Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sailor Jupiter and Gender norms

One thing I've been observing on Tumblr is Japanese Feminists getting annoyed at Western Feminists for interpreting the Magical Girl genre as Feminist when in Japan that genre is perceived as being all about reinforcing traditional gender roles.

I'd like to think this problem with the Magical Girl genre and how it's perceived now doesn't really apply to the original, Sailor Moon.  Naoko Takeuchi seems like a Feminist from what I've heard she's said.  And apparently Sailor Moon was partly inspired by Wonder Woman, which is as Feminist as you can get.

As someone who's by no means an expert on these issues, I think a key factor in this analysis is the character of Makoto Kino/Sailor Jupiter.  Haruka is a "Masculine" woman, but being being in a Lesbian couple kind of only makes that even more stereotypical.

Lita (I grew on the DiC dub, so while it's censoring of LGBT characters infuriates me I'm also very nostalgic for it, in a special place in my heart the character will always be known as Lita first) was always my favorite of the Sailor Scouts, but it's only fairly recently I've been able to put a finger on why.

She is an interesting mix of gender related stereotypes, she is fairly tomboyish (especially by Japanese standards) she's the one who knows how to fight before she becomes a Senshi.  But she also really likes to cook, as a guy who likes to cook a select few things (Pasta!!!) and is quite a Romantic, I identify with her the most.

I have still never read the Manga, at any rate Crystal is supposed to be more directly faithful to the Manga. Makoto's introduction episode is my favorite to re-watch in each incarnation.  That episode is one of the few I've watched Subbed.

My Nostalgia for the old Dub doesn't prevent me from liking what I've seen of the Viz Dub so far, I'm fascinated by how they've managed to give the voices a 90s vibe in spite of it being recorded now.  And the voice actors all fit their roles, but I can't help like feeling that the one voice where the DiC dub is still far better to me is Sailor Jupiter.  Does my Nostalgia cloud my judgment more with her because she's my favorite?  Maybe.... but it seems to me like Amanda simply doesn't bring the energy and enthusiasm to the role that Susan Roman did.

Comparing the old Anime to Crystal.  I like Makoto and Usagi's meet cute more in the old Anime, with her beating up those guys, compared to just saving her from getting hit by a car.  And also later getting in a fight with Zoisite.  Both episodes are good though.

What I'm a little bothered by is Makoto's introduction episode in the Live Action series PGSM.  It's good over all, and the Actress, Mew Azama, fit the role perfectly.  But I get a vibe from it that I never got in the Anime that Makoto is very uncomfortable with how boyish she's perceived as being, Usagi at one point apologizes for having called her Boyish earlier.  And her Feminine cooking is cited as a redeeming quality almost.  I hope that hasn't clouded how people since have viewed the character.

Update 12/21/2015:

Now that the Viz Dub of Crystal has started and reached this episode, I feel Amanda has improved, but still no Susan.

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