The superhero anime, “Sailor Moon,” and the supernatural drama series, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” were by far two of the biggest pop culture hits of the ’90s and early 2000s. Running from 1995 to 2002 (in the U.S.A.) and 1997 through 2003 respectively, both series launched successful franchises that continue to this day with a variety of spin-off series, comic books, toys, collectibles, clothing and more being made available for fans both old and new to enjoy.
Airing around the same time and focusing heavily on the supernatural and strong female characters with superpowers, it wasn’t uncommon to find “Sailor Moon” fans who also enjoyed “Buffy” and vice versa. Beyond these superficial similarities though, there are also a remarkable number of plot points and character types that are shared between both “Sailor Moon” and “Buffy” that will make fans wonder if they were drawing inspiration from each other.
15. ANNOYING RELATIVES RETCONNED INTO LATTER SEASONS
After several years of defending Sunnydale from a variety of villains ranging from The Master to The Initiative, Buffy Summers’ life is turned upside down in the series’ fifth season by the sudden appearance of her younger sister, Dawn, who had apparently always existed in Buffy continuity. The character was completely new as far as viewers were concerned, but all of the characters including Buffy’s mother, her friends and even Buffy herself treated Dawn as a member of the Summers family who had always been there. In reality, Dawn was the manifestation of an immense source of magic called The Key, and The Key’s protectors had used their powers to alter the memories of everyone around Dawn in order to encourage them to protect her.
Sailor Moon faced a similar predicament in the second season of the “Sailor Moon” anime with the arrival of Rini, who would later become Sailor Mini Moon. While she was Sailor Moon’s daughter from the future, Rini placed herself within Serena’s family and used Luna P to change all of their memories, retroactively making herself Serena’s cousin who was staying with them for… some reason.
14. BOTH FOUGHT DRACULA
Buffy confronted the famous vampire, Dracula, in the Season Five premiere episode which was aptly titled, “Buffy vs Dracula.” The character was never really heard from again in the TV series, though he did show up later in the “Buffy” comic books which are considered cannon by the fans and by “Buffy” creator, Joss Whedon.
Sailor Moon also battled with Dracula, though this didn’t happen in the anime series or the manga from which it was based. Instead, Sailor Moon and the other Sailor Scouts encountered Dracula in a trilogy (there were technically four but one was a redo of the second) of “Sailor Moon” musicals that performed in Japan in 2000 and 2001, and starred the late Miyuki Kanbe in the title role. In these musicals, Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Neptune were enthralled by Dracula, the Sailor Scouts actually travelled to Transylvania, a new planet named Planet Vulcan appeared and a new character called Sailor Astarte is introduced to “Sailor Moon” fans. These musicals were pretty weird and convoluted, but that’s one of the reasons fans love them so much.
13. DEATH AND RESURRECTION
In the season finales for both the first and fifth season of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” Buffy actually died. The first time it happened, Buffy simply drowned during her fight with The Master and was dead for only a few moments. She was quickly revived by Xander but this death was significant enough to activate the next Slayer in line, Kendra. Buffy’s second death happened during her battle with Glory and lasted for months. This death was so significant that Buffy’s soul was even in Heaven. The only reason she was bought back to life was through a misguided attempt by Willow to help.
In a bizarre twist of fate, death also played a major role in “Sailor Moon’s” first and fifth season finales. In the first season finale, pretty much everyone from Sailor Mars, Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter to Tuxedo Mask died during the battle with Queen Beryl and Queen Metalia, while Sailor Moon killed herself by using the Silver Crystal. Thankfully everyone is revived moments later. In the fifth season, everyone except for Sailor Moon dies. Luckily, she manages to revive all the lost souls before the credits roll for the final time.
12. BOTH STARS BEGAN AS BLOND STEREOTYPES
The most-obvious similarity between the characters of Sailor Moon and Buffy is their origins as the typical blond-haired, ditsy, high-school girl stereotype. While Serena was a crybaby who always struggled in class, never did her homework, and enjoyed sleeping in, Buffy was actually a super-popular cheerleader when she was first made a Slayer, though she was quickly taken down a notch when she transferred to Sunnydale in the first season of the TV series. There, Buffy learned to prioritize saving the world and real friendships over fake status levels.
Serena took much longer to mature to the same degree as Buffy did, but she also mellowed out significantly over time and became more responsible when it came to her superhero responsibilities and in regards to her friendships. Both characters frequently reacted strongly to the drama in their lives and even suffered depression after the loss of their loved ones and sacrifices that needed to be made. Speaking of sacrifices…
11. BOYFRIENDS WHO TURN EVIL AFTER THINGS GET SERIOUS
Not only did Buffy and Sailor Moon both fall in love with dark and broody love interests, but also their hunks terrorized them after taking their relationships to the next level. After Angel and Buffy made love to each other for the first time, Angel lost his soul and became Angelus again due to a gypsy curse, teamed up with Spike and Drusilla, and began a killing spree. Likewise, almost immediately after revealing their secret identities to each other, Sailor Moon’s love interest, Tuxedo Mask, was brainwashed by Queen Beryl, whom he teamed up with for the second half of the first season.
Sailor Moon and Buffy each had to fight the men they loved in order to get them back. Sailor Moon managed to heal Tuxedo Mask, but quickly lost him after he was killed by Queen Beryl. Meanwhile, Angel’s soul was returned to him just in time for Buffy to ram a sword through his chest and send him to a demon dimension. Tuxedo Mask was soon revived by the Silver Crystal, but it took Sailor Moon half of the second season to get him to remember her. Angel was brought back to Sunnydale and had to deal with having killed Giles’s girlfriend when he was the evil Angelus.
10. RIVALS BECOME ALLIES
A recurring plot device in “Sailor Moon” and “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” is the introduction of rival female characters who cause personal conflict for the protagonist before inevitably becoming an ally or even a close friend. Most Sailor Moon fans will think of Sailor Mars at first, but Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune caused a lot more trouble for Sailor Moon before joining Team Moon Kingdom, as did the Sailor Starlights in the final season of the “Sailor Moon” anime.
In “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Cordelia was a pain in Buffy’s thigh during the earlier episodes before joining the Scooby Gang in their battle against the Villain of the Week. A much stronger rival however was the new Slayer, Faith, who gained her powers after Buffy’s first death. Faith caused some conflict between Buffy and her friends early on in Season Three of the series, but went full on supervillain by the time the season finale aired. The two eventually buried the hatchet, though, and fought side-by-side in Season Seven during the battle with The First Evil.
9. GENIUS BEST FRIENDS WHO TURN EVIL
There’s no denying that Sailor Mercury and Willow are similar. Both were extremely shy when they first appeared in their respective series and even after gaining more confidence as their characters developed, they still remained slightly more timid than their teammates.
Something else these two characters have in common is that they both turned evil and became major villains for their (ex)friends. Willow was the first to go bad in Season Six of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” after she was corrupted by her black magic addiction, her guilt over resurrecting Buffy, and her grief for her dead girlfriend, Tara. She went so bad that she almost destroyed Sunnydale and was only stopped by Xander, who managed to talk her down off the edge. Sailor Mercury went evil in the Japanese live-action version of “Sailor Moon” when she was consumed by evil energy. She eventually returned to normal after being saved by Sailor Moon and the other Sailors.
8. SECRET IDENTITIES
One of the biggest similarities between “Sailor Moon” and “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” is the focus on everyday schoolchildren being forced to hide their secret identities as superheroes from their classmates, teachers and even their family. Secret identities provide writers with a plethora of dramatic and comedic elements to explore and, mixed with characters that also need to go to school and study or support their family with a part-time job, can lead to some truly memorable storytelling.
With “Sailor Moon,” it was always hilarious watching Serena’s talking cat, Luna, pretend to be a real cat around other children. There was also some good drama to be had as Serena hid her identity as Sailor Moon from her two parents and little brother. While Sailor Moon managed to hide her identity from her family though, Buffy took a more realistic approach and actually had Buffy’s mother find out about her double-life in the Season Two finale. This allowed Buffy’s relationship with her mother to truly develop as the two women learnt to respect each other on a whole new level.
7. PAST LIFE MEMORIES
Sailor Moon and Buffy Summers both contain memories of previous lives. Sailor Moon is actually a reincarnation of the princess of the moon, Princess Serenity, and over the course of the first season, she begins to recall more and more of her previous life living in the Moon Kingdom. Reincarnation is a big theme in “Sailor Moon” with one of the biggest powers of the Sailor Scouts being the ability to be reborn after they die. They are essentially immortal in this way even though their physical forms can be destroyed.
Buffy and all of the other Slayers shown in the “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” TV series also have the ability to view memories of past lives. The difference though is that these past lives are of other Slayers and not themselves. Slayers aren’t reincarnated. This ability wasn’t used as much as it should have been in the series but when it was it provided a great look at other Slayers in time periods set before the beginning of the show and was even used to explain the origin of the Slayers in Season Seven.
6. LUNA AND GILES ARE BASICALLY THE SAME CHARACTER
As if Buffy and Sailor Moon weren’t already similar enough by being blond teenage girls given superpowers and memories of previous lives, their creators also had to give them similar mentor figures in the form of Giles and Luna respectively.
Buffy’s mentor, Giles, was an English member of The Watchers, a group formed to train and protect all of The Slayers. Their relationship was very much student-teacher in the early seasons of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” but over time it evolved to be more of a daughter-father dynamic, something that was emphasized by the absence of Buffy’s biological father. Luna, Sailor Moon’s talking cat, served a similar purpose and attempted to train Sailor Moon the best she could. Like Buffy and Giles, Sailor Moon and Luna had a very formal student-teacher relationship when the characters were first introduced, but by the end of the series had developed much more respect for each other and had become very close friends.
5. FINAL SEASON FEATURES THE FIRST EVIL
“Sailor Moon” and “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” may have had pretty average villains in their first few seasons, but by their final seasons, both shows delved headfirst into exploring (and fighting) the original source of all evil and even questioning what evil was. In the fifth season of “Sailor Moon,” “Sailor Stars,” the heroes spent the majority of the episodes fighting the villain, Sailor Galaxia. Towards the end though, it was revealed that she was actually a hero like the other Sailor Scouts and had been corrupted by Chaos, one of the biggest sources of evil in the galaxy. The manga explores this much more and explains that Chaos comes from the same place all of the Sailors are born and resurrected, the Galaxy Cauldron, and is neither good nor evil, but rather simply exists.
In “Buffy” Season Seven, Buffy and her friends encounter The First Evil who describes itself as being the original force of evil on the planet. Like Chaos in Sailor Moon, The First Evil also cannot be killed and must simply be fought by battling its loyal followers and numerous minions.
4. STRONG LESBIAN SUPPORTING CHARACTERS
“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” is famously known for being one of the few TV shows in the ’90s and early 2000s for dealing with homosexuality in an honest and realistic fashion. This started during the show’s fourth season with the maturation of the Willow character and the introduction of the mysterious Tara. The two shared immediate chemistry and their relationship went from experimental university fling to being a serious partnership over the following few seasons.
“Sailor Moon” was also known for its use of gay characters, however the franchise did suffer partially due to it being created in the early ’90s in Japan when positive LGBT visibility was non-existent in Japanese media and negative stereotypes were commonplace. Yet, while still having the overly-effeminate Zoisite in Season One and the predatory Fisheye in Season Four, “Sailor Moon” really came into its own with the introduction of Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune in Season Three. Sure, they weren’t the most realistic lesbian couple, but their love was portrayed as genuine and pure, and they were also incredibly powerful in their own right with energy levels much higher than Sailors Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus.
3. BRUNNETTE RIVALS CHASING THEIR MAN
Sailor Mars may have been one of Sailor Moon’s closest friends by the end of the fifth and final season of the anime, but way back in Season One, the character was not only a rival but also someone who Sailor Moon had to compete with for Tuxedo Mask’s affections. This rivalry even carried over into their civilian lives when Raye (Sailor Mars) started dating Tuxedo Mask’s alter ego, Darien. It wasn’t until it was revealed that Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask were lovers in their past lives and destined to be together that Sailor Mars finally stepped back and admitted defeat.
Buffy had a similar, though much more violent, relationship with “Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s” third Slayer, Faith. Buffy and Faith often competed socially and when it came to slaying vampires, but sparks really began to fly when Faith met Angel. The two never really had a serious relationship but that didn’t stop Buffy from feeling jealous and paranoid whenever she saw the two together.
2. PASSING THE TORCH
A common theme of both “Buffy” and “Sailor Moon” towards the end of their respective series is the passing of a torch to the next generation. In Season Seven of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” Buffy literally begins to train the next generation of potential Slayers before literally empowering them (with a little help from Willow) in the series finale. Even the basic premise of the Slayer mythology is about generational power and the passing of the baton. One Slayer dies and the next one is chosen.
“Sailor Moon” does something quite similar. While most of the Sailors are destined to be reborn and continue the fight against evil in their future lives, Sailor Moon actually gives up the mantle of fighter for love and justice when she gives birth to a daughter in a future timeline. This daughter would eventually become Sailor Mini Moon and is said to replace Sailor Moon when she’s older. The manga goes even further and gives Sailor Mini Moon her own four guardians to serve and protect her much like how Sailor Moon has her Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus.
1. BOTH USE LEGENDARY WEAPONS
One of the more recognizable images associated with the “Sailor Moon” anime is the numerous magical weapons used by its characters. The most famous item used by Sailor Moon is the Moon Wand given to her in the first season of the anime. It’s used in her popular Moon Healing Activation attack, which is performed in almost every episode and even appears in the opening credits. A new weapon is given to Sailor Moon in each season of the anime to help her fight against the series’ villains and they become as well-known by the fans as the characters themselves.
Unknown to most casual fans, Buffy also has a special weapon of her own and it’s not the average wooden stake. Introduced in the final few episodes of the seventh season, the Scythe was said to be a weapon created for the Slayers by a group of women called The Guardians. It’s unclear what its powers actually were, but it features a wooden stake for killing vampires and a sharp blade for speedy decapitations. By channelling its powers, Willow was able to activate every potential Slayer, meaning they each became a full-fledged Slayer in their own right.
Can you think of any other similarities between Buffy and Sailor Moon? Let us know in the comments below.