Sailor Moon Crystal reminds me of my Feminine potential
I wish I could say I grew up watching Sailor Moon, however that wasn’t the case. I was raised in a way that to embrace anything feminine was inherently negative for me as a boy. It wasn’t until I got older, roughly 16 years old that I really went back to watch it. The original series was interesting, and carried with it a sense of universal justice within the plots. When I went to watch it, I ended up doing so by watching the Japanese version with subtitles. There was a lot of “filler” also, though oddly it never seemed to bug me.
When I began the search for which version I should watch, the one I saw on TV when I was little, or the one that only aired in Japan. The only subtitled verse voice over/dubbed debate. Something that came up often was how the English version rewrote aspects of the shows storyline to make it more acceptable to American audiences. After all aspects of the original Sailor Moon emphasized a heavy focus on feminine empowerment, and love. The American version also tried to rewrite the show as a straight forward super hero based show.
When it was changed for the American audiences much of the shows focus on featuring love and women empowerment were removed/edited down. Even more, the love aspects of Neptune and Uranus was completely removed, they became cousins(ew!). It was disappointing to me to see a show focused on femininity become reshaped to be a show about super heroes who happen to be women. That said there is a whole website dedicated to how much the English version of the show changed everything. So I won’t carry on to much with how the Americanization of an amazingly series almost ruined it for me.
That said, when you look at Sailor Moon as a whole, it’s pretty amazing that a series so focused on the feminine saw such mass appeal. Reflectively, I think that’s what pulled me into the show. A sense of appreciation for the feminine, something I had never been allowed to explore prior to then. Fundamentally this is when I began to see my love for the feminine grow. Though I wish I had been more appreciative of the feminine sooner than I was.[That said, this weeks look is dedicated to my favorite Sailor Solder, Sailor Mercury!]
There’s a reason I’m reflecting on Sailor Moon, and it’s largely because of Sailor Moon Crystal. The more true to the manga, and updated version of Sailor Moon that came out recently and is now on season three. I have to admit, when I first began to watch the series I felt a bit lack luster about it. It didn’t seem to pull me in as strongly, and rather it just seemed to miss something to me. In the original episodes there were noticeable moments where what it mean to be feminine was challenged and sailor moon was quick to defend the action. Mind you, I’m not saying Sailor Crystal doesn’t do that. I think largely I felt those moments weren’t as often is because of the different formatting of the shows. Crystal is done with a much shorter time frame, where as the original series had many episodes to explore the same things. Thus, the original would have more moments to fill the space.
Still, I missed those moments a bit. When the villains went to use jewelry to target women they would defend a right for a woman to want to feel beautiful. That taking advantage of a woman’s desire to feel more powerful through each woman’s own means was shameful. Though perhaps partially it was that that I’m missing a show that I had romanticized with nostalgia. My feelings changed when I began to watch season three of Crystal and realized that the show kept all the elements I remembered. Challenging the normal of what feminine mean, that being an empowered woman had many looks. Those this time they did it in a way that was more focused, and sometimes easy to miss.
I almost cried when I saw Sailor Uranus again and her story/statements in Crystal made me fall in love. There is a moment in the show where Uranus states so calmly, “Does it matter if I’m male or female?” This is a moment for me that is just so brilliant to have. Along with the constant heavily implied attraction that Sailor Moon has towards Uranus. The romance of Uranus and Neptune is never discussed implicitly but it’s shown to be so natural. There is no hint of denial of their love, even the ending credits/song scream at you, “They’re not fucking gal pals!” Uranus’s gender ambiguity remains a major aspect of the characters appeal, so much so that Uranus has a large crowd of female admirers.
The show is everything that I want to see, and truly in many ways what feminism means inherently. A sense of equality, and admiration between sexes/genders that defies tropes and social policing. Even within the social institution such as a school, Uranus is seen wearing all men’s clothing. Uranus’s life is one that is entirely masculine and male focused. Outside of Uranus’s sailor transformation, Uranus is rarely seen in primarily feminine clothing. I bring up the feminism moment here, because this show is what really made me begin to look into what that word meant.
There is something magical to me about the effortless ways in which Uranus flows and reshapes their identity based on feelings/needs. I rarely, if ever seen a character in a show who is seen moving from masculine to feminine dressing/appearance in a way that I would. For the first time I can truly remember do I see a character that I connect with so readily. So simply is the way Uranus defines themselves, and other characters in referencing her identity, done. There is no long discussion, there isn’t a huge ordeal from anyone. It just is, which is what makes it so magical.
It’s odd to me, how rarely we’re allowed to discuss or show the concepts of someone going from masculine to feminine without it being done in a trope. Rather, often when I see it done it’s done in a way that is mocking, or ONE TIME ONLY. Moving from masculine to feminine isn’t apart of a characters identity, rather it’s a musing of the characters life. Going from feminine to masculine is sometimes seen in relation to a woman who is trying to reimagine her image. Though when a man is depicted as reimagining himself from “feminine” it’s because he was weak and not who he really want to be.
Ultimately, Sailor Moon Crystal especially season three has reminded me of the love I had for Sailor Moon. It embraces the feminine of what it means to be woman. Though like anything if you look hard enough you’ll find something to complain about. It reminds me of the fears I had over being feminine in a culture that is made to hate the feminine. Though in spite of reminding me of those fears I had, it also reaffirms that empowering the feminine can be positive also. I’m so happy I stuck with the show, and I highly recommend that you take the time to watch it. Even if you just watch season three!