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Essay by Papirini

Before I start, I have one question to ask: has anyone heard of this particular fanfiction before?

Stop me if you do know this one. It was a story, multiple chapters, and it takes place during the S season (or, for the manga readers, the Infinity Arc). It involves Sailor Moon facing off against a Sailor Sun who lives in a cave and has been brainwashed by an evil spirit named Ra, and who has subsequently started brainwashing the senshi to her side by claiming she's the real moon princess. There are also male sailor warriors, each named after the Greek gods; the one that's trying to help Sailor Moon in her losing battle is Poseidon, who unfortunately tends to get his butt kicked by Sailor Sun's warriors, Zeus and Hades. The last thing I managed to read was that only Usagi and Haruka were left unbrainwashed. Anyone here have any clue as to where I can find it?

Some people who read this might remember me asking about this story on A Sailor Moon Romance, six years ago. If you do, then stand up and pat yourselves, quietly, on the back. It's a testament to the fact that you've stuck around for so long half a decade. Not everyone has that kind of perseverance.

It's also a testament to the fact I haven't found it yet. Which is a damn shame, because I still really want to know how it ended, almost ten years after I first read it.

-----

A little while before the re-opening of the Sailor Moon Romance Archive, "If there was a funeral for the SM fandom and you got up to say something, what would you say?"

My response?

"Oh, I'd be the John Cleese." Sadly, I realized to my chagrin that I wouldn't be the first person to write "fuck" on a public web page, so the significance is immediately deader than the proverbial parrot. So, for once, let me be a little more serious. I don't think this is a funeral of any kind, as the fandom is still here. However, it's not quite the fandom I grew up with.

My involvement with the Sailor Moon fandom is a pretty long one, though still be some standards it's not very long at all. And I probably would not have even gotten involved had it not been for Sonic the Hedgehog, mainly the Saturday morning cartoon. I adored it, and when I learned there was a comic, I ate it up as well. It was my first big defining experience as a cartoon lover. My second was from Sailor Moon I just so happened to be up waiting for a re-run of Sonic when, what do you know, the Sailor Moon dub came on at six thirty in the morning. My very first fanfiction was done on a Tandy MS-DOS Write program in the spring of 1996, and it was a crossover between Sonic and Sailor Moon a theme that some might notice I've repeated once or twice since then. In fact, I probably wrote, over all, about six crossovers between the two shows in all three which will never be shown because they are long gone along with that old Tandy and the Hewlett-Packard WP Typewriter.

Quite honestly, though, Sailor Moon was probably the more defining one of the two. It didn't last as long, yes, and the dub was admittedly shoddy. But the memories that come with it and the comfort it gave me in my teenage years are far more important than the comparison between which dub was better. I wasn't exactly one of the popular kids in school, and I was picked fun of constantly for many reasons, among them the fact I was a fan of a 'children's' show. But it was more than that. It was the nascent days of the Internet, and so on my junior high's library dial-up I would be every day, absorbing everything I could on what wasn't in English. Death! Prejudice! Homosexuality! Violence! Censorship! For a teenager growing up in the mid-1990's, even now those are huge issues to tackle. Sailor Moon gave a simple message in that regard: Love all. You're the nerd, the tomboy, the dyke, the hippy, the flake. The popular cheerleader, the movie star, the pariah, the stranger in a strange land. Sailor Moon Says: It doesn't matter as long as you have love in your heart.

All of my fanfiction is a tribute to that spirit of depth and to the fandom that it spawned. Because there are so many things, so many twists and turns yet discovered that can be done with the story, than fanfiction writers can expound upon when the original creator cannot or will not. The live-action series also served to give us new characters, new plots, new ideas to play with. And it's quite possible that Sailor Moon may actually return to America in an official capacity in the near future, which makes me as a fan very, very happy, since it introduces a new generation of people to the universe that is just like ours but with a few decidedly magical differences.

However, I've learned that new fans can be a double-edged sword. New fans are wonderful, don't get me wrong. Whenever I see a person wearing a Sailor Moon t-shirt or a Sailor Moon item on sale anywhere, I (literally) squeal with delight. On the other hand, what the newer fans and fanwriters do not have is the history. The knowledge of what was, and what it was like for fans when the series first came out not just as a Sailor Moon fan but as an anime fan in general. Not until 1998, from my perspective, did companies seriously consider anime as anything other than niche or a cheap way to fill syndication time slots. There was no Hot Topic selling oodles upon oodles of Naruto or Bleach stuff. Advision was mostly know for it's more adult-oriented anime and later on Neon Genesis Evangelion. There was no such thing as "American anime". We were on our own, and even after Pokemon and Princess Mononoke most anime didn't really become as mainstream as people thought...most people have forgotten that while Spirited Away won an Oscar, Mononoke flopped harder than a cannon ball splashing into a pool. Sailor Moon fans who thought they were doing the right thing with the Pop Tart campaign touted on Save Our Sailors were, in a way, trendsetters. Misguided, probably. But they might have been the first in our generation to say "we want our anime, and we won't forget our anime, and we won't let you take this from us without a fight!" They may have been the beginning of the more intimate relationship that anime in America has with the mainstream nowadays.

To that time also, to that spirit of being on the fringe of the group and being looked at strangely for doing what I do, I write my stories. Most writers out there in the fandom nowadays write romance, romance, and more romance. Not to deride people who write good romance fanfiction, but there is more to the story than romance, just as there is more to our fandom, and to our history. Finding those extra quirks in the story, remembering them, pondering over them, and then writing them out or looking at conventional fanfiction writing wisdom and giving it the middle finger. When I put up my writing, I wish for those people who read it to remember these stories, really any good story they come across, that's different and makes them think. Even all the bad stories they come across, because they are part and parcel of what our fandom is, and we shouldn't forget it. Because, like with any piece of history, once it's gone, we may never get it back.

That's why this incarnation of ASMR is important it has the good and the bad, the Sexylyons and the SailorMoon1980s. It's a work in progress, and hopefully most of it can be restored. It's almost a decade worth of stories, ideas, and authors that many fans may have never seen or read before. We're our own subculture, and with any subculture, we must remember and preserve it, and treat it with the very thing that Sailor Moon taught us all to give to ourselves and to others: Love. For this, I applaud everyone who made this possible. And I hope that this ASMR will be around for another decade to come so everyone can share in on this little piece of fandom history to do as they'd like with it, and so that the new fans will be inspired to look a little deeper and see what fanfiction can really be about.

Me, I will still be looking for that elusive Sailor Sun story. Because hey, you just never know.

-Papirini
6/17/08