The anime series Sailor Moon captured the spirits of ’90s viewers so expertly that it is today at least recognizable to a wide variety of people. Eventually becoming a part of Cartoon Network’s “Toonami” block, the series had a similar appeal to Dragon Ball Z, but featured teenage females as the protagonists instead of burly muscle-men. These women were referred to as the Sailor Scouts, each one named after a planetary body.Elements of different mythologies (typically Western) reveal themselves throughout the series. For example, the powers of each of the Scouts typically originate from the planet they’re named after. Sailor Moon’s powers are based around light and mystery (like the goddess Diana), while Sailor Mars is a warrior archetype who plays with fire (like the Roman god). Sailor Neptune (from the Roman king of the seas) holds power over all of the oceans.Mythology also comes into play in the villains. The Shitennou (Four Heavenly Kings) are a group of villains working for Queen Beryl of the Dark Kingdom. Shitennou is a Buddhist term for the four gods who watch over the cardinal directions. Originally, the Shitennou worked for King Endymion, a figure from Greek mythology who fell in love with Selene (the moon). Unsurprisingly, when Endymion returns in the Sailor Moon series, it is as a love interest for Sailor Moon.Careful viewers will also catch references to Christian mythology (the Holy Grail), Shinto legends (the trio of the sun, moon, and stars), and more. Watching the series with this in mind turns a cultural phenomenon into an international wonder, showcasing the stories t hat humanity has passed down for generations and updating them into an exciting new adventure.
October 2, 2010
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