NOTE: While this doll was originally sold in Japan for ages 2-11, she was made using materials that are no longer deemed suitable for children as of 2007. Furthermore, while this was initially part of a toy line again for ages 2-11, the anime for Sailor Moon SuperS was animated for teens and adults, and has episodes alternating between TV14 and TVPG. Even the Toonami broadcast of the Cloverway edited episodes eventually went from TVY7 to TVPG due to suggestive themes and nudity. The final run of the BanDai Sailor Moon dolls in the early 2000's was aimed at adult collectors only with the exception of the short lived PGSM toy line.
It takes a VERY special friend to donate something this increasingly RARE, and I am very blessed to say I have such a friend in Young Adult author Tracy Millosovich, who just published her first book Crystal Dreams on Kindle this year. Somehow, somewhere, she found this ADORABLE Super Sailor Moon doll, and sent her right along my way, thank you Tracy!
... Unfortunately I was too eager to get her out of the envelope she was sent in, and her bow became loose. O_O;;
Upon closer inspection, I found that her fuku needed a little attention. It was super clean, but some parts were slightly loose.
Let me be clear. This is entirely NORMAL and expected.
This doll (see below) used to belong to a little girl in Japan, so it's expected she'll be a little battle worn from having righted wrongs and triumphed over evil.
But that's only the start of her story, have a look below.
So if you saw the pictures on the slideshow, you can tell her costume is covered in little Velcro strips. There's a reason for this.
TADA!! She's a Henshin doll!
Henshin basically means "transformation". Watch any episode of Sailor Moon or Sailor Moon Crystal, and at some point, you'll hear one of the characters yell "MINNA! Henshin yo!" Which means "Everyone, transform!" and serves as a catchy phrase for a doll line. At one point, this doll was part of a set that included a ton of accessories. Usagi's bodice is made of a thin felt material, and she came with alternating skirts and pieces, so you could "transform her" between civilian clothes and her Super Sailor Moon costume, imitating the TV show. Isn't this cool? BanDai released one other doll like this at the same time, and it was a slightly shorter "Teen" Super Sailor Chibi Moon doll, though her tween self appears on the box art.
I may not have all the accessories, but I can still add a few touch-ups to make this doll feel new again. Now again, the costume is pretty clean, but the doll needed a little TLC. So carefully I had to strip her down.
I should point out that BanDai fashion dolls are about the same size as the Licca dolls, but both are smaller than Barbie. Barbie is 11 1/2 inches tall, while these stand a little over 10 inches with boots on. For the Japanese market, they outsourced manufacture to Korea, while their American dolls (which are 11 1/2 to 12 inches a piece, except for Chibiusa/Rini) were made in China. North American dolls also have a thicker plastic than their foreign "sisters" while these dolls feel lighter and have hollow arms.
Using a wet paper towel and a little dish liquid, I washed Usagi from head to toe, scrubbing her peach flesh clean in a non-creepy way. I decided not to bother with the marker on her boots or her head, because the only chemicals I have that remove marker might hurt the doll and deteriorate the plastic. Had this been acrylic, any bottle of non-acetone nail polish remover might have done the job, followed by a quick bath in baking soda and water, but I dunno, it adds something. It's like a little connection to the kid who used to own her... who must be pushing 30 by now. ^^;
One of the best things about these dolls outside of their gorgeous faces is the hair. BanDai used a slightly thicker saran/cotton blend than Mattel, resulting in ultra shiny hair, even after rough play! But even the best locks need a little wash every now and then.
When washing, always use the most moisturizing shampoo you can. I used Hair One this time, leaving it in for about five minutes, but you can use anything for ultra dry hair. The hint of moisture will restore most of the original shine with minimal effort.
Try not to use anything for dandruff or anything by Suave!! Otherwise you'll be left with buildup on the doll's scalp and you'll have to re-wash her hair. And nothing with color added in, or you'll damage the flesh.
Usually, I would have let her hair sit in a generic, ultra moisturizing conditioner after this, but because I used Hair One, it was one-stop shopping for moisture. If you choose to use a conditioner, leave it on the wet hair for five minutes for ultra shine, but no longer than that, or you'll have to start over.
After towel drying and combing her hair with an old Barbie brush, I twisted her locks into little odango. I put her bangs into their own ponytail so as not to mix the short strands with the tall ones. Even brand new, these dolls were given a comb-over treatment with the bangs, so they're permanently off to one side. Once the odango had been set using tiny, clear, elastic bands, I let the bangs loose and gave them a good combing.
Then, using a thin needle and a little thread, I tightened her lockets. I had to sew through old glue that was still sticky, so I recommend a spare needle if you try this yourself. But fixing the two brooches and her lapel took less than 10 minutes over all, so soon, it was time to grant her a henshin!
Usagi was one of the first SuperS dolls released to the public on or before March 4, 1995, which was the release date for the first episode of Sailor Moon SuperS, meaning that the doll just recently passed her 21st birthday just before I got her. These dolls are becoming more and more rare every day, so if you get the chance, you better snap one up!
Earth-chan is very much in tune with her inner child. She spoils that kid, too.