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harlzen
harlzen
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August 2009
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harlzen [userpic]
Sailor Moon (Season 1)

There are probably a bunch of anime which have just had waaaay too much influence amongst western anime fans. So much influence that one begins to wonder, despite the apparent failings of the material itself, just what managed to grab peoples minds. Three that stand out would have to be dragonball, sailor moon and probably pokemon. Titles that were huge in Asia, like doreamon, don't necessarily register, anime was largely invisible in that far off pre-robotech time. Pokemon probably doesn't really count either, it's continuing flurry of game tie-ins and merchandise make it obvious. But what of titles like Sailor moon? The title that launched a million cos-play disasters?

Well, having found good quality material to watch (and the original stuff, not the recut for US tv terror) I was still happy to let it sit and brood on a shelf. The idea of subjecting myself to such an immense number of episodes, of a dated series, aimed at young Japanese girls and best known for having an intensely irritating lead character was easily avoidable. However finding someone crazy enough to volunteer to watch the first season with me tipped the balance. It's going to take a while though.

So have I worked out what it is about this show that has given it such durability? Not really, but a couple of things do come to mind.

- The first is that the show ages quite reasonably. The action is all posing and repeated animation sequences after all, and the rest is just character work which doesn't really need flashy animation to work. The music is quite good, watching the three leads bounce off one another can be entertaining and Usagi's voice really is capable of peeling paint.

- The enemy fields a dark queen who goes a long way towards suggesting secret plans, even though she doesn't do a whole heap. She has a sequence of bishounen generals, disposed of when they fail too often / get boring, who have somewhat different tactics. And those generals summon a freakish monster of the week for the girls to defeat. The action itself is boring, the girls really don't have an immense range of tactical options (poor ami and her unexciting bubble-bath attack) but it does get a decent sense of horror / threat going. The monsters are pretty nasty looking, some of their schemes are quite cruel and it honestly does seem like they are doing their best to really splatter the sailor senshi. They almost remind me of devilman, and are really quite shounen monsters for such a series. Was sailor moon the first magical girl show to have truly monstrous opponents? I know the first magical girl series did not have such oppositional focus.

- Usagi is immensely annoying. This does help somewhat to draw other people, including the other sailors, out as they react to her being off the wall. But I also wonder if her being so boyish, and flawed, is actually part of her popularity. Did her flaws allow fans to see her as someone they could potentially replace? Or is it that she's such an antithesis to the ideal Japanese female that it was all rather exciting at the time? She certainly is somewhat impressive in the scope of her flaws, especially her interactions with her mother.

- And of course, there's the outfits. Near naked transformation sequences, suspiciously busty 14 year olds and extremely short skirts yet relatively simple designs and an extremely recognisable motif go a long way to explain the cosplay popularity. This is assisted by the fact that much of the action consists of nicely staged, but relatively static, poses.

I must say, however, that the eye-catch still scares me. When entering into the adverts a spotlight scans the screen until it highlights sailor moon. That's fine, no problem, but the all male chorus of "sailoooor mooooon" when she is highlighted is frightening. It reeks of fanboy, and those rather older than 14.

Oh well, will be interesting... I hope.

Also bought myself a keyboard. 60$ US + the same in postage (ouch!) in order to buy a modern reproduction of a 20+ year old keyboard from the one place that still makes them. I hope they're as good as I remember them!

Tags: ,
Current Location: orbiting AK
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Silence... awaiting the clicking of keys.
Comments

Wait till season 3 (Sailor Moon S), when the Outer Senshi come it! They are LOOOVEE, I tell you, LOOVEE!! ;)

But seriously, while I agree that a lot of episodes are rather repetitive and the storyline drawn out for far longer than necessary, I think the main appeal of long series like this are the development and interaction of the characters. I'm not sure about male audiences, but the feelings of the Senshi are definitely something that (young) girls can relate to, and the values presented in the show reflect an ideal society.

Usagi is intentionally made to be annoying, I agree, but the pureness and innocence of her heart overcomes all, and her circle of friends who would literally die for her make the show an extremely warm experience. ^^

Also, with the entrance of the Outer Senshi, the show seems to develop a "mature edge" to it (for obvious reasons ;)). IMO, the show matures with each season, almost as if it's following the age of its target audience. By the final season (Sailor Moon Stars), some of the content in there is so mature that I'm sure that it would fly over the heads of the show's initial demographic. The core "monster-of-the-week-plus-transformation" is still there, but the subtext surrounding the side issues are much more engaging.

Anyway, I just ranted. XD In short, I can see how Sailor Moon wouldn't be for everyone, but stick with it at least until the Outer Senshi come in and tell me what you think then. ;)

I only promised him Season 1!!! And then either he's going to have to sit through the rest by himself or chuck in the towel.

Problem is that there is far too much anime out there I want to watch. What are you watching at the moment?

lol, IMO you guys should have started with Season 3. =P

Yeah, there are a lot of stuff out there...too much to keep track of anymore. I haven't decided what I'm watching at the moment, just mass sampling XD But I'll hopefully decide soon. ^^

I'm also really enjoying watching some older stuff, the general storyline and execution just seems to be better and more meaningful. I really like watching shows where you can tell that it meant something to the creator other than money.