The Sailor Soldiers were around for the formative years of many millennials. Here's what each of them taught this writer!
Most of the kids I grew up with watched Dragon Ball Z on a regular basis, but I broke the mold among my friends when I became obsessed with Sailor Moon. As a child, I instantly fell in love with the show's fun characters, gorgeous transformations, cool outfits, and flashy attacks. I received some funny looks from friends and family alike for wanting to be Sailor Jupiter for Halloween one year, but my love for the show never truly deteriorated.
As I started to re-experience the show with Sailor Moon Crystal, I was reminded of all of my favorite characters and moments that I grew up with. It then began to dawn on me just how much the Sailor Soldiers reflected in my childhood, and what I've taken from each of them as I grew up. They ended up having a major influence on the person I am today, so I've decided to take the time to talk about each Soldier and the lessons they taught me that I still abide by.
The Sailor Soldiers were an enormous and influential part of many a millenial's formative years, so I'm sure I'm not the only one who saw themselves in these pretty soldiers.
Usagi Tsukino - Sailor Moon
The eponymous leader of the Sailor Soldiers hardly exhibits any desirable leadership qualities. Usagi Tsukino is clumsy, lazy, and prone to crying fits. If she had it her way, she'd eat junk food, read gag manga, and sleep through any responsibility she had -- whether it be her homework or saving the world. As the future queen of the Moon Kingdom and a fighter responsible for getting rid of monsters in Tokyo, she's certainly not anyone's first choice for a hero.
Even so, she has a few shining moments when her courage bubbles up and she becomes determined to save the day. When innocent people are in danger, she'll never hesitate to help them out. In the past, she's even made enormous sacrifices in order to help others. She might mess up and she'll most certainly need someone to lend her a hand, but she'll always try her best to get things done.
I've taken that with me into my adulthood. After I graduated college, it was a struggle to search for a job and try to make something of myself. Even with a steady place of work, the daily load would sometimes be overwhelming. But I remembered what Usagi went through, and realized that no one around me was living as a perfect adult either. We're all just people trying to plod through the day, but we only need a few bursts of courage to see us through some of the hardships, even if it's just for a moment. Sailor Moon taught me that people don't have to be at their best all the time, and that we can be when it counts.
Ami Mizuno - Sailor Mercury
Dedicated to her studies and preferring to spend her time with books, Ami Mizuno grew up shy and isolated from other people. It didn’t help that her peers were often put off by her intelligence and thought of her as arrogant and snobbish, not realizing how often she struggled. The opinions of others impacted her strongly, to the point where she began relying on them to quantify her self-worth.
After meeting Usagi, who greeted her intellect with wonder and friendliness, she started gaining more confidence. She became less dependent on what other people thought of her and became expressive with her own feelings, gaining more friends in the process. As a student and even as the strategic Sailor Mercury, Ami became a confident and formidable young girl.
Confidence is always something I could use in abundance. It’s not always easy for me to write or talk to others or express myself honestly, and I’ll sometimes obsess over people’s opinions instead of allowing myself a little faith in my skills. Sailor Mercury taught me that becoming more confident is a gradual process, but that it’s always possible to believe in yourself. We don’t need to thrive on other people to find worth in ourselves, and we’re capable of accomplishing so much more than others expect.
Rei Hino - Sailor Mars
As a practitioner of Shinotism at her grandfather’s shrine, Rei Hino is dedicated to her craft. That dedication has made her disciplined and practical in all her ventures, whether she’s trying to manage her shrine or stretch her music-making skills. She can even be a bit stubborn at times, often butting heads with Usagi at every turn. But she never forgets her duties and remains focused on what’s more important. The fiery Sailor Mars can always work together with her fellow soldiers.
One thing I can say I appreciate about Sailor Mars is that she’s strong-willed. In both her hobbies and her duties, she tries to see each of them through with a fiery passion that I could use more of myself. She maintains an effortlessly charismatic demeanor and carries herself elegantly in ways I still wish to attain, and her complete and utter dedication to her craft makes her inspiring.
Makoto Kino - Sailor Jupiter
When one first meets Makoto Kino, they might be a little intimidated. She’s tall, tough, and could easily overpower anyone in a fight with brute force. She stood out among her fellow students with the demeanor of a delinquent, and was plagued by rumors that she was expelled from her old school before transferring. No one took the time to get to know her because they were afraid.
When Usagi and friends met her, they discovered a far different girl than what rumors suggested. They met a girl who loves to cook and garden, and wants to own a cake and flower shop when she grows up. Sure, she could still kick your butt, either as the shockingly strong Sailor Jupiter or even just on her own, but she balances her masculinity and femininity without sacrificing either of them.
On my path to becoming a transgender feminist, one important step I took was unlearning the bias of restrictive gender roles. I started on that at a relatively young age thanks to two people. One of them was my mother, a hard-working doctor who remains the breadwinner of my family. The other was Sailor Jupiter. Among my fictional role models, she was one of the first who helped me shatter the ideas of gender roles all together. She helped me discover that no one should have to be beholden by whatever society expects of them, especially when it comes to gender. As one of the most masculine AND the most feminine members of the Soldiers, Sailor Jupiter truly laid the foundation for the kind of person I want to become.
Minako Aino - Sailor Venus
Minako Aino is talented, friendly, and a hell of a diva. She dreams of being a famous celebrity, and lives her life in the spotlight as she chases down auditions. Minako also has a tendency to flaunt her nuanced relationship advice, despite being desperate for her own real romance. Her dates may go awry, but she remains persistent in her romantic endeavors. She’s as dedicated to her own life as she is to being Sailor Venus, taking the helm for the team as they protect their future queen. No matter what she does, Minako goes hard.
That unabashed dedication she has is nothing short of commendable. She fulfills her duty as a Sailor Soldier with fervor, but she still remains committed to her own life and her own goals. She’s a testament to the idea that people never have to give up on their own dreams, even when other responsibilities have to take priority every now and then. Sailor Venus knows what she has to do and never forgets what she wants to do.
Setsuna Meioh - Sailor Pluto
An anomaly among the Sailor Soldiers, Sailor Pluto stands guard at the Gates of Time and doesn’t initially have a human form. She’s simply dedicated to her role as the Guardian of Time. After a tragic end, she is eventually revived as high school student Setsuna Meioh, and simply tries to exist in the human world while assisting the Inner Soldiers as needed.
It’s hard to gauge what I learned from Sailor Pluto, as she isn’t terribly present to begin with. She has a few shining moments where she puts her life on the line to fulfill her duties to her kingdom, and she tries her best to humanize herself when interacting with the other Soldiers. If anything, I admire her stalwart commitment to her duties.
Haruka Tenoh and Michiru Kaioh - Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune
Haruka Tenoh is a race car fanatic who embodies her masculinity and femininity with pride and style. Michiru Kaioh is a genius and a violinist who lives life on a runway as she dazzles her world with grace and finesse. Together, they make the ultimate lesbian power couple. The two of them together are unstoppable, both as lovers and as the formidable Outer Soldiers of Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune. The two of them ooze confidence and charisma in everything they do, and they remain awesome pillars of empowerment and representation.
Uranus and Neptune deserve a section together for the world they introduced me to. I grew up with a dub that called the two of them cousins, but I knew better, and a little research revealed that they were a lesbian couple. They were my first introduction to the realm of LGBTQ+, and opened up my concepts of romance and identity. Growing up male, I mistook Uranus as a male Sailor Soldier, which made her a role model for me and kicked off my childhood dream of becoming one myself. Then I learned her identity was much more nuanced than that. She embodies and identifies with both her masculinity and femininity with a complete disregard for resignment to any one gender expression.
If Sailor Jupiter began deconstructing gender roles for me, Sailor Uranus shattered them. And her relationship with Sailor Neptune was eye-opening for me. In a lot of ways, these two Soldiers were my awakening of sorts. They were my first look into a world that ended up becoming a huge part of my life, and I’ll be forever grateful to them for that.
Hotaru Tomoe - Sailor Saturn
Yet another interesting case among the Sailor Soldiers, Hotaru Tomoe is quite literally marred by a tragic past. After an incident that took her mother and nearly killed her, Hotaru was made into a cyborg by her maniacal father and was made to host an evil entity. In her subsequent isolation, she made friends with Chibiusa and tried regaining her humanity little by little.
Eventually, she is revealed to be Sailor Saturn, an all-powerful Soldier responsible for destroying the Moon Kingdom for it to start anew on Earth. Her immense power over life and death was feared by all the Soldiers, especially when she very nearly destroyed the planet upon her awakening.
I’ve always admired characters who are able to overcome shyness and hardships in their lives in order to accomplish new things, and Sailor Saturn is one of those characters. Despite a father who scarred her, a spirit who violated her, and a fate that overwhelmed her, Sailor Saturn rose above many of her demons into order to live her own life. Her ultimate fate might be bittersweet, but I like to think it was due to her regaining a sense of humanity that allowed her to achieve the end that she did. After all, as a Sailor Soldier whose purpose was to bring about death and destruction, she was able to conquer that pretty well.
Overall, I've learned a ton from the Sailor Soldiers and even if you've never experienced the series before, I recommend giving Sailor Moon Crystal a try!
Carlos is a freelance features writer for Crunchyroll. Their favorite genres range from magical girls to over-the-top robot action, yet their favorite characters are always the obscure ones. Check out some of their satirical work on The Hard Times.
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