Anime, naturally, started off as something that Japanese audiences liked, and later spread to other parts of the globe, finding fans who, for the most part, didn’t have their personal entertainment itches scratched by their countries’ more mainstream media offerings. Nowadays, though, anime has a big enough international foothold that you can find American movie and TV stars, and even professional athletes, who are fans.
Obviously, the widest potential American fanbases are attached to series that aired on U.S. television, like "Dragon Ball" or "Sailor Moon," and it’s the landmark magical girl saga that socialite and general-purpose celebrity Paris Hilton has recently professed her fondness for with some "Sailor Moon" cosplay.
The "Sailor Moon" anime premiered in Japan in 1992, and reached U.S. TV in 1995, at which time Hilton was 14 years old, the exact same age as main character Usagi/Sailor Moon herself. Time-wise, Hilton could be a dedicated old-school fan who grew up with the series and carries a fierce fidelity to the source material, so let’s see how faithful her cosplay outfit is.
Not so much.
If you’re a "Sailor Moon" fan, you can probably immediately tell that something feels off about the getup, even if you can’t immediately put your finger on it. The most glaring is that instead of a pleated skirt, Hilton is wearing a sparkly bikini bottom, with some flared cloth accouterments on her hips. She’s also missing the short cape-like collar from the anime outfit. In other words, she’s ditched both the sailor skirt and sailor collar, the two things that connect the magical girl’s battle outfit to a sailor suit, which is sort of why she’s called Sailor Moon in the first place.
▼ Sailor Moon’s actual anime outfit
Those aren’t the only omissions in Hilton’s spotty cosplay, though. She’s sporting a heart-shape choker instead of the correct crescent moon one, and she’s bypassed both Sailor Moon’s tiara and bangs. She’s also not wearing gloves, instead going with some bicep bangles, and it looks like she might just have slipped on some thigh-high red stockings instead of Sailor Moon’s heeled boots. Ah, and while the photo quality makes it hard to tell for sure, it’s not entirely clear if she’s wearing a shirt, or just using that chest ribbon (which, like Hilton’s socks/boots, is red instead of the source material’s pink) like a bikini top. Finally, Hilton is holding either an inflatable pool ball or CG after-effect meant to symbolize the moon in the crook of her arm, despite the fact that the celestial body is also floating in the sky behind her.
But wait, doesn’t Sailor Moon’s costume evolve in step with her powers as the series goes on? Sure, so let’s compare Hilton’s outfit to some of the versions from later in the story.
OK, last chance. Is Hilton’s outfit inspired by anime remake "Sailor Moon Crystal," which was produced under close supervision from franchise creator Naoko Takeuchi?
Once again, no, and the gaps between Hilton’s cosplay outfit and any of the ones Sailor Moon actually wears are probably what give the celebrity’s costume less the feeling of “loving fan tribute” and more “special themed night at a strip club down the street from a hotel where an anime convention is going on.”
Before we wrap things up, let’s take a moment to consider the message Hilton tweeted along with her cosplay: “She was the type of girl the Moon chased and the stars wished for….”
Often-used girl-power quote or not, that’s sort of the opposite of what most people would cite as the primary appeal of the Usagi/Sailor Moon character. Usagi’s whole deal is that she’s supposed to be extremely identifiable, an archetypal “ordinary schoolgirl” who puts off doing her homework, pigs out on junk food, whines when she’s unhappy, and leans on her friends for support. She’s so far on the opposite end of the spectrum from being an aspirational object of worship that many fans cite her negative personality quirks as the reason one of the other Sailor Senshi is their favorite character.
For those who do love Usagi, though, the reason why is the contrast between her base, even crude instincts in everyday situations and the fearless, selfless devotion she shows to others when it’s called for, reminding us that life doesn’t have to be about being perfect all the time, as long as you’re good enough when someone needs you to be.
Source: Twitter/@ParisHilton via Anime News Network/Lynzee Loveridge
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