When I was a kid, I was obsessed with one thing and one thing only: Sailor Moon. I was up by 6AM every Saturday Morning, once the show was kicked of Toonami and was only airing on WB before the sun rose. It gave me my first introduction to fanfiction and fandom in general. It didn’t hurt that Queen Serenity’s future husband dressed in a Tux, complete with Top Hat and Tails. It may even explain my affinity for such things.
My generation didn’t have the 70s Wonder Woman television show to sustain us, and we didn’t get really awesome powerful female characters like Buffy Summers, or the Halliwell Sisters, or even Sabrina (the Teenage Witch), until the late 90s. It’s no wonder we flocked to Magical Girls, no matter how highly sexualized or ridiculous their problems.
We didn’t really have female superheroes to look up to, yet. I didn’t actually get into reading comic books until much later – not until my adult life (but I’m oh-so happy to be reading the new Ms. Marvel!) – and I really only knew the characters from Television and Movies. Other female characters, whether in live-action or animated shows, weren’t quite as interesting. And they certainly didn’t star in their own shows – they were the mother, or the sister, or the wife. Never the star.
Sailor Moon ran in 1995 and continued on for most of my childhood. She was the star of her own show, along with four other, incredibly different women. Well, girls. Their ages ranged from 14-16, after all.
Their personalities were all separate. They each had their own problems. Jupiter – Lena in the American version, Makato in the original – was boy crazy. Mercury – Ami, in both shows – was studious, hardworking, but had problems with knowing when to stop and have fun. Mars – Rei, in both shows – was a hothead, but was also incredibly caring and constantly working to keep her family going. And Venus – Minako, or Mina in the US – is very athletic, but loves pop culture and wants to be an idol.
Censorship is a Catch-22 – which I mention because censorship was rampant throughout the series as it was dubbed and reformatted for us U.S. children. Instead of lesbians, we got kissing cousins (which is probably more troublesome than lesbians) and we never got to see the final season because of the “troubling” problems and questions that would arise from Male Pop Singers transforming into scantily, leather-clad, female superheroes. I will say, however, that the one good thing that came from the censorship was that I didn’t have to see the Sailor Senshi made into sex objects as much. In the US, the nudity was cut back a bit more.
So, there you have it. I love Sailor Moon, despite its problems. We were lucky – my generation, I mean – to have something that showed us so many women in such strong roles with separate personalities.
And before anyone asks, alas, no, I have not seen Sailor Moon Crystal, yet.