Interview With The Cast Of Sailor MoonJune 22, 2014
Sailor Moon was one of the biggest television shows of the 90s with a global-wide fan-following. With a fresh new series around the corner, I got to sit down with the original cast of Sailor Moon at Anime North as Katie Griffin (Sailor Mars), Linda Ballantyne (Sailor Moon), Toby Proctor (Tuxedo Mask) and John Stocker (voice director and Grandpa Hino) discussed their characters and time on the show.
Media representative: What do you think is the legacy of Sailor Moon?
Toby Proctor: Well to me, the legacy… all I can say is that it’s really interesting to see now it being 20 years and now there are kids of the parents who first watched it so there’s this whole layer cake of a fan base that’s now here and see it used to be, “Well, it’s been around for a few years.” But now it’s… now I think it’s locked in pop culture. It will not go away. There will be people who will make this reference forever because it was part of their childhood and that’s the way it is. Umm, the legacy of that? I don’t know what it is. All I know, though, is that I’m proud that it was something to do with one of the very first female, umm, kind of…
Proctor: Empowerment kind of movements in animation or any media, for that matter. And that’s kind of cool because I have daughters. I hope there’s more of that coming.
Linda Ballantyne: I also think the fact that it sort of bridged a gap between two countries, Japan and North America, really, who had been at war 40 years earlier. And there they were, they suddenly have this bond that they were finding with each other and I think it really helped their relations.
John Stocker: I think this is the legacy. The fact that you’re still interested, the fact that we’re still here to talk about it.
Katie Griffin: The fact that it still translates after 20 years and different generations. They’ll come up to us and they’re so obsessed with the show, it’s amazing. It’s quite special.
Stocker: Still filling the panel rooms, you know?
Ballantyne: As voice actors, we never hear what happens. We would never know the effect of anything we do.
Stocker: Other than a residual cheque. You get a residual cheque and you know [the show is] running somewhere.
Griffin: Or seeing merchandise.
Proctor: You guys would agree too; most of the stuff that we’ve done, at least for me, I’d say 85% of, I’ve never even seen it. Never even heard it, never even seen it because a lot of the times they don’t put that on the contract that they have to deliver that to you. There’s so many things that I’ve done that I don’t even know and to hear any type of accolade is cool.
Kaitlyn from Geek Chic Elite: Did you think it was going to get as big as it did in North America having originated in Japan?
Griffin: We had no idea. Personally, I had no idea, even what was happening. As we were doing it we didn’t get the scripts ahead of time so we had no idea until we saw the merchandise. Then we knew it was something special. Yeah, I think that that’s when we really knew that this is something. The truth is, even back then when we saw the merchandise we thought, “Oh, there’s a group of people that really like it!” But two years ago when the 20th anniversary hit and we started doing these and seeing the hordes of fans that are so passionate about the show, I think that’s when I realized how important Sailor Moon is.
Proctor: Yeah. Any city center that we touch down in when we do one of these things; it’s amazing. It’s just add water. They already know about it and they invariably know about us and it’s shocking. It’s weird that going to a city I’ve never been to before but they know who I am. And that says so much.
Ballantyne: They know everything. Like I had a fan come over to me with a keychain with a picture of my family on it…
Stocker: That’s a little scary. And let me add to the whole knowing that it would become what it is and really, you never really do know. I mean, we’ve done things that are obscure that would become hits. Or you do things that are from a collection of books by some very famous author and it doesn’t go anywhere. It’s so hard to gauge what’s going to be successful and what isn’t. Who’d have thought The Simpsons would have done what it did?
Proctor: If it were a true formula, it’d be the recipe to print money and that’s the difference. That’s why when there’s a hit, it’s such an anomaly.
Stocker: And the next hit will be nothing like the previous hit.
Kaitlyn from GCE: Talking about merchandise, do any of you collect anything related to Sailor Moon?
Griffin: I have a shrine of Sailor Mars stuff.
Stocker: She makes her kids go in and pray there.
Ballantyne: (In the Sailor Moon voice.) I don’t like Sailor Mars. Sailor Mars is your favourite, Jet!
Kaitlyn from GCE: Sailor Mars was my favourite.
Kaitlyn from GCE: I have a question related to that. She was a little bit tougher than the rest, I noticed.
Griffin: I like that. That was very diplomatic of you.
Kaitlyn from GCE: She was! She went through the harder lessons, she had her heart broken, she let love go even though, oh I’m gonna cry. Oh my gosh.
Griffin: I’m gonna cry! You’re gonna make me cry!
Kaitlyn from GCE: What did it feel like playing that kind of role model?
Griffin: Do you know what? I’ve been asked this before and the very first convention that I went to, I had a lot of Sailor Mars haters. And it was just a weird room. It was my very first. This was the one where Susan and I, we were in Vancouver and we had a panel and there weren’t that many people but there were a lot of Jupes… Jupiter fans, and I think… they were like, “Why was Sailor Mars so… bitchy?” And the thing is… I never saw her that way.
Ballantyne: I did!
Griffin: I just thought she was really strong. It’s a sisterhood and I think as an actor I really believed that so I know Mars is always strong and serious and down to business which is why there is sort of oil and water a lot of the time. But they’re sisters and they have each others backs and I always played Mars that way. Raye was always just heart on sleeve, this is it, we’re gonna be doing this this way. She might not have understood how Sailor Moon was so frazzled all the time but she loved her and I think that that’s the bottom line. Especially toward the end of the series when all that, when all the heavy stuff was happening you could see it; they really love each other. That’s how I play it. I never saw her as a mean character, I just saw her as a strong character.
Kaitlyn from GCE: I never saw her as mean either. So many of my friends said ‘I don’t like Sailor Mars, she’s too mean’.
Griffin: She’s too serious.
Ballantyne: But you know what, I think that’s also part of the whole popularity of it was everybody had one character that they could really relate to. “That’s me, that’s who I like.”
Stocker: They had very distinct personalities.
Kaitlyn from GCE: Everyone portrayed a certain character, but do you feel there’s a character you were more like personality-wise?
Griffin: No, I was Sailor Mars. I mean, other than the fact that she’s an Aries and I’m a Capricorn, and she likes tilapia or some weird fish I don’t know what fish she likes or her favourite food… We’re identical! We were soul mates. I was meant to play this. I really believe that.
Ballantyne: I feel like the goofiness of Sailor Moon was exactly me. I was just like, “Whatever, c’mon, let’s just keep moving.”
Griffin: She’s always hungry.
Ballantyne: Always hungry! Always whining about something!
Proctor: I don’t think I was as cool as Darien in real life.
Kaitlyn from GCE: Which Sailor Scout were you most like?
Proctor: Geez, that’s tough to say. I really don’t know. Probably Sailor Moon.
Ballantyne: That’s true. You are. You’re a goofball as well.
Media representative: Sailor Mars could do magic as well as her own powers. What was it like dealing with it?
Griffin: It was amazing. I mean Sailor Mars was a very strong character. I think the reason the series was so popular was because each and every character had a huge backstory. Someone could relate to a character. Girls when they were growing up, boys when they were growing up, they all had their own personalities that you could relate to. And I really related to Raye. We were really similar. I take things very seriously. I am a very competitive person but I’m also a loyal person and all these little things that I already knew about her, I really hope that it came across that way. That’s who I am as a person too so it was kind of easy.
Ballantyne: What’s your secret power now?
Griffin: My secret power? I have two young boys at home, I am psychic. I have spidey sense. And also if they’re quiet, I know there’s trouble. I’m on the third floor I can hear them downstairs and they’re quiet and I know there’s trouble. It’s a gift.
Media representative: How did you feel when you got the part?
Ballantyne: I remember finding out that I got the call. I got the call at home, “Well, you got the part of Sailor Moon.” I’m like, “I got the part of… I got, I got the part of Sailor Moon? Really? Really? Okay!” I remember my husband was downstairs in the basement and he was with his buddy, Tony. So I went down the stairs and I said, “Uhh… I just got Sailor Moon.” And my husband said, “What?” And I said, “I… I just got Sailor Moon.” And his buddy Tony said, “Well what part?” And I said “I just… I just got the part of Sailor Moon.” [Tony replied,] “Well why are they replacing her?” And I’m like, hey, whoa, enough of that let’s just move on! And then I said “No, I can’t… I just got the part of Sailor Moon, I can’t believe it.” And he said, “Well you better be good ’cause my kids watch it.” And that second I [thought], oh my god I just got he part of Sailor Moon, what am I gonna do, oh my god, oh my god! And I was nervous because I knew the popularity of it. And it took me a little while to be able to sort of hone it in and start making it my own. It took me quite a few episodes, I would say. I felt like, to begin with, I was screaming, screaming, screaming, everything was screaming and they wanted me to scream more and I was so frustrated. And then finally I just went, “No, I have to make this my own. I have to start pulling this in and figuring out what I want this character to be.” And that’s exactly when it started to change more into the real goofiness.
Media representative: What has your best role been so far?
Griffin: We’re all competitive so we all are, not with each other, but with ourselves. So, you lose, lose, lose, you go to all these auditions, and you don’t get the part. So you lose all the time and then when you win and you book something, it’s pretty awesome so it’s hard to pinpoint one single thing. I’d love to say Sailor Mars was the best because it really was an amazing experience but then I’ll book a movie of the week and it’s the same elation. You get to this point; it’s winning, so you just feel like, “I did it, awesome!” ‘Cause you lose a lot so it’s really hard to pinpoint the best experience.
And on a note about Sailor Moon’s nickname of ‘Meatball Head’:
Ballantyne: You know what? I was at a convention and saw a girl dressed as Sailor Moon. I told her “You look so great!” And she started adjusting her ponytails and said, “Yeah it took me forever to get the meatballs just right.” Meatballs, meatballs… OH! It literally took me that long. Didn’t dawn on me until that moment!