In the October 2013 issue of Hyper Hobby magazine, there is an interview featuring the five main cast members of Sailor Moon: La Reconquista. The interview is in two parts; the first part is an interview with Satomi Ookubo (Sailor Moon), Miyabi Matsuura (Sailor Mercury), Nanaki Kanon (Sailor Mars), Yuu Takahashi (Sailor Jupiter), and Shiori Sakata (Sailor Venus). The second part is an interview with the production staff: Osano Fumio (manager of Sailor Moon franchise at Kodansha LTD), Kataoka Yoshio (Producer of La Reconquista), and Takuya Hiramitsu (Director of La Reconquista). Please enjoying reading our translation of the Sailor Moon La Reconquista Interview in Hyper Hobby Magazine!
Special thanks to Izam, who jointly translated this with me!
click the images above for full-size
Page 1: Interview with Satomi Ookubo, Miyabi Matsuura, Kanon Nanaki, Yuu Takahashi, & Shiori Sakata
Musical Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon La Reconquista
In September of 2013, the musical Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon was resurrected! Since this magazine followed Seramyu previously, we have to support it here again. Therefore we present you with the first Sailor Moon musical cast interview in eight years!
The new-generation sailor guardians pay us a visit!
Hyper Hobby: Ms. Ookubo, have you ever seen Sailor Moon?
Ookubo: With a feeling of having seen it and having not seen it, when I tried asking my Dad, he told me “I bought you a Moon Stick and Compact.” lol. I certainly have a memory of clicking the button and playing, but I don’t remember anything else at all.
Hyper Hobby: Looking at it that way, what kind of work is Sailor Moon?
Ookubo: It’s twenty years old, after all. It’s been continued to be loved for twenty years, and it’s a work that will continue to be loved, so I’m truly happy to be able to be involved with this work.
Takahashi: I watched the anime when it was on the air. We also did things such as play make-believe. But I’m bad at rock-paper-scissors, and I never became the main character lol.
Matsuura: I didn’t watch it when it was on the air, but I watched the re-runs. Also, my hometown is Kanda, but when the musical came to perform there, I saw it. When I was in kindergarten, I saw the works of Miyuki Kanbe and Marina Kuroki in 2000 and 2001. I also own about four videos, I like them, and they were my dream.
Hyper Hobby: As a musical fan, how are you enjoying this new work?
Matsuura: The music is unique, and the are visuals too. This time, I felt that it was strong from the get-go, so, probably, there might be people who like the previous musicals and are worried that this one will be completely different, but that is completely untrue, keeping the good parts of the previous musicals, we’re making a newly good thing, so please be at ease and wait for the performance.
Hyper Hobby: You have persuasive power, as to be expected lol. In contrast, for those individuals who don’t know anything about the old works, how is seeing these visuals?
Ookubo: They’re cool!
Hyper Hobby: I was referring to you lol.
Ookubo: Tee hee lol. Well, you can see many cute things on the stage. You’re fine even without worrying. I didn’t feel out of place in costume that much, looking at it from my point of view. Miyabi also told me that it’s fitting for me to go blond. So I think it works for me.
Hyper Hobby: Ms. Takahashi, how was wearing the outfit for you?
Takahashi: At first, I was nervous about it. “I’m wearing Jupiter’s clothing!”. “Further, I’m transformed!”. It was a wig, but Makoto has a similar hair-style to my current one, so I didn’t feel out of place. I thought that I might be able to make a good Makoto.
Matsuura: I cried during half of it. I still don’t believe it, and I don’t understand how I got here haha. I was a fan of both the original work and the musicals, so I’m probably the most biased, but I felt like it was spot on. I was relieved when I saw myself wearing the battle clothing.
Nanaki: Same with me — When I wore the outfit and put on the wig, I thought “I can do this!”. During the audition, my personality and aura don’t match any of the characters, so I wondered who I’d be. I was asked to try Rei, so I tried giving it my best realizing that’s how it would be, and I got the part, but even after getting the part, I still wondered who I’d be lol. Wearing this I hope to be more like Rei.
Sakata: I had thought that my personality and the way I perceive things were similar to Minako, but to be honest, when I put on the wig, I felt a out of place. I had never had that long hair before, and I had never had that color hair before either. I wondered what I should do, but I finally recently became used to looking at myself in the mirror.
Ookubo: She is truly just like Minako. She likes to talk a lot.
Hyper Hobby: Now then, now let’s inquire about each character and actual person’s characteristics.
Ookubo: Ehehehe. Even in the comments on Niconico Douga they said “The way she talks resembles her character” lol. My friend also always tells me how I have a clumsy side. Plus I’m bad at waking up in the morning, and I like games.
Matsuura: How she gets hungry, etc.
Ookubo: Ah, yes, when I’m hungry, when I’m sleepy, etc. I probably resemble her then. But I’m not a scatterbrain at all.
Takahashi: It’s true, she always pulls us along during song or dance lesson.
Matsuura: I wondered if there would be pressure at the center, but it’s like I’ve come to see a great amount of composure. As expected, it’s Usagi, who can see all around her.
Ookubo: There’s no pressure whatsoever. It’s like we do things as a team. There’s none of it.
Hyper Hobby: Ah, that feeling, is very much Usagi.
Sakata: It’s true, y’know. When Sailor Moon puts on her battle clothing, she also properly fights, and she’s the strongest. I think that those kind of points are very much Usagi.
Ookubo: Hehe lol.
Hyper Hobby: And Ms. Takahashi, you’re a perfect fit for Makoto, aren’t you?
Takahashi: Her height, and how she’s a tomboy, but she actually really falls in love, but she doesn’t know how to appeal herself — Those points are very much the same for me. I thought that it’s me lol. But I’m not good at cooking.
Nanaki: But you’re always bringing rice balls to our practice sessions, so I always think “It’s really Makoto!”.
Takahashi: It’s just rice balls lol.
Nanaki: But you’re making them yourself. I would have just bought them.
Ookubo: Since the first time I saw it, I thought “Ah, it’s Mako”. When we passed each other at the audition.
Everyone else: Ah, I thought that too!
Takahashi: Really? I’m happy.
Matsuura: I’m often told that I have it together, so I think that I resemble her. But I’m not really a quiet person lol.
Takahashi: You’re frank too.
Matsuura: I’m in the middle of a trial and error process with trying to bring out Ami’s cuteness.
Sakata: She’s really got it together, and I guess you’d call it leadership — Even when she makes some kind of plan, she’s the top at being good at getting everyone together. Just a few of her words can be very persuasive. I feel that she thinks about things a lot before speaking, and in suggesting that we should do things in a certain way is, regardless of the age of the person she’s addressing, she says it non-judgementally, so I think “She really is Ami”. Blue is perfect for her.
Page 2: Cast Interview Finale, Information and Comments
Ookubo: She really fits her character. I’m a Kanon-type, but it seems like Ami is an Usagi-type lol.
Nanaki: Rei is a girl who doesn’t hold anything back, but you could say I’m obedient, and I’m always taking unsteady steps, so it’s hard to have it all together…
Matsuura: But you’re so adult-like, and you could say you have dignity. It’s like you firmly build plans.
Sakata: She doesn’t say what’s important, but she gets the point. It’s like she doesn’t make any unnecessary movements. She treats time as important, and she looks like Rei.
Ookubo: I’ve known Kanon for quite some time, but when it comes down to it, she does a 180 and changes. Usually she’s relaxed like this, but when she’s doing things such as singing or dancing, the look in her eyes and her expression changes tensely.
Nanaki: If I do that too much, I’m told that I have a scary face lol.
Hyper Hobby: How about Ms. Sakata
Everyone else: Perfect!
Sakata: I’m happy that you think that. Minako is just a bit mischievous, and I, personally, admire feminine people, so I thought that aspect of Minako is like me.
Hyper Hobby: Venus has parts of her that are similar to Usagi and parts of her that are active as a soldier the longest — I’d imagine you’d have to act quite extensively.
Sakata: Normally being very laid back but doing it when it comes time and having to change completely — I am habitually told by the directory that that aspect is a key point. I’m not very good at summarizing, but as for being two-faced, I also have a dry side, so I’m not taking on any hard fights, but I’m being taught various things in great detail, so I’ll carry that feeling as I’m acting.
Hyper Hobby: Considering this is everyone’s first time doing a musical, please tell me about such pressures or worries, etc.
Ookubo: I have them a little.
Nanaki: I have them, but I love singing and dancing, so it’s a lot of fun.
Hyper Hobby: By the way, this time Ookubo’s partner is a wonderful person, but……
Ookubo: That’s right!
Hyper Hobby: You’re saying that, but wouldn’t you rather have had a male?
Ookubo: Not at all lol! I have no experience with love scenes, so if it were a male, I think it would have been a mess.
Hyper Hobby: But I think your love scenes with Yamato-san are quite something to look at lol.
Ookubo: I’m happy! But, lately I haven’t been meeting with Yamato-san that much, so during that time, I’ve been cheating with Saika who plays the role of Zoicite. It’s a secret lol.
Hyper Hobby: Now then, finally, I’d like a message from each of you, one at a time.
Sakata: It’s a new Sailor Moon in 2013, so I’d like to be able to show you all something new without destroying the base in a good way. I’m truly becoming one of the whole cast and doing my best at practice, so I think it would be nice if you would look forward to it.
Nanaki: Currently, I’m enjoying practice, so I’d like to relay that enjoyment, and in order to not have people who come to see it say “This isn’t how it should be”, I’d like to do my best in order to live up to and exceed the audience’s expectations.
Matsuura: As a fan, I’m currently genuinely excited that Sailor Moon musical has resurrected. Of course I want to play the role of Mercury, but I want to make it a wonderful 2013 version musical to the point that if I’d genuinely want to see it as an audience member. I would like to do my best in order not to hear “This is completely wrong” from fans of the previous musicals and the original work.
Takahashi: For me, they’re the women I first admired, and it’s a work that gave me a dream, so this time, as a musical, of course for the fans of the original work, but also for those individuals who didn’t see Sailor Moon in real time, I think it would be nice if this work gave them new dreams and hope.
Ookubo: I’m watching the practice of the individuals who play the roles of the Shitennou and bad guys, but they’re amazing to the point that I get goosebumps watching. I’ll do my best not to lose to them. I want you to watch that kind of open-minded Sailor Moon at the theater.
Born on 8/4/1991
Born in Tokyo
Participated in TV NHK’s “Goldfish Club”, “Sing!” theater, and others.
Born on 2/7/1997
Born in Tokyo
Participated in “Confession” movie and others.
Worked until March  as a regular model of “Nikora” magazine.
Born on 10/30/1995
Born in Chiba
This work is her full-blown debut.
Born on 6/14/1995
Born in Hyougo
First Junon girls contest grand prix
Born on 1/19/1991
Born in Shiga
Participated in TV EX “Masked Rider Kiva”, NHK E TV “English Conversation after Today”, and others.
After the inteview, we rushed to the practice location! Today, the girls were making up the very first scene with the dancers. Watching the five of them perform with vibrant music, we thought “Ah, Seramyu has really come back…” and were moved. We have confidence that on 9/13 , the legend will vibrantly be reborn in Shibuya!
This time, the person in charge of choreography is U★G-san who started with Kumi Koda and produces the back dancers and choreography for many artists and idols.
With serious expressions the five girls listen to directions from Takuya Hiramitsu, who hasn’t produced a Seramyu production in 14 years.
The five are discussing the nuances of movements amongst themselves and annexing the knowledge. It seems they’re quickly grasping each of their characters.
The person in the pink clothing in left of the photograph on the bottom-right is Yoshiko Iseki-san who has taken the role of Hiramitsu-san’s right arm since the old works (Sorry it’s a shot from the back). Yes, it’s Zirconia from “SuperS”!
When we had finished collecting data and were about to head out, we were captured by the Shitennou (three of them)! From the right, Misaki Komatsu who plays Kunzite, Ryou Saika who plays Zoicite, and Root who plays Jadeite. They are beautifully awe-inspiring and formidable enemies!
On 8/23, the five sailor soldiers paid a visit to a specially set up stage in Keyaki Plaza of Saitama Super Arena where “Animelo Summer Live 2013” was in session! They introduced two songs from the musical and enlivened expectations about raising the curtain.
The S.H.Figuarts Sailor Moon soldier series that’s being released in order by Bandai. Following the already released Sailor Moon (4,410 yen) are Sailor Mercury slated for October and Sailor Mars slated for December. Further, Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Venus have been unveiled (price and release date not yet determined). Look forward to the five soldiers line up!
Staff interview and performance information incoming next!
Page 3: Interview with Fumio Osano, Yoshio Kataoka, and Takuya Hiramitsu
Hyper Hobby: Nowadays there are plenty of musicals based off of anime works, but Sailor Moon was one of the first to do it, weren’t they?
Hiramitsu: We really did pioneer that trend.
Hyper Hobby: At the time, the characters made a great transition to stage, and the kids ate it up – their attention and love was diverted to the musicals.
Hiramitsu：When I got the job, that’s what I thought too. The first time I was asked I didn’t want to do it, but once I saw it I gave in. So I was pretty critical about the music choices, and about the staff’s values, because I had a clear idea about what I didn’t want to make.
Hyper Hobby: We’d all like to hear more about your story, Mr. Hiramitsu – could you share it with us?
Hiramitsu：I wonder why. But now, I’m wishing I had prepared more before I came here…(laughs) Akiko Kosaka and Keiko Fuyumori were both in charge of musical production back in those days, and I remember when I joined their ranks – we were all part of a new school of drama, and there were a lot of things that we wanted to try that were new, now that I think about it it feels kind of funny. We were all young and capricious back then and just glad to be there. For all of us it was our first time in the theater business, and so we studied Sailor Moon really hard to make sure we’d nail it. It was before the bubble burst, so we had plenty of money to use for our productions. Sailor Moon was really the basis for my career. With that in mind, I owe a debt of gratitude to the franchise, and so I will always work hard to do right by the series.
Hyper Hobby: And Mr. Osano, I believe you were there from the beginning as well, correct?
Osano：Back then, we had been using Kataoka’s work on the “Saint Seiya” musicals featuring SMAP as a guide. I think back then we were all aware that a lot of the theater work we were doing was groundbreaking for various reasons. The musical that Ms. Fuyumori, Ms. Kosaka, and Mr. Hiramitsu put together was an incredible work. I don’t think the series creator said at any point during the production, “this is wrong”, or “this needs to be changed”. I believe that’s why she had so much faith in the staff this time around as well.
Hyper Hobby: And Mr. Hiramitsu, you worked on the musical production for five years back then, right?
Hiramitsu：I did about 350 separate productions. And no two performances were exactly alike. And then there are the kaiteban versions, which had new content as well. My life was full of Sailor Moon back then; from morning until night, spring, summer and winter it was all I worked on. At the time my daughter was in kindergarten, and I remember coming home to visit her and reading through her picture diary. It had a picture of Sailor Moon, and just one line of text: Dad is working on Sailor Moon. The teacher would ask me, “What are you doing with Sailor Moon?” (lol) “Is your dad cosplaying?” (lol) She wasn’t exactly wrong, I suppose…(lol)
Hyper Hobby: Why do you think the franchise has remained popular even into 2013?
Osano：From the very beginning Makoto Yamashina (President of Bandai) has been supporting us, and when we said we wanted to make a musical, he said “Then let’s make it happen”. He had a habit of taking his children to see musicals in America, and he wanted to bring that tradition here. We talked about how we could make an on-going musical that kids here could enjoy. He was really impressed. From there, the staff put a tremendous effort into their work, which helped make the musicals more popular. And of course the fans – they used to line up on the streets outside of the theaters waiting to get in. We’d see them lined up outside even early in the morning.
Hiramitsu：As for me, I think a lot about the voice actors and actresses who used to take classes specifically to be trained in musical production, and many of them got interested because of shows they saw as kids. I like to think that we had some influence on them.
Hyper Hobby: In reviving this line of theater performances, have you had any thoughts, Mr. Kataoka?
Kataoka：I wanted to create something that was new. The musicals have all had the same title for the 13 years that they originally ran for, and Japan knew of the characters from the 25 other performances they had been seen in. “Prince of Tennis” the musical has been running for 11 years now. “Sakura Taisen” is also still running, and has been continuously holding the number one title for an adaptative stage performance. But we also have a loyal fanbase, and we wanted them to return, and so we couldn’t change too much. There have been tons of advancements in more technical aspects, like lighting and scripting and so forth, and so we implemented the newer methods as much as we could to update the series. The heart of the story is much the same as it was 10 years ago. So we worked with the manga series creator to capture the heart of the story while updating it in small ways to make it more relatable to today’s audience.
Hyper Hobby: And I’m sure there are some challenges that come along with having an all-female cast, as well.
Kataoka：That’s a modern trend. Back then the musicals first began in 1993, we were on a mission to try to make the productions as uniform and universally appealing as possible. But now, 25 musicals later in 2013, roughly 2 million people come annually to see theater performances like ours. There is now a need to be more creative in terms of plot and casting. For example, “The Prince of Tennis” musicals feature an all-male cast. Of course, the creator of the series also made female characers, but the casting choice for the musicals were purely stylistic. In the musical “Mary Magdalene”, the cast is all male, even though there are a female roles, so many times the actors have to cross-dress. It certainly adds a depth to the performance when you change the balance of gender roles like that. These days, acting talent is unisex, and men and women all over the world have to be more flexible. The theater style these days is more unisex, with both genders needing to fit into a certain role less and less. The series creator doesn’t have to worry about that, of course, but its an added layer of complexity that we were anxious to talk about and take on.
Hyper Hobby: Mr. Hiramitsu, what did you think when you heard that the cast was going to be all-female?
Kataoka：Oh he hated it at first. (lol)
Hiramitsu：I didn’t totally hate it…(lol) I was really surprised. When I thought about the image of the Four Generals as girls, and Tuxedo Mask too…I don’t know. After thinking it over for 2 or 3 days, it seemed a natural choice. Ms. Yamato is a perfect choice as Tuxedo Mask, and after reading the books, I thought that the choice to make the cast all female was a good one, I’m glad we went in that direction.
Hyper Hobby: I think in the previous musicals, there were quite a few Tuxedo Masks – at least three, right?
Hiramitsu：Yes, and this time we went for a Tuxedo Mask that’s really dapper. Mamoru is really strong, and Usagi is a little bit of a spoiled child this time around, that’s one of the main features.
Hyper Hobby: It seems like the casting was very successful this time around. During the original announcement, the moment that I heard Ms. Ookubo’s voice, I thought, “Wow! It’s Usagi Tsukino!”
Kataoka： When it comes to auditioning male parts, I think it’s better to have a woman go through it, but as we were interviewing all these pretty young women…I definitely felt like a young man again. (lol) But for these auditions, I had to go outside of my normal thinking as a man, and try to perform the auditions as though through the eyes of a woman judging potential male candidates.
Osano：On Twitter and other places, people kept commenting, “The old ones were better”, even just after we had made the announcement about the new musical production. Ms Ookubo (Usagi) certainly was given some large shoes to fill. But I think fans will enjoy her performance.
Hyper Hobby: Do you have any concerns about how the production turned out?
Hiramitsu：Every time the five girls would face off against the enemies, I felt a little uneasy. The experience levels of the main cast is stretched pretty thin between the main cast. But when they all lined up for the final battle scene, you could tell that they had become stronger, more experienced. I noticed it especially as all five of the girls were lined up together on stage. I’m certainly curious to see how the cast will be doing in their careers five years from now. I think they’ll be just as amazing as they were this time around.
Hyper Hobby: What is the story about this time around?
Hiramitsu：This time we stayed really faithful to the original story, which I liked. Of course to keep things interesting so we weren’t just rehashing the same old thing, we included some new subplot pieces and some minor tweeks, and we kept the entertainment level high by using some comedy. As I was writing the script, I found myself putting my own spin on things as well. That’s just the kind of producer I am (lol)
Hyper Hobby: When you were making the Sailor Moon script, were there any scenes you absolutely had to include?
Hiramitsu：For young women, there absolutely has to be elements of love and comedy that go along with being defenders of justice, all while maintaining the fact that the characters are ordinary girls. There have to be tears, and evil has to be overcome. Finally, the girls must gather together to encourage one another as they fight against the enemy, these elements are eternal stipulations of mine for our productions. The men in this production are also fragile, they were drawn that way after all. For the more physical aspects of Sailor Moon, we had to work hard to make the strength of the girls shine through during the fight scenes, which I believe we did a good job of.
Hyper Hobby: The performances are coming to a close around this time – how do you think the fan reception of them was?
Hiramitsu： Well, I went back and read the books that the performances were based on, and I think we did a good job of staying faithful. So far everyone’s enjoyed it. We put a lot of passion into creating the show, and I think that feeling shines through.
Osano：I remember that when I went to the performance, during the scene in which Usagi attempts suicide, there were people behind us who had been watching the musicals since the original run. And they were totally entranced by the new performances. I have a good feeling that our customers will be back to watch the shows for more than one performance.
Kataoka：And we have a duty towards them. The audience has a huge say in the future of Sailor Moon, and we have to give that respect. Even though I’m a producer, the success of the show really depends on the staff’s teamwork and the audience’s satisfaction. Teamwork isn’t something that just happens…it takes a lot of work. But we had a great atmosphere during the production of the musical, and that feeling passed down to the audience. I’m so glad that so many people came out in attendance. And just as Mr. Osano said, there are tons of people who really enjoyed our latest production who are long-time fans. I think the atmosphere of the new musical is great for new and old fans alike.
Hyper Hobby: Mr. Hiramitsu, please give a final message to our readers.
Hiramitsu：The original run of the musicals had over 850 performances, but if this is your first time to one of the musicals, I think you’ll enjoy it. It is my hope that you’ll get hooked. They definitely have a nostalgic, sentimental feel to them. We put all our effort into maintaining the same spirit of the original…so I really hope you’ll check it out. Thank you so much for your support!
You made a mistake at this: Miyuki Kanda – but her name is Miyuki Kanbé (the 3rd Stage Usagi-chan, who died in 2008…)
Mistake fixed – thanks for letting me know!