lordyellowtail: (X and Alia (By Your Side))
[personal profile] lordyellowtail
 Yes, I fell off the wagon in a big way on these, but I'm back now. This one is going to be short and sweet. There's not a lot to say except that it is very possible this (and Naru (Molly)/Nephrite) pairing is the first thing I ever consciously shipped. They're an adorable, beautiful, deeply in love couple who are incredible heroes and parents and loyal friends. They're presented as royalty of forgotten, long ago kingdoms, and their love is indeed majestic and wonderful.

I think all of us who watched them, at one point or another, wanted that kind of partnership. I think some of us probably still do.

For all that the early 1990s DiC dub did poorly, or over-censored, or however else you want to put it (and there was a lot of that), one thing DiC arguably did better than the original Japanese version was some of the Season 1 music. Some of it is hopelessly cheesy weirdness that is just embarrassing to listen to, and the Japanese original is far superior. And some of it is hopelessly cheesy wierdness infused with all the power of the best 1980s hair rock love ballads, and is knock-you-out-of-your-shoes incredible. Some of it still makes me tear up with genuine emotion, because I remember the things that were happening when these songs played, and I loved these characters and even when I was too young to shave, I loved them and cheered them on and cried for them when they hurt.

(Nephrite and Naru, even in the dub you had me bawling. I still wish he could've lived. Their love was so wonderful and transformative for both of them. He turned his back on a murderous evil empire and promises of eternal power because he loved someone who could offer him no riches or power or anything but the deepest love of her heart, and he died for it. And, really, she was never the same again. She fell in love with another, but it was clear the wound on her heart was still there.)

If I had to deeply examine my shipping philosophy and figure out why I just don't like a lot of modern canon shipping in fantasy and sci-fi, I think I could make the argument that I'm comparing so many of these couples subconsciously to Mamoru and Usagi, and in comparison most of them fail. Usagi and Mamoru at their best were equally consumed by their love for each other and their daughter, but it didn't distract them from the real work of saving the world. It made them inseparable partners that no evil the universe could tear apart for long. And it made them invincible. They exemplify what the Power of Love is supposed to be. It's not heroic suicide, no matter what Harry Potter wants you to think. It doesn't mean infinite forgiveness of your enemies, either, Harry (Usagi herself had no trouble telling her enemies when she wasn't ever going to forgive them their evil, and it was awesome). And it is most certainly not the currently in-vogue model of unequal partnership, where one character does most of the heavy lifting of battling evil while the other one wades around in feels, man and exists more as a goal or aspiration for the Active Partner than a fully realized character who is also equally strong and in love.

The Power of Love as Sailor Moon presents it, and as I honestly believe it is meant to bein fiction, is what gives you the sort of Heroic Willpower that can't be found anywhere else: pure, depthless and unconquerable even if it costs you your life. Usagi and Mamoru had it in spades. Alone, either was formidable. United, their partnership, their devotion to each other and their loved ones gave them such determination and resolve and bravery that when they moved together, the whole universe stopped and took notice, and either yielded or got out of the way ... or didn't survive the encounter.

Even the anime, which watered Mamoru down from the manga, and the English DiC dub, which made everything and everyone watered down versions of themselves, couldn't take that away.

Which is probably why one of the greatest moments in the dub is the scene where, as Mamoru (Darien) lay apparently dying after he and Usagi (Serena) have just gotten their memories of their 1000 year old love back and finally come together as a couple once more is both one of the most movingly gratifying and soul-crushingly traumatic scenes in the entire DiC run, if not the most.

And it would never have been so epic without "My Only Love," which as far as I'm concerned is still the single best image song for this couple ever. It's sincere, and full of 1980s power love ballad goodness, and if it sounds cheesy, it feels like it's because real people have real emotions and when they pour them out it can be messy, but that doesn't make those emotions any less real.

And what got me thinking about all this is this incredible instrumental piano version that I just found on the internet yesterday. Behold:


Even without the words or the images, this ... brought everything about Usagi and Mamoru that I love back and made me wonder why I drifted away from Sailor Moon, which gets love right, and constantly torture myself with all this modern stuff that I adore but that just doesn't fundamentally get what I want to see in heroic relationships.

(I'd love to post the scene where this plays in the DiC dub, but it's past midnight and I can't find it on YouTube.)

Date: 2016-03-07 05:31 pm (UTC)
ilyena_sylph: the letters L O V E rearranged into a heart on a pink and blue gradient background (art: love)
From: [personal profile] ilyena_sylph
Oh, man, SO MUCH YES, yo.

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Lord Yellowtail

July 2016

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