A Grown Woman Watches Sailor Moon For The First Time

Join me as I try to understand anime, jokes about Japanese culture, and the internet’s obsession with magical girls.

I’ve missed a lot of pop culture trends. I was too uninterested to get into Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was too young for NKOTB. I was too old for the Harry Potter books (I know, I know). I also recently subscribed to Hulu just so I could watch The Handmaid’s Tale and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to get the most out of my $11.99 a month.

And so, a series is born.

My history with anime

In a nutshell, I don’t “get”anime. My exposure to non-American cartoons was pretty much nil growing up. I didn’t watch Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, or Inuyasha. A girl at a Meet Up I went to some years ago recommended something called Serial Experiements Lain, which, I’ll be honest: I still have no idea what that is. I never watched it, nor do I remember anything about the descriptions I’m sure I looked up.

A couple of years ago my husband curated a crash course for me. We started with… well, I don’t actually remember. It was a very old movie that is considered, like, the grandfather of what we now know of as anime. I think it was maybe about a race car, or a magician. I don’t know. I think there was a castle.

After that, we moved on through the years, watching a couple of Studio Ghibli things (the one with the forest princess with the face paint, and the one with the hungry ghost thing), FLCL (subbed AND dubbed), some Ergo Proxy, and the one with the Female Character With Sizable Chest even though the characters look like kids that drive the giant robots.

If you know what any of these are called, do me a solid and tell me in the comments. I cannot for the LIFE OF ME remember what these were called.

Why Sailor Moon?

I have a dear friend who grew up on Sailor Moon, another trend that passed me by when I was growing up. And I keep seeing Sailor Moon merchandise literally everywhere and am afraid that pop culture has grown into a sentient, digitally-tentacled consciousness whose ultimate goal is to get me to learn what the hell a Senshii is, who Darien is, and whether the two cute ones are a couple or just very close cousins.

There are, like, a dozen different versions of Sailor Moon.

Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon R. Sailor Moon Crystal. Movies. 18 volumes of manga. I think there was a live-action adaptation at some point.

There are 200 original episodes, but only 39 episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal available on Hulu. While I could borrow them from my dear friend who is beyond thrilled and offered to let me borrow her manga and all 200 original episodes, I can’t commit to that. Honestly? I’m not entirely sure I will be able to handle 39 in a timely manner. I have an eight-month old at home who is starting to crawl and doesn’t like to sleep.

Why I’m hyped

That GIF. That’s it. That’s why.

Subs or Dubs?

Look, I know that the purists out there will encourage watching sub-titled over English voiceover dubs, but like I said earlier: I have a baby. I also don’t speak Japanese and can’t wrangle a baby while watching subtitles. I realize that some of the original humor may be lost, but that’s a sacrifice you’re going to have to make.

How this is going to work

I don’t actually know. My plan is to post a recap/reaction every few episodes or so, depending on how long and soap opera-ish the episodes are. I want this to be fun, not end up a horrible slog through the end of a series. Maybe I’ll take pictures of the funny things my baby does while I’m trying to watch. Maybe I’ll latch on to a character and get philosophical. Maybe it will be surprisingly relevant and feminist. I think I’ve heard that somewhere before.

So… that’s it.

Here we go. Wish me luck. Feel free to follow along. Advice welcome. Send snacks.