I have yet another confession to make: I cheated a little bit on this one. You see, the character in question’s original name does start with “U”, as soon in the title, but I personally grew up watching the translated, Americanized version of the show, in which her name starts with “S” (Serena). That said, the character was an important part of my childhood, and as I grew up and discovered that the show had actually been quite hacked apart and Frankenstiened back together by American sensors I did hunt down the original Japanese version and decided that I liked it much better, so let’s just go with Usagi, shall we?
If you didn’t grow up with anime in the 90’s you probably don’t know that it was pretty huge, but also pretty regularly ridiculed. These days geeks and nerds are actually pretty popular (is that an oxymoron?) but back then they were teased and tormented, and (at least in my experience) only geeks and nerds watched anime. I caught a strange amount of flack for watching this show, let me tell you. But watch it I did, because I loved the concept of it. In the same way that I loved Spider-Man for being a teenage superhero with all the problems that entails, I loved Sailor Moon because it was about a group of super-heroines, all of them school girls. They were dealing with growing up, managing school, dating and falling in love, having fun, and all that stuff that young people deal with, but they also occasionally had to save the world. I lived for those kind of stories.
And my favorite character in the show was the titular “Sailor Moon”, whose real name was Usagi. I loved the other characters as well, but Usagi was my favorite because of how pathetic she was. Does that sound odd? Maybe it is. See, the other characters had so much strength – intelligence, physical power, strategic skills, grace, street smarts – but Usagi was like the counter to all of that. She was flunking most of her classes, was clumsy and quick to burst into tears, and was wavering on the cowardly side of the scale. For the most part she was completely and utterly pathetic.
And yet, when it really came down to it, when her friends or family were in trouble, or when someone was being taken advantage of, or when big bad evil was all set to destroy the world, she bucked up, put on her big girl panties, and saved the day. That’s why I liked her so much more than the other characters. For all intents and purposes she was the weak link, but when it really counted she didn’t let that stop her from doing what was right.