Chapter Two
C'est La Vie is Japanese for Superhero
Sailor Moon and Naoko Takeuchi

Sailor Moon began in 1992 as a serialized manga (comic) in a Japanese magazine called Nakayoshi.

The characters and story were created by manga artist Naoko Takeuchi. After authoring a series about a crime-fighting character she created called “Sailor V,” she was asked to make a team of heroes similar to her original character. Her new character was called Sailor Moon.

Claudia Mitchell and Jacqueline Reid-Walsh call Sailor Moon an “action and romance fantasy” appealing to the newly recognized “tween” market, consisting of girls too old for children’s stories and toys but not quite teenagers yet.

The “sailor” in each of the character’s names refers to the style of the Japanese school uniforms they wear which resemble the old-style uniforms of naval sailors.

Takeuchi-sensei’s manga is the story of Usagi Tsukino, a 14-year old girl who, with the help of a mentor cat named Luna, learns she is a superhero sworn to defend the Moon Kingdom against its enemies.

Usagi gains various powers granted by a locket she wears. The locket allows her to transform from a normal girl to what came to be known as a “magical girl.” In her transformed state, she is able to vanquish monsters by energizing and then throwing her tiara at them, causing them to disintegrate.

During the manga series, Sailor Moon assembles a team of “senshi” or fighters who battle evil as a group. Each of the “Sailor Senshi” represents a different planet in the solar system and each of them has a different super power.

This arrangement draws on the Japanese “sentai” tradition, in which heroes team up to fight against their foes. Sailor Moon closely followed the Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, both of which were sentai television series with similar structures and plots.

Sailor Mercury can make an obscuring mist appear. Sailor Mars can shoot fire at enemies. Sailor Jupiter controls lightning bolts and Sailor Venus has an energy beam weapon.

These five characters form what is commonly referred to as the “Inner Senshi” because they represent the inner planets of the solar system. In later chapters, Sailor Moon is joined by the “Outer Senshi” which are more powerful warriors representing the rest of the planets.

During their battles, the Senshi are occasionally rescued from their opponents by a mysterious young man in a tuxedo, top hat and masquerade party mask called “Tuxedo Mask.” His super power is the ability to throw roses that form barriers to Sailor Moon’s enemies.

In her adventures, Sailor Moon faces a variety of challenges beginning with the evil Queen Beryl and her lieutenants. The two factions battle over possession of the Imperium Silver Crystal, which is described as an ultimately powerful artifact.

Over 100 million fans worldwide have followed Sailor Moon’s adventures. She has appeared in 18 manga volumes with over 35 million sales worldwide. Five seasons of the Sailor Moon animated series were broadcast in Japan between 1992 and 1997, consisting of 200 episodes, five specials and five memorials. Three animated feature films were also released between 1993 and 1995 in Japan and later broadcast on American cable television. The characters also appeared in a live action series called Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon in 2003 and in a new animated series called Sailor Moon Crystal in 2014.

Sailor Moon has also inspired some 31 musical theater productions with over 800 performances, seven art books, 35 officially licensed video games including PC and console editions and numerous arcade games, 52 music albums and singles featuring original songs, background music from the show and music from the animated features, eight “drama” albums, and an uncounted number of officially licensed toys, apparel, collectibles and other game products in dozens of countries.

This information is well known to fans. It represents the bulk of the story of the characters and their creator. To describe the world and its characters in greater detail would require at least as many volumes as Kodansha originally published.

There is also an untold story of Sailor Moon. What began as a simple, albeit very successful manga and anime show in Japan was eventually licensed in the United States and was the basis for a series of events involving some of the most powerful entertainment companies in the world. Her story is still playing out some 28 years later.

Sailor Moon changed everything from video games to comics to television to film. The series and manga made things possible that were simply not possible before.

The story of Sailor Moon’s making the impossible possible began, strangely enough, with a robot sent on a mission to find a team of teenagers with attitudes.

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