It’s probably a product of translation but I laugh so hard every time I see this quote. Oh gosh Naoko. You tell ‘em
I would never make any assumption bc u know history didn’t roll that way
but i like to think something like this
DID YOU GUYS EVER WANT A QUICK EXPLANATION OF THE HISTORY OF THE MAGICAL GIRL GENRE AND HOW SAILOR MOON CHANGED THAT WITH ACTUAL OFFICIAL SOURCES (AKA BOOKS AND ARTICLES) AND HOPEFULLY NO INACCURACY WELL I JUST WROTE ONE
as an introduction for my thesis
In 1991, Naoko Takeuchi unveiled a creation that would enjoy international popularity, revitalize and redefine a genre and turn into a juggernaut franchise that would still be expanded upon twenty years later. This creation was called Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon, which translates roughly to Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon. The franchise itself is massive, consisting the original 52 chapter manga (Japanese comic) written by Naoko Takeuchi released from 1991 to 1997, the 200 episode anime (Japanese animated television show) adapted from the manga released from 1992 to 1997, the 49 episode live action series Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon released from 2003 to 2004, the 25 stage musicals releases from 1993 to 2005 and a number of video games and other assorted merchandise. The central and most well-known aspects of the franchise are the manga and anime, therefore this paper will focus on those.
The series revolves around the adventures of Usagi Tsukino, a typical Japanese teenage girl who is given the power to magically transform into the superhero Sailor Moon and tasked with a mission to stop the evil currently threatening her world. She allies herself with other Sailor Soldiers named for various planets in the solar system.
This story and its premise redefined the magical girl genre. The magical girl genre is an anime/manga genre that began in the 1960’s. The magical girl genre debuted with 1966’s “Sally the Witch”.This series inspired by the American sitcom “Bewitched”according to Jason Thompson in “Manga: The Complete Guide”, and was also “the first anime aimed toward girls”. Early magical girl series featured young girls who had magical powers that would either aid in or complicate their day to day lives. Often, their magic would be awakened with a transformation item, like the titular character’s magic compact mirror in 1969’s “Akko-chan’s Got a Secret!”
Analee Newitz criticized the magical girl genre as being focused on women suppressing their power to please the men around them. “Like American sitcoms of the 1960s such as Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, the magical girl genre features women who are simultaneously powerful and traditionally feminine. Often, jokes center around the mishaps involved in the magical girl’s effort to hide her powers so that she may appear demure.”
Whether one considers Newitz’s criticisms as accurate in describing early magical girl shows or not, the criticisms certainly do not apply to the majority of later magical girl shows , especially since Sailor Moon popularized the subgenre of “magical girl warrior”. The magical girl warrior dispensed of the idea of the magical girl simply hiding their powers or only using them to aid in day-to-day problems, but instead had the magical girl actively use her powers to vanquish evil and protect the world.
Though an earlier series, “Cutie Honey” had featured a transforming magical girl warrior, that series had been largely aimed toward men. The story of Sailor Moon was both created by a woman and explicitly aimed toward young girls.
Sailor Moon was also the first fusion of the magical girl genre with with the sentai genre. The sentai genre is describe by Jason Thompson as being about around “five multicolored heroes” who “beat up bad guys, filling a niche similar to superheroes in America” and this description applies wholesale to Sailor Moon. “The global hit “Sailor Moon” (1992) reinvigorated the genre by introducing a team of dynamic heroines and plots that were more action oriented” (Thompson). The magical girl genre was reborn, and the sub-genre of “magical girl warrior” transformed the genre so utterly that the majority of the magical girl shows that were produced after Sailor Moon depicted a hero of justice rather than the more traditional Bewitched-style predecessors, who were largely forgotten .Thompson cites Sailor Moon as the inspiration for the multitude of magical girl warrior shows that came after it.
The influence of Sailor Moon is undeniable, both in Japan and in the West. It not only redefined the magical girl genre, but from 1992-1995 alone garnered 1.58 billion in retail sells in Japan, more than Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Barbie combined sold in America and Canada at the time (Benkoil). When Sailor Moon came to America in 1995, Thompson described the manga as “a hit, demonstrating shojo (girls) manga could succeed in America” and said that Sailor Moon was the work that “developed a passionate subculture of female fans” in the Western anime and manga fan community. Several theorists, such as Catherine Driscoll and Susan J. Napier, cite Sailor Moon as having a powerful impact on culture, specifically as an example of “girl culture”.