Remember when floppy disks could save/destroy the world?
1MB was a dangerous thing
So, I think we can agree that the woman who’s the root of one of the most famous anime and manga franchises ever has to be kind of amazing. Especially when you consider this series revitalized and changed an entire genre, since it was mainly responsible for the shift of magical girl stories to being more about fighting for justice, and combined magical girls with the sentai (Japanese superhero genre) in a way that had never been seen before. It’s reached nearly every country, and arguably broke a lot of barriers regarding how women were presented in anime. It inspired women all over and it inspired artists with it’s distinctive style and how the story incorporated themes of astronomy and mythology and fairy tales with the struggles of adolescence and superhero action, and turned a lot of fairy tale tropes on their heads, specifically the idea that a fairy tale princess has to be passive.
One can admire her as a creator, but what about as a person? Who Naoko is can only be communicated through what we know of her, from her liner notes and scant interviews. But what we do know of her seems to support that the wonderful themes she incorporates in her story are things she truly believes, and are reflected in her as a person.
First, Naoko is incredibly smart. She worked as a pharmacist before being a mangaka, and her manga tends to have a lot of people, predominantly women, in scientific and medical fields. Ami Mizuno aspires to be a doctor, as does Mamoru. Setsuna works at the science department of her university along with Reika and Himeko in the S side story is an competent and determined aspiring astronaut with a sharp scientific mind who eventually succeeds at her goal. There’s also a lot of accurate references to science and medicine, from the astronomy and geology to things like chemistry themed villians and so on. She incorporates other elements of her life into the story, such as her know-how about work as a miko, fashion and racing cars.
Naoko is also pretty clearly well versed in mythology, and incorporates a lot of myth in her story in a creative way. Delve deeply into all the mythology references of Sailor Moon and it can get surprisingly complex. The myth of Selene and Endymion, the multiple reference to Greek and Roman myth in the persona and powers of the Senshi, using old English words- What I adore most is that she doesn’t play the mythology straight, but turns tropes on their heads and molds them to fit her own story. Women are often victimized and made powerless in ancient mythology, but Naoko tells a story where these women are active agents who weild the greatest power.For instance, in Naoko’s version, It is women weild the power of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, Neptune and Uranus, and they use it well. Selene gets a second chance as Serenity and unites to disparate kingdoms and Aphrodite, who was often painted as vindictive and jealous of other women because of possessive love, is instead embodied by a powerful warrior and leader who is driven by her love for other women.