It’s Ami’s birthday, so I have to do a rambling essay on her. It’s the LAW! I did a spam for Tuxedo Mask on his birthday after all, and I like Ami better, so!
Ami is apparently the most popular Sailor Moon character in Japan. It’s not surprising, considering that this is a culture that values hard work and intelligence and Ami embodies those virtues. Yet, this may not be the case in America, she is the Senshi I’ve run into some weird bashing for over on Tumblr. People reblogging and saying they hate Ami because she “always” talks about how smart she is.
Because heaven forbid a girl be proud of her intelligence and not hide it. Heaven forbid she be admired for it.
I really like Ami for several reasons. One, she is smart, a geek, a nerd, a studious person, and so am I. I can relate to that, and I like that Ami doesn’t hide that about herself. She’s also hella brave and on the ball, as well as super sweet and strong, which I will get to. Second is how many stereotypes she breaks in regards to being the “Smart Girl.”
Just the fact that she is a supersmart geekgirl superhero breaks convention in itself- there just aren’t that many of them out there. Ladies who are intelligent in fiction tend to be smart in a passive way, to balance out the typical bullheaded male love interest with their womanly wisdom. They certainly don’t apply their smarts to save the day or contribute to the team. The idea seems to be that woman can be smart, she just can’t be smart where it really counts- in a useful or active way. She can’t call attention to herself. But Ami does. She’s proud of her brains and she uses them to apply her powers creatively, help the team, and be on the ball in battle. She comes right out and says it “I am Sailor Mercury, Soldier of Water and Wisdom.” She is going to kick your ass with her intellect.
Ami has defensive powers throughout the first season of the anime, but unlike other fans, I never got the impression this made her weaker. She applied them so creatively that the fact she was using bubbles didn’t really slow her down. She was always a force to be reckoned with because of how smart and level headed she was. Remember the battle with Evil Tuxedo Mask? He said right away that he respected her as an opponent. And he was right to- she kicked his ass. He was able to bat away her bubbles, but she was just doing that shit as a distraction so she could use her mad skillz to steal his crystal right out of his damn hand and foil his evil plan. Intellect and Ami’s mad ninja skills win the day even if she isn’t packing heat. She also applies her powers creatively other times- using bubbles to trap and smother opponents. Bubbles. Killing monsters. How badass do you have to be to do that. She’s often the first to attack and with the quickest reflexes and best strategy (goes hand in hand with kicking ass at video games, I guess). And in the ultimate holy shit creative power use moment, she uses her powers on HERSELF to walk into a fireball. Oh, and then she destroys the enemy’s weapon with a handheld computer.
And once she gets Shine Aqua Illusion she’s just as powerful as the other Senshi, to the point where they’re quite terrified when it looks like she might turn against them (and she kicks their asses in PGSM when she DOES turn against them). Girl has no shortage of badassery.
She’s proud of the way she fights with her intelligence rather than brute force, and knows it’s effective. She tells Uranus “this is my way of fighting, this is who I am, and it’s just at effective as you are.”
And I looove that Ami isn’t punished for being smart in any way like most smart girls in fiction are. She is introduced as a bit of a criticism of how smart girls are treated- singed out and isolated, gossiped about, condemned for being “snobby” and “uppity” by the class- and that’s smart-girl-shaming culture is the source of a lot of Ami’s insecurity and loneliness. But then she meets Usagi, who absoulutely adores and idolizes girls who outshine her, rather than engage in hate for them. Usagi loves that Ami’s a sharp girl- she wants to be like Ami. Then Ami finds out she’s was chosen to be a goddamn warrior of wisdom because of her fabulous brain. Then she gains a whole gaggle of girlfriends who absolutely adore her intelligence and are eager to learn from (and mooch off) her. They teach her to loosen up and socialize, but at the same time absolutely encourage Ami’s dreams of success through her brain (encouraging her to go to Germany, Usagi worrying about holding Ami back) and admire her. Though her study habits are a running gag, the girls themselves never make fun of Ami for her smarts, and value them.
And her smarts do not deter boys from being attracted to her. In fact, quite the opposite. She never tries to dumb herself down for a guy and she never has to. Ami gets as many love interests as any of the other girls. Urawa is specifically attracted to her intelligence, and tries to do better in school not because he is intimidated by her or wants to outclass her, but feels he has to be worthy of such a smart girl. Mamoru strikes up a really cute friendship with Ami based on their mutual booksmarts, and engages in geek discussion and encourages her in her academics. When Ami is down on herself and thinks she isn’t as whole a person because she focuses so much on studying, Mamoru assures her that he thinks he really thinks it’s admirablehow she pursues her dreams and uses her brains. and that he thinks she’ll be the best doctor. AND insinuates that he finds it attractive (one of the few times he demonstrates even being capable of feeling attraction for non-Usagi personel). And then there’s the fact that out of all the hot friends his sister has, she’s the one Usagi’s little brother falls head over heels for, and he heavily implies he find her intelligence and independence to be her most attractive quality.
Ami also breaks tropes of what smart people (specifically women) should act like- she’s incredibly compassionate and emotional, romantic and sentimental, and this doesn’t deter from her smarts in the least- she considers them to be a big component in her passion for science and something that motivates her. She’s never cold, and very motherly and protective of her friends. Her kindness is legendary. She’s such a good friend and kind person that Senshi feel depressed and lost when she leaves, and miss her like crazy.
And she rocks the world at science and math, but I also like that she’s creative and whimsical- she loves writing and music (so much so that it awakens one of her powers) and indulges in trashy romance novels. She has a significant artistic side she gets from her father. I really like that side of her, and how multifaceted she is. Also, unlike most smart girls are shown to be, she’s athletic in that she’s talented at swimming and really enjoys it.
She also shows her to be a bit more sexually aware than the other girls in some ways- she’s a demon at picking up the homoerotic goings-on or other sexual details going on, and isn’t afraid to make it known when she’s being lusty.
Ami is goal and career oriented, she wants to be a doctor which is a hell of a difficult career choice, and of course a male dominated science pursuit, but she is determined and knows she can do it. And she does it because she admires her mother as a career woman. That’s right, this was a woman who never got to spend much time with Ami like a mother is “supposed” to, and rather than resent that, Ami idolizes her career and wants to follow it (though she mentions to Shingo she would try to spend more time with her family than her mother got to if she had one). And the her friends encourage her in this dream, admire it, and are willing to help her achieve it. In PGSM, she DOES achieve it.
I also love her competitive-take-no-shit streak, seen most prominently in “Ami’s First Love”. Ami is attracted to intelligence, so when a guy beats her at a test, she falls for him a bit- yet is also hell bent on kicking his ass. No one, no one outperforms Ami Mizuno in the brains department. She is determined to be at the top, she knows she is the best, and if anyone threatens that, she’ll do her damnedest to take them down. Forcibly if need be. The fact she automatically decides any boy who beats her on a test must be an enemy (because how is it possible to be better than he and be human? It’s not!) and she needs to kick his ass (even if the idea of someone smart enough to match wits with her turns her on) is both hilarious and awesome. This is the opposite of a girl dumbing herself down for a guy- this is a girl determined to always be the smartest person in the room, who wears her brains and competitiveness with pride, and will keep her place at the top no matter what. Competitive girls (especially ones determined to outshine and dominate guys) aren’t considered socially acceptable, but Ami doesn’t give a fuck. She’ll destroy anyone who tries to take away her intelligence in cold blood. WITH HER SCIENTIFIC EQUATION OF VICTORY. She’s a badass like that.
Also, gotta love when that guy in the video game competition says he “would never lose to a girl!!!” and she simply politely kicks his ass.
I also love her story, how lonely she was, how she gained friends and confidence, how she struggles with her insecurities and doubts about her future so many times- she’s so relatable to me.
In short, Ami is a girl genius badass and awesome friend who is so complex and multifaceted and breaks so many stereotypes, and invaluable to Sailor Moon as a character. Also, her powers are super pretty (water is cooool and Mercury Aqua Rhapsody is just UNF) and she is pretty (I love blue and I love her pretty short hair. Heck, I love that she rocks the short hair- so much ridic long hair in this anime, it’s a nice break, and it isn’t even a way to mark her as a tomboy- just a sign of her cuteness and practicality. Ami rocks, I love that she flaunts her brains, and a very happy birthday to the Sailor Senshi of Water and Wisdom.
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