Author: noelettajune

Hey im Noeletta, but most people call me Noels or Noelsy. I've created this blog for my Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies, over the next 3 to 4 years i will be updating it with the latest things i have accquired regarding either 3D or the portrayal of body image throughout the media. Hope it's not too boring for ya :)

That time of the year…

So now comes the time where I take a long hard look at everything I’ve researched, and try to narrow it all down into a singular topic. This part is hard. I feel as though the information I have collected can equally contribute to what I would like to express within my research essay. The hardest part will be coming up with a question to really narrow my focus. Hoppes (2014) believes that “the research question may not be evident to the writer and is one of the last puzzle pieces to fall into place.” (pp.66) Which has certainly become the case for myself. Judging from what Hoppes has said I need to look closely at all the information I have collected, and brainstorm a number of questions that could be relevant to the topic.

Looking back at my previous posts I can most definitely see a connection. Each aspect of Sailor Moon I have looked at from a Western perspective in comparison to the Eastern perspective. Whether that be the changes within in content, the exportation of both the anime and manga, and the globally accepted female characteristics.

I feel that having watched the anime as a child provides me with an advantage when looking at it from a Western perspective. However I also feel that my nostalgia may affect my ability to look at the show from a critical level. The one thing that may play to my advantage is that I have watched the original dubbed version as a child, and I am now watching the new re-booted Japanese version (with subtitles, because I am unfortunately not that talented) as an adult. This experience is allowing me to garner a whole new out-look of the series as a whole. I eventually plan on reading the manga, but unfortunately that won’t be for a while, because – you know – assessments, and stuff.

So to finish off this series of blog posts I leave you with an article explaining pretty much everything you need to know about Sailor Moon, and a comparison of both the original and new and improved anime. Later Sailor Scouts!

sailor-moon-old-vs-new-usagi

Hoppes, S 2014, “Autoethnography: Inquiry Into Identity”, New Directions For Higher Education, no. 166, pp.63-71

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A controversial topic…

So this week I will be looking at the controversy surrounding Sailor Moon. The video above gives a short look at the differences between the Japanese and American (Western) versions of Sailor Moon. In case the video isn’t working, or you just cannot be bothered watching it, i’ll give you a short run down. Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus are dating! *GASP* shock horror!

Or at least 90’s America thought it was.

Nawwww!!

Nawwww!!

However the world is changing. And fortunately for Sailor Moon fans everywhere (well outside of Japan anyway, because let’s face it, they are pretty ahead of the times when it comes to this sort of thing) we are finally going to be able to watch this romance play out before our very eyes.

When the original series was dubbed for Western Audiences Neptune and Uranus were shown as cousins. And as you can see in the YouTube video, their scenes together became pretty awkward, pretty quickly. As a consumer of Sailor Moon I feel robbed. I grew up with the dubbed versions of these shows as I have only just recently discovered the beauty of the Japanese versions.

Feminist site BitchMedia praise the series for helping “girls around the world come to terms with their sexualities” (2014) with the writer herself exclaiming that she grew up wishing for a romance similar to that of Haruka and Michiru (Uranus and Neptune). I myself grew up with a pretty open understanding of different sexualities, and although I am straight, I have a number of close friends who are not. A number of those friends found it hard to come out to friends and family for a number of reasons, and I can’t help but think that if they had children’s programs, such as the Japanese version of Sailor Moon, would’ve they accepted their sexuality earlier in their lives?

However, all is not lost. According to CAAM, Viz Media, who have just acquired the Western rights for both the original and re-boot, are releasing 200 original episodes un-cut. They are also promising to keep the new episodes the same as the Japanese version, when they eventually dub them over.

Here is a video promoting their progression.

Bridges, R 2014, The Feminism of Sailor Moon, BitchMedia, http://bitchmagazine.org/post/the-feminism-of-sailor-moon

Fighting for love, justice and… feminism?

One of the aspects of Sailor Moon that drew me towards the show was its portrayal of strong female characters. There were an abundance of super hero cartoons on television at the same time as Sailor Moon; however the heroes were almost exclusively male. To watch school girls who were so much like me, kick some dark kingdom butt – it was exhilarating. My eyes were opened to a whole world of possibilities , but to think that watching Sailor Moon as a child could have some sort of link to feminism as an adult seems incredible.

Kahn (2014) believes that the link between Sailor Moon and feminism lies within the characters that Takeuchi has created. “Usagi can be emotional, flighty, and boy-crazy,” characteristics most females can relate to. The Sailor Scouts are all so different that even if you don’t fully relate to Sailor Moon (Usagi) there are 8 more planets that could suit your fancy.

“They are avatars of death, as with Sailor Saturn, whose power is to bring about the apocalypse. They are elegant, thrill-seeking race car drivers like Sailor Uranus, in love with world-class violinists like Sailor Neptune, and they are ace students like Sailor Mercury.” (Kahn, 2014)

The video that I’ve posted by Ravenclawgirl29 gives a pretty decent outlook on the feminism values within Sailor Moon. Although the speaker gets a little lost on her own tangents occasionally she provides some great points. In particular the point raised on how all shows that are marketed as being ‘gender neutral’ are predominately male characters, with a few females thrown in every once and a while. Sailor Moon was one of the only shows in the 90’s marketed as ‘gender neutral’ with a mostly female cast.

So if you have watched the video, what do you think? Do you agree with the points raised by Ravenclawgirl29?

Kahn, J 2014, Nostalgia As A Weapon: The Sailor Moon Renaissance Is A Feminist Mission Behind The Lines Of Pop Culture, Comics Alliance, http://comicsalliance.com/sailor-moon-feminism-renaissance-nostalgia-women-role-models/

Sailor Moon – The Global Phenomenon

So as I have mentioned previously I will be talking about a different aspect of Sailor Moon over the next few weeks to really mesh out just what my final project will be about. To really give you an idea on how much I know about Sailor moon, I will give you a bit of context. I first started watching Sailor Moon when it aired on Agro’s Cartoon Connection sometime within 1992-96. I was obsessed. There is no other word for it. I owned my own moon wand, and legendary silver crystal. I had the action figure and the costume. I grew my hair long so I was able to turn myself into ‘meatball head’. I was going to be Sailor Moon and no-one was going to stop me.

As it turned out, I was not the only one in the world who acted like this.

Looking into the global phenomenon that is Sailor Moon I have discovered a number of interesting facts. The first is that fans have continued to stay loyal to both the anime and manga, even after it stopped playing on global televisions. Social media pages are flooded with fan-art, fanfiction and discussion about both the manga and the anime. Even a simple search through Tumblr came up with a number of results. The popularity was great enough for a re-boot of the anime series to become a reality.

Sailor Moon Crystal premiered May this year, and is fast becoming just as popular as the first. At the moment it is exclusively Japanese with English subtitles. However, American Company Viz Media has recently purchased both the original and new content. Watching the new and (in my opinion) greatly improved anime has once again sparked my love for the super heroine that is Sailor Moon.

So what is it about this crime fighting Sailor Scout that the world seems to love?

Dailot-Bul (2013) believes it has something to do with anime being a unique genre that global audiences had never seen before. “In practical terms, the mixture of Asian and non-Asian traits has provided the manga and anime industries with a distinct export advantage.” (Cooper-Chen 1999, pp.297)

However, with popularity comes criticism. The original Sailor Moon anime was criticised for not being close enough to the manga. The re-boot criticised for being too different to the original. Personally, I am just enthralled that I get to fall in love with Tuxedo Mask all over again!

Cooper-Chen, A 1999, “An Animated Imbalance: Japan’s Television Heroines in Asia,” International Communications Gazette, vol.61, no.3, pp.293-310

Daliot-Bul, M 2013, “Reframing and Reconsidering the Cultural Innovations of the anime boom on US television,” International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol.17, no.1, pp.75-91

Auto-ethnographically discovering Sailor Moon.

So the time has come for me to start narrowing down my final research question. As my theme for the past few weeks has been Sailor Moon, I hope to continue with this trend. However, I am not entirely sure of which path I would like to continue down. There are a number of different avenues I can explore, however there are three that I am mainly interested in: the globalisation of anime, controversial topics and how they translate to Western audiences, and the portrayal of female characters within Sailor Moon.

For the next three weeks I will be writing a more in-depth look into each of these aspects of the Sailor Moon phenomena. My study will conclude a look at the Manga created by Naoko Takeuchi, the original anime series (1992) and the re-booted Sailor Moon Crystal (2014). I will be basing my auto-ethnographic research, on previously conducted research on each of the topics.

Auto-ethnographic research is something that comes quite difficult to me. Within my three years of uni, I have been taught to critically and academically think about certain topics. However, this normally means keeping my own voice out of the research. Hoppes (2014) believes we all yearn for understanding and that life is all about asking questions. The questions we repeatedly ask are usually about ourselves, and where we fit in this crazy world. However, Hoppes believes that it is the questions we ask about ourselves that will help define the questions we ask in auto-ethnographic research.

For my research I have decided to follow Hoppes’ views on what auto-ethnographic research involves. This includes: “discussion, reflection, note-taking, emotional recall, and identification of categories and themes yielding a narrative that affords both the inside views of a research participant and the outside view of a researcher.” (Hoppes 2014, pp.64)

I feel that emotional recall will be something that comes easy, as I have a childhood connection to the original Sailor Moon cartoon. As I re-watch the re-booted Sailor Moon Crystal I fell this connection returning. However I believe that discussion and reflection are to be the two most important factors of this experience and will try to focus the majority of my research around them.

Until next week, Sailor Scouts.

Sailor-Moon

Hoppes, S 2014, “Autoethnography: Inquiry Into Identity”, New Directions For Higher Education, no. 166, pp.63-71

Join the Club!

So can you believe that there are people who have never watched Sailor Moon. Crazy, I know! I mean this show was my everything so to learn that there are people who are new to the phenomenon blows my mind.

The YouTube channel SourceFedNERD uses people’s lack of knowledge to their advantage. In fact they have created a whole club dedicated to this. The anime club is a series of videos that record the separate reactions of a person who is a fan of a certain anime and one who has never watched an episode before. The audience is gaining a different kind of perspective through this experience as opposed to watching a regular review.

So Reina is a Sailor Moon fan. You can tell by the excited tone of her voice, the bouncing on the couch, the movement of her hands. William has never watched an episode of Sailor Moon before in his life. His reactions are dull compared to Reina’s although he still looks as happy having watched the rebooted first episode of Sailor Moon Crystal.

The most beautiful part of this experience is watching Reina’s face as William begins to explain the parts he enjoyed the most. It’s almost as though she is saying – I have shown him this, I am the reason he likes this. It’s a proud moment. One that a lot of us will experience. I mean, there has been so many times where I have recommended a TV show or a book to a friend, and sat there waiting for them to tell me everything they loved.

There is nothing more satisfying than having someone enjoy a show you recommended. However it could go pretty sour if they severely disliked it. This style of review is an interesting concept. It would be interesting to see more of this style with books, movies and other various television shows. If only purely for the look of absolute joy on the face of the person who recommended it.

The Champion of Justice

If I heard the name Kotono Mitsuishi a week ago I wouldn’t have bat an eyelid. Today, however the name means so much more. For those of you who don’t recognise the name I’ll give a little description. Mitsuishi is a 46-year-old voice actress who lives in Tokyo, Japan and is famous for providing the voice of our favourite crime fighter – Sailor Moon.

Now although I consider myself a long time fan of Sailor Moon I had never watched a Japanese version until recently. The voice I remembered from my childhood was whiny and slightly deeper than the voice Mitsuishi provides. It was also extremely American. After watching the new improved Sailor Moon Crystal (of which Mitsuishi is revisiting the role) I’ve realised that Mitsuishi is Sailor Moon.

To watch Mitsuishi transform into the character is something to behold. In the video above, you see her talking to the crowd normally. She seems courteous and polite. There is even perhaps a hint of shyness to her stance. However as soon as she begins to talk as Sailor Moon her body transforms. She is no longer Kotono Mitsuishi – she is Usagi – champion of justice and fighter of evil.

Now Sailor Moon is not the only character Mitsuishi has voiced – just the most famous. She has provided her voice for over 90 separate characters ranging from guest starring roles to major characters. It’s interesting to note that Mitsuishi has only been involved in one Western created cartoon within television or film. It would be interesting to learn why she chose to have a guest starring role in the Japanese dubbed Adventure Time. It could be that creator Pendleton Ward has mentioned a number of influences – one of which being some of the works of Studio Ghibli.

It seems fitting that the first anime I remember watching is connected with the first anime voice actor I have come to know. I have now watched two episodes of the new Sailor Moon Crystal and am immensely enjoying watching Mitsuishi’s Usagi come to life. I have found myself feeling more connected to the character now than I ever did before and I have Kotono Mitsuishi to thank.

Reconnecting with my childhood.

Sailor Moon was my Superman. She was the hero that my seven – year – old self aspired to be. I mean who wouldn’t love to be a moon princess who fights for crime and justice, eats a lot of food, and cries when things don’t go her way – not to mention have a dreamy guy in a mask lust over you.

However as I grew older Sailor Moon changed from the hero I wanted to be. She became a distant memory. The toys I once owned were discarded, the costumes tucked into the deepest corners of my wardrobe. The television series was all but forgotten. I was perfectly fine with the present situation, however on July 5th 2014, everything changed.

According to Den of Geek, the reboot of the anime version of Sailor Moon was announced two years ago at an event celebrating the 20th anniversary. The Fandom went crazy. Every person had a different theory for what path the show would take. Would it be closer to a remake of the original anime? Would they stick to the Manga this time around?

When I first heard about the reboot, I – like the other hundreds of fangirls – freaked out! But it also had me reminiscing on the anime that was. Before watching the new and improved I decided to do a little research on the TV series that changed my life. The information that i had found prompted me to look deeper into the difference between the Japanese or Eastern version of the anime, to the localised version shown in the West.

Looking into the show I fell in love with I discovered a huge amount of changes. According to Rebecca Ballanger of Bookmans Entertainment Exchange the American version was altered due to the “reoccurring themes of adolescent sexuality and homosexuality”. When I watched the original anime as a child the link between Sailor Moon and Japanese culture was almost non-existent. This could mean that the Americanised version perhaps went a little too crazy at altering the anime for Western audiences.

For my research project I will be looking at the difference in not only the reboot and the original, but also the East vs. West portrayal of both new and old. It has been confirmed that an American version of the new Sailor Moon Crystal will be happening, so it’ll be interesting to see if they follow their previous path or stick more closely to the already successful Japanese version.

References:

Ballanger, R 2014, Too Many Girlfriends: Sailor Moon’s Censored Life in the U.S, Bookmans Entertainment Exchange, May 11, viewed August 11, http://bookmans.com/too-many-girlfriends-sailor-moons-censored-life-us/

Mammano, M 2014, The Sailor Moon Reboot: what we now and what to expect, Den of Geek, April 7, viewed August 11, http://www.denofgeek.us/tv/sailor-moon/167439/the-sailor-moon-reboot-what-we-know-and-what-to-expect