You may remember, dear readers, that about a month or so ago I posted about the Sailor Moon Manga, which has been re-released in English from 2012 in 12 books, with a couple of extra special stories as well. The stories form the basis of the Anime, which played a big part in my life – and recently I cosplayed as Sailor Venus. During this time, I had ordered “Warriors of Legend – Reflections of Japan in Sailor Moon” from Amazon as it sounded like an interesting exploration of things all things Sailor Moon and comparisons in modern life.
Here’s a brief description:
The book Warriors of Legend is one of the first of its kind, using a specific Japanese anime/manga series- the megahit Sailor Moon- to teach about Japan. Neophytes to Japan studies will find Warriors of Legend an accessible way to learn about this fascinating country. Those who know quite a lot about Japan already will find their understanding enhanced by the way the book analyzes the nuances of Tokyo’s history and Japanese society. The book also argues that Sailor Moon is a unique series in that it was both internationally popular and strongly structured by the culture of the city of Tokyo and post-Economic Bubble Japan.
I don’t usually read non-fiction books. They don’t hold my interest in the same way that a fiction book does, so sometimes it makes it hard to get through, but that’s not the case with “Warriors”, partly because the subject matter – Sailor Moon – is a bit like Harry Potter for me – interesting. That’s not to say the books I needed to read for my degree weren’t interesting, but Sailor Moon has been part of my life since about 2002, and again is one of those things that I grew up with.
This book is set out in easy to read sections and it wasn’t hard to keep up interest in small doses. I didn’t read it in one go, but I’m sure it could be done.
It’s a really interesting read. I definitely feel as though I’ve come away from this book having learnt at least something about the complexities of Japanese culture. I didn’t realise just how much of “reality” was in the series, from real shops, albeit with different or altered names, to monuments like a newly opened bridge. I think it was a clever addition by both the animators and the author of the manga, Naoko Takeuchi as it continues to reflect a changing and modern Japan.
As we are taken through various sections, I found that when I was reading there was too greater focus on Sailor Mars/Rei. I know that her character is important considering she is the embodiment of both the new and the old Japanese culture. I didn’t realise just how much her character had changed between the anime and the manga, and to be honest it made me realise just how annoying her anime characterisation was.
I think I found the section on Sailor Venus more interesting for a couple of reasons: the cosplay [before this cosplay, Sailor Moon was strictly my favourite character, but I do believe that has now shift to Venus]. Her mythology was really interesting, in that being based on both Roman and Babylonian myths [The myth of Ishtar is actually one of my favourites, although it’s not really something that would stand out to a casual reader/watcher of the series like me, despite it being on my favourites]. I really want to know more about Venus for sure.
I like that Ami’s character was based on a singer at the time – I wonder if she feels honoured at that or not?
I think if I had to say anything about that book it’s that it could be set out and flow a bit more cohesively as it seemed to jump around a bit, perhaps this was emphasised in that I took quite a break between starting and finishing.
Well, that’s all for now folks!