10 Anticipated Manga-induced Changes for the New Sailor Moon Anime
Back in 2012, in celebration of its 20th anniversary, it was announced that a new Sailor Moon anime was in the works. Fans of all ages rejoiced, but were left without news pertaining to this new incarnation of the story. Developments of the new series were left up in the air resulting in bloggers and fans alike to speculate as to what it might be. Was it to be a continuation of the story? Or is it simply a reboot? With a release date for Summer of 2013 it became the simple matter of waiting for the day to arrive. However, since then the series has been delayed not once but TWICE, leaving some to speculate that the series was all talk just to sell merchandise. Currently it stands that the anime is to launch worldwide this summer with it not being a sequel or a reboot, but a completely new series that is to keep faithful to the original source material- Naoko Takeuchi’s 18 volume manga.
With this in mind it should come as no surprise that this means there will be many obvious differences between this new incarnation and the anime from the 1990s. Though the series will be new these changes and additions will not as they had existed long before. Yet for some fans the old will be new, presenting a completely new story to enjoy. Here are just a few of the significant manga-specific details that may finally be animated this summer.
Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers for fans of the anime that have not read the manga.
10. The Sailor Quartet and Human Cats
Known only as the Amazoness Quartet in the anime these four girls served Queen Nehellenia and the Dead Moon Circus. They were introduced following the “death” of the Amazon Trio and were sent out in search of the golden mirror. By the end of the anime story arc they went on to live their lives as normal girls after they aided the sailor senshi by stealing the golden crystal from Nehellenia, replacing it with a pineapple. In the manga it is revealed that the Amazoness Quartet are Sailor Chibi/Mini Moon’s future guardians intended to remain sleeping until it was their time to serve. They were forcefully awakened and became the minions of the Dead Moon Circus in which time they forgot their true destines. The existence to the Sailor Quartet suggests a continuation of the story beyond Sailor Moon and the senshi in the far future, thus opening the door for future adventures and battles that may or may not be realized on screen, but are still relevant.
Additionally, in the manga, the roles of Luna and Artemis extend beyond mentor-ship. Though it is not explicitly stated, one infers that in the manga they possess powers of their own including transformation. These same abilities are also found in their daughter, Diana, who throughout the final chapters of the manga is shown to be able to change into a human at will in times of crisis; however, unlike her parents she retains her tail. With the Sailor Moon S Movie the anime audience was given a glimpse of Luna’s human form which was brought on by the power of Sailor Moon and not her own. Having this ability returned to the cats will push the narrative forward, demonstrating how relationships function amongst them and even the rest of the universe as they are said to come from a planet called Mau; the same as the Sailor Animamate, Sailor Tin Nyanko from the Stars arc.
9. Manga-specific Characters
The Sailor Moon manga hosts a huge cast of characters, most of which were edited or omitted in the anime. The Stars arc, in particular, introduced a range of villains, the Sailor Animamates that were in cahoots with Sailor Galaxia in her quest to reorganize the universe. Moreover, in the anime one finds that all the senshi, with the exception of Serena/Usagi who was seen with Naru/Molly, only interact with each other and villains or the occasional family member; however, the manga clearly shows the inner senshi having friends and relationships outside of fighting evil. These manga-specific characters, if featured would provide increased variety to the narrative and ensure the development of the protagonists.
8. Villain Motivation
For the most part villains of the American dub were bad for the sake of being bad. Their motivations were limited to wanting control of the Moon Kingdom, Earth and the Universe but for reasons not fully explored. In the manga one is able to see the jealousy that Beryl had for Princess Serenity due to her obsessive love of Prince Endymion and Prince Diamond’s original good intentions for his family that lead to them becoming villainous. The back stories and motivation will humanize the characters by demonstrating their hopes, dreams and fears while also emphasizing the moral decisions on behalf of the senshi. These motivations will also emphasize the dark extremes of action that they are willing to take to get what they want.
Though sailor senshi can only be female, the Sailor Starlights and Sailor Uranus possess the power to disguise themselves as male. As they are able to go back and forth between these sexes it is never made clear if they are women who pose as men or vice versa. In the anime, this ambiguity is hinted at with the characters costume choices with Sailor Uranus constantly shown in men’s attire. Considered to be merely disguises for these characters, for many the ability worked to define their sexual orientation especially in the case of Sailor Uranus, who in her first appearance in the manga is shown dressed like Tuxedo Mask with Sailor Neptune in the already familiar sailor fuku. Genderbending was also not just limited to these four characters as Sailor Moon herself was the first to do so, donning the persona and attire of a handsome groom to distract an enemy in the beginning of the series. Choosing to include the genderbending quality of some characters heightens the complexity of the story as it breaks the rules set by the series itself.
6. Short Stories
Along with the main series a number of short stories were also published, appearing at the very end of the manga volumes. Recently these stories were collected and featured as two separate volumes entitled Sailor Moon Short Stories. The stories include the same characters as the rest of the series plus some new ones, in non-canonical events and adventures that do not fit into the larger narrative. Some of the stories are comical in nature and others lean closer to parody of the series itself. While the stories were not included to further the major plot in any way, they do include insight as to the lives of the scouts outside of battling evil. If animated the side short stories may take the role of the Sailor Moon Says segment that was added to the the episodes for the DiC dub or become stand alone episodes between the seasons, providing us with some character antics to enjoy.
5. More Violence and Graphic Content
Much of the violence and gore of the series was edited out for the American dub, possibly to give it a more hopeful and fluffy girly tone. That is not to say that the anime was all butterflies and rainbows (well, besides the transformation sequences) but removing basic elements of the original story kept the narrative from entering darker themes. Suicide, kidnapping, trauma, torture, sexual assault, attempted murder, self-harm and even implicit incest are common features within the manga series. Also some of the images are downright disturbing in some instances with disintegrating bodies, and faces melting. The dark element of the series gave it a serious tone that helped drive home the horrors of evil and constant struggle that comes with fighting on the side of good. Returning these elements would catapult the villains to a more ominous level instead of goofy and thematic as they were before.
4. A Strong Mamoru Chiba/Darien Shields and Tuxedo Mask Character Arc
It is no secret that the producers of the original series hated the character of Mamoru. Following the first season his importance waned considerably to the point that they had him temporarily “removed” from the show entirely. Later on he would only make random appearances that only worked to further the story or to cheer Sailor Moon on (with a toss of a rose no less) when the battle outcome seemed grim. As both Darien/Mamoru and Tuxedo Mask, he was often the target of kidnapping and brainwashing by the antagonists of the early story arcs presenting the only recurring male with the damsel in distress trope.
In the manga the character is both significant and developed as he does support Usagi/Serena as the romantic lead but also as plantarian guardian. Mamoru takes the role of Sailor Earth with his own guardians (the Earth Generals/Shitennou–Jadeite/Jedite, Neflite/Nephirite, Zoisite/Zoycite and Malachite/Kunzite) and even has abilities similar to those of the Sailor Senshi, most famously his Tuxedo La Smoking Bomber. He also has his own crystal- the golden crystal, which was used together with Sailor Moon’s silver crystal to defeat Nehellenia. Additionally, he is said to have psychic abilities such as touch telepathy and healing which he possesses even when not in his Tuxedo Mask guise. Having special powers and multiple incarnations Mamoru/Darien plays a critical role to the plot and the new anime will provide him equal billing with Usagi and the rest of the senshi.
3. Use of the Original Japanese Names
With the DiC dub came a “need” to change the names of the protagonists so that they could appeal to the American audience. Originally this meant that Usagi was to be Victoria, Ami was to be Blue, Makoto was to be Sarah, Rei was to be Dana and Minako was Carrie. However, these names were never used in the official release as DiC went with the names Serena, Amy, Lita, Raye and Mina instead, resulting in a small bit of confusion for those who were introduced to the story by the anime and later moved on to reading the manga. With the new series having a global online release, one is left wondering whether or not this means that there will be no dubbing involved. Needless to say, if the series does follow the original manga this could involve the original names and the attached honorifics as well as correct pronunciation of said names.
2. Original Character Personalities
In the anime, particularly in the American dub, great liberties were taken in regards to the personalities of the senshi as well as the rest of the cast. For instance, Raye in the anime was depicted as rude, bossy and boy crazy with hopes of becoming a career woman who travels the world. In the manga, Rei is actually the most mature and sophisticated of the inner senshi who desired to become a high priestess. Usagi/Serena also retains her clumsy, lazy and cowardliness personality for most of the series run, which differs from her manga counterpart who is constantly maturing as the story goes on. Bringing back the original personalities of the characters presents the possibility of a more mature tone to the series as it enters into darker territory in terms of the plot.
1. Instant Transformations and Attacks
Other than the monster- of- the-week formula, the Sailor Moon anime follows the anime tradition of lengthy magical girl transformation and attack sequences. These stock footage induced sequences would happen at least once every episode and would run from a couple of seconds to two minutes in length; should it be a group transformation it would run a little longer or would be sped up. The sequences always go on without interruption suggesting that it may or may not be conducted in real time but rather it is there solely for the amusement of the viewer. However, there are instances in which a scene alternates between the transformation and the villain’s or bystander’s reaction suggesting that the lengthy multi-colored dance is an actual occurrence.
While it is unknown what the enemy is doing as these sequences happen, it is obvious that they are unrealistic and if real would hinder the actual fight. Throughout the manga transformations and attacks happen with a blink of an eye, allowing for the senshi to instantly take action against the enemy. In fact attacks by the senshi, though magical, are much more aggressive and varied in the manga needing some physical action to produce the powers. While many fans do enjoy these sequences (even going so far as to create their own for Sailor Saturn who did not have one in the anime) having instant attacks and transformations would have the senshi in constant movement and the battles will be of a more action-genre variety.
As someone who grew up watching the American dub before venturing on to reading the manga, I believe that bringing these manga-specific details to the screen will help take Sailor Moon away from the Shoujo Magical Girl label. Both the manga and anime as do possess flaws but in starting over and following the original tale would give the series an edge that is usually reserved for science fiction or adventure manga genres. The Sailor Moon manga presents a grand list of opportunities for and there is no telling how far this new series will go in embracing or reinterpreting the original material. Whatever the case may be one thing is for sure, following the manga will lead to the creation of an epic — of love and justice, in the name of the moon.
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