This review originally appeared on the now-defunct site FamilyWonder.com, which showcased children's entertainment for parents and caregivers.
Network: Cartoon Network
Best For Ages: 9-12, 12 and up
This attractive if silly Japanese anime series centers on a ditzy but resourceful teenage girl who learns that she is the reincarnation of a lunar goddess, with powers beyond those of ordinary mortals. Though the violence is cartoonish, many characters die in SAILOR MOON, making it inappropriate for many young children.
Educational Value: Though they seemed tacked on, 'Sailor Says' tags espouse good messages and the Scouts fight for just causes. As one of the best-known examples of shojo, the cartoon has generated interest among young people in Japanese culture and art.
Entertainment Value: Beautiful anime artwork makes this cartoon a pleasure to watch. The interaction between Sailor Moon and her friends adds levity and touching moments, though they spend much of their time fighting villains and chasing boys.
Emotional Intensity: Characters get injured and occasionally die, though the televised episodes show less violence than their imported video counterparts.
Frightening Situations: Parents possessed by evil agents, kidnappings, poisoned flowers, and other forms of menace are the norm for this series.
Gender/Racial Issues: Though they're young teens, the heroines have features and figures as voluptuous as Barbie.
Profanity: Usually none, though characters call each other by rude nicknames like "ditz."
Questionable Behavior: Because they have powers far beyond the norm, the children routinely disregard their naive parents, ignore safety warnings, leap from buildings, etc.
Sex/Nudity: The heroines have intense crushes on young men. Some parents may object to the amount of skin their outfits reveal.
Violence: Lots of fighting involving superpowers and magical weapons.
SAILOR MOON is the best-known example in America of shojo, Japanese entertainment for girls, and as such it attracts a wide audience of anime enthusiasts. But many episodes are too violent for children, and parents may be disturbed by some of the stereotypical behavior exhibited by the young heroines.
Like POKEMON, the artistic style features doe-eyed characters with ludicrous hair color and elongated arms and legs. Unlike POKEMON, the background art is detailed and delicately sketched, so from a purely artistic perspective, SAILOR MOON is a beautiful series.
Anime fans who are too old for DIGIMON often enjoy SAILOR MOON. Many installments focus on the growing relationship between the title character and pretty boy Darien, with whom she is destined to find love after an epic battle between good and evil.
Younger girls find the characters attractive, but the frequent violence upset one nine-year-old viewer. The villains don't sound any more menacing than those in Disney films, but youthful characters get wounded far more often than in most children's entertainment.
Some young viewers look up to Sailor Moon. As a typical, somewhat whiny teen who happens to have superpowers, she empowers her fans. At times she makes a fine role model, confronting the loneliness of her situation and calling upon her courage to save younger children. Sailor Moon is bright and resourceful, yet enjoys an afternoon shopping as much as the next girl.
Children's Television Reviews