Sunday, June 9, 2024

I love Sailor Moon

 That is a hell of a statement. That I love Sailor Moon. But it’s true. I don’t necessarily mean the character herself. Although I often find her completely and deliriously hilarious. The true embodiment of a silly, giggly japanese schoolgirl. But she’s not my favorite Sailor Guardian/Senshi. I mean the show itself. In recent months, it’s become my favorite anime. Yep more so than Dragon Ball Z. More so than Lupin the third. 

Years ago, I had a girlfriend who loved the English dub. It was around the time I was in full-blown Dragon BallZ love and fascination. Those Sailor Moon western dubs seemed so lame. I had no idea at all about the original Japanese versions. It just seemed clearly made for little girls. But that was a conceit of the dub version. G rated. Of course DBZ did the same in their own way. Instead of being killed folk were “sent to another dimension.” But Sailor Moon was so deeply steeped in Japanese culture and tradition It was often confusing about what was going on. And it took place in real world Japan, in Juban, an actual Tokyo district where the manga author lived. The western dub removed as much of the Japanese cultural stuff as they could, and also a lot of the battles. 

But thanks to my Roku and Pluto TV I discovered the original Japanese versions, and I was gob smacked. Early last year Pluto TV added a Sailor Moon channel. Showing all five seasons in order. And I was binge watching this shit much like I did with Lupin the third.  Much like with that, I often just have it on in the background and over the months I probably watched the entire series multiple times. There’s a lot to unpack in there. in a nutshell, according to the first couple paragraphs of her Wikipedia her first few episodes are described thusly…

A 14-year-old underachieving young schoolgirl named Usagi Tsukino meets a magical talking cat named Luna. Luna gives Usagi the ability to transform into a magical alter ego — Sailor Moon — tasked with locating the moon princess and battling the evil forces of the Dark Kingdom. When Usagi transforms for the first time into her magical sailor suit with Luna's help, she overreacts and reluctantly accepts her fate, not sure what has happened to her. At the time she does not know the enemies she will face, the friends she will make, or the experiences ahead of her.[4][5][6] As she moves forward, she accepts her fate, and realizes the importance of fighting evil.

In that first season, Sailor Moons fellow Senshi start showing up one at a time. First, she meets Mercury, then Mars, Jupiter, and finally Venus. Usagi/Moon has the adorable yet slightly annoying personality of a temperamental baby. It automatically sort of makes the other sailors who come along protective of her. Although Mars, who is pretty known no nonsense, outright hates her at first.

The original Senshi of the Inner Planets


Sailor Mercury is the brains of the outfit. Basically a computer nerd but is good at almost anything academic. She mostly cares about studying and constantly lectures the other ones especially  on putting in the work to do good at school. Her powers are water-based and her first attack appears to be the fairly mild aqua illusion. But it comes in handy pretty often as it puts up a mist that can obscure the battlefield which is helpful because most of their opponents tend to seem to be more powerful than they are. 


Sailor Mars as I said it kind of no nonsense. She lives and works when not in school at her grandfather’s temple. She works there  as a temple girl. Back in history, they seem to have more important roles, but in modern times they seem to be more like tour guides and janitors constantly sweeping up.

 I didn’t really know anything about them until I watched this show. But the temple girls take up sort of a pop culture status in Japan. Mostly in high school or college who do it part time as a job and eventually move on from it. Mars original attack is called burning Mandala. It has nothing to do with Nelson Mandela. Apparently Mandala Is some kind of spiritual circle made up runes. In terms of how the attack is summoned and how it looks, it’s probably my favorite attack of all the scouts. 

Mars is somewhat dismissive and unapproachable, constantly criticizing Usagi/Moon and calling her out for acting like a baby. 


Sailor Jupiter is a tall tomboy and appears to have supernatural strength both on the athletic field or in battle. Attacks are lightning based and seem to be the strongest of all the attacks at least at first. and unlike the others, she also seems to show superior strength when she’s not in her sailor guardian form. Jupiter seems to have had a bad break up with some boy at some point in the past and it comes up from time to time. Like most of the girls she has a tendency to be boy crazy. She is the most mature of them though but bottom line at first they’re all basically 14 and 15-year-old schoolgirls.

Venus and her "Love Me Chain"

Sailor Venus is the last of the guardians to come along. And she has the most interesting background of all of them. The most experienced. In fact before the series was created, and before Sailor Moon was even conceived the creator of the manga Originally made The series about Venus. It was called sailor V. She wore The Sailor outfit but also wore a mask. In the Sailor Moon series, her background had her though originally being Japanese having lived in England for a time operating as sailor V. She fought not just monsters, but gangsters and other criminals, she was kind of famous and they made video games and action figures of her. When she meets the other guardians, the assumption is she is the moon princess that they are all looking for. She was a hero of Sailor Moon before moon even became a guardian (all this was left out of the english dubs). Her first main attack and probably my second favorite one is called Venus Love me chain. A ridiculous name for an attack, but it’s pretty devastating as she summons up a supercharged chain that she can grab things with or smash people with, and all kinds of uses. Potentially the most versatile of all the attacks.

Around mid series, Chibi moon appears (cringingly called Mini Moon in America). you can find a lot of criticism of this character amongst the fandom online. Truly kind of hated much like Scrappy doo. But her background is interesting. She’s a daughter of Sailor Moon and Tuxedo mask from the far future. luckily, she’s only around for a season or two. Although in the final season, what appears to be an even younger version of her appears, but it’s not actually Moons daughter, but the representation of the goodness of Galaxia (more on her later) that was pushed out of her body.

Later in the series, more sailor guardians start showing up. Sailor Uranus and sailor Neptune arrive, and as they seemed to represent the outer planets of the solar system, they are known at least by fandom as The Outer Senshi. like all new sailors that come along later in the series after the original core group, they seem to have ulterior motives and come off as potential enemies. But most interestingly about these two is they are clearly lesbians, are a couple and Uranus dresses and acts more like a male. and non-Japanese dubs of the series they are typically portrayed as cousins, though you don’t have to look too closely to see an intimacy there. it’s not exactly shocking as in the original Japanese versions at least a couple of enemy characters have been portrayed as gay and trans. Though they look female enough that American dubs at least they are portrayed as females. This was the late 80s and early 90s so pretty ahead of its time stuff. I haven’t seen a ton of that kind of thing in anime but I am pretty particular about my faves. Sailor Pluto, another Outer Guardian, is their ally.

Pluto, Uranus, Neptune, and "The Messiah of Silence"

The final season known as Sailor Stars introduces the concept of a past Sailor Wars, where the sailor guardians are somewhat common throughout the universe. They were really kind of like Green Lanterns, protecting certain planets and sectors of outer space. rather than resurrected or awakened space goddesses, they’re kind of avatars of planetary bodies. The final boss is Galaxia, who it seems has been behind all of the guardians troubles from the very beginning was a Sailor Guardian, who was possessed by the forces of chaos. 

In the final season known as "Sailor Stars" the Sailor Starlights appear. Three sailor guardians from Deep Outer space who played the role of pop singers on earth and the songs they sing our messages trying to attract their lost princess. Again, gender lines are broken here. The  Starlights are female but their mortal pop star forms are male.   

A very small part of the manga, they are a very large part of the final season of the original series.

Lots of this fifth season is serious is a heart attack. Dragon BallZ style power creep is in full effect and Galaxia represents a complete invincible power who decimates everything at will. The final battles where Sailor Moon finally comes through with her full power and the great warmth of her light saves the universe. But not before everyone dies (the Sailor Senshi actually die and are resurrected at least a couple times in the series) and it appears like all the Sailor Scouts have been brutally killed (In silhouette it appears their torsos are blown open). But it was never in doubt that there would be a happy ending. But silly Sailor Moon truly goes through Jesus like trials, emotionally and physically, and proves herself finally to be worthy of the princess title. 

The run of the series is full of repeated musical themes, from typical Japanese pop to moody blues and uplifting jazz. Title song of the final season, “Dont give up”  it’s one of the better and more dramatic pop songs. but considering what happens later in the season and all the death and degradation, it can be later looked at as more of a finger snapping dirge. A call for help. and one moment of this opening song, you see the fanged silhouetted face of anyone of Moons many enemy women smiling as she plummets to earth backwards. I love this song and it’s towards the top of my playlist. 

Even though there are often dramatic situations and dire circumstances (The sailor guardians tend to get their asses handed to them by their enemies in almost every encounter despite their powers) it is indeed a silly show. But the deeper I got into it the more I saw the more adult humor within it. Sailor Moon often comes into the battlefield with hilarious speeches. Such as when they fight a demon who is making the food rot in a supermarket Sailor Moon enters and proclaims. “You have angered the fresh Highland vegetables and mouthwatering shabu shabu beef.”

Often theres  little things that just make me laugh out loud. Such as when the girls are on the beach and  Mars is looking around with binoculars and suddenly a man's bulging crotch comes into view. Mars Freaks out and shouts and tosses aside the binoculars. 

Then there was a time Sailor Moon is stuck in some bushes and crying like a baby as usual. Then a little bird flies in and lands on her butt and starts pecking on it and moon starts giggling. One of my favorite comedy moments is when one of the beautiful full grown female enemies of the scouts refers to them is having square bodies. Sailor Moon declares “actually for teenage girls are bodies are quite typical” I find these little moments outstanding and I’m sure you won’t find them anywhere in the western dubs. 

Some years after the original show around 2015 I think, They did a full reboot of the show called Sailor Moon crystal. This series throws out most of the superfluous content that was never in the manga and adopted the art style used in the original books. I had my doubts, but it’s actually pretty good. Better animated and despite some silliness still being there because of course Japanese schoolgirls it’s much more dramatic in tone. And instead of all the pop music it’s more like a classical gospel score. It’s actually very interesting to compare the differences. and watching the newer one lets you know how much filler they created for the original series to pad out the Manga stories. and during the run of the original series, like a lot of anime, they made several movie length episodes to play in theaters in Japan at the time. The Pluto TV channel shows all this stuff. 

Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi

Since I started writing this post earlier this week, I actually went by a local authentic Asian market the only one in town I think. Haven’t been in there in quite a while. But they feature some anime and Manga merchandise in the back. And they had these Sailor Moon character figurines, and the only two left were my favorites, Mars, and Venus. They were only 9.99 and they’re very well detailed and I could see these selling the convention for 30 bucks or more. Had to snap them up. Of course, I told the girl at checkout they were for my niece ha ha. Cheers!

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