Sailor Moon (and Anime) is Not a Freak Show…

On October 23rd, I came across an article that offended me. Not just as a fan of Sailor Moon, but as the editor of this blog where research is key. I tweeted about this article, but never linked to it. It took them over a week to make changes to the article, however they seemed to just want to make token edits. I wrote the editors of the site, and they did nothing. It only seemed like action was taken after I had written to the VP of the company. What is this article? A piece by Rohin Guha about Hollywood’s Anime Ambitions for BlackBook Magazine.

In this article, he failed to mention the most important thing that Sailor Moon is: a cartoon where the girls are the heroes. Instead, he compared it to “Eastwick meets Star Trek” (of which the show has barely anything in common with) and marked it as a show full of annoying girls He implied that the hallmarks of the series were “lesbians, transsexuals, gays, and some of the most sophisticated pontifications on classical mythology on network TV”. He made Sailor Moon sound like an absolute freak show. Moreover, when talking about an old effort by Disney to make a live action film with Geena Davis playing Queen Beryl, he also wrote that Alicia Silverstone was to be part of the effort. Alicia was never involved with the effort. I had asked BlackBook to correct both of these errors, however they did not. These kinds of strange judgments and shoddy research are appalling, especially considering that BlackBook Magazine has been established for 13 years. Where is your journalistic integrity? A lot of these statements tread on xenophobia – we are sure if he sat down and watched an episode, he would know better.

And then, he posted about the infamous Lindsay Lohan rumor of years ago. I was with Save Our Sailors at the time and I remember how hard we worked to verify or debunk that rumor. One of our members had to go through great lengths to get not one, but two issues of ANIMAGE, only to learn that there was in fact no mention. Other members worked hard in contacting relevant contacts to verify or debunk this rumor. I remember being relieved the day I posted our findings because I really didn’t want to see Lindsay Lohan play Sailor Moon, and I had hoped that the rumor would die. But clearly, it didn’t. At least I was able to succeed in getting this part of the article corrected, though not as strongly as I would have liked to have seen.

Rohin labeled “Japanophiles” (we think he probably meant to use the word “otaku”) as creepy fetishists, and generalized that all anime by virtue of its “choppy, hacky editing and tendency to reuse cels”…”is supposed to be a cost-effective way of mass-producing entertainment.” Has this guy not heard of such legends like Hayao Miyazaki, who won the first ever Oscar for an Animated Motion Picture? Or other major names in anime like Mamoru Oshii, Rintaro, Makoto Shinkai? or Isao Takahata? Not all anime is choppy or hacky edited, and we’re pretty sure that low budget does not equal low appreciation. The Oscar-winning Spirited Away may have only cost under 20 million USD to make, but grossed nearly 365 million USD worldwide. This comes pretty darn close to the profits that major Hollywood hits make these days. We invite Rohin to actually watch some anime, not just shows meant for TV, but movies as well. We’re not going to ask him to appreciate anime, but to think twice about what he writes about entertainment genres he seems to know little about. And maybe, consider doing more than a few minutes of research.

3 Responses to “Sailor Moon (and Anime) is Not a Freak Show…”

  1. esahC Says:

    A not quite intelligent person having no idea on what he's doing on his professional job? Yup, this is the Internet alright.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I don't think he meant otaku, he meant wapas or weeaboos.

  3. ヘザー Says:

    Sounds like they had an anime-loving ex and they used the article to make themselves feel better.

    In amazing Anime news: has anyone else seen Paprika?!?!

    And yes, as an animation student, all our former-disney animator-teachers drooled over Ghibli films, and they forced us to watch Laputa, etc. It's not just for weeaboos, it's fine art, damn it!

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