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Essay by The Fic Bitch

Most people donít know this, but I wrote a Sailor Moon fanfic once. An actual fanfic. Iím renowned for, in fits of mass boredom, coming up with completely cracktastic TV show parodies and floating them around to my friends just for shits and giggles. This was not one of those. An actual, real fanfic. Written in prose and everything.

Iíd like to say that it was because I was struck with a fit of inspiration so great that my very fingers itched to type it out and thus free the creative juices that had spent so many long years bottled inside the depths of my under-appreciated soul. I would also like to say that it was a fic of epic glory where Sailor Pluto finally had the chance to prove that she wasnít just the most pathetic senshi ever and finally kicked ass and took names. I can say neither of these things.

It was a 10 page rehash of Ray Bradburyís short story ďA Sound of ThunderĒ with a comedic spin. And my main motivation for writing it was that the sound of late night typing really pissed off my college roommate.

It was the first semester of my sophomore year. Her name was Maiya. And I believe she was the bastard love child of Satan and a sex-starved chihuahua. Really, Iím not sure when I decided that she needed to go, but it was sometime between the night she broke my TV and that other night when I woke up to the sound of her and her boyfriend having sex in the other bed at 2:30 am Ė the night before my 8:00 am cell biology midterm. Really, no one could possibly blame me for my passive-aggressive warfare. You didnít live with her. She was EVIL and I feared that a more direct approach would only resolve with me dead in a ditch, drained of blood, and possibly sacrificed for some satanic ritual to raise Cthulhu from the mighty Allegheny River.

I did finally manage to rid myself of the she-beast. She moved up one floor and over a couple of rooms. The girls that were now unfortunate enough to be living beneath her showed up at my door one evening with cookies asking if I really had been La Chupacabraís roommate and if so, they felt my pain and here, have some cookies for putting up with La Diabla for three whole months. Who knew that putting up with evil for so long could reap such sweet rewards?

Nevertheless, those three months I spent living with Rasputina did have its benefits. That was the time period when I finally buckled down and started sorting material for a then unnamed website, the likes of which the Sailor Moon fandom had never seen before. And it left me with one fanfic which I promptly locked away on my harddrive to never again see the light of day.

Or at least that was the plan. About a year later, I mentioned the fic in passing to a friend of mine that was also making strides to join the slowly expanding ranks of fic reccers. She asked to read it. I acquiesced and received my only criticism: ďNot bad for a first start.Ē

I was thrilled. I put zero effort into it, didnít care about it in the slightest, and recycled a plot from one of the greats of science fiction. And I got a ďNot badĒ from someone whose opinion I actually respected. (As she has taste.) Sometimes, I wonder what I would have come up with if I actually did put some effort into it. But there was no question in my mind that if I ever did legitimately write a fic, there was one place it would go: ASMR. (Also, my planned penname was going to be Deathwish Jones. Just because I think it is an awesome penname and also because it would give me an excuse to buy a fedora. What? I like hats!)

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I was 15 when I first discovered Sailor Moon. It was the summer of 1996 and somehow, I managed to miss the entire first run of the series on Fox. Luckily, USA was airing the anime every morning all summer long and I was lucky enough to catch it in time for the pilot. I was hooked immediately. It just looked fun. I remember being annoyed by Raye and identifying with Amy as I was shy and nerdy in my youth. (These days, Ami is probably the one character that I care the least about, interestingly enough.) And while I thought it was fun, I didnít think it was anything particularly special. That is, until ďA Crystal Clear DestinyĒ aired. That episode was nothing short of epic and a new obsession was born.

It also didnít last particularly long. Once August started, I had family vacations at the beach and two weeks of band camp to contend with. I never actually managed to finish the Doom Tree Arc. After school started, I attempted to catch up with the series on my days offÖ and couldnít find it anywhere. The show didnít survive on USAís schedule past August.

It wasnít until my freshman year of college when I would discover that the show had moved to Cartoon Network after its stint on USA. It was two days before Christmas break, and I caught my first glimpse of Rini as she and Serena used the power of the Silver Crystal to defeat Wiseman. And the obsession came back in full force. This time, I had the university internet at my disposal and the research began. I learned about the final three seasons and the Save Our Sailors campaign, and the recent licensing of the movies. And thatís when I found A Sailor Moon Romance. I think I had accidentally surfed there during a fit of random link clicking. The second I saw ASMR, I knew I had hit the motherload: a fanfic archive.

I love old school fanfic archives. Prior to Sailor Moon, my obsession had been Star Wars, and I had devoured the fics on its premiere archive, fanfix.com rabidly while I was in high school. (The archive is now defunct, so donít even try to get there.) ASMR pretty much proved to be everything I ever thought an archive should be. It was updated weekly and the sheer volume of fics was amazing. More amazing still was the level of talent I found there. Nothing in Star Wars could possibly even compare to some of the fics I found in Sailor Moon. To this day, I have never been more wowed by the creative output of a fandom than I have been in Sailor Moon, and let me tell you that output was polarized. When the fic was good, it was spectacular. When it sucked, it sucked spectacularly.

The following summer between my freshman and sophomore years, I remained at school attempting to get a head start on my major by taking a whole bunch of summer classes. Of course, I had very few friends out there with me. (Who wants to attend school during the summer?) I kept myself from utter boredom through ASMR. Between May and August of that year, I made a point to alphabetically go through every single fic in the archive. Sundays were spent reading the new releases; every other day was the methodical trudging through the alphabet. I discovered Lord Chaos, Meara, and +Gradient. I also discovered that when Theodore Sturgeon came up with his infamous law on the percentage of total crap in a given system, he was being generous.

That summer was eight years ago. Sometimes, it seems like forever. Time goes on and obsessions change. By early 2003, I found myself captivated by the Buffyverse, and when Angel ended in 2004, I found myself adrift in a sea of fandoms. I dabbled in DC comics. I spent some time in Firefly. I flirted with a number of book fandoms. And in all that time, Sailor Moon is where I kept returning and ASMR was, as far as I was concerned, the center of it all.

For me, Sailor Moon is the fandom that I call home. The fic output now isnít the same as the fic output then. The epic genfics of yore have been slowly replaced by dark, brooding character shots and the steady rise of First Love. Yet, I find that it doesnít bother me as much as it ordinarily would. Because this fandom is 16 years old and it is still here. Howís that for a testament to our canon? 16 years later and weíre still writing fics for it at a steady rate. The Sailor Moon page on fanfiction.net gets at least 25 updates a day after a time period when most fandoms would have already reached its expiration date.

I wish I could put my finger on just what it is that makes Sailor Moon so compelling. Is it the canon? The romance? The fact that Naoko Takeuchi, for all that we love her, was really horrible at planning out her manga, thus giving us so many confusing and unexplained plot holes that weíre still arguing about just how many Sailor Plutos are in one timeline at any given point in the manga more than a decade later? Or is it just the optimistic message that any evil can be overcome with the love and support of your friends?

I think itís all of the above and another 15 years from now, whatever it is that Iím doing, Iíll probably still consider Sailor Moon my home fandom on the internet. I love it here. And I couldnít be happier that ASMR is finally returning to the fandom, even if itís only as a landmark to what the fandom used to be.

And no, youíre not ever reading that fic I wrote 8 years ago, so donít even ask.

-The Fic Bitch