”Sailor Moon is the light in my life” says life-long fan as she takes on key role in upcoming anime movie.

Japanese comedian and media personality Naomi Watanabe’s charisma and confidence have opened the doors to a string of high-profile collaborations, including creative tie-ups involving Lady Gaga, Kate Spade, and James Corden. Next up, though, she’s joining forces with none other than Sailor Moon.

The producers of Sailor Moon Eternal have announced that Watanabe has joined the voice cast for the upcoming theatrical anime, and to celebrate she indulged in a little cosplay, dressing as the titular heroine’s Super Sailor Moon form.

However, Watanabe won’t be taking the starring role over from veteran voice actress Kotono Mitsuishi, who’s been voicing the teenage Sailor Moon since 1992. Instead, Watanabe will be filling the role of Zirconia, ringmaster of the nefarious Dead Moon Circus, a group plotting to conquer the earth and moon.

▼ Watanabe, pointing to her character (left) and posing with the movie’s script (right)

While it’s not uncommon for animated movies in Japan to cast celebrities from outside the anime/video game industry, in Watanabe’s case it doesn’t sound like anyone has to worry about her having a lack of passion for the source material. “I never dreamed I’d be able to voice a character in Sailor Moon,” gushed Watanabe following the public announcement of her casting.Sailor Moon is the light in my life. I’ve loved the series since I was a kid, and even just looking at the Sailor Senshi gets me so excited. Even now I still buy a bunch of merchandise.”

Since she’s playing an older, villainous character, Watanabe says she had to drop her voice’s register quite a bit when performing Zirconia’s dialogue. “It was a emotionally painful to say thugs like, ‘I’ll crush you, Sailor Senshi!’”, the long-time fan admits, but quickly adds that in the end “I think I got more into this role than any other in my career.”

▼ A teaser video featuring Watanabe’s performance as Zirconia, released prior to the reveal of who was supplying the character’s voice.

This isn’t the only recent anime-relate project for Watanabe, as she’ll also appear in this winter’s live-action theatrical adaptation of manga/anime The Promised Neverland, playing Sister Krone.

Sailor Moon Eternal, which is effectively the fourth season of the Sailor Moon Crystal reboot, is a two-part theatrical anime project covering the franchise’s Dead Moon arc, previously seen in the 1990s TV anime’s Sailor Moon SuperS segment. Sailor Moon Eternal eternal was originally scheduled to be released on September 11, but has been pushed back to January 8, 2021 as a result of coronavirus complications.

Source: Sailor Moon officia website via Otakomu
Top image: YouTube/東映映画チャンネル
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