In the ’90s, Sailor Moon revolutionized comics by bringing anime to mainstream America. But within this culture, it had a much deeper effect on the queer and trans community, who developed a cult appreciation for it due to the cartoon’s progressive and prophetic portrayal of LGBT characters.
Weirdly, this portrayal was heavily censored when Sailor Moon made it’s U.S. appearance. Gay characters were portrayed as straight, and entire story lines were sometimes even rewritten to accommodate for America’s omnipresent homophobia at the time. As a result, ultra-committed Sailor Moon fans who wanted the real shit had to illegally access VHS tapes of the uncut Japanese version (this was pre-internet, aka pre-you), creating an even deeper cult adoration for the show based not only on the identities it depicted, but the shared secrecy in accessing them.
As VICE writer Eleanor Frye writes in her recent article “Sailor Moon Fans Are the Best People on Earth, “this level of obsession with the series wasn’t unusual. Being a hardcore Moonie meant a devotion to the show bordering on pathological. So when Moonies met up IRL, typically at anime conventions, the energy and good vibes were palpable.”
This energy and vibrant fandom is something VICE has documented on a recent episode of American Obsessions that takes you inside the world of a few die-hard Moonies at the Los Angeles Anime Expo and the International Sailor Moon Day celebration in New York. It really shows you how Sailor Moon helped create a sense of community and shape queer identities.