The first song I can remember as being from an anime has to be the english version of Sailor Moon’s “Moonlight Densetsu”. Sailor Moon, itself, was, back then, this strange cartoon with super powered girls fighting scary monsters while trying to live out their normal lives. There were awesome elemental attacks, and cool transformations, and ultimate finishing moves. And this song kicked all that off each episode.

But, more than that, the Sailor Moon theme song was the battle music that played in the final confrontation of the evil queen vs Sailor Moon representing the last guardian standing between earth and ultimate evil. Watching tiny Usagi hold her ground against the overwhelming attacks of Queen Beryl is kinda my first and maybe best memory of good fighting back against evil. Queen Beryl shouts about how the world is already filled with filth and hate, but Usagi responds that she believes in the world and in her friends. It’s a theme played out so many times in so many different anime, but for me, its starts here with those first guitar riffs of Moonlight Densetsu!

The song itself is interesting because even though it is the key bit of music used in the first season’s final battle of good against evil… it’s not all that upbeat and its lyrics have very little to do with such an epic struggle. Instead, it’s the soft focus, dreamy, angsty musings of a teenage girl happy to be born on the same planet as the boy she is in love with. But for something so unsuited to dark lightning being repelled by a shrinking bubble of light… it actually fits plenty well. The themes in that final battle, of hope and love overcoming evil, are kinda exemplified by these innocent musings of a girl in love.

In the years and decades since, I’ve found that the version I fell in love with is the english remake of the original Japanese song. And while I respect the original a ton, there’s something about that english version set to the cuts of the english Sailor Moon opening that still excites me to this day. Usagi does this little slashing move with the silver crystal beating back Queen Beryl’s dark lightning attack and in that one instant the song and animation comes together for me in a moment of iconic perfection.

That said, I more often listen to the original and to AmaLee’s fantastic english cover. Both instantly send me back to that fight of good vs evil in some of my earliest days of watching anime!