasan Temple, the Yumenoshima Tropical Plant Dome, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan), and even visiting Hiroshima on a Pokemon-themed airplane! The even got to go behind closed doors to watch Sumo Wrestlers practice! Probably the biggest highlight was reading that they got to visit Toei Animation and got to meet one of the writers of Sailor Moon! Lee didn’t mention just who it was, but we’re still working to find out who he met! If any fans have any idea who he could be referring to (the writer also worked on One Piece and Dragonball Z) don’t hesitate to let us know! From what we have read, it looks like this experience was one to remember and we wonder if the Japanese Government would be interested to expand this program to North America.

New Zealand Actress Loves Sailor Moon Style!

Ride With the Devil
was a New Zealand drama which aired last fall. It is about two guys who meet up and become friends because they share one thing in common – underground racing. However, one race goes horribly wrong and it is up to the two guys to keep their sport going without the cops coming after them. The show had lots of Asian stars, and among them was Caleigh Cheung (image: – who is now finding herself in lots of different clothes! To celebrate Chinese New Year in New Zealand, she wore a custom-tailored cheongsam. The New Zealand Herald interviewed her about clothing and beauty, and she made a very surprising admission! She loves to play dress-up with costumes, and especially wants a Sailor Moon-style school Uniform from Japan. It’s nice to see model-actresses that still have a soft spot for their favorite anime characters!

Disney Enters Partnership With Toei Animation

In recent years, considering the rise of Japanese Animation, Disney‘s animation has fallen short, and fans are not as interested in their movies as they were before. Disney has in particular had problems trying to gain popularity in the Asian markets. Over a week ago, Disney announced that they were partnering with Toei Animation to try to have a more successful presence in Asian markets. What we do know about this partnership is that it will combine the use of computer graphics along with graphics of local talent (in Japan). There are three TV shows in production, but what they are is still a secret locked up like Fort Knox! Disney is also working with Jinni Animation Co. and their first venture together is a 3-D animated series called Fireball about robots in the Future. We have read conflicting reports about when this is going to start, it may start in April or May of this year. Disney will also be working with Madhouse Ltd.– famous for the upcoming Batman: Gotham Knight, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Digi Charat, Paprika, and Nana among others. Their first venture will be a cartoon based on Lilo and Stitch, where Lilo is replaced by a Japanese girl named Hanako.

We have mixed feelings about this partnership, but what worries us slightly is the potential that if things go well with Toei and Disney, perhaps Disney might gain control of Sailor Moon? We can’t even imagine what they would do to our beloved superhero!

Britney Spears’ New Video is NOT a Parody of Sailor Moon

We don’t like Britney much at Moon Chase. She was irresponsible with her family and her own life, and though it appears she is trying to change her life for the better, some of her behaviours are really unclassy. And her music still sucks just as much as it did when she first came out. Aside from our own opinions, we noticed a glaring error in The Times-Union as Diana Middleton called Britney Spears’ new video for Break the Ice a “cheesy Sailor Moon parody”. We barely see any similarities to Sailor Moon (or maybe we could if we really pushed the envelope). We think it’s more of a rip off of Ghost in the Shell, Metropolis, and Noir. There are probably more anime that the animators drew influence from, but the video is still crap. Britney, please stop trying to be popular.

Online Videos by Veoh.com

Moon Cooking!

A few weeks ago, I ran into an article about a high school in Japan that was having their yearly symposium, an event for the graduating class to show off their culinary skills. This took place at Ogaki Sakura Senior High School, in Gifu, Japan. This is not your conventional high school, here students can enroll in one of four programs: fashion design, welfare, food creation, and lifestyle and culture. This year’s theme was “Moon”! Students prepared dishes to reflect this theme from a wide variety of different cuisines. Japanese culinary treats included dumplings and other desserts that were round like the moon and arranged in the same way. The moon’s shape also reminded the chefs of the different seasons, so round spring and summer gardens were also created to complement the theme. The western cuisine used different variations on the Moon Princess, and Sailor Moon was one of them! Chinese cuisine was particularly difficult, one student remarked that it was very difficult to make carvings that would fit the theme on the meats and the vegetables. Mango pudding finished off the Chinese meal’s dessert. There are a few pictures of the event here, and fans can read the article (in Japanese) after the jump – it has since been removed and I had to work off of a cache to bring you this story.

料理のテーマは月 大垣桜高校食物科生が卒業作品展

2008年1月17日

{[Photo]「月」をテーマにした生徒たちの多彩な料理が並んだ会場=大垣市の大垣桜高校で
写真}

 大垣市墨俣町の大垣桜高校で16日、昨年の歌会始の儀の題「月」にちなんだ料理の発表会があった。食物科3年生による卒業作品で、器や盛りつけにも工夫を凝らした多彩な創作料理が並んだ。

 同科の生徒たちは2年生の12月、京都市で同じテーマで開かれる京料理展示大会を見学。プロの料理人による作品を参考に約1年間をかけ、自分なりの試作や研究を重ね、卒業作品を完成させる。

 発表会では、40人の生徒の作品を和、洋、中華のジャンルごとに展示。日本料理では、団子やしんじょう、デザートなどを月の丸い形にそろえたり、春夏秋冬の日本庭園をイメージして盛りつけたりと、見た目の美しさにこだわった作品が目立った。西洋料理では、「かぐや姫をもてなす」、アニメの「セーラームーンをイメージ」などユニークな着眼の作品も。

 唯一の中華料理で、肉、卵、野菜とマンゴープリンなどを色彩鮮やかに盛り付けて「鳳凰(ほうおう)と月」と名付けた氏原美沙子さんは「月という限定されたテーマを、どう表現するかでみんな悩みました。私は食材探しや細かな切り方に苦心しました」と話していた。

 会場では、グループごとに取り組んだ旬の食材を生かした集団給食のメニュー、生徒たちが出品した料理コンテストの入賞作品、コメを着色した「ライスアート」なども紹介され、訪れた関係者らを楽しませていた。

 (中西康)