- 女性学評論 (ISSN:09136630)
- vol.14, pp.201-224, 2000-03-31
The TV animation Sailor Moon,broadcast from 1992 to 1997,won an unusual popularity among the young female audience in Japan at that time. This study is an attempt to clarify an implicit message theanimation conveys to the audience under the disguise of a childish story of love, peace and justice by examining the underlying structure each episode of the animation has. A TV animation which repeats practically the same story every week is a very effective cultural apparatus but hasbeen seldom studied in detail. Each episode generally follows the pattern of a typical initiation story: the heroine undergoes a process of maturity through the experienceof symbolic death and rebirth. But the story at the same time cleverly escapes from such an interpretation. What is characteristic with the story is that the initiation process is definitely related to consumer behavior: endless pursuit of commercial goods. And in this sense the heroine never accomplishes the initiation and this incompleteness or failure in initiation indeed places Sailor Moon in a unique position in the lineage of popularlegends. We see many other examples of such incompleteness. The heroine's metamorphosis itself betrays this. For what she puts on after taking off her girlish clothes is, unlike a traditional heroine, a "sailor suit", the symbol of eternal girlishness which accompanies an implication of commercialized sexuality. In the last episode,the heroine discloses her naked body of a matured woman before she becomes the savior of the world. Seemingly she finally attains motherhood and succeeds in showing a role model to the young audience but only to turn out to be a false one. Forher final purpose remains to be to reproduce her duplicates: ideal consumersof the consumption society. It is at that moment that a "Girl" throws off the mask of "Lovely One" and exposes her true face of"Woman".