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In explaining the question about one of Michiru's possible imperfections, I have argued:

Michiru appears to be perfect and is often mistaken by lots of people as being perfect. But one of the hints that her appearance of perfection itself is not perfect is her sensitivity. Maybe it's because of Haruka-san's rather brash manner that hides this flaw so-to-speak, but Michiru is fairly sensitive to a great many things. I think that in tankobun 13 where she's talking to Rei-chan about Rei-chan's own 'heightened' senses (pre-cognition), I got the feeling that much of that would apply to Michiru herself. As you have noted, she is very much in tune to the seas of emotion and feelings, and it is often this same 'sensitivity' that might limit her actions; she doesn't want to hurt Usagi or whomever she's dealing with...

The point is: they're not perfect (Inner or Outer Senshi) but Michiru/Neptune goes to a greater length to hide her 'imperfections' and provides an appearance of 'perfection' i.e., a lovely model of femininity et al.

Pandora Waldron speaks of the fact that she "does not want to read about perfect characters." In fact, I must challenge all comers to fanfic-dom to present to me: the perfect character. I dare do this simply because there isn't one! None of the characters are perfect, they all have their flaws and foibles. In more ways than one, Sailor Moon is a story about growing up, maturing and siezing your own destiny. Just as we see Tsukino Usagi begin her journey as a whiny cry-baby at 14, by the end of the series, there is a maturity to her character that has been born of struggles, both emotional as well as character-wise. This does not imply that by the 30th century, Usagi as Queen Serenity is perfect. In fact, many of the fan-fiction stories that look at the Senshi and Serenity in the far future tend to demonstrate that Serenity has not lost her humanity and by extension, the possibility for error.

In fact, there are an abundance in occasions where we see the growth that Serenity has undergone from simply being Tsukino Usagi. From scenes within BSSM where Usagi's compassion takes over within the situation involving Mako-chan and Shinozaki-kun, to the forgiveness of Sailormoon to Prince Diamondo as well as to the Outer Senshi...and later extended to Nephrenia and even Galaxia, we see that these are some of the many graces that will eventually be an integral part of Serenity in her rule. One of the best stories that looks at this growth (after all, there is a one thousand year gap between the end of the Star series and Crystal Tokyo) of Serenity is Sexylyon's Relativity. This particular story is a prime example of classical fairy tale story-telling. Without revealing the conclusions, I would note that this story is a success in describing the growth that surrounds the Senshi and Serenity during her reign, as well as providing a reasoning for Chibi-Usa to remain a child for the nine hundred odd years after her birth to Serenity and Endymion.

The question of perfection is extremely important in terms of character portrayal, as writers will tend to emphasize certain behaviours as opposed to others. Current debate has placed emphasis upon the actions of the Outer Senshi ... and their apparent callousness or perhaps better phrased as Machiavellian behaviour.

What is considered to be cold and arrogant behaviour for the Outer Senshi is not entirely true. To the Inner Senshi, they are venerated for being older and cool and in some sense, expected to act in a more mature manner. That is not to say that the actions and behaviour of the Outer Senshi are correct in any sense; it is just that the Inner Senshi, to some extent, expected the Outer Senshi to behave in a different fashion. If we were to merely accept the appearance of the Outer Senshi as being cold and arrogant, what prevents a similarly narrow view of the Inner Senshi?

The sheer variety of Sailormoon fan-fiction should be enough to persuade ourselves to see that just as out-of-character presentations are difficult to accept, so are narrow descriptions of the Senshi and their behaviour. This may even seem to be a contradiction in terms. However, out-of-character behaviour is not diametrically opposite of narrow behaviour. Narrow behaviour means that the Senshi are not allowed to grow and develop as characters. With the derth of synopsi and transcripts of various episodes, people don't need to resort to reading a fan-fiction story in order to see how the character behaves within the anime or manga. Fan-fiction stories provide the opportunities for authors and readers to explore 'what-if's and other alternative situations.

Some of the best stories that have been written have explored the differing facets of the Senshi's lives; since the beginning of the presence of SM fan-fiction, the most popular stories have tended to be character examinations. For example, Tim Nolan's Awakenings I and II as well as Amanda 'Greenbeans' Andersons Distant. Similarly, other studies of the Inner Senshi have yielded: The Rose Garden by Pandora Waldron for a ghost autobiography on Chiba Mamoru...

Ken Wolfe has just released his sixth SM story: Pictures of an Exhibition which is a partial wrap-around of his five story series. Exhibition is a fascinating story that examines the feelings of the Inner Senshi towards Usagi and her alter-ego's Sailor Moon as well as Princess Serenity. A fairly short story (20 pages), it looks at what motivates the Senshi and their devotion to Sailor Moon with snippets taken from the anime and Ken Wolfe's stories.

The entire diaspora of Sailormoon fan-fiction provides all readers a modicum of comfort. The only limitations that exist are artificial ones that we place upon ourselves. The road to reading quality fan-fiction is one that we create by exercising our own ability to chose and select the stories and creations that we read. It is individual for each reader just as our likes and dislikes are independent of another person. There is no correct or incorrect path that we must choose; as we gain satisfaction and derive enjoyment from reading the fan-fiction in question, there is nothing that would bar anyone from reading anything. As long as we are constantly searching for better quality fiction, as readers, we are participating within the creation of enjoyable fan-fiction.

- Helen Szeto -

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