The sung benediction of “Miracle ro-ma-n-ce,” in Sailor Moon‘s opening, “Moonlight Densetsu” never resonated with me in spite of its inherent catchiness. For me, Sailor Moon was never about romance. Instead, it was about kicking butt – figuratively, in the case of Ami Mizuno, or quite literally, in the case of Makoto Kino – and looking amazing while doing so. Additionally, was the message that even I could find friends who would like me for who I was, as trite as that sounds. I may not have resonated with Usagi Tsukino, but I desperately wished for a friend like her.
“I wonder if you’ve realized that I change a bit every day. I’m at my most beautiful singing by your side.”
– From the insert song, “Wake Up My Music,” first featured in Aikatsu! episode 31
It is not rare for an idol show to touch upon family, particularly when said family is opposed to the heroine in question becoming an idol (hello there, AKB0048). In fact, family plays a role in nearly every idol series I’ve had the pleasure of seeing – and additionally, many magical girl series – although it’s usually to provide an obstacle for a character to overcome, much like Chihaya Kisaragi’s emotional character arc in The Idolm@ster, or the stories of both Nagisa Motomiya and Chieri Sono in AKB0048. In all three cases, family members are not present to offer support, but to give the would-be idol a reason to sing or, in the case of AKB0048, rebel against her family and become a member of a forbidden organization.
These narratives put the position of an idol as something removed from every day life. Even in the case of the school idol series, Love Live!, becoming a school idol automatically puts one in a different position as compared to the rest of the student body. The separation between family or a so-called normal school life, and being an idol is a distinct one. Likewise, the idol is all-to-often forced to sacrifice their family ties in order to become a true idol.
This is not so with the recent idol series, Aikatsu!, and I love it for that. Not only does it make the process of becoming an idol the every day life of its heroines, but it also incorporates family into that same narrative wonderfully.