Not much really, Sailor Moon is very fantastical as a franchise and not very realistic, which makes sense since it’s aimed at kids and all - still there are a few elements which have their groundings in the real world.
- I think the whole Naru/Nephrite subplot of the 90’s anime is a pretty uncomfortably realistic depiction of grooming. Of course Nephrite never had any sexual or romantic intentions towards Naru, but damn if how it plays out isn’t exactly on point!
- Demande in the Manga compared to Demande in the 90’s anime is a more accurate depiction of how rape is all about power rather than genuine attraction. Manga Demande himself, though one-dimensional, is also probably the closest villain to one whom you’d meet in real life - a religious fundamentalist fascist who believes Might makes Right and embodies all the worst aspects of Toxic Masculinity.
- The Amazon Trio’s predatory behavior in the 90’s anime is a pretty damn accurate depiction of date rape!
- To it’s credit, the manga showcases the dark, horrific side of incest more often than not - (As opposed to the 90’s anime either romanticizing it - see Ail/En and Demande/Saphir - or playing it off for laughs) most incest in real life is of the non-consensual, pedophilic parent/child variety rather than same age star-crossed sibling lovers - of course the fact that Naoko even touches on the subject at all is rather unrealistic to begin with considering 1st degree incest is very rare in real life for obvious reasons, and it’s even rarer and more WTF-outlandish for someone to suspect their boyfriend is an incestuous boyfriend (Usagi) and compete with a physical-bodied 6 year old over his affections. So whatever poignant point Naoko was trying to make about the horrors of incest is all but dashed with how normalized she depicts it. (That and she still uses it as a device for humor, albeit less than the 90’s anime, but why the [BLEEP] is Chibi-Usa still in love with her dad come Dream?)
- Speaking of Chibi-Usa, she’s actually a pretty realistic depiction of someone with an inferiority complex in the Manga/Crystal
- While portrayed as a fantastical, Sci-Fi, metaphorical allegory - the manga is pretty spot on how hardship (or rather “Chaos”) is a natural part of life and it’s impossible to avoid it.
- I think all versions of canon paint a pretty realistic depiction on what it’s like to be forced to choose between your dreams/desires and adhering to your duties whilst struggling to juggle them.
- Though not something that can ever happen in the real world by any means, PGSM is a pretty realistic deconstruction on what it would be really like if you suddenly woke up one day and found yourself bound to this whole entire past life and fairytale destiny you never asked for - it would pretty accurately psychologically f*ck you up.
- Also exclusive to PGSM it portrays the anatomy of a broken home and how that emotionally/psychologically f*cks up a person pretty damn well!
That’s all I could think of for now.
Haruka and Michiru raising Hotaru in an ordinary manner also comes to mind I think, at least as normally as plot allows. That two women could be parents on their own is still pretty out there in a good number of people's minds, I saw a video a few days ago of some crazy person calling a lesbian woman a paedophile including how they adopt children, to the jeers of the whole restaurant. To have a sensible relationship of that nature in the 90s was even less likely.
Agree with you on how in general, finding out that you have some obligation to save the world from opponents very much so meaning to kill you, that would be as much a shock as those teenage boys, who are not in fact 18, in All Quiet on the Western Front as I saw back in October, although they survive more than they did. What would people who in all likelihood had never even personally seen a gun or a corpse before do when the rotting phantom occupying the mother of your best friend twists its head 180 degrees to face you, and this weird cat never told you how to fight?
I might also add Princess Serenity's suicide in Silver Millennium, at least in a Japanese context where it isn't the sin as Christian places tend to make it out to be and where one if far more likely to hurt oneself than murder another. It does bring back Romeo and Juliet though in the mind. This one I'm less sure of though. It seems like it was changed into being slain by Beryl though in the 90s out of concern of this effect on young people in Japan, if that counts for any of my suspicions. I note too that it seems like Princess Serenity had a rather longer affair with Prince Endymion in the original story, possibly years, and that the other senshi having been fairly well acquainted with the Four Heavenly Kings, Venus expressly implored them to remember her, makes me think that they all knew each other far better than the shortened story presents at first glance
Oh, also, how Mamoru, particularly in the manga and crystal, is shown as a boy who has no qualms about being masculine, but also not having as much power as his girlfriend, later by stars, fiancée, as an example of non toxic masculinity which does exist in the world. He never said anything like he wanted a son over a daughter, or would want an additional son to balance her out, and is happy, even proud, to fight alongside 11 women and girls, and he and Usagi reconcile well when they admit their jealousies and how they were wrong to be so in the third arc, but he contributes where he can like his wealth of knowledge and his power to heal.