What Did Naoko Actually Say?

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MementoNepenthe

Aurorae Lunares
Mar 8, 2012
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#1
For over the past fifteen years or so, I've heard over and over that Naoko Takeuchi said "only girls can become Sailor Senshi." Because this was such a widespread quote/claim, I never challenged it. I knew the quote originated from her appearance at San Diego Comic Con in 1998, but I could never find a reliable/official transcript (the panel wasn't recorded).

While perusing the scans of North American magazines that MissDream has, I came across this issue of Animerica which contains a write-up of the event. As far as I have been able to ascertain, it's the only official write-up of Naoko's appearance that references the infamous remark. Here's what it says:



"All the Sailor Scouts are girls" does NOT mean the same thing as "Only girls can become Sailor Senshi." The former is an observation; the latter is a rule. Unless Animerica is incorrect in their write-up or translation of Naoko's remarks - and given the context of the remark, I don't think they are - Naoko was merely clarifying that all the Sailor Senshi in her manga were female (i.e. that Uranus and the Starlights were female), not establishing a rule of her universe's lore that only women can be Sailor Senshi. After all, were that here intention, she had ample opportunity to state it in the manga itself, yet she didn't. She had an opportunity to state it when answering the question about Sailor Earth, but again she didn't. (I mean, she says that Tuxedo Mask is Sailor Earth, not that the Earth is protected by Tuxedo Mask instead of a Sailor Earth.)

So.... Is this just (yet another) thing that the fandom has gotten wrong and blown out of proportion like a bad game of telephone? Was Naoko merely making a statement about her characters and not issuing a proclamation about who can and can't be Sailor Senshi? Or has she made "girls only" statements elsewhere? Let's get to the bottom of this once and for all.
 

Umino

Lumen Cinereum
Jun 6, 2006
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#2
I think the implication is that she only intended females to be Sailor Soldiers. I mean, we never see anything close to a "male" Sailor Soldier in the manga. I think she was trying to make a statement.
 

MementoNepenthe

Aurorae Lunares
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#3
I mean, it is a manga for girls about girls. Introducing male Sailor Senshi would have taken away from the story's focus on female empowerment, which is something Naoko has been fairly vocal about in her interviews. Naoko's also made it clear that she doesn't care about writing male characters, so the absence of male Sailors isn't surprising. However, I think she stopped short of explicitly ruling out the possible existence of male or nonbinary Sailors.
 
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MariaTenebre

Luna Crescens
Jul 22, 2009
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#4
Well the way I interpreted it and mind you this is only my interpretation is that men can be planetary guardians or Senshi like females they just aren't called Sailor whatever. For instance I gave Tuxedo Mask and upgrade and made him look like the prototype Moonlight Knight as seen on the first Sailor Moon R opening and I called him Earth Knight in this form. Of course this is purely subjective. It could even be argued that male Senshi do exist as evidenced by some of the Phages being literal male Sailor Senshi. Of course whether this is something purely unique to Phages or applies to male Senshi as well is purely up to your own interpretation.

I would also use this to argue against those who think that Tuxedo Mask is Senshi of both the Earth and the Sun as Naoko Takeuchi explicitly says he is the Senshi of the Earth not the Senshi of the Earth and Sun. If she wanted to convey that he was the Senshi of both celestial objects now would have been the pertinent time to explain this. Instead she only referred to him as the Senshi of the Earth aka the male equivalent of a Sailor Earth.
 

MementoNepenthe

Aurorae Lunares
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#5
Of course people can still headcanon him as "Sailor Sun" or "Sailor Earth & Sun" if they want as there's nothing in the text that explicitly contradicts that, but I'd certainly agree that Naoko's "official" stance is that he's (more or less the de facto) Sailor Earth.

Given Naoko's remark in her Animerica magazine interview ("The sailor suit is my editor's taste, but the tuxedo is mine"), I think it might also be possible to infer that, if you go along with the rule that only women can be "Sailor Senshi", men who are celestial guardians would be "Tuxedo Senshi" ("Tuxedo Tenshi" to retain the alliteration, perhaps? :lol:) I wonder if the naming pattern would follow after the Sailors' (e.g. Tuxedo Mercury, Tuxedo Mars, etc) or after Tuxedo Mask's (e.g. Tuxedo Gloves, Tuxedo Wingtips, etc) :lol:
 

Rika-Chicchi

Staff member
Site Admin
May 7, 2009
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#6
Given Naoko's remark in her Animerica magazine interview ("The sailor suit is my editor's taste, but the tuxedo is mine"), I think it might also be possible to infer that, if you go along with the rule that only women can be "Sailor Senshi", men who are celestial guardians would be "Tuxedo Senshi" ("Tuxedo Tenshi" to retain the alliteration, perhaps? :lol:) I wonder if the naming pattern would follow after the Sailors' (e.g. Tuxedo Mercury, Tuxedo Mars, etc) or after Tuxedo Mask's (e.g. Tuxedo Gloves, Tuxedo Wingtips, etc) :lol:
Then we'd also have "Sailor Kamen" instead. :lol:
 
#7
Well, I don't know. I personally think men cannot become senshi in a magical sense but they can certainly dress up and cosplay as them. Lol.

I think if she wanted male Sailor Senshi, she would have made one or at least stated so (minus Tuxedo Kamen...Sailor Earth.). Every planet or thing she conjures up has a female equivalent dealing with planets and what not. The men are just there as accessories...lmbo

We just better settle for Sailor Guts and that kid in S that freaked the Senshi out when he went all Sailor on them. Hahaha

Yo know what, I'd love if Queen Beryl was actually supposed to be Sailor Earth but Chaos got to her first because of her jealousy and stopped her from awakening as a Senshi. This could have been a good plot or something for a Sailor Moon movie imo.

Sailor Earth and Sailor Pluto are the "big sisters" of the group.
 

MementoNepenthe

Aurorae Lunares
Mar 8, 2012
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#8
Maybe a future musical could explore the idea of Tuxedo Senshi...if they ever get back to playing fast and loose with the stories...and if they ever get back to having coed casts...
 

MariaTenebre

Luna Crescens
Jul 22, 2009
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#9
Interesting the notion of Tuxedo Senshi. Personally I call male Senshi knights and give them different assortments of outfits. I think that Knight is also a viable name for male Senshi as of course we have Mamoru as the Moonlight Knight and he has a form in the Kaguya Island musicals called Space Knight which in my fanfic I had to be his cosmic form.

I would also add to Star Angel Haruki that I think that men can be Senshi and Guardians of planets Tuxedo Mask is a precedent for this being the Senshi of the Earth. As to why other male Senshi weren't shown again I think this chalks up to Naoko Takeuchi not liking to write male characters.
 

MariaTenebre

Luna Crescens
Jul 22, 2009
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#11
Unless she creates a new manga with a male sailor senshi, I feel it is pretty obvious that, per Naoko rules, only girls can be sailor senshi.

She emphasizes that Uranus is, biologically, a woman.

She did not like TOEI's decision of switching the gender of the Starlights.
Which is why I in my fanfiction do not call male Senshi Sailor Senshi but rather Knights.
 

MementoNepenthe

Aurorae Lunares
Mar 8, 2012
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#12
Unless she creates a new manga with a male sailor senshi, I feel it is pretty obvious that, per Naoko rules, only girls can be sailor senshi.

She emphasizes that Uranus is, biologically, a woman.

She did not like TOEI's decision of switching the gender of the Starlights.
But unless she's said it's "girls only" elsewhere, Naoko did not make such a rule. That there are no male Sailor Senshi (by name) is due to Naoko's not liking to write male characters and that including such characters would be counter-intuitive. However, I question whether or not Naoko actually had such a rule in mind. I doubt she'd mind the inclusion of male or nonbinary Sailor Senshi or tuxedo-clad celestial guardians in a new iteration of Sailor Moon. She didn't like how Toei had the Starlights switching genders because that wasn't her conception of the characters and she emphasized that Uranus is a girl in order to clarify and dispel any confusion/rumors. I don't think she necessarily had any inherent objections to the idea of male or nonbinary Sailors.
 
#13
Didn't she say she wanted a female version of Sentai? I think it's pretty obvious Sailor Senshi can only be women. She has not art featuring any type of male Senshi. The closest I can think of is as someone said, Knights.

However, now that it's been brought up, I wonder if this was an idea Toei may have ever thought of?
 
Aug 16, 2014
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#14
The weirdest thing is when Naoko was asked about sailor earth.She said tuxedo mask takes place of sailor earth.Ehich leads to conclusion if tuxedo mask was female.He would be a sailor senshi .Since he is male ,he is not senshi.So he s is yge guardian of the planet.
 
Sep 8, 2011
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#16
I guess male and female characters can have powers but only female characters can become sailor senshi, the male ones are just males with powers.

I dont really get her problem with Starlights in the anime (maybe she didnt realized they were girls who used magic to change their gender?) because at the end of the day it just seems more logical and practical
 
Aug 16, 2014
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#17
I guess male and female characters can have powers but only female characters can become sailor senshi, the male ones are just males with powers.

I dont really get her problem with Starlights in the anime (maybe she didnt realized they were girls who used magic to change their gender?) because at the end of the day it just seems more logical and practical
She probably felt like it was going against her idea of the characters.
 
#18
I also believe she felt like that, however, I have to also wonder why considering both Usagi and Minako disguised themselves as men in the manga to elude the enemy and Nephrite as a woman and what not. I think her problem may be (and I'm guessing) that the Starlights were made prominent characters and the main faces of Sailor Stars. Usagi and Minako disguise was a one off but we are taking three minor manga characters and sticking them in front and marketing them like dudes, and not only that, lets kill Naoko's dream man so we can ship a Sailor Senshi from another Galaxy who is disguised like a dude as her new potential love interest. If I was the creator, I'd be a bit surprised and irritated by this as well. Granted, Usagi doesn't give in, but still, it's annoying.

There is nothing wrong with them using this disguise to elude enemies but the way the anime blasts the Starlights as if it's their show is a bit of a meh.

Either way, the last few episodes of Stars were great!
 

MementoNepenthe

Aurorae Lunares
Mar 8, 2012
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#20
While this thread is, of course, also a discussion about whether or not men and nonbinary persons can be "Sailor Senshi" (by name and costume), it is principally a discussion about Naoko's own words. Whether or not only women can be Sailor Senshi is almost beside the point. I just want to set the record straight as I don't like it when people are misquoted or have words put in their mouth. Naoko may well have intended that only women can be Sailor Senshi, but did she ever actually say that? Clearly her remark at San Diego Comic Con has been misrepresented (either by fans or by Animerica), so one of the aims of this thread was to find out if she's spoken on this topic elsewhere.

That said... I'd just like to reiterate that, given Naoko's own remarks on how she feels about writing male characters, and given the demographic of this series and its female empowerment objectives, it's wholly unsurprising that there are no explicit (by name and costume) male Sailor Senshi. However, authorial intent aside, there are clearly Sailor Senshi whom many readers can interpret as nonbinary (e.g. Uranus and the Starlights). My (perhaps hyper-sensitive, ultra-PC) concern is that if nonbinary persons can be Sailor Senshi provided that they're biologically female...then that kind of veers into gender essentialism / cissexism territory, and that makes me uncomfortable. I'd rather there not be any sex/gender strings attached to the "Sailor Senshi" concept.

Additionally, if Naoko were really gung ho, dead set against non-women being Sailor Senshi, why did she give Mamoru a Sailor Crystal? Why make Uranus and the Starlights gender non-conforming / gender fluid? Why not make them unambiguously female?

Also, keep in mind that we only see about twenty-two actual Sailor Senshi in the manga (including that brief glimpse of Sailor Coronis; excluding the Sailor Animamates since they're not real Sailor Senshi, and excluding Phi and Chi because it's unclear whether or not they're true Sailor Senshi). While I think Sailor Mau may have been spoken of as female, I don't think Sailor Chuu or Sailor Mermaid had their genders/sexes specified, and the same goes for Sailor Cocoon (Cocoon isn't even mentioned outside the Materials Collection), so who's to say they weren't men or NB? And think of the literally millions of other celestial bodies - stars, asteroids, comets, planets, dwarf planets, black holes, nebulae, constellations, etc - whose presumed Sailor Senshi we never see or hear about?

And then, of course, there's Sailor Chaos. I'm not sure if Sailor Chaos is supposed to be Chaos in Sailor form or simply the Sailor Senshi of Chaos, but if the former, while the vague glimpse of Sailor Chaos we get in the manga does appear feminine, Chaos itself was, afaik, always spoken of as, well, an "it" - as an entity without gender - and in the musicals has always been voiced by a man.

So... Naoko certainly had ample opportunity to include explicitly male or explicitly NB Sailor Senshi in the manga, but that she didn't isn't surprising and doesn't inherently exclude the possibility that such Sailor Senshi exist in the universe of Sailor Moon. After all, again, she also had ample opportunity to explicitly state in her work that only women could be Sailor Senshi, and she didn't.
 
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