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sailormoon - crescent wand look

Sailor Moon Rant!

I briefly tweeted about this the other day, but I feel the urge to fully rant on it now. And I know this is something that has bothered other Sailor Moon fans, but clearly, it's not an issue with all of them.

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The reason why this issue has cropped up AGAIN is because I happen to follow the artist Drachea Rannak on Facebook. And he posts about his recent commissions, most of which are pretty damn cool and look great because of his very glossy anime-style art technique(s).

However, a recent set of commissions went around calling themselves various "Sailor..." (with various strange names I couldn't completely pronounce; I get the feeling that the commissioners' first language wasn't English), and these weird metallic-looking chokers and halter tops. All I commented was "But...there's no Sailor collar!"

I got a few responses from the commissioners, some of them coming across quite condescending, most of them in crappy English with misspellings of words like "canon" (even directly after a post I had made including the word spelled correctly). Setting that all aside, the gist of what they said is this:

* Our Senshi have nothing to do with the canon Senshi.
* We wanted their uniforms to appear more modern and stylish.
* Our Senshi are from the future.
* Sailor collars are boring, and make fan Senshi look like copycats and unoriginal.

Drachea himself weighed in, to the tune of "Yeah, I think Sailor collars ought to be mandatory too, but I just did the commission I was paid for." Fair enough. Commissioners have their own rules about what they will and won't draw, and I doubt Drachea would turn down an opportunity to do an art style he's beloved for over something like a Sailor collar.

* If your Senshi have NOTHING to do with the canon Senshi, then why are you calling them "Sailor Senshi?" Call them soldiers, guardians, whatever, but don't call them SAILOR Senshi.
* You can make the uniforms more modern and stylish without removing the Sailor collar.
* Future-schmoocher. We've seen Senshi from the freaking 30th century, and they still wear Sailor collars.
* If Sailor collars are boring, then you've basically just insulted EVERY SINGLE CANONICAL SENSHI (plus Naoko Takeuchi herself, who designed every single fuku around the basic concept of a Sailor uniform made colorful and short). That includes Senshi that only appeared in either the anime, the manga, the live action drama, or the musicals. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

Here's the thing: Sailor Moon is based off two concepts:
* Magical girl
* Sentai

"Sentai" meaning "squadron" or "task force," or something else that roughly implies a team that operates in something of a military-like fashion.

Sailor Moon was one of the first series that combined these two elements, and it did so by introducing a unifying element: the Seifuku, or "Sailor" uniform. Back in the 90s when Sailor Moon debuted (as both a manga and an anime), lots of schools in Japan used a variation of the Western sailor uniform. Some of the best schools were envied because of how CUTE their uniforms were. (Remember how Usagi gushed over the uniforms of Mugen Gakuen students?)

You could immediately spot a Sailor Senshi by their outfit. The fifth and final season of the anime (and arc of the manga) was what threw everyone for a loop: it introduced not only Sailor Senshi from beyond our solar system, but EVIL Sailor Senshi. Not just Senshi like Saturn, whose purpose it is to destroy things, but who WANT to destroy things. Senshi like Galaxia. These did not seem like "pretty guardians" of anything--they were "Senshi" in the sense of the word being translated as "Soldier," girls and women who fought to the death for power. It was frightening to think that our beloved Sailor uniform could be corrupted by evil, but it was still cool to see. Imagine: Sailor uniforms in base colors other than white! In materials like leather and gold! Without bows and ribbons! But what the Sailor Starlights, Galaxia, and all of her Animates STILL had in common, no matter how ostentatious their outfits got, was the SAILOR COLLAR.

They are, after all, SAILOR Senshi. And it's not just some magical thing inside them (or not, in the case of a few of them) called a "Sailor" crystal that makes them "Sailor" Senshi. It's the uniform, period. (After all, the uniform came into canon existence before the crystals did.)

My stance is that it's fine to come up with otaku or fan-made Sailor Senshi. But if they don't have the Sailor collar, then they're not "SAILOR" Senshi, no matter what else they may (or may not) have in common with the Sailor Moon canon. That means they can be from an alternate universe, from the 40th century, the Bronze Millennium, whatever. But if they don't have a Sailor collar, that's it--they're magical girls, they can be on a team, but they're not SAILOR Senshi. They're superheroes. They're anime style. Heck, maybe they're even Super Sentai in the vein of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers! But they're NOT Sailor Senshi.

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I definitely feel like this is a super picky fan thing that a casual fan (like myself) wouldn't even notice. But as someone who can sometimes get super picky fannish myself on things, that's not necessarily a criticizm. I used to (god, way back in the day) make up sailor scouts, and I play around with that senshi maker as pictured in the secret all the damn time. Half the time I'm just making them look as close to a particular character, costume and all, whether that includes the collar or not--but I'm digressing.

I'm saying, as a casual fan, I never would have picked up on this. As in, a sailor senshi is a sailor senshi, and they can't be one if they don't have 'sailor' in the title/name. The collar is just a detail you can use or not if you want, like every other aspect of the costume (except the skirt, the skirt appears to be literally necessary to the costume). As a casual fan, I never even noticed literally everyone has the collar anyway. If I see one without the collar, I only see it as a stylistic choice, and I never would have imagined not calling them a sailor senshi if they decided to call them that. (And I never would have imagined calling them anything but 'Sailor ___' because, well, that's kind of the show/the canon/that's how they name these characters.)
I guess for me, I always wanted to know, what made a Sailor Scout (Senshi) a Sailor Senshi, aside from the name? Because it never seemed enough that they be named after a planetary body (people invented Sailors of plenty of other things). But a title is just that--a title. It doesn't mean anything if it has no reason.

That is to say, there's no point in calling someone a King if he has no kingdom.

So for a Sailor Senshi, if she doesn't have the Sailor collar on her costume, how is she a SAILOR Senshi? Consider that every other time we see the characters, they're referred to by their regular names (Usagi, Minako, etc.) or a Princess name (e.g. Serenity).

Because if someone goes around calling herself "Sailor" something-or-other and doesn't have the collar, where did she get that title from? Why? It doesn't mean anything when related to her super powers or past life, or anything.

The name/title CAME from the clothing, not the other way around.

But there are plenty of "Sailor" characters who don't have the skirt (in the fifth season/arc, there were several). But the collar is on EVERY SINGLE "SAILOR" CHARACTER. I guess for me, it was pretty hard to miss.