So in honor of the twentieth anniversary of my favorite childhood tv show Sailor Moon, a show I credit with keeping me sane whilst being teased by the jerk-faces I went to school with, and with teaching me that there’s beauty in everything…even monsters, but especially in feelings that I was told were “girly and wrong for me to indulge in” like friendship and gentleness, I wanted to highlight some of the great parts of Sailor Moon throughout the year in little articles and blurbs here and there. This is the first, and for this edition I wanted to showcase the oft-forgotten monsters-of-the-day. Though typically dispatched by Sailor Moon after being roughed up by her team within the span of five minutes, their lines, antics and aesthetics are some of the most memorable, well for me anyway (meanwhile, you’re like…’how do you even remember their names?’). So anyway… ever the champion of underdogs everywhere, I decided to list my top picks for most original and just plain fab monsters. Because…at the heart of every monster…is a diva!
NUMBER 1! Binah
From the very first season. One of the rainbow crystal carriers and a mousy-looking artist whose transformation into one of the Dark Kingdom’s warriors seemed to include a complementary fashion makeover. Either way, the white feathers and angelic motif provide a stark contrast to the bitchiness of Miss Binah. Her main line of defense included drawing objects into reality, which she mostly used to draw rocks and such…had she done what I would have and drawn a rocket-launcher instead, I’m certain she wouldn’t have been bested by Sailor Moon and turned back into Ugly Betty. Still, a lovely design. Ethereal yet evil.
NUMBER 2! Murido
I’ve always had a thing for dolls. I just love them and the creepier-looking the better. Murido starts out as a sweet, fairytale princess-type character and transforms (accompanied by eerie calliope music) complete with a 360 degree rotating head into a glam cross between Harley Quinn and Bride of Chucky. I just love the whole twisted fairytale theme, from sweet princess to evil queen in two seconds flat, with an army of animatronic woodland critters which she commands with her (I’m assuming poison?) apple. Maybe not the most original, but certainly a disturbingly eerie pastiche of other common tropes, spiced up with a dash of b*tch.
NUMBER 3! Reci
She’s lovely. She’s cherry blossoms. She’s kabuki. She’s…a tree. Sort of. Racy’s character design was another masterful stroke of contrast. Beauty, but also beast. She was a fierce Cardian who nearly destroyed the Sailor Team altogether by sealing them inside of trees… moving on.
NUMBER 4! Amaderasu
Another Cardian named after the Japanese Sun Goddess. She drew her powers from the sun and whatnot…obvs. I loved the orange on blue color scheme that was utilized for her. If there was a fashion show scene in Avatar, Amaderasu would be TURNING. IT. OUT. And also, using babies as human shields. This is what I love about Sailor Moon…it was so colorful!
NUMBER 5! Ryuax
I must admit, I have a thing for Arabesque fashions. Always have. So when harem pants came back in style, I seriously contemplated buying a pair until I realized how ugly they were. End of tangent. Seriously though, I love what the character designers did with this monster. She was a cross between 1920’s art deco and Arabian Harem Queen. Plus, those nails.
NUMBER 6! Chikuon
I’m a sucker for masquerade masks and anything with a cat-eye. Chikuon…well, honestly I can’t really remember what she did, but I remember thinking it was so awesome watching Sailor Moon go toe-to-toe with a snooty French noblewoman, or a monster that looked like one. If a gramophone were to somehow become personified by way of dark magic, I really think you could find no one to do that specific job better that Chikuon. But seriously, did the person who created her really believe that of all objects, a gramophone, given life would be able to defeat a bunch of super-powered, hormonal Japanese teenagers? I mean…at least choose something that’s hazardous. Like…a lighter, say. Or a thumb tack.
NUMBER 7! U-Tahime
The Songstress Daimon. I seem to recall, she was charging up to perform her ultimate vocal attack but forgot the words to her friggin’ song and got wiped out as a result. Still, the character design was on point. I detected 1960’s Motown diva mixed with…a Vulcan or something else with pointy ears. Elegant, poised, shrill…a perfect representation of Diana Ross…no just kidding, I love Diana Ross.
NUMBER 8! Mizugeiko
Honestly I can’t even recall what this one did…but her Geisha-inspired design was FIERCE!
NUMBER 9! U-Ikasaman
This shady, shady b*tch trapped all the Sailor Senshi inside playing cards because she CHEATED!! And it was up to Chibi-Usa and Hotaru to stop her. But when they did, she still wouldn’t let everyone go. What a heifer! But of course, Sailor Moon broke out her wand and dusted her. I must say, out of all the monsters, she was one of the more colorful ones and the “Playing Card Queen” look they gave her was indeed, a perfect fit.
NUMBER 10! Atsugessho
Having worked as a make-up artist at a department store, I can safely say that most of the women I worked with looked like Atsugessho…only overweight and much more dour. Either way, an overly-made up monster of a woman with a powder puff of doom and acid spittle who flew into a b*tch rage after Usagi refuted her claim that make-up is what makes a man fall in love with a girl is a winner in my book. Or a drag queen. Same difference.
And there you have it. You might say I have too much time on my hands, FALSE! Well…not completely I guess. Either way, these monsters were a part of my childhood and, in a childhood where you’re sometimes made to feel monstrous yourself just for being who you are, I came to sympathize with them a bit. Plus, they were campy as all hell…it was like RuPaul’s Drag Race…For Youngsters…the ANIME! And all the creativity that went into designing these outlandishly costumed characters (all of whom were, I believe, created solely for the anime), must be applauded and appreciated as a piece of hard work that contributed to one hell of a great show. There was nothing I looked forward to more during the miserable year of my life that was fourth grade than getting up extra-early at 6:30 in the morning and watching Sailor Moon and Co. beat the crap out of everything…in a positive way. So, thanks to character designers: Kazuko Tadano, Ikuko Itoh and Katsumi Tamegai and to Naoko Takeuchi herself, for creating such an amazing series.