This is an update of a Sailor Moon post I wrote two years ago. I'm resurrecting it, because as all true fans would know, a new series called Sailor Moon Crystal was released last month. (I've repeated some of my original content, but I've included new photos.)
I quote from Den of Geek: "is the long awaited reboot of the anime franchise. The 26-episode series is a retelling of the arc, the first and most iconic storyline of the metaseries, in which Sailor Moon and the four Guardian Senshi (Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter, and Sailor Venus) fight the evil forces of Queen Beryl, who seeks to claim the Earth in the name of her master, the powerful demonic entity known as Metalia."
I'm not going to do an in-depth analysis of the series, since I'm not a manga expert at all, but I can share the real-life locations that play such a big part in this massive hit. (I've read only one manga in my entire life, and if you know me well, you'll know why: SHERLOCK ピンク色の研究, Sherlock Study in Pink, published by Kadokawa.)
|The entrance to Hikawa Jinja in Azabu-Juban|
Here's some additional background: 美少女戦士セーラームーン (Bishōjo Senshi Sērā Mūn) is the story of "Usagi Tsukino, an ordinary, ditzy, 14-year-old girl" who is actually a special warrior whose destiny is to save Earth and later the entire galaxy.
It was written by Takeuchi Naoko, and both the manga and subsequent anime were major hits. Wikipedia says its media franchise is one of the most successful Japan has ever had, reaching a total of $1,5 billion in merchandise sales during the first three years.
One of the main characters is Sailor Mars, also known as Rei Hino, who's a schoolgirl and a Shinto princess at Hikawa Jinja. The manga shrine was modelled on a real shrine called Hikawa Jinja (氷川神社) in Azabu-Jūban; the anime shrine was modelled on another Hikawa Jinja in Akasaka. Both are branch shrines of the main Hikawa Jinja in Ōmiya, Saitama.
The shrine is written 火川 in the manga, but it's 氷川 in real life. Interesting difference: 火 is fire, 氷 is ice, both can be pronounced hi. The kanji 川, kawa, is river. Sailor Mars's element is fire, hence that change.
My favourite character in the series – apart from the cat, that is – is Haruka, or Sailor Uranus: we not only share an astrological planet, but she's also more boyish (or androgynous, if you prefer), stubborn and aggressive. I like that.
Let's go for a visit to Sailor Moon's real-life shrines.
Hikawa Jinja Azabu-Juban:
Hikawa Jinja Akasaka:
|Compare the photo above with the photo below. They were taken a few years apart. Somebody decided|
to take mercy on the koma-inu, who was clearly getting a branch-induced migraine.
|Smaller Inari shrine at Hikawa Jinja Akasaka|
|Compare the closed and open mouths of the koma-inu above and below.|
I wrote an explanation here.
|Above and below: side entrance and detail at Hikawa Jinja in Akasaka|
Hikawa Jinja Ōmiya:
|You walk through this torii if you approach the shrine from a neighbouring park.|