Moon prism power, make up! For devout otaku or budding nostalgia addicts, today is a huge day. Gay favorite ’90s cartoon Sailor Moon returns to TV screens in a new HD remastered format, streaming (for free!) through Hulu and Neon Alley. Usagi’s big comeback leads the way for Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal, a proper reboot of the beloved magical girl series with new animations and story lines later this summer.
But why do we love Sailor Moon so much? If it isn’t completely self evident after the trailer, here are five reasons the series is our favorite anime:
1. Gay Characters
While heavily censored in the United Sates, one iteration of Sailor Moon featured the side-characters Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus, the on-again-off-again allies of the other Pretty Soldiers. Although thinly veiled as cousins in the edited translation, it was obvious that Neptune and Uranus were more than family. The sapphic lovers battle with and against Usagi and her friends, attempting to save the world at all costs. Their love is an authentic and heroic depiction of brave, albeit conflicted, lesbian heroines.
A later iteration of the original run of Sailor Moon that never made it to the West (until now!) featured the characters known as the Sailor Starlights. These scouts changed gender when transforming into their super-selves, performing magical dance moves. Clearly, this didn’t go over too well with the network executives in the United States who tended to market the show towards a young audience.
2. Strong Female Cast
While superhero movies and books in the United States tend to be male-oriented, Sailor Moon features a vast array of complex and charming female leads. The main character, Usagi (or Serena in the US version), is the strongest of the bunch. Despite being the leader of an intergalactic force of protectresses, Usagi is generally a bumbling, incompetent, and endlessly lovable buffoon.
At its core, the series was about female empowerment. The US version even came with girl-power era public service announcements that advised young ladies on feminism. For example:
3. The Villains
Episodes of Sailor Moon are sometimes just as good as RuPaul’s Drag Race in the looks department. While the Pretty Soldiers’ costumes remain fairly constant throughout, the series has a plethora of oddly designed and strangely dressed villains. Ranging from evil-cat demons to vacuum-cleaner fembots, these femme fatales are serving anime princess realness 24/7:
4. The Transformations
While often formulaic, each episode of Sailor Moon features at least one of the scouts transforming from the civilian forms into their super modes. These scenes are mesmerizingly hallucinatory, each frame gorgeously animated. It never gets old:
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal starts streaming on the Niconico web service on July 5th. Until then:
(gifs via Giphy.com)