She was certified as a pharmaceutical chemist, but her dream was to tell stories. Today everyone knows his work 'Sailor Moon'
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All of us who come from a traditional society - Latin American or Asian, for example - know that the pressure to meet certain family expectations can be very great. Sometimes we have to put our dreams on hold for a bit to please our loved ones. It's not ideal, but it happens.
When I think about this, I remember one of my personal heroines: the mangaka Naoko Takeuchi . She started out in a terrifyingly competitive industry with no real training, but this week Netflix released the world premiere of her most famous work: Sailor Moon .
Takeuchi was born on March 15, 1967 in the city of Kofu in Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan. Her dream was always to tell stories, she loved astronomy, she was a miko or priestess in a temple, and she joined manga clubs at school.
She always wanted to be a mangaka, decided to study Chemistry at Kyorutsu University just in case, and became a licensed pharmacist. Fortunately, he did not give up his dreams and began to write and draw short stories as he studied. In fact, Takeuchi started in the world of manga without any artistic training, but as she herself has said, very influenced by the style of Leiji Matsumoto, creator of iconic works such as Captain Harlock .
In 1986, when she was just 19 years old, Naoko twice won the Best New Artist award from the iconic shoujo magazine (manga for girls) Nakayoshi and in September of that same year she debuted with the story Love Call in the Nakayoshi Deluxe special. .
From that moment, Takeuchi would be a regular cartoonist for Nakayoshi with various stories about young girls who face obstacles to be with their true love. His first work at this stage is Chocolate Christmas from 1988 with which he had his first compilation volume ( tankoubon ) with the iconic Kodansha publishing house.
His next great works would be Maria in 1990, which was about a girl in a private school who fights a lot with an arrogant high school student and The Cherry Project, where a figure skater must train to be able to compete professionally along with the love of his life.
It was in 1991 when Naoko saw her career catapulted by publishing in Run-Run magazine (also by Kodansha) a short story called Codename Sailor V that recounted the adventures of a high school student named Minako Aino who receives a visit from the magical cat Artemis to fight against the villains of a group called the Dark Agency.
At first Sailor V was only going to be a single story, but the success it obtained caused him to write several more chapters that ended up being collected in several tankoubons.
However, Takeuchi's definitive work was yet to come. In 1992, the 25-year-old mangaka took the concept of Sailor V as a base and decided to give it a more serious tone. That was how in February of that year the first chapter of Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon appeared in Nakayoshi magazine.
Image: Toei Animation / Studio DEEN / Netflix
The story revolves around Usagi Tsukino, a 14-year-old girl who is in the second year of high school, who transforms into a warrior named Sailor Moon and whose friends, the Sailor Guardians, must fight against an enemy who wants to take over the energy of the Earth, find the legendary Silver Crystal and protect the Princess of the Moon. All while investigating whether or not they can trust their mysterious ally Tuxedo Mask.
“The most important thing about Usagi Tsukino is that she fights for what she wants and gets it. She has friends who are worth gold, they are united and together they fulfill their goals. Sailor Moon taught me that women can achieve whatever we want, ”said Patricia Acevedo, director and voice actress who has lent her voice to Sailor Moon for 25 years.
I think there are few people who have not heard of Sailor Moo n (at least in Asia, Europe and of course, Latin America). Not that it's the definitive work of anime, but it certainly entertains. Naoko Takeuchi brought a fresh air to shoujo manga that had stalled in love stories of helpless girls in the 70s and 80s and gave them all the weight of prominence and action. This change of focus was to the taste of the public as it multiplied Nakayoshi's sales.
Sailor Moon swept Japan and then the rest of the world, establishing Takeuchi as one of the best mangaka of the 90s. The manga was published from February 1992 to 1997 and compiled in 18 volumes.
As usual when a manga is successful, the animated series emerged shortly after. On March 7, 1992, the first television episode produced by the legendary Toei Animation studio and broadcast on TV Asashi television appeared. The 200-chapter anime was responsible for the dissemination of Sailor Moon outside of Japan as it reached the rest of the world even before the manga. It came to Latin America through the TV Azteca program Caritele with a dubbing that surprisingly respected the most controversial LGBT issues in history that were even censored in the United States.
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Sailor Moon created a multi-billion dollar industry sponsored by Bandai toys, collectible figures, toys, movies, plays, action figures, makeup, and other types of commercial promotion.
Six years and 18 volumes were enough for Naoko Takeuchi to decide to put an end to the Sailor Moon story. But 25 years later, a remake of the animated series and a couple of films were released that will be broadcast around the world by Netflix with the original voices of each language.
This new version of the series was released on June 30, 2014 (curiously, Usagi Tsukino's birthday) and then began to air on the first and third Saturday of each month from July 5, 2014 through the site. Niconico streaming with subtitles in 12 languages.
“Being part of Sailor Moon has given me several satisfactions and challenges. I have touched several people thanks to Sailor ChibiMoon, ”says Cristina Hernández, a Mexican dubbing actress who plays Small Lady.
In January 2017 it was announced that the Dream arc, corresponding to the fourth season of the 1992 series. It was thus that Netflix announced on April 27 of this year the acquisition of the transmission rights of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal: The Movie Part 1 and Part 2 for their outside of Japan on June 3, 2021.
The films, which opened in January and February this year in Japan, represent the first Sailor Moon films to see the light of day in 26 years. They will narrate the adversities that Usagi and Chibi-Usa have to face to defeat the Dead Moon Circus and save the Pegasus from dreams.
There are not many quotes from Tekuchi because the mangaka does not like to give interviews very often, but there is one in particular that is found in a magazine from the 90s that inspires me a lot:
“Whenever I read fan letters from somewhere far away, I cry tears of joy. It fills my heart and makes me say: From tomorrow I will live my life to the fullest ”.
More than 30 years of experience and a work known throughout the world seem to endorse this philosophy.