When you’re a hot-shot television producer but you forget your business cards so you just end up yelling.
Pour one out for Mamoru Chiba’s eye.
I’ve previously waxed poetic on why I love Sailor Stars despite it being a bit of a disjointed mess. I’ve also written about how it’s inspired other anime visually — like the blocking of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica finale. This post isn’t about that.
Instead, it’s about another facet of why Sailor Stars is my favorite Sailor Moon season. Outside of the typical factors we use when rating anime — sensible things like animation quality, production, narrative coherency, overarching themes and symbolism — the circumstances and context of how we watched it and who with frame our emotional attachment. Nostalgia is a powerful feeling, and no other anime season inspires it in me quite like Sailor Stars due to how ridiculously difficult it was for me to watch it.
Watching Dokidoki! Precure is similar to revisiting Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars without the sepia-tinged glasses of nostalgia. When I was much younger and discovering anime through borrowing VHS tapes from a store in Boston, Sailor Stars was an experience. It was completely new to me and my friends – having only seen the North American dubbed seasons – and we ate it up. I often revisit Sailor Stars, in spite of its many issues and it’s place in my personal viewing history, as it has a lot to offer in the form of a magical girl template. A template that Dokidoki! was all too eager to follow.
By throwing in everything and anything, Dokidoki! diffuses a viewer’s focus enough to make them care about very little in the series, as there’s simply too much to care about. Additionally, it spins its wheels in the middling episodes, wasting the momentum gained from Cure Ace’s introduction along with pushing the character of Regina completely aside before reintroducing her as a key component of the series’ finale. I did struggle to watch at times, which naturally raises the question of why I bothered to finish it at all. Admittedly, much of this was driven by nostalgia, as one of my favorite series, Sailor Stars, drew a clear road map that Dokidoki! followed to both its benefit and detriment.
“Won’t you believe in the answer that the one you have protected all this time has found?”
-Madoka Kaname, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, episode 12.
When I was young, my mother would walk every Sunday to the Roman Catholic church down the street with two neatly-dressed, freshly-showered children in tow. We were hardly kicking and screaming, but like most children, my brother and I were often reluctant, and found various, harmless ways of entertaining each other in mass: singing hymns in horrible British accents, or providing whispered commentary on others’ outfits. That being said, there were times when the messages from the mass would truly engage me, when I found the stories themselves interesting, and I would listen with rapt attention, in spite of the fact that I wouldn’t be able to contextualize these messages until I was much older.
One such story that stands out in my mind is that of the apostle Thomas, not necessarily due to the message of the story itself, but my mother’s relationship with it. Every year, shortly following Christmas, my mother would look forward to this particular piece of scripture, involving Thomas. When I was around eight or so, I remember asking her why. She looked down at me with a smile from the seat on my right and said something to the effect of that it was the one time when a passage directly referenced her: a person who believes in spite of not having seen.
Truly believing in others, after all, is one of the most difficult things to do.
“Is Chaos gone?”
“I think it went back to where it belongs.
“Where it belongs?”
“Yes, back to people’s minds.”
-A conversation between Sailor Galaxia and Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars, episode 200
Placing your trust in one other person is difficult. Placing your trust in the entirety of humanity is nothing short of godlike. Before Madoka Kaname made her wish, Usagi Tsukino set a guidepost.