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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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Sailor Moon’s Heroic Lady Poses

AvengersKevinBolk

In 2011, the above image of the Avengers by artist Kevin Bolk made the rounds on the internet. He had noticed that in many promo images for the movie Black Widow was constantly posed in such a way that the viewer could gaze at both her boobs and butt at the same time. The male avengers, however, are never posed like this.

The original promo image Kevin Bolk used. Credit.

The original promo image.

And it’s just not the Avengers—TheMarySue.com has extensively covered this phenomena across several movies. American comics have been known to do this as well with this image of Catwoman and this image of Mary Jane being notable examples. To bring attention to this issue, on December 2nd 2012, The Hawkeye Initiative was born. Their mission? To insert male comic characters into these hyper-sexualized poses to illustrate the lengths that artists go to sexualize lady heroes. In other words, artists focus on dude heroes’ strength whereas lady heroes are reduced to their tits and ass. With this in mind, my thoughts turned to Sailor Moon. It turns out that Sailor Moon can teach American artists a thing or two about being both sexy, but not sexualized.

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Dismantling White Supremacy in Sailor Moon

Black Lady or Wicked Lady stands with the words "You can Call Me Black Lady" written across

Via tara-senpai

The English dub of Sailor Moon produced by DiC Entertainment made numerous changes that fans were not happy with. Genders were switched, gay love was erased, and whole episodes cut or spliced together–the list can go on and on. But there were a few small changes that no one really talks about that I think should be given its due credit. The Sailor Moon English dub goes out of its way to eliminate the notion that the words “dark” and “black” should be equated with evil.

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Senshi Matsuri Panel Series

My mom was unable attend my panel at Senshi Matsuri so I wanted to offer her the next best thing–a series of posts based off of my powerpoint presentation. I realize I don’t have a post based on my “What is Feminism?” slide, but I suppose this post will have to do. Anywho, for your convenience (and your mother’s!), Sailor Moon & Feminism 2013:

1. Does Sailor Moon Pass the Bechdel Test? 

2. LGBT Representation in Sailor Moon: Heroes Edition

3. LGBT Representation in Sailor Moon: Villains Edition 

4. Sailor Moon Says: Treat Trans People with Dignity!

5. Does Sailor Moon Promote Fat Hatred?

6. Body Image in Sailor Moon: Skin Tone Edition

7. Sexiness as Evil in Sailor Moon

8. Sailor Moon Says: Stop Victim Blaming!

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Sailor Moon Says: Stop Victim Blaming!

A protester holds up a sign with Sailor Moon and it says "Punish Rapists Not Victims!"

SlutWalk NYC 2011

Content Note: Sexual Assault, Victim Blaming

In 2011, Toronto, Canada, a group of students attended a campus safety information session where a representative of the Toronto police gave this advice: “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” Unfortunately, this representative must have been talking out of their ass because people of both sexes, all ages, professions and styles of dress have become victims of sexual assaults. Dissatisfied that authorities would only blame them for assaults committed against them, these students began a world-wide protest movement called SlutWalk.* Activists hoped these protests would bring more awareness about the realities of sexual assault.

In October 2011, I was able to attend the SlutWalk protest in New York City. At St. Mark’s, I spotted the above Sailor Moon sign and I practically tripped over my pilgrim dress (I was sporting a Hester Prynne outfit with a prominent A+. HEHEHE.) to get the above photo. I think Sailor Moon would agree that wearing a short skirt or knee high boots isn’t an excuse for sexual assault! I also admired the word play on the sign that referenced Sailor Moon’s signature speech: I’m Sailor Moon, champion of love and justice– and in the name of the moon, I will punish you!

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Sexiness as Evil in Sailor Moon

Queen Badiane hold Sailor Chibi Moon in black energy force field

Queen Badiane from the SuperS movie holds Sailor Chibi Moon. Credit: www.screwattack.com

Last Christmas, when I was at my childhood home, I sifted through my old Sailor Moon fanart. Among the Sailor Earth sketches, (YES SAILOR EARTH. I AM NOT ASHAMED.) there was a sketch of a villain–a woman with long black hair, crimson lips and long red nails. And it occurred to me–why does this woman have red lips? Why does she have long red nails? What was so evil about red lips or long red nails?

I took a look at my Sailor Earth–blue eyes, brown hair in pig tails (YEAH YEAH I KNOW) and I realized that she didn’t have red lips, long red nails nor long, black eyelashes even. And it dawned on me–why was the sexy woman evil? How did that happen?

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