SAILOR MOON is for Boys (Too)!- - OTAKU COMING HOME

Topic started by No_name_here on Sept. 10, 2012. Last post by Midnightdetectives 1 year, 11 months ago.
Post by No_name_here (855 posts) See mini bio Level 11
Staff

Last week here on Otaku Coming Home we got to know each other and chat about how FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST saved my nerdy life. Since somebody very special to that nerdy life is turning twenty this year, I think we can take some time out this week to wish her many happy returns...

See, before I was an “otaku” and long before comics were earning a cool $1.4 BILLION at the box office (Thanks, AVENGERS), I was just a young seedling of a nerd. A "nerdling," if you will: one who loved X-MEN comics and had long hair his mom wouldn’t let him cut because she swore it was “cool.”

Did I mention I'm wearing matching jeans? Thanks, Mom.
Did I mention I'm wearing matching jeans? Thanks, Mom.

While 12-year-old Nick suffered the slings and arrows of his peers with shorter, well-coifed hair, he discovered something new to help further alienate himself from his better-dressed classmates. He fell in love with “Japanese Cartoons”... you know, like VOLTRON and stuff?

Except this was different. It was... sorta girly? But still really cool. And, I mean, you know, the characters were all awesome and the story was really neat and there were monsters and fighting and stuff, so it’s cool, isn’t it? Even if it’s about a bunch of girls?

Here came a force that would dominate and influence my nerdery for the rest of my life - - my first girlfriend, SAILOR MOON.

In the name of the Moon, will you marry me?
In the name of the Moon, will you marry me?

Some of you youngbloods may not remember this, but for us old-timers, SAILOR MOON was something of a revelation in the bleak post-ROBOTECH nineties. Sure, we had things like SAMURAI PIZZA CATS trickle in from Japan, but... I mean... it was SAMURAI PIZZA CATS.

It was dubbed and geared toward young kids, had no ongoing story, and was... well... it was SAMURAI PIZZA CATS.

SAILOR MOON, on the other hand, represented an ongoing narrative to follow every day at 6 AM on WPIX-11. The ongoing battle between the forces of good and evil, romantic tension, and more than a few laughs at the expense of our clumsy but lovable lead “Serena” (thanks to DiC’s localization); all leading toward some big conclusion. In my young life, this was my first exposure to serialized storytelling on television.

Even without Wolverine, every episode was as important to me as the next issue of X-MEN.
Even without Wolverine, every episode was as important to me as the next issue of X-MEN.

Now, it may have had something to do with being raised by a single mother who didn’t bother to discriminate between what was for boys or girls, but the fact that this show starred all ladies never once put me off. It was just a great story with a rich mythology - - and it sucked me right in.

It wasn’t until a year or two later that my friends pointed out that it was a “girl’s show” but, at that point, I’d spent a small fortune tracking down fansubbed VHS, toys, and anything else I could find. Hell, if I couldn’t find episodes subtitled I bought tapes that were “raw” or unsubbed and just followed along with translations I’d print out from the internet.

So sure, maybe it was my upbringing - - and the lack of anybody saying “No no, little Nicky. That show’s for girls!” - - that let this show get its hooks in me. I think it had more to do with the show itself, though. It turned out to be the start of a revolution; not just in my brain, but in Japan, as well.

You see, SAILOR MOON was secretly a shonen show, too.

Even if the merchandise didn't reflect it. And yeah, this is my bedroom today. The one I share with my wife. I'm THAT tough.
Even if the merchandise didn't reflect it. And yeah, this is my bedroom today. The one I share with my wife. I'm THAT tough.

The show had a ditzy protagonist supported by a gaggle of her gal-pals, sure. However, despite the mostly-female cast and the sparkly transformation sequences we identify as shojo, the group dynamic, monster fights, and constant sense of peril caused first by Queen Beryl and later by the Dark Moon family, Professor Tomoe, the Dead Moon Circus, and finally the universe-destroying Sailor Galaxia... are distinctively shonen.

Yes, you could make the argument that Naoko Takeuchi aimed both the original short manga, CODENAME SAILOR V, and even PRETTY GUARDIAN SAILOR MOON at a female audience (the SAILOR MOON manga also features a weightier focus on the romantic aspects). However, both the manga and the anime have such strong shonen influences that another audience found themselves right at home in front of the TV each week.

Yep, boys were watching the adventures of a pretty princess and loving every minute of it.

And thanks to Kodansha, we can all try to forget the terrible MixxZine translation.
And thanks to Kodansha, we can all try to forget the terrible MixxZine translation.

The crossover success led to countless other shows in the same hybrid style, like ESCAFLOWNE and MAGIC KNIGHT RAYEARTH, that were successes in their own right. In a way, it created a new genre, a shojo-shonen lovefest that’s lasted for twenty years. And for almost all of those years, I’ve been unabashedly hooked on the mother to them all; always waiting and hoping for more.

With an accurate translation of the manga being released in English and a worldwide revival ramping up, there’s a chance for a new generation to set aside preconceived notions and dive right in. While previous English-language releases have been heavily edited, terribly translated, and poorly dubbed, I have a feeling we might see some new life in the original series. After all, with a new anime debuting next summer, old and new fans alike are going to want to see what came first. (We can only hope Funimation is chasing down the rights as we speak.)

So happy birthday, SAILOR MOON. Thanks for the memories, old and yet to come.

And for all you tough guys out there who want to say SAILOR MOON is just for girls, I’ve got just one thing to say:

Nick Tapalansky is an author of comics and other things, some of them nominated for awards and stuff. Read some comics for free at http://www.NickTapalansky.com/blog and find him on Twitter as @NickTapalansky.

Post by Fat_Magnum (2,493 posts) See mini bio Level 16

Oh, I remember the reasons my 11 yr old self watched this show...

I won't elaborate but needless to say I never took it seriously, perhaps it deserves a more serious looking at though.

Post by Jonny_Anonymous (52 posts) See mini bio Level 9

hay man, don't be dissing Samurai Pizza Cats, that's my childhood LOL

Post by NickTapalansky (63 posts) See mini bio Level 9
Staff

@Fat_Magnum:

Ha! Was it to watch them transform? C'mon, you can be honest. It's just you me and the internet here.

But yeah, the story itself is surprisingly solid and has appeal to multiple audiences that, at first glance, might not be apparent. If you get a chance and can find it, check out the show.

For sure though, give the manga a spin. Try your local library if you don't want to invest the money sight unseen. The first volume or two are a little touch and go--you can tell Takeuchi is trying to find her way in bridging that shojo/shonen divide and leans further from shonen before embracing it--but it's worth the time investment.

@Jonny_Anonymous:

You know, when I wrote that I actually felt a little guilty. And it was largely because I had the theme song stuck in my head all the while.

Rassa frassa PIZZA CAAAAAAATS!!!

Post by sickVisionz (4,263 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Moderator

Are you slamming Samurai Pizza Cats?!?!?!?

I think Sailor Moon was on over-the-air TV for like a year where I lived but I never watched it. I was probably like 8 years old and I always assumed it was about girls shopping and falling in love. There was no way I was going to check that out over Saber Rider, Mighty Max, Darkwing Duck, Teknoman, Goof Troop, etc... plus it came on at a stupid anti-schoolboy time where it was going off like 10 minutes after I got off the school bus.

About a year ago I was bored on Youtube and came across some sakuga video some Japanese dude made and was floored by what I saw:

If someone had showed me a scene like this and told me that it was actually a show about girls in miniskirts beating the shit out of each other in fights that give DBZ a run for it's money in terms of animation and ass kicking I woulda been way more into giving it a shot.

Post by Petiew (244 posts) See mini bio Level 14
@sickVisionz:    
  
  Sailor moon was a lot more brutal than people think. Though as far as I can remember they didn't show this in the dub.
 
Thanks for the article, was a good read! I used to watch this with my sister. I recently watched some of the Japanese episodes and was surprised at how well it held up.
Also, sick jean jacket and hairdo!
Post by Agent9149 (481 posts) See mini bio Level 11

Sailor Moon had the best final battle of anime. It was epic, down to point, no useless talking, and distinct. You can't get better than that.

Post by Lurkero (405 posts) See mini bio Level 7

Sailor Moon was always like Powerpuff Girls to me.

Marketable to girls, but definitely with some material that boys would like. I would have never bought a Sailor Moon backpack, but I would watch the show along with DBZ.

Post by Halberdierv2 (1,290 posts) See mini bio Level 17

funny this article pops up a couple of days after I decide to watch season 1 :P

@Lurkero said:

Sailor Moon was always like Powerpuff Girls to me.

Marketable to girls, but definitely with some material that boys would like. I would have never bought a Sailor Moon backpack, but I would watch the show along with DBZ.

I agree, when I was younger, it seemed like just a superhero show with girls as the main characters.

Post by NickTapalansky (63 posts) See mini bio Level 9
Staff

Holy crap! You know, I was hoping there were more folks out there digging on the SAILOR MOON. It's awesome to hear from you guys. Keep 'em coming - and if you can find more favorite vids, get 'em up in the comments for sure.

@sickVisionz:

SAILOR MOON S was, by far, my favorite season. Not only did it bring the awesome Outer Senshi in but the threat level was close to home, palpable, and a universal threat rolled into one. Plus, for my money it featured the best animation of the series (though it, too, suffered from filler eps that the interns animated every once in awhile, just like every season).

That was a great fight vid, too. Excellent choice to show off how tough the show could be sometimes. That fight is shonen to the core, despite the skirts. I'm glad you stumbled on it and can't stress enough that, given a chance, you should give the show a try. I'm going to start rewatching it soon for the first time in YEARS but, from what I've seen in pieces, it's held up pretty well.

@Petiew:

Man, GOOD choice. When I was 12, that fight messed with my head, even though it was heavily edited (DiC kept from saying they died and intimated that they were "captured" as I recall; not unlike the famous "I can see their parachutes!" of DBZ fame).

Thanks for the article-love, too! For OTAKU COMING HOME, I want to tie in my love for all things Japan with my personal life to lend some credibility/credence to why I'm here chatting about it. Loving the chatter they're getting, too. It's a great excuse to geek out with my peoples.

YOU LOVE THE DENIM.

@Agent9149:

YEAH! Like I was just saying, even in the dub that first season's final battle was epic, poignant, and ended so dramatically. It set things up for a stellar second season (even if the filler arc was a bit weak as the opening) and forced them to keep upping the ante.

@Lurkero:

You hit it right on the head. Like the locket in the article (which, by the way, winds up and plays the sad music box version of Moonlight Densetsu), all of the merch was geared toward girls. But the artbooks, manga, statues, etc. were all out there, in addition to VHS and laserdisc releases at the time. And the series itself had more than enough variety to appeal to both sexes, which is probably why it survived and thrived as much as it has. Enough to warrant a new series next year, at least!

Post by NickTapalansky (63 posts) See mini bio Level 9
Staff

@Halberdierv2:

Nice! Are you watching bootlegs (judge free zone, here) or did you get the sweet "uncut" box set from a few years back? I was disappointed that one or two eps were missing from that set though, so I held out. Hoping to see something hit big in the next year.

Also, how's it holding up for you? And is it your first time or are you rewatching it?

Post by Halberdierv2 (1,290 posts) See mini bio Level 17

@NickTapalansky:well this is the first time I'm going to watch it in order. I watched way back when I was a kid, and I didn't get toonami until they stopped airing the show, so I only saw it in bits when I was by friends, so I didn't really follow it much. also, Sailor Venus for the win.

Post by NickTapalansky (63 posts) See mini bio Level 9
Staff

@Halberdierv2:

That's really cool - plenty of twists and surprises for you! When you finally reach Super S, stay the course; it's the weakest season to me and tested even my unrelenting love for the show. Sailor Stars sets things right again.

Are you watching subs? If not, be wary of the first two+ seasons as they're super edited. Even the third caught it's share of changes, including changing two of the characters from lovers into cousins, I believe. Also, as far as I know the final season was never released domestically.

Let us know what you think as you cruise through the show.

(And for me, as much as I love the inner senshi, my true favorites will always be the outers. I don't care if Pluto isn't a planet anymore!)

Post by Halberdierv2 (1,290 posts) See mini bio Level 17

@NickTapalansky: im watching it in english, I think the voice acting is good enough for me to listen to it, so I'm gonna get the editied version. as long as the main story isn't modified too much, I'll be fine, since Im going to be watching it over a period of time rather than all at once.

also, are you going to write your opinions on the other old animes?

Post by NickTapalansky (63 posts) See mini bio Level 9
Staff

@Halberdierv2:

Mmkay. Be careful with the dub, as a lot of the tougher stuff (if you're into it) has been pulled out. In fact, in both of the first two seasons a number of episodes were cut so heavily as to be combined into single episodes. And, like I said, later they even alter important relationships for the sake of propriety. Proceed with caution!

And yeah, my whole plan for these OTAKU COMING HOME articles is to discuss the stuff that was and is important to me, both growing up and today. Anime and manga had a huge influence on me as a writer and I think it's more than time to showcase some love and maybe start some fun discussions about overlooked elements in the medium (like above, talking about the shojo-shonen combination of SAILOR MOON). It's a freeform thesis, but it's there.

The next article is likely to be a divergence and rounds out the trilogy of introductory articles, focusing on KINGDOM HEARTS. After that, I'm planning another three article series about the spate of remakes and reimaginings in anime over the last couple years (and coming over the next few years). Gonna get to talk about some of my favorite shows and how they're being remade/represented today.

After that... Who knows! I'm four articles ahead, so I'm gonna try to let my brain catch up.

Post by takashichea (11,957 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Online Now
Moderator

Sailor Moon is not that controversial for guys to enjoy. I think the most stigma belongs to My Little Pony, and I remember Daniel facing such hostility in Giant Bomb. Over here, we actually had a lot of fans and people being open with it.

Back to Sailor Moon, I shared this story on one of Vice Pit videos about your embarrassing moments in watching anime:

I remember this one 4th of July back in middle school where a bunch of guys and I were playing video games and taking a break. When I noticed it was time for Sailor Moon, I quietly head to the kitchen to watch it. My friends pop by to grab some snacks saw me watching the show. The next thing I know we're talking about our favorite characters. The embarrassing part comes when our dads came by to grab some beers. They were pretty disturbed and question our manhood. That was crazy.

I haven't watch Sailor Moon for a long time. I can only watch it with company. Otherwise, it'll feel weird.

@Halberdierv2 said:

funny this article pops up a couple of days after I decide to watch season 1 :P

@Lurkero said:

Sailor Moon was always like Powerpuff Girls to me.

Marketable to girls, but definitely with some material that boys would like. I would have never bought a Sailor Moon backpack, but I would watch the show along with DBZ.

I agree, when I was younger, it seemed like just a superhero show with girls as the main characters.

I had the same feeling when I watched shows like She-ra, Powerpuff Girls, and other shows that have female heroines.

@NickTapalansky:

Awesome, I look forward to your Kingdom Hearts article. I just started getting hook into the franchise when I bought the first game as a late Christmas gift for little sister back in January of 2012.

Post by NickTapalansky (63 posts) See mini bio Level 9
Staff

@takashichea:

See, it's funny, I had a different experience with my middle school Sailor Moon viewing. None of my friends liked it, at least not that they'd admit, so while we'd watch shows like RUROUNI KENSHIN, BASTARD!, NEON GENESIS EVANGELION, COWBOY BEBOP, DRAGON BALL Z, and other awesome shonen shows, SAILOR MOON was never on the table. It was a show I enjoyed by myself and, largely, it was due to the stigma that it was a girly show. At the time I ran into this everywhere: the comic shop, the internet. Hell, even the guys at the Chinatown shop I used to frequent would have just a slight pause when I brought it up! It certainly wasn't limited to just my social circle at the time, so I envy you greatly.

Despite my protests to the contrary, it wasn't until I met my wife that I found someone who not only loved the show as much as me but didn't give me at least a slightly crooked eye for being a guy fan. In fact, like I mentioned in the first OTAKU COMING HOME article, anime, comics, and video games form a solid corner of our recreational time. Part of that is because we both work in the comic industry, but the other part is because we're fans, born and raised.

It's been awesome being able to connect with so many others on here. YOU GUYS GET IT!

Thankfully, male SAILOR MOON fans don't have an equivalent to "brony" or I might have to reconsider...

Also, welcome to the KINGDOM HEARTS fold! Between SAILOR MOON and FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST, it was my one big tie to my love of anime/manga that wasn't severed. In fact, it played a strong roll in keeping me open enough to try FULLMETAL and dive back into the scene. You're lucky, though - if you just got started you have plenty to play.

Post by Midnightdetectives (18 posts) See mini bio Level 7

Very nice article Nick. I only saw 1 or 2 episodes as a kid because my parents lowered their cable package during the early 90s. It seems really cool from what I saw. I was an outcast too in 1992 but it was Tail Spin and Darkwing Duck mainly for me :)

Post by NickTapalansky (63 posts) See mini bio Level 9
Staff

@Midnightdetectives:

DARKWING DUCK will always have a special place in my heart. That show was way ahead of its time, if you ask me. TALESPIN was always hit or miss with me, but I have a renewed appreciation for it looking back.

I'll tell you what, though. Some of those Disney cartoons really knew how to do things before imports upped the ante. Shows like GARGOYLES and even DUCK TALES managed to keep the attention of the younger set while still stringing along a loose (or in the case of GARGOYLES, practically set in... wait for it... wait for it... STONE... HA!) continuity to engross the young adult and teen crowds.

Nowadays we take that for granted, thanks largely to the availability of Japanese shows that have been doing it for years, but Disney deserves some credit for doing it well before it was the status quo. Lot's of people look toward anime as the driving force between the storytelling decisions of shows like AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER and LEGO: NINJAGO, but I'd give a nod to some of those Disney Afternoon shows, too.

Post by Midnightdetectives (18 posts) See mini bio Level 7

Nick thanks for the thoughtful reply. That really helped me since I'm new to Anime Vice.

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