What’s in a Name? The Origin of Bunny

sailor moon – 1/3/2011 -S. Barton

As Shakespeare said … “A name? That which we call a rose. By another name would smell as sweet.” The release of Sailor Moon the Movie (Independent Short) has sparked many discussions; especially in regards to Sailor Moon’s film name, Bunny.

The origin of the name, Bunny, has a unique history.  It’s the official French translation of Sailor Moon original name, Usagi Tsukino.  On the other hand, it’s also used in several translations of the series across the globe, including: Russia (seasons 1-3), Poland, Germany, Spain and Greece.

Usagi Tsukino literal translates to: Rabbit of the Moon.  It’s a reference to Asian folklore, about a rabbit that lives on the moon baking rice cakes. Usagi isn’t a common Japanese name; its a joke from author Naoko Takeuchi. In order to preserve this pun Usagi was translated to Bunny.

The common misconception surrounding the name’s antiquity, is, the widely accepted fact that publishing company TokyoPop (originally known as Mixx) first created it when they translated the manga into English. Bunny, after all is an English word.

However, French Sailor Moon was already using it four years prior to TokyoPop’s publication of the manga.  France, was the first foreign country to air Sailor Moon in 1993; a year later after the series premiered in Japan. The French version of the manga was published in 1995, by local publishing company, Glenat. While TokyoPop published the English version in 1997. When the US version of Sailor Moon premiered in 1995*, Usagi was translated to Serena.

What led French translators to choose this name? For now, the answer remains shrouded in mystery. Bunny maybe English nonetheless, its origins are clearly French.

*Sailor Moon was originally premiered in the US in 1995 in the early morning time-slot.  In 1998 it ran on Cartoon Network’s, anime block, Toonami.

Photo: Kris Woodside

Sailor Moon the Movie (Independent Short)-Review

sailor moon the movieDecember 10, 2011- Sara Barton

It was the shot heard around the Moon Kingdom, as Sailor Moon the Movie (Independent Short) made its debut on YouTube. On December 4th, it premiered on the big screen at Webster Hall in New York City. The hits have been non-stop.

The twenty minute short film is the fan creation of Roll & Rixy Productions (Kris Woodside and Eric James), the creators of the YouTube series, Sailor Moon Abridged. It has taken 4 years of planning, and fundraising to get their idea off the ground and it paid off.

The film’s professional quality, modernization of the Sailor Moon universe, and creative elements have gained media recognition. The reviews are pouring in, including: MTV Geek, Otaku USA, Crunchyroll.com, and prominent members’ of the anime community such as, moonkitty.net.

Sailor Moon the Movie (Independent Short), draws its inspiration from the manga, the anime, PGSM* , and the Sailor V universe. It’s a mix of what fans are familiar with, while still being unique and original.

A unique aspect of this film is Sailor Moon’s film name, Bunny. For those who grew-up watching Sailor Moon in France, know that this is the French name translation. It’s intriguing that the producers chose this translation, instead of the original Japanese name: Usagi, or the English translation: Serena. This choice is a reflection of the globalization Sailor Moon; that it’s become more than just a Japanese series.

The spectacular costume designs by Kris Woodside, (also a talented artist); are what bring this film to life. Her inspiration draw from Naoko Takeuchi early art of Sailor Moon, but Kris has clearly made them her own. Sailor Moon’s silver hair is from Naoko Takeuchi’s original concept art, but the silver eye mask is clearly Kris’s. [Kris Woodside designs can be viewed on the film’s official Facebook page.]

The directing and acting is superb; the producers did an admirable job with a limited budget. Avery Danielle is adorable as Bunny/Sailor Moon. Nick Uhas is sexy as Prince Endymion/Tuxedo Mask. Liv Rose is the embodiment of Queen Beryl. Kris Woodside and Eric James are the comedic relief as the roles of Naru (Molly) and Melvin (Gurio).

The film goes the extra mile by having its own soundtrack. The opening credit song is, “Story”, by Nishi, and the closing credit song, “Where Are You Now”, is written and performed by Consider Me Dead. The choice of an original score was debated; yet gives the movie its professionalism and complements the modernization of Sailor Moon universe.

Sailor Moon the Movie (Independent Short) is a masterpiece that has earned the right to sit alongside the original Sailor Moon cannon. Its artistic concept of the Sailor Moon deserves to be made into a feature film. The production team hopes that they will be able to raise enough money needed to make it a reality. The twenty-minute short is a brief glimpse of film’s creative potential, then Sailor Moon the Movie (Feature Film) will be a sure fire hit.

Now! “In the name of the Moon, Enjoy the show!”

*PGSM- Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is the Japanese live action series that ran on Japanese TV from 2003-2004.