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Happy First Birthday Shojo Power!

rei, makoto, minako, usagi and ami wear dresses and throw confetti. manga image from mangastyle.net

A year ago, I attended a small anime convention dedicated solely to Sailor Moon. At that convention, I gave a panel explaining how Sailor Moon can be looked at through a feminist lens. The enthusiastic response from the attendees lead the the creation of this blog. The first post on Shojo Power! appeared on July 7th, 2013. I cannot believe it has been a whole year! Time flies when you’re having fun, right?

In celebration of Shojo Power’s first birthday, I thought this would be a good time to take a look at what Shojo Power! has become in its first year. On to the statistics!

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Anime-Expo-Logo

 

Anime Expo has always been on my bucket list. C’mon, the biggest anime convention in the United States?! Of course! I knew the cast of the 90s Sailor Moon English dub would be attending, but I thought maybe, maybe I could see them at Otakon. However, once VIZ announced their acquisition of the franchise and the new English dub cast would be appearing at AX, I was sold!

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Usagi has a worried face. Thinks about a fat Usagi.

At Shojo Power! I’ve talked broadly about whether or not Sailor Moon promotes fat hatred. I found Sailor Moon has a complicated relationship with body image, some positive and some negative. I touched briefly on episode 4 (Sub: “Learn How to Be Skinny from Usagi”/DIC dub: “Slim City”) in that post, but since the original episode is now available on Hulu.com, we can talk about it together! I sat down to watch VIZ’s sub and the old DIC dub to see what kind of message it sends.

[Content Note: fat shaming, dieting]

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Sailor Moon’s on Hulu! Open Thread

Sailor Moon stands in front of a moon with the words "Now on hulu"

For the first time ever, Sailor Moon is now (legally) available to stream online! Today the first four episodes of the first season of the original anime have been uploaded to Hulu.com. After today, two episodes will be uploaded every Monday. Check it out!

Episode 1: The Crybaby: Usagi’s Beautiful Transformation

Everything starts here!

Episode 2: Punishment Awaits: the House of Fortune Is the Monster Mansion

Content Note: This episode never aired in the States because the villain lifts up his teacher’s skirt, showing her underwear.

Episode 3: The Mysterious Sleeping Sickness: Protect the Girls in Love

This is one of my favorite early episodes. I’m not sure why!

Episode 4: Learn How to Be Skinny from Usagi

Content Note: This episode involves fat shaming. You can totally skip this episode if need be.

I would love to hear from new fans–you have heard SO MUCH about Sailor Moon and now you’ve finally seen the first four episode, what do you think!? Is it everything you thought it would be? Do you think you’ll stick with it?

For older fans, is this your first time watching the subtitled version? What do you think of the original music? Maybe you’ve seen the subtitled version, can you spot any changes in this new translation?

Leave your thoughts below!

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The Meaning of Moon Prism Power, Make Up!

sticker,375x360

 

Via RedBubble.com

Moon Prism Power, Make-Up! It’s the phrase our heroine uses to transform from an ordinary school girl into the legendary Sailor Moon. It’s as recognizable as the Power Rangers’ “It’s morphin’ time!” or the Avengers’ “Assemble!” But for fans of Sailor Moon, this transformation call isn’t just any old catch phrase. It’s an incantation that conjures much more.

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Promo image of the new anime Sailor Moon Crystal drawn in Chibi Jen's chibi style

Sailor Chibi Moon may have the word “chibi” in her name, but she’s not the only “chibi” around! Enter the popular webcomic Moon Sticks which has been entertaining moonies for over  five years. Moonsticks.org is a weekly four panel comic that transforms the sailor soldiers we know and love into tiny, adorable chibis and crack jokes that any moonie can appreciate. The creator of Moon Sticks, Chibi Jen, was gracious enough to answer my questions about how this webcomic comes to life.

Anne Lee: First things first! How did you get into Sailor Moon?

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How SAGA Won My Heart

I’m sure this doesn’t come as a huge surprise–I’m not much of an American comic book reader. My shelves consist of scores and scores of Japanese manga, no American “graphic novels” in sight. I’ve always meant to rectify this, to assuage my guilt over this lack of support. It wasn’t until years ago when I bought the prequel issues of The Guild that I finally owned an American comic. I absolutely loved these issues (and you totally check them out if you haven’t already!), but they were just a few stand alone issues, not a full blown series. I was still on the hunt for a good American comic  book series I could throw my money at.

After hearing about the new X-men series featuring an all-lady team, I gleefully waltzed into my local comic book shop and purchased the first three issues. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm was short lived and I completely lost interest by the third issue. I’ll save the reasons why for another post. However, I did come out of the experience realizing that I wasn’t much of a single issue person (unless it’s a single issue of Sailor Moon. GIMME! GIMME!) I’m a book person at my core so at least I knew my new adventure would have to involve a collected volume.

My next trip to the comic book store would change everything.

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In August 2013, popular internet critic/comedian Nostalgia Critic decided to review Sailor Moon. At the time, I was unfamiliar with Nostalgia Critic, but the review reverberated throughout the fandom. The rumblings weren’t particularly positive, so I decided to skip it. Fast forward a few months later, and on a boring, lazy Sunday, my curiosity got the better of me. It turns out this piece of internet comedy has a lot to say about male sexuality, female sexuality and victim blaming.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

[Content Note: Discussion of rape, guns and victim blaming]

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A banner that reads "Sailor Moon and the Return of the Shadows". You can see a cropped image of actress Sam Ross's face on the right.

Over the past ten years, Hollywood has been pumping out the live action superhero movies left and right–and it looks like there’s no end in sight. These movies has given us plenty of dude heroes, but not many lady heroes. It’s rather embarrassing–Batman, Spiderman and Superman have several movies each while the most recognizable American super heroine, Wonder Woman, has never appeared on the golden screen in the flesh. Finally, that will change in 2016. 

To improve the number of lady heroes, a live action Sailor Moon movie would be a logical choice to bring to the big screen. In fact, in this recent interview with Naoko Takeuchi and Osabu, they reveal that Hollywood did approach them (probably in the late 90s) about doing a movie. However, they took a pass on it because they didn’t think it could stay true to the original. While that news is disappointing, we have quite a few fan films to satiate our thirst. For one, we have a beautiful short that covers Sailor Moon’s awakening. Meanwhile, Sailor Moon: The Movie attempts to condense the whole first season into one movie. For fans of the fourth season, there’s a fanfilm out of Australia which re-imagines the Dream Arc. It looks like there’s another in the works based on the first season. (Also relevant: I think this Madoka Magica short is absolutely amazing!)

The most recent Sailor Moon fan film to grace the internet is Sailor Moon & the Return of the Shadows. I had the pleasure of meeting the writer and director, Christina Neno last year at Senshi Matsuri and was able to chat with her recently about the completed project. [Editor's Note: Interview has been edited from it's original form for clarity.]

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The Shojo Power of Beate Sirota Gordon

A young white woman in a long black coat stands on a ramp to a boat.

Beate Sirota Gordon leaving for Japan.
Credit: Asia Society

A year ago, I was perusing nytimes.com when I stumbled upon an article titled, “Beate Gordon, Long-Unsung Heroine of Japanese Women’s Rights, Dies at 89.” This article BLEW. MY. MIND. After graduating college, a 22 year old white woman went to Japan and wrote part of the Japanese constitution?! How come I didn’t know this? I had to know more. [click to continue…]

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