Please note: The following post is about the sailor moon anime ONLY. I am very well aware of the Dreams arc of the Manga, and I have not yet seen any of the musicals (but they are on my to-watch list) So again, this post is 100% ONLY about the subbed anime.
Okay let me get this out of the way, Super S is my LEAST FAVORITE sailor moon season, and the Amazon Trio arc is the worst of the worst for me.
Fisheye, as a character, makes me deeply uncomfortable as a trans woman. I see a lot of people using her as an example of positive LGBT and trans representation. This is something that I very strongly do NOT agree with.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Fisheye is about as positive a representation of trans and queer people as Lois Einhorn from Ace Venture: Pet Detective is. That is to say, it isn’t a positive representation at ALL.
I’m using Ace Ventura here for a specific reason here.
Let’s get started, shall we? The Amazon Trio arc of Super S has the trio of Tigers Eye, Hawk Eye and Fish Eye searching people’s dreams to find the Pegasus. The modus operandi of the Trio is to attempt to seduce the victim in order to reveal their seasonal macguffin of the dream mirror. The entire process is very DEEPLY meant to convey that the victims are being sexually assaulted. And adventuresofcomicbookgirl has written about that in more detail here.
Word of god is that Fisheye is a cisgendered gay man who crossdresses very frequently. Of course, many MANY people have interpreted fisheye as being a trans woman. An interpretation that is responded to with “but he’s really a MAN!”
Here’s the thing though. Trans women in media fall under two distinctive stereotypes:
- The “Predatory” transsexual: A trans woman who looks identical to a cis woman, and “”“deceives”“” people into having sex with her and then it’s “”“revealed”“” that the character is trans, and thus “”“really a man”“” making the character who was deceived “really actually gay” for having slept with a trans woman. These characters are usually cast as cis women to heighten the “deceptive” aspect of the character. (see: The Crying Game, Ace Ventura, etc)
- The “Pathetic” trans woman: This is a character to be laughed at and pitied. Transition and being treated with respect is seen as an impossible dream, and the trans woman is seen as a fool for even attempting it. These characters are usually played by cis men and are meant to either revile the audience or make them pity the characters. (see: Dallas Buyers Club, Hit & Miss, Normal, Transamerica, etc)
Another common stereotype that gets thrown around about trans women is that we are all pedophiles and/or inherently rapists.
In the anime, Fisheye’s modus operandi is to seduce a male victim by dressing as a girl (except in one instance where she went after a gay fashion designer and presented as male). Once she has her victim, she forcibly binds them to a table, pulls their dream mirror out of their chest and forces her way in. This whole sequence is uncomfortably reminiscent of somebody being sexually assaulted, and ends up playing into the stereotype of trans women as inherently being rapists.
The other big issue that I have with fisheye as a character is that her MO of being stated by the other AT members as male, but dressing as a woman to seduce a male victim for a purpose, plays DIRECTLY into that stereotype of the predatory trans woman. Sending the message that transgender women are “”“really men”“” out to trick impressionable heterosexual boys into having boners.
Which, obviously is in no way accurate.
Even her redemption arc and ultimate death is played as her chasing after some impossible dream, thought given that this is Sailor Moon, her impossible dream DOES become possible, again, showing echoes of the “pathetic transsexual” stereotype.
So overall, I would say that Fisheye is a deeply NEGATIVE portrayal of trans women and AMAB gender variance, stepped in stereotypes and really unfortunate implications.
i definitely agree with all this, though i guess i never really thought about the suffering transsexual archetype before. watching fisheye be the one who actually awakens to the terrible circumstances around her and helping sailor moon seemed almost a redemptive arc, but it is tied deeply to her “impossible dream”
it reminds me of another anime character, aoi futaba from you’re under arrest. in the first season, she works with some idol who’s “chief for a day” or whatever and he proposes to her. watching her struggle internally with who she is versus the “real woman” (words her coworker used, that futaba internalized) that she thinks the actor deserves. in the anime it culminated in a “confession” where futaba dresses as a man for the only time in the series to allow the actor (who she clearly likes and who clearly likes her, even after the “reveal”). the result was that she turned down his proposal because she felt that she wasn’t “real” enough. while she isn’t depicted as predatory, she is depicted as a victim of sexual assault (her original job in the police force was to catch suway perverts) which is played off as somehow “comic”
i started out having a point of comparison but i guess what i mean is that anime, like every other form of entertainment, is wrapped up in transmisogyny and that these stereotypes exist in different cultures