One of my mother’s favorite memories of my childhood is immortalized forever in a picture, which I am more than glad to share with you all.
I was two years old and visiting my mother’s family in Hong Kong, when I suddenly caught chicken pox.
Itchy, bumpy, miserable and pouty, my mother decided to snap a photo of me in my state of suffering. In the photo, I am wearing a pink tee emblazoned with my source of solace in this trying time—the magnificent Sailor Senshi from the “Sailor Moon” series.
In my right hand I hold a banana, and in my left hand, a toy rendering of the Spiral Heart Moon Rod.
“You loved that show! You watched it over and over again when we quarantined you in your uncle’s house,” my mom recalls.
Much like most other girls my age, the franchise was the icon of my adolescent existence. The Sailor Senshi were beautiful, caring, silly, ass kicking and most importantly, regular teenagers that I could definitely grow up to be like.
From a cultural lens, “Sailor Moon” is often credited as one of the most influential in boosting the popularity of Japanese animation in western culture and redefining the “magical girl” genre to its standard archetypes seen in successive animation series today.
But childhood me didn’t care too much about all of that—I just wanted to run around the house waving my wand screaming “MOON PRISM POWER MAKEUP” to anyone who’d listen, and deliver swift justice to those who needed it most.
“Sailor Moon” has left an indelible mark in shaping little ol’ me. I often called upon the Senshi for strength when I needed it, and imagined them by my side when I shakily stood up to whatever was scaring the pants off of me—be it a big scary dog, an unexplained summons to the principal’s office or of course, a mean bully.
To this day, I can visualize at will Usagi’s magical transformation process from teenage girl to celestial warrior.
Imagine my intense happiness when it was announced this summer that Hulu was going to stream not only the episodes from the original series, but also broadcast a brand new reboot of the anime, “Sailor Moon Crystal”.
The anime series ran from 1992 to 1997 and was broadcast in North America beginning in 1995.
Each Monday brings two new episodes of the original series, and new episodes of “Sailor Moon Crystal” are aired every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month.
For those who have been living under a rock the past two decades, “Sailor Moon” focuses on 14-year-old Usagi Tsukino, a schoolgirl living in modern day Tokyo.
Usagi is quite happy-go-lucky, somewhat immature, bad at academics, loves to eat and a kind girl above all else. One day while walking back from school, she befriends a cat named Luna with a crescent shaped mark on its head and discovers the cat can talk.
Luna tells Usagi that she is the civilian persona of Sailor Moon, a celestial soldier with magical abilities from the Crystal Kingdom of the moon.
Usagi’s goal is to find the other Sailor Senshi (Sailors Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus) and awaken them, and then band together to find and protect Tokyo from evil forces at work and to seek out the Princess of the Crystal Kingdom as well.
The Dark Kingdom is the protagonist force in the series, consisting of the evil Queen Beryl and her group of lusciously-locked henchmen. Their goal is to drain energy from humans in Tokyo as a power source for Beryl and to take over the Earth.
Between fighting monsters in Tokyo with her friends and attempting to maintain a normal teenage life, Usagi also dreams of falling in love. The handsome and mysterious Tuxedo Mask (perhaps the first ever male figure yours truly developed romantic feelings for) makes frequent appearances to the thrill and confusion of the Sailor Senshi.
The “Crystal” reboot has been a joy to watch, and brings me much happiness just thinking about all the young girls who will get to have their own experience of Sailor Moon through this series.
“Crystal” has cut out a lot of the filler episodes and seems more focused on getting to the plot quickly—the fifth episode is will air soon, and we are already going to meet the fourth Senshi, Sailor Jupiter.
However, I have to say I prefer the original for its animation style and pure nostalgia. Each Monday night has been an incredible treat for me, being able to sit down and revisit the heroes of my childhood.
It’s no wonder the “Sailor Moon” franchise has continued to persevere in a special place of the hearts of many nearly 20 years after its series end.
Beautiful young girls slaying monsters, staying true to themselves and each other, getting bad grades on homework, helping the hopeless and trying above all else to find love and happiness amidst the chaos of powers beyond their control—what more can you ask for?