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www.sailormoon.org

Volume: 03   Number: 01   Date: March 2007
What's New?

What's new? Well, pretty much everything. We're back, after almost four years, and while things might still be a little dusty, we've done some cleaning and rearranging and even gotten some brand new stuff! Here's a quick rundown of some of the new features:

A new look! - There's a brand new scheme in town. It's called "fancypants" and was created by the incomparable Jen. It's the default, so chances are you've seen it already, but if you haven't, hop on down to Change Your Scheme and have a look. :)

Badges - Did you notice the little icons beneath some of the usernames? Some teams (all staff- or site-related, for now) come with little pictures to help you identify their members. Clicking the icons takes you to the team, so you can see what they do around the site. This feature is just getting started, so be on the lookout for new badges!

Recent Activity - Now you have a choice to see either the most recent posts or the most recently posted-in topics. Also, everything you see there, you can access. No more having to look at a long list of topics you can't even get to.

New Servers - Things are hosted a little differently now. Instead of just one, we now have three servers handling the load. If one has a problem, the site stays up. Less downtime means more fun for you. You can read all about it in Highly Available Crescent.

Email Addresses - Beginning on Monday, March 19, you can sign up for your very own sailormoon.org email address. All the details will be explained on Monday.

Along with these exciting new features, there's even more great stuff on the horizon. In the coming weeks, we'll be reintroducing the postcard system and a guide for new users is on its way.

We're very glad to be back, and we hope you all have a great time here.

In Memoriam: Carrie, AKA Sailor Saturn

by Scot
Carrie died on December 27, 2006. This article is edited from the original post on January 27, 2007.

Unexpected deaths never come at a good time. For me, the news came on the first day of class this semester. I was stressed out as it was, but to get a phone call in the middle of the day almost crushed me. I'm still not sure what was said in the Christian Heritage lecture Thursday afternoon.

For 9 years now, Carrie and I have had a really nice friendship. Without her, I probably would have given up back in 1999. Organizing the images directly led to the need for the library card system so we could keep those images up without spending my entire salary on hosting fees.

We had been talking for almost a year before Jen and I moved to the Dallas area. Carrie and I both wanted to go see a movie playing down at the Inwood - Mononoke if memory serves - and so we decided to drive down and get tickets for the four of us - Jen, Carrie, David, and I. I think several of their other friends went along too. Carrie and I drove from her house near Denton down to Inwood and back and talked, which is nearly an hour each way. Toward the end of the trip she said something to the effect of, "I like talking to you; I feel like I've known you forever. It's just comfortable being with you." That's how it was for the rest of our friendship.

We could go months without talking to each other, and we'd just pick up where we left off. There was no stress, no hard feelings when we were too busy to stay in touch. If I needed someone to talk to though, she was always willing to listen and make a funny, sarcastic comment if it was called for. Most of all, she was a great sounding board for when users here would upset me. She always had a snide comment to cheer me up when someone would get me down.

Yes, if I had been doing the image organization myself, it would never have gotten done. It never would have given the time to work on the rest of the site (what eventually became crescent). It would have been done poorly. (I've still not seen every episode of the series! Oh, the awful truth comes out!) I would have sold this thing off years ago.

I know of at least 4 marriages that came about, at least in part, because of this site. The number of friendships can't even be guessed at. Many of our lives were profoundly changed because of the work that Carrie did here. She may not have been the most social person on the site, but her impact is so profound that I don't think any of us can ever really know how she helped form who we are today.

Even if you've never been to the image library here, you have been touched by her hard work. Without her, the site wouldn't exist. Take some time to look through Carrie's favorite images, and thank her for all that she's done for all of us.

I have other memories: we went to see Howl's Moving Castle together. The day we watched all of Saber Marionette J, her weird food quirk... but I'll save those for myself. Some things are just too good to share.

PISCES: THE GRACEFUL INTUITIVE

Pisces is the 12th sign of the zodiac (February 19 - March 20) noted for its sensitivity, intuition, and acceptance of others. Pisces was ruled by Jupiter in antiquity, but co-rulership was assigned to the planet Neptune after the latter was discovered in 1846. Because of its blue color, Pisces was named after the Roman god of the sea - a mysterious realm little known to men - and fittingly astrologers came to associate Neptune with illusions, spirituality, and psychic phenomena.

THE PISCEAN SAILOR NEPTUNE

In Sailor Moon, Michiru Kaiou (Sailor Neptune) is the representative of Pisces, with her birthday on March 6. Less brash and bold than her partner Haruka (a typically unconventional Aquarius), Michiru is noted more for her graceful manner and sense of style, as well as the intuition and sensitivity one would expect from a Pisce.

In the Sailor Moon anime, there are many examples of Michiru's sensitivity. In episode #93, for example, Michiru is sympathetic to Usagi's bumbling efforts to improve herself and manages to remain modest even as Usagi is astonished by Michiru's musical and artistic virtuosity. Michiru is likewise sensitive to the young artist Masanori in episode #107 when he offers her flowers as an expression of his love for her, even going so far as to kiss Masanori on the cheek.

There's no doubt, however, that Michiru's heart belongs exclusively to Haruka; indeed, in the SuperS special episode 2, Michiru made her famous remark that a world without Haruka would hardly be worth saving. Of course, it was likely that Michiru's uncanny intuition helped her to realize that the villain in that episode was bluffing about the power he possessed, but Michiru's devotion to Haruka is nevertheless typical of the devotion Pisces natives show toward their loved ones; Pisceans, who are unparalleled in their sensitivity to the feelings of others, neither enter relationships lightly, nor abandon them lightly. The relationship between a Pisces and an Aquarius also makes sense on psychological grounds: on the one hand, Pisceans are famous for being non-judgmental and accepting, and that sort of acceptance is especially welcome to Aquarians who are famous for being unconventional; but the Aquarius personality - idealistic and steadfast - is just as appealing to Pisceans because they especially appreciate intelligence, strength, and dependability in others.

Emotional sensitivity is, of course, not exclusive to the sign of Pisces, but Pisces' position as the 12th sign indicates that it is the sign of the zodiac where emotional awareness is most profound and subtle. As a general rule, as one proceeds around the zodiac from the 1st sign (Aries) to the 12th sign (Pisces), the emotions of the signs tend to be expressed with greater subtlety; thus, as one might expect, Rei Hino (an Aries native) expresses her feelings in a very blunt and obvious manner leaving little to the imagination, whereas Michiru (a Pisces native) is much more subtle in the way she expresses her feelings. Naoko Takeuchi, the creator of Sailor Moon, was naturally well versed in astrology, so perhaps it isn't surprising that Michiru's fellow outer senshi (entrusted with the special duty of protecting the Solar System against outside invaders) also have signs of the zodiac clustered in the second half of the zodiac, conferring depth of sensitivity doubtless helpful to their demanding duties. Specifically, Sailor Pluto is a Scorpio (the 8th sign), Sailor Saturn is a Capricorn (the 10th sign), Sailor Uranus is an Aquarius (the 11th sign), and Sailor Neptune is a Pisces (the 12th sign).

FORECAST FOR PISCES

The planet Jupiter, co-ruler of Pisces, will be in the sign of Sagittarius until mid-December of 2007, making this an especially good time for a Pisces native to promote himself or herself and be especially successful in the workplace. A mid-March eclipse in the sign of Pisces could make a change in employment more probable at that time, however.

Another very significant aspect is the movement of Saturn into Virgo in early September; Saturn is the planet of limitations (or more positively, the teacher of hard lessons), so this position will place extra stress on personal relationships for Pisces. On the bright side, though, Neptune (the other co-ruler of Pisces) will be in Aquarius throughout 2007, suggesting that Pisces' intuition and psychic abilities will be heightened at this time.

Need a little more fun in your life? Why not enter The Caption Contest!
Con-Verse

I have been attending anime conventions for going on six years now, and I have been staffing them for close to four. I felt it would be a great idea to give you information on not only the convention universe, but what goes in actually putting them on. As such, my segment will be broken down into two sections: Otaku-Side and Behind-The-Scenes. So let's begin!

OTAKU-SIDE: Why go to a convention?

Why not? You will never find a weekend filled with more events and people dedicated to the entertainment medium we all love than at an anime convention. So many of them are being put on now that it's difficult to find any weekend out of the year where there isn't a convention going on somewhere. From monsters like Otakon and AnimeExpo to mid-sized shows like AnimeNEXT and AnimeUSA to smaller, more intimate shows like Connecticon and Tekkoshocon, you can rest assured that there is a convention out there for everyone, everywhere.

While conventions are very social events, giving you the chance to meet tons of new people with similar interests, their programming tracks are just as significant. Some of the major events include:

Opening Ceremonies: Sounds pretty bland, doesn't it? Well, sometimes it is... unless you get someone who uses this time to really give the convention a great start. Here you will learn about the general rules of the show, get a good idea of what panels, workshops, and events will be going on, and get your first glimpse of the guests that have come for the weekend. In the right hands this can be a very funny event, with all of these elements combined into an elaborate skit. It's certainly worth watching, if for no other reason than to get to see the guests before everyone else.

Panels and Workshops: Plushie Making, Cel Painting, Intro to Voice Acting, Anime Parliament, game shows, Sake Tasting, J-Rock for Dummies... you'll find many of these at just about any convention you go to. Normally run by fans like you, these panels bring people together to speak on specific topics. They can be as simple as an Evangelion, Sailor Moon, or Ranma ¬Ω fan gathering, or they can have wider appeal such as a Square-Enix game comparison panel. Some have even come up with more sophisticated ideas such as Anime Name That Tune, where audience members come up on the main stage and compete for prizes. Conventions will always try and have as many different panels and events as they can, so they can appeal to the greatest number of attendees as possible. They'd much rather hear attendees complain about too many good events and not enough time than hear them complain about boredom.

Main Events: The main programming room of any convention is where you'll find the big events with the widest appeal. These include, for example, the Karaoke Contest, Anime Music Videos, Concerts, Voice Actor panels, and the larger industry panels for companies such as ADV, Viz, and TokyoPop. All of these events are rather self-explanatory, and I'm sure you can see why they need the big rooms to house them.

The Masquerade/Cosplay Competition: Usually held on Saturday nights, the Masquerade is considered the main event at conventions. Judged on performance and craftsmanship levels, the competitors come forward and put on skits for the convention audience. You'll see choreography, humor, drama, and many other elements designed to both entertain and impress the attendees and judges. Skits tend to range anywhere from 1-4 minutes depending on the size of the group, and they may be broken down into skill levels to prevent the seasoned cosplayers and performers from sweeping all the awards. Having been on both sides of the stage, I can say that it is just as much fun to participate in the competition as it is to watch.

The Dealers Room: The area I affectionately refer to as "The Pit of Despair," this is the place where all the anime retailers gather to sell merchandise, DVDs, apparel, plushies, and just about every other conceivable type of anime memorabilia. I have spent an inordinate amount of money in these rooms over the years on my CD collection alone... having over 300 anime and video game albums will give you some indication of just how much you can spend over time. In future segments, I'll give you helpful hints and tactics for budgeting your money so you don't go home and find you're out of food money. (Don't laugh, it's happened more times than you can imagine.)

Artists Alley: Rows upon rows of tables, filled with some of the most creative and talented otaku you can find. Artists Alley is like a dealers room for fans, where they can purchase a table, set up shop, and sell their wares. Items you'll find can vary from commissions, fan art, and handmade pins to Naruto headbands, cosplay supplies, and even premade models. It's a great place to pick up little things you can't usually find in a dealers room and help support your fellow otaku at the same time.

That should give you a basic idea of the goings-on at conventions, but now it's time for my side of the table:

BEHIND THE SCENES: What does the staff do?

Simply put, the staff creates, produces, plans, advertises, and implements the entire show from beginning to end. Those people you see with staff badges do not get paid for their time. They come forward to staff a show, knowing that it is a strictly volunteer job that can take a great deal of time before and during the show. There are varying degrees of staffing and a great number of positions, so I'll be highlighting those here today. For simplicity's sake, I will be using the staffing layout of AnimeNEXT as a template, though more often than not you will find that most conventions are set up almost identically.

1: The volunteer: This position is your average runner. If an attendee wants to get a feel for staffing, he can come forward and sign up as a volunteer. He will then be assigned to a particular department head who will give him tasks to run around and do. It may not sound glamorous, but as the main programming department head for AnimeNEXT, I can tell you that the volunteers play a crucial part in getting the large amount of small tasks finished, allowing myself and my staff to focus on the bigger jobs/problems. The benefits for volunteering vary depending on the number of hours you put in. The normal benefits are: a t-shirt (for a few hours of work), a free badge for next year's show, compensation for your hotel room, and an open door to join staff the next year.

2: Con Safety: As you can imagine, these are the people who make sure that problems don't happen, and if they do, that they are dealt with quickly and with the least amount of strife. You'll see con safety in just about every room at a show, checking badges, organizing lines, enforcing the costume/weapons policies, keeping an eye out for shoplifters in the dealers room (it doesn't happen a lot, but there are a few bad apples in every bunch), and otherwise keeping an eye out for the attendees, making sure they have as enjoyable a time as possible.

3: Registration: When you walk into a convention, these are the first people you're going to see. Simply put, they'll get you a badge, program guide, and registration bag. They put in a lot of work at the show and need to operate like a well-oiled machine to process all of the attendees that come through the front door. Efficient, calm, cool, and collected, the registration staff has my greatest respect for what they accomplish during the course of a day.

4: Publicity: Comprised almost entirely of pre-convention work, the publicity department makes sure that word gets out about the show to as many people in as many places as possible. They will draft up advertisements and flyers to be put in the program guides for other conventions and to be dropped off at bookstores, video game stores, and anime shops. They also set up tables at other conventions to advertise the show. Marketing, advertising, and PR run rampant in this department, but it is a great way to build experience and is great experience to put in a resume.

5: Live Programming: This department organizes all of the fan panels and workshops for the weekend. They need to lay out the rooms, process all of the applications that come in, and make sure the panelists are on time and have what they need at the show. Since the panels are designed and run by the fans, there isn't a whole lot of in-depth work that needs to go into it. However, there can be anywhere between 50-200 different panels going on during the weekend, and making sure they're all set up and running properly is no small task.

6: Guest Relations: This department deals with the voice actors, band members, industry guests, and guests of honor. While they do get the chance to deal with these people on a more personal level, they are also in charge of making sure all of their needs are met. They deal with picking the guests up at the airport, getting them set up in their hotel rooms, ushering them to the panels and events they are to run or attend, keeping the autograph sessions on time and running smoothly, bringing food if they can't make it to the "green room," and all other guest-related tasks. While it's great to have the chance to socialize with the guests, don't think you won't be working at the same time.

7: Main Programming: Masquerade, concerts, big industry panels, guest of honor panels, the big game shows, and any other large events that need to go in the 4,000-10,000 seat main events room fall under my domain. My staff and I need to make sure the A/V setup, projectors, lighting, and stage layout are ready for whatever event is coming up for that room. I've worked with the guests of honor to get an idea of what they'd like to do at their panels. I've been there for the sound checks for L'arc~en~Ciel, TM Revolution, MOVE, Dual Jewel, MAX, and D'espairsRay. But even with high-profile guests like that, there's no shortage of work to be done. While my staff is mostly concerned with organizing A/V, guest relations, and con safety so the events can be put on in a timely and efficient fashion, I am no stranger to climbing under the stage to run microphone wires, hoisting stage lights, and lining up chairs. Rewarding work, yes... but it is work.

8: Control Staff: The head of operations, safety, and accounting, these positions comprise the highest level of convention leadership, short of the board of directors (which we won't have time for in this installment). The Head of Ops coordinates with all of the hotels and the convention center (when applicable) to set up room blocks, and to make sure that the dates are in order and that all contracts are signed. At the show, he is the go-to guy for any functional problems. Head of safety has all of the responsibility that a normal department head has, but he also needs to be the go-between for the staff and any local police or security staff the hotels/convention centers have. The accountant is, as you may have surmised, the bookkeeper. Conventions cost a lot of money, and in order for them to maintain their non-profit status (which gives them numerous tax advantages, as well as fewer requirements), a lot of receipts and paperwork need to be sorted and kept in line. When you consider that Otakon has a yearly operating budget of 1.4 million dollars, it's obvious how big a job this could turn out to be.

9: Convention Chairman: The con chair is the head of the show. During planning, he is the one who has the first call and final say on what goes and doesn't go. Any task you would expect the president of a company to have to perform, the convention chairman probably must do in one way or another.

That about sums up the main departments for every convention. Some differ in their titles, and some break down these departments into smaller groups depending on the size of the show (for example, Otakon has normal security and black-ops for undercover work in the dealers room) but the departmental layout is practically the same wherever you go.

In the next issue, I'll start to talk about the steps you need to take when attending your first convention, convention locations, hotel strategies, basic rules, budgeting, and maybe a little cosplay. In addition, I'll go into some common misconceptions about convention staff, and maybe include a funny story or two. If you have suggestions on things you'd like to see in this column, or if you have a specific question on conventions or the con-circuit, feel free to drop me an e-mail. If I can't answer your question, I'm certain to know someone who can.

Then & Now: The Moonatic Edition

We've all posted a lot in Central Control about how things have changed since the site closed in December 2002, both in the world and in our personal lives. Rather than make a collective article repeating everything that's been said in Central, this article is dedicated to the "Then & Now"s of the world of Sailormoon and the grep SailorMoon * site itself.

In the Sailormoon Realm:
Then: The latest Seramyu (Sailormoon Musical) was Mugen Gakuen (Mistress Labyrinth), performed in July and August of 2002. The plot (as you may have guessed) featured characters and events based on the S season. This show was also the last in the nine-musical-long reign of Takagi Nao and Asami Yuuka as Sailoruranus and Sailorneptune, respectively.

Now: In January 2005, Shin Kaguya Shima Densetsu Kaiteiban marked the end of Seramyu after eleven and a half years. The plot was a remake of the first completely original Seramyu storyline, Kaguya Shima Densetsu ("Legend of Kaguya Island"). It is unclear whether any more Sailormoon Musicals will be performed.

Then: Some of the Sailormoon DVDs (the Pioneer/ADV/Geneon dual-audio DVDs) had yet to be released; at the time, they were still on SuperS.

Now: All is quiet on the SM front. DVDs have been released for both the original Japanese and North American versions for all but the Stars season, which has never been licensed in North America.

Gains: Pretty Guardian Sailormoon, the live-action SM series, aired in 2003 and 2004. The story was based on the first season of Sailormoon, but it also differed considerably from any Sailormoon canon thus far, including (without spoiling too much) the introduction of Sailorluna and Dark Mercury. Luna, played by a plush doll most of the time that she was in cat form, was voiced by Han Keiko, just like in the anime.

Losses: Fuyumori Kayoko, the lyricist for popular Sailormoon anime songs like Moon Revenge, most of the Seramyu songs, as well as many other non-Sailormoon-related series, passed away on May 7, 2003.

In 2003 and 2004, Kodansha Comics began releasing the manga once again in Japan, in a revised twelve-volume format. Mixx (now Tokyopop) no longer produces the English version of the Sailormoon manga, since their rights to it weren't renewed in 2005.

Speaking of manga...

Then: Back in 2002, Takeuchi Naoko's latest work was entitled Love Witch, a very short-lived series which ended without explanation.

Now: Toki*Meca! (not to be confused with her one-shot Toki*Meka! from 2001, on which it was based) was published for several months in Nakayoshi between 2005-2006. The series officially ended in May, making it the first manga Ms. Takeuchi has completed since Sailormoon and Sailor V.

In the grep SailorMoon* realm:
Then:
* Mod_Crescent latest official release: 1.7.3
* First official release of Crescent Virtual Community System

Now:
* Mod_Crescent latest official release: 1.8.3b
* Crescent Virtual Community System's latest official release is version 2.1

Then: Eternal Senshi Webmasters since the Beginning of Time: Scot & Jen! (*Confetti and a two-kazoo fanfare*)

Now: The dawning of a new era in grep SailorMoon* history: our new quartet of Eternal Senshi Webmasters: Scot, Jen, Lisa, and Mike.
(*Confetti and a four-kazoo fanfare*)!

Then: The grep SailorMoon * index page logo:
old logo

Now:
new logo

And, though it's not exactly Sailormoon per se, it's worth mentioning:

Then: Our solar system had nine planets.

Now: Alas, August 24, 2006 was a sad day for Pluto, when it officially became reclassified as a "dwarf planet" (though there are some astronomers who disagree with the decision). Good thing you don't have to be a planet to be a Sailor Soldier, eh, Setsuna?

Sources: IMDB, Wikipedia, Sourceforge, Hitoshi Doi, Sera-Myu.com.

Seen any good websites, lately? Well, we're looking for them, too. The Crystal Key needs your submissions. Tell us about any great sites you've visited. What are you waiting for? Bring us some links!
SailorMoon in Japan

Ah, Japan. The land of Sailor Moon. I've been fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to live in Japan for a while, as well as to be able to tell all of you a little about it and about where Sailor Moon fits into the picture these days. Before coming, I thought surely there would be Sailor Moon merchandise on every street corner and in every child's hand, especially with the release of the live-action Sailor Moon. So, was I right or not?

Well, while I wasn't exactly right and there are no Sailor Moon flags flying over national buildings, there is still merchandise to be had and influences to be seen. Even though Sailor Moon isn't as popular here as it once was, all hope is not lost. The trick is knowing where to look and always keeping one eye open for something Sailor Moon-related.

Every day I'm bombarded with things that look Sailor Moon-ish but in fact aren't. I can't help looking at the school uniforms without thinking about little "Usagis" running around. It's hilarious. There is also no shortage of merchandise that looks similar to Sailor Moon and throws me off just long enough for me to double back for another look.

I live in a small town, and at first I thought there was nothing here at all. After more careful inspection though, I found three items for sale in my tiny local stores! One thing I found was a SuperS sketchbook with a free coloring sheet. I also found two PGSM sticker/picture books. These things were in the local drug store and the small private convenience store near my house. They can be anywhere!

Another great place to look is the "recycle shops" that are here. People sell them their old stuff, and the shop resells it. No junk though! I've found lots of things there... more than I can buy, in fact. I've found figures, toy senshi rods, entire sets of VHS tapes, cards, video games... the list is endless.

If you venture further out and actually end up in a big city (for me it's Sapporo... Tokyo is a whole other article), then things really open up. There are plenty of shops with anime, and all of them have a huge selection of Sailor Moon DVDs. I've seen DVDs of all the series, whole sets of Stars, PGSM in droves. A bigger city also means more recycle shops and such, so you can imagine how much trouble you can get yourself into in no time! I leave the credit cards at home for trips to the city...

Well, my fellow greppies, if you're still with me, I thank you much. I have more to tell, but it will have to wait for another day. I hadn't planned on a "merchandise only" article, but that's how it turned out, and it's a start, hm? Hopefully I will be able to get you some pictures of some of my finds and empty my Sailor Moon-filled brain onto you again soon. Enjoy the return of the MoonGram! I'll see you on grep* for as long as they'll let me.

Japanese 101

I've been self-studying Japanese for quite some time now, and upon entering college, I've been fortunate enough to be able to start taking formal classes. Japanese is a wonderful language with quite a bit of history and lots of fun tidbits, as all languages are, and it's an absolute joy to speak. Seeing as we owe a heck of a lot to Japan for bringing us Sailor Moon, sushi, and other such delights, it's only appropriate to take a closer look at the language itself, from the viewpoint of a teacher who's still a student. Welcome to Japanese 101.

There are three writing systems in Japanese. Two of them are syllabic alphabets, kana, with symbols that represent sounds like "ka" and "so". The third is a system of pictographs, or kanji, borrowed from the Chinese system and sometimes simplified, with symbols that represent ideas and words.

Background: Hiragana
Hiragana, one of the kana alphabets, is the first writing system one learns. It's used primarily for native Japanese words and as inflections for the Japanese, or kun, readings of kanji. The hiragana system is typically arranged in the "gojuu-on zu", the fifty-sound chart. The system itself consists of forty-six basic sounds and multiple variations denoted by using characters together or by employing specific marks. (We'll save that for another month.) Each character represents one sound. The first five hiragana in the fifty-sound chart are:

あ (a, like the "ah" in "car")
い (i, like the "ee" in "teenager")
う (u, like the "oo" in "cool")
え (e, like the "eh" in "kettle")
お (o, like the "oh" in "old")

These five vowel sounds are the only vowel sounds used in Japanese, and the rest of the fifty-sound chart follows this pattern, with some variation. (The next line, for example, is "ka/ki/ku/ke/ko", and the line after that is "sa/shi/su/se/so".) Therefore, any word or sound in Japanese can be written using the characters from the fifty-sound chart and their variations.

Hiragana is the simplest Japanese writing system to learn because it is limited in number and because the characters are distinct and for the most part easily distinguishable. Most children's books are written exclusively in hiragana, and in intermediate texts, hiragana often accompanies kanji in order to help with reading the text. (This use of kana is called furigana, which we'll touch on later.)

Culture Note
In Japanese, there is no pluralization. On paper, "that apple" (ano ringo) is the same as "those apples" (ano ringo). A person can understand the use of singular or plural through context, but it isn't explicit in the language itself unless the speaker uses numbers or pluralizing phrases, such as the suffix "tachi", which is used to pluralize the amount of people by denoting a group based on the person that "tachi" is attached to. (For example, "Usagi-tachi" could be used to mean "Usagi and her group", or "senshi-tachi" could be used to mean "the group of senshi".)

Useful Phrases
I'm just using hiragana for now so that you can get a feel for the one-to-one sound-symbol system.

おはようございます (o-ha-yo-u go-za-i-ma-su)
ohayou gozaimasu
"Good morning." Literally, it's a polite way to say, "it's early".

こんにちは (ko-n-ni-chi-ha)
konnichiwa
"Good afternoon." Literally, a polite way to say, "this day".

こんばんは (ko-n-ba-n-ha)
konbanwa
"Good evening." Literally, "this evening".

きみのねこをたべたい (ki-mi no ne-ko wo ta-be-ta-i)
kimi no neko wo tabetai
"I want to eat your cat."

Supplementary notes for this session, including a hiragana chart and pronunciation guidelines, are available here.

Questions? Comments? Corrections? (I'm still learning, too, you know!) If you want to know how to say something, feel free to ask. I may not be Japanese, but my Japanese teacher is, and I can surely ask her. For now, though, class dismissed!

Now Playing

I'm going to review 3 anime currently airing in Japan for you this time, all of which are known series/franchises in the US.

The first is Death Note. Based on the popular manga, Death Note is the story of Light, a high-school boy who comes into possession of a book called the Death Note. The Death Note is the possession of Ryuk, a shinigami. Yes, shinigami. Yet another anime that deals with those who are called the Gods of Death. However, unlike Bleach, the shinigami here don't seem to be out to protect people. Quite the contrary, actually. You see, the Death Note is a place to write names; names and causes of death. When a person's name is written in the Death Note, that person will die, either from the written cause of death or of a heart attack if no cause is written. Light takes it upon himself to become a god, by killing off those he deems not worthy, starting with criminals. The opposition to him is L, a boy who works with the police department, and is determined to find and stop Light.

Death Note is pretty dark, and it didn't personally interest me enough to get past the second episode, but it's insanely popular. And Viz has already licensed the series, but with an interesting twist. If you want to watch it dubbed, you'll have to buy the DVD's. If you want it subbed though, you'll also be able to download it off the internet! (The price for downloading is currently unknown.)

Death Note
First Airing: October 3, 2006
Air Date/Time: Tuesdays at 24:56
Current Episode: Shousou (Impatience), March 13, 2007

~*~*~*~*~

Series number two is D.Gray-man, also based on a manga. D.Gray-man features a group of people who work as exorcists, fighting creatures known as Akuma, and the man who creates them, the Earl of the Millennium. Both sides are after a mysterious substance known as "Innocence," which can become weapons for the exorcists to fight the Akuma. The main character of D.Gray-man is a boy named Allen Walker, who is on his way to the Black Order, home of the exorcists, to join them at the start of the series. Allen wields Innocence on his hand, and his arm transforms into a giant claw to fight the Akuma. But that isn't Allen's only weapon against the Akuma. Allen's left eye has been cursed, allowing him to see the difference between normal humans and those who have become Akuma. Allen joins the Black Order, and finds there's more to stopping the Akuma than he originally thought.

D.Gray-man manga is available in the US, but the anime hasn't been licensed yet. Hopefully it'll just be a matter of time before it is, because the show is a great watch. It gets dark, but not too dark, and it doesn't leave you confused (at least yet!)

D.Gray-man
First Airing: October 3, 2006
Air Date/Time: Tuesdays at 6pm
Current Episode: Watashi ga Aishita Kyuuketsuki (The Vampire I Loved), March 13, 2007

~*~*~*~*~

The final series isn't as recognizable by name at first: Winter Garden. "Winter Garden," you may ask. "What's that?" Winter Garden is a special that aired in December 2006, featuring Dejiko and Puchiko from Di Gi Charat. The catch? These aren't two alien girls, they're two normal girls, but all grown up. Dejiko is now 20, and Puchiko is 15; they work, go to school, and have ordinary lives.

There are only two episodes, so it's pretty short, but it's cute and sweet. I know a lot of people have complained that it's too much of a departure from the previous Di Gi Charat shows, but it is a good, sweet series, if a little short.

Winter Garden
Air Dates: December 22-23, 2006

Monthly Fun

~Sailor Moon Birthdays
March 6: Kaiou Michiru/Sailor Neptune

~ Horoscopes
Pisces (Feb 19-March 20)
That mud puddle you've been eyeing might be deeper than you think.

Aries (March 21-April 20)
When in doubt, choose option C.

Taurus (April 21-May 20)
If it sounds too good to be true, buy it anyway.

Gemini (May 21-June 21)
Don't cry over spilt milk -- especially not if it was spoiled.

Cancer (June 22-July 22)
Take more joy in the little things in life.

Leo (July 23-Aug 22)
You can only patch your underwear so many times before you need to buy a new pair.

Virgo (Aug 23-Sep 22)
Wednesday will be a good day for you.

Libra (Sep 23-Oct 24)
Psst -- XYZ! (eXamine Your Zipper)

Scorpio (Oct 24-Nov 22)
Personal scheduling skills will serve you well this month.

Sagittarius (Nov 23-Dec 21)
You will get the Sailor Moon theme song stuck in your head.

Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 20)
Not all mail is junkmail. It just feels that way.

Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb 18) Live every day to its fullest potential.

Editors-in-Chief: Jen, Lisa
Writers: amiwakawaiidesu, Dessa, LTGMars, sailorpsychosis, Scot, SilenceGlaive, tux
Editors: Cloudburst, LTGMars

To contact the MoonGram Staff: send email to MoonGram@sailormoon.org
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All articles are the property of their respective authors. No part of this document can be duplicated without the written consent of its owner. We make all reasonable attempts to assure the validity of the information presented in the MoonGram. However, we are not responsible for omissions or errors caused by faulty third-party information. Horoscope content is just for fun and is not meant to be taken seriously.


Special thanks for this edition of The MoonGram go out to Buchanan. He helped to revive the tradition and built the columnist and editors teams.

MoonGram and grep sailormoon * are © 1998 - 2007 by Scot Bontrager and Jennifer Maher-Bontrager. All Rights Reserved. The MoonGram is the newsletter of grep SailorMoon * (sailormoon.org).
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