Sailor Moon was the gateway show for many 90s kids, but even though it broke new ground in representing a queer audience, depending on the cut you saw, those empowering scenes might not have existed for you. DiC’s release of the first two series, and Cloverway’s S and SuperS editions, all removed a lot of so-called “controversial” content. Zoisite swapped genders from male to female to skirt around his gay relationship with fellow baddie Kunzite, and Sailors Uranus and Neptune were framed as “close” cousins rather than lovers. Similarly in SuperS, the villain Fisheye became a girl to scrub his cross-dressing from the original, and on and on the straight-washing went.
But Sailor Moon fans had a power of their own. Through the internet they could share the show’s true incarnation, with its message of the power of women’s friendships and acceptance of all across the LGBTQ+ spectrum. And in the latest episode in Vice’s American Obsession mini-documentary series, everyone can discover, or rediscover, the influence of the Pretty Guardian among queer kids who grew up in the 90s. Anime Expo cosplayers, Charlene Ingram of VIZ Media and more share the deeply personal significance of the Sailors, their foes and their night-time world.