Back in 1999, there was a time in my life when 4 pm meant everything to me; Just getting home from school and finishing homework as fast as I could to tune into Toonami. When I first discovered Cartoon Network, it was newly added to our Comcast plan and by that time, Nickelodeon was lacking in good shows so I thought I’d check it out. I was only 11 years old at the time and while I still liked cartoons, I wanted a bit more than zany antics, so when I turned on the channel and first laid my eyes on Sailor Moon, I was hooked.
Sailor Moon, known by Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon in Japan, was probably not my very first anime, but it is the first one I really remember watching religiously. Though many will argue the English Dub is so terrible, they wouldn’t give it the light of day, for a kid my age it was perfect. The big eyes, the flashy transformation sequences, no matter how repetitive each episode was, I always made sure to tune in. I was damned if I missed an episode, and if I wanted to go out and play, I’d set my VCR to record it. Sure, I loved the other shows that aired, including ReBoot and Tenchi Muyo! but to this day none of them compare to my love for Sailor Moon. Even as an adult, this show still holds sentimental value for me and manages to get me teary eyed at times.
When I was about 13 years old, I got my hands on two Japanese VHS movies, Sailor Moon S and Super S, and for the first time I got a taste of what Sailor Moon was meant to be. While as a kid, I didn’t mind the corny jokes and changes to the anime, I didn’t exactly know what I was missing either. The two movies were a great treat for a fan, which so far had only seen what TV had to show. It would be nearly 8 years before I ever got to watch the series in its entirety, untouched, and with the original audio. Watching it again, I felt a sense of excitement as I watched each episode again, it was like watching it for the first time and I couldn’t get enough. I laughed, I cried, and wanted so much to see more of it.
The first season of Sailor Moon was one I was most familiar with, although I had watched the other two series, I didn’t completely remember all of it. Admittedly, I watched each episode using Sailor Moon Uncensored to see just what was changed in the English version I had seen first. Many of the episodes had a much stronger impact on me now than they had previously, though I suppose to be fair, one could chalk that up to age. The consecutive seasons were no exception to censorship, some of it silly, while the rest may have been to cover up plot holes from previous edits. The most drastic change I can think of is the way they handled the ending. In the English Dub, the last two episodes of the season were squished into one episode, omitting many elements that just made it so much more emotional and intense. Granted I cried watching both, but eh heh, what can I say?
It wasn’t until the final season of Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon Sailor Stars, that I felt I finally experienced the series. I felt as if girls who grew up watching the Anime would feel the same way I felt as I watched how much the heroine, Usagi, had grown from the first series till now. When it ended, I cried so hard, not necessarily at the ending itself but the fact that from now on, this was it. There would be no more Sailor Moon to watch. While this was devastating, I never forgot what I had watched and how much it affected me. The fondness I hold for Sailor Moon couldn’t be overcome by any other series and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Once I finished the anime, the only thing left for me to do is watch the Live Action series put out in 2003, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. The Live Action takes many elements from the manga and reworked them into a unique retelling of its own. The show relies heavily on special effects, which is known as a Tokusatsu in Japan and it’s used for many of their attacks and transformation sequences. The series only features the 5 Inner Senshi and Tuxedo Mask and covers the first arc of the Manga, and as an adaptation, I feel on its own it’s great, despite the sometimes cheesy acting.
Overall, I feel Sailor Moon is a great show for young girls, as a typical Magical Girl anime. I loved it, I still love it and frequently crave more. Usagi, though she is a crybaby and a ditz at time, also has a compassionate loving side to her which warmed my heart and gave me a deeper appreciation for the character. If you’re interested in the Magical Girl genre, this is the place to start.