The anime/manga Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi is beloved by many worldwide. International Sailor Moon Day (ISMD) is a one-day event for fans of Sailor Moon (sometimes called Moonies) to get together in celebration of the series they love. I spent the better part of my summer with my friend Winnie planning and coordinating the Seattle, WA ISMD event on August 6, 2016.
This was the second annual ISMD in Seattle, but our first year as coordinators. Winnie and I were volunteers for the first one in 2015, and when we found out that the original coordinator wanted to stop we opted to take it over. We knew it’d be a lot of work but were determined to take on this challenge and deliver a fun-filled Sailor Moon event for fellow fans.
Our first hurdle was finding a good location. Last year the event was in a gymnasium of a community center, and while that was adequate we wanted to find something a bit more impressive. After much searching we came across the Phinney Neighborhood Association Community Center in Seattle, WA. The old brick building used to be a school, with classrooms upstairs and a community hall downstairs. It was perfect for our event! There’s even an elevator so people didn’t have to go up and down the stairs.
After our location was chosen the rest of our summer was devoted to ISMD planning. It certainly felt like any time we left the house we were doing something for the event, be it passing out flyers, buying supplies, or picking out prizes for the trivia and cosplay contest.
Even when we weren’t out running errands we still had plenty of work to be done from home. There were many long days and late nights devoted to designing promotional material, online event promotion, coordinating with vendors, and recruiting volunteers.
That’s not even counting the brainstorming and crafting sessions for the game room! We wanted to have carnival style games for everyone to play, complete with prizes. Naturally all of the games needed to be Sailor Moon related. We eventually ended up with a whole load of ticketed games: Usagi’s Tiara Toss, Tuxedo Masked, Chibiusa’s Duck Pond, Rei’s Fortune Tree, and Haruka’s Race Track.
We were able to devote one of the classrooms upstairs to the ticketed games, which each cost 1 ticket. We actually included enough tickets to play each game with the price of general admission. All additional tickets were 5 for $1. It took some doing but everything turned out beautifully, and our games were one of the most popular features of the event!
The other classroom we rented upstairs is where we held trivia. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to leave the photo booth long enough to watch the trivia. I’ve been told by our volunteers that both rounds had excellent attendance and that the winner totally proved their fandom knowledge! When the classroom wasn’t being used for trivia we left supplies in there for coloring, along with nearly 200 blank Sailor Moon coloring pages.
We didn’t limit ISMD to indoor activities alone. Located by the main entrance was a bubble station called Ami’s Bubble Blast and sidewalk chalk, both of which were free to use for all attendees. In addition to the outdoor activities we also had two wonderful food trucks, The Yummy Box and Seattle Cookie Counter. We are so grateful to both food trucks that made the trip to the community center specifically for ISMD to provide our attendees with such delicious food!
Located in the main hall was our wonderful artist alley. We had such a kickass group of artists that are just as devoted to Sailor Moon as we are. Artists MIS0HAPPY, Rhododo, ChannelSQUARE, Juciette, and s2Heart Designs were there, just to name a few. I was over the moon (pun totally intended) to see so many amazing local artists in one place with tables devoted almost exclusively to Sailor Moon merch. It took some serious restraint not to buy one of everything there, I swear. As is, I still went away with a huge haul, and I have no doubt all the rest of the attendees did too!
We actually worked with local artist MIS0HAPPY ahead of the event to come up with a promotional ISMD design we used for flyers, schedules, and merchandise. Her design turned out so cute! We sold some apparel through represent.com for a limited time prior to the event and were so pleased when some of the attendees were wearing their shirts.
We’ve had a lot of people that missed out on purchasing a shirt ask if we’ll be offering them again. So, we’ve decided to bring them back for the month of December! Starting December 1, 2016 you’ll be able to purchase a shirt here.
The ISMD photo booth was also located in the main hall just past the artist alley against the back wall. I spent most of the event running the photo booth with help of my buddy Abram of Troublesome Robot Photos, who thankfully gave me breaks to get lunch and to shop the artist alley.
Originally, we had planned to use the same photo booth that I had built last year with my friend Ben of Otaku Guardian. Sadly, it would seem nearly a year in storage hadn’t been kind to our frame. The glue we had used apparently wasn’t strong enough and many of the decorations fell off and were crushed when people unknowingly piled things on top of them. So, we salvaged what we could from the original photo frame and started over. Thankfully, most of the colorful tissue paper poms were still intact along with the glittery foam Sailor Scout pieces we made last year. We had only made the inner scouts symbols last year so, in addition to adding new doilies and accessories to the frame, we made the rest of the scout symbols. This year’s frame was a huge success! We got so many compliments on the foam scout symbols and the colorful paper doilies. People also really enjoyed the accessories we provided for people to pose with, which included a parasol and inflatable ice cream cones.
Photobooth photos provided by Fearless Photoworks.
We ended ISMD with a cosplay contest located on the main stage in the community hall. The lovely Kimchicutie dressed as Mistress 9 was our contest host. She was a total trooper, rolling with the punches when the sound system didn’t work as promised from the venue. Luckily for us, Kimchicutie knows how to project her voice really well! We were also able to recruit the very talented Li Kovacs, RikkuGrape, and Abi Sue Cosplay to judge the contest. We were so grateful to have such capable and wonderful cosplayers helping us out for the contest. Everything went really well, despite the sound system hiccup. The cosplayers all looked fantastic, it was really hard for our judges to pick the winners. We had prize packages full of Sailor Moon goodies for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for both the adult and kid divisions. My friend Abram was even able to 3D print Sailor Moon silhouettes for the 1st place trophies! Right after the contest ended I called the winners over to get photos with their certificates and trophies at the photo booth, they were all positively beaming with joy and were eager to look at the rest of their prizes. Congrats to everyone that participated! We hope you all enter next year as well.
Seeing everything finally come together on the big day seriously meant the world to me. It was so heartwarming to know that everyone at the event was there to celebrate the love of a show that has been so influential to us all. All of our months of planning culminated together to bring a day of fun for fellow Moonies. All that hard work paid off and it was so worth it. I can’t wait to do it all again next year even bigger and better. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart to everyone that supported us. See you next year, Moonies!