5 Reasons I — still — obsess over Sailor Moon
Not all 90s cartoons were created equal: Back in the day, Japanese anime was making its way to American television, and Sailor Moon was the pioneer. Based on the manga Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon created by Naoko Takeuchi, the corresponding anime series became a sensation in its native Japan and later became an international phenomenon.
In North America, it was quality afternoon television. Who was able to resist its catchy opening theme song and the adorably ditzy and magical title heroine? In your group of friends at school, it was common practice that you and your friends would pretend to be your favorite Sailor Guardians and tap into your badassness — before you were probably even allowed to say that word.
My childhood and early adolescent obsession with Sailor Moon was pretty unhealthy. In addition to watching the show every chance I got, I would make my mom take me to the mall at least once a week so I could buy trading cards and other Sailor Moon merchandise with my modest allowance. I still have my collection of cards and posters tucked away in my closet.
Some of my first ventures as a very young writer included writing Sailor Moon fan fiction, and the first time I discovered an online community was through joining Sailor Moon forums and chat rooms.
My love for Sailor Moon remained as I entered adulthood, so naturally, I was psyched when I found out that the anime would be resurrected. Last year, VIZ Media announced that it had acquired the entire series along with the three Sailor Moon movies and TV specials to be redubbed with an all-new English voice cast. More significantly, the series would be re-released in its entirety, uncut and including the final season Sailor Stars, which was never officially released in North America.
As VIZ has been rolling out these redubbed and uncensored episodes via home releases and streaming, a brand new separate Sailor Moon series has been making waves: Sailor Moon Crystal. Though online episodes were in Japanese with English subtitles, Hulu will be streaming the English dub of the new Sailor Moon incarnation every Friday, starting November 20.
If you haven't hopped back on the Sailor Moon train, it's time to fall in love with it all over again. In honor of Sailor Moon Crystal's English release, here are five reasons why Sailor Moon should not just be childhood nostalgia, but something to enjoy now as a woman.
1. The characters are as lovable and recognizable as Disney princesses
The five original Sailor Guardians have very distinct personalities that every lady can relate to. Sailor Moon/Usagi may be the destined leader of the group, but as a regular girl, she's a bit clumsy and lazy yet always loyal to her friends and loved ones. Sailor Mercury/Ami is smart, disciplined and a little bit serious. Sailor Mars/Rei is passionate and ambitious in and out of her Guardian uniform. Sailor Jupiter/Mako is tough yet sensitive, an enthusiastic foodie and boy-crazed gal. Then there's Sailor Venus/Minako, who is feminine and flashy but could edge out Sailor Moon in the clumsy department. Of course, you can't forget about the girls' talking cat sidekicks, Luna and Artemis. There's also tall, dark, and mysterious Tuxedo Mask/Mamoru, the Guardians' main ally and Sailor Moon's love. Finally, there are batches and batches of villains, family members, friends, classmates and the Outer Guardians — who appear midway through the series — to love and hate.
2. The English re-release will allow you to see Sailor Moon the way it was meant to be seen
When Sailor Moon was first brought to North America in the 90s, it was heavily watered down to be what was considered kid-appropriate at the time. Most of the episodes were modified or even cut out entirely for implied nudity, violence, cultural differences or simply because they didn't flow well with the main story arcs.
In the first season, a villain named Zoisite is a man in the original anime, but was made a woman in the English version because he was in a relationship with another male villain. Similarly, Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune are in a same-sex relationship in the original anime, but were rewritten as cousins in the English version, which made for a lot of awkwardness for viewers not familiar with the Japanese version. The uncut anime would be rated somewhere between a PG or a light PG-13 on the MPAA system, but seeing it in all its glory without the censorship will make you love and appreciate it much more than you did as a child. It's more emotional, exciting and snarky.
3. Sailor Moon Crystal... 'nuff said
Sailor Moon Crystal is not a continuation of Sailor Moon but a brand new series of its own. Though some episodes are similar to the original anime, the events and stories depicted in Crystal are closer to the manga. Additionally, the characters are drawn and animated in that gorgeous manga style, and it is truly breathtaking to watch on an HD screen!
4. Usagi and Mamoru's love story is beautiful and timeless
I recently rewatched the finale of the first season, where Mamoru is brainwashed by Beryl's evil power and Sailor Moon frees him by reminding him of the love they shared on the Moon Kingdom and in present-day Earth. It made me tear up. There's something so touching in believing that the power of love can save. Sure, they hate each other at the beginning, then they find out that they are meant to be together. Like any relationship, Usagi and Mamoru experience their ups and downs throughout the series, but in the end, their love saves.
5. It's all about girl power and friendship
The Sailor Guardians were some of our first pop culture role models, and they should still be our role models today. These ladies found the power within themselves and empowered each other to fight against the evils that were threatening them — and all of humankind. Even when their personalities clash, they always find a way to band together and battle to the end.
We may not be able to use a magic crescent wand or spout water, fire, lightning or light beams from our fingers, but we can always look to channel our inner Sailor Guardians by finding and unleashing our own magical powers and staying true to those we call friends. Revisiting the series would be a good reminder.