ScarJo is not Major Motoko

I wrote this for my first-year seminar, but it’s about the timeless issue of white-washing in Hollywood. So this is really old news.

Section 9/Ghost in the Shell/Masamune Shirow

Ghost in the Shell, based on Masamune Shirow’s manga series of the same name, is set in a futuristic Japanese city and follows protagonist Major Motoko Kusanagi and members of Public Security Section 9, a covert task force within the Japanese National Public Safety Commission specializing in cyber-warfare.

Not being of Asian descent aside, Scarlett Johansson is 5’3″ and lithe while Major Motoko is a 5’6″ and muscular. Even if Johansson changes herself physically, she still won’t cut it for me.

The casting of Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi is unfortunate because

  • she lacks the emotion/physical presence of Motoko
  • it takes away an opportunity from an actress of Asian descent
  • it perpetuates a long-standing tradition of whitewashing because of the financial stability in it

I don’t really have anything against Scarlett Johansson. She’s talented, though definitely better in some films than in others. But I just can’t see her as Motoko.

Major Motoko Kusanagi/Ghost in the Shell/Masamune Shirow

Major Motoko Kusanagi of the Japanese Public Safety Commission is both terrifying and alluring. As an elite member of a covert task force, Motoko takes command of a room with nothing more than a look. She is enigmatic and lethal, while simultaneously lonely and even vulnerable. She leads a team of men, who both fear and respect her. While she prefers to be in the body (shell) of a young female, her soul and mind (ghost) are old and wise. The old-soul-trapped-in-a-young-body cliché actually allows her character to alternate between being optimistic and cynical about human nature.

I have yet to see Johansson fulfill a role as complex as Major Motoko. In most movies, I’ve found her a too flirty and a little too infantilized—even as Black Widow. When she’s plays a “badass female,” Johansson always seems like she’s trying to be an underestimated threat, rather than an actual threat who immediately instills fear in others. Her tendency to cover the lethal nature of her characters (let’s throw Lucy in there too) makes her a very bad fit for the role of Major Motoko.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of Asian and Asian American actresses who could have been recruited as the lead role. (Hello! Maggie Q of Nikita, anyone?) This movie could have been an amazing opportunity to enhance diversity in the industry. But those things didn’t happen and it’s a shame!

The whitewashing of Motoko, among other characters of color for live-action adaptations, takes away opportunities for both underrated and aspiring performers of color to boost representation!

USC study examining on-screen diversity found that in 2013, Asian characters accounted for only 4.4% of speaking roles in the top-grossing films. A year later, afollow-up USC study found that Asian characters accounted for 5.3% of speaking or named characters in the 100 top-grossing films of 2014. Yay, 0.9% increase. That should be a good sign right? No, because in the same survey, we see that women accounted for 28.1% of speaking or named characters in the 100 top-grossing films of 2014.

Given these numbers (oooo scary ~ no, more like sad), can you guess how many women of Asian decent are speaking or named character (don’t be scared of this high standard)?

Answer: A pathetically small number.

So why would the American remake star a white actress? Why would the industry continue whitewashing roles from source material that features Asian and Asian American leads? Is it that difficult to find people of Asian descent to play lead roles for these film adaptations? (Especially now that more Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders performers on appearing on TV and on YouTube.) Plenty of white folks have played lead roles, why not give Asian/American actors a crack at it?


6/1000s of problematic and/or white-washed portrayals of people of Asian

Whitewashing, the practice of casting white actors to play characters that should have been people of color, has been a Hollywood staple since the beginning of the film industry. It comes in many forms: changing the identity of characters completely, blackface, brownface, yellowface, etc.

While Major Motoko certainly transcends gender and ethnicity, the story of Ghost in the Shell is heavily intertwined with Japanese culture. It is an unfortunate that DreamWorks made a simple economic decision: Cast Scarlett Johannsson because she’s the safe and conservative choice for a “secret-agent character.”

The gist of the problem is that plenty of complex characters (who could/should have been played by actors of color) were played by white actors, because it was deemed more appropriate/lucrative/superior.

I’m sick of capable and talented performers of color being passed up on roles for characters of color, especially in anime adaptations. My heart is done with being let down when source material featuring characters of Asian descent are whitewashed, while my favorite Asian American performers have few opportunities to break out of type-casted roles.

Tuesday Night Cafe is the oldest still-running Asian American open mic space in the country. TNC maintains a passionate, positive space with a focus on promoting the work of Asian American/Pacific Islander performers.

This American remake will not my American society, which includes Asian Americans. What a sham. Looking forward to hate-watching Ghost in the Shell in 2017.

For more of thoughts on Ghost in the Shell and Asians in film:

CLAMP vs the Genres

CLAMP: Satsuki Igarashi, Tsubaki Nekoi, Nanase Ohkawa, and Mokona

CLAMP, an all-female team of manga artists and writers from Japan, has left their mark on the comics sphere with their subversion of misogynistic genre tropes. The iconic four-member team (Satsuki Igarashi, Tsubaki Nekoi, Nanase Ohkawa, and Mokona) upends those tropes by publishing works that challenge gender and age stereotypes as well as the conventions of demographic genres. One such work is xxxHolic (pronounced “Holic”) which critiques the misogynistic tendency in anime and manga to villainize older women who are sexual and powerful.

On the surface, xxxHolic conforms to many of the conventions and character tropes common to manga aimed at a male audience. The protagonist of the story, Watanuki, is male. The main female characters of the story, Yūko, has a more passive narrative role. Yūko serves as the somewhat villainous foil for innocent Watanuki. As Yūko is not granted equal screen time or narrative depth to Watanuki, xxxHolic positions men as subjects and women as objects.

Watanuki and Yūko/Chapter 1/xxxHolic/CLAMP

Watanuki and Yūko/Chapter 1/xxxHolic/CLAMP

Yūko is first introduced in xxxHolic as an eerie woman surrounded by mysterious smoke. Her narrow eyes make her seem somewhat sinister, and her long black hair is haphazardly spread across her clothing like a spider’s web. The black crescent moons that adorn her seat and the choker around her neck associate her with darkness and magic. In fact, she is the anicent and powerful “Dimensional Witch” (Jigen no Majo), capable of granting any wish for a price equal to the value of the wish (taika). When she agrees to grant protagonist Watanuki’s wish, Yūko is menacing as the shadows seem to engulf her. Therefore, the reader is led to believe that Yūko is a dark and evil witch.

Yūko/Chater 4/xxxHolic/CLAMP

Yūko’s sexiness (her shapely figure, slender limbs, and exposed skin) is arguably a negative aspect of her character. According to the conventions of shōjo manga, tall and beautiful women who possess sexual maturity are invariably deadly and evil. The overt sexuality of an adult woman is thus contrasted against the virginal innocence of a typical shōjo heroine.

Yūko is a spell-casting witch, a trope familiar to audiences not only from manga such as Sailor Moon but also from Disney movies. The witch is usually seen as an older woman who is either a black-hearted queen, an evil sorceress, or a vindictive stepmother. She is easily identified by the lethal threat she poses to the hero or heroine. She is feared for her female sexuality, for her old age, or for her intelligence and capability.

Yūko, Sakura, and Himawari/xxxHolic/CLAMP

However, Yūko the witch can be seen in a more positive light. She is not the threat that must be killed and overcome, but instead she is an emblem of feminist empowerment who should be celebrated and embraced. Though she looks wicked, Yūko is also a toughloving nurturer. Yūko does business with several troubled yet naïve young women who usually end up more miserable than they were before they met her. But a closer reading of these encounters reveals that the price Yūko asks her clients to pay is often mere self-reflection. She forces them to question their motives and beliefs in an attempt to make them understand what they are really wishing for. The price, which is often mercilessly extracted, is painful self-examination.

Chapter 46/xxxHolic/CLAMP

When she asks a client (seen above) to decide between destroying evidence of a murder she committed and being truthful to herself and the law, Yūko hovers over the woman seductively and guides (instead of manipulating) the young woman to make a difficult decision. When the client continues to avoid responsibility for her actions and insists on erasing the photo from existence, Yūko advises to not use her words lightly and grants the woman’s wish, the unhappy consequences of which she understands only after its fulfilled. The seemingly evil and uncompassionate Yūko tries to advise and protect young women like her aforementioned client from making greater mistakes and facing more terrible consequences.


In some aspects, xxxHolic conforms to many of the genre conventions of shōnen and seinen manga aimed at male audiences. It has a male protagonist through whose point of view readers engage with the fictional world. Nevertheless, Yūko and her position of power is prominently featured on the covers and in the content of the manga. Despite not being a point-of-view character and being a witch, she is the heroine of her hidden story within the story.

The worldwide success of xxxHolic demonstrates that female creators are able to spin gendered tropes in gendered media in a way that overturns sexist notions while still appealing to a broad and diverse audience. CLAMP proves wrong those who claim that media targeted at males has a more general appeal and sells better than media targeted at females. The bestselling manga of CLAMP (all of them) prove that readers of all genders can find great appeal both in stories that subvert demographic genre categories and in critiques of the objectification of female characters.

International Sailor Moon Day Recap

Thank you…Rachel and Travis for organizing the event.
Viz Media for your sponsorship of the Los Angeles fan gathering and for bringing back Sailor Moon.
Jane, Paige, Vivian, Claire, Jessica, Regina, Travis, Dana, Chong, Mariza, and Rachel for sharing your stories with me.

Sailor Moon has served as a symbol for strength, a beacon for hope, and of course a Soldier for Love and Justice. She and her squad of Sailor Soldiers have fought against the gender stereotypes, and empowered others to being more loving and accepting of themselves and one another.

Those who attended the Los Angeles fan gathering on International Sailor Moon Day have similar sentiments. Many of the fans at first enjoyed the animation and vibrant personalities of Usagi and her friend. Then they watched the series again and saw beyond the glitter and sparkle. They saw Usagi and her friends preach, if not display, the positive messages about femininity, girl power, gender equality, friendship, independence, and so much more!

A number of people recounted the first episode they watched and how they were so impressed by the multifaceted characters who were extremely relatable and outspoken.

Jessica’s first Sailor Moon episode was “Episode 7: An Uncharmed Life”* in which Rei Hino became Sailor Moon. Until then, Jessica had never seen a hero like Sailor Moon before. She was goofy and lazy, terrible at life, but was the Moon Princess! Not to mention, Jessica related to Makoto’s struggles as a tall girl, and admired Haruka’s sense of duty and honor.

Mariza’s first Sailor Moon episode was “Episode 5: Computer School Blues” in which Ami Mizuno was first introduced. But it wasn’t until later, when she watched the series again, that she realized that there were life lessons and ethics imbued in the show. For her, the “Sailor Says” segment was a great feature, something that she would hope to share with younger girls.

Jane was about 8 or 9 years old when she watched Sailor Moon with a friend who was all about girl power. Jane appreciated that the female characters were so diverse in personality and behavior.

Regina watched Sailor Moon on Channel 13 on Sunday morning. She loved the feminist values that were highlighted in the show. Characters were flawed and had different personalities, but they shared common values and supported each other through and through.

On top of that, folks say that watching Sailor Moon has not only changed their life in incredible ways.

Vivian, who watched Sailor Moon on Spanish TV, was exposed to issues revolving around gender and sexuality. Now in college, she understands the narrative and progressive messages about gender fluidity better.

Chong was dazzled by Sailor Moon’s music and themes of love, justice, and friendship. He overcame gender stigma and embraced his identity as a Korean-American.

Paige, who grew up as a tomboy, embraced her femininity and connected with others through the lessons she’s learned in Sailor Moon and the subsequent animes she watched after Sailor Moon.

Rachel was inspired to become a soldier of love herself. She was accepted into the Master of Social Work program at USC and stated that she wants to do non-profit community outreach.

Dana used Sailor Moon to create a safe space for herself to learn from these tough girls moral lessons and overcome her struggles with bullying. She loved the series so much, she shared Sailor Moon Crystal with her daughter, so that her daughter can find the same empowerment and strength Dana has.

Speaking of sharing…There were a few attendees who were new to the fandom. They were introduced to the show by their friends.

Claire only recently started watching Sailor Moon because of Vivian. She really enjoyed the positive messages about femininity and girl power.

By now you must have seen people repeat the same themes: femininity, girl power, morals, diversity in personalities, friendship, and self-discovery. That’s because many fans of Sailor Moon share similar values and connections to the series. They love it for all these reasons and more, because they still each have unique experiences watching the series.

Travis believed that Sailor Moon is a story for people who are trying to find themselves. It is a story of a story of self-discovery, maturity, independent and inspiration. It is a story where love conquers all.

It is that story and more. It’s also a story about self-acceptance, self-confidence, cooperation, and support. There are many interpretations of the story of Sailor Moon, most of which are correct, and can be learned when you go to the next Sailor Moon fan gathering and talk with people about why Sailor Moon is important to them.

This is for the inaugural celebration of International Sailor Moon Day in Los Angeles, and here’s to many more!

※ Because many of the attendees at the gathering first watched the DiC English dub version, I used the titles DiC gave Sailor Moon episodes.


World’s Finest! Podcast (S01E02) // Suicide Squad Trailer Analysis

Transcript for the video in case folks would like to read the conversation! TW: Mentions of domestic abuse and rape culture. Ben Hello internet! This is Ben here, a recent college grad from CSUF and future unemployed member of society. Elaine Hi, I’m Elaine! I’m…


Moon Prism Power, Make Up: An Overview

I choose three aspects of Sailor Moon I wanted to highlight that shows why anyone and everyone should watch it. I also wanted to give some background on the intention and making of Sailor Moon to show how progressive and positive it is, especially for young children and women.

Naoko Takeuchi/Toei Animation/VIZ Media/Sailor Moon

An average 14-year-old girl, Usagi Tsukino1 (Serena), becomes the crime-fighting soldier of justice and love Sailor Moon. She also makes friends with other reincarnated sailors of the Silver Millennium2; they must protect the world (and entire Milky Way) from evil. On the flip side, Usagi and her friends are shown balancing those big responsibilities with being regular school girls and going through puberty. (Priorities, priorities, priorities!)

Who run the world? Girls!

There are about 882 known characters total for almost every incarnation of Sailor Moon, most of which are females. Ladies dominate the scene as heroes, villains, and sidekicks. The presence of so many women removes the burden of representation from any one or two female characters as is the case in most shows and movies: Rather than make Usagi the perfect heroine, she is an average girl who is emotional, flighty, and boy-crazy, and still a wonderful heroine because she doesn’t represent all women. It’s refreshing to enter a world where women are free to be heroes, villains, and anything in between.

In the Sailor Moon universe, girls can literally be anything they want. They are ace students like Ami Mizuno (Amy/Sailor Mercury). They are vindictive commanders like Queen Beryl. They are sassy superstars like Minako Aino (Mina/Sailor V/Sailor Venus). They are badass queens like Queen Nehelenia. They are thrill-seeking racecar drivers like Haruko Tenuo (Amara/Sailor Uranus). They are world-class violinists like Michiru Kaiou (Michelle/Sailor Neptune). They are lovable meatball heads like Usagi, who can become elegant queens. Beyond the glitter and sparkle, these characters are relatable because they are characterized as realistic and complicated human begins. (Le gasp!) Heroes are fallible, but never shamed. Villains have some redeeming aspects. Fans can understand or sympathize with various characters’ emotions, motivations, and habits.

Let’s not forget that Sailor Moon is just fucking fun. Totally awesome team-ups happen between powerhouse characters! Hidden abilities are revealed at climactic moments! Villains become heroes! Heroes become villains! Alternate future selves return to the past to warn of timelines gone wrong! The scope of the story increases with each arc, revealing a vast intergalactic sisterhood of soldiers with different outfits, customs, and struggles.

The fact that Sailor Moon (a shoujo3 manga) is still extremely popular, both in Japan and internationally, is a big fucking deal! It’s popularity states that girls don’t have be masculine to be considered strong. That emphasis on the power of young women is perhaps best illustrated by that fact that the Sailor Senshi4 get their powers from magical makeup and fight with winged wands and sparkly tiaras.

I know, it doesn’t exactly seem empowering, but hear me out: Japanese society is extremely patriarchal, deeply segregated by gender. There’s even a feminine form of speech, which has a tendency to put women down a little bit by making their speech sound “softer” and more “submissive.” Not to mention, female professionals have pretty strict gender roles placed upon them. Even if they have powerful occupations, they feel the need to subvert that power by adopting preconceived gender identities, such as housewife. So though women are important figures, even they try to downplay their power so they seem less threatening. It’s sad, but true.

But then you see the Sailor Senshi use their gender identities as a source of power instead of using femininity to seem less threatening.—And, damn, are they hella fierce when kicking ass!

Not to mention, in every episode of the series, girls are shown working together to solve the problems they face. Much of the Sailor Senshi’s strength stems from their reliance and friendship with other girls, rather than the love of any boy. In fact, you can see how much more important friendship is over romance by all the posters and art where the Senshi are positioned together front-and-center, while Tuxedo Mask is in the background if he’s even in it at all.

Moreover, the dialogue and subtexts of the anime just scream “Feminism!” They don’t put up with misogynistic comments, nor do they stand for villains using consumerism to take advantage of young women. In the scene below, Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury, and Sailor Mars defeat male villain Jadeite, whose many schemes to harvest human energy typically involve exploiting female’s urge to uphold beauty standards (e.g. jewelry shopping, dieting).

[Sailor Moon Season 1 Episode 10: VIZ Media Version5]

Power of Love
Sailor Moon has an interesting take on the “hero” concept. Most shows depict heroes defeating villains with physical strength or superior fighting skills. However, Sailor Moon is not a hero because of her physical strength or magical abilities. What makes Sailor Moon a great hero is her ability to draw her strength from her capacity for compassion, a trait constantly associated with women. To have a show that puts forth a superheroine who uses a stereotypical feminine trait to defeat enemies, which is shown to be even stronger than stereotypical masculine traits such as aggression and violence, is a very positive message. Sailor Moon is a perfect example of a pacifist superhero, because she always seeks peaceful resolutions when possible. She is firmly believes in the “exhaust all diplomatic options” doctrine.6

Sailor Moon is assigned those typical protagonist character traits such as an unshakeable sense of morality, an unyielding sense of good, and a lack of inner darkness. Though her unparalleled goodness seems almost too perfect to be relatable for many young girls, it’s actually for the better than there are little to no cracks in her righteousness. For example, when Sailor Moon faces an extremely tough foe, she resolved to fight her enemy with love (even at the cost of killing everyone she loves). Sailor Moon’s decision to “make love, not war” is admirable, because it says that it is okay to call out people’s shit and try to help change their meanness by showing them love.

Naoko Takeuchi
Naoko Takeuchi mentioned in a 2013 interview with ROLa Magazine that many older male workers at Nakayoshi Magazine tried to dictate her characters’ appearances and attributes.7 However, Takeuchi ignored their complaints. She wouldn’t let “old men” decide how she should write her story for young girls, because they did not respect female authors in the first place. (But seriously, what would those geezers know about shoujo?) Rebellious Takeuchi followed her gut and infused each heroine with femininity and grace. She revitalization of the magical girl genre with her beautiful fighting Sailor squadron, earning her the title of Queen of Shoujo.

1 I will be writing the characters names in Western format (first name/surname).

2 The Silver Millennium is the Moon Kingdom (Queendom) ruled by Queen Serenity in the past and Neo-Queen Serenity in the future.

3 Shoujo (literally “young girl”) refers to manga/comic books for teenage girls and generally centers on female relationships.

4 Sailor Senshi (セーラー戦士; Sailor Soldier) is a term referring to the main female protagonists of all versions of Sailor Moon. In official merchandise, the term “Senshi” was translated as “Soldier,” and several songs in the anime and musicals included the term “Sailor Soldier” spoken in English. However, in the live-action series, Sailor Moon Crystal, and the re-release of the manga and original anime, the same kanji was translated as “Guardian.”

5 VIZ Media version is verbose but awesome. However, the DiC version of this scene is simple and resonating as well: “Together we fight for love and justice, / and together we will triumph. / United we’re invincible!”

6 This isn’t to say that Sailor Moon is incapable of being a badass; there are times in the series where she must destroy a villain with her powers. Not to mention, all the Senshi are soldiers who excel in different areas of combat: Sailor Saturn and Sailor Pluto have the most amount of power, respectively being the Guardian of Time and the Soldier of Death and Silence. Sailor Neptune can see through illusions and sense the future. Sailor Mars is exorcises evil spirits. Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Uranus are the physically strongest among the soldiers and excel in various fighting styles. Sailor Venus is the most athletic. Sailor Mercury is the most calculating in her attack strategies. So yes, while they do draw a lot of strength from their ability to love—They all are just hella powerful!!!

7 Interview Translations: ROLa Magazine and God of Backstage Show (Note: I reformatted it)
Aya: It’s fascinating that all the girls in the show are so beautiful.
Takeuchi: Yes. But that’s how girl’s comics are. It’s important, right? But back then, the old men at Nakayoshi didn’t really get that. From the onset, I said “I want to make a comic series about a squadron of five beautiful fighting girls,” and they said, “Hold up. In a fighting squadron, there’s always like one comically obese character, and another nerdy one that wears glasses. How are you going to make all five of them beautiful?” and the complaints went on and on. Oh, those old men… I think they didn’t understand girls comics at all…Back then, I thought, “I’m going to show these old grandpas that beautiful girl characters can be good for business, and I’m not leaving my concept in the hands of old men.” So I had to work hard to develop a sense of beauty and elegance in my characters, no matter what their type was. Back then, the old man editors at Nakayoshi magazine thought I was being stubborn, and they didn’t much care for the opinions of us lady authors, it was a difficult time.
Aya: So you think the old men didn’t understand the sensitivity or nuance to your idea.
Takeuchi: Definitely. It was also a challenge when it came to deciding on a color scheme. At first I had proposed using a pastel color palette, and the old hat, old timer editor grandpas said: “You need to use bolder colors,” “If you want the magazine to sell you need to use lots of blues and greens, or bright yellows,” “If you’re going to use pink, use a dark pink,” and they made all kinds of demands about it. Actually, when I first decided on the color of Sailor Moon’s hair, I wanted it to be silver, but the old grandpa editors didn’t like that decision either, and they really got upset, and said that the magazine would never sell if I used such a dull color. When I first said that I thought blonde hair would be a more Princess-like choice for the main character, someone chuckled and said “At least it’s not grandma-style like last time.”

Read More: A Ridiculously Comprehensive History of Sailor Moon – Part 1: Made In Japan
A Ridiculously Comprehensive History of Sailor Moon, Part 2: Coming to America
A Ridiculously Comprehensive History of Sailor Moon, Part 3: Tales from Fandom


World’s Finest! Podcast (S01E01) // Batman V Superman Trailer Analysis

Transcript for the video in case folks would like to read the conversation! Ben Hello internet! This is Ben here, a recent college grad from CSUF and future unemployed member of society. Elaine Hi, I’m Elaine! I’m about to enter college, specifically in the middle…


Feeling the Moon Pride

My love for Sailor Moon runs deep and strong. It burns brighter than a thousand suns. It cannot be expressed in this one post, nor will it. This explanation of why Sailor Moon means so much to me will serve as a prelude to my new series of blog posts!

Growing up, I felt distant from my classmates and had little to no friends. I had a hard time because I lacked the confidence and language skills (Vietnamese is my first language) to communicate with people. Then, I began watching the Sailor Moon series in 2000, when it had already been completed. The show helped me not only improve my English, but also connect with people. Sailor Moon had a major influence in my life, teaching me about friendship, feminism, and justice.

Left to Right: Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Moon, Sailor Jupiter, Sailor Venus

Sailor Moon and the Sailor Soldiers1 always fought for what was right, protected what and who they loved, despite heartbreaking/muscle-aching pain. They taught me to embrace my femininity, and to view it as a source of my strength, instead of a weakness. Sailor Moon was the only series I saw at the time that showed that women have the ability to kick ass, not so much with violence but with the power of love! Sailor Moon inspired me to be kind and uplift, not only my friends, but strangers as well.

Not to mention at the end of each DiC2 English dubbed episode, there was a short segment that featured the Sailor Soldiers rehashing life lessons they learned from the events of the episode. They touched on dieting, exercising, relationships, recycling, and honesty among other things. Some of their more crucial lessons included being independent, being kind to others, taking care of yourself, respecting yourself, and standing up for your beliefs.

DiC Entertainment/Sailor Moon/Sailor Says/Episode 9

As I got older and rediscovered my love for the series, it helped me through overcome my depression. It was the only thing that gave me strength to face my problems, if not living. Watching Sailor Moon again gave me the strength to keep smiling and to continue to walk out my door each day. Sailor Moon taught me to never give up and keep trying, even if the whole universe is against you. And I did. Hell, I probably wouldn’t be around today if it weren’t for Serena’s2 bright attitude towards everything, even when times were tough. She showed me that love and justice can defeat all evils; and that if you believe in something with all of your heart, you can achieve anything you want.

Moreover, Sailor Moon helped me better myself as feminist. I always thought that all the Sailor Soldiers were really independent and liberated. They interacted with the world around them with the freedom most usually see men have. In fact, the freedom of women to make their own decisions and mistakes (something highly valued by feminists) is highly emphasized. Take Sailor Moon for example: She acts however she likes and chooses whatever she wants with little to no influence of others. Her ability to do so sends a message to young girls—that they can deviate from the norms and paths set by others if they want to. They can just be girls who have the power to be magical.

I owe Naoko Takeuchi an enormous THANK YOU for creating this positive and empowering series.

Spa Magazine/Naoko Takeuchi

1 I have recently began to call the Sailor Senshi “Sailor Soldiers,” because the term “Scouts” is not strong enough and the term “Guardians” is an incorrect translation of senshi.

2 Because I primarily watched and rewatched the DiC version, I will (unfortunately) use the American names DiC gave the characters.