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 The darker aspects of Sailor Moon

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Sailor Cosmos
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PostSubject: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:21 pm

Recently, the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica has been praised as being the first "dark" magical girl series. Now, before I go off, I just want to say that I've seen the Madoka anime and read the manga and I enjoyed it very much! However, I DO feel like it's been overhyped skyhigh as being GRIMDARK and DECONSTRUCTIVE; it certainly isn't the first magical girl series to be dark. I mean, Sailor Moon itself has many dark and psychological aspects as well.

Let's look at the Stars Arc (I'll be discussing the manga version). First off, Usagi's one and only love is disintegrated in front of her eyes, an event so traumatic she ends up repressing it. Then, her four closest and most loved friends meet the same fate as Mamoru, once again disintegrating in front of her eyes. She eventually remembers what happened to Mamoru. She also discovers that her four other friends are dead and she is more or less alone. However, there is hope to get her loved ones back; by recovering their star seeds, or Sailor Crystals. Traveling to the center of the Galaxy, Usagi's remaining companions are picked off until only she, Sailor Chibi Chibi, her future daughter (Sailor Chibi Moon) and the Sailor Quartet are the only remaining living people in the entire galaxy besides Sailor Galaxia.

Galaxia then psychologically tortures Usagi by having her dead friends come back to life under Galaxia's evil control and forces them to fight her; Usagi in turn is forced to kill her loved ones in defense. Usagi then has to witness the now evil Mamoru kiss Galaxia before he is kicked into the Galaxy Cauldron. With that, Usagi's last bit of everything, her future daughter, Chibiusa, vanishes from existence right before her. The Sailor Crystals are melted into the Galaxy Cauldron and Usagi's sole motivation for fighting is now gone. Usagi is now utterly alone and is forced to make a decision that will either secure or decimate the future of the Galaxy.

How's that for "dark?"

And let's not forget the season finale of the first season, where in episode 45 Usagi's friends and teammates die one by one protecting her, until Usagi is forced to fight Mamoru by herself. Or what about the entire S season (and the Infinity Arc in the manga) where the themes of whether sacrifice is ethical or not, and where they are basically facing the Apocalypse (and the Earth may face utter destruction). Also, the anime version of Stars where Usagi loses all of her loved ones in a very short span of time and still manages to keep hope.

What I'm saying is that while Sailor Moon is primarily a series about love, justice, hope, and the strength of women, it also has several dark and grim aspects that help add meaning and depth to the story as a whole. I don't think it's fair how some people seem to think that recent animes like Madoka are automatically better than earlier series like Sailor Moon because it's DARK AND GRIM (trust me, I've heard some fans go on and on...)

Anyway, what are YOUR thoughts?


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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:08 pm

We could also add the fact that she suicides twice at the death of her lover (once during Silver Millennium, once after they regain memories...& I'm pretty sure she strikes him down too, on top of self-harm).
Oh, and the sexual assault (Dimande), as well as how her own brainwashed daughter seduces Mamoru....



...yeah.
It's honestly very dark, but the way it's written doesn't get the reader depressed.
I haven't read Madoka to compare, though.

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:37 pm

DARK? How about terrifying in some instances!!! I mean look at many, MANY aspects of Sailor Moon that we tend to overlook at times. Kidnapping children, eating hearts and crushing dreams is not even the gist of it.

Let me start with R. To make this short, Wiseman was interested in Chibiusa NOT JUST TO BRAINWASH HER. He wanted to make a little girl his Queen. Obviously if he just wanted to brainwash her, he would have done that, instead of trying to make her into some DARK BEAUTY.

To make matters worse, with S, Hotaru is taken over by Mistress 9. She EATS Chibiusa's heart in order to be powerful. That is pretty extreme given the fact that Chibiusa STILL trusts her as this is going on. That's deep.

And finally SuperS. I will never forget the scene where the Amazoness Quartet is literally RUMMAGING THROUGH THOUSANDS OF DREAM MIRRORS to find the Golden one, as if the people's dreams are TRASH. And the fact that Nehelenia eats dreams to be beautiful and THROWS A CHILD TO HER POTENTIAL DEATH.

WOW. This series. Is supreme.

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:47 pm

It has some dark themes, but they're always overcome; the end message is triumph. Madoka (which I've just been rewatching) has an overall theme of hopelessness and futility- to such an extent, in fact, that I would advise against anyone with depression watching it. Even the "happy ending" isn't really that happy- especially if you stop to think about all of the possible implications of it, and how *that* was really somewhat in vain...

There's a difference in, say, a TV show where a guy heroically fights off a man-eating bear... And a show where he gets eaten by the bear in slow-motion. There's a bear in both shows, but only one is hopeless and cringe-worthy.

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:10 am

I'm going to have to agree with SailorStarWind - I haven't seen the other show in question, but presentation and overall message make a huge difference. I don't view Sailor Moon as dark, ALTHOUGH it contains a lot of elements which could become dark with only small adjustments. But in the end I never got the feeling that things wouldn't work out for Sailor Moon.
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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:08 am

I like those darker aspects, it makes the message of love, justice and hope even more meaningful. Sailor Moon is not about light, it's about overcoming the darkness.
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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:36 am

Oh, I completely agree with you. The anime in particular tends to fluff over the series with its impish girlish characters (primarily Usagi) and bright colors and rather moronic and silly youma. However there are certain episodes or even scenes that are actually very dark and rather traumatic.

As you said, the Japanese original ending to the first arc comes rather harshly when Usagi's friends are brutally murdered before her, especially the way the animators linger on their dead bodies. I also found Sailor Moon's torture scene by Dark Endymion to be rather harsh -- I was surprised by it when I finally saw the original version, because up until that point things are rather less-than-serious. Usagi's seiyuu does a dedicated job in her painful screams and the scene lasts for a little longer than a quick second.

Most of the time death is not focused on very much or very seriously, but once in a while it changes and shocks you (at least it does with me). Nephrite's death was quite painful to watch, although it is probably not the darkest scene in the anime. But it is a very concentrated and prolonged moment.

The Stars is when it really hit me. Things suddenly became very serious. As you said, Usagi goes through a lot of psychological torture, especially with Queen Nehelenia. The anime focuses on this more than the manga (what with that mini filler arc) and I thought it was incredibly cruel what Usagi has to endure. That with with Mamoru slapping her is quite intense and not something that you would see from a fluffy anime.

And of course it goes without saying that the Senshi's death in the Stars anime is incredibly painful to watch. Haruka and Michiru speak about the horrible fate of ending up in Hell, which is a very dark thing to talk about. That kind of talk is usually reserved for darker anime


The manga by far is a completely different story than the anime -- it is so much darker. And not just in premise but by the way Takeuchi draws many of her scenes. There are many pages that are full out black grainy textures and the villains are down right terrifying to look at. When Usagi's loved ones die in the Stars, their bodies literally disintegrate, as you said, Cosy. But also, they are often reaching out towards one another when their bodies are torn apart, which only serves to heighten the brutal reality of their deaths.

I remember one scene from the manga's Nehelenia arc in which everyone is caught in the nightmare that their flesh is melting off of their bones and Sailor Moon looks like a skeleton. It is very dark and disturbing, almost venturing in a mini horror manga.


So yes, I agree with many of you. The series' message is about love and triumph, but in the manga especially, Takeuchi dabbles with how difficult that struggle is and the horrid nature of evil and the consequences that occur when fighting such evil entities.

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:35 am

I think those 'darker' aspects help emphasise the characters moral decisions and plans of action. For example, in S, Uranus and Neptune were asking themselves if sacrifice was worth it for the greater good, or the fact that the Senshi are willing to die to protect their loved ones.


@Nina wrote:
I like those darker aspects, it makes the message of love, justice and hope even more meaningful. Sailor Moon is not about light, it's about overcoming the darkness.

I agree.

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:06 pm

I don't want to just quote entire posts, so ... I'll just say that between Cosmos, Jupiter, and Sailorstarwind all covered what I would end up saying anyway. This series is a lot darker once you actually think about what happens - It counts as High Octane Fridge Horror.
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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:43 pm

I feel like I'm coming in on the tail end of this conversation. ^^' darned student teaching.

But I agree - Sailor Moon's darker aspects are usually brushed over in the anime, especially the dubbed version, so it does come off as some fluffy stuff. Friends met in college admitted that if they knew those darker tones surfaced eventually they would've watched more of the series (and often borrowed the manga after I told them some of what they missed xD)

I wonder if things would've turned out differently if they kept the monsters looking like the youma Naru's mom turned into in the first episode... she was seriously creepy.


er, summarize: Agree. Sailor Moon dealt with some serious stuff, but as it focused more on dealing with and overcoming the darkness it was tossed aside as fluffy stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:44 pm

Oh, goodness, that youma... And remember the one in the idol singing contest ep- the dub ep with the song "I Wanna Be a Star"? Scary stuff. >_> I prefer the goofy ones, honestly. Those two scared the daylights out of me when I was a little kid...

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:53 pm

I think first season of the anime can easily win the scariest youma designs award. They were much creepier and similar to how Naoko drew youma in the manga. The episode at the amusement park with the doll who's head spun around? FUCKIN NIGHTMARES.

I wish they had kept some of the MOTD creepy like that throughout the entire series.

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:11 pm

Okay, can I just say when I was reading every single one of your posts I was nodding my head and m-hmming?

Thank you all so much for contributing more darker aspects! I knew I was totally glossing over a lot of them!

I agree, the darker aspects of Sailor Moon help accent the light; Love and hope, courage and strength, and second chances. Like what Sailorstarwind said, I would not recommend Madoka to those who have ever been depressed; in fact, I was very cautious about watching it because I have a long history with depression. Luckily, it wasn't nearly as grim as I thought it would be (as a massive horror/psychological fan, Madoka looks like a pile of fluff in comparison to some series I've seen) it IS very depressing.

The grim parts of Sailor Moon make it so much more interesting. We see WHY the characters do what they do, and like I said before, it makes the light and joy in the series that much more inspiring!

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:03 pm

I like the darker aspects they give the story depth and really shows a sort of hierarchy of the villains. By the time you get to Stars you really see the struggle to destroy evil. Yes, each arch has struggling. But if Sailor Moon looked back after defeating Chaos she'd probably say "The Dark Kingdom was NOTHING compared to the struggles of defeating Chaos." Yes some characters were scarier than others in all the arch's but, you really see the struggle in Stars, it's like watching your family die right in front of you and not knowing how to stop of fix it for a period of time. Personally, I would have not held back and hoped to work it out with the whole galaxia scenario. I'm more of a fighter personally
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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:09 pm

I agree, Lexi! I always like to think of Eternal Sailor Moon looking at the Youma and Beryl from season one and laughing about how easy it will be to defeat them.

Also.

ZOMBIEZ




AND CHILDREN GETTING THEIR FACES MELTED OFF







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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:26 pm

I agree with you. Sailor Moon can be VERY dark. If it wasn't I don't think certain parts would've made me cry at times. It would've been very bland to me without the ominous villains. It's that dark feeling that makes it what it is. (Not sure if that made sense but yeah.. xD)
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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:27 pm

I think the darker aspects also make it more appealing to an older audience who maybe didn't discover sailor moon as a child like many of us did.
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PostSubject: SHIIIIIIIIIIIT   Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:32 pm

@Sailor Cosmos wrote:


ZOMBIEZ




AND CHILDREN GETTING THEIR FACES MELTED OFF








One word, Cosmos, one word:

SHIIIIIIIIIIIT!

I forgot about those scenes. Thanks for the night scare. XD

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:46 pm

Kyralih wrote:
@Sailor Cosmos wrote:


ZOMBIEZ




AND CHILDREN GETTING THEIR FACES MELTED OFF








One word, Cosmos, one word:

SHIIIIIIIIIIIT!

I forgot about those scenes. Thanks for the night scare. XD



Cause Cosy be creepin' up on y'all with some nightmare fuel XD XD

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:28 pm

UGH, I had this whole, organized, well thought out post, and my internet closed on me when I closed my iTunes.

BUT, the gist was that both Sailor Moon and Madoka Magica are dark in their own rights. While Madoka's grim right off the bat, Sailor Moon tends to lighten itself in each arc. Also, I see Madoka as being more of a bittersweet ending because Madoka sacrifices her physical self with a grace and maturity far beyond her years.

That's as much as I can remember about what I wrote out. ><

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:40 pm

I agree with Cosmos, it is dark those Manga scenes are always in my mind along with the suicide and a few bother things, to me its dark. Madoka really wasn't dark to me, it just didn't read dark.

In the thread I posted about it I still think other Magical Girl manga is darker one that is high on that list is Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne and Full Moon wo Sagashite.
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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:44 am

bumping the thread becasue it needs a new lease on life.


i feel like we have a bit of darkness gong on that may not have been talked about.

what say you moonies.

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Mon Nov 03, 2014 6:46 pm

Were I not so tired from work, I could go on and on about the darkness in the S/Infinity arc and why that makes it my favorite.

But for a shorter & quicker post for my tired brain, I would say Crystal has become a lot darker and more serious with the two most recent Acts. In Act 8, we got to see the darkness in Minako for essentially giving up her youth and innocence to be a solitary Senshi. Act 9 felt very dire, and the memory of Usagi crying out in anguish sends chills down my spine even thinking about it now. Also, the flashbacks to the war in the time of Silver Millennium, Venus' seeming lack of sympathy for Usagi/Serenity when they're back in the command room, and Usagi fainting all add a lot more darkness and weight to the tragic nature of this story arc.

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:49 pm

I think part of the reason that people forget the darker parts of sailor moon is because the mid season filler is really fluffy and happy.

If Madoka had some filler it would probably be a bit lighter
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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:08 pm

Now let me tell you a thing about darker stories in Sailor Moon. And let me tell you a thing about the musicals.  Some of the musicals have the darkest Sailor Moon stories ever or have moments in them that I feel are darker than moments in anime, manga, PGSM combined.

Ok let's go (I will put behind spoiler cause some peeps haven't seen the musicals which is bad of you if you havent. ;P)

Spoiler:
 

And thats about all I can think of off the top of my head...

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:27 pm

HOLY CRAP BRIT!!! The last one!!! 

And little kids watched these musicals!!

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:28 pm

Let me tell you, I was verbally and loudly upset at my screen.

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Fri Jul 10, 2015 1:21 pm

The whole Naru/Nephrite thing is pretty depressing. And y'all are right, people are talking about Madoka Magica like it's the most revolutionary Magical Girl series ever (what basicaly invented the magical girl genre as we know it? Sailor Moon).
Animes will come and go in popularity, mangas will start and finish, but Sailor Moon will always be cemented as one of the best series of all time.

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:40 pm

THIS IS ANOTHER REASON I PREFER THE MANGA. it's SO dark and screwed up!!!! sometimes explicitly, but sometimes it's more like fridge horror! the more you scratch the surface, the more the veneer of Usagi's perfect life and happy ending starts falling apart!

- it's implied that the inners never get a chance to have their own lives once usagi becomes queen
- where are the outers in the future? were they forced to take up their old posts that made them so lonely and miserable in their past lives?
- what kind of event had to happen for usagi and mamoru to become king and queen of the whole dang earth? what would make the governments of the world, in the present we now live in, all be willing to hand over power to a young and (as far as anyone knows) unremarkable couple? world war 3? nuclear fallout?
- do they never question the whole senshi system? how screwed up it is that usagi gets to have the penultimate happy ending at the cost of everyone else?

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PostSubject: Re: The darker aspects of Sailor Moon   Sat Jan 02, 2016 1:00 pm

Bumping for a new lease on life. 

I think the manga is a lot scarier than the 90s anime, although it really did have its moments.
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The darker aspects of Sailor Moon

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