Monday, April 30, 2007

News From the Other Side of the Pond #2!

Junichi Sato to Supervise Animation of New Series!

Junichi Sato (Director of the first season and the Doom Tree/Makaiju Saga) is set to supervise the animation of Rental Magica based on a shounen light novel (made for boys) of the same name. From what we have read, it’s a story about a student of the secondary school Italy Garden who becomes the president of the second generation of a well known agency of magicians. These magicians lend all sorts of magic to each other like divination, Celt magic, dark magic, and astrology. The author of this 9-part series is Makoto Sanda, who has also written a light novel series called Scar/Edge, which supplemented a tabletop RPG called Double Cross. Makoto will be editing the scripts along with Fruits Basket writer Mamiko Ikeda.

Aya Hisakawa in New Anime!

Aya Hisakawa (Sailor Mercury) can be heard in El Cazador de la Bruja (The Witch Hunter) which is on the air in Japan as we speak! She plays Jody Hayward aka Blue Eyes, a woman who works in accounting at the CIA. She wears a special Philosopher Stone around her neck which may be important later. This series tells the story of Ellis, a girl who is suspected of murdering a prominent physicist. She is on the run when she is discovered by the bounty hunter Nadi, who instead of turning her in, takes her on a journey to find clues to her past! The Bee Train show is the third and last member of director Koichi Mashimo’s “Girls with Guns Trilogy” (the others are Noir and Madlax) and is turning out to be a hit!

Blockbuster Paprika to hit North American Cinemas soon!

Satoshi Kon’s Paprika is the latest anime to be garnering a lot of buzz from critics in Hollywood! The feature is about 29 year-old Dr. Atsuko Chiba, a psychiatrist who uses her 18 year-old alter ego Paprika to enter the dreams of her patients to discover the roots of their anxieties or neuroses. At her lab, a new technology device has been developed to allow a person to enter the dreams of another - however if misused, an entire personality can be wiped out and changed while they are asleep! One of these four devices has been stolen and it is up to Paprika to find it before people are destroyed! Once again there is a blend between reality and the dream world, much like what we had seen in Kon’s earlier masterpiece, Perfect Blue. This movie is based on the groundbreaking novel of the same name by Yasutaka Tsutsui. Sailor Moon fans are treated to not one but two seiyuu in this film! Megumi Hayashibara (Himeko Nayotake) plays the starring role of Atsuko Chiba/Paprika, and Toru Furuya (Tuxedo Mask) plays Dr. Tokita Kohsaku, a colleague who is a nerdy, overweight genius!

So far the release is limited and has popped up at a few film festivals in the USA, but as with all limited release anime, we suggest fans wanting to see this go pester their local indie cinemas to bring this film to their city. In our experience, we’ve found most times management is really receptive if the movie is popular!

Jedite Heard in Fighting Game!

A popular title for the PS2 in Japan is Musou Orochi , a crossover between Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors. This was released March 21st of this year. The evil demon Orochi has disrupted time and space, and the heroes of these two games unite to defeat the demon and restore the universe! The game has four stages set in the Three Kingdoms Period of China , each stage based on a force (Shu, Wei, Wu, Sengoku). Masaya Onosaka (Jedite) plays Chouun and Shokatsuryou in this game. Koei is set to release this for the PS2 and XBOX 360 sometime in Fall of 2007, and the game may be titled Orochi Warriors.

Sailor Venus is Everyone’s Favorite Viera Warrior!

Okay, this sighting is a little old but we thought we’d mention it anyway since there are probably a lot of Final Fantasy XII geeks who read this site! The next time you’re at a gaming party and you feel like making connections between games you play and Sailor Moon, mention this: Rika Fukami (Sailor Venus) plays the scantily-clad, Viera (Bunny) Warrior, Fran in the Japanese version. Two of us have played the game and we’ve really enjoyed it, and recommend it to any gamers who haven’t tried it already! The graphics are to die for and the gameplay (though a bit different compared to other Final Fantasy games) is amazing! We were able to find a few clips of the Japanese version for fans wanting to hear a very different , lower, Rika Fukami here and here

In Cross-Cultural News:

And to close, A book called Plastic Culture: How Japanese Toys Conquered the World has just been released outlining the influence of Japanese toys (such as those popular gashapon figures) on toys around the world! The book goes into the history of the influence, from dolls and figures to toys given out with meals at fast food restaurants. Editors of the book say: "Plastic Culture explores the world of toys: why we love them, what they represent, and why there is a growing market for "designer" and "art" toys aimed at adults".

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Want to watch Panchanne?

Last Month, we reported on a new Tokusatsu being directed by Masataka Takamaru, better known as the director of PGSM . We have gotten ahold of the raws of the show and we are impressed with what we have seen so far!

The show doesn't take itself seriously at all, and pokes fun at a lot of elements of Tokusatsu! For example in the first episode when she receives her powers, she has no costume. She is then taken to Cospatio (a real cosplay tailoring service) to have her costume made. In episode 2, her wand doesn't work and she's told by her guardian (the God Kami-Sama) that she isn't strong enough to attack, but near the end she finds out that it was just switched off! It's also fun to see how she balances motherhood with her superhero duties as well! So for any fans who want to watch this show, we have found a streaming video service that allows users to upload videos longer than 10 minutes (Youtube has limits on time, and the episodes are there but in pieces). And here they are for your enjoyment!

Edit: These have been removed!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Emilie-Claire Barlow to Release a New Album!

And She’s Got a New Cartoon and Will be Performing Some Concerts Too!

The Cover of Her New Album!
Photographer: Ian Brown.
Design: Caroline Brown.
Special Thanks to Emilie-Claire Barlow
for permitting us to post this image!
Critically acclaimed jazz singer Emilie-Claire Barlow (Sailor Mars #2, Sailor Venus #2), announced today via her official website that her new album, The Very Thought of You will be released on June 19th! She is currently listening to the final mixes before they go off to the manufacturer on Monday. We’re looking forward and one of us on staff will be waiting at HMV that day to get it! Her music is also available on iTunes International and we suspect her new album will be there close to the release date.

She is also going to be performing a few concerts this summer, and fans in Toronto should definitely try to check her out! She will be performing at:

☼The sold out Jazz Lives! concert at the Convocation Hall, University of Toronto May 3rd
☼The Art of Jazz at the Distillery in Toronto, June 2nd.
☼ Her album release party June 29th at the Rex Hotel as part of the Toronto Jazz Festival.

There are more dates in July and August! For more information fans should check out her official website or her official MySpace. . If you are a fan who is planning to attend one of her concerts, we’d love to know how it went! Contact us at

Emilie-Claire can also be heard next in a new cartoon series premiering on Teletoon July 8th! Canadian fans keep your eyes peeled for Total Drama Island , a show about stereotypical teenagers pitted against each other in an environment much like the popular reality show, Survivor. This show was created by the same team behind the hugely popular 6Teen, also on Teletoon! She plays Courtney, the "Goody Goody Force to be Reckoned With" . Fans eagerly awaiting this show can check out a trailer here !

Yet Another Sailor Sighting in an Anime!

In a Comedy Too!

Combat Butler Hayate Says:
“Don’t watch TV too close
or in a dark room!”
We first heard about this sighting from Kyaa the Catlord on Genvid’s forums . The sighting was found at the beginning of episode 3 of "Hayate no Gotoku" (Hayate the Combat Butler) , where the preceding episode was recapped. This Geneon produced series is based on the manga about an unfortunate teenager, Hayate Ayasaki whose irresponsible parents abandoned him to pay off their ¥ 150,000,000 debt. As fate would have it he meets a 13-year-old heiress, Nagi Sanzenin. He saves her life, and is hired by her to serve as her butler. This series is hilarious! There’s narration, breaking of the fourth wall, parodies of other anime, and some very creative censorship (to mock worldwide censors) in each episode!

In episode 2, Nagi got angry with Hayate and kicked him out of her mansion. Hayate was then surrounded and kidnapped by the very people who had lended his parents money but were never repaid. These debt collectors were about to put him on one of their ramshackle ships when Nagi appears with a mask as the super hero “Mask the Money!”. She pays off his debts and saves him.

And here’s the scene in question! EDIT: We will be providing screenshots very soon.

In episode three, things change and Hayate is now forced to spend the rest of his life working for her to pay off this gesture. We recommend this anime to fans looking to watch an anime comedy or looking for a good laugh to take their minds off things! The episodes are currently being fansubbed by several groups.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rubeus Spotted in a Sitcom!

But He’s Not the One In Charge!

As we reported earlier , Robert Tinkler (Rubeus, Pupuran) according to many sources was set to appear on ABC’s new sitcom, Notes From the Underbelly . The sitcom is loosely based on the book of the same name by Risa Green, which chronicles the virtues of impending motherhood. We were impressed with the premiere, but we couldn’t spot him even after going through the episodes several times. We were beginning to think this was a scam until we read on his official site that he had a reoccurring role on the show.

And lo and behold, we finally spotted him on last week’s episode! He plays Ben, the assistant to the workaholic lawyer, Cooper (played by Rachel Harris). He was seen during a visit to a beach where Cooper was trying to convince pregnant Lauren (Jennifer Westfeldt) that she should not give up her career to be a mother full-time. Cooper was extremely busy and had an interesting request for Ben as she left to go tend to some urgent business (pictured here).

Yes, that actually happened in the episode! The wonderful comedy, Notes From the Underbelly airs Wednesday nights on ABC, check your local listings!

Looking for Full Moon Collection?

Stream and Listen from Rhapsody!

When Sailor Moon was first produced and released for North America in 1995, the dub did not contain any of the original music cues and songs from the Japanese version. Michael Benghiat , Bob Summers, and Andy Heyward composed most of the tracks that were used in the series. Some of the tracks obviously had influences from the original Japanese Score (such as the Sailor Moon theme song, and some other cues used in the series). And if there is one thing most fans agree on, aside from the theme song, the music cues made the series it’s own! Which fan doesn’t get pumped up hearing the technolized North America Transformation music?

Three Soundtrack CDs were released. The first one was Songs from the Hit TV Series in 1996, and then came Lunarock in 1997. Lunarock was special because it included two songs from Japan, the theme song as well as the battle anthem, Ai no Senshi! Both albums were released by EMI Music Canada.

Full Moon Collection was released by Koch Records in 2002 and featured nearly every instrumental cue that was used in the series. This CD was so popular that it’s initial run had completely sold out, and subsequent copies became really hard to find! However this CD (like everything else in North America), went out of print. This album is still in high demand among the North American fans, and we’ve seen copies go on eBay for over $50!

Fans who wish to listen to the music, have another, odd option. Online music service Rhapsody has this album on stream only. You cannot pay for these tracks (and therefore, cannot download them to your machine). If you pay for one of their membership plans, you are allowed unlimited streaming privileges, and their free account gives you 25 free streams per month. I have tried this service, and though it is a bit of a RAM hog, it’s a nice alternative to iTunes! Once you have downloaded the client, search for Sailor Moon and follow the links to begin play (or click that link and launch the client)! The quality is quite good and we strongly recommend fans looking to hear this album find their way to Rhapsody as this is one of the only places online where all the tracks from the album can be heard. As for the other CDs since they have gone out of print, your best bet is to hunt around eBay or other auction sites for a copy, or hop over to Sailormusic .

Sailor Moon Finds on eBay #4!

We found so many items this week that we're about to burst with our biggest hunt yet! Here come 50 links!

Greatest of the Expensive Items:

There's quite a few this week!

A set of Sailor Moon Plushes!
Gashapon set featuring the ultra hard-to-find Sailor V!
Yet another Sailor Moon Hockey Jersey.

Best Bargains:

A set of Sailor Moon Plushes!
Gashapon set featuring the ultra hard-to-find Sailor V!
Yet another Sailor Moon Hockey Jersey.

Things that make us go O.o.:

A shortened, fake, Sailor Moon Wig.
What is this toy?
What is in this 'Mystery Box'?
This piggy bank is definitely fake!
Doujinshi Fax Paper - yes it's cute but aren't faxes dying?
This soda is official but what is Sailor Uranus WEARING? Those aren't her official colors!
These are definitely fake figures.
A Sailor Moon Festival Mask we're not quite sure is a knockoff or not.
This isn't any Senshi we know!
Sailor Moon No Smoking stickers!

Best of the Rest:

A rare Sailor Stars Calendar!
A rare Manga book Calendar
Sailor Moon envelopes used for Lucky Money during Chinese New Year! More Lucky Money Envelopes!
Sailor Moon Bento Onigiri Boxes!
Sailor Moon spoon and fork set from PGSM era!
A rare Sailor Venus Fork!
The entire Tokyopop Sailor Moon Manga Release!
Irwin Sailor Saturn at a bargain price!
Rare lot of Sailor Moon Beef Curry and Bubble Gum!
Sailor Moon R Glass Tumbler!
Sailor Moon Mug with Figure!
Sailor Moon Cel from the first opening!
Sailor Moon PJs for that special Chibi-Moonie!
Limited Edition PGSM Sailor Moon Figure!
Most if not all of the Sailor Moon Comic Magazines from Germany
A complete box of Sailor Moon Dart Flipcards trading cards!
A complete box of Sailor Moon Action Flipz cards!
A complete box of Sailor Moon Trading Cards Series 3!
A golden jewellery box from Sailor Stars!
A rare (and expensive) artbook!
Blue Sailor Moon wrapping paper!
Yellow Sailor Moon wrapping paper!
Sailor Moon mini stamps!
Sailor Moon washcloth and container!
Sailor V manga in German!
Sailor Moon R Cel featuring Ann!
Sailor Moon Cake Figures from Europe!
Sailor Moon long sleeved shirt!
A Chibi-Usa Iron!
An incredibly cute Artemis Cel!
Rare, collectible, Sailor Moon plush keychains!
Ten rare Sailor Moon plush keychains!
Sailor Starlights Plushes!

We're all shopped out just looking at all of this!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

For all our Readers affected by the Virginia Tragedy...

All of the staff at Moon Chase! expresses our deepest sympathies over this senseless tragedy that occurred Monday. We were saddened to hear of what transpired at Virginia Tech and will be keeping the victims and their families and friends in our thoughts and prayers.

Sailormoon Channel Update: The Return of Chibi-Usa!

Hey Moonies!

About two to two-and-a-half years ago, Sailormoon Channel (the official site in Japan) revamped their site but deleted any trace of the outer senshi and Chibi-Usa. Before, all of the Senshi used to be displayed on the site menu and each one of them had an animated splash screen. This was probably done to push PGSM with fans back then. Some fans were sad to see that the other senshi had disappeared, and thought that they may never come back.

On a side note: Just because the webpage says it's for Japanese Only doesn't mean people from all over the world can't access it! Some parts of the site are oddly enough in English!

After PGSM went off of the air, the site took a new direction: Some features were removed, such as the goods around the world section and Princess Naoko's Room (where she would occasionally give updates on what she was up to).

One feature that was added was the "Moon Prism Box". This can be accessed first by clicking the moon on the homepage that says "click", and then clicking on "Moon Prism Box" when you hit the menu. When you open it you see an animation of all the senshi, but if you click on Sailor Moon, it takes you to her bedroom (the others lead to profiles). You can click on the objects in her room and they will take you to different spots on her site, but most important is the Television - Click that and you are taken to a menu where select stories from the manga are somewhat animated and set to PGSM music. These are updated more regularly than the rest of the site! Or for kicks, Here's Princess Serenity giving you your daily fortune !

Whoever is in charge of building this site (we don't know if Naoko Takeuchi has 100% control over this site) has finally added one character back! Chibi-Usa returned April 1st, 2007. She has a profile in Usagi's room, and is also the highlight character in the second set of manga animations which just went online today! We encourage fans to take a look at the manga animations if they haven't seen them yet.

We are glad to see this character return and we are hoping that the other characters return soon! We do have to end this article on a questioning note: if this is the official Sailor Moon site, why have they made no mention of the anime episodes being available on Toei's new Anime on Demand service ?

New Feature: What The Heck Were They Thinking?

Obscure Portrayals of Sailor Moon in Newsmedia!

We too often hear of Sailor Sightings in the media. Or for the most part, the positive ones! Rarely does anyone ever mention the negative or obscure sightings! What we’d really like to know is What The Heck Were They Thinking when the writers came up with these obscure mentions!

Case #1: Phil Spector likes to Cosplay?

Phil Spector is currently awaiting a murder trial, but he’s using some pretty strange tactics. Why would anyone want to get sympathy from a jury wearing “a dazzling Sailor Moon haircut made entirely out of pulsating fibre optics.” . Where are the grammar police? Unless his hair is made out of fibre optics, we’re pretty sure they meant to use the word “wig” instead of “haircut”.

Tangents aside, who’d want a fiber optic wig that long?

Case #2: College Students Just Don’t Get It!

College students love to write editorials! But what happens when they try to use a Sailor Moon reference? THEY FAIL! And they make Sailor Moon totally not look cool.

We’d like to know since when did Sailor Moon attract only “leather-fringe-sporting or burlap-sack-bound 60-something fetishists” . The last time we saw Mamoru, we’re pretty sure he wasn’t any of those things! We’ve also never seen Sailor Moon Shuriken on eBay! We highly doubt they even exist for that matter.

Yes, we all know college students have a certain pride about their cartoon nostalgia. I’m sure we’ve all met someone who has their favorite cartoon of the eighties. But there are better, more tasteful ways to do this!

Case #3: Some People Just Don’t Do Their RESEARCH!

City of Heroes is a popular MMORPG which allows players to create their own superheros. Jay Doherty, a character designer for the series was recently interviewed by WarCry online. And he has a very interesting life story. Yes, we understand that this is probably a joke, but does he actually know that Sailor Moon was created by a woman ? The rat and the turtles remind us more of Ninja Turtles than Sailor Moon. And if he had five female friends, we doubt that he really played a Tuxedo Kamen-esque role in their lives. The next time you are going to fake something, at least make it believable!

Case #4: Hey, Not Everyone Who Wants To Learn Japanese Wants To Learn It Because They Are Sailor Moon Fans!

SquareEnix makes awesome games other than Final Fantasy. Chrono Trigger, Drakengard, Radiata Stories, aaaannnndddd Seiken Densetsu (or better known as Mana). There’s two new Mana games coming out very soon, but Chris Antista seems to think that Sailor Moon is one of the largest reason any Otaku wants to learn Japanese. Though it may be true of some fans, it’s probably not fair to say it’s true for the majority! Other people might have legitimate reasons, such as not wanting to learn French or Spanish in school, wanting to converse with exchange students better, or maybe because they’d like the option to watch any japanese movie or show without having to rely on subtitles all the time!

Case #5: Oh MSNBC Why Are You So Concerned About Naming the Series?

Everyone knows that Sailor Moon was a huge pioneer for anime in North America, if not just for shoujo anime. But we found it awkward when MSNBC declined to mention the name of the series, but instead described it .

“If this seems over the top for an art form that, more times than not, features Japanese teenage girls in short skirts conquering bad guys...”

The article would have had a lot more power if they could have named some of the anime that began the boom in North America. While Pokemon was a marketing champion, there were other series before it. Without them Pokemon might not have been picked up by a distributor in North America, were these series not there to pave the way for it.

It drives us nuts when journalists miss key points beyond the mainstream like this!

Thus ends our sifting through the news for stories that make us scratch our heads and wonder... WHAT THE HECK WERE THEY THINKING ?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Few Japanese Commercials!

For something different, we're going to share some Japanese Commercials when we come across them! Japanese Commercials are notoriously known all over the world for their quirky and odd nature!

First off , for all proponents of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, why does Asia get treated differently? Where are the "real" women?

Online Videos by

Honda's commercials are very classy in Japan - I wonder why we don't see many commercials like these in North America.

Online Videos by

Morinaga is a confections company in Japan and they make Hi-Chew, a candy that is like Starburst but more flavorful. This commercial for the product is one of the strangest ones we've ever seen for the product!

Online Videos by

And now the first of two McDonald's Commercial. This one is for some sort of chocolate pastry and a breakfast sandwich of sorts.

Online Videos by

The second features a burger which gave us a heart attack just watching it, and a Chicken Filet burger with Ginger.

Online Videos by

And saving the best for last: The epic commercial of one lucky man and the hordes of women that come flocking to his side when he uses... Axe?

Online Videos by


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sailor Moon Finds on eBay #3!

Time to see what 25 items we found lurking on Ebay this time around!

Greatest of the Expensive Items:

That artbook we mentioned in the last update is still there and topping the pricelist. So for something different, here are two items that caught our eye!

A rare cel from the opening of Sailor Stars!

The complete first and second seasons, dubbed and from Australia . **I mention this item because due to distribution problems back in the day many places did not see these dvds. If you have a region free dvd player and still wish to own this, this is your best option. Australia was one of the last countries to lose the rights and these DVDs are popping up all over the web. Yes this is pricey but it’s better than paying
500 bucks

Best of the Cheap Items:

A Sailor Moon Address Book presumably from Japan!

Items That Make Us Go O.o.:

Which Sailor Senshi wore these colors?

Best of the Rest!

We found a whole bunch of teenybopper cosmetics from Spain!

Sailor Jupiter Body Glitter

Sailor Venus Body Glitter

Sailor Chibi-Moon Nail Polish

Sailor Moon Nail Polish

Sailor Moon Lip Gloss

A Rare Pencil Board - This poster hangs in Sailordees’ office!

A Rare Michiru Phone Card

Sailor Moon Markers!

Sailor Mars Cell Phone Charm

A rare Luna Message Clip

Rare Sailor Moon Necklace Featuring The Moon Princess!

A cute Sailor Venus Mini Board Book!

Sailor Moon Heart Ribbon Cards

Set of 5 Sailor Moon Crystal Figurines!

A rare limited edition poster

A Coffee Mug from Japan!

Why cheer for teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when you could cheer for Sailor Moon?

Sailor Moon Pendant Set

Sailor Moon Fan!

Sailor Moon Vanity Desk!

And sadly we bring this shopping trip to a close for now!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Three Quick Sightings and Looking for a Guest Writer

Do you have what it takes?

Hey fans. We’ll be expanding these sightings all a bit later but there’s one coming up that I need to get out ASAP.

☼ Robert Tinkler (Rubeus, Pupuran) is going to appear on ABC’s new fall sitcom Notes from the Underbelly . He will be playing Ben - I am unsure whether this is a voice or a live action role. ABC is going to show a sneak peak of the pilot this Thursday evening (check your local listings)!

☼ Jeff Lumby (Dr. Tomoe) is the new host of the Morning Radio Show on
Dave FM in Ontario . We’ll be listening to it soon (once one of us can wake up in our oddball timezones)!

We are currently looking for a reader in Europe that has access to the beta version of Joost - we acquired a token recently and are very impressed. However we North Americans don’t get Gong ! We’d love to hear from someone in Europe who has tried the service and what they think about it (and if it holds potential for North America)! Please contact us at . Previous freelance journalism experience is recommended but not required.

And just for kicks, you be the judge!

Here is the opening for the recently premiered tokusatsu comedyBishoujo Celeb Panchanne (keep in mind the same director of PGSM, Masataka Takamaru is directing this series):

Here is the opening for the tokusatsu we hope you’ve all heard of by now, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (spot the similarities!):

And here’s an older tokusatsu we were notified about earlier, and we think this may be a near remake of this series! Reader Adam DuVall told us of an older tokusatsu from the early nineties called Bishoujo Kamen Poitrine, and we can’t help but notice the alarming similarities between the two series!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sailor Moon Sightings: Comic Edition

There are hundreds of thousands of websites dedicated to Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon, more doujinshi than you can shake a stick at, several webcomics, and as of this post, 23,838 fanfiction - and that's on alone, without crossovers! It's easy to see that Sailor Moon fandom is active, even though the show's English run finished just over three years ago. Through this series of articles, we will explore the more exotic tendrils of the Sailor Moon English-speaking fandom vine.

What better way to start a tribute to fandom than by looking at the medium of the original series? Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon began serialization in Nakayoshi in December of 1991 and ran for five years. It is only fitting to
see how Sailor Moon shows up in manga and other comics.

In the 10th and 12th volumes of the Keroro Gunso manga, released as Sgt. Frog by Tokyopop, a set of unnamed maids appear in the mansion of an heiress. They look strangely similar to the five inner senshi! Known as the Nishizawa Maid Brigade in the English translation, they appear with a flourish, a pose, and a smile. These are only small cameo appearances, but the resemblance is undeniable.

A manga-styled comic from Italy that enjoyed brief success in the US is W.I.T.C.H. Novels, graphic novels, and a TV show depicted the magical lives of five young girls. In the first volume of the graphic novel, a tiny figurine in a pink dress poses on top of Hay Lin's computer. The figure's blond odangos lead me to believe it's Usagi! I wish I had one for my computer. You can visit the Jetix W.I.T.C.H. site for games, or the Wikipedia article for more information.

Print comics are not the only sources for hidden and not-so-hidden references. Many webcomics have placed Sailor Moon allusions within their panels! One of my favorite webcomics, ConScrew, has had many mentions of Sailor Moon. There's a full arc centered on a villain who cosplays as Tuxedo Kamen at every convention! Another villain is defeated by the two main characters in Sailor Saturn and Sailor Chibi-Moon cosplay. There are many more mentions of Sailor Moon throughout other story arcs as well.

Sailor Moon cosplay is the focus of another comic's references. Real Life Comics, a gaming-oriented webcomic, once tried to introduce new costumes to the lineup -- sailor fuku! Needless to say, with a mostly-male cast, it didn't go over too well. This is one of the more unusual examples of a reference, because for the most part, "girly" shows like Sailor Moon don't show up in RLC!

These are only a few of the many Sailor Moon sightings in popular culture. Have you seen something we missed? E-mail us at with "sighting" in the subject, and we'll take a peek!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sailordees Exclusive: An Interview With Roland Parliament!

Roland Parliament
CN Anime Expo, 2004
In late 2006, I had put out a call to fans via the SOS mailing list with an exclusive interview opportunity with Roland Parliament (Melvin, Voice Director). I was able to get many questions from fans all around the community and finally got the interview back from Roland a week ago, and I am cross posting it here from the mailing list . Thank you very much Roland for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview , and for your support over the years!

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Jay at for all his assistance in publicizing this interview , as well as my friends who pulled through at the last minute, I could not have finished this without you! A thank you goes out also to all the fans who sent in their questions, merci beaucoup!

Without further ado, here he is answering your questions!

Sadie : Did you get to pick which voice you did, and if so why Melvin? If you got the pick of the male characters aside from the fact that he eventually gets to date Molly (although she'll always be with Nephlite in my mind), why Melvin?

Melvin ♥ Molly
(or rather Umino ♥ Naru )
Roland Parliament : I didn’t get to choose. I went to an audition several months before the recording sessions started, and I auditioned for a number of characters. The producers liked my audition but couldn’t fit me with any of the characters. It was only shortly before the recordings began that they discovered they hadn’t found a “Melvin” yet. My only instruction at the audition was to do a “nerd”. I have a lot of experience from my childhood with THAT character, and though I spent years trying to alter my real personality into something a little more “cool”, I must admit I felt very comfortable in the nerd role. In fact, if I had to choose, I probably would have chosen the Melvin character. I like playing oddballs because they are far more interesting than the stereotypical hero. Next time though, I think I might like to try a hero role. I just hope I could bring something quirky to the role. Nephlite by the way was a twerp. Molly liked me far better.

Jennifer Ehring : Hi Roland Parliament how does one become a good voice actor and how do you get to audition for voice acting in the anime industry?

Roland Parliament : You study. This can come in many forms – some people go to theatre school, some take regular workshops, and some very rare individuals just have an innate talent. I’m an odd combination of all three. I started my theatrical experience at a very young age (two) and realized I was confident in front of an audience and liked the attention. I was much more interested in music during my teens and twenties, and got my satisfaction playing in rock bands. This lead to a career in producing advertising music, which led to a career in voice-over performance, which led to a career in animation voicing, etc. All along the way though, I was always interested in what my voice could do. I always tested its limits, and constantly experimented. I tried dialects, vocal imitation, choral singing, solo singing, anything that challenged my voice. At one point, because I had pushed my voice so far, I was on voice control for six months and had to remain completely silent during that time. I would do that differently if I had it to do over again. I would start out much more slowly and ease my voice into the more strenuous activities with a LOT more attention to process.

Trivia: one of Roland's earliest
roles was Matthew in
Primetime Bedtime Classics'
The Toy Shop
It varies from person to person. I’ve been teaching voice for over sixteen years now, and I’ve seen many, many students who bring completely different skill sets to school with wildly varying results. The one constant with the ones who succeed is that they want it really badly. So, if you really want to succeed and there are no other physical barriers to your progress, immerse yourself in the process. At times it will seem futile and pointless. Keep your eye on the goal. This is one activity where if there is no pain, there is no gain.

As far as auditioning for voice acting goes, heed the previous paragraphs and the rest will take care of itself.

Ismail Saeed : What aspects of the handling of Sailor Moon in the American version were your calls? For example, terming it "Crossroads Junior High" or specifying Darien as having a modeling stint which Serena then referred to in a later episode? Were you just provided the scripts as DiC desired them and then did the directorial job with the actors, or did you get to influence the production more than that?

Roland Parliament : Your question addresses one of the major misunderstandings from the audience about the production team. There is a hierarchy here, and the protocol is strictly followed.

Those with the money make all the rules. The rest of us are employees. I had some influence with the actors’ performances, but that’s about it. Scripts, episodic development and other plot developments are completely in the hands of the producers. I may have made the odd script adjustment, and hoped they went unnoticed. That’s about it.

Ismail Saeed : Forgive some ignorance here... when Cloverway handled season 3 and 4, did you just continue to reprise Melvin (in his few appearances or did you continue to direct? Either way, how did you feel about the manner of the production imposed on you by Cloverway as compared to that of DiC?

Tuxedo Melvin
Roland's favorite episode!
Roland Parliament : It’s been a while now, but as I recall John Stocker directed seasons 3 & 4. I was apparently too much of a renegade to carry on. Again, there is a hierarchy here, but I did complete Melvin’s roles.

Ismail Saeed : What was your personal take on season 5 (Stars) of Sailor Moon, not now, but back then maybe around the time you all were wrapping the dubbing of season 4 up? Were you wary of pursuing it further or were you hopeful of pursuing it further? Or, perfectly reasonable, were you in fact unaware of the fifth season at the time?

Roland Parliament : Sailor Moon was one magnificent experience. I met some of Canada’s greatest voice actors and I reveled in the time I spent with them. But I think it’s time we all moved on to other things.

Venus Knight : Hi Roland,
It's nice of you to take time out to do this interview. So.... First question which may be a little loaded, with the edits, cuts, etc. Do you think Sailor moon got a fair shot in the US?

Roland Parliament : No. But I’m not the person to ask.

Venus Knight : second question, What has been the most memorable thing that's happened to you because you were involved with the NA production of Sailor Moon?

Melvin has a bit too
much love for fried
shrimp!(animated by
Roland Parliament : Two things. I met some of the most amazing voice actors I’ve ever known, and I’ve met some of the most amazing fans I’ve ever known. Without the fans, there would be no reason for the actors. Bless you.

Ditchdigger : What were your first thoughts when you were first told you would be directing the English dub of Sailor Moon and when you heard what the show was about?

Roland Parliament : I first thought I could get my SAAB car repaired. Or maybe that it was I would be working with Terri Hawkes again. But then again, maybe it was my dream of directing an animation series.

I didn’t really think about what the show was about. But I certainly got into it soon.

Kryten : Apart from rabbits, ferrets are my favorite animated characters. When does Ferretina come out and who might we recognize from Sailor Moon in it?

Roland Parliament : Soon, I hope. Animation features often take a lot of time, but this one seems to be taking a lot of extra time. I got a call today that indicates things are moving forward quickly. Let’s hope.

Kryten : What were your recording sessions like? Did everyone just come in and read their lines or was there a lot of friendly banter back and forth?

He'll do anything
for Molly/Naru!
(animated by
Roland Parliament : The sessions were grueling, but ultimately rewarding. At first as an actor, I was only there for 1-3 hours at a time.. As director, I was often there for 14-16 hours a day for 22 days in a row or more, and this continued on for several months. Yes, there was a lot of friendly banter because the actors all knew the stress we were under, and all behaved as professionals.

**********: How do you feel about your legacy as it pertains to the show?

Roland Parliament : I have no idea. That’s for history to answer.

Jenny : Out of everything you have directed (movies and TV shows), what makes Sailor Moon special?

Roland Parliament : That I spent several months working with very, very special actors whom I love dearly. Terri Hawkes deserves special mention here.

starcat : I made this AMV , and it sorta features Melvin. Maybe you'll like it! Anyways, here are my questions:
Who's the most important/famous person you've met?

Roland Parliament : My father. He’s not famous, but he’s important. Next to that is my wife Tamara.

starcat : Do you still keep in touch with the other Sailor Moon staff?

Roland Parliament : As much as I can. We all have separate lives, and we try to respect each others’ privacy.

Box : What's the most amusing outtake that you remember?

Trivia: Roland also served
as the voice of Zellers
Mascot,Zeddy Bear!

Roland Parliament : There was a scene with Terri Hawkes wherein I asked her to put on a false nose to get a nasal quality to her sound. She obliged willingly, and it worked!

Box : What was the most difficult part of your job?

Roland Parliament : Putting up with the BS from the producers.

Box : What’s your favorite project been in recent years?

Roland Parliament : Raising two beautiful dogs – Atticus the Golden Retriever and Justice the Norwegian Buhund

sailordees : Many years ago it was suggested that Sailor Moon could be dubbed in both uncensored and censored versions to satisfy both groups of fans. Do you think given your experience with the show this could have been possible and would have worked? Why or why not?

Roland Parliament : No. They are disparate groups and neither will be satisfied with the other’s different agenda.

sailordees : Out of all the voice actors you have worked with whose cartoon voices are the most different or interesting compared to their natural voice?

Roland Parliament : Most of the actors involved in “Sailor Moon” have a wide range of voices, but I have heard so many other voice actors who are brilliantly versatile in so many roles, that it would be impossible to determine..

sailordees : Looking back on how Sailor Moon was marketed back in her “glory days” (The English version was aimed more towards a younger audience) would you have done anything (knowing which audiences were really watching it) different and why?

Roland Parliament : I may have been smarter about identifying the target audience, but I doubt it would have had any impact on the marketing. These responsibilities are left to the high foreheads of the organization, and they rule supreme. End of story.

Postscript To All

“Sailor Moon” was a benchmark for many of us. You, who were and are fans, are so much appreciated by those of us who toiled on this series. Without you, we are nothing. We, the actors, are eternally grateful for your support. Remember, we all need each other.

God Bless.

Roland Parliament

Manga Pioneer Tokyopop Celebrates Ten Years in the Business! (Along with a Surprise?!)

Tokyopop Celebrates Ten Years in the Manga Industry and Announces New Ratings System!

The First Issue of
MixxZine, August 1997
Tokyopop (once known as Mixx) celebrated their ten-year anniversary on February the 20th of this year. Tokyopop is one of the pioneers of the North American Manga industry , beginning with Mixxzine, a bi-monthly manga magazine back in August 1997. And what was the first manga that it featured? Sailor Moon, of course! And it could not have come at a better time. The show had just been resurrected on the USA network after its initial cancellation, and fans were finally able to enjoy the show along with the stories that served as the basis for the show. The magazine also served as one of the spark plugs that has eventually led to the “manga boom” we have seen in the last few years. Manga is now no longer just limited to the comic book stores, but can now be found nearly anywhere you can find a book, making it a lot easier for fans to access the series they love to read! Many bookstores in the beginning used to place these books in a special section amongst the comics or humor novels, but now nearly all of the brick and mortar stores have a special section devoted to manga and/or graphic novels. Tokyopop has since blossomed into a company distributing hundreds of titles in both English and German all through North America and Europe. They are also not just about Japanese manga anymore, having released many manwha titles as well as Cine-Manga, graphic novels based on popular tv shows and movies (that are not always Japanese in nature). Tokyopop is one of the leading publishers of "homegrown" manga, with artists and authors from outside Japan creating entirely new original series!

The Sailor Moon Manga
was published in 1998,
as the first of Mixx’s
three “Pocket Mixx”
novel series.
The other two
were Magic Knight
Rayearth and Parasyte.

Sadly, their translations of the Sailor Moon manga had mixed opinions. Many fans did not agree with the way certain things were translated into English, from small annoyances like Usagi’s name being translated to "Bunny" to large ones such as attacks like Sailor Saturn’s "Death Reborn Revolution" being translated to "Death Ribbon Revolution!" The manga went out of print May 2nd , 2005 . There was talk at Anime Boston 2005 from Tokyopop how they would like to re-release the series (along with other companies that were there with respect to the anime). In North America at least, the manga was probably one of the last (if not the last) of all the Sailor Moon property licences to expire. It is unknown whether they had intended to release a new, revised translation of the old manga, or whether they had intended to release the newer updated versions that came out around the time of PGSM.

With the ten year anniversary of Tokyopop came a surprise! Tokyopop was back then a pioneer also in the ratings of graphic novels, and has announced a new system of ratings for the books, in a bid to create a similar ratings system to that of the ESRB for video games. There are five categories, and here is the short version: A = all ages, Y = youth over the age of ten, T = teens ages 13 and older, OT = "Older Teen" 16 and up, and M = "Mature" - over 18 only! There is a link on their release to a PDF that gives a more comprehensive breakdown; right down to the words that you can expect to see in those categories and what sorts of graphical representations will be in the book.

So now, for the first time on this site, we’re going to try to stir up a discussion! Do you think Manga needs to be rated? Why or why not? Here’s what we think, post your thoughts in the comments!

Sailordees: I think there needs to be a better rating system and this one from what I have read isn’t that bad. Where I am right now there is debate about ratings and a lot of it comes from concerned parents who have young children into manga. Last summer there was an issue with the libraries placing all the graphic novels together (regardless of their intended audience) and younger children were picking up manga that were too mature for their age group. I’ve encountered these same sorts of things in retail with the placement of Anime DVDs, kids thinking that they are all just "cartoons" they would watch on TV that were "kid-safe". Some stores separate their selection into categories to the best of their abilities while others do not. At that I would say , well the parents have the responsibility to look over the ratings for their kids. In a library though where things are a little more segregated I think that the library should also take the responsibility to split the books between those appropriate for children, and those appropriate for the older crowd, just as they do with everything else. Maybe they could stick up a poster explaining the ratings too so parents could take notice as stores here in Canada do that for movie ratings. While I do understand that in this modern world everyone is going to be exposed to everything sometime , I can understand the views of the parts of society that are concerned. If you don’t agree with ratings, you’re not forced by law to abide by them, but at the same time they are there to satisfy members of society who would like them.

The Me: Just like with movies, there is a wide range of stories and content in both anime and manga. Simply piling them all together under a blanket term because they appeal to a comparatively limited audience is not acceptable in the long run. Any ratings system will be inherently flawed because not all publications will fit between the nice rigid lines separating ratings, but as systems go the one proposed here seems to have a serviceable array of categories and should perform well.

starcat: I believe that ratings are necessary, and I'm thrilled to see them take a cue from the MPAA and state what causes the ratings. Some parents might be okay with violence but not with drugs, for example. As someone who is trying to form an anime club in a high school, I know ratings are very important. It'll be tricky to get the school to even allow "teen," but the administration will know what sort of things are in each series. I recently read Tokyopop's release of Paradise Kiss, rated OT - older teen. In the second or third volume, though, there was "explicit sexual activity" - these volumes would be rated Mature by the new guidelines! Then again, there is the English release of Keroro Gunso as Sgt. Frog, also by Tokyopop - it's rated T for teen. This is due to the excess of panty shots in an otherwise cute, inoffensive manga. I personally think Sgt. Frog could go lower without repercussions, as the art isn't particularly detailed. Overall, I think the rating system is a little flawed, but the new guidelines will help quite a lot.

Box: In an ideal world (I call it Awesomeworld), we wouldn't need content warning labels. Parents would be aware of their child's entertainment, and make informed decisions based upon their own understanding. In the world we all seem to live in, though, it appears that any media with pictures (see: television, video games, movies, the like) appears to require a label to avoid crossing the spoken and unspoken boundaries; it is perhaps, then, inevitable that manga find itself interested in bearing similar statements. Is this strictly necessary? No. Useful? Quite possibly, yes.