I grew up wrapped around the Sailor Moon franchise, the manga in particular. I loved how the characters led double lives – going to school by daylight, fighting evil by moonlight. They were fiery and passionate, all fighting to protect a world that meant so much to them, while also fighting to stay true to themselves. Over the years, my tastes in narratives has centered around strong female characters and I like to think that the sailor scouts had a large impact on that. Of course, Naoko Takeuchi is not the first author to write about strong female characters, but she was one of the first authors to introduce me to them.
Sailor Moon used multiple female characters to show different forms of strength, as well as different types of characteristics that females could have. Sailor Moon‘s main characters were female, they also kicked butt and fought to save the world in the same way that the main protagonists from Dragon Ball Z did. The sailor scouts could be beautiful, but powerful; dangerous, but also caring.
The sailor scouts within Sailor Moon presented it’s readers with many different types of female characters, the first being Usagi, also known as Sailor Moon. In the beginning, it seemed as if she was lazy, cried often, and was generally a pretty average teenage girl. This didn’t change after she learned that she is Sailor Moon. It is only as she slowly gathered the other sailor scouts, found love, realized who she really was, and battled a relentless horde of enemies, that she finally matured. She became a beacon of light for her friends, a pillar of hope that they fought to protect, and in some cases, died for.
Each sailor scout has their own personality, putting on display different types of female characters. Amy, Sailor Mercury, is described as a genius and Luna specifically found her because of this personality trait. Amy wore her hair short and spent most of her time studying. She carried the team in terms of strategy and was quick to catch on to patterns or weaknesses of her enemies. Rei, Sailor Mars, was a priestess; she was fiery, beautiful, and steeped in superstitions. This goes on for each scout; Lita, a.k.a Sailor Jupiter, loved to bake, wanted to find love, but also could spar with the best of them. The infamous Sailor Venus, lesser known as Mina, wanted to fall in love, but struggled to balance her urge to become famous with her duties as a sailor scout, which came to a head in the Sailor Moon Stars series.
There are also the outer senshi, who are arguably the most intriguing characters of the series. Sailor Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were all older than the main characters by a few years, with the exception of Sailor Saturn who was the youngest of all the senshi. Saturn came from what could be considered a broken home at best, and came off as very thoughtful and dark – mostly due to the fact her powers had extremely destructive potential. Pluto was the master of time with a beautiful silhouette, she came off as a doctor in her daily life. Uranus and Neptune were the most interesting of the four with their on-going lesbian relationship. Uranus kept her hair short, wore manly suits, and liked racing cars. She strayed farthest from the usual expected feminine characteristics. Neptune, on the other hand, was a famous musician that loved dresses and was seen often times embracing her sexuality. These different types of female characters gave young girls the opportunity to see how diverse female characteristics could be. This post, including more academic sources, was originally published here.