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Return of the Moon Princess
By Fay Funk
In mid-May Hulu announced that it has acquired the rights to broadcast the classic anime Sailor Moon. There’s more good news for Sailor Moon fans: The show is getting a reboot in July 2014 called Sailor Moon Crystal, and some still artwork has already been released.
Even though I haven’t seen Sailor Moon in years, this news made my heart flutter, and it goes deeper than just nostalgic excitement. Sailor Moon showed me early on that women can do anything. It introduced me to feminism before I knew what feminism was.
Sailor Moon didn’t just show that females can be tough, it showed that femininity can be powerful and world-changing. Femininity and heroism are not mutually exclusive. Unlike in other cartoons, feminine behavior is not a sign of weakness, and any tough woman is basically a man with breasts. With it’s sparkly transformation scenes and twirly dance attacks with names like “Rainbow Moon Heart Ache” and “Moon Gorgeous Meditation,” Sailor Moon is definitely not a traditionally masculine action show. But they defeat their enemies just as well as Superman or Goku. There’s no need to be manly to be a hero.
But Sailor Moon isn’t just feminine, it’s feminist. The mostly female cast come from a variety of backgrounds, and there is no one right way to be a girl on Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon/Usagi (or Serena as I knew her) is hyper-feminine, and a selfless leader. Sailor Jupiter/Makoto/Lita is a tall girl with a violent streak who still has a soft spot for boys and cooking. There was a Sailor Scout for everyone.
As a kid I most identified with Sailor Mercury/Ami. Shy and smart, her passive nature often got her written off as weak. Sailor Mercury really possessed a different kind of strength: intelligence and strategy. She could also muster alarming aggression at times, but reserved that power only for when it was necessary. Mostly though, she used kindness. All the Sailor Soldiers did.
Sailor Moon is a show about love. I think that’s what made it so progressive. Love has been at the heart of all progressive movements, from feminism to civil rights. Relationships between people drive the action more than winning or being the best, frequent superhero cliches. Those themes are remnants of the conquerors. Love, all kinds of love, romantic and platonic, even loving your enemies is the central theme of Sailor Moon.
One of the most beautiful relationships on the show is the lesbian love between Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune, who were changed to cousins for the English dub of Sailor Moon in a cowardly move by the English translators, DiC and Cloverway. The change went about as well as you can imagine, and instead of hiding the homosexuality the relationship appeared incestuous.
I knew, even at nine years old, that Sailor Uranus and Neptune did not have a platonic relationship. At one point during a major battle it looks as though Sailor Neptune has died, and Sailor Uranus made it clear she wants to die as well. That’s the reaction someone has to losing the love of their life, not their cousin, and it was all very weird. I felt simultaneously relieved and furious about being duped when I learned years later that Uranus and Neptune were actually lesbians.
It may not have been the intention of the translators to make Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune incestuous, but the results show just how deep disgust with LGBTQ people runs. This perfectly lovely romance was warped into something legitimately disturbing, and validated everything homophobes believe about gay people. Children like me were misled, and DiC and Cloverway actually furthered the notion that homosexuality is disgusting and wrong in opposition to Sailor Moon’s actual message of love and acceptance.
Relating to Sailor Mercury was a big step towards accepting myself as a child, and too many young girls who might have felt a connection to Sailor Uranus or Sailor Neptune were denied that opportunity. Fortunately, the episodes that have aired so far on Hulu have not been censored. Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune do not appear until much later in the series, so it remains to be seen if their relationship will be visible, but all reports indicate that they will not be hidden. It looks as though Sailor Moon will finally get to take a true stand for love and justice.
#Nostalgic #Nostalgia #SailorMoon #Hulu #FeminismInSailorMoon #LesbianLoveOnSailorMoon #FeministAnime