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The Creator of Sailor Moon: Naoko Takeuchi

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Even after 20 years of its initial debut, Sailor Moon still captures the hearts of anime fans around the world. The series codified the magical girl warrior sub-genre and turned traditional fighting tropes on its head, even spawning the Sailor Moon aesthetic with fans across the world.

Now in 2021 the series has been rebooted to Sailor Moon Crystal and the show is currently on its third season and doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon. In this article let’s learn a little bit about the Japanese manga artist and Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi, and how she became the queen of the shoujo genre. 

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Early Life

Although the origins of Sailor Moon began in the Azabu Juban area of Tokyo, Naoko herself is actually from the neighboring prefecture. Born in Kofu, Yamanashi Japan on March 15, 1967, and is the oldest of two children. While attending Kofu Ichi High School, she joined the astronomy and manga club, the greatest source of inspiration for her work. Originally wanting to pursue a career as a manga artist, her parents convinced her to pursue other career paths as a fall back plan and graduated from Kyoritsu University of Pharmacy with a degree in chemistry. 

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Naoko graduated as a licensed pharmacist but still had dreams of pursuing, she began working as a shrine maiden miko at the Shiba Daijingu Shrine in 1990. Her work at the shrine was the source of inspiration for Sailor Mars. While working as a miko she entered her first work Love Call to Kodansha’s one-shot manga competition and won an award which allowed her to continue writing one-shot pieces for a few years. Naoko continued writing one-shot. She published Maria, a one-shot manga about a poor middle school girl named Maria who promises to become the bride of a wealthy suitor who promises to help her family. The story was a complete success. 

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After completing Maria, Naoko later published The Cherry Project until 1991. The Cherry Project is about a young girl named Cheri who pursues her dreams of becoming the figure skating partner of Tsuzuki Masanori while facing off against her rival Princess Canty. While working on The Cherry Project Naoko began creating manga that combined her interest in girl fighters and outer space. Finally Codename: Sailor V was published in 1991. Although fans know Usagi as the main character of Sailor Moon, Sailor V also known as Sailor Venus was the first character of the five original sailor scouts created. 

The success of Codename: Sailor V caught the attention of Toei Animation studios who wanted to do a sentai like anime adaptation of the series with a few more heroes. Naoko began publishing Sailor Moon concurrently with Codename: Sailor V but as Sailor Moon became more popular Naoko began dedicating more time to Sailor Moon. During the six years of publishing from 1991 to 1997 Naoko created 52 chapters, a 200 episode anime adaptation, and 3 movies.

From the Late 90s’ Onward 

Kodansha’s rights to Sailor Moon expired in 1999 which allowed Naoko to rework and reprint Sailor Moon and Sailor V materials. In 2003 she produced the TV series Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. Wanting to rework the Sailor Moon series into something more closely related to the manga, in 2012 Naoko began working on a reboot of the series titled Sailor Moon Crystal.

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The show debuted in 2014 and concluded in 2016 at the end of the Death Busters saga. The popularity of the new Sailor Moon series was a catalyst in opening the popular Sailor Moon store in La Foret Mall in Tokyo, and the Shining Moon Restaurant. In 2019 a special 25th anniversary movie Sailor Moon Crystal Eternal was announced and later released in 2021 as a continuation of the series with great reception. 

The popularity of the Sailor Moon anime and manga series continues to influence the magical girls shoujo genre to this day. As you read the manga or watch the Sailor Moon anime, you can see the influence of Naoko’s life on the series from her interest in astronomy even down to the names of some of the characters. Even after 20 years of her initial success, Naoko still remains an inspiration to shoujo enthusiasts everywhere. Hopefully this article helped you learn a little bit more about the brilliant creator and maybe will inspire you to make your own magical girl series. Is there something about Naoko Takeuchi that we missed? Let us know in the comment section below.

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