LGBT Erasure In Sailor Moon

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/sailor-moons-erasure-lgbtq-characters

I found this article to be exceptionally interesting, as the erasure of LGBT characters such as Neptune and Uranus has, as both a fan of the original anime and a queer woman, bothered me for years. As someone who grew up watching Sailor Moon, it wasn’t until revisiting the series many years later, this time in the original Japanese, that I realized the odd relationship between “cousins”, Michiru and Haruka (or Amara and Michelle depending on the adaptation), was originally intended to be presented as a romantic relationship between lesbians. This isn’t the only instance in which LGBT characters are erased from the english version of the show, as gay couple Kunzite and Zoisite were presented as heterosexual, genderfluid villain Fisheye was presented as strictly female, and an entire season of the show was omitted for the fact that it centered around the genderfluidity and presentation of the Sailor Starlights, a group of warriors that identify as both male and female.

Acceptance has always played a pivotal role in Sailor Moon, from Usagi’s immaturity to Sailor Venus’ complacency, the show emphasized the importance of individuality, defiance of society’s expectations of adolescent girls, and, above all, love. In Sailor Moon, people were not presented as puzzle pieces needing to be conformed into the “correct” shapes, but rather they were perfect the way they were. For a show so heavily centered around acceptance and love, it’s jarring to me that these relationships weren’t included among the many romantic endeavors of the other Sailor Senshi. This to me is a complete defiance of the show’s original message, as the sexualities and identities of these various characters were deemed unacceptable and ultimately erased for them to be viewed as “acceptable”, which fundamentally punishes Neptune and Uranus for being involved in a committed and loving consensual relationship.

To me, part of what made Sailor Moon so enjoyable was how genuine the Sailor Scouts felt. As a child they felt like real people that I related to just as much as I admired them, and even to this day I am able to recognize myself in Usagi and her friends. It saddens me that I’m only recently seeing such an important part of my identity reflected in these characters, especially since growing up with Sailor Moon helped me overcome my insecurities and be comfortable being who I am.        

  

One thought on “LGBT Erasure In Sailor Moon

  1. Caroline,

    Very strong reading of Sailor Moon. It made me wonder, what is it about American society that results in the erasure of these LGBT relationships as they transition from the Japanese market to the American market? In the U.S., you often hear the argument that it is “too early” to question gender identity or sexual orientation (when the gender identity or orientation does not fulfill heteronormative ideals). What are the social reasons for this? And why is there (seemingly) more acceptance of LGBT relationships in children’s anime in Japan?

    Cheers,
    Amanda

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