Weekend Wrap-up – Japanese Fans Look Back on Sailor Moon

The La Reconquista Inner Senshi cast join a karaoke collaboration event

The La Reconquista Inner Senshi cast join a karaoke collaboration event

It’s that time again, where I figure we should ramble about some other things generally Sailor Moon related but that don’t fall under the blog’s goal. It’s the weekend, so we’re allowed to do that, right?

Of course we are! No one ever died from not following the rules, right? Right.

Let your hair down, kick your feet up, and grab yourself a nice cup of cocoa. Today we’re talking about Japanese fans’ thoughts as they look back on their favorite childhood show.

Jadeite made some poor career choices

Jadeite made some poor career choices

Okay, umm… now that I think about it, I guess some people do suffer some pretty dire consequences from not following the rules. With that in mind, if you could all just not mention this (to me??) that I’m breaking my own rules about on-topic blog posts, that’d be awesome.

Anyway, with that out of the way, what we’re taking a look at today is a post on the Japanese posting/voting site “Girls Channel.”1 The site lets anyone post a topic of their choice that is open for other people to comment on anonymously (if they choose) and also vote (+ / -) on other comments.

The topic posted for people to comment on here was posted in July 2014 and called セーラームーンあるある (se-ra-mu-n aruaru; roughly, “All those little things about Sailor Moon”). I’ve skimmed through all 300+ comments and picked out some of the more interesting ones (in no particular order), since it gives a fun look at what adults’ perceptions are now looking back on the series.

Underneath those the comments are just some of my thoughts on the topic.

Let’s get started!

Can't really argue on the heels or skirts

Can’t really argue on the heels or skirts

Those heels are too high, and skirts too short. They transform, but their hair and faces stay the same. They’re all rich.

This pretty much sums up the entirety of Sailor Moon in a nice, concise package. I definitely noticed all the rest at the time, but it wasn’t until I was older that I realized that all the Sailor Soldiers are all filthy rich.

Usagi is an eighth grader, but she’s in love with a grown man.

Ooookay, yeah, there’s that too. I mean, interestingly enough, it’s not strictly illegal in Japan, but the older I get the more weird it seems. I still don’t quite see it as a huge deal, since it really is just a cartoon and story about lovers across the generations, but the whole thing didn’t even need to be an issue if the anime didn’t mess with the ages.

They actually refer to themselves as “pretty soldiers.”

This… is very true. But good on you, Usagi and co., for not having any ego issues whatsoever!

Do you know how long I've been waiting?

Do you know how long I’ve been waiting?

Looking back on it now, Tuxedo Mask was kinda weird.

When you stop to think about all the setup involved in getting up to high places to look really cool and spout off inspirational messages, yes… Tuxedo Mask wasn’t exactly as helpful to the Sailor Team as he seemed to think he was.

With Usagi’s blonde hair and that hairstyle, she must’ve been violating some school rules, right?

Japanese schools are notorious for having a long list of rules about what you can or can’t do, and hair color and style are definitely on there. Also noteworthy is the fact that most public schools (even through high school!) ban ear piercings, so even our dear Ami is quite a rebel. Watches are also out, so that brooch would have to go!

"I'm too embarrassed to be seen with you!"

“I’m too embarrassed to be seen with you!”

Manga Mamo-chan: cool guy; Anime Mamo-chan: just some creeper.

… can’t argue. But at least he’s not Nephrite?

As a kid, I used to wonder about what happens when Usagi uses the bathroom. Her hair’s so long…

Without going into the gory details, it’s probably worth noting that in Japan (and elsewhere in Asia), there are two styles of toilets – the western style you’re probably familiar with, and the type where you crouch down over the a toilet in the ground. Back then, almost all schools were the latter type.

The washiki toilet – the source of many nightmares for me

The washiki toilet – the source of many nightmares for me

And yes, Usagi’s hair would get all over the ground. God forbid if it went in…

The popularity of mini-skirts and pigtails is all due to Sailor Moon.

This is actually an article I’ve been meaning to write about for awhile now, but there is an argument to be made that the rising hemlines of skirts in Japan did correspond with about the same age bracket that grew up watching Sailor Moon. Miniskirts (followed by microskirts – please don’t google at work) seemed to have really taken off in full force in the late 90s in Japan, but whether there was any connection requires… umm… further research.2

It got embarrassing to watch the show with my parents sometimes because of how sexy the poses were.

This one I can absolutely relate to, but for slightly different reasons. When I first got into anime and was buying/renting/borrowing/stealing VHS tapes in any way I could, obviously I’d watch them as soon as I could. This led to some very awkward moments when I was up at my father’s place and he heard women yelling out from the other room and mistook those cries of pain for… umm… something else.

Oh Ayane, all the weird conversations you caused...

Oh Ayane, all the weird conversations you caused…

That was a weird conversation. And I’ll never forget the day I bought Ayane’s High Kick because of that.

Every new stick got even more ornate, and so did her attack phrases.

This is definitely true, but it’s probably unavoidable since the series was trying to keep fans interested and make each one seem more powerful and better than the one that came before it. All the same, I still think there’s something nice about the simplicity of the original Moon Stick, even if its name was lacking.

I was really excited to become a junior high school student and run to school with bread in my mouth when I was running late. But I never had the chance.

This situation obviously doesn’t apply to me, but I can totally relate to the feeling of growing up watching cartoons/tv shows about junior high and high school life, only to find out that it was nothing like what you say on tv. I’m looking at you in particular, Saved by the Bell.

This image has no meaning, but I fell in love with it in a google image search

This image has no meaning, but I fell in love with it in a google image search

And that, dear readers, is a totally random weekend blog post of Japanese adults talking nostalgically about their childhood, and me piggybacking off that to talk about mine.

I’d love to hear about any stories you have to add, either related to the topics mentioned above, or other things you’ve noticed looking at the series from an adult point of view. It’s always so fascinating for me to hear other people’s stories because, more often than not, lots of people had very similar experiences!


References:

  1.  See セーラームーンあるある
  2. Really. Research.

One comment

  • It’s interesting how the characters being wealthy was something so easily overlooked. I think it’s more understandable for Western fans… Usagi’s home seems like a pretty normal suburban house, and kids have no idea that a house like that in Tokyo would be massively expensive. Did the young Japanese fans not notice either?

    None of them are living a wealthy, privileged lifestyle. They all seem like normal enough teenagers with reasonable limits on what they can afford. Haruka and Michiru are clearly very wealthy but that’s part of their characters to begin with. We learn that Rei’s family owns a vacation property so clearly her family is well off, and Rei does attend a private school, but her life is otherwise plain enough.

    It took me a long time to be realize how ridiculous it is for superheroes to be fighting evil while wearing high heels. I didn’t even notice for the longest time that everyone else’s fighting outfits include heels and it wasn’t just Rei.

    As for Usagi and Mamoru… it’s interesting how it only seems weird when you think about it. Clearly they were at very different places in life, a guy preparing for college and a 14 year old who isn’t in high school yet. But they looked to be close in age and acted similarly. One of those things that’s easy to get away with in manga or anime because you can’t clearly see the age difference.

    “I was really excited to become a junior high school student and run to school with bread in my mouth when I was running late. But I never had the chance.” hah! There are American anime fans who face some mockery for acting like anime tropes are common things (I mean, a few fans do take things too far and do weird anime things in front of strangers in public, so some mockery is understandable). Anyway, it made me smile to find out that at least one Japanese fan thought the same things were real.

    Your comment about high school not being anything like TV brought back some memories. For me it wasn’t Saved By The Bell, but a combination of different things I had seen in TV and movies. Like I thought everyone became part of some clique, the jocks or the nerds or the popular kids or the drama club or the punk kids. Somehow everyone remained individual humans, just like they had been in middle school. And I thought who’s dating who and who dumped who or has a crush on someone else would be gossiped about constantly… nope, never happened.

    I definitely was embarrassed to admit I was a Sailor Moon fan and kept it completely to myself, but it had nothing to do with sexy poses or whatever. I honestly don’t remember any sexualized poses nor can I think of anywhere the characters were portrayed in that light, except one or two quick shots in the first season where you could see up someone’s skirt for a split second (there’s just a leotard underneath anyway). Obviously they’re wearing very short skirts and their outfits would look very sexualized in real life, but in the show it didn’t seem that way, it just seemed like a superhero outfit.

    So my feeling afraid to admit I was a fan had nothing to do with the outfits, but everything to do with the show itself. Cartoon superheroes? Anime style drawing, with all these weird Japanese references? And the characters are all girls? And then you go on your computer (remember how nerdy it used to be to use a computer and go talk to people online?) to talk to people about this cartoon? Definitely not cool.

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