Okay, let's see if I can give a coherent report on the Kodansha Sailor Moon panel.
It started with the MC asking Fumio Osano some questions. We'll see what I can remember. The question of what do you think makes Sailor Moon such a phenomenon came up again, and I think this is when Osano-san said he thinks it's the Romeo and Juliet story. This seems unlikely to us, because most Moonies we talked to recently have an utter disrespect for Tuxedo Mask (we hope the new Eternal Edition makes him more likable). I think it's more likely to be the fact that it's a group of five girls all with different personalities, so there's someone for almost everyone to relate to. This is why I suspect it was the anime, and not the manga, that made it such a big deal--the original '90s anime has a lot more time to dedicate to each of the individual characters.
Anyway, Osano-san also mentioned that the famous director Hideaki Anno said that Sailor Moon was like the Columbus's Egg of anime. Nobody bothered to clarify what "Columbus's Egg" means, so I'm glad we already knew from church. For those of you who don't know, there's a story about how, after Columbus sailed to the Americas, a lot of people came along and said, "Oh come on, anybody could have done it!" So Columbus asked them all to try to get an egg to stand on its end. I think people tried and failed, or they just said, "What? Nobody can do that!" And when everybody had given up, Columbus took the egg, smashed just the bottom of it (it must have been cooked, I guess), and, now that the bottom was flat, it stood up easily. He then said that see, anybody can do it, but you needed me to show you how. And that's what Sailor Moon was to the anime world, according to Hideaki Anno.
Osano-san was asked about how hard he works/worked. He replied that they're trying to revolutionize the workdays in Japan, so he wasn't going to talk about his old work habits--now he works nine to five, period. He also talked about how, when Sailor Moon first started, he was editing one other series at the time, but then Sailor Moon immediately became so popular that he was kept too busy to work on anything else. In fact, the series was so valuable to Kodansha that they gave him a cell phone to make sure they could always keep track of him, and this was back in the early '90s.
He told the story about one day when he just needed to drop by Takeuchi-sensei's place to pick up ten pages of manuscript real quick, so he went to see her...and found ten blank pages. So he turned off his cell phone and took five hours to get back to the office.
The MC asked how much planning went into Sailor Moon, what kind of ideas went into it, etc. Osano-san said that basically he and Takeuchi-sensei both really liked sentai shows, so it was pretty much an amalgamation of all their favorite aspects of those. He also said that he and Takeuchi-sensei never really sat down to discuss the ending of any of the individual arcs--the only time they did that was for "season five," as Osano-san called it. In other words, Naoko Takeuchi made up pretty much the whole series as she went along.
Next, they turned it over to Osano-san to ask questions of the American editor. He asked her if it was hard to localize all the very Japanese aspects. If we had been asked that question, we would have said the localization wasn't very hard because we've been doing it for so many years that it's kind of old hat now, but dealing with things like video rental stores and CD-ROMs was a little tricky. I don't remember what our editor said, but I remember she mentioned juku and having to figure out how to make that relatable to an American audience. Osano-san asked, "You don't have juku in America?" and the whole audience said no, so he said in English, "You need to study MORE!" (First, he's not wrong. And second, we do sort of have after school tutoring services that kind of have the same idea as juku, but I'm 90% sure they work differently.)
Then they finally started talking to the licensor guy, and we got to see trailers for the new musicals (and wow, Sailor Pluto from the one we saw in Tokyo really is playing Tuxedo Mask now) and the Super Live show or whatever it is. That's the exciting one, because they're specifically designing it to be something that can be understood without too much dialogue, so it can tour the whole world. Osano-san apologized that it would be going to France first and not the US, and then he asked if New York was far away. The audience gave a very emphatic yes.
They also surprised Osano-san with a video of him singing Moonlight Densetsu. Bwahaha.
There was a raffle for some super fancy prizes that we didn't win, and they also announced again that Kazuko Tadano is doing the character designs for the Crystal movies. And finally, the big sort-of, don't-get-your-hopes-up announcement. (I don't think it happened last last, but it was close to last, so I'm reporting it last, especially because it's the most important.) Osano-san said that before he came to Anime Expo, he went to see Naoko Takeuchi and he told her he would be going to this convention. And she said, "Next year, I want to go with you." And we were sitting there hearing the whole story in Japanese and my jaw dropped in shock, meanwhile most of the people around us have not reacted to anything and I was like, "Just wait until they interpret this one." ...And I think I was in so much shock I didn't really register how anybody else reacted. But Osano-san also made sure to point out that there are a lot of hurdles that need to be overcome for this to actually happen, so don't get your hopes up too high, but look forward to it (a little). And so it looks like maybe we won't be abandoning Anime Expo next year after all.
After the panel, we went up to talk to our editor, because oh yeah! they showed some of the artwork from the Eternal Edition, and we saw that they changed the chapter title where we had "Tuxedo Mask" in French. And it's kind of a bummer, because the French version sounds so elegant, but more importantly, we had a note about it, and that note becomes extremely relevant later in the series, but we didn't write a note for it later because we thought there already was one, so now we have to make sure that we add that note. And we forgot to mention it when we emailed our editor this morning, but we should be getting back to her later this week anyway. The point is, we had to go tell her about it.
Then we went to the MC (also a higher up at Kodansha and a friend) and said, "Are you going to introduce us to Osano-san or what?" and he cursed regretfully and said, "He already left!" So we didn't get to meet Osano-san, but we all three agreed that we'll just have to meet him next year, when he comes back with Takeuchi-sensei.
We spent some more time talking to our Kodansha peeps, and our editor let us see up close and personal the one and only extant copy of the Eternal Edition of Sailor Moon. That reminds me, they did show that to everyone (from a distance), and Osano-san mentioned that it's larger than the Japanese version, but he heard that Americans have big hands, so. (That also reminds me that the idea for the Eternal Edition came about when Takeuchi-sensei's husband released a perfect edition of Yu Yu Hakusho, and she said, "I want to do that, too!") Anyway, the book is quite lovely, and I hope everybody loves it!
After that, it was time to say goodbye, so we hugged all our Kodansha peeps and went back to the hotel to grab our stuff and lug it to the bus stop. We had a brilliant idea of taking a taxi from Disneyland (where we got off the bus) to home...but we opted not to do that because we were too chicken to talk to the taxi people, and so we lugged all our stuff all the way back home, and we were very tired. The end.
Today I'm thankful for a fun Sailor Moon panel, getting to see the Eternal Edition up close, the chance to dream about meeting Naoko Takeuchi, fun behind-the-scenes stories, and our office fan.