Monday, January 10, 2011

Moon Prism Power!

So, some might have noticed that I changed the title from "365 Days of Art" to "52 Weeks of Art." I was already seeing how difficult posting every day was going to be, but I am committed to a full year of Art for your enjoyment...So, 2-3 times a week might be a more reasonable expectation. So, on to the art!

Today's topic may seem a little unexpected for some of you. But, as it plays off of last post, and actually has a HUGE role in how I came to love Art and be an "Art Person" in the first place, it most certainly deserves it's due as the first post of my academic second semester. :)

美少女戦士セーラームーン - Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon. Probably one of the biggest names in Japanese comics, or mangas. Though most are likely familiar with the anime, or Japanese animation cartoon (clip seen above), Sailor Moon began as a manga that originally ran from 1992 to 1997. It was created by mangaka Naoko Takeuchi and really popularized the theme of the "team of magical girls." This series ran as a TV anime as long as it was published in manga and produced three films. Not only that, but this series has been so influential, it spawned a stage musical in Japan that ran from 1993-2005, a 49-episode live-action TV series from 2003-2004 (I've watched it online. It's epic), and Sailor Moon videogames, mostly released in Japan. There are dolls, t-shirts, toys, art books (Oh, how I pine for one of those...), and the list goes on and on.

The story is based around Usagi Tsukino, known as Bunny or Serena in English. She's a clumsy, immature, whiny 14-year-old student at the beginning of the series. She is discovered as Sailor Moon by Luna, a talking cat with a mysterious crescent moon on her forehead, and is forced to fight evil which initially, she does NOT want to do. However, over the story you see her evolution into a strong, compassionate soldier for love and justice as well as the evolution of the friends she collections along the way. Her immediate 4 best friends Ami (Amy), Rei (Ray), Lita (Makoto), Mina (Minako) are her co-soldiers Sailor Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus. Oh, and then of course, there's Tuxedo Mask, Bunny's love interest. ;)

I'm not going to tell you the rest because you need to go watch/read for yourself! (W

atch the live-action TV version if you really want to be in a good mood for years to come XD)

What does any of this have to do with art? Well, first off, there's the ART part. Comics are art too. Sometimes people don't see that in their need to define art as something housed in a museum, but for me, comics have long been the most influential art in my artistic endeavors. Naoko Takeuchi's art is some of the most beautiful, graceful, flowing work I've ever seen. And it's so much fun!

Sailor Moon was the reason I started drawing and cultivating my own characters back in the 5th-6th grade. And let me tell you...those first drawings? I drew Sailor Moon's hand on backwards. NOT good. But I kept at it. I used to visit my Dad's school and exhaust his printer just printing off new Sailor Moon pictures that I could either color or practice drawing from. I had all of the manga too.

I started off like this...(but worse)

Yeap. I did this. in 2001. And I can tell you right now, the reference poses for these pieces were manga images of Rei, Bunny, Bunny, Ami, and maybe Ami again.

And now, after many years, after lots of practice and schooling, I'm here...

This is my character Dierdre. And she's mine, don't be snatching her!


Point is, Sailor Moon has had an influence on me, at very least, of exceptional importance. It formed the basis of my own artistic style, and got me interested in art so that I took the art classes, became a Studio Art major for two.5 years of college (which, obviously, I eventually switched to Art History, but still :)), and basically fell in love with Art as a whole. Not only that, but it got me interested in the Japanese culture, something I knew nothing about in middle school, and I think it really broadened my cultural appreciations and understandings. From there, I got into Japanese music, and from there, Chinese and Korean music. From there, I started collecting French and Russian music and this is the very watered down way of saying...You can learn something from everyone, everywhere. You just need to be open to it! And yes, all of this started with a comic book.

I leave you, for this entry, with my most recent tribute to Sailor Moon of my four favorite characters, Sailors Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars...and of course, 3 fun facts. :)
3 Facts!

- Sailor Moon actually developed out of another comic Takeuchi had been working on, Sailor V, which was based on Mina (later, Sailor Venus). It wasn't until Sailor V was proposed to become an anime that Takeuchi developed the concept of a TEAM of girls dressed in sailor fuku (based on the sailor outfit uniforms girls in Japan have to wear to school). The new series, Sailor Moon, combined the magical girl genre with the superhero genre for the first time.

- Elements of the plot are heavily based on mythology and symbolism. For example, Greek mythology is present in the characters Selene, the Moon, and Endymion, her lover.

- According to Wikipedia, there are about 3,335,000 websites dedicated to Sailor Moon while only 491,000 for Mickey Mouse.

PS - Here's my favorite website for Sailor Moon art, straight from the Artbooks! Go take a look. :)

"Sailor Moon: Don't drop me!
Tuxedo Mask: Hey, have I ever let you down?"

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