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[IWIW] Sailor Moon R (thread 4 of a continuing series)

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Peter Svensson

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For those who want to follow along, the bonus features are...

An interview with Naoko Takeuchi from the original LD release of the show in Japan. (Circa the first season)
A brief "making of the show" video, followed by interviews with the seiyuu for Mars, Naru and Mercury.
The TV ads for the entire first season. (As opposed to the "Next time on Sailor Moon" ads that can be found on the DVDs.)
And creditless OP and ED sequences for the first season.

He'll get another bonus disc when he finishes R.
 

Shadowjack

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Just a Minor Update: Interviews with Takeuchi and seiyuu

Just your basic <5-minute Q&A interviews, nothing fancy. I almost never watch these sorts of "DVD special features" (or, in the case of the Takeuchi interview, laser-disc special features), because the fluff-to-crunch ratio is just far too high. But we're being completist here, so I'll bite.



First up, an interview with Naoko Takeuchi herself. This short had an awkward sense of familiarity for me, because I've done exactly this kind of video before, as a class project, so I found myself recognizing all the lighting and camera setups.

Takeuchi (at the time of taping, of course) works at a nice, clean, simple work desk, and some day I hope to be so organized. I have never, however, gotten used to lightboards, which she's shown here using at one point. A potted plant, books behind her.

There is less Sailor Moon merch in evidence than I'd have expected, which tells me that this is likely the actual stuff she's got in her work area, and not set dressing brought in by the advertisers. A collection of chibi-figurines of the characters on the counter, and a couple of animation cels (Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask) pinned to the sparsely-pinned bulletin board.

The interview itself I found acutely uncomfortable, thanks to the combination of sympathetic embarassment, and irritation with (and also some sympathy for) the interview team. Takeuchi in this interview is acutely camera shy, looking anywhere but at the interviewer or the camera, and volunteering few words. She toys the entire time with a rattling Sailor Moon Makeup Pen, which I'm sure they handed her to keep her hands from tugging hair or tapping on the table or something even more distracting. Another format of interview might have served everyone involved better.

Fun bits from the interview:

I am absolutely unsurprised that her "favorite character" is the Tux. ;) As she says, she likes that sort of serious man, and she likes men who look good in a suit or tuxedo… so it was obvious to make him the love interest. (I confess I do often use his seriousness as the butt of jokes… but then what don't I? His seriousness is a good counter to the flightiness of some of the other characters.)

Takuechi says that Umino was probably her favorite character to draw, because he's such a simple design. (This is me, nodding my head in understanding.) But she confesses that she's never used a character like him before, and may not again… (No explanation why.)

Official Statement from the Author: "Umino is actually very handsome without his glasses." :D She could be joking, but I recall the manga threw some hints that direction, too. So I guess Naru is holding out on us.

Usagi: "OMG Naru, who's that hunk I saw you with last night?! What happened to Umino?"
Naru /is puzzled. "That was Umino."
Umino /materializes. "Let me tell you all about laser-eye surgery—" /unleashes pamphlets.

Official Statement from the Author: "The anime is just like I imagined." And she goes into a bit of detail, too, which shows she's not just sayin' that—she sounds genuinely pleased that the adaptation worked so well. Which is good.

And they finally drag out of her some discussion of the tokusatsu inspiration. "Originally, I wanted it to do it like Juu Ranger or Go Ranger, the sort of show where the team would all assemble at the base to get the information and then go on the mission… but it didn't work out…" Knowing little of the shows, I do some quick research, and when Wikipedia's article on "Goranger" tells me that the show's five teammembers are the only survivors of attacks upon the previous bases, and they now all meet in a secret base beneath a snack shop… I think she actually managed to work quite a bit of it in, didn't she?



The other video starts with your basic tour of the studio. This I did find a little interesting, because while the technique is the same as the big boys, the scale is much smaller—cramped little offices and workspaces, overflowing with loose paper and cels. The messy animation studio we see in the series was actually larger and cleaner than the one they shot this video in! This is, of course, all in the pre-digital days, so they work directly with pencils and cels. (This is, incidentally, the first time I've seen a xerograph, and it's a lot smaller than I thought it'd be.)

Hello, is that the infamous Ikuhara doing those storyboards? Yes, I think it is.

This is all narrated chirpily by Kakinuma Shino, the voice of Naru. Your basic puff-piece "ZOMG animation!" narration for kids, nothing new here.

Then we move to part two, seiyuu interviews.


First victim, Hisakawa Aya, voice of Ami. A ponytailed comedian, who emphasizes that she's a lot different from the character she voices. And then inadvertantly demonstrates: while in a digression about Osakan comedy styles, she starts playing with the dialect (because she's from that area), then she suddenly stops, and laughs, saying, "Oops! My fans probably got terrified now…" from all the Yakuza talk.

Now here's where an aspect of Japanese interviews really stands out for me, because though I've seen this elsewhere, we get it three times in succession (four times, counting the Takeuchi interview):

In American interviews, when the interviewer says, "Any last message for the fans?" that's really just to signal that the interview is closing, and the message is one line.

Interviewee: "Watch the show, it's gonna be awesome! Thank you."
Interviewer: "And thank you for talking with us. That was John Doe, star of the new show from CBS" et cetera.

In Japanese interviews, they really do have a last message. Like, rehearsed, an entire mini-monologue. The closest cultural comparison I have is to Oscar acceptance speeches, so imagine that done before the movie hits theaters—begging the audience to watch, apologizing for not making it more than merely awesome, and encouraging audience, cast, and crew to do their best in not only this but indeed in all endeavours.

In this case, Hisakawa encourages everyone with VCRs to slow down the transformation scenes and count the frames, to estimate the cost and effort that went into it (Don't encourage them, lady! :eek:), and then rolls on to encourage you to invite your entire family unto the seventh generation—she lists each one—to watch Sailor Moon with you.


Next victim, Tomizawa Michie, voice of Rei. Jacket and blouse, big nervous smile, but the kind of nervous that leads to her becoming very talkative, which is more mediagenic than staring at the table, at least. She gets more comfortable as she goes on.

When asked for an interesting behind-the-scenes story, she tells how the first few episodes with Rei, she'd been mispronouncing one of her spells, and no one else noticed because they'd been mispronouncing it, too! …I guess you had to be there. :p She then gets distracted by a story that goes nowhere about a cast drinking party, where she confesses that because she can't hold her liquor, she only drank light beer or red-eye. I may be missing something about Japanese drinking culture here.

Her final message is long thank you to the fans for their letters, gifts, and encouragement.


Final victim, Kakinuma again, rocking the early-90s rebellious young girl look with pigtails, a baseball cat worn sideways, and a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt. She tells us that she enjoys Naru for being a "very modern" girl in attitude, and thinks that the kids will like that, and also liked that Naru got a strong dramatic story in the Nephrite arc… but also feels that she didn't quite pull off the emotions in that scene properly. (Basically, "How am I supposed to know what the best kind of scream is when leaping in front of a lethal attack upon a stranger I'm in love with?" It's true, it's not a situation that comes up all that often…)



Finally, I skimmed through the season one episode trailers, which are incredibly short by my standards. I have always wondered why American TV has such long advertisements compared to so much of the world; when we do do ten-second-or-less promos, they're usually crammed over the credits of the previous show, and back in the day were voiced by the local station announcer. But I've seen these short little TV previews from a number of countries, not just Japan, and they always surprise me in their brevity. I guess each country has its own rhythm in television, as in speech.

The editors display a knack for picking exactly the right frame to end each trailer on, be it the key moment of an action sequence (i.e. Usagi just about to punch out the bodybuilder) or an embarassingly-amusing facial reaction.

I note that Sailor Moon was airing in first run at 7 P.M. on Saturday nights. Is that prime time in Japan? (*looks it up* Yes it is.) The first episode was to air on March 7th.

Which almost makes me want to put the date of the events of the first episode at that time, but I seem to recall that the Japanese school year doesn't begin until April, and the first few episodes are clearly set a short time after the new school year begins, so that probably is not so. :)
 

JeanneHedge

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Re: Just a Minor Update: Interviews with Takeuchi and seiyuu

Just your basic <5-minute Q&A interviews, nothing fancy. I almost never watch these sorts of "DVD special features" (or, in the case of the Takeuchi interview, laser-disc special features), because the fluff-to-crunch ratio is just far too high. But we're being completist here, so I'll bite.
Thanks for the info on this.

One element I found odd -

Next victim, Tomizawa Michie, voice of Rei. Jacket and blouse, big nervous smile, but the kind of nervous that leads to her becoming very talkative, which is more mediagenic than staring at the table, at least. She gets more comfortable as she goes on.
I've seen several interviews with Michie Tomizawa, both before and after this timeframe. By this era she'd been doing voice acting for several years. She'd done emcee duty and performed for the crowd during the seiyuu parts of various live-action appearances, going back to BGC, and even Gall Force before that. During a dead period a while back I posted links to a Sailor Moon Christmas appearance, related to the showing of the SMR movie (another event where she performed and emceed). During the talking part of that event she mentions having done a concert a day or two earlier. This was a full-length 90 minute+ concert - lots of talking to the audience, singing, dancing, stuff like that (I've got the CD of it). During all of these, she always talks a lot when she's not performing or has some other thing to do. With lots of experience in live events, I'm surprised she comes off as nervous for a simple interview that could be done over.

(and if anyone's curious, YouTube has, in 4 parts, the Finale to the Sumire-leaves-Sakura Taisen event, whatever it was called. Just search under Michie Tomizawa and you'll find it. There's one bit near the very end where she seems to be really and truly surprised, but never nervous)
 
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Shadowjack

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Re: Just a Minor Update: Interviews with Takeuchi and seiyuu

I've seen several interviews with Michie Tomizawa, both before and after this timeframe. By this era she'd been doing voice acting for several years. She'd done emcee duty and performed for the crowd during the seiyuu parts of various live-action appearances, going back to BGC, and even Gall Force before that. During a dead period a while back I posted links to a Sailor Moon Christmas appearance, related to the showing of the SMR movie (another event where she performed and emceed). During the talking part of that event she mentions having done a concert a day or two earlier. This was a full-length 90 minute+ concert - lots of talking to the audience, singing, dancing, stuff like that (I've got the CD of it). During all of these, she always talks a lot when she's not performing or has some other thing to do. With lots of experience in live events, I'm surprised she comes off as nervous for a simple interview that could be done over.

(and if anyone's curious, YouTube has, in 4 parts, the Finale to the Sumire-leaves-Sakura Taisen event, whatever it was called. Just search under Michie Tomizawa and you'll find it. There's one bit near the very end where she seems to be really and truly surprised, but never nervous)
It surprised me, too, since these are all experienced actresses. But perhaps she's just that kind of jittery normally, and I misread it as nervousness (I know people like that, they seem on edge until you realize that's just how they talk)… or it was just an off day. ("Creepy interviewer, I'm late for an appointment, and I need to pee. Can we get this over with?")

She warms to it as she goes, though. By the end, she's on a roll.
 
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Shadowjack

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Anyway, enough stalling. Here it is, two episodes overdue but big and bold: the latest illustrated recap.

Spoiler: Show



Well, soon-ish.












Canon and I have a strained relationship.
 

MadMac

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:eek: I'll have to set some time aside later to read it all properly, but that's seriously awesome.
 

ANT Pogo

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How is it possible that your art-recaps get more and more awesome with every installment? How?!

In other words, nice...nay, awesome job as usual, Shadowjack!
 
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