The Early Days of Sailor Moon

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Mar 8, 2012
Most (if not all) of us already know that the Sailor Moon manga began in the February 1992 issue of Nakayoshi, which went on sale around December 28, 1991. We also already know that Naoko and her editorial staff went through a bit of a process developing the Codename: Sailor V one-shot into an anime-ready ongoing series, as evidenced by the handful of prototype designs that have been released. Most of us have also probably already seen the original series proposal page that Naoko included in the Infinity art book.

Now, I had always assumed that all the kinks had been ironed out, the final story settled on quite some time before the manga's debut. But it turns out that I was very much mistaken. The January 1992 issue of Nakayoshi features a number of ads for Pretty Soldier Sailor V.

Link || Link

The speech bubble says:


which translates to something like, "After receiving an overwhelming endorsement in the Nakayoshi supplement RUNRUN, Codename: Sailor V is finally powering up to start its magazine serialization. Please support me."


The top section is an interview with Naoko. (I've translated as best I can with Google, etc.)

"Codename: Sailor V," which was popular in the Nakayoshi supplement "RUNRUN," will finally power up and appear in this magazine. This time, we'll be interviewing Miss Naoko Takeuchi on her new series.​
Interviewer: What kind of story is it going to be?​
Naoko Takeuchi: An insanely outrageous one, but a bit romantic and cool, too.​
Interviewer: What kind of girl is the hero?​
NT: Her name is Usagi. She's a crybaby, and her personality is simple and sweet.​
Interviewer: It sounds like "transformations" will be involved. When will she transform? (Thanks TuxedoUnmasked!)​
NT: When "the Earth is in peril." (Thanks TuxedoUnmasked!)​
Interviewer: Starting with this, what kind of enemies are likely to appear?​
NT: I want to put in super beautiful girls some super handsome boys...I think.​
Interviewer: Thank you very much.​
NT: Everyone, please cheer me on.​
ファンレターのあて先はテ12 東京都文京区音羽講談社なかよし​
Please adress fan mail to [address] in care of "Pretty Soldier Sailor V" staff.​

From this we can see that for Pretty Soldier Sailor V, Naoko has already renamed Minako "Usagi," and she seems also to have decided on the Shitennou as the antagonists. (With Queen Beryl and other female foes perhaps?) At the bottom of the page, you can see a picture of the principal characters with some notes scribbled over them. (The text box on the left says that one lucky person will win a copy of the illustration via lottery drawing.)

The text above Usagi says: A champion of justice, the main character, Usagi.
The text above Artemis(?) and Amano/Umino(?) says: An otaku boy and a mysterious cat.
The text above the black-haired woman, who is Takeuchi herself, says something like: Recently got a straight perm and am turning into a bigger and bigger nerd.
The text above the Tuxedo Mask-like character says: A good-looking guy who's my type, could he be Usagi's sworn enemy?!


What I find so interesting about this is the date on it: November 5, 1991. As of that day, Naoko's plans were for Usagi, Amano/Umino(?), Artemis(?), herself(?), and a Tuxedo Mask like figure to be the main characters. By the time this issue went to print, the plans were still for the series to be called Pretty Soldier Sailor V.

So my questions are: At what point between November 5 and December 28 did all that change? When did Naoko completely change Usagi's uniform(s)? (Since apparently she was going to have two separate transformation looks.) When did Naoko decide to rename the series? When did she decide to replace Artemis with Luna? Amano with Umino? Drop(?) the black-haired girl character? Furthermore, why did she make those changes? (Or did she? Maybe the rest of her team decided on the changes and talked her into them?) It just seems like it all must have happened very suddenly, which makes me wonder if there are pages of an earlier, very different draft of Act 1 floating around somewhere?
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May 31, 2009
Tankei Kingdom, Kinmoku
Wow, that's a great find, MN! I never knew any of this nor had I seen these illustrations before. The Sailor V costume Usagi is wearing is certainly interesting. I wish we had a full-bodied look of that. The unknown long-haired looks more like a Naru prototype to me instead of a Rei/Natsuna one based on her personality as indicated by her body language and expressions.
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Mar 8, 2012
If I'm not mistaken, the text next to the arrow pointing at the Tuxedo Mask-like character says "Usagi's enemy?!"
I think the first part of the text pointing at the black haired girl says she has a "straight perm."

I really wish Naoko had better handwriting / that the text were typed out.

ETA: I think this might be the full text describing the TM character (I underlined the kana I'm unsure about):

出すっもり ::love::うそ,

Roughly, I think it's saying that he's a handsome guy who might be Usagi's sworn enemy?

ETA2: Worked out the text above Usagi:

A champion of justice, the main character, Usagi-chan
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Jun 6, 2006
I’m on my phone right now, but Tuxedo Unmasked talked about this. The “Rei” is actually Takeuchi herself.
Mar 8, 2012
Yeah, I just realized that. The last line is her name (Takeuchi) in hiragana, and she's (self) described as a big nerd. So I guess that takes care of that.

ETA: Some of this early artwork was reprinted in the second volume of the shinsouban (which was not included in the English translation).

How long does it take to write, draw, ink, shade, etc a chapter of manga? I just feel like by this point (November 5) Naoko and her team had to have at least started drafting the first chapter based on this original concept, only to start over from scratch. If so, I hope those draft pages still exist. I'd love for them to do a special Pretty Soldier Sailor V OVA one day.
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Staff member
Site Admin
May 7, 2009
Just a quick note that PGSM Venus has also got two mini odango on each side of her head - could be Takeuchi's idea to pay respect to her original Sailor V form shown above.
Mar 8, 2012
This illustration was one of the New Year's gift giveaways for the deluxe version of the January 1992 issue of Nakayoshi. I don't know if it was done before or after the November 5 illustration above, but here's what Naoko wrote about it in the first art book:

I drew this color picture with just an image, when I hadn’t decided on the content of the story yet. She has a crescent moon mark of her forehead, and somehow everything is revealed. At first I wanted to do Sailor Moon’s tiara in a form like this. I really like it. Since the Sailor Moon color pictures started from this picture, I made it the last one in the picture collection.​

Another giveaway was this rare illustration of Minako with Chieri, the star of Naoko's manga series before Sailor Moon, The Cherry Project (which also includes Haruna Sakurada as Chieri's teacher):


The February 1992 issue (with the debut of Sailor Moon) features another short interview with Naoko:


「まんが新聞」は、またまた「セーラー ムーン」に大接近だっ。​
"Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon" starts in this month's issue. You've already read it, right!? It's only a few pages away.​
なーんて思っている人は、下の図を見てね。これからいろいろなヒミツがあきらかになっていく「セーラームーン」を、「まんが新聞」は、ずーっとおいかけるぞっ!! というわけで、さいごに武内先生どうぞ。​
This time, I tried gathering interesting tidbits about Sailor Moon's "transformation." "What secrets are hidden in her costume after she transforms?" If you're wondering that, look at the illustration below. Sailor Moon's many secrets will now be revealed in this section. So, Miss Takeuchi, please go ahead.​
あ、美少年キャラも出さなくっちゃ。ワタシのお気に入りはタキシード仮面! これから、うさぎちゃんに大きくかかわってくる重要キャラです。見ててね.​
Naoko: "Sailor Moon" is just beginning, but I'm already looking forward to meeting Usagi's friends. Oh, I have to put in some handsome boy characters, too. My favorite is Tuxedo Mask! From here on in, he'll be an important character heavily involved with Usagi. Please stay tuned.​
Her hair gives out ultrasonic waves.​
ひたいのティアラは, ムーン・フリスビー. 必殺ワザだつ!​
Her forehead tiara, the Moon Frisbee. Used for her finishing move!​
Earrings are small bombs.​
Keeps her transformation brooch on her chest ribbon.​
Underneath her gloves, she has a pink manicure.​
魔法のぺン。 どんな難問もとけちゃう。​
A magical pen. Solves difficult problems.​
ゴーグルもする! どんな遠くの映像も,うつるぞ!​
And goggles, too! They show things that are happening somewhere else!​
In the margin of one page of Act 1 is a message from Naoko:

A Message from NAOKO.​
Hello. I hope everyone's feeling fine. In Nakayoshi's summer vacation special edition "RUNRUN" I started a story called "Codename: Sailor V." Thanks for supporting it. This work's relationship with Sailor V is still TOP SECRET. Please look forward to it.​

On another page is a little banner/margin ad for the series, which describes it as "Mega Cool Pretty Girl Sailor Suit Action" (メチャいかす美少女セーラー服アクション). I love finding little odds and ends like these. :)
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Mar 8, 2012
The March 1993 issue of Nakayoshi contained a very brief interview with Naoko:

Interviewer: The second part of Sailor Moon has a shocking twist right from the start?​
Naoko: Right, I wanted to start off with something surprising. A little Usagi who looks exactly like our Usagi-chan. I'm looking forward to finding out her true identity.​
Interviewer: She also wanted to write something about Rei's, Ami's, Mako's, and Minako's private lives, and lots of new things, too. But what about Tuxedo Mask? This reporter doesn't yet know.​

This was accompanied by this illustration. Again, I can't really decipher Naoko's handwriting, so I hope someone else can make it out.

Jun 6, 2006
God, I hate reading hand written Japanese. Mamoru and Luna are talking about "their turns"? I'm guessing their turn to be the star? Also, regarding when "Sailor V" became "Sailor Moon", it could've been as last minute as you'd imagine. I had some issues of Nakayoshi from the 70's, and one series changed titles right before it's debut.


Lumen Cinereum
Jul 29, 2012
Very interesting information.

I don't know what was going on on Takeuchi's mind, but based on the picture she drew it seems to me that Usagi was going to be the new "Sailor V," thus replacing Minako.
Likes: ChibiBoi


Luna Crescens
Feb 3, 2017
Planet Nemesis
The liner notes for the Viz box set, first and second seasons, says "Age 14" with a birthday of "June 30"

The liner notes for the third and fourth seasons say "Age 15"

However, these liner notes also say "Age Unknown" as the age of Chibiusa and Hotaru (while still giving their birthdays) and strangely still says "Age Unknown" for Chibiusa in the later seasons' liner notes, when you would otherwise know her age 900 by that point.
Nov 22, 2016
However, these liner notes also say "Age Unknown" as the age of Chibiusa and Hotaru (while still giving their birthdays) and strangely still says "Age Unknown" for Chibiusa in the later seasons' liner notes, when you would otherwise know her age 900 by that point.
Isn't this data exclusive to the manga?
The anime ignored this nonsense, as far as I can tell.

Seira Hazuki

Aurorae Lunares
Jan 17, 2007
It really all depends how early anything needed to be submitted to Nakayoshi. Those ads for “Pretty Soldier Sailor V” might have already been outdated by the time Naoko was actually working on the first chapter (which I assume takes about a month to complete?). Especially considering this was prior to the digital age. It’s stll insane nonetheless that we were very close to a Pretty Soldier Sailor V being reality.


Staff member
Site Admin
May 7, 2009
Just let that imagination sink for a moment. Being stuck in the body of a toddler and in preschool/kindergarten for NINE freaking centuries kinda sucks. Not a wonder she's so screwed up to start with! :)
It reminds me of a very rare condition that the patient never enters into puberty, w/ the accompanying serious, lifelong psychological consequences.