The second of a 2-night event called 25th Anniversary Usagi BIRTHDAY Event (celebrating the birthday of the protagonist of Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon, Usagi Tsukino as well as Chibi Usagi) took place on 1 July at Marunouchi TOEI in Tokyo.
Usagi Tsukino and Chibi Usagi’s birthday was on 30 June. The first night of the event took place on her birthday with Kotono Mitsuishi (Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon), Shizuka Ito (Minako Aino/Sailor Venus, Sailor Moon Crystal), Ami Koshimizu (Makoto Kino/Sailor Jupiter), and Hotaru Nomoto (Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon Musical) as guests
On stage that day were Mitsuishi and the director of Sailor Moon R The Movie, Kunihiko Ikuhara. The director excited the crowd with his greeting, ‘Sailor Moon has come back after more than 20 years.’ The MC, Chiaki Kyan, asked the two guests their impressions of each other and they both looked at the other and laughed hesitantly. Director Ikuhara started the conversation by saying that they first met at the recording of Sailor Moon and he ‘thought she was a beautiful person.’ Mitsuishi replied saying, ‘Many of the staff members were just normal people but Iku-chan was very fashionable.’ Next, Mitsuishi commented, ‘When Iku-chan got busy with the anime he lost a lot of weight. When you looked at him from the side, he was so thin you couldn’t see him.’ Ikuhara responded, ‘1992 to -93 was the busiest period of my life. I could only sleep half as much as usual,’ showing the severity of the broadcast period.
Sailor Moon R The Movie (which aired after the event) focuses on flowers as the main theme. When asked why he made flowers the main theme, Director Ikuhara said, ‘In the TV series, flowers were often scattered all around the screen. While pondering the reason for that, I thought, “I wonder if I can make a movie out of this.” When I asked myself “What are flowers?”, the conclusion I came to is that flowers are “love”.’
With regards to the alien, Fiore, who was friends with Mamoru from childhood, Director Ikuhara said, ‘Fiore once received a flower from Mamoru. Fiore is a person who doesn’t understand what love is. Fiore received love from Mamoru and thought that Mamoru was in love with him but in reality it wasn’t so. He found out that Mamoru loved someone else and got upset. He thought that love would come back as passionate as his. However, that is not love, that is attachment. Love is something that is given but Fiore thinks that love is something that you take away or look for. The base of the story is him learning what love is.’
Hearing this, Mitsuishi said, ‘So it’s a movie for little kids, right?’ Director Ikuhara responded, ‘Yes, it is!’ Kyan, who is known to like anime, interjected, ‘At the time I thought it was adult-oriented…’ and Director Ikuhara faked surprised, ‘Really?! But in all seriousness, it is geared at children. The reason for that is that children know when a movie is geared towards them. When I was a child, I watched things that let me feel the seriousness and passion of the creators and I thought “That’s amazing!” That’s why I want elementary school girls to think “I wonder if it’s the usual Sailor Moon?” and then to be surprised when they go to see the movie.’
Director Ikuhara reflected, ‘At the time, the higher ups at Toei didn’t understand Sailor Moon. To make the movie a reality, I had to explain what was interesting about Sailor Moon many times.’ When Kyan inquired about the movie’s transformation scenes, Director Ikuhara said, ‘The higher ups knew Sailor Moon but they couldn’t understand what is interesting about the series. To explain it easily, I said to them, “It’s like how little boys look up to Kamen Rider’s transformation scenes.” The feeling of wanting to answer people’s order may be in the transformation scenes.’ However, Director Ikuhara said that since he can’t comment on it objectively, he hasn’t watched Sailor Moon R The Movie in over 20 years. Mitsuishi immediately joked, ‘You should just watch it. If you don’t watch it, you’ll die.’
Then, Director Ikuhara said, ‘Honestly, I didn’t think I’d talk about Sailor Moon. I’m working on something new now. But the reason I decided to attend this event is to convey the passion of the staff who worked on Sailor Moon at the time. the highlight of this work is the theme song, “Moon Revenge”. Distinguished animators were gathered together and even if you look at it now, it is an amazing staff. I wanted to do something for the staff at that time and to do the Sailor Moon that they couldn’t get the Toei higher ups to understand, praise, or give the “go ahead” to. It was hard but we managed it because the staff gave their all.’
At the end of the event, Director Ikuhara had a surprise present for Mitsuishi. A cell image of Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon kissing was brought onstage and Ikuhara said, ‘It is a larger format cell that was sleeping in warehouses and closets. I thought that if I left it alone it would get burned when I die. I think it will be most happy if you have it’, making Mitsuishi cry. After she said, ‘Thank you’ in a small voice, she smiled and said, ‘It’s a beautiful kiss.’ During the final greetings, Mitsuishi said, ‘Of all the movies I’ve watched in my life, I like R the most’ and raised the excitement of the fans who were going to watch the movie afterwards.
A compilation Blu-Ray box set featuring Sailor Moon R The Movie, Makeup! Sailor Soldier, Sailor Moon S The Movie, Sailor Moon Super S: The Movie, and Sailor Moon SuperS Plus: Ami’s First Love will be released. It is called Sailor Moon THE MOVIE Blu-ray 1993-1995 and will go on sale in February 2018.