At my panel at Senshi Matsuri, I started with the representation of women/girls in Sailor Moon and moved on to LGBT representation. Now you might be asking yourself what does LGBT representation have to do with feminism? Well, a lot actually! Since LGBT people don’t fit “traditional” definitions of family, sex, and femininity/masculinity, many issues fall under the movement to end “sexist oppression.”
In America, we have strong and active religious groups that believe homosexuality is a sin according to the bible. Or, they believe the bible sanctifies “traditional” gender roles. They actively work to prevent same sex marriage, for example. However, Japan does not have these religious groups, so does that mean Japan is some gay utopia? Unfortunately, no. Not only is same sex marriage prohibited in the Japanese constitution, but since continuing the family line is incredibly important in Japanese culture, heterosexual sex has to happen somehow. And it’s not necessarily going to happen through adoption or fertility treatments.
But back to Sailor Moon. Despite all that, Japan is pretty comfortable with LGBT people on their TV screens. I asked one of my students why, in her opinion, this was the case and she explained to me that the Japanese are curious to know the feelings of gay people. In Sailor Moon, there are several LGBT characters and some of these characters are also villains.
First up is Kunzite and Zoisite from season one of the anime!
Now, it’s not exactly a victory for the villains to be gay. For example, you might start thinking that being gay means being “evil.” Moreover, the “good guys” generally want to kill the “bad guys!” This means your gay characters are disposable and don’t get much screen time. However, I think it is worth pointing out that Kunzite and Zoisite’s love is probably THEE most humanizing characteristic they have. Gay love as humanizing–that’s pretty cool.
But Kunzite and Zoisite aren’t the only gay characters in the anime, we also have Fish Eye in season four!
Now, I’m not sure exactly how Fish Eye defines himself. Gay man? Cross dresser? A trans woman? But what we do know is that Fish Eye isn’t ashamed of himself. This is probably why Fish Eye is my favorite Amazon! There are definitely a lot of issues surrounding Fish Eye’s portrayal. I’m thinking of episodes such as episode 140 (sub) where the victim of the day falls in love with Fish Eye’s “girlish beauty.” The victim feels “betrayed” when he learns that Fish Eye doesn’t have certain genitals that he was expecting. Or in episode 143 (sub) where Fisheye selects a young grade boy as his victim and then basically makes sexual comments towards the young boy. I definitely want to make a more dedicated post to these episodes.
So those are the gay villains in the Sailor Moon anime–well, at least the ones that are obvious (do I have any Lead Crow/Aluminum Siren fans out there? LOL). But Sailor Moon doesn’t only have gay villains, but LGBT heroes too! Stay tuned for next post LGBT Representation: Heroes Edition!