Many people know Sailor Moon has been an important part of my life, but I suspect only a few know the extensive history, or why a ‘grown’ woman is ‘still into’ a magical girls series. So, as the world gets ready for the 2020s, here is a short history of Samantha and Sailor Moon.
Samantha is born.
The Sailor Moon manga is born.
Samantha, growing up in Sydney (Australia), discovers Sailor Moon on Cartoon Network and watches the series before school. She has a major crush on Tuxedo Mask. She thinks ‘Serena’/Moon is really whiny and annoying. ‘Amy’/Mercury is her role model because Samantha is super studious up until the age of 12.
Samantha starts Year 7/high school. She discovers the Internet. Subsequently, she discovers the art of procrastination.
Samantha discovers Sailor Moon fanfiction. She doesn’t know why there are names such as ‘Usagi’ and ‘Mamoru’, nor does she understand terms like ‘Usako’ and ‘Mamo-chan’. Eventually she realises Sailor Moon belongs to the genre of Japanese anime. She seeks out the fan-subtitled episodes. She calls upon her extroverted powers and befriends online folks who host said fansubbed episodes. She painstakingly downloads half episodes (as RealPlayer files); each file takes her about 2 hours to get on her dialup connection. She develops an obsession with roses and the moon. She creates an alter ego of ‘Silent Serenade’, shortened to ‘Serenade’, which is sometimes shortened further to ‘Sere’ or ‘Sere-chan’, because that’s how the Internet rolls.
Samantha falls deeper into the Sailor Moon fandom. She discovers more fanfiction and fanfiction communities, such as ASMR (A Sailor Moon Romance) and AriasInk. She writers and publishes stories on FanFiction.Net. She falls in love with Sailor Moon music, and offers to host albums on SailorMusic.Net. She starts to teach herself Japanese solely by listening to Sailor Moon songs and character prologues/poems. She realises her favourite Sailor Senshi/Soldiers are Moon and Neptune. She learns about the power of love and friendship, and the importance of kindness and forgiveness. She reads a ton load of Sailor Moon smut on the pretext of ‘doing homework’, and thereby receives the theoretical part of her sexual education. She burns CDs of her favourite Sailor Moon music and goes around everywhere with her Discman.
Samantha meets Sabina/QueenNepy (or was this in 2002?), who introduces her to SeraMyu (the Sailor Moon musicals). She becomes pretty obsessed, and soon spends all her free time in the SeraMyu IRC channel. She befriends many fellow Sailor Moon fans, including Linny/Li-chan, with whom she works on ‘e-Myus’ (online Sailor Moon Musicals). She joins LiveJournal, which opens up a world of fannish delights. The live-action TV series PGSM (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon) airs; Samantha follows it every week.
Samantha starts to formally study Japanese at school. She learns that ‘Sailor Moon’ is more naturally referred to as ‘Sailormoon’ in Japanese, and has now made it interchangeable. Her Japanese is extremely corny because all her vocabulary is learnt from Sailor Moon, but she doesn’t care because she admires the message of love and kindness in Sailor Moon. She tries and fails to get cast as Sailor Moon in a bunch of e-Myus, so she writes, produces, and stars in her own alongside Linny. She convinces her parents to use their credit card to buy SeraMyu goodies on CDJapan. She is hit with AU$100+ in custom import tax for an AU$250 DVD box set; she loses access to her parents’ credit card.
Samantha is known at school as ‘Sailor Moon’ (in conjunction with her other obsession, Tchaikovsky). She spends Year 12 writing fanfiction and working on her Japanese. She doesn’t perform well for most of her subjects, but came third in the state for Japanese; she suspects she lost a mark in her speaking exam for being too excitable and informal. She becomes involved with the Usako_Mamoru community on LiveJournal, and befriends more fellow fans, including Jojo, Nuance, Alicia/Marissa, Angel, Meghan, Aimee, and Sam. Sam happens to live in Sydney – huzzah! Samantha and Sam fangirl in real life.
Samantha goes to university, keen on getting degrees in Combined Extracurricular Activities. Amongst these is her involvement with AnimeUNSW. She becomes the Sailor Moon mascot. She writes more fanfiction. She befriends more Sailor Moon fan friends, including Prissi and Ruby (who also lives in Sydney). She hardly does any school work or gets any sleep. She still doesn’t know how she survived those years.
Samantha goes to Kansai Gaidai in Osaka for a semester abroad. She meets Jenna/SongofAmazon and Megan by chance – they’d worked together on e-Myus before! She obtains her Super Sailor Moon costume, and sings ‘La Soldier’ on Japanese TV. She goes on a Sailor Moon pilgrimage in Tokyo with Jenna. She goes to the USA and hangs out with Nuance. She returns to Sydney, has a break-up, and is generally sad for the rest of the year.
Samantha gets more into graphic design on LiveJournal. She is going strong with Usako_Mamoru, but branches out to a range of other fandoms. She befriends Maaria and Lan (another Sydney-sider!) on LiveJournal. She is almost done with her university degree, and has no idea what to do with her life next – her solution is to throw herself into all her fandoms.
Samantha creates Sailormoonland on LiveJournal, which ends up taking up a huge chunk of her life (and the lives of those who participate). She hosts a whole bunch of competitions and events and essentially revives her love for Sailor Moon. She befriends Shannon and Savannah. She travels to North America and meets/stays with Meghan, Shannon, Savannah, and Jojo. She immerses herself in Sailor Moon (and other fandoms) while also working four jobs. She still has no idea what to do with her future, but it’s okay because Sailor Moon continues to light the way for her.
Samantha goes to the UK in September to start an MA in English literature. She’s too busy with Edmund Burke and P. B. Shelley and Thomas Moore to spend much time with Sailor Moon, but she keeps in touch with her Sailor Moon fan friends because they’ve now become dear friends.
Samantha unexpectedly receives a full scholarship for a PhD in Shakespeare in Belfast. She has stopped writing Sailor Moon fanfiction and is busily writing Regency Love instead. Sailor Moon temporarily takes a backseat in her life.
Samantha has a falling out with a Sailor Moon friend, which results in a larger falling out with other Sailor Moon friends. Her all-time low engagement with Sailor Moon corresponds to an all-time low in her life. She has a good cry to Shannon (in Rochester, NY) when she visits, and is given a precious Sailor Moon brooch and bag to help with the dark times ahead.
Samantha is entrenched in her Shakespeare studies, and manages to slip Sailor Moon into a footnote – possibly her greatest academic achievement to date. She orchestrates trips to California to hang out with Prissi, and to Finland to hang out with Maaria. She returns to Sydney with more expertise in Shakespeare than in Sailor Moon.
Samantha hangs out a lot with Ruby, who has been following the latest Sailor Moon merchandise releases from Japan. However, Samantha is quite poor because she has spent most of her adult life collecting degrees, so she cannot afford the Sailor Moon shinies. She watches Sailor Moon Crystal and isn’t particularly impressed, but she does enjoy seeing the resurgence of Sailor Moon love around the world.
Samantha goes to Japan for the first time in a decade. She visits the Sailor Moon Store and is sucked right back into the world of Sailor Moon. Having more of a disposable income, she buys a suitcase of Sailor Moon goodies. She meets Linny for the first time, and they spend two hours at karaoke, singing SeraMyu and chatting and crying and fangirling and loving and living.
Samantha discovers that original SeraMyu cast members are singing at a 45th anniversary concert for the musicals’ main composer, Kosaka Akiko. She plots with friends to enter the exclusive lottery and somehow gets a ticket. She pulls out a Japanese textbook for the first time in over a decade. She goes to Japan for a Sailor Moon Trip, and hangs out with Jenna, Julie, Linny, Maddie, Prissi, and Sabina. She bawls along with other concert attendees as ANZA, Mochizuki Yuuta, Kuriyama Emi, Kimura Sanae, Yoshioka Sakoto, and Ono Hikari sing their songs live. She randomly meets and has her hand held by Ono Hikari. She goes all out with her Sailor Moon shopping. She is ecstatic; she is still hungry for more. She returns to Sydney and – finally – joins the official Sailor Moon Fan Club. Her life is filled with Sailor Moon shinies: mugs, glasses, plates, bags, charms, shirts, socks, jewellery, cushions, stationery, umbrellas, and so on. She starts a dedicated Instagram account (@sailormoon.shinies). She gets ‘officially’ engaged and will marry her partner after they’ve watched all 200 episodes of the original Sailor Moon series, the 3 movies, and a handful of the SeraMyu. She is planning a Sailor Moon Wedding.
2020 and beyond
The moonlight carries a message of love.