Look, these girls were fighting evil by moonlight, winning love by daylight, never running from a real fight, they were the ones named Sailor…. Mercury, Sailor Venus, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter!!!!! I just loved everything about this show. It was about female superheroes, female friendship, heroism, growth, hope, love, acceptance, believing in yourself and others. It was truly the most formative show of my childhood.
In a world where most of heroes I would see on tv were male superheroes, especially back in the early-mid 90s, having this group of girls was so magical to me. I lived in a house with a lot of boys, from my brother to my cousins, so I’d have to pick my battles for the tv and Sailor Moon was one of the few times I’d win. Thank god, it came before Dragonball and later Dragonball Z.
All these girls were so special to me. They all had qualities that I admired, found in myself, or wanted to develop. They were all so different but stuck together and believed in each other. On paper they made unlikely friends, but that was the point. They were archetypes of female characters that normally writers like to put at odds with each other, but Sailor Moon showed that no, it doesn’t have to be that way. There was no one way to be girl, and that should be celebrated and supported. They would sometimes fight or misunderstand each other, as all humans do, but they always try for each other and their friendship and they helped save the world. A lot. They were superheroes and struggled with the classic superhero issues: dual identity crisis, wanting to believe the best in world, saving the world, obsessive and sometimes cruel villains. And sometimes they’d even save the villains themselves. And while the show started with Usagi, or Serena as I knew her until I started reading the mangas and watching the dubs, being a solo hero, it quickly gave her allies to help her and support her. And it wasn’t always easy, not for Usagi, not for her fellow senshi (or soldier, or scouts), but they never gave up. They’d fight till the end.
Usagi is also one of the most amazing heroes of all time, in all honestly. She’s a Clark Kent/Superman, Diana/Wonder Woman type character. Someone who believes in truth, justice, and love. She’s a princess, but she’s also a teen girl. She likes teen girl things, she’s silly and funny, and likes manga and sweets, and terrible a school. Usagi is the kind of girl who doesn’t think of herself as hero and that others probably wouldn’t see as a hero either, but she’s got the truest heart and she’s so full of love and belief in the world. And because of that she saves the day, the world, the universe. She tries and helps the villains that try to take her out, she’s a force of good and it’s very wonderfully highlighted.
The other girls are equally important and all get a chance to shine. They, like Usagi, have insecurities of their own, but they also have immense amount of inner strength, skill, and qualities that make them not just heroes, but amazing people. Throughout the series, they all get their own minor arcs and character growth. One of the best moments I feel encapsulates what I loved about the show and these friendship takes place in the R Movie, where they all stand together as Usagi (and Mamoru, her love interest, and their romance is also central to the series but not central to their characters — um, not central to Usagi’s character ;p) tries to save the world and they remember of their lives before they knew Usagi, the glue in their lives, and after Usagi.
Another great moment is at the end of the S Series, where Usagi goes to saves someone, a fellow senshi and it’s a beautiful moment that highlights why she’s is a hero in a way other heroes aren’t always portrayed to be. Especially at the time. The 90s were great for many things, but the action hero and the anti-hero were at their height and growing in popularity, respectively. Sailor Moon was female oriented and focused and on all the time, thanks UPN and Cartoon Network. (Though, they were horrible about putting out Sailor Moon S and SuperS and Stars, because they just weren’t ready and open to lesbian relationships and non-binary characters.)
All in all, Sailor Moon was my first show about superheros, feminism, and friendship. It gave me everything I wanted when I needed it.