Here’s a half-recommendation, half-Did-You-Know post about the 1991 anime Goldfish Warning! (きんぎょ注意報! Kingyou Chuuihou!).
Long-time fans have probably already heard that there are a lot of references to this anime in the first season of Sailor Moon, but might not know when or why. After Goldfish Warning! concluded in February of 1992, several members of its animation team went on to work on Sailor Moon, including director Junichi Sato and composer Takanori Arisawa. As a result, not only are the art and music styles of the two series very similar, but there are many hidden Goldfish Warning! Easter Eggs in early Sailor Moon episodes.
It starts as early as episode 1, as Usagi’s iconic alarm clock is arguably based on Piiko the chicken. In episode 11, two different background characters sport hairstyles identical or similar to Wapiko, a main character of Goldfish Warning!.
Episode 19 has the most references; as Mamoru tries to win a Tuxedo Mask plush from Crown’s crane game, we can see the cage full of toys. Piiko, Wapiko, Gyoppi the pink goldfish, Chitose (another main character, arguably the lead), and Bad Ox are all in plain view. The anime has many cow characters with similar designs, but the one with the scar is specifically Bad Ox. If you look closely, you can see another character; Aoi, the ‘cool bad-boy’ character, is peeking out from behind Sailor V; you can see his distinctive straw-blond hair & shades.
In episode 21, Rei has a bag with Gyoppi on the front. The kanji 金駐 is read Kinchuu and has no meaning of its own, perhaps a store/brand the bag is from, but in Japan the series is nicknamed Kinchuu (きん注), so the bag is a homophonous pun. The final reference is in episode 25; Crane Raider Joe sweeps all the plush toys from Crown’s crane game, one of which is of Wapiko, whom he drops & picks up. When he drops his bag a few frames later, she’s joined by a Sailor Moon plush.
Goldfish Warning!’s manga ran in Nakayoshi, the same magazine that originally published the Sailor Moon manga, and both series appear together on two video game titles - Nakayoshi to Issho (Together With Nakayoshi) for the NES and Panic In Nakayoshi World for the Super Famicon. Keiko Han, who you will surely recognize as voicing both Luna and Queen Beryl, voiced Chitose’s snobby rival Yurika Sugadaira; Mika Kanai, who voiced Wapiko, voiced Mimete in Sailor Moon S; and Yumi Takada, who voiced Chitose, returned in Sailor Stars to voice the victim/monster-of-the-day Sailor Ojou; fitting, as Chitose’s character is very formal, lady-like, and spoiled - an ojou. However, these were most likely just coincidences.
Ok, so that’s all the references down; now onto the recommendation…!
Kinchuu is a really, really, really cute, heartwarming series. It is the most achingly sweet fluff with adorable characters and charming humour. The art style is also a winner, ranging from semi-serious shoujo to stubby funny little caricatures depending on the scene. The characters are endearing and distinct despite the story being so simple. If you ever want to watch something to cheer yourself up, this is it! If you love retro anime and you want to be reminded of classic Sailor Moon at its classic-est, you can’t go wrong here, since the animation and music are almost identical. The entire series is only 54 episodes long but you’ll wish it were longer!
And if you’re wondering about the name - chuuihou is a term used in weather announcements for events that require attention but are not severe, like a snow warning. A better English name for the series would be Goldfish Alert!, but Goldfish Warning! caught on and stuck.