Monday, May 24, 2010

Update on Sailor Moon and Things

Hi Everyone,

It's now been one month and five days since the last piece of the Sailor Moon script was posted, and the next part is no-where near finished. So, instead of trying to rush things, and in the process present something that's not really all that good (which may have actually been the case with Part #4, given the lack of comments), I thought instead that I would give an update as to what's going on in my life in general, and to reassure you that Sailor Moon: The Movie Part #5 is slow coming, but it's a comin'.

First off. . .

1) What did everyone think of Lost finale?

Did you watch Lost? Did you start it, but give up on it near the middle of Season 3 like I almost did? Did you like the finale, or hate it?

Me? I liked it. (Warning: if you don't watch Lost, you would probably be better off skipping to part 2) Given all the questions that the show raised throughout it's six years, and the fact that it's grand narrative really wasn't planned from the beginning but was basically patched together at the end of third season once ABC and the producers decided upon a three year ending plan, I think the writers actually resolved quite a bit. True, much of this resolution came in the form of some pretty heavy-handed exposition, and involved a few elements that feel extracted from the creative rear end (The Island is now the source of all life, which we symbolise with this bright warm light which you must NEVER TOUCH or it will turn you into a smoke moster. . . or does it? WE HAVE SPOKEN!). And yes, I personally would have liked to have learned a bit more about what happened to the Island children, namely, Aaron, Ji Yeon, and that massive dangling plot thread, Walt. But still, as much of a cop-out as it is to say "they weren't going to explain EVERYTHING". . . well, they weren't, and they couldn't. Instead, they opted for an ending that yielded emotional closure, if not narrative closure. Almost everyone* got a happy ending (and I mean Disney happy), and the original motivation of the series-- getting everyone who is still alive and who still wants to leave off of The Island-- has been met.

*The absence of Michael from the finale is notable, given both those who DO return (Shannon and Boone?! Seriously?) and the presence of Ben, someone whose actions have been FAR more evil than Michael's. Something to chew on I guess. . .

Anyway, the reason I mention Lost is that during the final season I've realized just how much of my approach to Sailor Moon has been inspired by Lost. . . I won't specify as of yet, but as the script rolls on, those who have watched Lost will probably start to see the connections.

2) I'm convocating this week!

This Friday, May 28th, I will officially be a Master of Science. Okay, this isn't really news. Ever since I passed by thesis defence, you've all known that I'm going to be getting my master's degree. Still, this week it becomes official. The parchment will be in my hand. And with that out of the way. . .

3) I'm finally going to submit my Visa application to go to Japan.

After a full year of saving up money, learning Japanese, and waiting to recieve my degree, I will be submitting my working holiday visa application in June. Then, hopefully within that month, the application will be approved and I'll be off to Japan.

Obviously, going to Japan will have major ramifications for the script. For one, I'll actually be able to interact with Japanese people, which certainly helps when ninety percent of the characters in your screenplay are Japanese. Additionally, simply being in Tokyo will surely help the script come to life. Seeing the place, hearing it, hell, even smelling it, will be a great aide to my imagination, which until now has been the only thing I've relied upon for my writing. That, and more reruns of Sailor Moon S than any man should be allowed to consume in a given week.

And finally. . .

4) Sailor Moon: The Movie Part #5 IS COMING

. . . just not soon. I already said this, but I feel it needs to be stressed. I've seen many people start up blogs, or other projects, only to let them just peter away. If anyone is still reading this, I want you to know that I've not given up. . . I'm just trying to work through writers block. I'm eagerly await the day when the first draft is finished. . . so I can start up the second draft and fix up all the mistakes I made in the first draft.

Unitl next time. . .

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Reasons Why I Should Write the Sailor Moon Movie #16: Quadrophenia-- a great album AND a great analogy!

I know it's over six minutes long. . . but just listen to this shit!

"I've Had Enough", from The Who's 1973 double album Quadrophenia. Why am I playing this? Because there is no such thing as a bad reason for playing The Who! . . . That's why!

. . . Okay, okay, I guess I'd better connect this to Sailor Moon somehow.

Quadrophenia is The Who's second rock opera, the first being their far more popular (but, to me, inferior) Tommy. It tells the story of Jimmy Cooper, a teenage Mod living in England in the mid-sixties. . . but that's not important. What's important is the concept of Quadrophenia itself, as described by the Word of God:
The name is a variation on the popular usage of the medical diagnostic term schizophrenia as dissociative identity disorder to reflect the four distinct personalities of Jimmy, the opera's protagonist. . . [guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend] chose the personalities of each member to illustrate each of Jimmy’s four personalities, or “personality extremes” or mood swings.
So what does this have to do with Sailor Moon, and with Part #15 in particular? For your consideration. . .

Friendship. Love. The strength that these two things give to those willing to open their heart to them. This is the main theme of Sailor Moon. . . which makes the fact that a cynical loner like myself would want to adapt it into a movie seem more than a little odd. (What is this "friendship" and "love" you humans speak of. . . ?) Still, the question of just what kind of strength friendship and love bestow-- besides the pop-Darwinian tropes of strength in numbers, reciprocity, etc.-- is an important one, and the answer typically provided by the anime was. . . emotional support. Now, this is okay in the metaphorical sense; it's hard to find that much fault with the message that friends, true friends, will help each other through the most of the pain that life can and will bring (though it is naive to take it too far-- sorry, the cynic in me had to get that out). In a way, it's also good literal sense, given that Princess Serenity is a being whose virtually god-like power is derived from the strength of her emotions. But. . . that can't be all there is to it. If that's the case then, as I said waay back in Part #3, Naru and Umino could serve the purpose just as well as Ami, Rei, Makoto, and Minako. But of course, they can't. So what else is there?

Speaking as a virtual loner, one whose only social connections are the result of his far more socially adept mother and sister, one who is literally writing this blog in a basement. . . of course I feel perfectly qualified to philosophize on the nature of human relationships, at least as far as this movie goes. I think that our best and strongest bonds, the kind that result in loving families, lasting friendships, and edifying tutelage, result when another person brings out a strength in us that we never knew or believed we had, or helps us confront a weakness we were always too willing to ignore. Moreover, while sometimes this is done deliberately, more often it is done through example, through the simple act of someone being who they are. It's one thing to meet someone whose company you enjoy; it's another thing when you are a better, fuller human being for having known them.

(I'll breifly mention, and then ignore, the complementary argument-- that an adversary, whether a mere rival or blood enemy, can also bring out the best in us; for example, nearly all the world was ultimately united in opposition to Hitler.)

That's where the stuff about Quadrophenia, the Breakfast Club metaphor from way back, and all the pretentious crap I was talking about in Part #15 all come in. Before Usagi can become Sailor Moon, her friends must awaken the parts of Usagi's soul that will allow her to finally make that transformation. Likewise, before her friends can make their own transformations, they must first bring out the best in each other.

The process by which Sailor Moon is awakened will be more complex then that by which the other senshi are awakened, owing both to the fact that Sailor Moon is the leader of the senshi and the fact that Usagi is the main character of the movie and thus can be afforded more character development. As I metioned in another earlier post, I'm basing the senshi (and Mamoru) more closely off of the Chinese elemental system than did previous incarnations. So, for example, Ami is associated with water, Rei with fire, Makoto with wood, etc., and their characters are based on the characteristics traditionally associated with each of these elements. But more than that, their relationships (with some neccessary narrative license) will be modelled on the traditional relationships between these elements, specifically the "generating" and "overcoming/destroying" cycles:

So, for example, "water nourishes wood," which in terms of character means that Makoto(Wood) is inspired to help Ami(Water) find her courage.

As for the rest. . . well, I'll leave that for the script. Suffice it to say that while everything I've mentioned above is important, it isn't all that's involved in Usagi's awakening-- I don't want to spoil everything. The next part of the script isn't anywhere close to being finished, but rest assured, it's coming.

'Till next time.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

You Know How Usagi Always Has Trouble Getting Up In The Morning? That's a Metaphor Too!

Reasons Why I Should Write the Sailor Moon Movie #15: Sailor Moon Awakens. . .

. . . or Not!

History. . . is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.

James Joyce, Ulysses
Yeah, I went there again. . .

If you read Part #4 of the script. . . well, first off, thanks for having the patience to wait a whole month for me to finish writing it. Indeed, part of the reason why I'm writing this post is that I decided that, just maybe, I shouldn't make everyone wait yet another month for the next Sailor Moon post. (It's now been fifteen days since Part #4, so. . . only half a month! Yay!)

But also, if you've read Part #4, you probably noticed something a little odd. Luna, having finally introduced herself to Usagi, presented her with the Moon Prism and explained to her what her mission is. Usagi, while understandably dubious, nonetheless attempted her first transformation into Sailor Moon, just like in the manga, and the anime, and the live action series.

Only this time. . . nothing happened.

Now, maybe it's because she didn't utter the words "Moon Prism Powaaa! Make up!" Or, maybe, something else is going on. . .

One of the ideas that was explored in Sailor Moon (particularly the live action series) was the idea of "awakening"-- that much of the senshis' abilities are not granted immediately, but rather have to be remembered and resurrected, along with aspects of their former personalities. Usually, this idea was used as an explanation for why the supposed guardians of the inner solar system can get their asses kicked so easily and, concurrently, as an excuse for the "power-up" episode, wherein Sailor Moon and the other senshi get shiny new uniforms and bigger badder powers, and Bandai gets a new line of toys to sell (. . . wow, that was cynical, wasn't it?). However, the idea was also used for the purposes of plot advancement and character development, particularly when it came to mysteries of Sailor V and the elusive Moon Princess.

So, me being who I am, I really overthought this idea, often when I should have instead been writing my master's thesis. What I have to show for all that thought will, hopefully, become fully apparent as the script unfolds. For now, though, I will simply pose the following question: What if "awakening" does not constitute attaining a higher senshi power level, but rather the very act of becoming a senshi? That is, what if, before Usagi can become a senshi, she has to remember what it means to be a senshi? I'm not talking about a complete recollection of her past life (the "explicit memory" if you will), but rather a set of feelings and impulses (the "implicit memory"), the instinctual "how" and emotional "why" of being a senshi.

From this follows at least one obvious question: What are these instincts and emotions, and where do they come from? A partial answers lies in the next part of this series, which I will try to post promptly.

"But Jeremy," some hypothetical reader asks. "There also follows from your premise an obvious criticism! The point of Sailor Moon is that an impulsive, selfish teenage brat has been given superpowers, and yet displays utter incompetence, paralysing fear of even easily vanquished foes, and a near-sociopathic irritation at the idea of having to help others! The whole thing is a parody of superheroes! Your interpretation of 'awakening' misses the point entirely!"

I respond to this purely suppositional objection thusly:

1) Shut up, and go not exist somewhere else!

2) This movie's never going to be made anyway-- or do non-existent things particularly bother non-existent people?

3) Let's just ignore, for the sake of argument, both the manga and the live action series. Yes, if you're judging solely on the basis of the anime, and rather superficially at that, you might get the impression that Sailor Moon is no more than an amoral inversion of the superhero archetype. But you'd be wrong-- it's more complicated than that. While the anime tends to grossly exaggerate Usagi's flaws for comedic effect, it also shows, albeit less frequently, that Usagi does care both about her friends and about her mission. And yes, Usagi is often a screwup as a superhero; so was Peter Parker at times, yet this made Spider-Man only more endearing and sympathetic. I don't intend for Usagi's awakening to render her instantly ultra-competent-- it's a growth in her character, a psychological "henshin", that allows her to become Sailor Moon. She will have to continue to grow past that point as well, and that will entail plenty of screwups along the way.

Now that any and all possible objections have been refuted, I bid you adieu until next time.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

It Was Only a Matter of Time. . .

The teaser trailer for the Sailor Moon Movie:

And the official trailer:

What the hell kind of Sailor Moon movie is this?! Where's the bilingual dialogue, metafictional self-reference, pretentious David Lynch-esque dream sequences, and subtextual commentary on the lingering and pernicious legacy of the Japanese militarist far-right? And no Professor Tomoe?!?! You can't have a Sailor Moon movie without all that! You just. . . can't!

Here's the link to their website:

But I STILL should write the Sailor Moon movie.
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