July 5th is an incredibly important day. It’s a day that has been on my and many others’ calendars for quite some time. It’s a day that didn’t ever seem like it was going to come. But it’s almost here. July 5th is the day that my beloved Sailor Moon makes her grand re-entrance into the lives of millions with a brand new anime. And it can’t come soon enough.
To lead up to Sailor Moon’s triumphant return, I offer a series of articles focusing on the things I love most about the Sailor Moon series, specifically pertaining to its portrayal of girls and women. A review of the Sailor Moon Crystal pilot will follow on July 5th.
One of the main things that makes Sailor Moon such a great series is that it never subscribes to the “girls can’t be friends with other girls” idea. The friendships cultivated between the girls of Sailor Moon are real, and wildly important. They’re extremely loyal to each other, and they never let things like petty squabbles or love interests come between them when it really matters.
Seeing true friendships between women on screen is really important for girls of all ages, because they don’t see it nearly enough. Women get bombarded from all sides with the notion that they should view other women as competition, as the enemy in nearly every endeavor, be it beauty, or careers, or love. There aren’t as many messages promoting understanding and caring between women.
Sailor Moon has such a positive portrayal of female friendships because it doesn’t cultivate fierce rivalries between it’s characters. That’s not to say that Usagi and her friends don’t have their differences, as all real friends do, but it’s commendable that they don’t let those differences destroy their friendship.
What makes the relationships between the Senshi great is that they’re all incredibly varied, but they’re all unified by their love and respect for each other. There are different levels of friendship between the girls. Minako and Rei are incredibly close, having bonded over their lifelong vow to protect Princess Serenity. Haruka and Michiru’s friendship has evolved into a romance. Setsuna stays on the outskirts of the group as their watcher and protector. Usagi even has a group of friends, like Naru, who are entirely unaware of her identity as Sailor Moon. All of the girls have different relationships with each other, or with others outside of the group, and that’s okay. What’s important is that when they come together as a team, they know they can trust each other.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Senshi really only have a handful of male friends, but that all of those male friends treat the girls with love, respect, and affection. More importantly, they support the Senshi (whether they know it or not), without attempting to come between the group or insert themselves into the role of “hero”. Mamoru, in particular, recognizes that his love for Usagi is no more important than the Senshi’s love for Usagi, and works together with them to support her.
Sailor Moon really cements itself into the hearts of it’s fans by providing them with moving depictions of female friendships. I know I’ve seen my own friendships reflected in Usagi, Ami, Makoto, Rei, Minako, and the others, and I hope that a whole new generation of girls will watch the anime and see themselves and their friends too.
All photos and properties are copyright of Naoko Takeuchi, Toei Animation, and Kodansha