New Sailor Moon Manhole Covers Celebrate the Series in Its Ritzy Setting

Unseen Japan
5 min readFeb 18, 2024

The event brings up an interesting question: Just how rich was Tsukino Usagi’s family?!

Manhole picture: Naoko Takeuchi

By Jay Allen

Minato City in Tokyo will celebrate Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon (美少女戦士セーラームーン), a manga and anime that needs no introduction to fans of either genre. The release of five manhole cover art designs around the Azabu-juban neighborhood makes sense, as the area forms the backdrop of the series. It also re-raises an old question: just how well-off was protagonist Tsukino Usagi’s family?

A classic of the magical girl genre

Sailor Moon is the story of Tsukino Usagi, a second-year middle school student who’s a bit of a klutz. But turns out she’s also a magical girl, one of the few “sailor soldiers” who can fight off the advance of the nefarious Dark Kingdom.

The story follows Usagi as she grows into her role as a superhero and develops close friendships with her fellow soldiers — Sailor Mercury, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter. Usagi is also assisted by the mysterious Tuxedo Mask, whose trademark is showing up in the middle of a fight, throwing a rose, and…well, not really helping one way or another. As the series evolves, the characters realize why they were chosen for this battle, discovering their true identities and learning more about their past lives.

A classic of the Magical Girl genre, Sailor Moon was a huge hit in the 90s, with its first manga volume selling over 500,000 copies in its original release. An anime version received five seasons plus a 2014 remake, Sailor Moon Crystal, for a total of 201 episodes. The story remains a beloved favorite, not only in Japan, but among anime fans worldwide.

Manhole covers debuting in March

Usagi’s family lives in the Tokyo neighborhood of Azabu-juban in Minato, so it makes sense that the neighborhood and its…