Sailor Moon (character)
|Sailor Moon character|
Usagi in her Super Sailor Moon form as seen in Season 4 of the 1990s anime.
|First appearance||Sailor Moon chapter #1: Usagi - Sailor Moon (1991)|
|Created by||Naoko Takeuchi|
Kae Araki (eps. 44–50)
Tracey Moore (1-21, DiC dub)
Terri Hawkes (22-82, DiC dub)
Linda Ballantyne (CWi dub)
Stephanie Sheh (Viz dub)
Princess Serenity (birth name)
Sailor Rabbit (PGSM)
|Relatives||Queen Serenity (mother)
Ikuko Tsukino (Earth mother)
Kenji Tsukino (Earth father)
Shingo Tsukino (Earth brother)
King Endymion (husband)
Small Lady (daughter)
Kousagi Tsukino (Parallel Universe daughter)
|Powers and abilities||Generation of damaging energy
Usagi Tsukino (月野 うさぎ Tsukino Usagi, renamed "Serena Tsukino", "Bunny Tsukino" in some English adaptations), better known as Sailor Moon (セーラームーン Sērā Mūn), is a fictional superheroine who is the main protagonist and titular character of the Sailor Moon manga series written by Naoko Takeuchi. She is introduced in chapter #1, "Usagi – Sailor Moon" (originally published in Japan's Nakayoshi magazine on December 28, 1991), as a carefree schoolgirl who can transform into Sailor Moon, the de facto leader of the Sailor Soldiers. Initially believing herself to be an Earthling, she is later revealed to be the princess of the Moon Kingdom, and she subsequently discovers her birth name, Princess Serenity (プリンセス・セレニティ Purinsesu Sereniti).
In Sailor Moon, Usagi meets Luna, a magical talking black cat that is searching for the Moon Princess. Luna reveals that Usagi is destined to save Earth from the forces of evil and gives her a brooch to transform into Sailor Moon. She asks Usagi to form the Sailor Soldiers, find their princess and protect the "Silver Crystal". As Usagi matures, she becomes a powerful warrior and protects her adopted home planet, Earth, from villains who wish to harm it. Usagi is depicted as carefree and cheerful when at ease but promptly serious and strategic-minded when fighting.
As the protagonist, Usagi appears in every episode, film, television special, and original video animation (OVA) of the anime adaptations, Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal; as well as the live action adaptation, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. She also cameos in the sister series Codename: Sailor V. She has been the subject of parodies and has appeared in special events. Most Western audiences were introduced to Usagi appearing in the Sailor Moon anime, which is an adaptation of the manga series. Usagi's critical reception has been largely positive and she is recognized as one of the most important and popular female superheroes of all time.
Usagi is first introduced as living the life of a normal teenage schoolgirl in 20th-century Tokyo. Although well-meaning, she is an underachieving, accident-prone crybaby. One day, Usagi encounters a mysterious cat, who later reveals herself to be Luna, a mentor archetype who introduces Usagi to her new heroic role. Luna gives Usagi a magical brooch and explains how to use it to transform into Sailor Moon (the Soldier of Love and Justice); she tells Usagi that she is a Sailor Soldier who must fight for peace and find the rest of the Sailor Soldiers, as well as their princess. Usagi is a reluctant heroine at first, she grows more confident and mature over time. As Sailor Moon, she sets out to fight the villains from her past life and to protect the Earth using the Silver Crystal. This provides most of the conflict in both the manga and the anime.
Usagi lives in Azabu Jūban with her mother, Ikuko Tsukino; her father, Kenji Tsukino; and her brother, Shingo Tsukino. These names reflect those of Naoko Takeuchi's real-life family members. Out of all the Sailor Soldiers, only Usagi and Minako Aino live in a conventional nuclear family,[original research?] and Usagi is the only one known to have a sibling.
Usagi has a boyfriend named Mamoru Chiba (also known as Tuxedo Mask). Mamoru and Usagi's relationship is a significant part of Usagi's personal life, as well as the series as a whole. Mamoru and Usagi date for a long time in the series and the love they share helps her through many challenges. In the anime adaptation, Mamoru gives Usagi a heart-shaped promise ring just before he leaves for America. The ring represents a promise to Usagi that they will eventually marry.
Once she forms the Sailor Soldiers, Usagi learns that she comes from a race belonging to the Silver Millennium, and that her mother sent her to Earth to be reincarnated. In the second series, Usagi learns that she will give birth to a daughter (Chibiusa) by her boyfriend and future husband. She also discovers that she will become a "Sovereign of the Earth", known as Neo-Queen Serenity, by the 30th century.
Usagi loves sweet foods and they easily they distract her. Ice cream is listed as a hobby of hers in the manga, and her favorite subject is listed as home economics. She is said to dislike carrots, and is poor with both English and mathematics. Usagi is shown to be a genuine friend. She also has a talent for brown-nosing when needed, and for crying to get what she wants. She is afraid of dentists, ghosts and lightning, and her greatest dream is to be a bride. She is apparently a member of the Manga Drawing Club at school,[page needed] though her skill level varies widely when shown in the anime.[note 1] She stands 150 cm tall.[page needed]
In the manga and anime, Mamoru refers to her as odango (a kind of rice dumpling), based on her distinctive hairstyle. At first, this is always accompanied with the suffix ‑atama, meaning "head", but this is gradually dropped. Usagi hates the name at first, but it develops into a sign of affection as they become close. Later in the series Haruka and Seiya, other important male (or androgynous) figures in her life, adopt the name as well. Since there is no North American equivalent to odango, the original English adaptation almost always used the phrases "meatball head" or "moon face". In the Tokyopop Manga adaptation, Mamoru calls Usagi "buns", which is an approximation of odango and is short for "Bunny". In the Viz Media English adaptation, she is referred to as "bun head".
The series often portrays Usagi as lazy rather than lacking intelligence, such as when she passes her high school exams without trouble when threatened with separation from her friends.
The original anime often portrays Usagi as more childlike. She often bickers with her daughter Chibiusa, but can show just as much caring as her manga counterpart.[original research?] She does evolve during the course of the series, but other than the last few episodes of each story arc, she generally lacks the maturity she has in the manga.
In the live-action series, Usagi differs slightly from her manga and anime counterparts. She is more outgoing and extroverted, and makes friends very easily. This immediately puts her personality in conflict with the other Sailor Soldiers, each of whom is solitary to some degree. She rarely uses formal grammar with those of her age (though she does with adults), and refers to everyone as "given name-chan" (which is very informal and a way of expressing closeness). She teases Ami when Ami continues calling her "Tsukino-san" (a formal way of speaking to classmates), saying that it is as if they are not friends. Every time a new Sailor Soldier appears, Usagi immediately tries to make friends, even though almost all of them resist. However, Usagi eventually makes the other Sailor Soldiers realize that they are stronger together than alone. Usagi also has a habit of forcing her interests on the people that she makes friends with. This is prominent in her relationship with Rei, where she repeatedly tries to get her to sing.
Aspects and forms
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Being a character with a long lifetime (spanning the ancient Silver Millennium era and 30th century), as well as multiple incarnations, special powers and transformations, Usagi has various aliases such as Princess Serenity, Sailor Moon, Princess Sailor Moon, Super Sailor Moon, Eternal Sailor Moon, and Neo-Queen Serenity.
The series often refers to Usagi's Sailor Soldier identity, Sailor Moon, as the "Soldier of Love and Justice", and once as the "Soldier of Mystery".[page needed] Throughout most of the series, Sailor Moon wears a white and blue sailor fuku uniform; white and reddish‑pink gloves and boots; and crescent‑moon earrings. She also wears red hairpieces and white barrettes resembling feathers, both of which can be used for minor attacks. Her personality is no different from when she is a civilian, though her Sailor Moon form has certain powers.
The names for Sailor Moon's attacks center around the moon, love, mystery and light. Starting out as a frightened, reluctant girl often in need of help, she gradually accepts her full identity. She eventually becomes the most powerful Sailor Soldier in the galaxy, but her capacity for caring for others is shown to be more powerful still.
Salior Moon's appearance and title change at key points when she grows stronger or gains additional powers. The first change takes place during the third major story arc – act 30 of the manga and episode 111 of the anime – when she obtains the Holy Grail and becomes Super Sailor Moon.[page needed] In this form, her costume becomes more ornate and her powers are increased. At first she is unable to take this form without the Grail, but she later gains this ability permanently. This happens when Pegasus grants both her and Sailor Chibi Moon new transformation brooches – in arc 34 of the manga and in episode 130 of the anime. However, in this "Super" version, her white back bow is shorter than in the Holy Grail version.
Sailor Moon receives her third and final form at the end of the fourth major story arc, as the combined power of the other Sailor Soldiers transforms her into Eternal Sailor Moon, whom Diana says is the closest in power to Neo-Queen Serenity.[page needed] Her uniform is radically altered, including the addition of two pairs of angelic wings on her back which replace her back bow.
The plot of Sailor Moon contains several examples of asynchrony, including appearances of Sailor Moon from different time periods. ChibiChibi is a young girl from the future who turns out to be a future form of Sailor Moon. She comes back to the present to aid Eternal Sailor Moon in her fight against Sailor Galaxia. Like Chibiusa, she hypnotizes Usagi's family into believing that she is part of their family. In the manga, ChibiChibi transforms into "Sailor Cosmos" which is implied to be Sailor Moon's ultimate form. However, Sailor Cosmos admits that she is a coward that ran away from her battles and could never match Eternal Sailor Moon's final show of courage and power.
In the manga, Eternal Sailor Moon uses the Silver Moon Crystal, an evolved form of the Silver Crystal, to carry out her attacks.
Princess Serenity (プリンセス・セレニティ Purinsesu Sereniti) is a past incarnation of Sailor Moon that lived in the Moon Kingdom during the age of Silver Millennium. She was the daughter of Queen Serenity, who ruled Silver Millennium and watched over the Earth. Princess Serenity's guardians and closest friends were Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter, and Sailor Venus, who were princesses of their own respective planets that sometimes lived on the moon. On one of her visits to Earth, she met and fell in love with Endymion, the crown prince of Earth.
During the attack that caused the Moon Kingdom's downfall, Prince Endymion died protecting Serenity. In the manga she then commits suicide out of grief, while in the anime Queen Metaria killed them both. Serenity's mother, the Queen, was able to seal away the evil that had created the attack, but everyone involved was killed. Before her own death, the Queen used the Silver Crystal to give her daughter (and others) another chance at life, hoping that Serenity and Endymion would be able to find happiness together. In the live-action series, it is Princess Serenity herself who destroys the Moon Kingdom when Endymion was killed during the war.
Serenity reincarnates as Usagi Tsukino in the 20th century. Usagi occasionally takes the form of Princess Serenity during the series, often at climactic moments when more strength is needed than Sailor Moon can usually access. Usagi discovers her identity as a princess in act 9 of the manga, episode 34 of the anime, and act 25 of the live-action series.
While Takeuchi draws Usagi with white, yellow, and even pink hair, Serenity almost always has white hair. In the anime, both characters are always blond. In the live-action series, Serenity has black hair and brown eyes, just like Usagi, and she wears her hair straight down rather than in pigtails. This makes her identity more ambiguous before the storyline reveals her to be Usagi.
At climactic moments, Serenity sometimes gains a pair of functioning angelic wings. She does this during the final battles of SuperS, after she jumps off a tower to save Chibiusa and the two of them collide with Pegasus while falling. It also happens in Sailor Stars during the fight with the fully possessed Galaxia when she grabs the Sword of Sealing. It remains unclear if this power comes from her past life, if it belongs to Usagi herself, or if it came from Pegasus and the Sword of Sealing.
Princess Sailor Moon
Princess Sailor Moon is a powerful combination of Sailor Moon and Princess Serenity that only exists in the live-action series. She is introduced when Usagi is possessed by the spirit of her former self. She originally appears after Queen Beryl takes the shitennou hostage in exchange for Mamoru. Sailor Moon transforms into Princess Sailor Moon and stops Queen Beryl using her sword.
Princess Sailor Moon is not the same person as Usagi and they have different personalities. Princess Sailor Moon shows no remorse for the fate of the Four Kings of Heaven and she refers to Mamoru as "Endymion" rather than using his civilian name. She is always angry, and has no misgivings about causing death or destruction. In one act, Usagi's friend Naru accidentally gets too close to Usagi and has to go to the hospital as a result. It is also shown that Princess Serenity has full control of the upgrade. Though smiling in most promotional material for the series, Princess Sailor Moon does not smile in the series itself until the end, after reconciling with Usagi.
During a confrontation with her current self as Princess Sailor Moon, Serenity tells Usagi that she would have no qualms about destroying the world if Endymion were taken from her again. Usagi pleads with Serenity not to overuse her powers, but Serenity refuses. Afraid that she will eventually destroy the world, Usagi tires to suppress her powers. Usagi's internal conflict forces her to undergo endurance training to keep her powers and Princess Serenity persona at bay. Usagi initially succeeds but avoiding negative thoughts. However, when she is forced to kill a possessed Mamoru, Serenity overcomes Usagi's resistance and transforms into Princess Sailor Moon. Serenity even summons her own minions to fight the other Sailor Guardians to prevent them from stopping her. Princess Sailor Moon successfully destroys the world once again, but Serenity eventually realizes the extent to which she is responsible for this.
Princess Sailor Moon has a sword that can deflect enemy attacks or unleash devastating projectiles. The sword also doubles as a harp with invisible strings that Princess Sailor Moon plays while mourning her lost prince. The harp's main power is the ability to heal people and the land. Other than the healing powers, the exact effect of playing the harp is unclear, but it often causes her Silver Crystal to feed the power of Queen Metaria, accelerating the devastation of the planet.
As with other characters unique to the live-action series, Takeuchi designed Princess Sailor Moon's outfit. Her sailor outfit is considerably more elaborate than Sailor Moon's, and included pearls on her gloves and lace on her skirt.[ISBN missing] In fact, there a very similar design on the back cover of Sailor Moon: Short Stories volume 1.
During the second major story arc, it is revealed that Usagi, as Serenity, will eventually become the queen regnant of a new Silver Millennium called Crystal Tokyo, in the 30th century. She is first seen in this future form in act 16 of the manga and episode 68 of the anime. Usagi learns that she will be given the title "Sovereign of Earth", and Mamoru will become King Endymion alongside her. It is stated in the anime that she becomes Neo-Queen Serenity after warding off a second Ice Age, though the specifics of this are never discussed.
This incarnation is shown to be more mature than the present day Usagi, though she is still childish in some ways. For example, in episode 104, Chibiusa gives the Sailor Soldiers a letter from the future, in which the Queen asks them to train her, but the letter is simplistic and contains almost no kanji. In episode 146, Diana says that the King and Queen would sometimes play sick to get out of things. Letters she sends though the Door of Space-Time to Chibiusa are sometimes signed with a drawing of herself (and sometimes King Endymion) instead of a name.
In the manga, Neo-Queen Serenity tells the present-day Sailor Soldiers that after she became queen, she lost her power as a Sailor Soldier. In the second arc of the anime she does not transform (into Sailor Moon) even when the others do. However, she is seen showing great powers in a flashback when the King Endymion of the future describes the great feats of Neo-Queen Serenity during the time she brought about peace.
She wears an altered version of the dress she wore as a princess. The shoulder pieces are omitted and a large, wing-shaped bow replaces the smaller one of the princess outfit. In the manga, Neo-Queen Serenity's dress is similar to her past form's outfit. She also wears a crown and new earrings. The crescent moon is always visible on her forehead, just as it is with her princess form. Her face and facial expressions are drawn to look more mature than the 20th century Usagi, but her iconic hairstyle is retained.
This form is the one that Chibiusa considers as truly being her mother, while she sees the Usagi of the past as a sister figure.
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Usagi can transform into a "Sailor Soldier" by wearing a special device (usually a brooch) and shouting a special command that activates the device. Her original transformation command is "Moon Prism Power, Make Up!" (ムーンプリズムパワー、メイクアップ! Mūn Purizumu Pawā, Meiku Appu!). She gains a new basic transformation sequence for each of the five major story arcs. In the fifth arc she becomes Eternal Sailor Moon with "Silver Moon Crystal Power" in the manga, or "Moon Eternal Power" in the anime adaptation (and once in the manga).[note 2] At first, she is required to be in her Super Sailor Moon form to become Eternal Sailor Moon, as the upgrade to her brooch is temporary. When facing off with Nehelenia for the final time, the brooch is permanently upgraded allowing her to become Eternal Sailor Moon directly.
Most of the anime adaptations' transformation sequences involve the use of shiny red or pink ribbons that fly out of her brooch and form her uniform. Feathers and wings also figure prominently in some sequences, particularly the transformation into Eternal Sailor Moon.
As the protagonist and leader, Usagi has the most special powers of any character in the series. Her physical attacks, usually one-offs and not always successful, include the occasional use of her hair pins as projectile weapons.[page needed] One of her techniques is the "Ultrasonic Wave" (超音波 chō onpa), which involves using her red hair pieces to amplify her screams.[note 3]
The Legendary Silver Crystal (「幻の銀水晶」 Maboroshi no Ginzuishō, lit. "Phantom Silver Crystal") is a magical crystal that only the members of the Moon dynasty can use. The first English-dubbed anime sometimes calls it the Imperium Silver Crystal as well as various other names.
The Crystal possesses tremendous power, capable of reviving an entire world from ruin. However, the strain of using such power often costs the user her life, as the power derives from the life force of the Moon dynasty.[original research?] The anime shows this happening three times. The first time is in a flashback with Queen Serenity; the second time when Usagi defeats Queen Metaria at the end of season one; and finally in the R movie. It is shown as the source of Queen Serenity's power during the age of Silver Millennium, with Usagi Tsukino and Chibiusa each going on to inherit the Crystal in some form. However, it is also shown in the S movie that the power of all the Senshi working in unison allows Sailor Moon to use the Crystal's full strength without the result being fatal (although she was still exhausted afterwards from using it).
Both the anime, manga and second anime series commonly portray the Silver Crystal as possibly the single most powerful artifact in the universe, able to focus the energy of its wielder to perform magnificent feats. However, several artifacts rival it in strength, including the Black Crystal of the Death Phantom, and the Saffer Crystal of Sailor Galaxia. In the fifth series of the anime, the crystal also appears to double as the Star Seed of Sailor Moon, which was hinted at in the R movie, and the manga implies that it is her Sailor Crystal. It takes on a multitude of shapes, including round, diamond, rose, heart, star, and lotus, and it turns pink while stored within the brooches of Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi Moon.
Because Chibiusa comes from the future – having eventually inherited the Silver Crystal from Usagi – two versions of it exist in the series. After the first and second story arcs, the owners of the crystals keep them in their respective transformation brooches and only remove them in times of urgent need.
The original anime features seven rainbow crystals that had the Seven Great Monsters (the most powerful monsters in the Dark Kingdom) sealed into them. They were sealed within seven separate shards of the Silver Crystal using Queen Serenity's power. They were then carried to Earth where they were reincarnated centuries later, with no memories of their prior existences. All seven rainbow crystals (and, as in the manga, one of Usagi's tears) are needed to recombine to form the Silver Crystal.
Conception and creation
Usagi and Sailor Moon series evolved from Naoko Takeuchi's earlier one-shot series called Codename: Sailor V. In Takeuchi's first proposal for the Sailor Moon series, each of the five heroines had a completely unique outfit. It was eventually decided that they would instead wear uniforms based on a single theme, whose design was closest to Sailor Moon's original costume concept. Sailor Moon's original had some small differences, including color changes, an exposed midriff, and ribbons around the gloves and boots. She also had a mask, which did appear in a few chapters of the manga before being discarded.[page needed] These aspects of Sailor Moon's costume are shown in multiple pieces of early artwork, along with a gun and cloak, which were also parts of the original concept.
Takeuchi based Usagi's signature hairstyle on a "good luck charm" she had during her studies as a university student. Takeuchi would put her own hair up in odango before difficult classes or exams.[page needed] Sailor Moon has pink hair in the initial sketches, but by the intermediate stages of development, Takeuchi planned to have the character's hair be blond in civilian form and change to silver when she transformed. Her editor, Fumio Osano, told her that silver hair would be too plain for cover art. Despite this, stylistic use of differently colored hair does sometimes appear in later artwork, and the concept of the heroines' hair changing color when transformed is used in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.
Of all the Sailor Soldiers, Usagi's personality is closest to Takeuchi's own personality at the time Sailor Moon was created.
The kanji of Usagi's surname translate as "moon" (月 tsuki) and "field" (野 no). Her given name is in hiragana usagi (うさぎ) and so its meaning is not inherent, but the word (兎) means "rabbit" and this is used as a pun frequently throughout the series, including her hairstyle and possessions. Her name is structured as a pun, as the syllable "no" indicates a possessive, so her name can also be understood as "Rabbit of the Moon." This derives from a Japanese folktale about the rabbit which is said to be visible in the Moon's face, much like the Western Man in the Moon. The English-language manga – along with other localisations – gives her the nickname "Bunny" to partially preserve this pun. "Usagi" is not a common given name in Japan.
In the Japanese version of every Sailor Moon anime series and subsequent related media, Usagi has been voiced by Kotono Mitsuishi. For this role, Mitsuishi used a higher voice than her natural one. During recording sessions of the early episodes, Mitsuishi had to mentally prepare herself to play Usagi. While Mitsuishi was away during production of episodes 44–50, Kae Araki (who would later voice Usagi's own future daughter, Chibiusa) voiced Usagi as a stand-in. Mitsuishi would later reprise her role in Sailor Moon Crystal, the only actress from the original cast to do so.
In DIC Entertainment's English dub of Sailor Moon (produced in association with Optimum Productions), Sailor Moon was voiced by Tracey Moore for the first 25 episodes (edited down to 21) after which Terri Hawkes took over as the voice for the remaining 71 episodes, as well as Pioneer's dub for the three films. Linda Ballantyne was the voice of Sailor Moon in Cloverway's dub of episodes 83–159 of Sailor Moon (produced in association with Optimum Productions). When Ballantyne first recorded the series, Ballantyne attempted to emulate Hawkes, but soon found it difficult to perform. She wanted the character to "have a lot more fun and just be a goofy teenager." Ballantyne cited her performance as "just more flighty.... Until of course the world needed to be saved." American singer Jennifer Cihi provided the English vocals for Serena's songs in the first English adaptation.
In the SuperS Musicals, Sanae Kimura, who played Sailor Uranus, provided the voice of Neo-Queen Serenity during Over the Moon, a duet between Sailor Moon and Neo-Queen Serenity. A third, unknown person, was on stage in Serenity's costume while both Sailor Moon and Uranus were onstage. Uncredited body doubles are common in the musicals to allow the character to appear to transform instantly.
Comedian Samantha Bee portrayed Sailor Moon in a live-action production at the Canadian National Exhibition. In Robot Chicken, Sailor Moon faces one of Queen Beryl's minions, who develops a visible erection after her transformation because her very short skirt exposes her underpants without her even having to move. Sailor Moon and Luna are grossed out, while the monster is forced to withdraw in embarrassment. In this skit, Sailor Moon was voiced by Scarlett Johansson.
Reception and legacy
Sheila Rose Browning describes Sailor Moon as "one of the most popular and well-known manga characters in Japan". Usagi influenced the hairstyle and personality of Misato Katsuragi from Neon Genesis Evangelion, and of Gruier Serenity's anime version from Bodacious Space Pirates. Sailor Moon was ranked 9th on IGN's "Top 25 Anime Characters of All Time "list. Rebecca Silverman, writing about the 2011 re-release of the Sailor Moon manga, felt that Usagi's initial hesitancy about whether she is good enough to be Sailor Moon added authenticity to her claim of being an "ordinary girl". Silverman states that along with Itazura na Kiss and Marmalade Boy, Usagi gave rise to an "unintelligent heroine" character type, but feels that even in the first volume, Usagi's determination sets her apart.
- List of superheroines
- Moon in art and literature
- Portrayal of women in comics
- Women warriors in literature and culture
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