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Twitter Art Critics Accuse Artists of “White Washing” Sailor Moon, Praise Diverse Variations in the #SailorMoonRedrawChallenge

A challenge to redraw a frame of the Sailor Moon anime has resulted in criticism toward artists who accurately draw Usagi with blonde hair and pale skin.

A new fan art challenge on Twitter has seen some artists criticized for “white-washing” the iconic manga and anime heroine Sailor Moon for accurately portraying the character with blonde-hair and pale-skin whilst others have been praised for their ‘diverse’ representations of the character.

On the week of May 18th, in the spirit of community, creativity, and fun, artists were inspired and invited to redraw a frame of a nervous Usagi Tsukino in her guise as the Sailor Guardian Sailor Moon, taken from an episode of Sailor Moon S produced by veteran anime animation director Ikuko Itoh.

Twitter Art Critics Accuse Artists of "White Washing" Sailor Moon, Praise Diverse Variations in the #SailorMoonRedrawChallenge

This challenge spread, and supported by the hashtag ‘#SailorMoonRedrawChallenge,’ resulted in a bevy of unique recreations of Usagi’s moment of distress, including versions which creatively swapped Usagi’s race, rendered her in the art style of an entirely different franchise, and even comedically swapped her with completely unrelated characters:

Amidst the wave of artworks produced in the spirit of the challenge, one piece in particular caught the attention of users across social media.

The artwork, drawn by artist Silverjow, sees Sailor Moon drawn to have more explicitly East Asian features than her regular, stylized appearance in the original series:

Silverjow also presented an alternate version of the piece, which has since been deleted from his Twitter feed, that furthered the visual expression of Usagi’s Japanese heritage by replacing her blonde hair color with jet black:

Twitter Art Critics Take Issue With #SailorMoonRedrawChallenge, Accuse Artists of Racism for Accurate Depictions of Sailor Moon

This ‘realistic’ depiction of the Pretty Guardian soon garnered a mass of fans from a small group of critics who asserted that Silverjow’s black haired version “actually look[s] Japanese,” bizarrely claiming that “so many people whitewash her in this challenge” despite the character’s Japanese origin, setting, and heritage of its creator:

Twitter Art Critics Take Issue With #SailorMoonRedrawChallenge, Accuse Artists of Racism for Accurate Depictions of Sailor Moon

Conversely, these assertions did not sit right with Japanese fans, many of whom took issue with the ‘racism’ of Western fans, citing their “stereotyping some race to teach what’s correct” and how “they [are] totally ignoring south asian people such as Okinawa-originated.”

Others criticized the hypocrisy of these Western criticisms, contrasting the comments complaining about Usagi’s ‘white washed’ appearance to the mountains of controversy-free praise heaped upon a challenge entry which race-swapped the clutzy blonde from Japanese to Black.

Following the outpouring of discourse taking place around his artwork, Silverjow would admit that he would “be lying if I said the comment section under my Sailormoon redraw tweet don’t hinder me or bother me,” sadly questioning whether he “shouldn’t [have] join[ed] the challenge in the first place.”

However, Silverjow would later address the critics directly, stating that he “never claim[ed] to make “Sailormoon look “Japanese” and noting that he “model[ed] her face after my own sister.”

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