I don't think nature ever intended for me to learn how to become a morning person. My body was just forced to adapt at the mere age of 5, when I first discovered Sailor Moon, which played at a inhumanely early hour before school every morning and promptly became a slave to it. I can't even begin to tell you all of the ways that the show weaved its way in and out of my human existence growing up. Some memories are so vivid that it's almost like that fictional girl was the narrator of my life: I remember countless hours playing Sailor Scouts on the playground, and begging my mom to do my hair in pigtails every day before school. I remember the smell of the video cassettes my mom used to tape episodes on, the weight of my own plastic Sailor Moon scepter in my hands. I even remember the exact scene of the exact episode I was watching when my parents came upstairs to tell us my grandfather had died. It was the first show I ever loved, and it endured all my prepubescent joy and angst and confusion. As weird as it seems to me now, Sailor Moon was like a phantom second family to me growing up.
I also have a very stark memory of brushing my teeth and asking my mom how old the Sailor Scouts were, and when she told me they were 14, that seemed so unfathomably old that I couldn't even imagine it. Already I was decidedly impatient for high school; Long before we knew to wait for Hogwarts letters, I was waiting to find out I was secretly the Moon Princess. That same night, it feels like someone hit the fast forward button on my life, because I sit here typing now old enough to be the Sailor Scout's homeroom teacher as if I just blinked a huge chunk of my life away.
There are a lot of things I've outgrown in my life, but Sailor Moon is one phenomenon that has stood the test of time. I mean, why else would we be trying to revive it with the Sailor Moon reboot? The show was iconic, and stayed with us longer than maybe any of us realized. If you get a chance to re-watch the show in adulthood, I highly recommend it. Only then can you fully appreciate everything it taught us growing up:
All women are warriors
First and foremost, the Sailor Scouts were the kick-ass feminist fighters we needed and deserved when Marvel and DC Comics were still (and remain, to a disappointing degree) very determined to promote their male superhero agenda. It saddens me that people ever thought there "wasn't a market" for little girls being interested in super heroes, because we hit our tucked away corner of the field at recess literally every day to kick and punch the air, pretending we were defeating the Negaverse. Nobody had to tell Sailor Moon fans that we were capable of holding our own. We already knew.
There is more than one way to be "strong"
A quote from Taylor Swift, because I love her and have no self-control: "Powerful women do not have to act masculine or cold in order to get things done. Powerful women can be huggers who name their dog Lamby and make flower crowns in their free time."
I have often been disappointed when feminism has been portrayed as a movement exclusive to intensely serious and driven "non girly" women, when in fact the strength of womanhood can manifest in so many different ways. For Amy, it was her intelligence; for Lita, it was her actual physical strength; for Serena, it was her ability to love. Yes, some of the characters—Serena and Mina in particular—had the capacity to be vain and silly and "girly," but it did nothing to detract from their inherent strength. Sailor Moon taught us that it was entirely possible to be strong women without compromising who we were.
Don't judge a book by its cover
Aw, man, how many villains bit it because they underestimated our rag tag team of heroines? It was their downfall and our lifelong lesson: Everybody is so much more than what they seem, ourselves included.
Your squad is your family
There were plenty of times on the show that loyalties were tested, from little squabbles to apocalyptic oh-crap-the-Negaverse-is-tearing-up-our-universe battles. But in every single instance, the Sailor Scouts stood by each other no matter what they were up against. They gave us a true meaning of sisterhood that we carried with us whether or not we had sisters ourselves. I feel that same kind of fierce loyalty both to the sisters I am blood-related to and the ones I have collected along the way, and Sailor Moon was our first introduction to the importance of that kind of bond.
Healthy food is overrated
Seriously, though. Serena was our '90s #JunkFoodGoals. (Little did I know how prophetic that episode she gets all the cavities would eventually be.)
You don’t have to be good at everything
All of the Sailor Scouts have an Achilles heel: Serena struggles in school, Amy struggles to make friends, Rei has a ~bit~ of a temper, so on and so forth. Sometimes entire episodes revolve around these struggles, and sometimes only a few brief exchanges, but the larger point is that they ultimately didn't determine their worth as people. They were still represented as heroic and capable despite their flaws. They were characters we could actually aspire to be, because they weren't impossible to emulate. In fact, their struggles made them even more relatable, and helped us overcome our own weaknesses growing up.
Cats rule the internet, so we can just give up fighting
THIS IS NOT A DRILL. Sailor Moon predicted our inevitable cat-themed downfall long before it actually happened. Luna and Artemis were constantly sneaking in the arcade jacking up everyone's lives with their internet skillz, and now, twenty some years later, it has only gotten exponentially worse. SUBMIT. We are all done for, and the Sailor Scouts knew it first.
Be whoever the hell you are, and own it
I always appreciated how entirely unapologetic the manga and original series were about the Scouts. Although a lot of it was edited for the G-rated American cartoon version, fans eventually grew up enough to dig into the original material and see just how progressively and honestly they represented the characters. Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus are the first openly gay characters some of us ever encountered in television or literature. I'm glad that we live in a world now where kids get exposed to the actual spectrum of human relationships a lot earlier in life, but back then, Sailor Moon was all some of us had.
You’re stronger than you think
Every iconic battle in Sailor Moon ended the same way, but it was an important way: Just when all the chips were down and it seemed like nobody had any fight left in them, they summoned whatever shreds that they had left and got the job done. We didn't have a lot of experience with hopelessness as kids (certainly not the supernatural moon powers kind, at least), but in adulthood we'd all eventually face obstacles that seemed so impossible we almost wrote them off. But I'd like to think that Sailor Moon watchers had a little extra grit to go after what they wanted and overcome whatever stood in the way of getting it. We saw just how worthwhile that extra push was, whether we were going after a job we wanted or saving the Moon Kingdom (NBD).
It's OK to be scared, and it's OK to fail
The Sailor Scouts never got anything right on the first try. How else would we have 16 episode story arcs of them hunting down the same villains? These girls always tried their hardest, and yeah, sometimes they were scared out of their gourds and other times they failed so hard that they were lucky the universe didn't implode. But they never, ever, ever gave up. (And thank God, because otherwise we'd probably all be Queen Beryl's slaves right now.)
Love is stronger than any other force
Honestly, if I'd been watching Sailor Moon for the first time as an adult, I probably would have been too jaded and disillusioned to appreciate that the power of ~love~ was what constantly saved the day. I'm glad I watched it as a kid, when I was wide-eyed and appreciative of this, because somehow in adulthood I appreciate it even more. The love in your life is stronger than any other force. Yeah, we're not using it to keep the whole universe in tact, but it's the glue that holds our own lives together. Bring on the cliché.
Images: Viz Media; Giphy(11)