Monday, June 07, 2010

Sailor Moon in Japan Digest - Early June 2010

We’re retiring the old News from the Other Side of the Pond titles and are instead bringing in a new Sailor Moon in Japan Digest title. Mainly because, now Sailor Moon mentions in Japanese media are coming in packs (when they do).

An Article Comparing the Success of Pretty Cure to Sailor Moon in Japan (Again)

Once again, the Mainichi Shimbun has posted an article about Pretty Cure’s 7th year, and this time questions the roots of the series. Sailor Moon is mentioned as the first anime that started the trend of girl superheroes, but the article does not go without making a few controversial remarks about Sailor Moon. Fans can read an English version of the article here. Among the things that really struck a chord with us:

☽ Takashi Washio, a producer with Toei Animation comments: "We wanted to portray girls who don't depend on other people, but always try to help others, the main characters are working hard towards their dreams, and we wanted audiences to see that as a cool thing." Fine. Sailor Moon may have been dependent on Tuxedo Kamen to provide that crucial blow to weaken the enemy so she could use her “ultimate weapon”, but aside from that situation, every other character ALWAYS tried to help others. There were so many moments in the series where each of the Senshi were caught in a tough situation on their own. They handled it as best they could, until Sailor Moon could come and save the day. And don’t act like the girls of Pretty Cure aren’t dependent on each other either – they all have to unite for their “ultimate weapon” too.

☽ Akinori Takada, a media theory at Ferris University comments: "'Sailor Moon' tried to work its charms on men, but 'Pretty Cure' is different. I think that audiences have responded to the representation of independent girls fighting and solving problems." Sailor Moon didn't primarily try to work its charms on men. While the show did implore a few things to get guys to watch it, it was still at the end of the day an anime that was made for girls, and made to appeal to girls. And, audiences responded to much of the same things back in Sailor Moon’s day too, this doesn’t make Pretty Cure all that different at all.

☽ And finally, a comment from Ryota Fujitsu, 41, an anime critic: "Pretty Cure" focuses on the importance of friendship, and what sets it apart from "Sailor Moon" is the lack of romantic side plots. "The protagonists are cute, but they don't flaunt their sex appeal, because the anime portrays girls who are vibrant and enjoying life, audiences are able to watch comfortably." Uhh, there have been some romantic side plots involved with Pretty Cure, since many of the girls had crushes on guys (and vice versa). Nagisa had a crush on Fuji-pi, in the first season, Kento-kun had a crush on Inori last season, and those are just two examples. Sailor Moon focused on the importance of friendship just as much (if not more) than Pretty Cure did. Of course, we also think the protagonists of Pretty Cure have their own sex appeal, but we think we've written enough for this post.

Pretty Cure has a lot more in common with Sailor Moon than the people in this article think it does. While we think Pretty Cure has it’s own charm, just because it has had more movies and a much longer run than Sailor Moon, doesn’t bring it close to the legacy Sailor Moon continues to have in the hearts of anime fans all over the world.

Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential Hits Shelves in Japan, On Way Here Soon!

Gigazine posted a review of Brian Ashcraft (Senior Contributing Editor of Kotaku.com) and his wife Shoko Ueda’s book, Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential: How Teenage Girls Made a Nation Cool. There is also a translation posted on their English site here. In there is a chapter dealing with sailor-style uniforms for any otaku wishing to learn more about how they came to be popular, as well as a section on comic icons which largely seems to focus on Sailor Moon! This book looks like it would be a great read, and we look forward to bringing you a few exclusives ahead of the book’s North American release in August. Brian also told us that he interviewed someone very close to Naoko Takeuchi for this book and we can’t wait to read what they had to say! However, those of you that can’t wait to purchase the book in stores in North America, you can import this book from Japan – it’s published in English there!

People Surprised by Character Ages!

Japan’s biggest social bookmarking site Hatena ran a special feature last week about the ages of different popular characters in anime, manga, and video games. While some people expected that Sailor Moon was around 14 years old, many were surprised by the age of some other favorites! Nintendo’s Mario is around 25, Hiroshi Nohara is thought to be around 35, and Bakabon’s father from the old favorite Tensai Bakabon is around 41. Some ages of these characters were unexpected by Hatena users, but nonetheless a lot of people were interested to find out what the ages of their favorite characters might be.

And to Cap...

Later this week we will talk more about Kunihiko Ikuhara's recent trip to China, but for now here are a few images from the People's Daily of Ikuni in action! We think he needs at the very least, a top hat, a mask, and a cape in that last picture to go with that big bouquet of roses... just sayin' ;)!




1 comment:

Swim said...

I'll be making a special trip to Borders when Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential comes out... [Subtle Hint]unless a review copy magically(get it?) shows up in my mailbox.[/Subtle Hint]