As Kristen Bell raises concerns about consent and kissing sleeping people, let’s examine the many inappropriate sleeping kisses in Sailor Moon!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 4 - Tuxedo Mask kissing Sailor Moon without consent

In a recent interview with Parents Magazine Kristen Bell made some comments about Snow White which have been making headlines. Basically she talked about how, while reading stories to her children, she asks them to think about the implications of certain actions in fairy tales and what they mean. One particular example which is relevant to Sailor Moon, as I’ll get to shortly, is Snow White. She asks her children to consider if it’s wise to take an apple from a stranger and if it’s okay to kiss a sleeping person. Various media outlets picked up on this by saying that she is calling out older Disney films, which is surely helped by the Parents Magazine article headline “Kristen Bell Worries Disney Princesses Teach Her Daughters Bad Lessons”. In reality she is specifically speaking to fairy tales in books, many of which happen to have been adapted as Disney films. Though Snow White includes a few questionable life choices the fairy tales of the likes of Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm are ancient tales full of gruesome violence as they are products of an older and much more violent period in human history. Modern versions such as the story books we may see in stores and the Disney films we enjoy will often sanitize these to appeal to our modern sensibilities. Kristen Bell is herself the voice of Anna in Frozen, a film which sets itself apart from other Disney films by calling out tropes like marrying someone you just met, the evil queen and acts of true love coming from a newly acquainted love interest. I’ve probably watched Frozen with my daughter roughly 50 times in the past year so I’ll just stop myself from elaborating on my many thoughts on this film and its relation to other Disney classics. So much to say Kristen Bell has the privilege of having worked on a Disney film which questions the status quo of films that came before it and has a number of positive progressive messages.

Sailor Moon R episode 56 - Natsumi and Mamoru

All of this brings us to Sailor Moon! I’ve mentioned this time and time again and it always seems to be divisive amongst fans. The idea is that a number of non consensual kisses given to sleeping people in the series are inappropriate due to the sleeping person’s inability to give consent. I am aware of the risk of applying a modern lens to an older work as these weren’t things I thought of in the 90s but I don’t think there’s much harm in discussing these. I am certainly not calling to ban or boycott Sailor Moon but instead, as with the conversations Kristen Bell has with her children, use it as a reason to discuss issues.

Ultimately I think it may be a little simple to give a blanket statement like saying kissing someone who is sleeping is wrong. If I kiss my baby daughter or wife while they sleep this isn’t the same as kissing a stranger. People generally kiss babies when they are too young to give overt consent, though not on the mouth. There’s nothing terribly dangerous about this. That said if I try to kiss my daughter and she says no, I will respect that request and stop. The Snow White example is perhaps not such and open and shut case. It’s not that kissing a sleeping person you’ve never met without consent is okay, however, if there is a good expectation that this will cause the person to be brought out of a comma, one could easily argue that it is morally justifiable. Similarly it may be completely inappropriate to rip a stranger’s shirt off because they are attractive however in an emergency situation it is certainly justifiable to touch someone and remove a piece of their clothing in order to perform life saving intervention. An EMT of course shouldn’t be groping a patient for sexual gratification or go around kissing people they are treating. The motivation behind these actions are the important distinction here. Most adults appreciate this nuance though children may not, hence the value in talking about the stories and media you share with them.

Sailor Moon episode 22 - Drunk Usagi

There are two examples in Sailor Moon where a sleeping person is kissed and, to me, it does not seem appropriate. The first falls into a bit of a grey area because of reincarnation and that is the kiss following the Masquerande in the Dark Kingdom story arc of the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal which also takes place in episode 22 of the original anime, “Romance Under the Moon: Usagi’s First Kiss”. In this case Usagi accidentally drinks alcohol thinking it is juice. She passes out drunk after which Tuxedo Mask kisses her. This looks particularly creepy in the original anime as the animation in this particular episode is a bit cheap. The issue here is, as the title of the anime episode title suggests, this is Usagi’s first kiss. Had Mamoru and Usagi been in an established relationship in which this kind of exchange was commonplace enough to be considered normal and he kissed her while she slept, this would not have been the same kind of breach of etiquette however in this case no such relationship existed… well not in this lifetime. The complication of course is that Mamoru and Usagi are reincarnated versions of Endymion and Princess Serenity. They had a relationship in the past and are dealing with fragments of memories of that. In the real world if someone used this as a defense for kissing a person who was passed out drunk they would rightfully be chastised for it as reincarnation isn’t real however in Sailor Moon it’s a real thing so it’s a bit more complicated. That Usagi is herself infatuated with Tuxedo Mask doesn’t really clear him of any wrongdoing as one can’t just assume someone else’s feelings though I think this may be why people feel more comfortable about this exchange. The fact that Usagi and Mamoru ultimately do end up in a relationship makes this seem okay in but this logic only works in retrospect. Mamoru and Rei were actually in a relationship at this time, though that infidelity isn’t even factoring into my objections to this. If you’re not convinced that this is a problem then instead consider if Umino, or anyone else, had found a drunk Usagi and done the same.

Sailor Moon episode 22 - Tuxedo Mask kissing a drunk Usagi

This seems to have been a concern for someone at DiC when the original Sailor Moon anime was first dubbed. Episode 22 was heavily edited for a number of reasons, including adding some backwards footage to make it appear as if Serena went back and took the stairs instead of falling off the balcony. In this particular there is no alcoholic punch, Serena never gets drunk and never passes out. The “first kiss” between her and Tuxedo Mask doesn’t really take place. The scene is shown but a voice over by Tuxedo Mask states that it’s simply his dream. So much to say it’s generally considered okay to kiss pretty much anyone in your dream. As a result of this the first on screen kiss for the Sailor Moon English dub takes place in Sailor Moon R right before Rini drops in from the future. This momentous occasion is spoiled by an awkward joke about Darien tasting peanut butter and getting stuck.

Sailor Moon S The Movie - Luna kisses Kakeru

Next we have a series of kisses from Sailor Moon S The Movie. These are fresh in my mind having just watched the recently released Blu-Ray release of the film. Many fans would have seen the film in theatres this summer. In this film Luna falls in love with a human. After asking Usagi what a kiss tastes like she takes advantage of Kakeru, the source of her affection, by kissing him while he is asleep. There is no past life relationship between Luna and Kakeru. In fact Kakeru himself has a love interest in Himeko. This isn’t cool! Kakeru does not consent to the act and is in no state to do so. The situation is a bit complicated by the fact that Luna is a cat. I have cats and I have been known to kiss them on occasion. Dogs enjoy licking people’s faces and this is generally not considered to be some violation or assault, but then dogs are animals without human intelligence. Luna is a cat, yes, but a cat who essentially has a human equivalent mind. As an aside there is very little that resembles consent in the animal kingdom as most sexual interactions are forced. This is more or less true of humans until recent history as well, but we’ve come a long way and we should all be glad to live in a world where a person’s autonomy is respected. This isn’t the only kiss in the film as Luna later kisses Kakeru while she is in human form and the two fly around space for a while. Kakeru may believe this surreal experience to be a dream but it is real and Luna doesn’t ask if it is okay to kiss him, but he is awake and he doesn’t back away. This is probably similar to how a lot of human on human kisses take place so I won’t harp on that one too much. In the 90s I don’t think anyone would bat an eye at this but in 2018 some people might take issue with such behaviour.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Tuxedo Mask kisses a dead Sailor Moon

There are a few Snow White style kisses in the series. The first takes place during Sailor Moon R episode 69 “Awaken the Sleeping Beauty: Mamoru’s Distress” in which Sailor Moon is very much trapped in a Snow White style sleep which Mamoru wakes her up of with a kiss. Something similar occurs in Sailor Moon R The Movie when Sailor Moon literally dies, again, but can be healed through the nectar of the Kisesian Flower. Mamoru sucks up the nectar and gives it to Sailor Moon in a kiss. In both cases this resembles Snow White in that it is a necessary life saving intervention but, unlike in the story of Snow White, Mamoru and Usagi have an established relationship when this happens.

Sailor Moon R episode 56 - An, as Snow White, tries to kiss Mamoru, as Prince Charming

Snow White style kiss that never quite happened however is the kiss between An and Mamoru in Sailor Moon R episode 56 “Steal a Kiss from Mamoru! An’s Project Snow White”. In this episode An orchestrates things so that she will play Snow White in a play and get a chance to kiss Mamoru, who is playing Prince Charming. Things don’t go as planned however as her attempt to kiss him during rehearsal fails and the play is cut short by an attack by a Cardian summoned by none other than her brother lover.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 28 - Sailor Uranus kissing Sailor Moon

Finally we have the kiss between Sailor Uranus and Sailor Moon in the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal. This a sort of surprise kiss that Sailor Moon doesn’t expect and doesn’t have time to consent to one way or another. This in turn opens up the story to all sorts of interesting questions about sexuality which are quite worthwhile but it’s something I felt was worth pointing out.

All said I think Kristen Bell’s attitude of simply wanting to discuss what she’s reading with her children to be completely reasonable. She’s hardly arguing that Snow White is responsible for all of the ills of society and banning them in her household but rather finding a way to allow her children to consume media which she might not be totally okay with all while using it as a way to start a conversation about a serious topic. This isn’t quite the same attitude that Keira Knightley has, as her recent appearance on Ellen illustrated. She bans certain movies in her house, even some she quite enjoys, such as the Little Mermaid, because she’s concerned they might present a negative message. Far be it for me to tell someone else how to raise their kids! If this works for her than so be it. When I watch The Little Mermaid with my daughter I keep in mind the simple lesson this movie teaches. Don’t make a deal with a Sea Witch to get something you can get from your daddy for free if you’d just learn to communicate. I don’t think Disney is too upset about this either. If it bothers them they can wipe away their tears with some of that Pirates money.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you believe some of these kisses are inappropriate? Am I just overreacting and applying a modern lens to a harmless story? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

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48 thoughts on “As Kristen Bell raises concerns about consent and kissing sleeping people, let’s examine the many inappropriate sleeping kisses in Sailor Moon!

  1. First off, “going into a coma,” not “comma.”

    Second, yeah I think some of the kisses in this series, across incarnations, are problematic to say the least. Especially the one with Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask at the ball. At that time, neither of them remembered who they were in their past lives, they weren’t in a relationship, and Usagi was drunk. That goes against so many of my ethics, it’s not even funny. Yeah, if they remembered who they were and/or were in a relationship, and if Usagi wasn’t wasted, I’d feel better about it. But as it stands, I probably would’ve punched Tuxedo Mask if I came across him doing that.

    I also can’t condone Black Lady kissing Mamoru while he’s hypnotized, but then again, she was warped by the dark energy and Wiseman’s brainwashing, so I’ll let that one go.

    Even with all that, I still enjoy the series. It’s been a positive influence on my life for years, and continues to be a positive influence on me. And I’m sure if it were written today or if people had been a bit more woke back in the 90’s, Naoko Takeuchi would’ve written those kisses very differently.

    So while I question what Tuxedo Mask was thinking in kissing Usagi like that (maybe he also had a drink we never saw?), I’m still a big fan of the series. And I’m glad in later episodes, Mamoru proved to be a much more decent than he was in that one episode.

    • Black Lady is presented as a troubled villain at the time so I didn’t feel the need to bring such cases up. Similarly Queen Beryl brainwashing Mamoru isn’t “good” but she’s the villain so it is hardly presented as such!

  2. I really don’t see is a problematic. In old anime, Crystal and manga Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask are clearly in love already, they have danced together, they are attracted to each other by destiny. Plus during that particular kiss on the balcony Usagi still reacts to the kiss through narration. The later few insrances they were already a couple in love.

    An attept to kiss Mamoru was played for laughs and she was an alien so wecansay she was not aware how wring it is.

    With Rei and Yuichiru she kissed him and he had been following her the whole time, so the consent would he there by default.

    Demand kissing Usagi was supposed to be a horrible act to humiliate and impose on her. Black Lady kissing brainwashed Mamoru was kind a the same. Villains during horrible things. Quite normal.

    All in all there was no instance in which the act was considered romantic inaproprietely.

  3. Sorry, my comment is not about Adam’s article and the tricky problem it talks about, but I’m currently watching a documentary on YouTube about “Japan’s independent kids”. I’ve just begun watching it, so I cannot tell more, but seeing the title and playing the video, I immediately thought of Makoto and Mamoru, as they were pushed to independency from a young age due to their respective parents’ deaths.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7YrN8Q2PDU

  4. I think it’s ridiculous and what a waste of time even complaining about a work of fiction. people like that really need to focus on reality instead of looking for things to be annoyed about.

  5. I agree with you saying she should raise her parents her way (as long as they are not being abused…of course, I’d consider depriving me of The Little Mermaid and Cinderella abusive).
    And I agree that talking about these things with kids is good, as far as taking apples from strangers.

    What i do have a problem with is the self righteous attitudes these people often use and most of all their complete lack of understanding of these stories to begin with.

    As a child I never once thought the Prince was forcing himself on Snow White. She’s supposed to be dead and he saves her! It’s like magical CPR, and I am pretty sure people unconscious and dying can’t consent to CPR.
    And what movie are they watching that Cinderella sits around and waits to be rescued? While she may not be Xena Warrior Princess (or Mulan), Cinderella represents a product of emotional and domestic abuse who remains calm, kind and brave. Anyone who goes after my Cinderella gets my ire.
    To be fair, Ariel is not a good role model, but I don’t see that the movie teaches giving your voice away is okay…if anything, the opposite is true.
    She makes stupid decisions and she almost loses everything. But it IS her voice that saves Eric from Ursula’s spell.

    As for Sailor Moon…
    I definitely think kissing someone without permission is a no-no. I believe Tuxedo Mask’s kiss isn’t supposed to be creepy or taken without consent. I kind of get what Naoko was going for, but still.
    With Luna, it’s hard to say. Is she a cat? Is she a woman who takes the form of a cat? Also, without British Nanny Luna’s voice, she seems like she could be Usagi’s age or slightly older.
    Not saying being young gives her a pass, but her emotions were running wild.

    My verdict would be that the Disney kisses are just fine.
    Original fairy tale versions vary.
    Sailor Moon however, is definitely iffy and shouldn’t be replicated in real life.

  6. As long as kids understand there are things adults do and things children do they shoudln’t worry about putting themselves in the shoes of the characters.
    The fact that someone can decieve and trick a child is a lesson that can be taught.
    Sure don’t trust strangers, and learn that even adults can be tricked.
    Villans exist , brainwashing can happen but belief in yourself lets you speak up like everyday heroines do :)

    That being said her heart is in the right place and its never too early to educate children about appropriate behavior but it needs to be extended to more than just sexual matters. IMO

  7. I honestly don’t think it’s a big deal, why because of two reasons. First off, Sailor Moon is a fantasy, magical girl series that is inspired from classic fairy tales of princes and princesses with the twist that the girls are the soldiers. Naturally, the whole kissing while person is a sleep thing mainly comes from the fairy tale aspect. It’s not suppose to be creepy or be a bad message. It’s suppose to be romantic because girls who dream of romance often do like the thought of a prince giving them a kiss to wake them up. It’s not a realistic or good idea in real life but it’s suppose to be a fairy tale dream. That’s why it wasn’t seen as problematic (dang I hate that word but I’ll use it anyway) back then because, back then we all knew it would be screwed up to kiss someone while they sleep, but again, we knew it’s just a fairy tale. We didn’t see a problem because shoot, we weren’t that sensitive back then. We had common sense to understand the true meaning behind a romantic sleeping kiss and a creepy guy drugging some girl. That’s problem with today’s society is that we’re too sensitive about certain things with harmless intentions and not sensitive about well real world issues.

    Second, Sailor Moon wasn’t really meant for kids. It was meant for teens that, yeah, aren’t always bright but still understood reality from fantasy, least most of the time. I say if you’re worried about the little misses getting the wrong message, just be the freakin parent and guide them. A show for entertainment and not education completely, isn’t something responsible for a child’s actions. The parent/guardian of said child is.Yes, shows for kids and teens should have good morals and lessons, but at the same time, it’s not the show’s job to guide kids completely. Parents should be involved.

    My folks taught me that TV is just make believe and take lessons with a pinch of salt, something most kids don’t understand these days because their parents are hardly involved in guiding them at all, hence we have shows that aren’t really entertaining at all or producers have to be extra careful of what they put in, thus creating creative barriers, because parents prefer blaming producers of shows than take the blame themselves of being a responsible parent/guardian.

    So yeah, are the kissing scenes cringy or bad, kinda yeah but I think for the most part, it’s not trying to give out any bad lesson. Back then we understood it was playing off the fairy tale dream that yes isn’t exactly great but it’s not harmful either. Not all women are strong and sometimes it’s okay for the damsel to be in distress. I think it’s just as harmful to believe all women are strong because well, we’re human beings. We can be strong but we can be weak too because everyone can be both. The roles of distressed person and hero that saves em is a role both genders play in and us as human beings all have our limits. This idea of women are always strong or should be always strong also teaches a bad lesson “It’s bad for a woman to be weak/it’s bad for a woman to get help especially from a man”. We should be teaching kids, it’s okay for women and men to be weak as well as they can be strong. Both can be the helper and the one that needs help. We shouldn’t put masculinity in a bad light, just to say women are stronger, because we as human beings are not always strong and that’s fine and we do need help. Sorry for rant but eh… XD

    • Also as for the Little Mermaid, when I watch the movie now, I feel like the movie is more so telling the message the dangers of being too overly protective and um, while it’s good to guide your kid, yelling/ranting on them and constant punishment isn’t really a healthy way to do it. Discipline is good, yes, including yelling and punishing, but at the same time, a good stern talking to of what your kid’s doing wrong also helps so is to feel like you’re not being the monster ruining their lives. Trident didn’t even try to really talk to Ariel or shoot, try to understand her passions, just mainly yelled at her and he wasn’t exactly good moral for hating an entire race of people because he had little knowledge of them.

      I see that people can relate to Ariel if they have a dream that’s being crushed by their parents or say love someone the parent dissaproves of (they’re gay, trans, different race, not good enough,ect). Ariel wanted to explore and understand people. Eric was just the cherry on top. I mean it wasn’t just about him. she got to explore the town and interact with people she wanted to interact with when she became human. Trident was the discriminating parent that wasn’t just protective but hated an entire race of people. I think most kids kinda see this especially nowadays.

    • Certainly Sailor Moon has a mixed audience but in Japan I do think the anime and manga were intended for young girls. That it found a wider audience is a credit to its quality.

  8. Kristen Bell needs to STFU. They’re Fairy Tales, not stories to act out in real life. I’m so sick of fucking snowflakes and social justice warriors being touchy feely whiny little pussies and crying offense at the littlest things or at stuff that’s being going on for a long time.

    • Really don’t appreciate the attitude man, please check that at the door. This forum is a place to come together and share thoughts and if we spark some productive debate, that’s cool, but you need to take the derogatory name calling elsewhere.

      To your point, a lot of the things that have been “going on for a long time” are in fact unjust and part of our growth as a species and our journey toward enlightenment is recognizing when “stuff that has been going on for a long time” is in fact unjust or should be questioned. just because it’s been “going on for a long time” absolutely does NOT automatically make something right or okay- it’s my personal opinion that that kind of thinking is dangerous.

    • Well, while I kind of agree, there’s also decency and understanding that some people seem to lack.
      It’s getting too far polarized with people either being too soft and needy or too harsh and selfish.
      I think you should step back and realize that while, yes, people complaining about fairy tale tropes and the SJW type is annoying…so is the other side.
      Honestly, I’m not judging you as a person from one post, but I get the same kind of disgust from those kind of posts as I do from ultra PC ones. Rude language isn’t the answer.
      There is a middle ground.

        • Lol im broke, i can’t afford a trip around my back yard, let alone a trip to Paris just to watch sailor moon. And even if i had money, im not old enough, so yeh im fucked (=_=)

        • Oh my God, I should have never read your comment T_T . The Palais des Congrès is on my subway line, and I only have about 30 mn to get there. Yet, I’m agoraphobic, even more since the terrorist attacks, and the Palais des Congrès is an enormous place, and unless my husband accept to come with me, no one will. So I won’t attend this live. It’s really frustrating. I know that the seats will be full of Sailor Moon fans (lol), but my fears are too big. Anyway, thank you for the information :) ! I’m glad to know, though, that a big Sailor Moon show is getting to France (it’s actually so miraculous it’s gonna rain shrimps). I, like Denis, always complain of the fact that Europe is the last to get popular culture materials. I mean, popular culture nowadays is in majority made by America and Japan. This is why, in Europe, we always get the crumbs (but hey now we have The Witcher after all XD . Thank you Poland!!!).

          • (((The Palais des Congrès is the Parisian centre where the Sailor Moon musical will take place on Nov. 3 and 4.)))

  9. This is cute and all but WHY IS ONE MOVIE (well two but they can make one first that make the other one) TAKING AN ETERNITY TO MAKE!!!
    I DON’T UNDERSTAND!! I DONT WANT THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY TO COME BY THE TIME THE MOVIE RELEASES
    Real talk now, i seriously dont understand whats taking so long, its been 2 years and a half since the end of SMC and 1 year and a half since the announcement for the movies and we havent gotten anything since then, not a logo, not a trailer, not a “Hey guys we are almost finished” or at least a “Hey guys we are working on the damn thing”.Heres an example, Dragon Ball Super: Broly was announced on mars of this year for december of this year and trust me when i say, thats plenty of time for the movie to be made properly. This is seriously fucking pathetic. Im just hopping that they are finishing the movies at the same time so the can release them at the same time or something, yet again why would they do that.This is so nerve-racking
    (>.<)

    • Lol i might over exaggerated this whole thing. Its just that it’s frustrating to see that a fan favorite series is being handled this way. And its not like sailor moon isnt a money maker for toei either, sailor moon is one of the biggest franchises ever made, its what made the magical girl genre so popular and what made toei even more popular and to see it handeled in such a poorly way is heart breaking :(

      • It’s not about being patient. It’s about not being told a thing. Even if they haven’t had time to do anything a short message stating, “We’re still working on it.” Would be better than nothing. I mean how long does it take to let fans know they’re still working on it? About 5 minutes at most.

          • I sent them a threatening message stating if they don’t tell us anything I’m going to stop being a fan and no longer buy their stuff.

        • Yeah, the wait is bad enough. For me, Toei’s silence is a sign of disrespect to fans. Not that it surprises me, I still believe Toei is a pretty awful company in many ways.
          Like the anime equivalent of EA or Activision. (and even they post updates)

          Sadly, I’m beginning to feel the whole thing has either been scrapped or will be reworked into something else.
          At this point we may just get the abandoned SuperS movie with Utena-Haruka and Anthy-Michiru, first.

          How much more merch do we need to buy before they see Sailor Moon still sells? All they acre about is Precure (which sells well but is still below classic Sailor Moon in ratings) and One Piece.

        • I don’t know if it’s because English is not my mother tongue, but I took Adam’s message as a bit of irony and humour towards Toei, and it made me laugh :) .

          • Indeed. At 8 fps (which is what I believe Sailor Moon was traditionally animated at) it would be 480 frames in a minute. That would take about 79 years to do an hour of animation!

  10. I think thry really made their job soo hard bu chooding the movie route. We know they don’t have very good script writer, considering the way every deviation from the manga went. They learned yo stick with it so they won’t embarass themselves that much after Dark Kingdom… And suddenly they are trying to make a manga that is partially episodic or so is the first half of every story arc, into a movie. This transition would be hard even for a very capable writer. They actually said back in April that the script writing is dragging. The moment I heard they were still on script level in April, I knew they won’t release a finished product for at least another year. What was the point announcing yet another character designer without showing the designs to let people get used to them?

  11. As I said to a friend, Bell is entitled to her opinion, but we don’t have to agree with every single detail. As for me, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are some of my favorite movies (I’m a BIG classic Disney fanboy, warning), and I view them as masterpieces of animation… not as things that must follow all guidelines of being a 2018-friendly product. Not sure if this makes sense to y’all!

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