Otaku Senshi

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astera.jpg
Sailor Astera,
an Otaku Senshi drawn by Sakura
(used with permission)

All Sailor Senshi invented by fans fall into the category of Otaku Senshi (御宅戦士; House Warrior). They are made through fanfiction, fanart, and role playing. Chibi versions of all canon Senshi, significantly different powered up variations of canon Senshi, and canon characters tossed into Senshi-like roles also apply.

Development of Otaku Senshi

Generally speaking, Otaku Senshi are developed by their creators with at least a profile and image or images. The profiles range from very basic information such as their birthdate, age, favorites, dislikes, academic interests, hobbies, and dreams or goals, to more developed profiles which include information about personality, history, and mission as a Sailor Senshi. Longer profiles have become more popular in recent years, as creators seek to solidify their character's existence in the Sailor Moon metaverse, or try to work out their finer details.

There are some creators that use Otaku Senshi in fanfiction without developing a profile for them. Other creators will allow their characters to develop naturally through roleplay.

Debates in Otaku Senshi Creation

In the community of Otaku Senshi creators there are various topics that often come under debate in reference to the correct way to make a fan Sailor Senshi. Fans will debate these issues, cite various points of reference in canon, and draw from their own opinion to form standpoints on these topics.

The "Sailor Collar" Issue

When she created the outfits for her Senshi, Naoko Takeuchi used a design that was very similar to the school girl uniforms worn in Japan. Her design included a collar that extended from the collarbone area over the shoulder, to hang straight across in the back. Often, but not always, this collar would be adorned with one to three white pinstripes near the outer edge. Takeuchi placed this element on every character with a "Sailor" name, including the "fake" Sailor Senshi, the Sailor Animamates from the Sailor Moon Sailor Stars season.

Some fans in the community feel that the sailor collar is an essential part of any Otaku Senshi design and that without it the character cannot truly be a Sailor Senshi. They cite not only Takeuchi’s consistent use of the element, but also the history of the school uniforms, or sailor fuku, in Japan, that at some points in history have traditionally included the collar element.[1] Additionally, those in favor of the sailor collar will point to various canon characters that carry Sailor Crystals but do not have a sailor collar, such as Mamoru Chiba, Deimos, and Phobos; these characters have Sailor Crystals that give them power, but because they do not have collars, supporters see it as a further indication that the title of Sailor Senshi must go hand in hand with the collar element. These characters without "Sailor" in their names are not considered to be Sailor Senshi by these supporters, though some will refer to them with the title "Senshi" alone. This is in line with comments from Takeuchi; she has stated in an interview that only women are Sailor Senshi.[2] This point of view indicates a belief that an author’s comments are equivalent to canon.

Opponents of the "collar rule" have some counterpoints. Those against the collar rule often cite the existance of a Sailor Crystal as the only thing necessary to make a character a Sailor Senshi, because it is the only requirement stated in canon.[3] Some of those who oppose the collar rule believe that Tuxedo Mask is a Sailor Senshi because he has a Sailor Crystal, thus making the argument that his status affects the lack of collar invalid to them. Another point of view suggests that just because Takeuchi put collars on all the characters with "Sailor" in their name, it does not mean that it is a rule, per se, without it being actually stated in canon. For some fans, Takeuchi saying all Sailor Senshi are women in in an interview does not count as evidence because they do not believe that author’s comments are part of canon. In regards to the school uniform reference, opponents to the collar rule may also cite that not all school uniforms, or seifuku (制服; organization clothes), include the collar and have vests or jackets instead.[4]

The true crux of the controversy is in the creation of Otaku Senshi. Because of the belief that collars are absolutely needed in the design for any Sailor Senshi, proponents of the collar issue will not regard collar-less senshi as Sailor Senshi. Occasionally, this will lead to conflicts or arguments on the subject of what defines a Sailor Senshi and the debate on the previously stated points will recycle.

Some moderate views on the subject suggest that whether or not one believes Takeuchi’s Senshi are required to have sailor collars, those opinions do not define what fan characters should look like because, as fandom, it does not need to abide by any "rules." This in turn, can also lead to conflicts with canon purists who would like to see limited or no divergence from the original story in fandom.

Male Sailor Senshi

Along similar lines as the collar issue, a hotly debated topic in the Otaku Senshi community is the debate over whether or not men can be Sailor Senshi. Sailor collar controversy is intertwined with this debate because of the questionable status of characters like Tuxedo Mask.

As stated in the collar controversy discussion, Tuxedo Mask carries a Sailor Crystal. His powers represent the Earth, and Takeuchi has stated, in response to questions about the lack of a Sailor Earth, that he takes the place of Sailor Earth.[2] Additionally, because Naoko has been quoted saying the Sailor Senshi are only girls, many fans believe that in turn, fan senshi should only be girls. Once again, that depends on if one believes that an author’s statements are equivalent to canon.

In the animated version of the final season, the Sailor Starlights were animated in male bodies while not transformed into Sailor Senshi. They became female when they transformed, as shown in their transformation sequence. While many understand this to be a disguise for the Starlights, some argue that it opens a path for male senshi. As with the collar issue, some fans also feel that the issue of if men can be Sailor Senshi in canon does not directly effect how Otaku Senshi should be created in regards to flexibility in fandom.

Sol Outfits vs. Non-Sol Outfits

In Sailor Moon canon, Sailor Senshi from this Solar System had outfits that were similar to one another; Sailor Moon acquired more ornate outfits due to her status, but they still followed the same basic design. Characters from other planetary systems, such as the Sailor Starlights and the high ranking soldiers of Shadow Galactica, had outfits that differed in style from the Senshi of this solar system. When Otaku Senshi creators design their character's sailor fuku, this is something that may or may not be taken into consideration. The debate arises when a creator makes a character that is from another system, but has an outfit similar to the Senshi of this solar system. Some fans argue that it makes no sense for Senshi from another system to look like the Senshi of this system, while others insist that it does not really matter.

Because of the accessibility of coloring book blanks and the ease with which they are colored, a new creator will sometimes take a image of a canon character and color the picture with a different color scheme than the canon character originally had (e.g., Sailor Venus with a brown and teal outfit, silver hair, and green eyes). These characters are known as "recolors" and are generally seen as a shortcut for character creation; some members of the community will look down on such characters. Often, if a creator makes a Senshi with a Sol outfit, they might find their character labeled as a recolor if the outfit (style and colors) or appearance (hair, etc.) are too similar to a canon character. Still, the defintion of a recolor will vary from fan to fan.

Common Character Archetypes

nusenshi.jpg
Otaku Senshi, drawn by Åke Rosenius (used with permission)

Most Otaku Senshi fall into one of several common archetypes. Some examples of these are: Senshi based on various planetary bodies (e.g. the Earth, the Sun, and various moons in the Solar System); "lost" relatives of other Senshi; and canon non-Senshi characters made into a Sailor Senshi (most commonly Naru Osaka). Quite often, Otaku Senshi stories include these characters being somehow "reborn" on Earth in the present time, usually by the power of the Silver Crystal after the destruction of the Moon Kingdom.

Sailor Earth

Sailor Earth is a much used fanfiction device for creating a new Sailor Senshi. Fans who use this character discard the canon fact that Mamoru carries the Star Seed of Earth, and instead have this new senshi carry it or ignore the existence of the Earth Sailor Crystal altogether. Very often Sailor Earth is either Mamoru's "long lost sister" or Chibiusa's sister, and Terra is a fairly common given name for a Sailor Earth based on the dub continuity.

Sailor Sun

Similar to Sailor Earth, Sailor Sun is a common fan-made senshi. She usually has fire or light attacks. Common variations include Sailor Sol and Sailor Solar.

Sailor Nemesis

The planet Nemesis is secretive about its culture and history, so no Sailor Nemesis has ever been confirmed to exist. There are many fanfiction theories regarding this rumored Sailor Crystal.

Zodiac Senshi

Senshi representing the signs of the western zodiac are fairly popular despite the fact that these are not planets. This is likely due to the fact that, besides the planets of the Solar System, the constellations of the zodiac are some of the best known celestial bodies in western culture.

Chibi Senshi

Children and other descendants of canon Senshi becoming "Chibi" or "Neo" Senshi (e.g. Sailor Chibi Mars or Neo Sailor Moon) is another common type of Otaku Senshi. Various other words for "new" in other languages have also been used to give a new spin on the descendant Senshi concept. They are often used as guardians for either Sailor Chibi Moon or another future Sailor Moon.

Moons of the Solar System Senshi

Senshi representing a moon of one of the planets in the solar system, such as Sailor Io, Sailor Callisto, or Sailor Charon, are relatively common.

Kuiper Belt Senshi

This type of Otaku Senshi has become popular in recent years with the discovery of large Kuiper Belt objects which some people in the scientific community have wanted to classify as planets. Otaku Senshi creators often use these "fresh planets" as a new basis for their own characters. Some examples of these objects are: Sedna (2003 VB12), Quaoar (2002 LM60), Eris (003 UB313), Ixion (2000 WR106), and Varuna (2000 WR106).[5]

Senshi Based on Other Fandoms

Members of some other fandoms, be they anime, western TV show, or movie, have taken the liberty of making the characters of those shows into Senshi as well, usually just for fun. This can lead to Senshi based on fictional planets, realms, or similar characters from other works; for example, Sailor Naboo, Sailor Gallifrey, or Sailor Lyoko.

Pre-R and S Outer Solar System Senshi

Before Naoko Takeuchi created her own Senshi of the Outer Solar System she mentioned in her author notes[6] that she used to recieve fan art of Sailors based on the outer planets. The creation of such Sailor Senshi was also popular with fans of the English dub before the seasons in which these other Sailor Senshi appeared were shown in English. These Senshi fell out of favour when the canon versions appeared in Japan, and when they became common knowledge within the English-speaking fandom.

References

  1. Sailor fuku on Wikipedia
  2. 2.0 2.1 Public Interview with Takeuchi Naoko - Charles McCarter
  3. Sailor Moon Vol. 16, Act 54 Stars 5, p. 32
  4. Seifuku (Sailor Suit) - TAP Productions
  5. Name and number list at Dr. Bill's ASTR 1504 Site
  6. Sailor Moon Vol. 10

See Also

External Links