Fighting evil by Moon Light, winning love by daylight, never running from a real fight…. Sailor Moon took the United States by storm in the 90’s as Funimation dubbed the Japanese anime into English. Along with Dragon Ball Z, the show became a phenomenon among American children. From comics to toys, the sailor scouts were on shelves in just about every store. Having grown up in the 90’s, I was no stranger to the sailor scouts. My female cousins, who were more like sisters, forced me into watching the program. I quickly became captivated by Tuxedo Mask and grew to love the female characters as well.
As I grew, my interest in anime stayed with me. Having regularly attended anime conventions, I saw a great opportunity to spend my 22nd Birthday at Triad Anime Convention in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It wasn’t until after I ordered my tickets that I discovered the special guests for the convention were none other than the cast of Sailor Moon. Katie Griffin (Sailor Mars), Toby Proctor (Tuxedo Mask), Susan Roman (Sailor Jupiter) and Linda Ballantyne (Sailor Moon) were all set to appear. My girlfriend was excited having idolized Sailor Mars as a little girl and I’d have a chance to meet the heroic Tuxedo Mask.
On my Birthday, I attended a question and answer panel with the cast. Being an aspiring voice actor, I shot tons of questions to the actors and heard countless stories and amazing tips. The actors seemed to have a family dynamic and told us they were blown away with the success of the show. Before the panel closed, I told Toby about my being forced into watching the show as a child and my turning 22 that day. I expressed how, despite growing up in a broken home, his Tuxedo Mask gave me an escape from the real world for a half hour each day. With tears in my eyes, I asked if I could shake his hand and thank him. He jogged off stage and embraced me in a hug. The sailor scouts then led the crowd in singing me Happy Birthday.
Throughout the convention, I’d cross paths with Toby many more times and he’d always ask how my birthday weekend was going and kept wishing me happiness. Before leaving the convention on Sunday, I had one last chance to talk to the cast. I stood in line for an hour to get their autographs on my convention map as a way to forever memorialize the weekend. They all once again wished my a Happy Birthday and took a picture with me. The ladies were beyond sweet and Susan Roman was particularly surprised that I remembered her work as the voice of Champ Bear in the original Care Bears series.
With the greatest weekend of my life behind me, I look back with fond memories. Although people say you should never meet your hero, I met mine and he exceeded expectations. The cast of Sailor Moon (ital) are some of the greatest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I may grow old but I will never outgrow my love of Tuxedo Mask and the sailor scouts. I will never forget the weekend I met real-life superheroes.