Is Sailor Moon Not a Superhero?

If you were anything like me in the late 90’s, you probably had an unhealthy obsession with the Sailor Moon anime. At the time, I thought that the Sailor Scouts were the most awesome superheroes of all time; they could always be depended on to ensure that the milky way was safe and sound, while at the same time, live the lives of normal teenage girls. In addition, they had cats as sidekicks, and their transformation sequence is the best thing I have ever seen in my entire life. But taking into consideration the definition of a Superhero, by Peter Coogan, none of the Sailor Scouts are true superheroes.
 Sailor-scouts-sailor-moon-5333278-471-600
Read on to see how in my opinion, the Sailor Scouts fulfill the most important requirements of Superhero-hood, but fail on the last, and most ambiguous criterion.
Though my arguments apply to every Sailor Scout, I will only compare Peter Coogan’s criteria to the titular character for simplicity.
 sailor-moon2
 A breakdown of Peter Coogan’s definition of a Superhero:
      I.         A heroic character with a selfless, pro-social mission…
·      Sailor Moon is completely selfless and pro social. She was originally the princess of the moon kingdom, but was sent to Earth after some stuff went down. More importantly, there are many occasions were she sacrifices herself for the good of the entire solar system. It doesn’t get more selfless or pro-social than that.
 
    II.         …With superpowers – extraordinary abilities, advanced technology, or highly developed physical, mental, or mystical skills…
·      She inarguably has extraordinary, sparkly mystical superpowers that can be used to combat the dark forces of the negaverse. You definitely have to have extraordinary abilities to fight the negaverse
 
  III.         …Who has a superhero identity embodied in a codename and iconic costume, which typically expresses his biography, character, powers, or origin…
·      Her code name represents her planet of origin, and conceals her civilian identity, Serena
·      Her costume and wands are extremely iconic, and all relate back to the whole cosmic moon stuff.
 
   IV.         … And who is generically distinct, ie can be distinguished from characters of related genres (fantasy, science fiction, detective, etc.) by a preponderance of generic conventions
·     This is where Sailor Moon does not make the cut, as her character is apart of the magical girl fantasy genre, which automatically (According to Peter Coogan) discredits her as a Super hero.
 
Is it possible that the Super hero genre is a fantasy genre?
 
Anyways, this argument is flawed anyways. The last component would be better left out, the logic is completely circular…he is pretty much stating that to be considered a superhero you have to be in a superhero story.
References:
Heer, J., and K. Worcester. A comics studies reader. Univ Pr of Mississippi, 2009. Print.

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4 Responses to Is Sailor Moon Not a Superhero?

  1. samk says:

    Nice post,

    I think that she is definitely a superhero… Coogan’s definition is problematic to say the least, and I have been thinking of examples to bastardize it. Good for him for trying to establish a definition, but it just isn’t worth the circular reasoning.

    Maybe superhero comics is a fusion genre that incorporates several features from a variety of sources. I mean, hey Batman emerged from detective comics, which may lead us to believe that his status as a superhero has roots in the crime/detective genre.

  2. Jesse Bruised Head says:

    Although I have never actively watched the Sailor Moon series to its entirety, I can say that the scouts are definitely what can be considered, “Superheroes.” Coogan’s definitions are ambiguous at best. The scouts are true heroes. They stand for what is right. They fight against evil. Although Sailor Moon may be a part of a different genre, she still applies. It’s pretty much written all out there on the package.

  3. askwok says:

    I agree with what everyone has said. Coogan’s definition of what a Superhero is is fairly vague and quite opaque. Who is to say fantasy cannot be a component of the Superhero? Personally, because Sailormoon passes for a majority of his points, I think it is fair to say that she is certainly in fair ranks with other superheroes despite being a different genre.

  4. nsbarzella says:

    This is an interesting post. I also grew up in the 90’s and loved Sailormoon. I agree with the previous comments, I think Peter Coogan’s definition is arbitrary and also flawed look at the Hulk I don’t think he fully fits the the superhero comic. The Hulk doesn’t have a costume unless you consider green a costume… I think that we need to reconsider who is qualified to be a superhero.

    -Natalia Sbarzella

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