Sailor Moon episodes 37 and 38 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon episode 37 - Usagi as a Princess

This morning, September 15th, the two latest episodes of the original Sailor Moon anime were added to Hulu and Neon Alley. Every Monday two new episodes, subbed by Viz, will be added. This week we have episodes 37 and 38 which are all about the Dark Kingdom’s terrible attempts to uncover Sailor Moon’s identity.

Sailor Moon episode 37 - Artemis is Luna's contact

In episode 37, Let’s Become a Princess: Usagi’s Bizarre Training, the Dark Kingdom is running a Princess Seminar in the hopes of capturing Sailor Moon. The logic is pretty simple. Sailor Moon is Princess Serenity so by running a seminar that looks for certain Princess like innate abilities, they will be able to find Sailor Moon! The first thing they look for, the ability to throw a discus, is a decent test. Usagi does great at this as it’s nearly identical to her Moon Tiara Action which she used consistently until she got the Moon Stick and didn’t need to any more. Unfortunately the other tests, how to drink soup, how to politely serve tea and how to dance, are things that Usagi was terrible at and disqualified her from being considered to be Sailor Moon. Turns out Kunzite totally missed the boat on this one as he had no idea Sailor Moon was completely awkward, which calls the logic of this trap into question. One discovery that is made in this episode is that the person Luna has been communicating with through her computer at the arcade is actually Artemis who for reasons unknown continued this deception instead of simply coming clean. Also Artemis eats cat food right out of the can. How does he use the can opener?

Sailor Moon episode 38 - Usagi can't ski

In episode 38, The Snow, the Mountains, Friendship and Monsters, the plot of the week assumes that Sailor Moon is a good skier. The Dark Kingdom has a ski contest going off of the assumption that Sailor Moon would be the winner. Usagi is in fact a completely terrible skier. It’s only because she had no control over herself that she awkwardly and ineptly flew to the front of the pack and into the enemy’s trap. There is no indication as to why the Dark Kingdom would think Sailor Moon was good at skiing, but we can chalk this up to another failure on Kunzite’s part. Meanwhile this episode gives Usagi and Rei a chance to have a heart to heart about Mamoru. Rei comes to terms with the fact that Usagi stole her boyfriend and gives her blessing to the relationship.

Sailor Moon episode 38 - Usagi and Rei

Don’t forget that you can also now watch the first 23 episodes of Viz’s new Sailor Moon dub on Hulu.

Watch the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Petite Étrangère musical with English subtitles

Sailor Moon Petite Étrangère musical - Tuxedo Mask kissing Black Lady

Great news for Sailor Moon musical fans. This year’s musical, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Petite Étrangère, is now available to download with English subtitles. The gang over at Miss Dream have subtitled the streaming feed.

Sailor Moon Petite Étrangère musical - Sailor Pluto and Chibiusa

I posted my thoughts on the musical last week. I’m not likely to do a second review after watching the subbed version so check that out to see how I felt and what I may have missed due to my poor understanding of Japanese.

New dresses and lingerie items from Peach John

Sailor Chibi Moon lingerie

The first round of Sailor Moon pyjamas and lingerie were released in February. Now, as posted on the official Sailor Moon site, Peach John is expanding their line to include lingerie of all 10 Sailor Guardians as well as 7 dresses including some school uniforms. They now offer lingerie for rest of the Sailor Guardians, Sailor Uranus, Neptune, Saturn, Pluto and of course the completely inappropriate Sailor Chibi Moon lingerie! The existing and new lingerie items have also been upgraded to include a skirt! They still include the original bra top, panties and choker on top of the new skirts. That’s right, you’ll need to upgrade your Sailor Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus lingerie sets. All sets cost 7,538 yen (about $70 US).

Sailor Moon lingerie and dresses

This round isn’t all about lingerie! Bandai is also offering some costume style dresses of some of the Sailor Guardians’ civilian school uniforms as well as dresses for Princess Serenity and Black Lady. Go to school dressed up as Usagi, Ami, Rei, Makoto or Minako. The school uniforms are 5,378 yen (about $50 US). If you’re really rich the Princess Serenity dress is 14,018 (about $130 US) though at a slightly more affordable 9,698 (about $90) you might be able to convince your father to buy you the Black Lady dress.

Rei's school uniform dress

Pre-orders from Premium Bandai begin September 19th.

Princess Serenity dress

Black Lady dress

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Watch the first 23 episodes of Viz’s new Sailor Moon English dub on Hulu

Sailor Moon episode 1 - Usagi runs into Mamoru

Last weekend Viz released a number of dubbed episodes to Hulu and Neon Alley. You can currently watch the first 23 episodes of Viz’s new English dub but these episodes may not be there for long so watch them while you can. I haven’t had a chance to watch too many episodes but after watching a bit the dub seems decent. There are less changes to the script than there were in the original dub though some jokes not in the original version have been added, such as making fun of Mamoru’s pants or referring to Ami’s IQ like it was a Dragonball Z power level.

This first half of the season coincides with the episodes being released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 11th. It’s not clear how long these episodes will remain online but they may be removed when the home video version is released. We’ve already seen pictures of the packaging. Check out the new video below which shows the super high tech foil used in the box.

Start watching starting with the first episode and see how you like it!

Some Sailor Moon Crystal scenes will be reanimated up for the DVD and Blu-Ray release

Streamed version to Blu-Ray comparison - Sailor Moon Crystal Act 2 - Ami and Luna

Top: Original streaming version.
Bottom: New Blu-Ray version.

The upcoming Blu-Ray and DVD release of Sailor Moon Crystal, coming October 15th in Japan, will include some touched up scenes. A lot of fans had issues with the quality of some of the animation in Sailor Moon Crystal when it was first streamed and now some of these scenes have been reanimated. A video has been released on the official Sailor Moon YouTube Channel showing new scenes.

This video on it’s own doesn’t show anything obvious but when we compare these clips to the original version we see the difference. Screenshots included in this post show that some scenes seem to have been completely redrawn though many others have not been modified at all. The footage only contains scenes from the first two episodes as there are only two episodes included in each volume of the DVD and Blu-Ray release. There has not been any announcement about a North American video release. Pre-order the volume 1 deluxe limited edition Blu-Ray (Amazon Japan, CD Japan), regular edition Blu-ray (Amazon Japan, CD Japan) or DVD (Amazon Japan, CD Japan).

Streamed version to Blu-Ray comparison - Sailor Moon Crystal Act 2 - Usagi and Mamoru

Top: Original streaming version.
Bottom: New Blu-Ray version

How do you feel about these changes? Many fans are happy with them though this brings up an age old debate amongst fans of all things about the state of a work of art as either a fixed event in time or a constantly growing and evolving work. Certainly many movies will have a “director’s cut” or include a few new scenes in a video release, often including the original version. The extreme example of this would be something like the Star Wars Special Editions including drastic often unwelcome changes and who’s director is openly hostile towards fans of the original unaltered versions. Somewhere in between are things like the Final Fantasy Advent Children Complete Edition. I consider myself a bit of purist, as can be inferred from my less than kind reviews of these Star Wars DVDs or the Ghost in the Shell 2.0 Blu-Ray. That said, I understand these changes to be minor and generally positive without any major change to the original work. All redrawn scenes have the same poses as the originals, just with slightly more polish. No guns replaced with walkie-talkies here!

Streamed version to Blu-Ray comparison - Sailor Moon Crystal Act 2 - Ami and Usagi

Top: Original streaming version.
Bottom: New Blu-Ray version

One has to wonder what motivates this change? Why not just do it right the first time? It’s no secret that the show’s production was quite rushed, including a number of delays. With a twice monthly release schedule there are obvious time constraints with making this show. Perhaps there was just a shortage of time with the first few episodes. It’s also possible that the show’s success was underestimated and with a higher budget it’s now possible to go back and put more polish on some of the more sloppily done scenes. It remains to be seen if such changes will continue for many of the later episodes or if the higher quality of animation will simply become commonplace in the future. Act 3 had some pretty questionable scenes but the latest episode looked quite good.

First look at the Sailor Venus Pullip doll

Sailor Venus Pullip doll

The first image of the upcoming Sailor Venus Pullip doll was released on the Sailor Moon official site which prompts us all to ask “Where is Sailor Mars?”. Sailor Venus is the fifth Sailor Guardian to appear yet she’s the third Pullip released! Sailor Moon was released in July and Sailor Mercury will be released in October. Sailor Venus will be shown at a Doll Show coming up on Monday September 15th. Pullip dolls are highly detailed collectible somewhat creepy dolls with disproportionately large heads.

Sailor Mercury as Ami Mizuno Pullip doll

For those looking for the Sailor Mercury doll they can pre-order it from Premium Bandai to get an exclusive school uniform. The normal version is 16,000 yen (about $150 US) while the exclusive version is 19,000 yen (about $178 US). The exclusive for Sailor Moon was Luna. Perhaps the exclusive for Sailor Venus will be Artemis! No specific release date or pricing has been announced for Sailor Venus but she will likely be sold for the same as Sailor Moon and Mercury.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Petite Étrangère musical first impressions

Sailor Moon Petite Étrangère musical - Tuxedo Mask kissing Black Lady

On Sunday, September 7th, the new Sailor Moon musical Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Petite Étrangère (French for Small Stranger) was broadcast streaming on Niconico. Though the sign up pages are confusing a ticket to watch the live stream can be purchased even from North America. The stream which was previously broadcast live can still be viewed on the Niconico site. Consider viewing it this way to support the musical if you intend on downloading a copy later. For those waiting for a version with English subtitles the gang over at Miss Dream are currently translating it. I watched the stream of the musical on Sunday and although I don’t really understand Japanese I found it easy enough to follow as the story of the Black Moon Clan, Chibiusa, Sailor Pluto and Crystal Tokyo has been told before a few times. My review may include spoilers for events that are mostly known to Sailor Moon fans. It may include mistakes since I may have misinterpreted some events.

Sailor Moon Petite Étrangère musical - Sailor Pluto and Chibiusa

The musical begins with Chibiusa already in the present though the opening scene, which is itself a flashback, shows us the future events in Crystal Tokyo as the Black Moon Clan attack. Neo Queen Serenity, seen in this future, is played by Satomi Okubo, the actress who plays Usagi. At the end of the musical she appears to be played by another actress, likely because the short notice wardrobe change would be tough. Usagi and Chibiusa’s relationship is pretty hostile, as is expected, and Mamoru is trying hard to get along with both, much to Usagi’s frustration.

Sailor Moon Petite Étrangère musical - Chibiusa and Usagi

The Sailor Team is in a rock band of sort named Usagi Band, though Usagi is not present during their performance. There is a new actress, Momoyo Koyama, who plays Sailor Mercury. The rest of the cast is returning. Sailor Mercury, Mars and Jupiter aren’t in the musical a ton as they stay behind while Sailor Moon, Venus and Chibiusa go to the future.

Sailor Moon Petite Étrangère musical - Usagi Band

The Black Moon Clan are not all represented. The four Ayakashi sisters are not in this musical, who’s cast is entirely comprised of women, though Rubeus, Saphire and Prince Demande, all men, do appear along with Esmeraude, the only woman in the Black Moon Clan. My Japanese is not great though it seemed to be insinuated that some, perhaps all, of the Black Moon Clan are actually Droids. If this is the case this is a considerable departure from the Manga.

Sailor Moon Petite Étrangère musical - Black Lady

As expected Wise Man gets his hands on Chibiusa and transforms her into Black Lady. We get a nice inappropriate father/daughter kiss between Tuxedo Mask and Black Lady. Sailor Pluto dies sacrificing herself and this shock causes Black Lady to become young again and transform into Sailor Chibi Moon. In the manga this is what happens though in the anime Chibiusa leaves at the end of Sailor Moon R without having transformed, returning only partway through Sailor Moon S.

Sailor Moon Petite Étrangère musical - Sailor Chibi Moon mourns Sailor Pluto

Back in the present time Chibiusa has a tearful farewell with her friends after which the curtain lowers and the musical is done. Once the performers have all bowed to the audience another small bit follows as Chibiusa, still dressed as Sailor Chibi Moon, gives a letter to Usagi, still dressed as Sailor Moon, explaining that Chibiusa will be returning to complete her training. This letter comes from Usagi’s future self, Neo Queen Serenity. We will likely see Chibiusa continue to be involved in future musicals.

Sailor Moon Petite Étrangère musical - Sailor Moon reads a letter from her future self

Overall I found the musical quite enjoyable. The performances and singing were good. My favourite performance, as with the first musical, was Yuga Yamato as Tuxedo Mask and King Endymion. Check it out if you have a chance, though I would certainly suggest watching last year’s musical, La Reconquista, first.

Keep reading for more screenshots from the musical.

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Sailor Moon episodes 35 and 36 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon episode 35 - Kunzite holding Zoisite while he dies

Two new episodes of the original Sailor Moon anime, in Japanese with English subtitles, have been added to Hulu and Neon Alley this morning, September 8th 2014. This week we have the aftermath of Usagi being revealed as Princess Serenity and Mamoru being abducted by the Dark Kingdom. Tired of listening to subtitled episodes? The first 23 episodes of Viz’s new Sailor Moon dub have also been added to Hulu and Neon Alley for a limited time.

Sailor Moon episode 35 - Sailor Mars slapping Sailor Moon

Episode 35, Returning Memories: Usagi and Mamoru’s Past, takes off where we left with Mamoru mortally wounded and Usagi transformed into Princess Serenity. We get a pretty good look at the events of Silver Millennium in which Princess Serenity and Prince Endymion fell in love. Unfortunately with some memories revealed Mamoru is taken away by the Dark Kingdom for as of yet unknown purposes. Most of the episode deals with the Sailor Team trying to get out of the Starlight Tower. One interesting exchange occurs when Sailor Mars slaps Sailor Moon in the face. She’s upset that Mamoru sacrificed himself for a crybaby like Usagi and is probably a bit upset that she stole her boyfriend. Zoisite dies in this episode, killed by Queen Beryl for ignoring her order and trying to kill Tuxedo Mask. Kunzite is upset about this but not enough to actually do anything about it! Finally at the end of the episode Sailor Moon uses her Moon Stick to destroy a massive building. No big deal.

Sailor Moon episode 36 - Minako does Usagi's hair

Episode 36, Usagi’s Confusion: Is Tuxedo Mask Evil?, has us introduced to Minako while there isn’t anyone getting killed. Sailor Venus’s first appearance was amidst a battle after which she just ran off. Usagi doesn’t actually get to meet Minako as a civilian until after the excitement which ended in the last episode. Usagi is depressed after having lost Mamoru to the Dark Kingdom and Minako has the solution to this problem. Makeover! Minako and Usagi head over to a local salon which is having a sale which as always is a plot by the Dark Kingdom to find Sailor Moon. Oh yes, that’s their new plan. Now that the Rainbow Crystal thing is all played out they’re trying to find out who Sailor Moon is so that they can steal her Crystal. This week it’s all about DNA testing! They find a blonde hair at the site of the last battle and, assuming it’s Sailor Moon’s, they use it to cross reference against everyone who comes in to the salon. Minako sets off the machine and they assume she’s Sailor Moon. It turns out she got one of Usagi’s hairs on hers when brushing her. Wouldn’t it also make sense that the hair that was found by the Dark Kingdom was actually from Sailor Venus and that this is what set off the false positive? Anyway, Tuxedo Mask comes back and he’s evil. Not really evil but kind of evil and without much of a memory. This is all very distressing but Usagi is in better spirits just knowing he’s alive.

Sailor Moon episode 36 - Evil Tuxedo Mask

Tune in next week to see how else Kunzite can try to find out who Sailor Moon is.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5, Makoto – Sailor Jupiter, Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Sailor Jupiter pose

Saturday September 6th the 5th episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, Act 5, Makoto – Sailor Jupiter, became available on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. This episode marks the introduction of Makoto Kino, Sailor Jupiter. Once again it follows the manga fairly closely but there are a some differences to note this time around.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Makoto saves Usagi

This episode is all about Usagi getting herself into trouble and Makoto saving her! First it’s from a car which almost hits her, which may very well have killed her. The second time Makoto stops a baseball from almost hitting Usagi in the face. We know from the original Sailor Moon anime that Sailor Moon can take a high speed tennis ball to the face so that’s no big deal. Usagi and Makoto become instant friends, despite the fact that many of the student are scared of Makoto having heard she got kicked out of her last school for fighting. Once again we see Usagi’s greatest quality, her easy ability to make friends. Even without knowing her new classmate has super powers, she’s immediately nice to her, offering to show her around the arcade and such.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Makoto and Motoki

While at the arcade Makoto runs into Motoki and she is instantly smitten by him. Motoki is later used by the enemy to lure in Makoto which is a very effective ploy, as he reminds her of her old “sempai” or rather another student at her school from a higher grade. This idea of Makoto’s sempai recurs in many series. She did not leave her old school for fighting but rather because her heart was broken by this boy. Here we get to see Makoto’s sempai in a flashback scene and we learn that he broke Makoto’s heart because he had a girlfriend. During this scene I kept waiting for her Rainy Day Man to show up, but alas there was no such person to console her.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Makoto and her sempai

There is no cross dressing in this episode. For shame! In the manga when Usagi visits the Bridal Boutique she disguises herself as a well dressed groom before transforming into Sailor Moon. Here we have Usagi getting lured from her bedroom by Tuxedo Mask and remaining in her pyjamas when she gets to the action! Luna calls Rei and Ami and while Rei is wearing her standard Miko Robe Ami is wearing some sort of comfortable night clothes that may very well be pyjamas. Girls! Don’t leave home like this. Take a hint from Optimus Prime. Transform and Roll Out. These girls are always waiting until they’re in front of the monster to transform. This is a terrible way to keep a secret identity. Oh and yes the implication with Mamoru at Usagi’s window is that Mamoru knows that she is Sailor Moon. I think the handkerchief from the last episode gave her away.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Pyjama party

Sailor Jupiter does two attacks in this episode. The first is Flower Hurricane, which cuts clothes and paralyses opponents. The second is Jupiter Thunderbolt which in the manga kills Nephrite but here it does not finish the job. This follows Jadeite not being killed by Rei in act 3, a change from the manga. Clearly something is being planned by keeping them all alive. All four Shitennou are shown to be alive and well in the next episode preview for act 6. Nephrite also makes the comment “I’ve seen this look before” as Sailor Jupiter charges up her Thunderbolt. In an image in the manga it’s insinuated that Sailor Jupiter and Nephrite had a romantic relationship during Silver Millennium. Similarly in act 3 Jadeite made a comment about how beautiful and familiar Sailor Mars’s face looked, and they are also paired together in the manga. Surely there has not been much deviation from the source material to date but this small change may be indicative of something substantial to come in the future.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Nephrite not dying

Finally we see the first appearance of the new Moon Stick in this episode! At this point we’ve seen it in other places, such as the cover art for the first Blu-Ray (which does not include episodes where Sailor Moon actually has the Moon Stick…) but it’s nice to see it in the show. It’s a bit different from the original anime Moon Stick or even the one seen in the manga. The silver crescent moon is a bit similar to the live action series Moon Stick but there are differences from that one too. Surely we will be getting a toy of this Moon Stick in time!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Luna gives Usagi the Moon Stick

The next episode, airing September 20th 2014, will be Act 6, Tuxedo Mask. As the title suggests it’s all about Tuxedo Mask. Will we see Mamoru with his shirt off like we do in the manga? Find out in two weeks!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Tuxedo Mask

Until then here are more screenshots from the episode.

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This week is your last change to pre-register for Unplugged Expo 3

Unplugged Expo 3

Pre-registration for Unplugged Expo 3 is in it’s final week, ending September 8th. Until then you can save $10 off of the door price of $35. The weekend of September 27th and 28th in Toronto you’ll be able to meet Sabrina Grdevich, the voice of Anne and Sailor Pluto, Barbara Radecki, the voice of Sailor Neptune and Serena’s Mom, and Johnny Yong Bosch, the voice of Artemis from Viz’s new dub.