I know, it's a strongly worded title, in fact it's a mouthful but hear me out. I love Sailor Moon, even to this day; so much so that I'm pretty much caught up on Sailor Moon Crystal, am eagerly waiting for the next season/movie, and have finished the entire manga series within the past few months. So, I guess you could say that I'm kind of a huge fan.
But it's more than just the nostalgia behind it or even the anime itself. For me when Sailor Moon first debuted on the North American side, as a young girl, Sailor Moon meant something really important was happening; a lot more than I initially realized. Even back then as a kid, I was a huuuge Sailor Moon fan, even getting my dad to buy me English-sub Sailor Moon movies to watch it with my cousins since it wasn't available in English. Yes, even then I was pretty hardcore about it. Beyond the story, drama, and just general magic of the series I'd say that I was initially influenced by how strong they were. Here were these teenage girls, going to high school, transforming into Sailor senshis, kicking ass, only to wake up the next day and do it all again. I mean, it was one hell of an intro into feminism! It was my first true taste of girl power and I loved it.
I didn't understand the overall influence back then, but I do now. These girls seemed like they could do anything, together. While they did have small arguments here and there and even a few "internal rivalries" at the end of the day, they had each other's back. They supported each other AAAND Sailor Moon also brought in the idea of queer love, which to elementary-aged me, was a pretty "new" concept in terms of Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus. However, to the North American market, they were marketed more as cousins rather than lovers but since I was so obsessed with it I really looked into the original version and discovered that they were lovers. But that's for another post...
Anyway! Sailor Moon and the rest of the Sailor Scouts really showed that girls were capable of anything - even saving the world and saving the "male hero" Tuxedo Mask from time to time! They were seen by the villains (male, female or other) as "equal" threats - not just "weak" because they were female, but as a true threat to whatever their evil goals were. I didn't understand it to that degree as a kid, but looking at it through my current lens, they were (to put this in super simplistic terms,) my first experience and influence into "girl power" and that girls really are strong even though we all have flaws and insecurities.
A huge example of this being Sailor Moon herself; referred to as Serena in the English versions and Usagi in the Japanese version. Regardless of her name, here was the "first" Sailor Scout we meet and she is basically a clumsy crybaby who doesn't care much for academia at all. But, when there's trouble or evil around, she transforms into a confident person who fights for love and justice. While she was strong by herself, she always fought with the rest of the Sailor Scouts and supported them in each of their passions, things they were going after, or just taking the time to get to know them. If that's not a look into how you can be a flawed human being but still able to kick ass if you really do believe in something then I don't know what else to tell ya!
Beyond all those lessons this group of characters has taught me that while you can fight alone, you're not without your sisters and this is something that rings true today. Feminism is for everyone and while you can go at it alone, you're not without your peers. So here is to one hell of an anime/manga series that planted the initial seed of feminism with style, grace, and planetary magic.