MEMORABLE MANGA MOMENTS
SAILOR MARS & SAILOR VENUS
a.k.a. Rei Hino & Minako Aino
In hindsight, I think this scene left a profound impression on me back when I first read it because I don't think I'd ever seen this sort of female character development in ANY other form of media at the time ( and NONE ever since. Well, that is, until I discovered "Steven Universe". So not until VERY recently. ^^;; ). It was probably also the first time I could relate to a female character at all.
What I mean by this is... Well, here we have two teenage girls who, despite being independent and POWERFUL superheroes, would always revert to being stereotypical 'boy crazy' teenage girls every SINGLE time they resumed their secret identities throughout the ENTIRETY of this series!!! Yet in this particular scene, not only do they realize that this specific characteristic of theirs is false ( and why that is ), but they also vocally reject the validity of that trait and openly admit that it's not who they are.
That's female empowerment. That's feminism. ( well, at least I think so. ^^;; )
But my story doesn't end here, nope.
This scene also had a SECOND profound impression on me, completely different from the first one.
Now you're probably wondering why that is. Well, when I first read this scene in Sailor Moon, I had never heard of asexuality nor was I aware of the reasons behind my inability to relate to fictional female characters.
( I had always assumed I preferred male characters to female ones because 'I'm a girl and girls like boys'. That theory was invalidated when I realized that I was an aromantic asexual and embraced my sexual orientation. It was only due to time and experience that I eventually I came to the conclusion that the reason behind my bias was sexism: most female characters are restricted to a limited range of physical appearances, roles to fill in a story, and overall aren't allowed to accomplish much; whereas male characters are NOT. )
This was NOT this case when I came across this scene again a few years ago.
While I still felt the same empowering feeling of feminist independence when I read these pages again, my new perspective allowed me to see something more, something deeper that moved me deeply. I saw something that I may or may not have unconsciously recognized the first time around, but I was definitely aware of it this time. And thus...
...A NEW HEADCANON WAS BORN!
ALL of the SAILOR SENSHI ( possibly with the exception of Sailor Moon, Sailor Chibi Moon and Tuxedo Kamen ) are ASEXUAL ( or on the spectrum at the VERY least ).
HEAR ME OUT, please. ^^;;
In this scene, Minako admits that there has only been, and will ever be, ONE person for her: her ward, Princess Serenity. Now, it's up to interpretation whether or not she meant this platonically, romantically and/or sexually, but I'm interpreting it as platonic ( I'm biased, I know. ). Upon hearing Minako say it aloud, Rei was initially shocked but notice how quickly that turned to 'Oh my god, she's right. I'm the same! Deal with it, boys.'? This lead me to extrapolate that if any of the other Sailor Senshi were confronted with Minako's sentiments in this scene, they would all, more or less, come to the same conclusion just like Rei did.
Now, if i'm interpreting this correctly, then this new revelation means that any and ALL romantic/sexual interactions either of them ( and perhaps the rest of the Sailor Senshi ) may have had over the course of the story weren't... well, real and it wasn't until that particular scene that they realized WHY. Which leads me to infer that the reason they sought out such relationships was for the same reason most female asexuals ( who are not self aware ) do: because that's what's expected of them.
After seeing this subtext for the first time in this scene of the manga series, it lead me to scrutinize season 1 of the original anime, which I finally got to re-watch for the first time in DECADES ( also for the first time with the original Japanese audio and English subtitles, hallelujah! ). And I was startled to find that, from my point of view, the Sailor Senshi NEVER exhibited any signs of sexual attraction.
Sure, they were hopeless romantics, enthralled with pretty faces and the idea of falling in love:
Falling head over heels for a boy with whom they could exchange chocolates on Valentine's Day and White day.
A handsome boyfriend they could gush about to their friends and bring home to impress their parents.
A strong, yet kind, man to eventually marry so they could be beautiful brides ( and be lovely bridesmaids for their friends ).
In fact, their pursuit for a significant other seemed almost forced, like they're not personally invested in this endeavor. Their efforts seem, to me, to be lacking passion and drive. They moon over aesthetically pleasing boys, talk about what having a boyfriend can allow them to do ( chocolates, wedding gowns, bragging rights, etc. ) but when they're actually dating someone they seem detached.
No, I find that this pursuit seemed more like a chore assigned to them, a quest they had been charged with by human society. To me it seemed like they're looking to get themselves a man because that is what young women their age are expected to do.
Hell, after writing all of this down, I think that anyone of them could be any combination of asexual, demisexual, demiromantic and/or aromantic!
( Visit My Headcanons page for how my personal interpretations of the individual Sailor Senshi- especially the Neptune/Uranus fans! Their love is real and I've taken that into account, so don't panic! ^^;; )
Coming across this scene again after so long got me thinking back to when I first read the manga and back to when I first watched the show as a kid — this scene also had me scrutinizing my very recent rewatch of season 1 — and my reminiscing lead to a startling conclusion: From my point of view, the Sailor Senshi never exhibit any signs of sexual attraction.
I should have chosen Juuban High, too. Then I could have spent my high school days together with the rest of you.
Huh? Why all of a sudden?
This morning's Tarot reading. This is the card I drew. ( Death )
...I know it.
This battle is different.
I have a feeling that this time... ( ...we really won't come home... )
We swore to rescue those two, remember?
We always do the same thing...
Rescue our comrades! Defeat the enemy! Protect those precious to us!
It's no different this time! And we will return home alive!
You already have a chosen person in your heart... *chuckle*
Someone that you've pledged to live and die for.
...Well, I suppose if the cat's out of the bag...
That's right. I've long had someone, my one and only, to whom I have devoted my life.
*remembers Princess Serenity's face*
...Yeah. And that's why we have no need of menfolk.
You have a problem with that?