What Makes Sailor Moon So Special?

Sailor Moon is among the biggest Japanese pop culture franchises in the world. But what makes it such a unique one among others?


Sailor Moon is an undeniably influential anime. Over the last two decades, the magical girl series has helped shaped the anime industry. Now, what makes it such a special franchise? Let’s list some reasons, shall we?


Sailor Moon Manga Vol1-3

Sailor Moon (美少女戦士セーラームーン Bishoujo Senshi Seeraa Muun) was first written by Naoko Takeuchi (武内 直子 Takeuchi Naoko) in late 1991. In early 1992, Sailor Moon was picked to be a TV anime produced by Toei Animation.

The manga spans 18 volumes running from 1991 to 1997. Our favorite TV anime originally ran from 1992 to 1997, tallying 200 episodes. During the series’ run, there were many games and movies made of the series.

Sailor Moon Crystal
Sailor Moon Crystal

Of course, over time, Sailor Moon enjoyed international fame and has become the world’s most famous bishoujo and magical girl franchise. Sailor Moon fans would definitely know about the recent 2014 Sailor Moon Crystal revival, right?


Sailor Moon and Luna
1990’s Anime Version of Sailor Moon – Sailor Moon and Luna

Moon is an interplanetary sailor who…, wait, no. Usagi Tsukino is a middle-school student who is destined for greatness. After befriending Luna, a magical cat, Usagi is granted the power to transform into Sailor Moon to protect the Earth from evil forces. Soon, Usagi gathers reliable sailor comrades such as Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter, and Sailor Venus. Sometimes aided by the (no-longer) mysterious Tuxedo Kamen (Masked Tuxedo or Tuxedo Mask), the Sailor Senshi work together to thwart evil plans concocted by Queen Beryl, Queen Metaria, Prince Demande, Wiseman, Professor Tomoe, and more.

At this point, you may chime in saying that parts of the stories in the manga and anime adaptations are different. I would list them, but the differences would just flood this article.

So, what makes Sailor Moon such a big boom?

There are many reasons why the famous magical girl remains one of the most beloved manga/anime series to date.

Sailor Moon’s appeal goes beyond the shoujo demographics. As people have noted by now, it incorporates many shounen tropes to draw the boys in. Naoko Takeuchi herself has admitted that she was inspired by the Super Sentai shows that are big in Japan. Some reviewers noted the similarities between Sailor Moon and Saint Seiya. There is certainly enough action to go around to entertain everyone.

Gateway anime to many

Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon dominated the anime scene in the early 90s. To many, those two are the biggest anime shows they grew up with. It is doubly so in the United States because of the anime boom in the mid-1990s.

Thanks to the popularity of the two shows, more anime were brought into the US. Since then, American fans have been growing up with Escaflowne, Digimon Adventure, Pokemon, and many others.

Kyoryuu Sentai Zyuuranger all six rangers posing
Kyoryuu Sentai Zyuuranger

The phenomena also parallel Saban’s adaptation of Zyuurangers into Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, but differently. Though the story of Power Rangers takes place America, the concept was brought over from the Super Sentai shows made in Japan. Some fans of the show eventually learned about the Super Sentai genre. Thank you, Internet!

The rise of the anime boom and Power Rangers mania lead to an increase in curiosity about Japan and Japanese pop cultures.

Sailor Moon brought shoujo and action mahou shoujo mainstream

SM introduced many to genres dedicated to girls, such as shoujo and mahou shoujo (magical girls). The series also popularized a subgenre often called fighting or action magical girl. As the name suggests, it is a series where the girls are granted magic to fight against evil. To be clear, there has been at least one predecessor of the genre before Sailor Moon, such as Cutey Honey created by Go Nagai.

Sakura, Kero, and Tomoyo
Sakura, Kero, and Tomoyo

As a trailblazer, SM paved the way for other similar anime like Magic Knight Rayearth, Pretty Cure, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and Cardcaptor Sakura. More people are accepting and craving for action heroines as sources of entertainment and inspiration.

Characters you can relate to

Sailor Mars Transformation in Sailor Moon Crystal
Sailor Mars

Since the series has many main heroines and side characters I am sure there are a few of them that you can connect with. From the clumsy but tenacious Usagi, fiery and traditional Rei, flirty and suave Haruka, to the mysterious but caring Setsuna, you are sure to have a favorite or two.

Plus, depending on whether you prefer the 90s anime or the manga and by extension, Sailor Moon Crystal, you will get different character developments too. Do you have any favorite characters? What do you think of the new revival? Leave some comments, please.

It empowers people

A big point that both the producers and fans of SM noted are the sense of empowerment. This is partially because the mahou shoujo genre shows girls can be whoever they want to be. The other part is from the continuous struggle that the main characters have to overcome.

Sailor Moon proves that girls can kick ass as much or even more than the guys. This is linked to how SM brought shoujo and mahou shoujo genres mainstream.

The anime was also brought over to the West during the “girl power” movement in the 1990s and early 2000s. So it is often seen as a great example of an anime that provides positive messages to girls and women.

It has created an international community

Perhaps the biggest and longest lasting legacy so far created by Sailor Moon is the huge fan community spread throughout the world. The franchise has varieties of fan fictions, art, wearables, cosplays, edible creations, and more! Some fans have even held Sailor Moon inspired weddings.

Sailor Moon Silver Millennium Masquerade Ball cover image
Sailor Moon Silver Millennium Masquerade Ball

There is also a masquerade ball event that will take place in March 2017 in Saratoga Springs, NY. As of now, all of the tickets released are sold out. You can find out more about the event by going to its official page.

Japanese fans can join its official fan page and get cool perks such as membership cards and exclusive merchandises. Yes, the page is in Japanese but you are welcomed to have a look.

Of course, there are many other fan-made websites dedicated to the Galactic Guardians. All of them with different focuses like fan-translations, SM-related news, cosplays, and such.

In the recent news, the Russian female world champion figure skater, Evgenia Medvedeva, performed a number inspired by the Pretty Guardian. The sixteen-year-old has been garnering a lot of attention in Japan thanks to her love of all things Sailor Moon. While skating in Japan recently, she even got to meet Naoko Takeuchi herself!

How has Sailor Moon influenced you? Are you part of the fan group? Let us know in the comments!



Sources: RocketNews24 (Evgenia Medvedeva)Sailor Moon Wikia, Wikipedia (Sailor Moon), Japan Times (Happy Birthday, Sailor Moon!), PRI.org (What Sailor Moon means to women all over the world), Hero Complex (LA Times), Japan Powered (Sailor Moon: The Rise of the Girl Hero), Wikipedia (Anime and manga fandom)Anime.StackExchange.com (Sailor Moon manga and anime differences), and TV Tropes (Sailor Moon anime).

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About the Author

Astra W

I am a Chocobo mug who loves puns and is driven by the thirst for nostalgia. You will usually find me writing about days past like an old person. Other than that, I usually gawk at different visual arts or exercising my fingers on games. Or napping in the kitchen cabinet.

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