First, let me take you back in time to the summer of 1995. I’m a 9-year-old Canadian girl with a lot of time on her hands. I’m bored out of my mind, because there’s very little on television that appeals to me. Sure, there were shows made for girls back then. But they were Care Bears and My Little Pony (and I sure as heck doesn’t mean the Lauren Faust version) and obviously meant for very young girls. Jem and She-Ra are long since off the air, and the Powerpuff Girls won’t premiere for another 3 years. Generally, my choices were gender-neutral shows like Alvin & The Chipmunks, or male-audience shows like the 90s revival of Spider-Man. I wanted a little action. And, bless the alignment of the stars; I see this commercial for this new show called Sailor Moon. The stars aligned so perfectly that I happened to tune in on August 28th, 1995, the day that Sailor Moon premiered on YTV. I was hooked after one episode, and I can honestly say that this show changed my life.
So why is Sailor Moon feminist, besides having a mostly female cast? I have decided to take a page from my previous feminist Disney Princess essay and go through the characters individually, and explain why I, as a feminist, value them. Although I initially got into Sailor Moon via the English version, I will be basing my analysis off of the Japanese version of the series. I have long since felt that the English version does a disservice to its fans by making the characters immature, censoring homosexuality, and stereotyping what it is to be a teenager. I will also plead artistic license on the spelling and order of the names. So, without further adieu, the Sailor Soldiers.
Sailor Moon/Usagi Tsukino:
Our heroine. Our very flawed heroine. And how refreshing that is! Instead of a very boring Superman who could do no wrong, here was a fairly young teenager thrown into an overwhelming situation, and reacting negatively to it. She’s clumsy, she’s a glutton, she’s a cry baby. And that’s okay! Teenagers are allowed to have flaws, and superheroes should too. Usagi has demonstrated time and time again that her love for her friends and family is more important to her than anything else in the world. She will give anything, including her life, to make sure that they live on in peace and happiness. As we see in flashbacks during the R movie, she’s the type of person who is willing to be friends with everyone, including the loners and the outcasts. She’s got a tremendously strong moral compass, and is a consummate optimist. Her relationship with Mamoru is firmly established as one of unconditional trust, support, and equality. Overall, Usagi’s character establishes that a good leader does not have to be someone unrealistically perfect. A good leader just needs to care for everyone equally.
Sailor Mercury/Ami Mizuno:
Ami is by far the most popular character in the show (on both sides of the Pacific). It has been theorized that this is because she exhibits the character traits most valued in Japanese society. She’s incredibly studious, brilliant, analytical, and humble (some might even say submissive). What I appreciated most about Ami is how she approaches situations with logic rather than with emotion. Her style of fighting is mostly defensive, so she acts in a support role on the team. She is by no means not valued by the others, as they often turn to her to give the answers that intuition alone cannot...