By Loryn Stone
It’s no surprise that here on PopLurker, we’re huge Sailor Moon fans. Many of us are also very active in the cosplay and fandom scene, and are members of various Sailor Moon groups. We get to see pictures of each other dressed up, ogle dirty fan art, and have lively discussions about Sailor Moon lore, theories, and all the sweet, sweet merchandise available to the public.
But some of us have collections that have gone from a few items here and there to complete rooms dedicated to the majesty that is the collection. Among the most active voices (with a kickass Sailor Moon toy collection and awesome YouTube channel) is Aije, or Sailor Tortilla as she’s better known across the fandom. She allowed me the opportunity to interview her and drool over pictures of her collection, and let me tell you, chatting with her is an absolute blast.
Trust me, she’s even cooler than she comes across on her channel.
You are a well-known Sailor Moon toy collection and YouTuber. Where did the name Sailor Tortilla come from?
So, I usually go by Aije, but Sailor Aije doesn’t really have that magic ring to it. My legal name sounds like Tortilla, and after a few decades of being called anything from that to Chinchilla, it came naturally.
I also really enjoy tortilla chips.
When did you get into Sailor Moon, what were your first impressions, and when did you start collecting toys?
My mom brought home a pair of Sailor Moon Sneakers one day from Toys R Us or Kids R Us. I had no idea what it was. My mom was super stoked and said she was a strong superhero. The employee at Toys R Us told her so. He said it was the next big thing and it was huge overseas. Imagine, it’s 1995 and my mom had to run into the one mega-weeb in our town who had this kind of info.
One Friday I stayed up late enough to catch the Saturday morning cartoons on Fox. Lo and behold, there was the weird baby-energy-stealing episode of Sailor Moon R. Moonlight Knight showed up and was portrayed as a love interest, amidst Rugrats and Ahh Real Monsters, Sailor Moon was the first show aimed towards kids my age that dared show romance. I was super intrigued. Then the theme song played at the end. That song was the shit. It sealed the deal, really.
The actual collecting started with a KB Toys store that was doing their best to get rid of all of their unsold Sailor Moon wands and Moon-Cycles. Sailor Moon clearly wasn’t the hit toymakers expected. I got a Moon Stick, Crescent-Cutter Jewelry Box, and a Cosmic Brooch for $5 each. Not bad. And no- I didn’t want that shitty Moon-Cycle even then. The history behind that thing is cray. I used to prop up the boxes on the floor against the wall and display them not too differently from what I do now. I totally sold those about 4 years ago when I transitioned from my classic toys to 20th Anniversary merchandise.
Who is your favorite character? Least favorite character?
My favorite classic anime character has got to be Galaxia. The fact that I had to hunt down pirated VHS tapes to even see her elevated her to legendary status for me. Cosmos is bae but she’s only in the manga. Least favorite character? I could do without Melvin/Umino.
Do you have any other collections or is it Sailor Moon centric?
Sailor Moon isn’t my only obsession, just my biggest. I have a small Madoka Magica figurine collection and- don’t judge me- a LOT of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures still in the boxes from the 80’s. Burrito Mask totally wants in on my Ninja Turtles. What’s mine is ours?
When did the YouTube channel come and what was the motivation for it?
This is going to be a little dark- my yorkie, Usagi, was dying from heart failure and I didn’t want to leave her alone at the house. I had a previously successful YouTube channel around 2007 that made it to about 15k subs. It was completely unrelated to Sailor Moon, but I had experience and I figured YouTube was a good time waster while I sat around at home. The first Proplica had just come out and well- here we are. You can totally see my dog laying around in some of those early Figuarts Zero videos. She was not having a good time.
What’s happened as a result of the channel? Are you recognized in public? Do you have any crazy fan stories?
The channel has helped me get jobs and interviews in interesting places. I’m a professional social media writer so it all ties together pretty well. I have been recognized on the street or at cons a few times, nothing crazy though. My fans have been pretty chill and ask a lot of merch-related questions. Usually, it’s the, “What toy should I buy my fiancé?” type stuff. I like to help.
What is your relationship to the Sailor Moon community outside of collecting? Have you ever been invited to a panel?
I have! I’m currently in talks to do a panel at Florida Supercon this year. Hopefully, that’ll work out. I’m pretty low-key outside of the channel. I’ll show up here and there to a Sailor Moon quiz night at a bar or whatever, but I’m a wallflower. I get enough “look-at-me” attention on YouTube. We’ve got a lot of great cosplayers and moonie artists out there in our community and I’m not down with stealing their thunder at a con or anything. I really do lurk.
I was told you had an instance where you had to evacuate because of a hurricane, leaving your collection behind. What was that like?
It’s not that dramatic. I lost power during Hurricane Irma and went to my mother-in-law’s for WI-FI after the storm. I think the worst part about that was that Subway ran out of bread. I’m a filthy millennial. Hurricane Georges totally left some water damage on my AnimeMagine Chroma-Cels back in 1998 though.
What’s your absolute favorite item in your collection?
I gravitate towards the Cutie Moon Rod Proplica a lot.
I guess I like big balls or some Freudian shit like that.
In your opinion, what’s the weirdest/ugliest licensed Sailor Moon product out there?
The Anna Sui handpainted Cokets from last month are just… no. They live in my darkest dreams now.
They will eat your soul.
What Sailor Moon toys/products are on your ultimate fantasy dream list? What do you hope they come out with?
I need a life size Eternal Tier with staff attachment. I’m super petite so Bandai can totally make one that’ll look big next to me. I also need a re-release of that damn Tuxedo Mirage Memorial Proplica thing so I can still buy it for cheap and then ignore it for the rest of time. It’s reselling for almost $300. Yo, Sailor Moon is a great investment, but the artificial scarcity has got to stop. It sucks when you miss out.
Did you expect to become this vital to the community? What are your plans and next steps to grow your presence? Can we expect that podcast soon?
You flatter me, but I don’t think I’ve got that big of a footprint in moonie circles. I am super stoked to start working on my new podcast, Sailor Tortilla Says. I think it’ll give me a great outlet to talk about subjects I don’t get a chance to tackle on the YouTube channel. I already plan to have different guests from episode to episode and vary the topics from typical moonie stuff like Crystal or the Musicals to comparisons with other fandoms.
I’m additionally relieved that a podcast doesn’t require me to buy a new toy for every episode.
To keep up with Sailor Tortilla and her awesomeness, you can follow her on Social Media:
Loryn has a Twitter and a personal blog. Her debut book My Starlight, a young adult contemporary novel about anime, fandom, cosplaying, sexuality, love, loss, and friendship will be released August 3rd, 2018 by Affinity Rainbow Publications. Pre-orders will be available July, 2018.
Statement: PopLurker is not owned by a corporation. We are a small collective of writers trying to create content that will make the internet a happier place. When you show our Patreon some love, you’re helping out the little guy whose sole mission is to help your day be just a little brighter. If you’re able to, please contribute so we can continue creating more hilarious content!