Sailor Moon anime

How Women and Girls Can Still Relate to ‘Sailor Moon’ Today

Sailor Moon, produced by Toei Animation and based on the manga by Naoko Takeuchi, has a total of five seasons and began in 1992. One to four seasons were dubbed in English and there are also three movies. This anime is a magical action-packed animated series about a teenage girl who learns that her destiny is to be the leader of the Sailor Guardians that help defend earth and the galaxy. 

Sailor Moon, the ground-breaking series full of individualistic lifestyles and personas, is still relatable to women in 2020. If you’re a fan of powerful girls with badass superpowers then you’re in for a treat! 

Characteristics

Society drastically changed for both men and women in the past century. But, women’s lives changed a lot more from previous generations. They go through many life changes, but the main focus of each character is their coming-of-age story. 

Let’s Explore Each Sailor Scout 

The characters in Sailor Moon set a great example of how different women behave. Behind every girl, lady, or woman there is always a characteristic or quirk about them that makes them unique. I’ve broken it down to show the different personality traits these women have. 

  • Serena or “Usagi” (Sailor Moon) is bratty and obnoxiously needy and also very envious of others. She has the tendency to make a fool out of herself and also has a knack for being lazy. She also loves food. When I say this girl can eat, she can definitely eat! Her powers can damage energy, and also has the power of the silver crystal healing. 
  • Amy or “Ami” (Sailor Mercury) is the brainy sailor scout that always has her head in a book. She has a timid personality, but has a big heart. She also has a great bond with Artemis and Luna and wields the powers of water and ice. 
  • Rei (Sailor Mars) is hard-headed with a standoffish attitude. She typically spends her time with her grandfather tidying up the temple where they live. She is a fierce character, but definitely carries somewhat of a chip on her shoulder. Her powers are fire-based with a psychic ability, fire-readings, and vanquishes evil spirits. 
  • Lita or “Makoto” (Sailor Jupiter) is active and super sporty. She also enjoys cooking in her free time. She has a spunky attitude and isn’t afraid to tell it how it is, and she can manipulate the weather and plants. 
  • Mina or “Minako” (Sailor Venus) is one of the most likable sailor scouts. She is the true star and proudly upholds her reputation. She also has a flirty personality and is definitely the most charismatic out of the bunch. Her powers can manipulate the light. 

They Each Progress

Each of the Sailor scouts have their own distinct personality throughout the series. Serena becomes protective of the scouts as they become more close-knit. Rei slowly lets her guard down and becomes less hostile later in the series. For the most part, the Sailor scouts continue to keep the same personality as they get older, but they also mature as time goes on. 

Sailor Moon fights gender norms

If you didn’t know this by now, Sailor Moon squashes the ideas of how women should act and behave. The show was no stranger to being inclusive with lgbt characters. It also shed light on the different genders and sexuality. Many characters that make their appearance in the show are forever ingrained in my memory. 

  • Sailor Jupiter (Lita) is considered a tomboy compared to the other sailor scouts. She loves roughhousing and gives Sailor Moon plenty of noogies. While she doesn’t necessarily appear to be “lady-like,” she is still very much a girl. 
  • Sailor Uranus (Amara) is an LGBT side character. She doesn’t appear until season three, but she is seen to wear more pantsuits than dresses. Her love interest is Sailor Neptune (Michelle), and she is one of the first gay female characters on the show. 
  • Kunzite and Zoisite are the villains that worked for Queen Beryl. They are gay male lovers. 
  • Fisheye is an androgynous male who is gender-fluid. He dresses in more feminine clothes with very voluminous hair. 

The Controversial Changes For The English Dub

When DIC Entertainment bought the rights for Sailor Moon and dubbed it in English, it censored and removed the nudity and violence. It also tried to erase the existence of LGBT characters. Zoisite was changed into a woman, while Uranus and Sailor Neptune (Michelle) became cousins. But, believe me, we know damn well they were not cousins! Fisheye was also changed into a woman. Although it seems obvious now, the Japanese version was more diverse than the English dub. 

Coming to terms with the validation of feelings

Sailor Moon represented different types of women on the show. It validated the ways women react to certain situations. It also portrayed many scenes of the infamously angry Rei (Sailor Mars) and the stubborn Serena (Sailor Moon). Both women have strong personalities and always squabble for Mamorou’s (Tuxedo Mask) attention. They were also not very subtle when they showed emotion. 

Women in general can relate to this. It’s okay to express your emotions, even if it’s looked-down upon. Women are subjected to always being expected to smile, to be happy, or to be flirtatious. Society always considers an outspoken woman to be hysterical or obnoxious. And Sailor Moon was an outlet for many of us who struggled with expressing our emotions. Whether it’s being angry, sad, anxious or afraid, I feel that Sailor Moon brought awareness to one’s emotions and feelings being valid. 

Understanding different family dynamics and economic status 

Sailor Moon casts light on the different family dynamics. We also see the difference in socioeconomic statuses.

Family dynamics differ for the core scouts and it influenced the way the characters behaved. Socioeconomic statuses are also a relatable issue in today’s climate because some women don’t have the luxury of doing certain things or can’t afford the same lifestyles as others. It didn’t occur to me as a child that the sailor scouts were any different from each other. But as I grew up, that notion was tossed out the window. Some of the girls had unfortunate upbringings compared to the others and we see that a lot within our society. 

Usagi’s family

Serena lives with Ikuko Tsukino (mom), Kenji Tsukino (father), and Shingo Tsukino (brother) in Azabu Juban. Serena and Mina are the only ones that live in a nuclear family household. And we know that Serena lives comfortably in a two-story household and lives in the posh part of town.  

Ami, Rei, Lita’s families

Amy’s parents are divorced and she lives in a condominium with her mother. Amy often takes care of herself. Rei lives at the Hikawa Shrine with her grandfather as a priestess and is accompanied by two crows named Phobos and Deimos. Lita lived with her parents as an only child. We learn later that her parents died in a plane crash. 

Battling misogyny and sexism 

Blunt and unapologetic, Sailor Moon did not hesitate to point out sexist remarks and misogyny. Their feminism-coded superpowers made me fall even more in love with the show. It also revolved around girls that sported miniskirts and high heels when they fought off the villains. Although, it’s obvious that their costumes were not actually suitable for battle and we find this to be common in a lot of anime and comic books such as Wonder Woman and Xena: Warrior Princess

In the earlier episodes, Serena often plays as the damsel in distress and cries out for Tuxedo Mask to come to her rescue. Many fans believed that it was due to her being young and naive. But, what we see later on in the series is when Sailor Moon grows up, she becomes stronger and more independent. During several occasions, Sailor Moon comes to rescue Tuxedo Mask.

Consumerism targeted young girls in the show. Male villains would scheme to try and obtain human energy and would use jewelry stores, a talent agency or anywhere that would attract girls. Sailor Moon would make comments about the evils of taking advantage of young girls’ dreams. Thus, she instilled the lesson of “buyer beware.” 

The Anime inspired young girls

I think it’s safe to say that Sailor Moon was inspiring to young girls. Especially people who always had a bowl of cereal ready to stay up to watch Toonami. To watch an animated show about powerful girls with supernatural powers that fought off bad guys inspired me. While it also preached about the value of friendships and love. This is something that most girls can seek comfort in. Sailor Moon wasn’t just targeted specifically for the male gaze, it also touched many topics that society didn’t necessarily teach us. 

The show influenced many great feminist-empowered shows such as the such as Totally Spies, Powerpuff Girls, and The Legend of Korra

Conclusion 

I believe that while Sailor Moon may resonate better with millennials, we should still consider that the show deserved all the recognition. For people that aren’t big into watching anime, Sailor Moon was one that felt the most easy to digest. The show blossomed with positivity and hope. And while there are many other great anime out there, it still managed to deliver the message of how girls and women of any age could be badasses. 

If you decide to watch it, let us know what you think @GeekGalsCo or in the comments below!

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Featured image credit: Toei Animation

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