There’s a new magical girl in town and for some reason everyone is talking about how cool it is that her new music video is animated to look like Sailor Moon. There’s just one problem. It’s not.

It’s no secret that Dua Lipa is a bit of a nerd. In 2019 she released “Swan Song” for the soundtrack of ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ and in 2020 the official music video for ‘Hallucinate‘ was animated with clear inspiration from the Golden age of American animation. Now that we have a music video for ‘Levitating’ that is animated, it’s time to get excited and dig for the inspirations!

Music video in question below:

It was exciting to hear this video had a lot of references, and I had a lot of fun watching, trying to spot them all, but then the social media posts went from “this video has stuff clearly inspired by Sailor Moon” to “This video LOOKS like Sailor Moon!” …and I just can’t let that sit. That would be an injustice to the Magical Girls who came before her who are the clear inspiration for the animation style in this video.

If you really want to find the true inspiration of the animation style used for Levitation you need to look to 80’s anime and magical girls. There you will find a world of bright colours, pastels, rounded cute faces, thick chunky hair, and blue eye shadow. While ‘Magical Angel Creamy Mami‘ has remained fairly iconic (and the clear inspiration I know best), others like Magical Emi, and Minky Momo have quietly settled in the background, mostly only known in North America by magical girl fans who have dived into the history of the genre. You can also find similar styles in the animation of well known series like Dragon Ball, and Bubblegum Crisis.

When you really get down to it, the style of animation is simply out of the wrong era to resemble the animation of Sailor Moon. It’s so PERFECTLY 80’s.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t similarities, and references throughout. I would even argue that there might be some pull from iconic North American cartoons like ‘Barbie and the Rockers’, and ‘Jem and the Holograms’– also straight out of the 80’s. But the entire video is ABSOLUTELY overloaded in crescent and full moon imagery. Every time I re-watch or pause it I find something else I missed the previous watch around.

Edit: NOSTALOOK, who animated the music video, has commented saying they were inspired by 80’s anime!

Below are my favourite comparisons of potential references to Sailor Moon in the music video.

Screenshot Credits:
Sailor Moon – https://sailorsoapbox.com
Other Anime – https://www.anisearch.com

Can we talk about how many of these screenshots are oddly right facing? What references did you spot in the music video?