Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Moon... Prism... POWER!

I love anime. The characters are expressive, constantly jumping and flailing about. The dialogue is completely random - possibly because something gets lost in the Japanese-to-English translation. The plots are so fantastic that a willing suspension of disbelief is not only helpful, it is necessary. I think it has to do with the manga/anime market in Japan - the audience is voracious, and is willing to read weird-ass stuff. The result is a lot of WTFery, but also a lot of awesomeness. Case in point: Sailor Moon.

Original manga cover. Seriously.

Possibly one of the most well-known anime shows in the U.S., Sailor Moon was at the forefront of the Japanese cartoon invasion. It has something for everyone - short skirts and fighting for the boys, romance and badass chicks for the girls. Serena, the heroine of the show, is a below-average student, a goof ball, a klutz. She also has an enormous capacity to love and can vaporize baddies with a wave of her magic wand. Her pure heart inspires loyalty - she is the undisputed leader of the Sailor Scouts, even though everyone refers to her as "meatball head."

In their defense, she doesn't have to wear her hair like that.

And okay, maybe a sexy superheroine who can't do math is not the best role-model for impressionable young girls. But I'm currently watching the third season, Sailor Moon Super, and was pleasantly surprised at the inclusion of a genderqueer character. Sailor Uranus (pronounced Ura-nis, plx kthx) always dresses in men's clothes when she's not on duty. She has "manly" hobbies and habits, and speaks in a deep voice. It's treated as something surprising but not freakish or wrong, and several of the other Sailor Scouts develop crushes on her masculine persona. Spoiler alert: though she and Sailor Neptune are billed as cousins in the English dubbing, everyone knows they are lesbian life-partners.

"Cousins." Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

It's unusual for a show that is purportedly for children to deal with such issues, at least in the U.S. Even sanitizing of the Uranus/Neptune relationship, in Sailor Moon Super you can't get around the fact that the character is a girl who acts like a boy. Which is probably why DiC Entertainment (a subsidiary of - you guessed it - Disney) only licensed and aired the first two seasons. Oh, well. That's what Netflix is for ... or friends with awesome anime collections. Thanks to Rachel for the loan!


angel32383 said...

I've got plenty more where that came from!

Monkey Sri said...

And I didn't even get a chance to watch/blog about the movies... XD