Monday, July 7

Shiny Makeup~

A couple years ago, after the announcement of the rerelease of the Sailor Moon manga, I giddily hoped for a new adaptation of the series. On Saturday morning at 5 a.m. (oddly enough, the same time it used to air on the WB) that dream became a reality when Sailor Moon Crystal aired.
This is not a big deal for most people, but for a lot of 20 and 30 year old nerds, it feels huge. The series from the 90's and the manga translation we had access to were pretty fine for preteens, but the opportunity to read professional translations and to see the story animated in a series that's more faithful to its original materials feels right. Watching Sailor Moon Crystal, despite its faults (and there are some), feels like coming home.
I watched the new episode yesterday twice, once with an 11 year old girl (awesome!) and once with my husband. The animation style is a bit wonky, but I love the new theme song, and I love the overall tone of the show. It was sweet and whimsical and fun. More than anything else I really love that the new show feels like the manga. Sailor Moon was created by a woman with a female audience in mind, and the original animated series really forgot that. If you show an episode to someone unfamiliar with the series, they will undoubtedly comment on how much nudity/upskirt shots are in the show. I remember trying to explain this away as a kid and I couldn't. I wish I could time travel and say to my younger self, "Some gross male animators took this series out of the hands of its creator and adapted it in a way that allows other gross males to latch onto it. Bottom line: men are disgusting." Sailor Moon Crystal is delightfully, refreshingly, beautifully devoid of fanservice. That's not to say I think the show will overwhelmingly avoid sexuality (and let's not kid ourselves, there is a huge difference between a character's sexuality and an essentially non-consenting panty shot), I just think it will approach the matter the same way Naoko Takeuchi did: with the female gaze in mind. There are a million other things I will inevitably think and feel about this new series as it continues, but I'll stop myself there for now.
I wish I could explain why this show was so important to me as an 11 year old girl, or why it's stuck with me for the last 17 years, but I don't have a concrete answer. I first heard of Sailor Moon in grade school when my friends were watching it at the crack of dawn on Saturday mornings. Even for cartoons I wouldn't get up before 8 on a Saturday, so I missed out on the initial bandwagon. A couple years later Cartoon Network began running the series in the afternoon and I was smitten. I know I liked that the show was unlike anything else I'd seen before. It was animated, so it felt like it was for kids, but the subject matter was different. There was something about it that felt very adult to me, and I realize now that was probably because the show dealt with teenage girls who had teenage girl issues and relationships; to an 11 year old, boy probz is the epitome of maturity. Of course on top of crushes and friendships, the girls also fought monsters and saved the planet. Unlike other shows on TV, this was the only one where all of the main characters were girls and they were girls who actually did cool stuff.
I think that combination of things, the meeting of bad ass superhero stories and stories about teenage girls, is what made the series so valuable for me. Maybe that wasn't exactly it, maybe I just liked their outfits, but it was really special to me, and even through the years when some of the show has gotten a little immature and some of the fandom a little overwhelming (why is there so much merchandise???) Sailor Moon is just always going to be my favorite super hero. I'm really excited about what Sailor Moon Crystal might bring and I'm even more excited to be a part of a community of adult nerds who all have sparkly crystals with wings for hearts. 

No comments: