Even those that do not know the name of Sailor Moon will be familiar with the iconic manga characters wearing the famous sailor uniforms. Created in 1991 by Naoko Takeuchi, Sailor Moon was first serialized in the monthly shōjo manga magazine Nakayoshi.
Sailor Moon really exploded across popular culture and the world when the animated show was westernized in the early 1990s. From this moment on, girls and guys across the world had new superheroes to look toward in the form of the Sailor Scouts trying to save the galaxy.
The story begins with a high school girl named Usagi Tsukino (also known as Serena Tsukino in other dubs) who finds a magical talking black cat called Luna. This mysterious cat soon explains that Usagi is a Moon Princess who is destined to save Earth from the forces of evil. Of course, she soon learns that she has a magical brooch that transforms her into a powerful warrior.
It’s no wonder that the series became so popular with such an interesting premise. Naturally, throughout the course of the series, there are more heroes and villains showing up with many twists and turns. Sailor Moon became a beloved manga series and TV show for many, but it transcended its original mediums and ended up exploding in popularity throughout pop culture.
Inspired more female heroes in anime
When people think of heroes in anime and manga, it’s easy to come up with multiple male characters. Dragonball, Dragon Quest: The Adventures of Dai, Yu-Gi-Oh, Hunter x Hunter and Fist of the North Star are just a select few manga stories that predominantly have a male-driven cast.
Sailor Moon was one of the first-ever manga series that featured a mainly female cast that actually contained action and adventure. That’s not to say that there weren’t female-inspired manga franchises out there before, but most of these were primarily ‘slice of life’ or romantic stories.
With Sailor Moon featuring multiple characters that are both cool and likable, whilst being powerful and compelling, it’s no surprise as to why so many mediums were inspired. Nowadays, there are literally hundreds of female heroes in anime and in other mediums, but this wouldn’t have been possible without Sailor Moon.
Nezuko from Demon Slayer, Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell, and Mikasa Ackerman from Attack on Titan are just a small fraction of the modern female heroes that definitely wouldn’t have been possible without Sailor Moon.
Many children’s television shows in the West also focused on powerful women after seeing the success of Sailor Moon. Shows such as Winx Club, Totally Spies, The Powerpuff Girls, and Kim Possible were popular cartoons that gave female fans a hero to look towards. Sailor Moon broke the glass ceiling and was a trailblazer for other mediums that wanted to do the same.
Influenced video games
The early 1990s was arguably the golden age of video games with so many classic titles such as Final Fantasy VII, Super Mario 64, and Resident Evil. Alongside the video game adaptations that were direct Sailor Moon titles, there were many video games that were inspired by the popular manga.
These vary from crossover third-person shooters such as Magic Battle Arena to role-playing games such as Crystar and Xenosaga I. All of these games contain powerful heroines with different magical powers that must be used to stop a great evil force. Whilst this trope has begun to become a mainstay in female-led video games, there’s no denying the influence that Sailor Moon had and that these games could potentially not be here without it.
Alongside the clear influences of Sailor Moon in video games, there are many games that pay homage to the series in different ways. Silent Hill 3 is a very dark and gruesome game, but there is a little nod to Sailor Moon with the Transform Costume that turns the heroine into a magical princess with mystical powers.
There are also many iGaming titles that have paid homage to the show with Moon Princess being the stand-out online slot. This game literally follows three princesses, Love, Star, and Storm, who must band together under the moonlight to defeat evil and save the world, which is essentially the plot of Sailor Moon.
Since Moon Princess, there have been multiple other iGaming titles that have also paid homage to Sailor Moon with Starlight Princess and Sisters of the Sun. Ultimately, this shows that Sailor Moon has transcended the original medium to expand into video games and iGaming.
Led to fashion and make-up collaborations
It’s clear that Sailor Moon influenced other TV shows and the gaming industry, but the iconic series also made its way into the world of fashion and beauty. For decades fans have dressed as characters from Sailor Moon in both the hero forms and their everyday costumes.
In the past, these fans have had to source these items for themselves but that has changed within the past few years as many companies have started releasing official branded clothing and make-up inspired by the show. There have been many different make-up brands creating Sailor Moon collections but none quite as big as ColourPop.
The Sailor Moon make-up collection was released in 2020 and sold out almost instantly. It was so popular amongst fans that the collection was restocked and continues to be a top-selling brand on ColourPop’s website even today. This is a huge milestone for the collection as ColourPop has rotating collections that change every couple of months. As this collection is a mainstay at ColourPop, this highlights just how popular this collection is.
As for clothing collaborations, Isetan, Spinns, Peach John and Shimanura are just a few of the big names that have created branded Sailor Moon collections. The most recent is the Maje x Sailor Moon which debuted in the summer of 2022. From denim jackets to bucket hats, the collection has everything a Sailor Moon fan would want with some iconic designs.
It makes sense that the world of fashion and beauty would welcome Sailor Moon with open arms as most of the outfit designs in the series were inspired by models and designer collections from the runway.
There are little manga series that can safely say they have shaped pop culture the way that Sailor Moon has. Sailor Moon will continue to inspire and revolutionize popular culture for years to come as there’s no denying how influential the show is. If anything, the series has grown in popularity within the past couple of years and is only set to get even bigger.