On a recent Barnes and Noble visit, I found a table filled with “new fiction paperback arrivals”. On this table propped up were a stack of graphic novels by Naoko Takeuchi, featuring a cute blonde animated girl on the cover. It was the champion of justice and pretty soldier, Sailor Moon. Seeing her on the cover triggered something very sharp inside of me. I didn’t know whether to lunge over the table screaming like a banshee, “My favorite superhero ever, ahhhhhhhh!!!” or to lunge over the table screaming like a banshee, “My favorite superhero ever, ahhhhhhhh!!!”
Were these books new? The last time I checked, she stopped writing the mangas (that’s Japanese slang for comic books for you) a long time ago. One quick glance inside confirmed I was right: they were the same books I fell in love with over a decade ago, just retooled with a new cover and back on the bookshelves for the first time in awhile.
How do I describe my love for Sailor Moon? It’s deep, yo. More of an obsession at times. I can’t remember how she became a blip on my radar. I have a vague memory of seeing one of the VHS films on the shelf at Blockbuster in the ‘90s and thinking I really, really liked her hairstyle. It was two blonde buns with super long Rapunzel-esque hair trailing beneath each one. In the TV show she was often referred to as “meatball head”, which I found out when my parents surprised me with a VHS of the show they found at a local vintage record shop. I put the episode on and was instantly hooked. Sure, the dubbing over with English was kind of strange sometimes, but that was just a very slight imperfection on the overall scale of awesomeness that was Sailor Moon.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways while jamming out to the theme song. And yes, I do own the soundtrack. Ain’t no shame – my younger self was quite the full-fledged Moonie.
Female Superhero FTW!
In an era where my brothers all had more than enough Spiderman, Batman and Yu-Gi-Oh! (yep that reference just happened) role models in their lives, I was the odd girl out in the guys comic book world. Girls in graphic novels were predominantly there to serve as sexual fantasies or be mothering figures that never really connected the dots about where their bfs went off to at night. Plus most graphic novels available at the time had content that I wasn’t prepared for at 11 to be reading. I learned that the hard way when I tried to convince myself I was mature enough to read Alan Moore’s From Hell in the 8th grade.
Sailor Moon is the story of a high school girl named Serena. Serena is kind of a crybaby, does poorly in school and is addicted to sleeping and shopping but she’s cute and has a big heart so you feel a bit better about liking her. She rescues a defenseless cat from being picked on by a group of kids and picks off a small bandage on the cat’s forehead to reveal a crescent moon. This cat will later be revealed to be Luna, a little British kitty here to help coach Serena into becoming Sailor Moon, a warrior who is destined to save the Earth from the powerful and evil Negaverse.
Over the course of the book series and show, it gets a little cray cray, though. Over time, Serena is not just saving the Earth but the entire galaxy. The Sailor Scouts wind up going from four trusty friends to over 10+ in the entourage, and the whole Rini “I have a kid now who literally fell from the sky with a balloon” arc happens. These plot details, again, are just footnotes on the whole “we now have a girly superhero, you guys!” high I was riding and as of that last trip to B&N, it appears I’m still on it. Moon prism power!
I Wanted to Dress Like Her
Whether in her school uniform or in her solider suit, Sailor Moon was an early style icon of mine. The bun hair, the tiara, the shocking red boots. Somewhere out there, a million fanboys are all clicking over to this post to see if I stick up a bunch of photos, but for as much as I wanted to dress like Sailor Moon, I never had the nerve to. I went to a Catholic high school so I already dressed somewhat similar to her school uniform during the day. In my off hours, whenever I did wear shorter skirts, I was always hyper conscious to wear really tiny shorts underneath or opaque tights. Why? Because I have a butt that could rival Kim Kardashian’s and don’t want to “moon” the world at large with it. My derriere is the numero uno reason why I could never rock the itty-bitty blue pleated skirt Sailor Moon donned on a daily basis.
On the other hand, I would be great at fighting crime in heels. Running away from bad guys in them is another story though.
Confession: I never wanted to be Sailor Moon as much as I wanted to be like her friends. Sailor Jupiter (Lita) had incredible red hair and knew how to cook. Sailor Mercury (Amy) was the first real scout to join the group and hang out with Serena. Also, she liked sandwiches and reading, which are two of my favorite things. The only one I didn’t care for was Sailor Venus (Mina), infamous for her Sailor V video game fame. She looked so much like Sailor Moon that it was easy to mix the two up. Observe the blonde in the photo above. That’s Sailor Venus. She even had her own cat. Yawn.
Sailor Mars (Raye) looked physically the most like me with her super dark long hair and was always trying to stir the s**t pot, attempting to steal Serena’s boyfriend Darren and instigating fights. Atta girl, way to keep it interesting! Seriously though, I worry about how this group would have functioned without Raye there. Who else would have bitched out Serena’s lousy grades or fought with her over whether the hot guys liked her or if they were just really checking out Raye instead? As far as I’m concerned, Sailor Mars was the unspoken glue that held the group together. She also went to a private school (as detailed in the manga) and got to wear a cuter uniform.
Holy Hotness, Tuxedo Mask!
A long time ago, I remember taking a quiz in a Seventeen magazine about what your fantasy guy would wear because hey! It’s your fantasy! (direct quote from the magazine that I still remember). One of the options was Italian suits. I picked it. Even though Tuxedo Mask might not wear an Italian suit, he fights crime in a tuxedo (see: his name). And he throws roses at people to vanquish them in such a way that no, it does not look lame or whiny whatsoever. He even has a top hat and a cummerbund.
I’m melting everywhere, you guys; this is too much for me to handle.
Of course the viewers and readers of the novels know from a mile away that Tuxedo Mask is really Serena’s boyfriend Darren in disguise but she doesn’t and won’t officially know for a long time. Which is kind of strange to me in retrospect. HE LOOKS JUST LIKE DARREN. SERENA, HOW DO YOU NOT SEE IT?
It must be his glasses. How the hell did he see out of those white things anyway? Looks like somebody took Wite-Out and smeared it all over.
Serious Merch Collector Up in Here
Here is a story about just how very serious I was about collecting my Sailor Moon merchandise, much of which I used to buy from Suncoast Movies at the mall. In 8th grade on a class trip to Chicago, my grade went to the Navy Pier which offered a big ole specialty store mall to visit. At this point in my life I had more or less outgrown my Sailor Moon stage and was about to enter my “Heather is angry” Hot Topic semi-Goth years. But even so, despite whatever stage of my life I was in, I always took care in buying stuff that I knew was truly special.
At this mall, I spotted a clock kiosk that offered watches and clocks of all shapes, sizes and designs. At the very center of this kiosk right underneath a glowing lightbulb was a beautiful Sailor Moon alarm clock. It was shaped like Sailor Moon, about a foot high and extremely detailed with a pair of wings that were detachable to put on and off. That clock and I were soulmates, I could feel it! I wasn’t leaving the Pier without it, but the trouble was getting away from my PTA mom led group to purchase the clock in secret. I didn’t want everyone to know what I was buying or doing, which, for the last couple of days, what with being in such close confines with my classmates, we were all aware of everyone’s everything.
Don’t ask how I did it, but I managed to slip away to the kiosk and privately negotiate a purchase on the clock. As a bonus, the salesman even put it in a big black plastic bag for me so nobody would see that I was privately still living out my 11 year old fantasies. The entire ride home everyone and his PTA mom was pressing me, “What’s in the bag?” since it was too big to fit comfortably into my duffle. The bag literally sat in the seat next to me all the way back.
“Nothing!” I remembered shouting. Multiple times. It all looked very suspect. My parents thought it was hilarious and to this day the clock resides on my bedside dresser at their home.
The Way Everyone’s Eyes Turned to Hearts