Sailor Moon is a 1990s anime that revolves around ditzy schoolgirl Usagi Tsukino, who wins love by daylight, and fights evil by moonlight under the magical girl identity of Sailor Moon, along with her fellow Sailor Senshi. They battle Flaming Queen Beryl, a superfiend who attempts to unite the three realms—Human, Beast, and Demon—and destroy the world.
five four aired seasons of Sailor Moon, each of which features a new group of nutjob villains who suck at their jobs. As the show progresses, it gets more plot-driven and complex, but still manages to deliver the odd pantyshot on a steady basis. At the end of the series, Usagi marries the love of her life, Tuxedo Mask, and passes on her job to three shemales called the Sailor Starlights.
Through Sailor Moon, creator Naoko Takeuchi brought many important Japanese cultural themes and motivations to American audiences, including schoolgirls, overlong transformation sequences, consumption of toast, and enormous fire-spouting monsters destroying Tokyo. Thus, it is no surprise that the series was a worldwide hit, especially with young girls, young boys who were just hitting puberty, and ephebophiles.
- See also: List of Sailor Moon characters
Sailor Moon centers on Usagi Tsukino, a whiny teenage schoolgirl living in Tokyo. One day, Usagi meets Luna, a talking black cat who tells her that she is really Sailor Moon, and has been recruited by the Japanese government into the Sailor Senshi magical girl program. Usagi goes to meet the other Senshi, and learns that they must protect the Earth from evil; indeed, if it weren't for these scantily-clad teenagers, Earth would probably not be nearly as nice. Each Sailor Senshi is named after a planetary body; for example: Sailor Moon (the Moon), Sailor Mercury (Mercury), and Sailor GX-42356 (the newly discovered moon orbiting Earth).
As it turns out, Usagi is the Moon Princess, and the other Senshi are incarnations of the Moon Princess' protectors. Weird, huh? Long ago, when the Dark Kingdom destroyed the kingdom of the moon (sorry, but the Moon Princess is in another castle!), the Moon Queen sent the Moon Princess, her useless guardians, and her true love Tuxedo Mask into the future to be reborn. The other Senshi must defeat the Dark Kingdom, led by Flaming Queen Berryl.
The characters' pasts are mysterious and hidden even to them. Much of the series is devoted to them discovering their true identities and pasts, in a story more boring than Inuyasha. Luna, who teaches and guides the Sailor Senshi, doesn't know
everyanything about their histories either, and the Senshi eventually learn that Usagi is the real Moon Princess. The Moon Princess' mother had her reborn as a Sailor Senshi to protect her. Gradually, Usagi discovers the truth about her own past life (boring...), her destined true love (*yawn*), and the possibilities for the future of the solar system.
Then it delves into a story that is WAY more complicated than AP algebra. There's a "Lost Arc", where the Senshi get trapped in a fighting game and are sexually abused by slime and a black floating circle. There's an "Island Arc", where the Senshi go to an island resort, which is actually a rejected idea for another manga from 30 years ago. And finally, there's the "Crystal Arc", where some random Egyptian man steal the Silver Crystal and the Senshi must get it back through a convoluted four-part musical which blended themes of Jewish mythology, vampires, historic serial killers, and overthrowing God.
Basically, every episode follows this formula:
- Usagi is talking to her friends in a conversation filled with puns and '90s slang. Either that, or she's whining about something.
- The Monster of the Week shows up and destroys Tokyo.
- Usagi pays no attention and either a) zones out or b) actually figures out what's going on, but overlooks it while thinking about going on a date with Mamoru.
- The Senshi all get caught in danger.
- Luna reminds the Senshi to transform into their Sailor alter-egos.
- The transformation scenes take several minutes to occur, but the monsters don't try to attack or anything.
- Mamoru shows up as Tuxedo Mask and saves the girls or flirts with them. He then reminds them to use their special attack.
- The Senshi yell out "Moon Tiara Action!" or something along those lines, and they take another minute to use their attacks.
- The enemies are still waiting...we already forgot who they were.
- The attack finally hits, never missing and always defeating the enemy in one fell swoop.
- Usagi narrates a cheesy '90s PSA, which states the moral of this week's episode.
- The End.
When Sailor Moon came over to America to be dubbed, network executives and censors mandated numerous things to be changed or removed. These included:
- Five episodes being deleted from the first season and two episodes being morphed into one.
- Removal of any and all violence, especially violence towards children.
- Adding a "Sailor Says" PSA at the end of each episode.
- Making Uranus and Neptune lesbians rather than cousins.
- Changing names to make them sound "more American"; this was despite DiC being a French company. For example: Sailor Senshi → Sailor Scouts, Usagi Tsukino → Serena, Ami Mizuno → Amy, Rei Hino → Raye, Tuxedo Mask → The Masked Tuxedo
- For scenes of near-nudity, such as transformation sequences or bathing, breasts were digitally erased.
The problem with these removals? This is the stuff people wanted to see. The Japanese version was a little weird, but the Americanized version went way too far, being '90s cheesy and cliche wherever possible.
Sailor Moon began in 1992 as a manga, originally released in 18 volumes. It was later rereleased in 12 volumes in 2011. Why? Because people wanted less bang for their Euros. Takeuchi actually went to the trouble of redrawing the whole manga to make it seem less artistic and more like it was drawn by a five-year-old.
Video games based off Sailor Moon were produced. This was a '90s anime, so guess what we got? Lots and lots of fighting games, most of which were ripoffs of Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, or Final Fight. But hey, you expected a good game from this kind of anime? Funny...
In 1993, Rocky Solotoff, president and founder of Toon Maker Inc. had hoped to capitalize on the success of Saban Entertainment's Power Rangers by creating an American live-action/western-animated version of Sailor Moon. Solotoff wrote, directed, and produced a pilot episode of his version of Sailor Moon for a company called Renaissance-Atlantic, who helped Saban procure Super Sentai from Toei to create the Power Rangers.
To this day, Solotoff's version of Sailor Moon has not been exhibited publicly. Why? Because it was awful, just awful. Unfortunately, some poor soul had the strength to bootleg part of it and posted it on the Internet years later.
Most of Sailor Moon's viewers, ironically, were male. Some critics suggested that despite being aimed at young girls, the show had an adventurous and boyish feel to it. But really, we all know it's because it gave '90s boys a...well, let's just say it gave them a strange sensation in their pants. This sensation felt so good that they rushed home every day to watch another episode and recreate this feeling.
- There was a small blood mark on Sailor Moon's leg in the pilot episode, but it was probably near-fatal in the original Japanese version.