Sunday, April 29, 2007

But Is It Canon?

One of the things that bugs me about the whole Sailor Moon fandom thing is that a lot of people seem to think that there's only one possible storyline that is "the real story", and will only accept that one (ie, the manga) as canon. Which tends to lead to a lot of rather high-nosed snootiness from some people about those who like the anime and the live-action series.

That seems pretty narrow-minded. Yes, there was only one series that was 100% wholly created by Naoko Takeuchi, the manga. But the reality is that she was involved with the creation and development of the other two major Sailor Moon series, the BSSM anime and the PGSM live-action series. Both went in different directions from the manga, but both are also officially sanctioned and contain almost all of the same characters as the manga.

In my opinion, we have several canonical plot lines, none of which are automatically superior to the other. Just like in Superman, Batman, and a dozen other hero series, there will be many new storylines, and as they are all authorized, they become part of the whole metaseries. None is really superior to the other, from an objective perspective.

I mean, really, if you only have one canon, and declare everything else to be inferior and therefore useless if it doesn't follow the canon, don't you wind up repeating the exact same story over and over again? How boring is that? That's why I'm actually kinda glad that PGSM slightly reinvented the series when it came out a few years ago - I don't think it would have been half as interesting if they had replayed the exact same plots and scripts from the aniem BSSM or the manga version, just with live human beings. That's an interesting concept in theory, but I think it'd be very hard to carry for 50+ episodes.

The reality is that if Sailor Moon is to survive as a metaseries that reaches the consciousness of the masses over the long-term, it's going to have to continue to be reinvented in different ways and different series over time. As long as those series are created by, or contributed to, by Naoko Takeuchi herself - or authorized by her - they should be treated as a separate canon and of equal validity. Alternatively, the series can die out in terms of popularity, and we can wind up reading the same mangas over and over again into infinity. Personally, I'd choose the first option.