Television Tuesday :: 5 things that most conventional adult television could learn from Sailor Moon

4 Aug

Honestly, a lot of this applies to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic as well.

5. Hero-types can have “civilian” friends or family without there being a big to-do about having to Keep A Secret from them.
And sure, a lot of the reason there is not a big to-do about the secret is that the civilian friends and family we see seem to just all be mysteriously oblivious (Usagi’s parents, Naru and Umino, etc.), but there is that time at the end of season two where Naru says something to the effect of “there is something weird going on isn’t there” and Usagi doesn’t immediately go paranoid, she just says “we’ll talk later, sure.”  There is drama in the scene because Usagi is currently mid-drama, bu it’s not over Naru’s maybe-realization.  And they don’t visibly talk later, but it’s not a big messy “I must keep my secret” situation either.

4. Romance can be a sideline.
There are romantic subplots involving all of the inner senshi, but save the Usagi-Mamoru-Rei season 1 love triangle and the subsequent Usagi/Mamoru whatever, and I guess the occasional Rei/Yuuichirou sidenote, these never last more than an episode or two.  There are crushes on Motoki, there’s Ami’s thing with Urawa, there are attractions here and there, but it’s never that important.  As Ami is fond of reminding everyone, they’re fourteen, they should be focusing on school.  Or fighting evil, or friendship.  And aside from Usagi/Mamoru the most prevalent relationship in the show is Haruka/Michiru.  Which is very very gay.  There is also the very very gay relationship between Zoicite and Kunzite in season 1, on top of some other relationships (many of them unhealthy) between villains, but that’s not quite the same thing.  Having romance not being the primary focus, but still be something that is mentioned sometimes, because hell, people are allowed to be into that but it probably shouldn’t take up the entire narrative, is refreshing and all too rare.

3. Gender positivity can exist.
Which is to say, here is a show about a bunch of teenage girls wearing skirts and bows to fight magic crime with heart-shaped wands and stars and moons everywhere, and the only ones who ever criticize this are overt bad guys, and male ones at that.  No bullshit strong female characters tearing down other female characters for feminine presentation.  And also, Haruka.  Is so important.  Haruka is androgynous in the extreme, leaning toward genderqueer; she uses she/her pronouns, largely because this was of the 90s when alternative pronouns were not really a thing that was being discussed widely I expect, but she wears the boy’s school uniform and traditionally masculine clothes.  If she has a blazer on, she apparently looks just like a really pretty boy.  And this does not phase anyone.  It’s just accepted.  And on the flip side, she does not disdain any of the more feminine-presenting characters.  She’s in love with Michiru for chrissakes and Michiru is about the most elegant femme girl in the world.

2. Supportive female relationships can exist.
Even the most contentious relationship, between Usagi and Rei, which through season 1 is wrapped around a love triangle of sorts with Mamoru, is still shown time and again to really be full of love.  Rei yells at Usagi, but inspirationally.  Usagi and Rei argue, but then they still make colored-pencil wobbly eyes at each other sometimes.  Etcetera.  And furthermore, the girls are all fundamentally different types but aside from some teasing (rolling eyes about Usagi wanting more food, rolling eyes about Mako declaring someone reminds her of her old boyfriend, rolling eyes about Ami doing homework) they support each other’s strengths.

1. Lesbians can exist.
Honestly, the existence of Michiru and Haruka is kind of destroying me as I watch it because it’s happening just like any other relationship.  And of course there’s 3.03 where they all spend the episode in love with Haruka, only to realize she’s a girl.  And Michiru and Haruka.  Supportive and weirdly entrancing for animated characters.  Also, the rest of the show is just a big pile of gal pals.  (Chibi-Usa and Hotaru are SO SOON I am so excited tiny baby gal pals they’re the best.)

–your fangirl heroine.

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