Sailor Moon 90s Anime Aesthetics and Today’s Pop Culture

Usagi Heart Eyes

VIZ Media Official Sailor Moon

Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon (美少女戦士セーラームーン), or better known in the west, Sailor Moon is a Japanese Manga series written and illustrated by Naoko Takeuchi in 1991. The story follows main character and female protagonist, Usagi Tsukino, a bubbly and clumsy 14 year old Japanese student who one day finds a talking cat who warns her of enemies targeting Earth, so would start the adventure of Usagi becoming a Sailor Scout with her friends to save the Earth and the World (VIZ). This anime series would then influence fashion, clothing, and pop culture for generations to come.

The original anime run of Sailor Moon was premiered in Japan on March 7, 1992 and later internationally. The Sailor Moon anime would then inspire decades and generations of kids to wanting to be a Sailor Scout and also leading a huge modern resurgence of retro pop culture aesthetics with themes such as: first love, Astrology, the personification of celestial bodies, Female empowerment, and the one of the very first main stream animes that covered, supported, and addressed LGBTQA+ themes. The color palette for the entire series consisted of beautiful and dreamy watercolor artwork that emphasized on the magical and romantic nature of being a Sailor Scout and definitely the feeling of first love under the moon and stars. Thus, the colors heavily used in the anime were soft yet vibrant blues, purples, and plenty of pink.

One of the most iconic scenes in the anime is the Sailor Moon Transformation which encompasses the pure essence of the Sailor Moon Anime Aesthetic. The transformation scene had it all: pink ribbon, glitter, stars, pastels, hearts, and magical girl romance. It is not a stretch to say that this magical girl transformation scene became the standard for all Magical Girl animes afterwards in the on coming decades all the way until now, as seen in other popular animes like Cardcaptor Sakura in 1996, Tokyo Mew Mew in 2000, and many more magical series targeted at children and girls to which they have also inspired these children to adopt this aesthetic years later as Sailor Moon has been a long standing pop culture icon around the world. This iconic anime scene has also inspired and was referenced in western media as well. For example, in Steven Universe as Ringo went through a similar transformation sequence in Garnet’s Universe (Cartoon Network 2014) and in Star Vs. The Forces of Evil where Mina Loveberry (Disney 2016) sports the twin space buns and a nod to Usagi with bunny earrings (Usagi meaning rabbit in Japanese.)

Moving on to Sailor Moon’s pop culture influence in fashion and clothing, since Sailor Moon was set in the ‘90s, plenty outfits that the characters sport are very trendy like high waisted skirts and pants, pastels, and denim jackets (TeenVogue 2020). Sailor Moon is so intrinsic to ‘90s style and vice versa, people on the internet now have been labeling the fashion movement as ‘90s Anime Aesthetic. Of course, there are plenty of amazing animes during the ‘90s, but nothing quite stuck to the realm of fashion and culture like Sailor Moon has. The way characters chose to dress sent a clear message that girls can be as masculine or feminine as they want to be, and that while crime fighting, the Sailor Scouts can definitely looks cute but have the power to take down evil criminals. Not only that, Sailor Moon influence in fashion has come back in present times as merchandise, cosplay, and a retro/aesthetic movement for teenagers and young adults now embrace, especially with high waisted but roomy mom jeans, a tucked in tee, and maybe sporting Usagi’s famous twin Space buns which where lovingly referred to her. Recently, ColourPop, a LA based make up company just recently created a Sailor Moon inspired make up line which has been sold out 3 times so far in less than 1 hour every time. Thus, it’s easy to see that women are still huge fans of Sailor Moon way after the ‘90s anime has ended.

In all, Sailor Moon has pioneered an entire genre of animation with their famous and magical transformation scene, lead a fashion aesthetic movement far after the series has ended with merchandise still being sold out within and hour, and still empowering all who enjoy and love the franchise as the anime will forever be a pop culture icon in the eyes of millions. Sailor Moon is now and for the foreseeable future, be a famous household name that will continue to influence fashion, aesthetics, animation genres, and people.



VIZ Media. (n.d.). VIZ: The Official Website for Sailor Moon. Retrieved October 10, 2020, from

Disney. (n.d.). Watch Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Disney+ Season 2, Episode 9. Retrieved October 10, 2020, from

Johnson, V., Williamson, S., Nesvig, K., Li, M., & Delgado, K. (2020, April 28). Why Are We All So Obsessed With Sailor Moon? Retrieved October 10, 2020, from

Hulu. (n.d.). Steven Universe. Retrieved October 10, 2020, from

ColourPOP. (n.d.). Sailor Moon x Colourpop Collection. Retrieved October 10, 2020, from

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

The start of the month Spring 1992 to The start of the month Winter 2020