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!
As far as representation goes, Fisheye in the anime is a pretty bad example and is actually kind of transmisogynist to be honest.
Their whole schtick as a part of the amazon trio is to “””trick people””” into being attracted to them at which point the disguise comes off.
Which is squarely in the ballpack of the transmisogynist trope: ‘the deceptive trans woman’ which was seen in “The Crying Game” and “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.”
Even Naoko’s character design sketches in the materials collection have a little note referring to them as “okama” which is a Japanese slur for an effeminate gay man or a crossdresser.
She refers to them as okama? Urgh…..thanks for pointing that out!
yes, I agree, but Fisheye was also the first one from their group to make a 180 degree turn from the evil, and it began with them falling in love with a man and wanting to dream bigger and be bigger than a mindless pawn. I remember lots of other anime genderqueer coded villains who did not had the luxury of, yknow, being sympathetic to the viewer… but yes I do agree – it’s still bad.
I totally agree! I would say Fish Eye is my favorite of the trio for that very reason.
I also wanted to say that Sailor Moon (and after that, Utena and Cardcaptor Sakura) completely spoiled me in the lgbt characters department. Now I just can’t quite enjoy a series without major characters being casually bisexual, genderqueer characters, and don’t get me started on the obviously gay couples 🙁
I know, right!! People were losing it over Korra & Asami, but I’m like, “Guys, you need to dream bigger!”
oh my god, i just awarned by this article that ‘kunzite and zoisite’ is gay couple and fish eye are a man; i think only haruka and michiru and sailor stars characters who represent LGBT.
Many versions changed the gender of Zoisite and Fish Eye. Which version did you watch? 🙂