One of the most influential anime and manga series of all time has been Sailor Moon – a series that not only defined the term “magical girl” but managed to break barriers around the world to find new audiences. Though just about everyone has at least heard of Sailor Moon, fewer are familiar with that series’ creator, Naoko Takeuchi.
Takeuchi was born on March 15, 1967 in Kofu, Japan. During her school years she joined both the astronomy and manga clubs – an experience that would later be a huge influence on her manga work. Though she expressed interest in starting her manga career while still in high school, she was encouraged to get her college degree in case that didn’t work out; she would go on to graduate with a degree in chemistry and become a licensed pharmacist.
After finishing her degree, Takeuchi submitted her story Love Call to Kodansha, where it not only received publication but also picked up the New Artist award for Takeuchi. She went on to publish a number of one-shot manga works until her first serialized pieces: Maria, which was published in 1990, and The Cherry Project, which ran from 1990-1991.
She then went to work on a one-shot called Codename: Sailor V. Toei Animation wanted to turn that story into a full anime series, and Takeuchi reworked the story to include four more heroes – this is what became Sailor Moon. While Sailor V and Sailor Moon both continued on as serialized manga, the Sailor V anime series ended up getting canceled. Of course, Sailor Moon as an anime was wildly successful, receiving multiple seasons, films, and even further adaptations in live-actions films, stage shows, video games, and more.
Takeuchi has continued to make new manga in the years since Sailor Moon ended, including short story collections such as Miss Rain and Prism Time, as well as entirely new stories like Love Witch and Toki-Meca!. Though none of her work has even come close to the level of Sailor Moon in terms of popularity, Takeuchi has certainly remained one of the most influential women in manga history.