The Show That Prepared Me For Life

Hello, hello!  I’ve been binge watching Sailor Moon Crystal the past couple of days and it got me thinking about how I would cope with life today if I hadn’t watched the original Sailor Moon growing up.  It’s one of those shows that prepared me for everything going on in the world today.  We all have a show like that.  Whether it was Ms. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus or X-Men or Batman or whatever you watched as a kid, we all have a show that has stuck with us and been a major influence on who we are today.  For me, that was Sailor Moon.  How could a magical girl anime prepare me for the turbulence of today, you ask?  Stick with me for a minute and I shall do my best to explain.

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One of my favorite pictures of all the Senshi.

Aside from a bunch of women kicking ass and taking names with the occasional backup from Tuxedo Kamen, this show was amazing for many other reasons.  Yeah, there was the obvious message that love and friendship can help you conquer any evil, including the evil that lurks within each of us (after all, if Small Lady can become Black Lady and Saturn can become Mistress 9, none of us can claim to be 100% good).  It reminds us that, ultimately, hatred and superiority complexes will fail.  It might take longer than we want, but as long as people don’t give up, good will eventually win.  We just have to believe in each other.

There are also more subtle messages that apply today more than ever.  There was the whole Uranus/Neptune relationship that the U.S. dub tried to pass off as them being cousins (everyone I knew saw through that charade and, honestly, the whole cousin storyline just made a beautiful relationship kind of creepy).  Not to mention Zoisite’s obsession with Kunzite in the original anime (again, no one I knew believed Zoisite was a woman in the dub).  Then came the Sailor Starlights arc where men transformed into women and back again (pretty sure they just cross-dressed in the manga, but I’m talking about the anime where they were biologically males until they transformed).  Early exposure to this kind of stuff wasn’t traumatizing.  If anything, it helped give me an open mind.

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The Starlights.  I wanted those boots, though.  That’s all I cared about as a kid.

The story arc that hit closest to home for me and, in all honesty, is probably the reason Sailor Moon stuck with me so much, was Sailor Saturn’s story.  She was a sickly kid and an outcast, but she had the power to destroy worlds.  It was the first time I remember seeing someone who had physical difficulties (granted, they were nothing like my own) who could be the hero (or the villain if she had chosen that path).  She proved that you didn’t have to be athletic or even normal to be powerful or even accepted by people.  For a kid like me, that was the best message I could have received.  If she could help destroy evil, I could put up with whatever life threw my way.

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The whole purple outfit didn’t hurt my love of Saturn either.

So yeah, Sailor Moon definitely helped shape who I was back then and who I am now.  It taught me about the power of women, the power of friendship, how to recognize evil, how to accept others for who they are, and how to accept myself.  What show helped turn you into who you are?

My Heroes (Part One)

Hello there!  I’ve been thinking a lot about Stonecoast and all of the awesome people I’m missing right now (it’s summer residency and I’m not there *sadness*), plus all of the conversations I’ve had with these people.  One topic that never seemed to lose its attractiveness was superheroes.  A hazard of specializing in popular fiction, I guess.  These talks ranged from debates about who would beat who to the lack of females (as strong primary characters) and POC (persons of color) characters when we were growing up.

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The Sailor Scouts!

Personally, I grew up with the Bishoujo Senshi and a ton of other magical girl anime (a topic for another time), so I never really noticed a lack of strong female role models in my superheroes.  I suppose I should thank my obsession with anime and manga for that.  Honestly, I never really paid attention to any of the lacking qualities of the genre until I got to grad school.  Even when the flaws were pointed out, they didn’t really bother me much.  I was always the kind of person who could find some character to relate to regardless of how dissimilar our outer appearances were.  I mean, come on.  Do you know how hard it is to find a wheelchair bound superhero?  Let alone someone who started out that way (meaning their disabilities weren’t caused by accidents and injuries).  Yeah… Charles Xavier and Barbara Gordon as Oracle are the two who spring to mind most readily (both of whom were injured, not born that way).

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Professor X
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Oracle

Actually, Oracle never really interested me that much anyway, so I’m not entirely sure she even counts as one of my heroes.  Yeah, Batman will always hold a special place in my list of favorites because he was one of the superheroes my dad and I always followed together.  Bats, Gargoyles (does anyone else even remember that show?), some Superman stuff.  It was all daddy-daughter time, thus it was all special.  I still love all of those heroes, but they were never my favorites.  The X-Men held the number one spot in my ranking from the very beginning.

Now, I could go into some deep philosophical debate as to why they were my favorite, but it’d be a load of crap.  I could tell you that I fell in love with the idea that a random genetic screw up could lead to superpowers instead of crippleness and the like.  I could tell you it gave me role models who were similar to me in the fact that nature had messed with us and turned us into freaks.  Today, yeah, that might be part of why they continue to hold the number one place for me.  When I was a kid, though?  No way!  Rogue and Storm were kickass, I was utterly in love with Gambit, and I totally adored so many of the “villains.”  There was no deeper meaning.  I was simply enamored by the X-Men.

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How can you not love them?

So, who were/are your (super)heroes?  Are they all from western comic books?  I have way too many from both comic books and manga (hence the “part one”).  I’ll talk more about my anime and manga heroes later.  Now, I kind of want to binge watch all the X-Men things.

Until next time!