Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Sailor Moon (美少女戦士セーラームーン Bishōjo Senshi Sērā Mūn, officially translated as Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon) is a Japanese media franchise created by Naoko Takeuchi. Fred Patten credits Takeuchi with popularizing the concept of a sentai ("team") of magical girls, and Paul Gravett credits the series with "revitalizing" the magical-girl genre itself. Sailor Moon redefined the magical-girl genre, as previous magical girls did not use their powers to fight evil, but this has become one of the standard archetypes of the genre.
The story of the various metaseries revolves around the reincarnated defenders of a kingdom that once spanned the solar system, and around the evil forces that they battle. The major characters—the Sailor Senshi (literally "Sailor Soldiers"; frequently called "Sailor Scouts" in many Western versions), teenage girls—can transform into heroines named for the moon and planets (Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, etc.). The use of "Sailor" comes from a style of girls' school uniform popular in Japan, the sērā fuku ("sailor outfit"), on which Takeuchi modeled the Senshi's uniforms. The elements of fantasy in the series are heavily symbolic and often based on mythology.
Before the Sailor Moon manga appeared Takeuchi had written Codename: Sailor V, which centered around just one Sailor Senshi. She devised the idea when she wanted to create a cute series about girls in outer space, and her editor asked her to put them in sailor fuku. When Sailor V was proposed for adaptation into an anime, the concept was modified[by whom?] so that Sailor V herself became only one member of a team. The resulting manga series merged elements of the popular magical girl genre and the Super Sentai Series which Takeuchi admired, making Sailor Moon one of the first series ever to combine the two.
The manga resulted in spinoffs into other types of media, including a highly popular anime, as well as musical theatre productions, video games, and a tokusatsu series. Although most concepts in the many versions overlap, often notable differences occur, and thus continuity between the different formats remains limited.