The Lemures Files
  Guest Article: June 3rd, 1998

The Subtexts of SM

By: "Apatt"

On the face of it Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon is just an anime about some girls battling the forces of evil, but if that was all there is to it I don't think it would be the huge cult it is today, especially on the internet. So what is it about SM that inspire such devotion?

There is certainly more to SM than meets the eye. However the subtexts of Sailormoon is largely subjective and different people may interpret the show differently. Here then is my personal view of what SM is really about.

SM can be appreciated on several levels, the most basic of which is as the adventures of a group of lovable girls, the youngest fans (10 years old and under) are likely to view SM this way. The older audience are likely to pay more attention to the characterization, and fasten onto a character that they can identify with the most, or the one who is closest to their ideals. Hence all the different "shrines" to individual characters. It is my estimation that most SM sites are made by girls and boys in the 10-15 age group.

If you look even deeper into the show you may get a feeling that the anime is actually saying something, making some subtle points. I believe SM is fundamentally about three things:

  1. The Value of Friendship
  2. The Power of Love
  3. Forgiveness

The Value of Friendship

This would be represented by the Inner Senshi. Other characters come and go, (the Outer Senshi, Chibi Usa, the Sailor Star Lights etc.) but the Inners are always there from the first series to the last, Mars, mercury, Jupiter and Venus may fade into the background to make room in the spotlight for the Outer Senshi or other new characters but they are always there. They are always together (not literally in every scene but you now what I mean) and they are always supportive and take care of each other. The Inner Senshi are more like a family than a mere group of friends. Their bond is stronger than most families can manage. Each individual Inner is always willing to risk her life to save the others. While their primary task is to protect the Princess, they take care of each other as well. They defeat powerful enemies time and time again because of their unity and solidarity, and their willingness to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. Evil never self sacrifices, evil is selfish and entirely driven by self interest. That is why if you have friends like the Inner Senshi, you will never lose, and you will never be lonely.

The Power of Love

This is represented by the love between Usagi and Mamorou, yes, the love story of he "S" series is between Haruka and Michiru, but if we look at the five seasons together it is always Usagi and Mamoru and that is how the final season ended, with a kiss. The love between these two characters have magical powers, and it is often their love that saves the day. This is a romantic notion and while true love knows no bounds in the movies I am not in a position to know how strong true love is real life. (make of that what you will ^^;;)


This is Sailor Moon's ultimate weapon, the ace up her sleeve. It is how she often defeats evil, because she never hates her enemy. She is always willing to forgive. Both Neherenia and Sailor Galaxia succumbed to the power generated by Sailor Moon's forgiveness. I suspect the idea Is that if there is some remnant of good in the evil being, forgiveness will find it and bring it to the forefront, and it will vanquish the evil within. I believe this is a symbolic representation of how forgiveness works in real life. Perhaps forgiveness cannot transform an evil man to a benign one, but it can touch the good part of that person and often makes him a better man.

Friendship, love and forgiveness, these are - in my opinion - the main themes running through Sailor Moon from the beginning to the very end.

Comments on this article can be sent to: Apatt.

Comments made on this page are opinions of the author. They are not necessarily shared by Tripod and the Amazoness Quartet.

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