No, really. Go ahead. Look surprised. I'll wait.
Superheroes are the epic heroes of our time. Where stories Gilgamesh and Herakles and Perseus were once told, we instead get stories of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-man... I could go on. I don't need to.
But, to be honest, traditional mythology and epic heroic tales have been lacking in female heroes. And modern-day comics are really not so different. Oh, we've gotten better. The fact that Black Widow featured heavily in the recent Avengers film; the fact that so many devoted fans (male and female) of Wonder Woman flipped out over her mistreatment in recent storylines; the fact that Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) and Spider-woman are just as beloved as their male counterparts... yeah, girls have gotten better when it comes to heroism.
They also have gotten much worse.
|Much, much worse.|
The thing is, their designs are very, very masculine. With enough girly bits to make guys want to read the comic with them in it (disregarding the cool comic guys that I know and love that read comics because they love the stories and the characters; I'm talking about the basement-dweller geeks that the marketers prefer to sell to) and tight-fitting costumes that can serve as body armor. Often, that uniform or body armor is modified from the male counterpart's, or just a swimsuit with a utility belt, and so on. Super sexy. Basically, what a guy would design when working on a female hero.
And that is why we need Sailor Moon.
|Not just because she's saved the world, like, five times.|
Sailor Moon is a superhero designed by a woman with girls in mind. Much like the original concept of Wonder Woman (but without the need to appeal to a male audience) Sailor Moon is the guardian of love and justice, befriending her enemies and forgiving the most violent, vile forces in the universe - and she actually saves the day with that! She can defeat any villain with love, and it is the love for her friends and family and loved ones - and their love for her - that makes her strong. On her own, she is pure power. Together with her fellow Senshi and her beloved Tuxedo Kamen, she is the most powerful Senshi in the entire universe.
She's basically the Japanese Wonder Woman. And she has been my hero since I was maybe four years old.
Quite a few of you comic fans may point out that the fact that she wears a Sailor uniform (the Japanese term for that is "fuku", by the way) is sort of catering to the schoolgirl fetish that the stereotypical "otaku" seem to have. However, Takeuchi Naoko (the creator and the
|All hail the queen.)|
|We are the Sailor Team! Huzzah!|
Sailor Moon hit American shores a year after it began to air in Japan, in 1995. It became the first successful shojo import, and a worldwide smash hit. And there is a reason for it.
Even though Wonder Woman was originally meant to mean something to girls, the big concern was marketability. The industry at the time didn't have faith in the book selling well to a mostly-female audience, so the sex appeal was added in as per the industry's demands. And for the record, I do love Wonder Woman. She just wasn't handled well for the first three thirds of my viewing life. Hell, she's not being well-handled right now in canon.
The fact of the matter is, Western superheroines are often more meant to be Guys With Boobs or sex symbols, and even Wonder Woman has succumbed to it.
|Yeah, sure, this costume change was vital. Totally.|
|God help us all.|
And seriously, how often is a feminine superhero lauded as a good thing? I'm pretty sure we can count the number of successful examples on one hand.
The reason why we need Sailor Moon is this: not all of us are Diana of Themyscira. Not all of us are Carol Danvers. Some of us are Usagi Tsukino, the not-so-smart, not-so-graceful, sort-of-useless teenage girl who can barely survive junior high, can barely cook without burning things, doesn't want to exercise, likes to eat sweet things, and likes wearing pink polka-dot skirts and fuzzy sweaters with bunnies on them. Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel and those ladies can't afford to wear fuzzy sweaters with bunnies on them - to do so would compromise all of their hard work and their years of sweat, blood, and tears - all to be considered just as awesome, just as strong, just as worthy as the guys. They cannot show weakness, and girlishness is perceived as weakness.
Sailor Moon is "girly". And she is not weak. And that is why we need Sailor Moon.
|"In the name of the Moon... I'll punish you!"|