From Blackpink to Twice, K-pop’s been getting most of the shine when it comes to the biggest girl groups in the world, but a new Japanese act debuting this week is hoping to become the biggest girl group in the universe.
The group’s name is SG5, and the five members are an IRL, musical take on the characters from the popular anime series, Sailor Moon. Spawning from the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon world, SG5 (“Sailor Guardians 5”) call themselves an “intergalactic pop supergroup that protects the universe from evil, injustice and negativity.” Their superpower: music, of course.
Co-managed by Japanese entertainment company LDH Japan Inc. and global management firm Three Six Zero (Calvin Harris, Willow), SG5 officially debuts this week with concept photos and member introductions. The girls will make their first official appearance together since being announced as a group when they perform at the Anime Expo in Los Angeles.
Plans for the SG5 first began taking shape two years ago, with the final lineup and debut concept solidified earlier this year. To use the Sailor Moon IP, the quintet had to put together a performance and presentation for Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi, who quickly gave her blessing for them to make this an official collaboration.
While SG5 is a new group, the five members all came up in the J-pop (Japanese pop) industry: Sayaka, Ruri, Miyuu and Kaede were previously part of the group Happiness, which debuted in 2011, while Rui came from the trio iScream, which debuted in 2021 and recently released their debut album (it’s unclear if Rui will continue on with iScream, though it’s not uncommon for J-pop idols to work with different groups and sub-units).
The group says their goal is to help “export Japanese music overseas,” taking the colorful and creative spirit of anime and applying that to their performances.
As for the actual music, while Sailor Moon was a popular series from the Nineties, the girls say their sound will be anything but retro. To wit, they’ve tapped producer BloodPop (Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber) to serve as Executive Producer and co-Creative Director of their upcoming album, which is expected to be a mix of futuristic pop and uptempo dance tracks. The girls will also be singing in both Japanese and English (a publicist says the members are “currently honing their English skills to be able to master the language,” adding that “it is exciting to imagine them performing and communicating with the fans in English at a native level”).
Sailor Moon is arguably one of the biggest anime series of all time. Based on an original manga series from Naoko Takeuchi, the cosmic adventures of Usagi, her black cat Luna, and her team of Sailor Guardians became an immediate hit in Japan and around the world, where it was dubbed into various languages. Premiering in 1992, the original Sailor Moon series went on for five seasons (it’s now streaming on Hulu). It also spawned numerous spin-off shows and movies, including a live-action Sailor Moon series in Japan called Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, which serves as the inspiration for SG5.
SG5 spoke to Rolling Stone for their first international interview, sharing thoughts about how the group came together, their uniqueness in the industry and what fans can expect from their big debut.
Congrats on the debut! Is it nice to finally be able to debut and share this group with the world?
Sayaka: Yes! This project has been in the works for almost two years, so I’m excited to finally announce this project to everyone. I have been performing as an artist for over 10 years, and I’m grateful to be able to experience such a new stage and environment in my career.
You’ve all had success in other groups, and Happiness even went on numerous arena tours in Japan – why did you want to be a part of SG5?
Miyuu: Being able to collaborate with Sailor Moon is such an honor and a dream come true. I have experienced a lot as an artist in Japan, but the environment surrounding SG5 is like no other, so I’m very motivated. I hope we can show the beauty of Japanese culture through our entertainment.
How is SG5 different from the other group, or other projects you’ve been involved with?
Kaede: Being able to work with everyone involved in this project including BloodPop, VERBAL, both teams in Japan and the USA, has been such a new and exciting experience. Our goal is to go on our own global tour, and we would like to perform at every opportunity where we get to increase our fans and spread the name “SG5.”
Speaking of performing, your debut performance will actually be in the U.S., at the Anime Expo in LA. How are you feeling?
Kaede: We have been building up to this moment for almost two years, so I am very happy to be able to present this project to everyone. Going overseas from Japan is definitely an adventure, so I’m very nervous and excited at the same time.
Rui, the other girls all performed together for years as part of the group Happiness. How did you feel coming into SG5 with them?
Rui: I am so happy and grateful to be a part of SG5, and to be in the same group with these members. It is exciting to imagine our names spreading beyond Japan, and I will do everything it takes to be a global artist that Japan is proud of.
Aside from finishing your debut album, what are you all working on right now?
Ruri: I am very excited to be a part of this global project! We will continue to hone our vocals, performances, and English skills in order to have as many people know and be proud of SG5.
One of the goals for SG5 is to share Japanese music and culture with the world. How does it feel to be musical ambassadors for your country?
Sayaka: The more I travel [the more] I am surprised to see the amount of love towards Japanese culture, and it has made me proud to be Japanese. I know we will face some challenges during this new venture, but I am ready to soak up everything that I experience.