Sailor Moon is one of the most iconic Japanese anime series of all time. Anime seldom reaches mainstream success to the point where a title is recognizable to anime fans and non-fans alike, but Sailor Moon’s combination of campy supervillains, girl power, and unforgettable superhero transformation sequences resonated with countless young girls all over the world. For many fans, like myself, Sailor Moon was the beginning of lifelong anime fandom. Ask any fan what the first series they ever watched was, and it’s quite likely they’ll say Sailor Moon. The series therefore holds a special place in the hearts of many fans as the start of a lifelong love for anime, but even more than that, Sailor Moon offered a cast of many unique female characters, both good and evil. Sailor Moon not only was the primary reason I eventually found a group of friends in the anime cosplay community, it also taught me about friendship, love, and fighting for what you believe in.
Sailor Moon, also known as Usagi Tsukino, is, in many ways, a typical teenage girl, and that’s a large part of her appeal as the hero. She struggles to get good grades and wake up on time for school. This tattooed tribute to the imperfect hero captures Usagi doing what she does best when she’s not fighting the Negaverse.
This unique Sailor Moon inspired tattoo bridges the trendy mandala style with the anime trend. Sailor Moon’s first and most recognizable weapon, the moon stick, and the three cat sidekicks: Luna, Artemis, and their kitten, Diana, combine to create this intricate, geometric piece.
Another geometric Sailor Moon tattoo, this piece incorporates Sailor Pluto’s signature weapon, the Garnet Rod. Pluto’s staff serves both as a weapon and a key to the Space-Time Door, which Pluto must guard in solitude.
This tattoo serves as a tribute to arguably the most popular sailor guardian aside from Sailor Moon herself. Sailor Mars, otherwise known as Rei Hino, has a tumultuous relationship with the eponymous Sailor Moon, as they often butt heads due largely to Rei’s short fuse and Usagi’s tendency to test her patience. Her fiery temper is also the basis for many of her attack powers as Sailor Mars. Rei’s popularity is due to her fiery personality and outspokenness, and despite her frequent exasperation with Usagi, she never lets her friends down.
One of the most appealing things about Sailor Moon to me as a child, and what often draws me to anime nowadays, was just how pretty the series was. Everyone from the heroes to the villains were beautiful, with cool costumes, cute weapons, and adorable sidekicks. With its blindingly bright colors and sparkly accents, this tattoo captures the iconic beauty of Sailor Moon.
Sailor Moon not only offered young girls lessons on friendship, bravery, and perseverance, but also proved itself to be ahead of its time in telling the love story of Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune (Haruka and Michiru). For many girls who grew up to realize they were a part of the LGBTQ community, Haruka and Michiru serve as one of the first examples of girls loving girls. Even more, Haruka’s short hair and affinity for masculine attire shows that all girls can be heroes, regardless of who they love and whether they feel truly girly.
Another massive appeal for the Sailor Moon series is the fact that each sailor guardian is unique, with different powers and individual personalities, so there is bound to be a character that resonates with everyone. Sailor Saturn, or Hotaru Tomoe, resonates strongly with many fans because of her dark origins. Because her powers can bring on the entire destruction of the universe, Sailor Uranus and Neptune fight to avoid waking Hotaru’s powers. She is also a very lonely character until she meets Sailor Chibi Moon. Her loneliness prior to meeting the sailor guardians is likely what makes her character so relatable to those who count Hotaru as their favorite.
A common characteristic of anime in which a group of superheroes fights against evil is the power-up. This theme in anime calls for a costume change and an accompanying power-up transformation. Typically, with each new major series arc comes a new heroic form. When Usagi powers up to Eternal Sailor Moon, her costume undergoes some major changes and she gains wings.
Sailor Moon’s extensive cast of awesome female characters along with its themes of female friendship and strength make it popular among feminists. This tattoo of Sailor Neptune’s signature weapon, encompassed by the words, “fight like a girl”, draws on the commonly used insult and makes it a positive statement instead. To fight like a girl is admirable, because in Sailor Moon, the heroes are strong, unique girls.
One of my most vivid memories from watching Sailor Moon as a child is how enthralled I was in the gorgeous transformations sequences, when the sailor guardians would shift from normal teenage girls to superheroes. These sequences were colorful and sparkly, and in my bedroom I would pretend I could transform beautifully like the sailor guardians. Although that dream may not be possible, a tattoo memorializing one of my favorite aspects of the series manages to capture its beauty.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the official position of PainfulPleasures.