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A General Query Concerning Sailor Moon (&/or Magical Girl Genre)


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nobahn
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:31 pm Reply with quote
I normally don't post here; so perhaps it's understandable that I wasn't able to find a Sailor Moon thread here (and my search skills are weak).....

This OP is inspired by this post.

Anyway, I've looked at the encyclopedia article page and I couldn't help but be struck by the ratings spread. So I'd just like to ask here: What do people think of the Sailor Moon manga? I've never read it, so I'm quite curious.


EDIT: Title changed at Alan45's request.


Last edited by nobahn on Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:01 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 9:08 am Reply with quote
I first started reading Sailor Moon when it came out in Mixxine (later Tokyo Pop magazine). I bought the graphic novels when Tokyo Pop put them out. After reading the first couple of volumes I couldn't go any further. This was one of the first series I got rid of when the local used book store accepted manga.

I tried again when Kodansha reprinted the series. This time I couldn't get through the first volume.

I think that Sailor Moon was specifically written for the pre-teen, early-teen audience. You have to be able to get into that mindset or to be reading it for nostalgia purposes. The character designs, plots and art work are just a bit silly and make it difficult to get into. In this connection I should note that I had no difficulty reading and enjoying Cardcaptor Sakura, which, as far as I know, was aimed at the same readership.

I've never seen any of the Sailor Moon anime and have no opinion about that.
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Princess_Irene



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 11:49 am Reply with quote
I agree with Alan45 that it's written for a middle grade demographic (basically ages 8 - 13, with a lot of variation in actual readership), and that's definitely going to be an obstacle for some older readers. I think when read at that age, or in the mindset of it or studying middle grade girls' literature, it's very strong - unlike a lot of books of the same time frame, its themes of transformation and power do hold up and aren't dated; while a modern readership might be surprised by some the older technology, the idea of being able to become a stronger version of yourself remains relevant. (Judy Blume's Forever about budding sexuality also holds up well; Betty Cavana's 1950s versions age very poorly, to give other examples.)

I love it, personally. (Although not Usagi - I related much more to Makoto or Chibi-Usa.) I still have my Mixx and Glenat editions, along with the new ones. It spoke to me when I was in high school, and since I ended up with degrees in Writing for Young People (i.e. children's literature), I guess I never lost my appreciation for it. Laughing

EDIT: I think Card Captor Sakura may work better for some readers because while it shares some qualities with magical girl stories (aimed at young girls, not older men), it isn't strictly one - there's no real transformation and her powers come from an outside source rather than herself. (Even other transforming crime fighters who think their power comes from somewhere else eventually learn that it's been in them all along; Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne is a good example. I think it's crucial to the magical girl story.) I find that it's a genre older people either love or can't get into, a barrier that CCS doesn't generally have. (This is totally based on my observations.)
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 2:30 pm Reply with quote
I think part of the difference was that CLAMP was intentionally writing at two levels at the same time. There are elements in the story that were probably intended to go over the heads of middle school types. Tomoyo's attitude to Sakura being part of it. I also think that to some degree they were making fun of some of the earlier shows. Tomoyo showing up with a van load of costumes being a dig at transformations and at single costume heroes.

I think I disagree that Sakura's power comes from an outside source. Right from the first chapter Kero tells her that that she has the power to be a cardcaptor. It is also implied that the book ending up in her father's library was destined. The wand, cards and Kero himself are tools to use a power she has.

On the question of power coming from outside or from within, how would you classify Fancy Lala?
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Touma



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 3:18 pm Reply with quote
First, on the topic of the thread:
I love the Sailor Moon anime, but I have not been able to stay interested in the manga. I have read four or five volumes over a period of several years. It takes me at least a few months after finishing one to decide that I might as well try another. I think that it has now been at least a year since I finished the last volume that I have read.
Part of the problem is that I do not like the character designs for the girls in the manga nearly as much as the anime. The stories seem a bit off too, but I really cannot say why. Maybe it is just my fault for not paying more attention.

Then, on the subject of Cardcaptor Sakura:
Alan45 wrote:
I think I disagree that Sakura's power comes from an outside source.

I also disagree about that.
I thought that Sakura was able to open the book and transform the key because she already had the magical power. The key did not give power to her, she gave power to the key. At least that is how I took it.

And finally:
Quote:
On the question of power coming from outside or from within, how would you classify Fancy Lala?

I think that the power that transformed Miho into Fancy Lala came from outside, but the talent of Lala was within Miho.
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Princess_Irene



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 3:50 pm Reply with quote
I agree about Lala/Miho - the outside power allowed her to give voice to something she already had. I think you find that more with the idol magical girls than the crime fighters/mysterious thieves.

I see your point about Sakura. I guess I just never felt that she had as much...I'm not sure how to phrase this. She certainly isn't weaker than other magical girls (although I'm still not sure she strictly classifies, as she doesn't really transform; I'm probably being nit-picky), but I don't feel as if she makes quite the same journey. Not that I don't really enjoy the story! It definitely has re-read value.
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2015 7:22 pm Reply with quote
I never saw the Sailor Moon anime. What bothered me were the silly situations and over the top villains. I expect it got better as it went along but I could not get past the first few volumes and I am unable to not start from the beginning.

As far as Cardcaptor Sakura goes, while not typical I would still consider it magical girl. It never occurred to me that the genre required more than a fairly young girl and magic. I'm not sure what other genre you could place it in.

With Lala/Miho the magic is just a catalyst. What she gets is a glimpse of her future self. I was never quite clear why she was granted the magic or why it was taken away. It would be interesting to see a future where she was actually that old and debuted as an idol again, apparently unchanged in age.

I've always thought that Kampfer was, at least partially, a parody of magical girl anime. The transformation scene is classic.
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Princess_Irene



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:15 am Reply with quote
I, and as I said, I can be nit-picky here for obnoxious academic reasons (ie wrote a thesis on magical girls Laughing ), think that in order to strictly considered a magical girl there has to be a transformation that involves magic (or future technology that seems like magic, like Cyber Idol Mink or Corrector Yui) . Sakura uses magic, but Tomoyo makes her outfits, so that puts her in fantasy rather than magical girl to me.

I understand about the silliness in Sailor Moon. It really does get to be a bit much. And I'm with you on the idea of seeing an older Miho being the real Lala - I've always wished someone would write that.
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:29 am Reply with quote
I have no problems with being nit picky in a discussion as long as the specifics are up front. I think half of the arguments on these forums are about definitions.

That would make Cardcaptor Sakura an early but atypical version of what is called urban fantasy. That is fantasy in a modern setting.

Are there other requirements to be a magical girl show? Does, for instance, Magic Knight Rayearth qualify? While much of the show is high fantasy, the girls do transform. While some authors stick to the requirement of a specific genre, others appear to simply write stories and let the pigeon hole be decided after the fact.
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Princess_Irene



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:38 am Reply with quote
I'm pretty torn on Magic Knight Rayearth, personally, but I think by my own (picky) definition, it would be sword-and-sorcery fantasy rather than a magical girl, because while they do get magic powers, they don't require transformation. There are transformation elements, but not the classic transformation.

Generally my requirements for the magical girl genre would be that she must go through a transformation in order to use her powers (or perform, in the case of the idols) and that her power must ultimately come from somewhere within herself - my best example of why that's important to the genre is in Corrector Yui (manga; never got to see the anime) where spoiler[we find out that Yui was never supposed to be the magical girl in the first place, but because of her own belief and inherent abilities, she can still be the successful transforming heroine].

As long as I'm being pedantic, I think the genre can be divided into four sub-genres:

1) crime fighter/superheroine
2) mysterious thief (definitely overlap between the two)
3) idol
4) appearance only; no powers granted - this would be the stories like Instant Teen or Guru Guru Pon-chan

I'd love to know what other people think, and I'm sorry the thread has gone so far from the original topic!
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:38 am Reply with quote
Yes, we seem to have hijacked the thread. I'm sure that there are a lot of people out there that have an opinion about the Sailor Moon manga, but they obviously do not monitor the manga forum.

@nobahn
I think that the answer to your basic question is that the Sailor Moon manga is not for everyone. However it is so high profile that a lot of people who would not otherwise read it have tried it. That is why there is such a spread of opinion.

I would like to apologize for hijacking the thread. However I think we are discussing a valid manga related subject or subjects. Could you retitle the thread or spin off the offending posts? It would be appreciated. Perhaps a title of "A discussion of magical girl manga" would be appropriate.

@Princess_Irene
Now you have completely blown my mind. I would never have thought of Guru Guru Pon-Chan as a magical girl story. It does however fit. I've always put that in the simply weird category. Would Othello from the same author qualify? The transformation is more subtle than usual.

I'm familiar with the beginning of Corrector Yui but I never got beyond the first volume or two. I'm not sure why since I didn't dislike it. That is by Kia Asamiya isn't it? As an author he is all over the map genre wise.

Your sub-genres make a lot of sense. They explain why I like some series and not others. I dislike the first listed and am not thrilled with the second. I think it bothers me when the threat the girl faces is out of proportion with the maturity of the individual.
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Saffire
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:41 am Reply with quote
@Princess_Irene: I think you've disqualified a lot of classic magical girl shows by requiring a transformation. It's true that modern magical girl operates on transformations but my understanding is that most earlier shows were just young girls using magic to solve every day problems and didn't require transformation to do so. Which I think is actually a perfectly functional definition of magical girl: "young girls using magic to solve problems".

It's been a while since I read the Sailor Moon manga but I remember thinking that the story points often felt abbreviated. I never felt like any story points were ever developed enough before they were over, so I never got invested in any of it. I think it's also a problem that I saw the anime first. The manga is so different it's hard to connect the two mentally. I'll probably try to revisit it someday.
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Touma



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:17 pm Reply with quote
Alan45 wrote:
I'm familiar with the beginning of Corrector Yui but I never got beyond the first volume or two. I'm not sure why since I didn't dislike it. That is by Kia Asamiya isn't it? As an author he is all over the map genre wise.

The original Corrector Yui manga was by Kia Asamiya, but the manga that was published by Tokyopop was an adaptation of the anime by Keiko Okamoto.
I was never able to read the original, but the manga by Keiko Okamoto is much lighter and less serious than anything that I have read by Kia Asamiya, such as Dark Angel, Junk: Record of the Last Hero, or even Nadeseco.
I definitely like the Corrector Yui manga.

On the subject of magical girls, I have always considered a transformation to be a requirement. Those who do not transform I think of as magic users, as in Magic Users Club, or just magicians.
I do not call Sakura a magical girl because she does not transform.
But it is just a matter of definition.
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Alan45
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:48 pm Reply with quote
Kia Asamiya also wrote Silent Mobius which is about as dark and gritty as you can get. On the other hand he did do comedy in Compiler. He also did cartoony and silly in Steam Detective. That was complete with a boy detective, a beautiful and endangered nurse a butler a steam powered robot and several over the top villains.

Magic Users Club certainly couldn't be magical girl in any case as some of the magicians were guys.
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nobahn
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:02 pm Reply with quote
Title changed as per Alan45.
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