Welcome to Sailormoon Week!
We were wondering, if Sailormoon was a recent manga/anime instead of appearing in 1992, whether we would have been interested. We suppose, if the artwork never changed, we would have given it a miss. 'Cos, currently we're rewatching the episodes of the first season and we're thinking Usagi is rather difficult to like sometimes in the early episodes because of her immaturity, and with the storyline progressing slowly every episode we might have just stopped altogether.
But we started when Sailormoon was aired on...goodness, what was that tv channel called?! It wasn't Metrovision, that was the Justice Bao period. TV8? TV4? Maybe it is Metrovision!
We could check it up, since we've recorded episodes of Sailormoon, but they're on VHS tapes and we don't have a VHS tape player any more, and we honestly don't want to look at the tapes just in case they are now overgrown with fungus. Sigh. All that hard work we did recording, copying from tape to tape, the money we've spent buying more VHS tapes to record most of the episodes, the one or two VHS tapes we bought from the comics store...
Oh well. At least they were well watched during its time.
So we got hooked onto Sailormoon, mainly because of the anime. If we just read the mangaka, we might have stopped halfway. Ever seen the artwork? Honestly, not the kind of artwork we appreciate, especially when at the same time we were hooked on Dragon Ball. Reasons why we got hooked?
Introductory exposure to animes. Asides from Doraemon, we haven't watched any Japanese anime before this. Ultraman and Mask Black Rider doesn't count as they weren't cartoons (we don't think when some ridiculous situation comes up characters will fall down or lose their footing!) and the high-pitched Malay dubbed Doraemon was a bit trying even for our young patient selves. We survived on a healthy serving of American cartoons during our youth, and when Sailormoon and Dragon Ball started airing on tv we lapped it up readily. And the Japanese humour was a novelty to us then! Expressive actions! Falling down at odd situations! Tears streaming down eyes like rivers!
Faithful Cantonese dub. Unlike Doraemon which had high-pitched Malay dubbing (shudder) Sailormoon (and Dragon Ball) were done in Cantonese! Now it turns out that there were two Cantonese versions, one by TVB and another that isn't (what we find on YouTube tends to call it the 'VCD' dub) - we were lucky to watch the 'VCD' dub as the characters there were very much similar to the original characters.
Usagi is loud and expressive, Zoisite was very effeminate (you'd expect limp wrists as well), senshi attacks were shouted rather appropriately. You should hear the English dubs, we get goosebumps and often enough cannot watch an entire episode in English because the dubbing and script was terrible. Outer senshi attacks always sounded like an echo from far away...
Translated manga. BM-translated mangas were on the raise, and we were buying the Sailormoon and Dragon Ball mangas when they came out (at RM3.50 per book then!). Of course, the Chinese translated mangas were probably out much earlier but then again we don't understand a single thing so why bother, eh? The fact that the manga was so different from the anime kept us interested in both ie Jadeite would send his youmas aka Monster-Of-The-Day again and again rather than fight Sailormoon head on, while in the manga he dies straight away. That, and that the other sailors had more attacks in the manga compared to the anime...
Censorship caused curiosity. Fairly obvious when Sailor Mercury and Sailor Mars made their appearance. They'd raise their transformation pens, shout out their transformation phrases, and -pop- we'd suddenly see the final tranformation bits along with a skip in the background music. And then in one episode, they'd forgotten to snip off those bits and we went, "Oooh so that's how it looks like!" And of course, we wondered how Jupiter's and Venus' transformation scenes look like. Oh not to mention what we missed in the episode where Zoisite dies.
Lack of merchandise. No such thing as the internet then, and there weren't many Japanese comics stores selling posters, DVDs and soundtrack CDs then as you can find nowadays (not counting the Chinese comic stores). Then, whenever we came across any Sailormoon merchandise we would have pounced on it, whether it be Japanese comic books using stills from the anime (which we bought during our stopover flight to LA!), or a soundtrack CD with all the songs used in the opening and closing scenes, or even the Cantonese-dubbed VHS tapes of Sailormoon episodes. We never did get to buy any VHS tapes (until Form 5, when the Chinese comic store near one tuition centre suddenly brought in Cantonese Sailormoon Sailorstars episodes and we bought a couple), but we did get to borrow tapes from a friend who had a fair number of Sailormoon Super S episodes!
Knowledge about future seasons. When Sailormoon was on telly, we were wondering if they would continue airing Sailormoon R, or they'd just stop there. Then Speedy Video had VHS tapes and VCDs of Sailormoon R in Cantonese, but the dubbing was by TVB which unfortunately made Usagi less livelier and the entire thing sounded muffled. And then there was Sailormoon S, Super S and Stars to think about too! What if they didn't air those seasons? We'd read the manga and wanted to see how different those seasons were from the manga! How does Uranus's and Neptune's attack look like?
The transformation scenes and attacks. The one thing that made Sailormoon (the anime), well, Sailormoon was the transformation scenes and the attack scenes. Almost every episode, they'd transform, Sailormoon will give her speech (in some episodes this was made fun of!) and they'd do their signature attacks and the Monster-Of-The-Day will die. On YouTube we've come across some kids trying to do transformations scenes and Sailormoon's Moon Spiral Heart Attack using ribbons and honestly we felt embarrassed for these kids even if they do not feel it themselves - they were asking to be ridiculed in our opinion.
At times we do wonder about how long she actually takes to perform her attacks - her Moon Princess Halation takes ages!
Anyways, we think what really helped keep us watching Sailormoon was that we were young and had all the time in the world!