Dear EA Readers,
It’s me, site editor. Did I startle you? Good.
I’ve had the honor of reading some incredibly funny, thoughtful, and intimate writing on Romance the world might ever see, thanks to our (not so) little community of readers and writers alike. EA’s been home to brilliant genre talk, out of this world storytelling, and some of the kindest people I’ve ever worked with. It is my privilege and pleasure.
It’s also pretty greedy. Here I am, hungrily downing your stories of love, loss, passion, and hot dudes you would totally steal straight off of their book jackets—and I’ve put up none of my own.
It’s Read a Romance Month, and for us, that means celebrating Romance in every way we know how.
So here’s a story for the pile.
Picture, if you will: You failed another math test today. Your allowance, which was dwindling a few weeks ago, has been unceremoniously cut off. Whipped cream on top? This dork on the street made fun of your hair.
Oh, and the world’s kind of in peril and you’re kind of, sort of, a superhero. Like, a cat told you? And your powers bite. The only one you’re actually aware of is activated by your crying.
You’re not even sure if that’s a power.
So this fight against a monster you’re currently in? Not going well.
You’re about to try the crying thing again (and by “try” I mean “this is going to happen either way, so might as well pretend it’s on purpose”), when suddenly, you hear music swell.
A man in a tuxedo so handsome that reality gets its own Instagram filter for a moment appears at the window, holding a rose. “How did he get up there and why didn’t he use a door,” you start to ask, but there’s no time. Fast as lightning, he chucks it at the monster’s face.
He chucks a rose at a monster’s face.
And it works.
Defying all logic, this rose stops the monster in its tracks. It hits it like a migraine laced with holy water. You’d question this, but see, the monster also has knife hands? So this? Refreshing distraction.
But the fight’s not over, for you or the magic stranger in a cape. He turns to you, glint in his eye, and says:
“I believe in you, Sailor Moon.”
d in Sailor Moon.
At the age of 7, along with every latchkey kid within a 5 mile radius, I had a belief in Sailor Moon that bordered on religious.
She manifested in notebook doodles, recess games (Pretend To Fight Each Other As Your Favorite Sailor Scout or the spicy alternative, Actually Fight Each Other As Your Favorite Sailor Scout), the ill-advised double bun hairstyles that showed up in our yearbooks. She was everything.
Because she was what we needed the most.
She was an incredible amount of love.
Sailor Moon is the ultimate love story. Wrapped in superheroics and coated in glitter, Sailor Moon is a love story that permeates every pore.
Our hero is Usagi Tsukino. She’s 14. Her best subjects are Naps and Lunch. She’s a superhero, and she needs to find a princess to save the world—along with her four guardians. Warriors from different planets, these four women once protected the princess Usagi’s looking for. Until they died for her.
Using information stolen from the prince she was in love with, enemy forces take down Princess Serenity’s entire kingdom. The prince and princess die just barely holding hands. (If that isn’t the most pre-destined Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance moment, I don’t know what is. She is wearing a damn ballgown and he’s in an We’re Not Sure How Much of You This Protects But You Look SO Good suit of armor. They’re on the moon. EDIT: Oh, wait, we can top this: In the manga, he dies first and she commits suicide with a poisoned sword of destiny. I guess that’s just ever-so-slightly more on the nose).
So powerful was this princess’ love for her guardians and her forbidden prince that a wish grants them reincarnation. According to the cat that’s given Usagi her power, these four guardians are now teens her age. Finding them and convincing them to fight alongside her on a journey she doesn’t even know her own place in should be hard.
Except it isn’t. Because these former warriors are lonely teenage girls. And no one is ready to love them like Usagi. Each of their introductions are heartbreak and healing wrapped in a 20 minute slot. Ami Mizuno is the daughter of two very busy people. We’ve Never Seen Then On Screen busy. She’s also the smartest girl in her class. In the region. Possibly the country. Which makes her the school’s pariah. Rei Hino lost her mother at an early age and lives with her grandfather. Rumor has it that she’s a psychic that talks to crows. Her father won’t even talk to her. Makoto Kino lost her parents in a plane crash and has been living on her own ever since. She’s the tallest girl in every class she transfers to and stronger than any of the boys. Kids her age fear her. Minako Aino has been in the superhero business longer than any of them. Alone.
Usagi runs into each of them—the angry and lonely lot of them—and says, in so many words, “you’re the best thing I’ve seen since the last person I became friends with and I love you.”
And it works. Her love for them grants them victory in the face of death every season. They’re a dream team that gives the Justice League a run for their money, and the Justice League is Batman funded—they have a lot of money.
That’s just the beginning. Because [spoiler] that princess they were looking for is Sailor Moon. She wished so hard to be able to love them and protect them in the same way they had for her that she bent reality and made herself one of them in her next life.
And that dork in the tux? That’s her prince. That’s her “we need to rescue him every few episodes” prince. He’s mysterious, suave, and one of the most supportive boyfriends in the history of fiction.
I mean, sometimes he’s suave.
A few times.
Please, dude, just try. A little.
Here we go:
A 7 year old’s ideal man.
Tuxedo Mask isn’t the Superman to Sailor Moon’s Lois Lane. His words of encouragement carry far more weight than his heroics do. The team of Sailor Senshi out-muscle him by the end of Season One—and that’s not a weakness. Tuxedo Mask says “I believe in you, Sailor Moon” and she wins.
If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Strong women in trouble who win their battles with love? Every battle with love? That’s Romance. I knew all about Romance before I even picked up a Romance novel thanks to Sailor Moon. I was sighing dreamily at nothing before I’d seen my first Fabio cover. And I’m not alone. I’m among thousands. I could go on for pages about what Sailor Moon means to me as a person (I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to someone that didn’t get a little misty-eyed with me about what Sailor Moon meant to their particular battles in life. Sailor Moon has been hope in the face of abuse, addiction, loss, the AIDS epidemic—everything.) but as a primer on Romance? I’ve never been more prepared for anything.
[Special thanks to Jetwolf, whose liveblog genuinely made a few hundred people cry and who generously created and shared her Sailor Moon .gifs and screenshots with the world.]
P.S. Shout out to Nita (the Twitter. Do you like our Twitter? Sorry, that was a joke question, of course you do.) Mostly because we’re big on this, but partly because I told her I’d do it and she’s sitting right here.