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Addendum to the Sailor Moon stuff

steph hey you
In regards to my...one sentence where I said the manga doesn't have the male gaze with the transformation sequences and the skirts don't tend to fly up all the way ever in the manga- I didn't mean to imply the manga never has fanservice or pictures people could find provocative. There's a couple times SM and co go transparent and barbie-naked though it is rarer than in the anime. And there is TONS of sexually provocative side art for SM that Takeuchi did. However, it's not part of the main story, so I don't know why my essay should be expected to mention it.

I was referring to the fact that Takeuchi has apparently expressed a slight problem with the henshin sequences and some of the other like stuff in the anime. I was riffing off this article- it's good, everyone should read it-

But Takeuchi is still writing for a female audience, and she's careful never to throw in the kind of fanservice that would be gross to the core fans; almost every female character in the series wears an incredibly short, flimsy skirt, yet they never blow back to show a single panty shot. Similarly, the nude transformation sequences from the anime aren't in the original manga; Takeuchi blamed the male animation staff for the extra skin, although the animators were probably inspired by the nude transformations in Go Nagai's original pervy magical-girl manga Cutie Honey.



I do think male gaze is a a factor there, and it's not like I can accuse Naoko of male gaze- shes...not male. However, I was not trying to condemn the anime or say the manga never has weird moments with it's short skirts and transparent bodies or anything- it's not like I like any of that stuff or never get weirded out by it, but Japan has different thoughts about that kind of stuff and it's so sparkly and barbie-like I can't even mind that much. Also, sometimes the nudity is clearly meant to convey purity/vulnerability (such as a the final episode) and that is another cultural thing. Honestly, if you asked me what aspects of manga-to-anime transition I think were most affected by the anime staff being mostly male, I'd say it was all five of the girls being significantly more boy-crazy in the anime and Usagi and Mamoru's relationship.

I feel a huge theme in all the incarnations of Sailor Moon is girls being comfortable with her sexuality- all the girls are fairly confident in their sexuality and own it- they are free to flirt and pursue and get attracted to lots of people and get sexually excited and never condemned for it- Usagi is the aggressor in her relationship (especially in the manga, where she literally thinks "I want to have sex with Mamoru right now") and she's unashamed, Minako is the only female character in anime I've ever seen get a nosebleed and is always very up front about sex and how she feels and I could go on.

Now, I think superheroing in short skirts and heels is ridiculous, but it does fit a little bit with a few aspects of the theme- one of these girls being comfortable with their sexuality- they aren't going to shame themselves or hide it- as demonstrated the time in the anime Fish-eye asks if they're embarrassed about fighting in the short skirts, and Usagi says she's not and never really thought about it, and then shrugs it off when he calls her shameless. It also adds to the shows theme of celebrating and not being ashamed of your feminity- these girls are going to kick your ass in pretty dresses with pretty jewelry, and you had better not dismiss that. There's also the girl-to-woman bit- Usagi transforming into Sailor Moon can be seen as her transforming into her stronger self that takes on adult responsibilities (this is especially held up in the manga when Rei teases Usa by saying she gets smarter when she transforms)- and that transformation into an adult is symbolized by the shorter skirt, heels, makeup etc- all a fashion rite of passage for a girl as she gets older.

Of course, there's no denying it's more there for the male demographic (the sailor suit was even Takeuchi's male editor's idea, and she basically implied she knew what he was thinking with there). (Though she did also say it helped Sailor Moon be relatable to the schoolgirls of Japan). But some of that stuff does play a little into the theme rather than completely contradicting it.

Also, the fact that Usagi is more sexual with Mamoru in the manga than the anime doesn't make her more sexualIZED. That is completely different- when she's having sex with Mamoru, she's owning her sexuality, it's not like she's being objectified (we don't even see them have sex). I think it's great that Usagi feels comfortable with her decision and not condemned for it. Sixteen is pretty young, but Usagi said specifically that she was ready and felt she was mature enough, and this is a couple that KNOWS they're going to be together forever and have a kid so why the hell not?

So, um, yeah. Sailor Moon. Lot's of stuff in the fashion and fanservice department that normally would make me vomit rage-blood, yet it's mostly just something I ignore and occasionally analyze! Oh, anime!

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steph hey you
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