SG5: Misstep, Mistake, or Misunderstood?
Response to SailorTortilla's Sailor Moon & Firetrucks Article
Please read @SailorTortilla's article first before reading this response.
Is SG5 truly not a fit or is it that old habits die hard?
Are fandoms falling victim to not being able to stay relevant and keep up with the times?
Are fandoms becoming jaded/toxic over changes that do not align with the nostalgia magic fans feel for their beloved fandom?
When SG5 was first announced, my first phone call was to my best friend. Because she is a Sailor Moon fan? No, because she is a BTS fan and my fandom was debuting a J-pop group inspired by Sailor Moon to rival the BTS/BlackPink horde!
Firetruck further signified that notion! It had the formula of the J-Pop/K-Pop takeover that has been DOMINATING the airwaves. You have no idea the COUNTLESS number of boxes my best friend has of BTS merch including DVD/CD Boxes, toys, picture books, etc. from eBay and WeVerse (sp?) (Ok maybe Sailor Tortilla and the Sailor Moon Fan Network).
I remember thinking it would be cool if the Sailor Moon Fandom has something along those lines (in a way the lines are parallel but not on par with modern music trends, along came SG5.
Music is a hidden gem in the Sailor Moon Fandom which might flabbergast the lite Sailor Moon fan who only knows the Dic Sailor Moon Theme, Moonlight Densetsu, the Sailor Star Song (fandomly called Makenai), and Nagareboshi He ( To the Shooting Stars - fandomly known as Search for your Love).
There are some deep cuts like Unmei wa Utskushikiku(Fate So Beautifully), Kaze ni Naru (Becoming the Wind by Megumi Ogata *not a Sailor Moon song but definitely inspired*). The avid Sailor Moon fan will know names like Arisawa Takanori, Moon Lips, and Peach Hips (to name a few). Music in the Sailor Moon Fandom tends to be the extra credit assignment, DLC, or side quest during the Sailor Moon journey.
Honestly, I was surprised by the backlash for Firetruck and have not really gotten a discernable reason outside of vague statements/questions like, “This is Sailor Moon inspired?” or “What’s Sailor Moon inspired about it?”
I am genuinely curious as to what specifically fans want to see. Maybe I missed a memo and I am completely off base.
Was SG5 supposed to be full-on Sailor Moon thematic complete with costumes, poses, and weapons? I also thought it weird that SG5 was not providing a single for the new Sailor Moon Cosmos movie, which further solidified that they are not in the same vein as the anime. The new movie brought on a new singer altogether. Will we not get another single from Momoiro Clover Z/Momoclo?
I asked my podcast co-host, SailorMoonTurtle (Z) for her thoughts on groups on Momoclo and Nogizaka46 which are groups associated with the IP. Momoclo heralded the debut of the anime revival of Sailor Moon with the single Moon Pride and Nogizaka46 took the stage for a Nogizaka46 Sailor Moon Musical. She feels that Momoclo had the anime vibe/aesthetic was more in line with anime/sentai and that their music was intentionally “hyperactive J-pop” known for their upbeat sound, eccentric choreography, and elaborate costumes. Momoclo is associated with the Sailor Moon fandom because of its close proximity to the IP and its overall aesthetic, which is not geared towards any specific IP. SG5 seems to have a mature/serious audience in mind, departs from heavy anime/sentai tropes, and leans more into light aesthetics/inspiration from the Sailor Moon IP in conjunction with current music trends/aesthetics that have been successful for other groups. Z thought it was weird that Firetruck received the backlash because SG5 debuted the song during Anime Expo Masquerade in 2022.
The responses via Youtube 8 months ago are the EXACT opposite of today’s response!
“I need them to release music properly ASAP”
“SG5 is legitimately amazing! I saw them rehearsing during Anime Expo and they were great every time 🎉can’t wait until their music is released”
“SG5 ~ J-Pop (LDH) is amazing!! Love the choreography!! ~ we're fans from Canada and U.S. ~ fans of Happiness (E-Girls) and now they are called SG5”
“Wow that’s crazy their going to be living in Los Angeles coming from Japan I’m super curious how their music is going to be in the u.s. I got a feeling their music is going to be popping once I heard fire truck it reminded me of Black Pink or KDA”
What changed after 8 months? Is the J-Pop/K-Pop wave experiencing fatigue and starting to wane?
We have been supportive of the Sailor Moon collabs as of late even the expensive Jimmy Choo collab which does not have the casual collector’s budget in mind. That being said, while some of us are “breaking the bank” for Jimmy Choo, there are those of us that are admiring the Jimmy Choo display case and looking for sales on BoxLunch and Hot Topic. There are some collaborations I am supporting and there are those that I am passively supporting or living vicariously through collectors that have the bank and do not mind showing off their latest acquisitions (Thank you Sailor Tortilla and Ochibawolf/Sailor Moon Fan Network)
Sonically, SG5 does not align with the sound of the anime. Firetruck further solidified the theory that this project was to meant to align with the J-Pop/K-Pop movement and SG5’s predecessors ie. BTS, BlackPink. Straykids (I know maybe 1 to 2 songs from two of these groups). Is this meant for current fans or is this to bring in fans from the K-Pop/J-Pop music wave in America?
Even the new anime does not align sonically with the music of Sailor Moon. I have glossed over most of the music from Crystal and Eternal with the exception of some compositions from the score and a couple of singles and image songs.
I asked that same friend and BTS lover (she’s a Jimin girl) how she got into BTS and it was at the suggestion of her friend that resulted in her doing her own deep dive into the group and firmly establishing herself as one of the BTS Army. When asked about SG5 she said that while she is unfamiliar with the J-Pop industry, SG5 functions the same as K-Pop, and “Firetruck” is a buzz single that is good for a debut (she liked the song) and it is on par with new groups like New Jeans. She said, in her opinion, the Western Market is hard to break into and that there is this whole discourse recently regarding K-Pop. If you take out BTS there is no impact on the biggest market because there are only three groups (BlackPink, BTS, and Stray Kids) charting.
So far, Firetruck has introduced Rui as lead (in true Sailor Moon fashion). Will we hear from the other members or will this be a typical boy/girl band trope and is mainly a vehicle to other roads/projects a la Pussycat Dolls, Destiny’s Child, and N’Sync?
The members are not new to the music scene and have come from different projects. This reminds me of Making the Band on MTV and we were waiting with bated breath to see if the band would make it or not.
Sadly, no band has survived Making the Band but we did get some memorable groups and songs. Is SG5 going to go down the same path?
Given the feedback as of late, SG5 might be regulated back to Japan and be exclusive to Japan only because it left much to be desired stateside (we have a hard enough time getting things stateside! Haven’t we suffered enough?)
That being said the marketing collaborations as of late, with the exception of SG5, do not have the American consumer in mind. Most if not all of my purchases come straight out of Japan aside from the blink-and-you-miss-it licensed merch in Target, Hot Topic, and BoxLunch (mainly clothes).
I thank Sailor Tortilla and Sailor Moon Fan Network for being steadfast navigators for overseas shipping and knowing the nooks and crannies to find those hard-to-find/quickly-sold-out items.
Sailor Tortilla mentioned Laya’s Sailor Moon, a song sonically reminiscent of Aaliyah’s 4-page letter that I loved and took me back to the 90s. Again, this is a hidden gem and did not top the charts, which I don’t think was the intention but why wasn’t it? If it was promoted with the support of the IP would it receive the recognition and respect music has today?
SG5 was designed to be in line with the music trend of today. My question is, was that right? I thought so, but my peers think otherwise. So am I wrong?
Lastly, are we saying Sailor Moon fans are not allowed to have a group of the similar caliber of BTS/BlackPink?
I would love to have the experience of meeting my fellow Sailor Moon fans and seeing people like SailorTortilla, OchibaWolf, the Sailor Moon Fan Network, and Tuxedo Unmasked for a group shot at the sold-out SG5 concert here in Las Vegas’ new Allegiant Stadium, SG5 glowing moon sticks, lanyards, and t-shirts (social anxiety aside).
Firetruck is the first step, was it a misstep? I do not know and that remains to be seen.
I do not think this was a haphazard move/decision by the IP and given the American debut, I would like to think it is a strategic move to bring more Sailor Moon to America and more fans to the IP. I am glad SG5 is not a cheesy knockoff of the Sailor Moon IP and that they trying to modernize/update and stay relevant.