Recommendation: Sailor Moon

The short version is that Sailor Moon is the first girl I ever had a crush on.

The longer version is that Sailor Moon is one of the most iconic animes of all time.

The title card of the first English dub of Sailor Moon.
Sailor Moon: Toei Animation, original dub licensed to Dic Entertainment.
Dic library now owned by WildBrain.

Information on Wikipedia here.

And its own Wiki here.

The short version is that Sailor Moon is the first girl I ever had a crush on. The longer version is that Sailor Moon is one of the most iconic animes of all time. Sure, it may not be as big as something like Pokémon, but Sailor Moon is pretty much synonymous with the Magical Girl genre, though the genre itself is attested as far back as at least 1953.

I feel like Sailor Moon requires very little introduction, but here’s one anyway: she’s a high school by day and the magical, monster-fighting princess of the Moon by night. She has a team of four other magical, transforming space princesses. Mercury is the smart, analytical one. Mars is the serious, dependable one. Jupiter is indisputably the best the tough-with-a-soft-centre one. And Venus is basically a more competent version of Moon. Also, Tuxedo Mask usually helps by chucking roses at the bad guys.

The 90s anime is probably the most famous version of Sailor Moon, so I’ll start there.

Now, the original 90s dub (done in Canada, and apparently sufficient for the series to be counted as CanCon) is widely ridiculed and reviled by a lot of fans. And, yeah, it played pretty fast and loose with the source material, though that’s a conversation for another time. I will however point to Sailor Moon’s best friend’s Brooklyn accent as a highlight, and insist that “Sailor Scouts” is a better name than “Sailor Guardians”.

I’m pretty sure the dubbed version of this scene included
at least one utterance of the word “chowderhead”.
Sailor Moon
: Toei Animation and Viz Media.

If you’re either curious about what you missed out on, or you’re my age and nostalgic for the version you watched as a kid, I’m sure you can track it down if you look hard enough, though I would like to make it clear that I do not endorse or condone illegal piracy, if that’s what you’re considering.

And if you’re looking for a dub that takes less liberties with the source material, good news. A few years ago, Viz released a more faithful, and overall better dub of the 90s anime, as well as a dub of the newer anime (more on that later). Though, I will freely admit my disappointment in the lack of Brooklyn accents.

Part of me would actually recommend starting with the second season of the anime (Sailor Moon R). The first season moves pretty slowly – it takes about 33 episodes out of 46 to get the full team of Sailors.

Together at last. Eventually.
Sailor Moon: Toei Animation and Viz Media.

Though the episodes where each of the Sailors first get their powers probably are worth watching, what with being the most plot-relevant episodes. Also, the story arc where Sailor Moon’s friend (the one who had the Brooklyn accent) falls in love with one of the bad guys is a high point of the first season’s storytelling.

Worth noting is that the finale of the first season is infamous for the fact that it culminates with all of the Sailors (who, as you’ll recall, are teenagers) being brutally killed, though this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the universe is basically reset at the end of the episode.

Apparently, the experience was actually upsetting enough to the kids in Japan watching the original airing that a lot of them got physically sick. I mean, hey, I’m an adult man, and I don’t particularly want to watch it. So watch out for that, I guess. And rest assured that I won’t think any less of you if you decide to skip over it.

On a lighter note, here’s a pretty sunset:

In hindsight, that should probably be a picture of the Moon…
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Like I was saying, the first season is kind of slow. While the second season starts with a standalone filler arc, it only takes about an episode and a half for the Sailors to all get their powers back and reform the full team after the cosmic reset at the end of the first season.

Reunited, and it feels so good.
Sailor Moon: Toei Animation and Viz Media.

The filler arc that starts the second season may not contribute much to the overall plot, but it’s a perfectly adequate standalone story about some aliens and their evil space tree. The real story arc of the second season starts with Sailor Moon’s kid from the future and/or another dimension literally falling out of the sky.

There’s also the original manga, which I’m not as familiar with as the anime, though from my experience, it’s both more violent (I seem to recall Sailor Mars melting a dude) and thematically mature and overall less interesting than the anime.

There’s also also Sailor Moon Crystal, which is basically an anime version of the manga. I’ve only watched a few episodes, but I had no strong objections to what I watched, aside from thinking the art style’s kinda weird.

As an example of the art style in Crystal, Sailor Moon striking the
“right wrongs and triumph over evil” pose.
Sailor Moon Crystal: Toei Animation and Viz Media.

For what it’s worth, the general consensus on the Internet is that the first two seasons are pretty mediocre, while the third is an improvement. I’ve only watched, like, half the first season, so I can’t comment beyond that.

There’s also also also Codename: Sailor V, a manga starring the eventual Sailor Venus as a sort of super-cop/secret agent, that actually predates Sailor Moon and was the inspiration for the later series, and which is why Sailor Moon and Sailor Venus have so much in common as characters.

Well, that was an exceedingly long discourse on a franchise I initially said needed no introduction…

3 thoughts on “Recommendation: Sailor Moon

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