It's been 20 years since North America was introduced to a klutzy 14-year-old girl named Sailor Moon (or Serena), who somehow managed to kick ass when she wasn't eating or crushing on all the cute guys surrounding her.
Loads of people, dubbed "Moonies," fell head over heels for Serena in the late 90s to early 2000s. Did they ever take it too far? Maybe at times. Did Rule 34 apply? Of course it did. Though there was never a question of which version of the show was better, because the answer will always be the Japanese OG subtitles one.
On August 15, meet-ups and events were held all over the world for International Sailor Moon Day. But at Toronto's event, despite a Facebook post boasting 3,200 attendees, only 12 people showed up (like, the same amount of people who have actually been to the moon). And I was one of them.
When a dozen people show up to an event that was meant for thousands, do you blame the coordinators? Or the lazy people who couldn't make it across to Toronto Island on the ferry? It didn't matter. The day was going to have to go on without them.
While everyone was pulling out the lunches that they had packed for the day, my friends and I pulled out a couple mickeys of assorted dark liquor (naturally) and got down to celebrating Sailor Moon.
People complimented each other's handmade cosplay outfits, posted photos to Instagram, and talked about their favorite episodes, as well as their favorite Sailor Moon parodies. No one seemed to be worried about the low turnout, or bothered by the possibility that the 12 of us represented the Moonies' last gasp. The whole thing only lasted about two hours.
Don't get me wrong, I love Sailor Moon. She was a sort of role model for me while I was growing up. But this day made me question a lot of things. Is Sailor Moon still relevant? Do the people not care about her anymore? Will the Moonies go extinct? Will I accept any assignment?
I put these questions to some of the loyal Moonies on Toronto's Centre Island.
Stefan Maroni, 29, and Noel Scott, 30, were dressed as "Tuxedo Masc" and "Bear Sailor Moon," respectively, to put a twist on the characters. It might have been their first time cosplaying together, but they knew more about the Sailor Moon scene than most. They have faith that the Moonies will survive in the future.
"It's been over 25 years now. The kids who were kids at the time have turned into adults, and have given it to their kids," said Maroni. "I hope it will [survive] at least, because I need something to do."
The Crystal reboot of the series, which was released this past year, has given a younger generation the opportunity to watch the series. This new wave of animation doesn't come without controversy though, as a lot of people just don't like the way it looks. Combined with unfamiliar character voices from new actors, the new show isn't sitting well with some.
"I think it's fantastic. I know a lot of people are kind of dogging it because the animation isn't the greatest, but then again, we're getting it for free," said Scott. "It really shows Sailor Moon in a new light, which is a strong character and you can see why the manga was switched over to give females a more positive role model."
Wayne Good is 34 years old and has been watching Sailor Moon for almost 20 years. He's also decorated himself with five major tattoos of the main scouts, because he wanted to be the first guy to get all the full-body sailors tattooed on him.
"There will always be some remnants of Sailor Moon somewhere. It's just like Atlantis, it just doesn't go away. You will always find small pieces of it everywhere," he said.
There was one family there. Trista Mar is a 24-year-old mother who knew she wanted to raise her daughter with Sailor Moon, because it was something she loved growing up.
However, it was Trista's daughter, eight-year-old Tiarra, who was the only one who straight up told me that the Moonies will stop existing some day. She said that kids are going to start watching new shows, and will forget Sailor Moon eventually. Not everyone even knows who Serena is on the playground: she's seen it.
Maybe she's right, she is the generation that we're worried for. Maybe today's attendance was an indicator that Sailor Moon was always doomed to become nothing more than a symbol, an icon of cuteness and strength all wrapped into two balls of blond, spaghetti-like hair.
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