Forget Freytag pyramids—this dramatic structure is all about Amazon arcs.
Redemption arcs, that is, and wouldn’t you know it, Sailor Moon pulled off another magnificent one. If I had to name the single, primary element of anime that got me to fall in love with it, it’d be its interest in telling stories like these: about sympathetic antagonists and all-too-human villains, and the underlying belief that even those of us who seem the most hateful or hopeless can and often do learn, grow, and improve.
It was just so different from the all-good and all-bad morality of the Disney films and most of the cartoons I watched growing up, and that interest in nuance for both heroes and villains struck a chord of truth in Preteen Me that’s resonated ever since. There’s value in creating ideal characters for audiences to seek to emulate, to be sure. But for my money, the stories about flawed, selfish people nevertheless learning how to move towards empathy and altruism are the really uplifting ones.
That was a long way of saying these episodes were great and I loved them. The even longer way of saying that is below the jump.