Sailor Moon (also known as Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon) is a manga from writer-artist Naoko Takeuchi. The title means ‘sailor soldier’ or ‘sailor scout’ – magical girls who are to save the world from destruction. This name is derived from the costumes the super-girls wear, which is a school uniform, classed in some circles as a sailor costume.
Takeuchi originally began her series with one sailor scout, who was to defend the world. This manga was known as Codename: Sailor V, which followed the story of one cute sailor solider that fought evil in outer space. It was later adapted for the anime, where the titular character became part of a team. Combining the magical girl genre with the Super Sentai Series, it was the beginning of a new franchise.
Sailor Moon was born.
The manga was written in 52 Acts, beginning in 1991 in Japan. It came to the Western culture, such as the United Kingdom, in 1992, making it twenty years old!
With such success, Sailor Moon became an anime. It featured Usagi Tsukino (known as Serena Tsukino in the Western adaptation), a 14 year-old school girl, who thinks her life is plain and ordinary. She seems a typical school girl, until she meets a lilac talking cat called Luna. Luna reveals that Usagi/Serena is ‘Sailor Moon’, the solider of love and justice on behalf of the moon. She must protect the Earth against the evil Dark Kingdom.
Usagi/Serena is not on her own in having to save the world. She is joined by:
- Mamoru Chiba/Darian Shields (Tuxedo Mask)
- Ami Mizuno/Amy Mizuno (Sailor Mercury)
- Rei Hiro/Raye Hiro (Sailor Mars)
- Mokoto Kino/Lita Kino (Sailor Jupiter)
- Minako Aino/Mina Aiona (Sailor Venus)
- Chibiusa/Rini (Sailor Mini Moon)
- Haruka Tenoh/Amara Tenoh (Sailor Uranus)
- Michiru Kaioh/Michelle Kaioh (Sailor Neptune)
- Setsuna Meioh/Trista Meioh (Sailor Pluto)
- Hotaru Tomoe (Sailor Saturn)
The anime has had six series’, featuring many of the characters mentioned and the ever-growing fear of evil with the Dark Kingdom. These series’ include:
- Sailor Moon
- Sailor Moon R
- Sailor Moon S
- Sailor Moon Super S
- Sailor Moon Sailor Stars
The manga and the anime both follow many themes such as, astronomy, astrology, Greek myths, Roman myths, geology, Japanese elements, teen fashion and school girl antics.
It has been described as empowering, with feminist tendencies, due to its large female superhero cast. However, others scorn it for its vibrant colours and cutesy action sequences.
With such huge success, there has been much merchandising from the franchise, including The Art of… books, live-action television shows and films, stage musicals, and games. The huge and still ever-growing fans are loyal to the series, and the Sailor Solider’s are incredibly popular choices to cosplay at comic conventions.