Friday, 18 April 2014

Everything I Know About Japan I Learned From Sailor Moon

During my blissful month and a half period of unemployment, I really got into naps and Sailor Moon. A glorious time it t'was. Back when it aired in the US in the Nineties, I thought it was incredibly stupid and was baffled when my friends, men and women alike, were going nuts for it. It took me over fifteen stubborn years but I'll finally admit I was wrong.

I'm not a huge Anime fan so I was puzzled by Sailor Moon's depiction of Japan. Admittedly, I've never been so perhaps my presumptions were hasty at best, racist at worst. Until I go and put my assumptions to rest, here's what I've gleamed about Japan based on the teachings of Sailor Moon.

The Japanese women I know tend to hover around five feet on average. Not so in Japan, however, gentle reader. The women (teenaged girls at that) are towering six feet of Amazon might! Sailor Jupiter is likely seven feet tall!

Not only that but 75-80% of their bodies are legs. It's like there are giraffes in high heels roaming the streets. Amazing!

Further to this phenomenon of challenging stereotypes, I had assumed that most to all Japanese folks had black hair. Again, colour me surprised to see so much... well, colour! Everyone is like a blonde hair/blue eyed California girl!

Inexplicably, some people even have blue, pink, or purple hair.  I thought only Gingers had mutant hair colours but, again, it's a veritable rainbow over there in Japan!

From a social and romantic standpoint, dating an underaged girl is totally cool there. Despite their rocky start, Usagi and Mamoru started dating while she was 14 and in junior high while he was in his early twenties and in college.

If you're a jailbait lover, Japan is your paradise! There are no terms like "consent" or "underage" there, it's just called Saturday night. Anything goes there.  Don't believe me?

In Sailor Moon Super S, Usagi and Mamoru's daughter from the future, Chibiusa, befriended a unicorn named Pegasus. Still following me here? Glossing over the fact that Chibiusa was a toddler with great legs and an astonishing rack, she and Pegasus got pretty close over the course of the series.

Like making out with a horse close!

I used to think we here in North America were stuffy but hell, we're all downright Puritan by comparison.

Throwing gas on the fire of sexual liberties in Japan, another thing I noted was how Japanese lesbians, specifically power dykes, could be so easily mistaken for men. That is until you throw them in a tiara and mini skirt. Then it's obvious (see legs comments above).

When Sailor Uranus first arrived, all the other Sailor Scouts had a crush on him... er, her. Even after they learned that Haruka was a girl, they still lusted after her, especially Sailor Jupiter who was always suspected to be in the closet anyway. While most of the gay men in the series were villains (and annoying at that) the lesbian laissez faire attitude is a breath of fresh air compared to North America's identity crisis.

As you probably guessed, I watched the original dubbed Japanese version of the show instead of the watered-down American travesty.

Despite all of the characters speaking Japanese, they still insisted on announcing their attacks in English. Terrible English at that.

While some of their attack names were cute, they were practically all nonsensical. Although one from the Sailor Stars, Starmaker, really had the best one: Gentle Uterus!

This also got me to thinking about how bro dudes and sluts here in North America tend to tattoo Japanese characters on themselves that they think means "strength" or "loyalty" when in fact it means "tuna" or "cabbage." Given Sailor Moon's hilarious grasp of English, I'm going to assume that Japanese folks also have "tuna" or "cabbage" mistakenly tattooed on themselves as well.

The last thing I learned from Sailor Moon is that Japanese people don't take shit laying down. Regardless of the transgression, be it eating the last cookie or looking at other women while with your girl, the response is the same: announcing your error and exclaiming that "I can NEVER forgive you!" This is usually accompanied by morphing into all manners of angry shapes and sizes with perhaps even a giant teardrop appearing over your head.

The Japanese people are magical I tells ya!

For North Americans, passive aggressive jabs and festering rage is usually our go-to's when dealing with wrongdoing so it's both terrifying and exciting to watch the Japanese really lay down the law and dole out nonforgiveness at the drop of a hat.

I'm a firm believer not to trust what people tell you until you can see or touch or hear it for yourself. I also believe that media is a window into another country's culture. It's how I learned that Americans use the word "sofa" instead of "couch" and wear their shoes indoors all the damn time.

So, until I travel to Japan and see for myself, I'm going to run all of the above assumptions and chastise the Japanese people I know here for holding out on these enchanting and baffling traits.