Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Inspiration | Sailor Soldier

I haven't been posting much because I haven't exactly left my house much. I have, however, been re-watching a lot of anime that I used to watch when I was growing up. One in particular, "Sailor Moon" is my absolute favourite anime. I found the following on tumblr and thought to post it here since people tend to completely write off the feminist themes in the show because of how scantily clad the Sailor Soldiers are.

Sailor Moon is my perfect heroine. She may not be yours or the world’s, but she is mine. In a mostly male household, you can image what the TV schedule was like. Baseball, football, DBZ, Transformers, etc. I enjoyed all of those, but nothing ever left such an impact on me since then like Sailor Moon. If Goku was my Prince Charming, Sailor Moon was my Superman and she remains so until this day.
And for someone whose sat through the entity of the DC reboot, who has seen female characters been mistreated, Sailor Moon is a glowing example of what I wish DC would look at and see as being a good female warrior. For once, let’s disregard the mini skirts and the v-neck blouses and the high heels and get down to what Sailor Moon is really about.
An immature girl who thought she was good for nothing that was given power and used it, becoming not only the future monarchy of the world but the personification of all that is good in the Universe. It underlined the need to remember inner power and how to keep alive. That every one of those girls—Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Uranus, Neptune, Saturn, and Pluto—were all important, no matter what their flaws may have been, they could still kick ass, take names, and love themselves. That, YES, you could be as sexy as you wanted to be and still be more then a pretty picture.
Sailor Moon gave me a variety of females to look up to, doing the job that every role model should be doing.
Does Sailor Moon have its flaws? Yes. Is it perfect? No. Is there somethings I wish I could switch around? Sure! But that doesn’t change the fact that the show not only oftered me a heroine that was just a normal kid, it gave me a romance that was based on Sailor Moon having to save her man. And Tuxedo Mask was totally cool with that. He didn’t get macho about it. He stepped down, gave her all the power and space she needed, and smiled while doing so. There was never a moment where Tuxedo Mask overshadowed her and he shined in his own damn (and hilarious) way.
Also, DC, do me a favor and look up Sailor Moon’s art. You might learn from that fact that Naoko presented sexy scenes and nude scenes alike in very tasteful manner. Plenty of times the girls are seen nude, but never for sexual gratification. It was always to show them in deep thought, getting them down to their purest state so they receive more power. Usagi’s final fight with Chaos at the end of the manga, where she sheds her clothing as she releases all her pure energy so that she can defeat its darkness, is probably the most beautiful frame in the entire manga. And you know what? She’s naked! And know what else? It doesn’t make me cringe. A-mazing!
 What I’m getting at here is that, at the end of the day, no matter how many characters I see ripped apart for the male eye—and why yes, I am quite aware that during times the anime used such things as transformation scenes to pull in a male audience, but they do so tastefully—Sailor Moon still has enough self-respect to make me smile. She’s clumsy. She’s pushy. She’s easily hurt. But you know what? She’s beautiful to me and no one will ever ruin her.
And this was added on through a reblog:
Nudity is also genuinely viewed as a symbol of purity rather than titillation in Japanese culture quite often. You can usually spot when it’s being used in that context. The end of both the Sailor Moon anime and manga are clearly supposed to be like that, especially since Usagi got angel wings to complete the picture.
Anyway, I obviously agree with all of the above. Sailor Moon allows women to be the protagonists of their own story, be the most powerful people on the page and to be varied in traits and interests and still be this huge sisterhood. I guess what really always bothered me about DC and Marvel and I’m seeing most blatantly in the reboot is that the women are always second class. Even when I find a good female driven title, it has be made clear she’s second to the boys. And any female characters or titles can just…well, they’re always undermined and they can be easily yanked out from under me and tossed into limbo or “rebooted” to suit the taste of a hormone driven fanboy.  See most recently Starfire (who was already very appealing to hormone driven fanboys but NOPE NOT ENOUGH let’s rob her of agency that sure turns em on!). 
So to have a superhero comic (I do consider SM very much a superhero- she’s my superman too. Plus she called herself a superhero once in the anime so there) that’s just so completely and utterly female driven- female relationships and female power- with the heroes never being undermined in any way and the most powerful being in the universe (who is even more powerful than Superman, I’m sorry, and probably more messiah paragon of goodly) being a woman- it’s just very special to me. And all of the characters are flawed and conflicted but they’re still so awesome and have SO much agency- it’s just very special to me. 
And yeah, the fact that it’s written by woman is really important for the story and makes male gaze not as big an issue despite the skimpy outfits- all of the manga images are so tasteful and I’m never bothered by them. The characters are always so in charge of how they present themselves and their sexuality, so that’s all I ask for.

As a huge fan of the show, I can honestly say that I agree with everything here. On top of that, I loved how the Soldiers were styled outside of their battle outfits. There was something about how the soldiers everyday style that was elegant, youthful, and fun. Even now, thirteen years later, I still find myself swooning over a lot of the outfits that Naoko designed for these women. A lot of these are pictures of artbook scans that I've collected over the years so I don't have sources for them. 

(omgsh I love Haruka so much!)

(Not any of the Sailor Soldiers, but I loved these girls so much. They were fun and fantastically styled. Good job Naoko!)

(Not really style related, but this is one of my favourite pictures of Ami.)

( I just love Haruka and Michiru so much.)

I can't get over how amazing Naoko's art is. I loved reading the "Sailor Moon" manga growing up, but of course, I lost my whole collection of the manga and original single issue comic books when we moved houses when I was 7 years old. It still breaks my heart to this day. 

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