Avid members of the Sailor Moon fandom will finally get to celebrate the much beloved anime series’ 22th anniversary with the revival of the show.
Set to premiere on Saturday (July 5), its revival, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal, will follow a young teenage girl named Usagi Tsukino who is chosen to be a guardian of justice and is sent on a quest to locate a Silver Crystal before the Dark Kingdom invades the Earth.
Linda Ballantyne and Toby Proctor were the voice actors behind Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask in the 90s North American adaptation of the show.
Both based in Toronto, Toby and Linda have been touring North America to attend Sailor Moon Q&A panels. When they aren’t traveling, the two continue their work as voice actors. Most recently, Toby voiced the character of Willie in the animated film Daisy: A Hen Into the Wild and has worked in casting and as a director. Linda, on the other hand, can be heard in the animated series Mia and Me as Queen Mayla and George of the Jungle as Magnolia.
While they will not will not be part of the new series (rights were given to an American company Viz Media. The company has not yet made an announcement regarding streaming distribution in Canada), there’s no denying that they’ve played a role in recreating the magic for a brand new audience.
The two were kind enough to talk to ANDPOP separately to chat about the Sailor Moon fanbase, the series’ revival and who they’d like to see Tuxedo Mask hook up with.
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Are there any similarities that you share with your characters?
Toby: Well, I don’t roll around in tuxedos these days. So I wouldn’t say that. But I think if anything, I’m a dad of three and honour is something that we probably hold close to each other. I am a little bit of a romantic. I hope my wife would say that. That’s about it. I’m blond and I’ve got a boxer’s build so I wouldn’t say that I’m tall, dark and handsome but I don’t know if I have the ugly branch shaken at me.
Linda: It’s funny now because I’ve got three teenage daughters. My youngest one who was a baby when I was doing Sailor Moon is now 5 ft. 9, has long blond hair and is skinny skinny skinny. And I’m like, are you kidding me?! Did I just give birth to a Sailor Moon or what? That’s the kind of similarities I’m finding right now for sure. But I’m certainly goofy and I don’t take myself seriously at all.
What did you love most about playing Sailor Moon?
Linda: With Sailor Moon, the thing that I loved about her was the fact that she was this teenage girl. Being a teenager is such a tough time in a girl’s life because you’re still a little kid. You’re a kid that wants to goof around and have fun but you also want to be responsible and you want to grow up and you want to be in charge. But, you’re caught in between this rock and a hard place. What I really loved about the part of Sailor Moon was that she really played both of those parts. She was this stupid goofy thing that collapsed and fell down. And all of a sudden, she’s in charge of saving the world. That’s the part I loved the most about her. The goofiness.
What’s the Sailor Moon fanbase like now?
Toby: It’s huge. It’s bigger than it was because when we first did Sailor Moon, the Internet hadn’t really begun. There was no YouTube back then. So when Sailor Moon started airing, it was only for people who had TV or YTV or whatever. We’ve gone to tons of cities in the States recently and we see kids as young as four and five who are huge fans. So, that says a lot to us. Twenty years later, there’s a whole new serving of fans and so really, I think we’ve almost doubled it because the people who grew up on it are now letting their kids watch. So if anything, it’s only helped us.
Linda: I would say that it’s even stronger than it was. I think that so many people that watched it when they were young are now having kids and will go to a conventions (with them). This tiny kid will go up to the table and they’ll be dressed up like Sailor Moon and I’m like “Oh my God! You watch Sailor Moon?” and then the mother will be standing behind dressed up like Sailor Jupiter saying, “Yeah! I got her into it!” It’s coming full circle for sure.
You’ve been touring to fan conventions in the U.S. a lot, what’s the reaction like when you meet fans?
Toby: Honestly, it’s humbling. I can go to any of the cities that I went into in the U.S. this year. The minute we get into a room, there are literally thousands of people on their feet clapping. As a person who (works in) television, we never really hear the applause. All you really get is a cheque and kind of that’s it. It’s not like theatre where you get to hear your audience. To go to these things and kind of feel appreciated for what you did, it’s something you never expect because it’s not something you usually get as a television actor. And to hear their response at these Q&A panels and to see people cry and tell you that you were their childhood or that my character was their crush, I’d be a jerk not to feel something.
Do your kids watch Sailor Moon?
Toby: I have two young daughters and one young son. My two daughters are three and five and they just started watching it about a month ago. They think it’s kind of funny. It took them a while to understand that Daddy was the voice and once they realized that, they thought it was kind of cute. I can hear them singing the Sailor Moon theme downstairs or them arguing who gets to be Sailor Moon or who gets to be Tuxedo Mask.
Who would you like Tuxedo Mask to end up with other than Sailor Moon?
Toby: I’d have to say Sailor Mars. She’s spicy. She’s like the vixen character and who doesn’t like that?
Linda: Ohhhh really?! *sighs* Not Rei (Sailor Mars). Okay, it’ll have to be Rei. But don’t tell her I said that. Because she’ll just walk around with her arms in the air kissing her muscles for sure.
Although, it would have been nice to see Rei end up with Chad. It would have been nice to see that finalized.
You’re not part of the new Sailor Moon series, but what do you think about its revival?
Toby: I wish I was part of it. Because it’s a U.S. company, I don’t think they’re going to come towards us because the unions won’t let it happen. With this aside, I am very excited for it because I think the fans deserve to see the series as it was for real without being cut down because there was a lot of editing done due to content. When it first came on air, it wasn’t right for the networks at the time. And now, I think the doors are more than willing to digest this type of material. To see it in its entirety is going to be awesome. I hope whoever takes it on is as successful and has the fans that we have because they’ve been nothing but great for us.
Are you excited for the new Sailor Moon series?
Linda: Oh God yeah. It’s something that the fans have been waiting for TOO long. They want to have some kind of closure, they want to come full circle and see the whole thing, so it’s time. It’s going to be done in the States when they do the North American voices, but that’s fine. We would love to do it, of course. In a heartbeat, any one of us would say, “Yes. Please.”
I can hear [my kids] singing the Sailor Moon theme downstairs or them arguing who gets to be Sailor Moon or who gets to be Tuxedo Mask.
Was there anything in the series you would have liked to see changed?
Linda: Well, the whole [Sailor] Uranus and Neptune thing. It was always when we were recording, I was sitting there and going, “What? What’s going on?! They’re not cousins! They look like they’re in love!” And then finally someone said to me, “Linda, you’re an idiot. In Japan, they are. They’re lesbians.” And I’m like, “Why aren’t they here?!” and they’re like, “Because North America’s not ready for it.”
So if I was going to change anything, I would put it back to how it was supposed to be. But again, it was a young audience and at the time, they just weren’t ready for it. I think kids (nowadays) wouldn’t blink about it. They’d just go, “Yep. Okay. That’s fine with me.”
Sailor Moon Crystal premieres July 5th (6 a.m EST) on Hulu, Crunchyroll and NicoNico with English subtitles!