Sailor Moon (also known as Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon) is a manga series written and illustrated by Naoko Takeuchi from 1991 to 1997. The story follows Usagi (‘Serena’ in the translation), a young schoolgirl who is actually a magical warrior, and her adventures. She and her group of friends, the Sailor Scouts, must protect the Silver Crystal from the enemies and save the Solar System.
There was also an anime series based on the manga, aired in Japan from 1992 to 1997. Both were released in English in North America, and since then have become one of the most popular manga and anime series worldwide.
Here are some facts, compiled by Factinate, that you may not have known about Sailor Moon.
Sailor Moon may have been one of the most successful Japanese series adapted in the United States, but it was also one of the most heavily censored. The themes of adolescent sexuality, as well as homosexuality, were pretty heavily featured throughout the show, and the conservative American dub version tried to cover them up as much as possible. The last season in which Serena falls in love with a girl pretending to be a boy wasn’t even aired in the US. And this season is widely considered to be the best of the show.
2. Reservation only
There is a cafe in the Harajuku district of Tokyo, Japan, inspired by Sailor Moon. If you want to visit it though, you will have to book a seat at least a few months in advance: it’s that popular. Every little detail, including the food, drink, decor, and even the cups and plates, follow the Sailor Moon theme.
3. Way off Broadway
There have been a great number of Sailor Moon musicals performed live in Japan. They are so popular with people from all over the world, that the audience is offered glasses that provide English subtitles. One YouTuber, Australian Kim Dao who lives in Tokyo, shared the experience on her channel.
4. Global fame
It’s a fact that Sailor Moon is one of the most popular characters in the world ever. According to a study conducted in 2004, there are 3,335,000 different websites dedicated to Sailor Moon. To put that into perspective, there are only 491,000 websites about Mickey Mouse.
5. International bestseller
Sailor Moon has sold over 35 million copies worldwide as of 2012.
6. Girl power!
Magical girl is a subgenre of Japanese anime and manga. The most famous of the kind is Sailor Moon, which has served as an inspiration for a whole new generation of magic girl animes like Cardcaptor Sakura, Magic Knight Rayearth, and the self-aware Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
7. The token hipster
The character Chad Holden-Ford starts working at Raye’s family temple, and instantly falls in love with her. In the American version his long locks and unkempt appearance are due to him being a struggling musician. But in the original, he was actually homeless. In both versions, Chad turns out to be rich.
8. Did you hear about Pluto?
All the symbols on the Sailor Scout transformation pens are relatively accurate and represent the real symbols of the planets. Sailor Pluto’s symbol looks like a P and a L, which are actually the initials of Percival Lowell, the man who discovered Pluto in 1930.
9. Guardian crows
When she works at the shrine, Rei has two crows that hang out with her. Their names are Phobos and Deimos, the names of Mars’s two moons. They aren’t mentioned by name in the anime, but in the manga, the birds actually transformed into Sailor Phobos and Sailor Deimos, and their job was to protect Sailor Mars.
10. Lost in translation
In Japanese, the Scouts are called “Sailor Senshi,” which translates to “Soldier” or “Warrior.” However, in the first English dub version, the name was changed to Sailor Scouts, and later, in the new one, it was changed to Sailor Guardians.
There was a whole new segment added in the American version. “Sailor Says” was intended to provide kids with a lesson to be learned from each episode. Some of these lessons were self-love, friendship, and never giving up on your dreams.
The American version of Sailor Moon had all of the references to Japan removed. Some of the more notable examples include removing the kanji and flipping the image to make it seem as if the cars were driving on the right side of the road.
13. Roses are red
Tuxedo Mask doesn’t throw roses to attack villains in the manga. Was this added in the anime to make the character seem more romantic?
14. Underage drinking
Usagi got drunk a couple of times in the Japanese version. But seeing as she was 14-years-old, and the Americans didn’t want a children’s show to include underage drinking, they claimed that the punch made Serena sick and that’s why she acted strange. And this is how they explained the hangover of the following day as well.
15. Body positivity
In the multitude of changes made in the American version, perhaps the only good one was in the episode where Serena gains weight. In the original, Usagi starved herself to lose it, but in the American dub she was only encouraged to eat less junk food, putting a more positive angle on body image.
16. Stay in the closet
In Sailor Moon R: The Movie, the villain, Fiore, has feelings for Tuxedo Mask. But this is converted into a childhood friendship in the American dub.
17. Crossing the line
When they transform, the Scouts are almost naked in the Japanese anime. But, the American version had some of the line art erased to cover up their bodies.
18. Love yourself
The LGBTQ content was removed from the international versions of the show. However, fans still found ways to watch the original. In Vice‘s mini documentary “How Sailor Moon Transformed Queer 90s Kids’ Lives,” many fans revealed that Sailor Moon had helped them accept themselves and their own sexuality.
19. Love is love
The lesbian relationship between Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune was completely removed in the American version. The characters were presented as cousins, and the more romantic scenes were cut from the show.
Sailor Moon and Sailor Mars have a love-hate relationship in the original story, which in the anime translates to a lot of physical fights between Raye and Serena.
Takeuchi, the creator of the manga, wanted to be as accurate as possible about questions relating to space in her stories. So, when she was writing The Lover of Princess Kaguya, she went to the Kennedy Space Center in the United States to learn more about the subject.
22. Still kicking
The Sailor Moon fandom is still very much alive. You can find over 10,000 Sailor Moon-inspired items on Etsy.
23. You think this is a game?
Sailor Moon has even been converted in a video game. Nine video games, actually. They were made in the ’90s for Super Nintendo, PlayStation, and Sega Saturn. There were arcade games as well.
24. Success story
The New York Times Best Seller list has included Takeuchi’s works several times. She owns both a Ferrari and a Porsche.
25. Like attracts like
Takeuchi is married to Yoshihiro Togashi, the author of Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter. Both are incredibly popular manga and anime series.