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Shojo Power! Podcast Episode 3 Sailor Mercury

Sailor Moon Crystal Title Card for Act 2

Episode 3  of the Shojo Power Podcast is now available on SoundCloud!

Also, I have some exciting news–I’ve finally created a Patreon in conjunction with the podcast! Pledge now before Monday, September 24th 2018 5:30 EST and you could be part of our next podcast!

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Shojo Power! Podcast Episode 2 Slim City

 

Episode 2 of the Shojo Power Podcast is now available on SoundCloud! Just FYI, this episode discusses body image issues like weight and dieting. Please follow so you can review our monthly podcast.

And in case if you missed it, here is our first episode where we compare and contrast the first episode of Sailor Moon Classic and Sailor Moon Crystal.

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The Real Life Princess Kaguya: Dr. Chiaki Mukai

Manga panel with Himeko saying she wants to become an astronaut

In the Summer of 2018, the Sailor Moon S and SuperS movies were released in North American theaters. Growing up, the Sailor Moon S movie was my favorite—although now, having viewed the R and S movies back to back, I do agree with most fans—the R movie is the best. That said, the S movie still holds a special place in my heart. Who doesn’t love Human Luna and understand her heartbreak? Another reason I love the S movie is that it has a less fantastical moon princess in it, astronaut Himeko Nayotake.

In Sailor Moon Short Stories 2, Naoko wrote extensive notes on where she drew inspiration from for this story. Naoko writes that she flew all the way to Kennedy Space Center to watch Dr. Chiaki Mukai launch into space. On whim, I googled Dr. Mukai’s name and discovered that this wasn’t any ordinary space launch. With this launch on July 8th 1994, Dr. Mukai would become the first Japanese woman in space.

 

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Happy 5th Birthday Shojo Power!

Sailor Moon Winking with the phrase "In the name of the moon, Happy Birthday!"

It’s that time of year again! Each year I’ve celebrated Shojo Power!’s birthday in July. Can you believe it’s been five years? It amazes me that the 90s Sailor Moon only lasted five years and here we are,  six years since they announced the reboot and we still have two seasons to, more musicals coming and more merch!

Onto the Top 5 stats!

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The Top Ten Most Epic Deaths in Sailor Moon

Super Sailor Mars dies in Eternal Sailor Moon's arms

By now most of us have seen the magnum opus of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Infinity War Part 1. It’s a film that has a WHOLE LOTTA death that has spawned the most delicious memes. It made me think about other films and cartoons that have a whole lotta death, and behold! You know what has a whole lotta death in it? Sailor Moon! In fact, there’s so much death in Sailor Moon, I could be here all week! Death in the manga! Death in the anime! Death in the live action! Death on the stage! But, I shall restrain myself. I decided to put together a top ten list of the deaths that were most impactful to me across all incarnations of Sailor Moon. Here we go!

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The Mommy Track: Motherhood in Sailor Moon

Neo Queen Serenity holds Chibiusa in this anime image

In January 2017, the Sailor Moon R movie played in movie theaters across the United States. I was ecstatic that I was finally going to be able to see Sailor Moon in theaters for the first time. It had been quite some time since I had seen the Sailor Moon R movie–I think the last time was when it appeared on Toonami. Of course, the movie was as exciting and entertaining just as I had remembered, however, there was one scene that completely surprised me.

During the final battle, Chibiusa, who is safely sitting on a rooftop with Luna and Artemis, tells them, “It’ll be okay, Sailor Moon is everyone’s mom!”

Wait, what? How?

Sailor Moon being everyone’s mom is pretty much the last thing I would say to describe Sailor Moon. In fact, throughout the second season of Sailor Moon, Chibiusa struggles to accept that Usagi is indeed her mother’s younger self. Usagi is the complete opposite of her mother–she’s childlike, self-centered, klutzy and a bit of a crybaby. Usagi and Chibiusa act more like sisters rather than mother and daughter.

I wasn’t the only one who was struck by this scene. The blog Tuxedo Unmasked, dug up an old interview with the movie’s director, Kunihiko Ikuhara that explains the theme of motherhood in the movie:

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The Sailor Moon Manga Act I Hate the Most

Usagi and Chibiusa are in swimsuits looking at fishes swimming in front of them

When Kodansha re-released the Sailor Moon manga in 2013, I was ecstatic. I eagerly purchased the new volumes even though I owned all the old Tokyopop editions. Based on the second generation format of collected volume that were released in Japan in 2003, in this edition, all of the side stories were taken out of old volumes and collected in two separate volumes–Sailor Moon Short Stories 1 and 2.

It had been a while since I had read the manga, and I had mostly forgotten about the side stories. I was eager to revisit them with some fresh eyes. While most of them were as fun as I had remembered, it was Chibi-usa’s Picture Diary #2: Beware of Tanabata that left me the most confused and frustrated.

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Akiko Yosano and the Moon Flower

opening shot of the first opening credits of sailor moon crystal with the five guardians standing in front of a white moon in a field of blue flowers

Previously, I’ve written about how Raichō Hiratsuka’s famous essay In the Beginning, Woman was the Sun influenced Sailor Moon. Our heroine might not represent the Sun, but the light of her feminine power definitely shines brighter than anything else in the universe.

However, not all of the contributors to Seitō (aka Bluestocking) wanted to give up moon imagery. In fact, Raichō’s essay may not existed without the first contribution to Seitō, a series of poems by one of Japan’s most celebrated poets–and ardent feminist– Akiko Yosano.

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The Moon Kingdom screen from the 1992 anime

Next week is the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. I love this time of year because I get it stick a tree in my apartment and decorate it with lights. I find these lights to be very warm and inviting when it’s cold and dark outside. It’s probably the reason why I have the Silver Crystal so much on my mind lately. We all need a warm, bright light during this time, don’t we?

After posting my article last week about the Silver Crystal, I remembered a conversation on Twitter. Someone asked my friend Sakky (@sailorastera) why the Holy Sword was made out of Silver Crystal. It was a really good question because the manga makes a big deal about how the Silver Crystal is a unique and powerful object. It doesn’t make much sense if the Holy Sword can do the job just the same. Sakky had a really interesting response that I had never thought of before. She believed the whole Moon Kingdom was made out of Silver Crystal–even the plates!

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My Silver Crystal Brings All the Evil to the Yard

 

the silver crystal sits in the moon stick in front of a full moon

(Damn right it’s better than yours)

In September 2017, the revival of the Sailor Moon musicals came to an end with the adaption of the final manga arc, Le Mouvement Finale. It was bittersweet to watch–in a world full of terrible final seasons, Sailor Moon’s final arc is one of the few that feels satisfying. It brings the sailor guardians’ battle of good versus evil to a larger scale–it’s not just a battle for Earth, but for the whole galaxy. The battle is fought for the heart of darkness itself, the birthplace of everything–the Galaxy Cauldron.

During the final battle between Sailor Moon and Sailor Galaxia, we learn that both Good and Evil comes from the Galaxy Cauldron. This comes with the uneasy realization that this means all the Evil we’ve met in previous seasons–Queen Metallia, the Doom Phantom, Master Pharaoh 90, Nehelenia, and Chaos are all siblings of Sailor Moon. Moreover, the existence of Sailor Moon is the reason why these Evils kept coming to Earth–they were drawn by Sailor Moon’s light from her Silver Crystal.

This fact throws Sailor Moon into an emotional tailspin. She wonders if she should commit suicide, because if she does, she’ll end these battles. When I first read this back in the late 90s, I remember thinking that this was really unfair. It sounded really victim blamey. However, as the topic of online harassment has reached a fever pitch recently, perhaps Takeuchi-sensei didn’t mean to victim blame at all. Perhaps she was trying to warn us.

manga panel of the galaxy cauldron

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