Hey, Sailor Moon Fans! An Interview With Charlene Ingram of Viz

Entertainment GeekMom
Image: VIZ Media, used with permission
Image: VIZ Media, used with permission

VIZ Media sent me a copy of the newly remastered, redubbed, and uncut Sailor Moon Season One Part One Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack for review, and wow, the memories. I remember rushing home from work in college so I could see what mayhem would befall the Sailor Scouts (as they were known then) that day, and yes, I admit, I had a secret place in my heart for that mysterious hero, Tuxedo Mask. I was pretty excited to watch these shows again, since they have been unavailable in the US for ten years now.

This new release of the anime series has a completely new English cast. It took a little while for me to warm up to the new cast, mostly because I’m stubborn, but overall, it’s the same fun, whacky story about a girl growing into her powers and taking on responsibility for protecting our world while still making it to class. Best of all, this new version is uncut, so people who watched it when it originally came out can appreciate the show as it was intended.

Image: VIZ Media (used with permission)

The box set itself is lovely, including a shimmery slipcase, the Blu-ray/DVD combo set of 6 discs, and a full-color booklet with artwork, character profiles, and more.  I think it would make a lovely gift for any aspiring Sailor Guardians this holiday season.

VIZ Media gave me the opportunity to talk to their Senior Manager of Animation Marketing, Charlene Ingram, who also happens to be a huge Sailor Moon fan. Her enthusiasm for this series is contagious, and she really gets the spirit of the series.

GeekMom Mel: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat!

Charlene Ingram: Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to talk about Sailor Moon!

GMM: I first discovered Sailor Moon when I was in college and quickly became hooked. Now it’s back for another generation of young women to enjoy. What is it about her that keeps people coming back?

CI: Good stories are universal and Sailor Moon made her first appearance at just the right time back in the mid 1990s. It was and still is, in many ways, a very progressive series. Seeing these unique views and ways of storytelling in media is deeply important, so I feel that, in itself, is a big part of the series’ attractive force. Fans fall in love with these characters because there’s a player in Sailor Moon to suit every type and every mood. That’s a big part of the appeal; you can feel like an Ami type one day and a Minako type another day. While people are a lot more dimensional than fictional characters, it’s nice to have someone fictional to identify with from time to time.

GMM: Do you have a favorite Sailor Moon series?

CI: Speaking as myself? I really love the third season, Sailor Moon S. The Outer Guardians are so cool and really add a nice counterpoint to the Inner Guardians. I love that Haruka and Michiru are somewhat reluctant Guardians as well. In many ways, I think it is in S that the series really comes into its own and one grows in appreciation of all the Guardians. As for my favorite part of Sailor Moon as a franchise, the original musicals, Seramyu, were what captured my heart. Going back to the Outer Guardians, you see a lot of their development in the musicals. Same for the villains. Galaxia in Seramyu is so delightfully menacing.

Image: VIZ Media (used with permission)

GMM: If someone were to start watching Sailor Moon or reading the manga, there are so many options out there for them to choose from. Where would you recommend they begin?

CI: For someone new, it’s important to ask what type of media most appeals to them. Do you like fun sci-fi serials like Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Are you a fan of long-running series like Naruto, Fairy Tail or Bleach? Then, definitely start with the original anime. It’s really lovable, and the way many people in North America were originally introduced to the series. The story takes its time to really simmer and let you bond with the characters. Do you read lots of manga and want a groundbreaking shoujo title? If you’ve read some popular shojo like Vampire Knight or anything by Arina Tanemura or CLAMP, you’ll likely adore Naoko Takeuchi’s original manga the best. Do you need your anime to get in and get down to business with a fast-paced story? If so, Sailor Moon Crystal may be the best way for you to start. Since they are so derivative of the original content, I wouldn’t recommend seeking out the Seramyu musical DVDs or CDs until experiencing either the original Anime or manga. For those, you really need to be intimately familiar with those parts first. If you are a fan of Sailor Moon Crystal, I recommend getting the first new Seramyu DVD for “La Reconquista”-it’s easily obtainable at your local Kinokuniya or on Amazon.co.jp.

GMM: How do you think Sailor Moon has influenced pop culture on the whole?

CI: Sailor Moon is one of the most recognizable anime characters and is widely noticed even outside of anime fan circles. I think as for influencing pop culture, she is the quintessential anime girl who kicks butt. Even still, when people outside anime fandom think about anime, they are very likely to mention either Sailor Moon or Dragonball Z.

GMM: One criticism I see about Sailor Moon is that the character relies on the male character Tuxedo Mask to get her out of trouble time and again. When I first watched this show—well, a few years ago!—I remember being quite smitten with his character, and my line of thought was somewhere along the lines of, “Wow, I want a guy like that to have MY back.” I honestly didn’t even notice that he rescued her as often as he did. Do you have any thoughts about this?

CI: Tuxedo Mask appeals to a fantasy many girls and boys have, to dream of a knight in shining armor, coming to help them in their time of need. It’s something pretty prevalent in fairy tales and even though it can be seen as a bit antiquated, it’s still a part of many a young one’s imagination. Though it’s a frequently seen fantasy, it’s important to note it is not universal. Some people really want a character like Tuxedo Mask to swoop in and help out with some encouragement while others want to roll up their sleeves and do their own saving. There’s no right or wrong way to dream!

GMM: Why do you think heroines like Sailor Moon are important for both girls and boys?

CI: Heroes like Sailor Moon and all the Sailor Guardians are deeply important to not just little girls and boys, but to all people who still have a heart open to dreaming bigger than what they are right now. We live in a crazy world and it can be easy to let the news get us down and lead us to despair. Sailor Moon never gives up on her mission, but most importantly, she never gives up on her dear friends and the world she loves. Usagi can be a bit clumsy and maybe her grades aren’t exactly admirable, but she has heart and always works hard when it counts. These are valuable traits for anyone to emulate. As for the series, it’s amazing to see the appeal really stretches across age and gender. It’s definitely not just a show for little ones. People must fight for love and for justice throughout their lives and never stop!

GMM: Who is your favorite Sailor Guardian and why? Do you have a least favorite character?

CI: My favorite of the Inner Guardians is Venus-she’s happy, peppy, and orange, my favorite color. She can also be a mature and stoic leader, something I have really come to identify with in my professional life. For the Outer Guardians, I adore Sailor Uranus because she is just so very tough and cool. As for least favorites… hmmmm, there isn’t any one character I actively don’t like, to be honest. It really speaks to the quality of the narrative that every character has a purpose and needs to be in the story. It wouldn’t be the same if any one character were omitted. Sometimes I wish the villains had a bit more screen time, a way to see their motivations. It would be super cool if there could be something like Wicked for Sailor Moon villains someday!

GMM: One of the first things I noticed about the new release of Sailor Moon season one is the new English dub. How do you feel about the new English voice cast? Did you find it hard to get used to?

CI: Not at all. I’m very happy to hear the original story, completely uncut, in English and the response from the fans has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s something so many anime series get by default now and it has always been a shame Sailor Moon didn’t have an accurate version until now. It’s great to live in a time as an anime lover where the thought of an unedited version of Sailor Moon is greeted with such delight.

GMM: Is there anything you miss about the old version?

CI: At first, I was afraid I may be a bit nostalgic for the previous version, but after hearing all these wonderful actors and actresses pouring their hearts into the series, not to mention all the behind the scenes staff doing the same, this version felt so natural and right. It’s really all been a dream come true for fandom. I have fond memories for the previous version, as it’s what I first experienced, but I see the two kind of like Cinderella’s dress. The pink dress was lovingly created and was very pretty, but with the help of a little magic and a kind fairy Godmother, Cinderella ended up going to the ball in something truly spectacular and worthy of her pure and wishful heart. Cinderella remains the same kind soul, but through a special friend, she able to be presented in the true splendor she deserved all along.

GMM: If you saw someone at the store torn about whether or not to buy the Sailor Moon season one part one box set, what would you say to them?

CI: Even if you haven’t experienced Sailor Moon before, it’s one of the most important anime series to be created. Not only does it come in a gorgeous package, there’s double the standard amount of episodes for an anime release inside along with lots of all-new extras. If you’re still on the fence, check out a few episodes officially on Hulu or Neon Alley. It’s hard not to fall in love with such a legendary series. Lots of love and care went into these new releases, so I hope you take the chance to check it out and treasure it for your own!

Photo: VIZ Media (used with permission)

About Charlene Ingram: Charlene is one of the few ardent fans to make the giant leap successfully into the anime industry. A veteran cosplayer with over 16 years and 100 costumes in the hobby, she went on to be a professional costumer for some of Las Vegas’ largest resorts as well as starting a cosplay-centric wig company. In 2009 Charlene made the leap to the anime industry, becoming a Brand Manager and eventually the Senior Brand Manager for anime distributor Funimation Entertainment. After working on a variety of titles, including Hetalia, Summer Wars, FLCL and Panty & Stocking, she made the move back to the West Coast. Landing in San Francisco, Charlene became the Senior Manager of Animation Marketing for VIZ Media. Her days are now filled with working on some of the most cherished anime series of all time, including Naruto, Bleach, TIGER & BUNNY, Ranma ½ and, most recently, the uncut re-launch of Sailor Moon. She is committed to bringing the love of anime to fans everywhere.


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