The critically acclaimed, enduring pop culture anime icon Sailor Moon remains the subject of ink inspiration nearly three decades on from its first series release in the 1990s.
Originally a manga series created by artist Naoko Takeuchi, Sailor Moon was adapted into an extremely popular 1992 cartoon now considered one of the world’s most popular anime titles.
The original series, known in Japan as “Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon,” ran for five years but has been reborn to admirers old and new in the digital era.
At its peak Sailor Moon dominated prime time weekend television, inspiring a legion of fans drawn to the show by its emphasis on friendship, innovative cast portrayal, and embracing real world themes integrating clever action scenes with broader concepts of sexuality, diversity, and the coming of age.
As is often the case with anime titles crossing over to western culture, Sailor Moon merchandising exploded to the tune of 5000+ related products, from the mundane to extremely weird. It’s a popular theme for Cosplayers, anime aficionados, and tattoo lovers that either grew up with the show or came to love it in Sailor Moon’s later iterations.
Check out the gallery below for an amazing range of Sailor Moon tattoos depicted in a range of styles and techniques, along with some useful information for those new to the series, or the world of ink.
1. Black Line Sailor Moon Tattoos
These Sailor Moon tattoos are fine examples of simple manga style imagery. These designs focus on using a variety of single needle techniques such as single line flowing black line, standard black sharpie fill effects, geometric concepts such as symmetrical patterning and shape.
One or two of the Sailor Moon tattoos opt for circumspect technical dotwork applications, supporting the more crisp black lines with subtelty.
2. Watercolor Sailor Moon Tattoos
These Sailor Moon tattoos work with finely etched watercolor, rather than the more typical cartoonish use of vivid flat color fill. These watercolor techniques are versatile – deftly able to support a black and gray inked central figure, or be made the vibrant focal point of the art work. These tattoos show off a tremendous deployment of darker, vivid watercolor, or more delicate palettes that help augment different feature and flow within images.
3. Delicate Sailor Moon Tattoos
Sailor Moon, being a female-centric iconoclastic style of show, allows for a variety of different technical approaches to ink. The examples above work fantastically by utilizing delicate imagery and color in supporting heavier black and gray shadow application. Others show how a finely crafted, tremendously detailed piece of art can be delivered with soft hands, clean linework, and outstanding use of shape and space.
4. Cartoon Color Sailor Moon Tattoos
These examples are the traditional cartoon style tattoos your mind immediately links to classic shows such as Sailor Moon, One Piece, or Full Metal Alchemist. They show off coalescing brightly colored amongst flowing black or colored line and photorealism aspects which make the tattoos look lifted straight from the screen and onto skin.
5. Anime Portraiture Sailor Moon Tattoos
There’s tremendous versatility in this range of Sailor Moon tattoo portraits. They use effective profiles placement in shaping each image to reflect the differences between each depiction of the ‘Sailor’ characters. Some opt for bold, brightly colored neo traditional style artwork, while others use subtlety of shading and finely etched support framing such as flowers, masks, or elaborate hairstyles to show off technical aspects of each piece.
6. Technical Sailor Moon Tattoos
I enjoy when pieces use their technical approach as a feature of the overall tattoo. Rather than being a by product of the tattoo’s story, the application is fundamental to the ink. Whether it’s fully saturated black ink highlights, extroverted 3D new wave, or the painstakingly precise delivery of colored pointillism, making the point to feature technical work adds another layer of excellence to the body art.
7. Comic Panel Sailor Moon Tattoos
These Sailor Moon tattoos are quality example of matching solid black ink fill with strong, single color fill effects to make comic book style vertical panel patterns. They also apply geometric concepts to shape each piece, using the color in a similar fashion to how negative space applications support fat heavy blocks of black ink in more traditional ink expressions.
8. Black and Gray Sailor Moon Tattoos
These black and gray tattoos showcase the different methods you can use in taking this approach. These Sailor Moon tattoos range from simple gray scale shading to heavier stippled shade, fine line balance, and negative space support. The heavier, darker images smartly employ white ink highlights to create an extra finishing touch, or make an already detailed piece seem brighter and more well rounded.
Sailor Moon FAQs
What is the anime Sailor Moon about?
Sailor Moon begins when schoolgirl Usagi Tsukino befriends a talking cat named Luna. Luna gives Usagi an enchanted brooch that transforms her into Sailor Moon, a magical soldier whose destiny is to stop Earth being destroyed by Queen Beryl and her evil Dark Kingdom.
With help from Luna, a boy from school known as Tuxedo Mask, and her own talking cat Artemis, Usagi brings together a group of new friends who also become Sailor Soldiers. Their goal is to find a celestial princess and the location of the legendary Silver Crystal before Queen Beryl can destroy Earth.
What made Sailor Moon such a popular cultural phenomenon?
There are a host of reasons for the enduring popularity of Sailor Moon that have only strengthened the show’s position as a trailblazer in animated television and manga.
Sailor Moon turned familiar tropes on their head and brought a new paradigm (and a captivated high spending audience) to anime, attracting more young women to the genre than any other title.
Sailor Moon was unique in its willingness to show feminine strength, depth, and nuance in character development, looks, and ability. Manga and anime have traditionally been male dominated, often showing female characters as plot devices tied to male leads, or obvious objects of attraction.
Another factor in the continuing longevity of Sailor Moon is its everyday embrace of serious issues and themes – such as homosexuality, diversity and inclusion – while remaining relatable to the many different personalities of young people worldwide.
Sailor Moon was strongly committed to LGBTQI issues and awareness (almost unheard of Japan in the 1990s), featuring openly gay characters and plots dealing with topics such as inclusion and alienation. It’s worldwide release was heavily edited to be more in line with cultural conservatism, but has since been released in its original form.