Celebrate Sailor Moon’s 30th Anniversary with a five minute slideshow of ads for upcoming merchandise

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon 30th Anniversary Logo

As we posted about a couple of weeks ago, the Sailor Moon manga is 30 years old, as it was first published on December 28th 1991. The Sailor Moon anime will be 30 years old this year with the first episode airing March 7th 1992. As the Sailor Moon official site and franchise in general made a big deal about the 20th and 25th anniversaries it was only a matter of time until we started the five year long celebration of the 30th anniversary, and that time is now! The 30th Anniversary Logo is here! It’s pretty. Full of colours. It features Eternal Sailor Moon!

What big announcement came with this new logo? New Sailor Moon Crystal? A new musical? Merchandise that people will buy? Not really but they released a “movie” and by movie I mean a slideshow showing merchandise announcements for five minutes which you can watch embedded above. Most of this isn’t that special it just seems like they saved up a few weeks worth of normal stuff they post to the official site and then just dropped them all at once on the day they released the new logo and some intern made this little video about it. I think the only one of these things which is worth even mentioning is that a Sailor Moon museum will be opening for a short time. There aren’t really any details but it’s likely similar to what took place in 2016. Come look at some interesting Sailor Moon things and please buy this exclusive merchandise!

Are you excited about anything that was announced as part of this 30th Anniversary?

The Sailor Moon 4-D ride is returning to Universal Studios Japan in March with Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D – Moon Palace Edition Deluxe

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D – Moon Palace Edition Deluxe

The Sailor Moon 4-D ride is once again returning to Universal Studios Japan! This event originally took place in 2018 as Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D and then came back in 2019 with more characters under the name Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D – Moon Palace Edition. Well we’re adding more words to what is now being called Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D – Moon Palace Edition Deluxe coming in 2021. The ride will start on March 4th and run until August 28th.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D – Moon Palace Edition Deluxe

The big new thing for this version of the ride is the inclusion of the Sailor Guardians in their princess dresses. I’ve not actually attended this event but from what I understand the 4-D is basically a 3D film with some other stuff thrown in. Moving your seat around and other environment sort of things.

Evidently the pandemic is still very much a thing which may be why this event was not held in 2020 or 2021. It remains to be see what things are like in Japan or elsewhere from March to August of this year and whether or not fans from outside of Japan will be able to safely travel to Universal Studios Japan in Osaka to attend this exhibit.

Have you been lucky enough to attend any of these shows in the past? If so, what did you think? Do you hope to be able to attend in 2022 or are you going to hold out for a later year when they’ll have something like Super Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D The New Challengers Moon Palace Edition Deluxe Turbo HD Remix SuperS Eternal 30th Anniversary + Bowser’s Fury?

Source: The Sailor Moon Official Site

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Princess Kaguya’s Lover musical review

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Princess Kaguya's Lover musical - Kakeru and Luna

The latest Sailor Moon musical, Princess Kaguya’s Lover, is now available to stream with English subtitles from Japan 2.5D Stage Play World. Tickets allow unlimited streaming for a two week period. I chose December 10th to the 23rd and so I had at long last had a chance to watch this musical a few weeks ago. I’ll share my thoughts in this post.

This musical is a pretty faithful adaptation of the Princess Kaguya’s Lover side story from the Sailor Moon manga. This story had previously been adapted as Sailor Moon S: The Movie so fans of the film will immediately recognize the story of Luna falling in love with a human Kakeru as his lover Himeko travels to space all while the evil Princess Snow Kaguya threatens the Earth! As this musical is a more faithful adaptation than even the S movie, which was itself fairly faithful, there will still be a lot of similarity between the musical and that film.

The musical starts out with a brief overview of the early events of the manga, which is not something included in the manga story it is based on. By the end of this we are pretty much where the manga is at the start of The Lover of Princess Kaguya though Diana is strangely absent, because her existence would be inconvenient to the story. Diana also doesn’t exist yet in the Sailor Moon S film adaptation. I suppose technically Diana isn’t born yet in any version of this story but in the manga we are introduced to her in 30th century Crystal Tokyo and she is in this time due to time travel. She only arrives in the 20th century during the Sailor Moon SuperS season of the original Sailor Moon anime.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Princess Kaguya's Lover musical - A birthday party

We have a shared birthday party taking place which really situates the story in time more than any other. In the musical it is a shared birthday between Minako, Makoto and Setsuna. Minako’s birthday is October 23rd, Makoto’s birthday is December 5th and Setsuna’s birthday is between the two on October 29th. In the manga Setsuna is not included in the celebration, though she is present at the party. It’s okay though as she’s used to being ignored after having spent centuries pining after King Endymion. There’s quite a gap between Minako and Makoto’s birthdays but it’s not uncommon for groups of friends to get together and have a shared birthday party. It’s likely closer to Makoto’s birthday than Minako’s at this point since the events of the musical are leading up to the climax on December 24th, Christmas Eve. Yes, this is a Christmas musical!

An interesting thing which is mentioned in the liner notes for the Sailor Moon Eternal Edition manga is that voice actors Rika Fukami and Emi Shinohara share a birthday on August 8th. It’s possible that the party from the manga was inspired by a real live shared birthday party between those actors who’s birthdays are actually much closer than those of the characters they voice.

One of the main differences between this musical and the manga story it’s based on is the almost complete lack of Artemis. In scenes where he would actually be present in the manga he is instead only referenced. We will see him at the end of the musical… sort of.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Princess Kaguya's Lover musical - Luna describes her name to Kakeru

The main plot of the musical centers around a comet that is going to hit the earth. At first everything seems fine because the comet just sort of died out. How exactly does this work? A massive object in space can’t just disappear. It’s said that it went close to the sun and burnt out. Was it on its way to the earth or not? The whole thing is very odd. The idea of an asteroid crashing into the earth isn’t unreasonable. The musical makes reference to the comet being roughly the size of the one that wiped out the dinosaurs and another like that would of course be very bad. So why a comet and not an asteroid? Well comets go around and around over and over. Asteroids do too, but that’s a bit what comets are known for since we are able to witness them due to the gas which trails behind them, often caused by water ice which evaporates when exposed to sun light. Since Princess Snow Kaguya, the musical’s villain, is said to be returning after 4.5 billion years, roughly the age of the earth, it seems this is meant to be a return equivalent to seeing a comet again.

It’s curious that since watching this musical a very popular Netflix film, Don’t Look Up, similarly features a comet which threatens to destroy the Earth. I have not seen the film and don’t intend to but from what I understand from this great review of the film, Sailor Moon sadly does not make an appearance.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Princess Kaguya's Lover musical - Luna

This musical is all about Luna. After being harassed by the same group of kids or a similar group of kids to those who put a band aid on her in the first manga story she has the exact same thing done to her again. This disorients her and blocks her magic, yet again, which causes her to avoid an accident and end up in the arms of titular character Kakeru, the Lover of Princess Kaguya. Luna falls in love with Kakeru! Sadly Kakeru loves Himeko and while it seems like he may be returning Luna’s affection she’s sort of a Seiya to Kakeru’s Usagi while Himeko is his Mamoru. The difference being that Luna gets to kiss Kakeru.

Haneda Airport to Kennedy Space Center

There’s this very odd thing in the story where we act like going from Tokyo, Japan, to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is really not a big deal. It’s treated as if it was hopping on a train over to the next city. Knowing that Naoko Takeuchi was inspired to write this story after a trip to Cape Canaveral makes one wonder if she forgot having flown the 16 or so hours it takes to cross the Pacific Ocean and the entire width of the United States of America. Himeko travels there for work. Kakeru on a whim takes a couple of days off to join her. Once he falls ill Himeko brings him back to Tokyo and eventually flies back to the United States. Sounds expensive! Meanwhile Luna sneaks onto two of these flights.

Things get real which means that Usagi and Luna have to explain to Himeko what’s going on. They mention that Princess Snow Kaguya, the fairly lackluster villain of the musical, comes from space. She’s shocked, asking if that makes her an alien? Lady, the talking cat is also technically an alien and Usagi is sort of an alien so maybe show a bit of respect and as a scientist, have an open mind?

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Princess Kaguya's Lover musical - Princess Snow Kaguya

It’s repeatedly mentioned that Princess Snow Kaguya was around 4.5 billion years earlier. This date closely coincides with the age of the Earth. As she’s defeated she mentions having seen a light, like that from the silver crystal, 4.5 billion years ago. Does that suggest that there was a Sailor Moon type hero wielding the silver crystal or something like it when the earth was created? Not super clear.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Princess Kaguya's Lover musical - Himeko the astronaut

So there’s a big fight and the bad lady is defeated along with a nice song. This means luckily that the plan to launch a spaceship to destroy the comet in a very Armageddon/Deep Impact sort of way isn’t needed anymore. After countless delays to launching due to unpleasant weather and radiation in space along with the main reason for the mission now disappearing do they scrap it? Well no. They instead completely change the goal of the flight and proceed anyway! They aren’t going to destroy the comet but instead they’ll just go on with their newly added crew member to the Moon Base. Wait there’s a Moon Base now? Is it anywhere close to the ruins of Silver Millennium? Does the space ship even have the right amount of fuel for this completely different mission? They don’t need to reprogram a bunch of flight paths? Is the Moon, where they didn’t actually plan on landing earlier that day, even in the optimal place to travel there at this time of the month? So very odd.

As the Silver Crystal was used to save the day it’s suggested it can simply be used to grant a wish and make Luna human. Since when is that an option? The Crystal seems to be a pretty versatile tool which can be used as a sort of energy weapon, to heal people on a massive scale, to purify or cleanse evil. It seems it’s also able to just sort of make wishes come true as well. In this case it’s “make the cat human for a while” which is actually making Luna turn into a human form which she already had which is in itself a bit odd. Is the Silver Crystal like the Dragonballs?

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Princess Kaguya's Lover musical - Human Luna and Kakeru

Human Luna shows up and … it’s a totally different actress. Human Luna is the same actress who played the shadow Luna who was showing up in certain scenes. What is odd is that the actress who plays Cat Luna is quite young but the actress playing Human Luna is an adult. This gives an odd impression of Luna’s age. I suppose that the intention in casting a younger actress as Cat Luna was a practical one because a cat happens to be smaller than a person but it makes Luna seem like she’s actually a younger woman and then when Human Luna shows up it seems that the idea here is that this is actually reflecting Luna’s actual age. Her feelings for Kakeru are a woman’s feelings and not those of a teenage girl. As a fan of Sailor Moon since watching the old dub in the 90s it’s always hard for me to think of Luna as anything but the older sounding lady from that dub, even if I understand that the canon seems to instead suggest that Luna is somewhere between Usagi’s age, and therefore a peer of hers, or a slightly older young adult, to match the physical appearance of Human Luna in the manga and S movie. The live action series further confuses this with Luna becoming a very young Sailor Luna, but that’s a whole other story.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Princess Kaguya's Lover musical - Himeko is pregnant

We learn that Himeko is pregnant which is something that is very much not in the S movie but it is in the manga. It’s a bit irresponsible to go into space with an unborn child in your womb as it’s being exposed to higher levels of radiation. It is specifically mentioned that there’s a geomagnetic blizzard which I think could be dangerous for the baby once Himeko no longer has the protection which the Earth’s magnetic field gives the inhabitants of the planet while they aren’t in space.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Princess Kaguya's Lover musical - Artemis

Finally Artemis shows up and what a joke this is! He’s basically a very cheap little projected image on the wall. He doesn’t talk. He doesn’t look anything like Luna. He’s totally shafted in this musical!

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Princess Kaguya's Lover musical - Human Luna kisses Kakeru

I did enjoy the musical quite a bit, though it’s far from my favourite of the Sailor Moon musicals. I was never a particularly big fan of the Sailor Moon S movie. It’s good enough but as the movies go it’s my third favourite out of the three. This is the same story and though the manga lacks some of what makes the S Movie a bit weak, it’s still not my favourite story. I understand and appreciate that a lot of people have a special affection for the S movie, consider it to be the better film and also have a great fondness for this manga story. Those fans should be quite pleased with this musical as it’s a very faithful adaptation. Sailor Moon Crystal has given us an accurate anime adaptation of the manga and this musical does a great job of doing the same with the Princess Kaguya’s Lover side story. If only we could get the rest of the side stories and Sailor V adapted somehow!

Bottom line is that you should absolutely support this streaming event. If you haven’t already signed up you can continue to do so until February 3rd. The cost is reasonable and the musical is well worth watching. If you’re a person who’s watched musicals over the years by downloading fansubs you really should be supporting this official release if you have the means to do so. This will show that there’s interest in Sailor Moon musicals and make it more likely that more get released outside of Japan in the future.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Princess Kaguya's Lover musical - Sailor Moon

A final thought on the end of the musical where the cast speak to the audience. A lot of them mentioned how happy they were that this musical was actually able to be performed and that they were lucky that everyone stayed healthy throughout. This serves as an interesting reminder of how severe the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was when this musical took place in Tokyo in September of 2021. Even when I watched this musical in mid December things were going fairly well, pandemic wise, where I live and then in the short weeks since the situation has very quickly become more serious and strict lockdowns are in place in my home province. This musical was delayed a whole year and, like with the Tokyo Olympics, almost didn’t happen. We shall see what the future may bring with regards to a new musical in 2022. I’m hoping for the best but also that if we get a new musical that it’s because it’s safe to do so and that fans are able to travel to Japan to see it without any serious health risks.

Let us know what you thought of the musical in the comments!

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Princess Kaguya's Lover musical - Minako and Rei - REINAKO IS CANON

The Sailor Moon manga is 30 years old!

Will Sailor Moon be this old when the new anime airs?

The Sailor Moon manga was first published in the pages of Nakayoshi on December 28th 1991. This was over 30 years ago. What does this mean for a franchise that still carries branding related to the 25th anniversary? Will new Sailor Moon Crystal be announced soon? I expect we may eventually be seeing updated “30th Anniversary” branding for the official Sailor Moon site and the brand in general. When this might occur isn’t evident. The “25th Anniversary Project” was announced in January of 2017. At that time they teased new episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal which eventually came out as Sailor Moon Crystal’s 3rd season. Prior to this the 20th anniversary event took place in July of 2012. It was at this event that Sailor Moon Crystal was originally announced. Based on this it seems likely that Sailor Moon’s official “30th Anniversary” would be celebrated in Japan in the year 2022, which is the year in which the Sailor Moon anime originally aired. The first episode of the series aired on Japanese television March 7th 1992. There’s more value for the franchise to expand the event beyond any since day to the entire year or, as we’ve seen, an ongoing five year long celebration.

Sailor Moon 25th Anniversary project

We are all anxious to hear confirmation of a Stars arc of Sailor Moon Crystal and I do hope this will be announced in the next few months. Considering that we are approaching ten years since the series was first announced and that we’ve had four story arcs over this decade, patience is certainly warranted. We deal in months and years, not days and weeks, when it comes to Sailor Moon Crystal news! It’s likely we’ll have the manga’s story wrapped up before the 35th anniversary at this pace, but I wouldn’t bet on much more than that!

Sailor Moon 20th anniversary logo

The next time you run into someone who’s under 30 just remember that when they were born Sailor Moon already existed.

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 133 - Chibiusa is an old lonely cat lady watching Sailor Moon

What’s your bet for when a new season will be announced and when we might see it? I’m thinking teased in January along with a 30th anniversary logo, confirmed at an event for Usagi’s birthday in the summer and released in 2023! This is just a guess on my part. Perhaps I’m being optimistic!

A new board game, Sailor Moon Imposterous, is coming from Dyskami Publishing in January

Sailor Moon Imposterous board gameSailor Moon Imposterous board game

Update 2021-12-15: Dyskami Publishing has mentioned via Twitter that the game has been delayed a few months due to supply chain issues so we should not expect it by January 31st. They have also mentioned that the game play is similar to that of Hive Mind by Calliope Games.

A new Sailor Moon Crystal board game is coming from Dyskami Publishing. The game, called Sailor Moon Imposterous, is listed on the Right Stuf web site with a release date of January 31st 2022. Despite this listing which includes box art the game has not yet been announced on the Dyskami web site or any of their social media pages.

MSRP for the game appears to be $39.95 US. From the description and box we can see that this game is based on Sailor Moon Crystal Season III, even though the Sailor Moon Eternal films have been released since Dyskami last released a Sailor Moon game. The following details are available from the manufacturer:

About Sailor Moon Imposterous Game
Sailor Moon Imposterous is a game for 3-12 players with approximately 30-60 minutes of game play per round.

The Deathbusters have captured someone from the Sailor Guardians team and replaced them with a Daimon imposter! Fortunately, Luna and Artemis discovered their evil plot and now everyone must work together to identify the pretender. By asking the characters a series of questions and then comparing the answers for ones that don’t align with the rest of the group, the cats can unmask the imposter and direct the rescue of the captured team-mate before it’s too late.

Details
Publisher: JAPANIME GAMES
Media: RPG/Board Games
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Themes: Battles, Magical Girl
Age Rating: 10+
Release Date: 1/31/2022
Dimensional Weight: 4

It’s hard to tell any specifics about the gameplay from that summary. Let’s hope that Dyskami Publishing releases more details about this game prior to its release.

Dyskami previously released the Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge game in 2018 and the Sailor Moon Crystal Truth or Bluff game in 2019. I was quite happy with both of those releases from the company and look forward to getting this new game. As the company is based in Canada I hope to be able to order directly from them as was an option in the past.

Do you plan on picking this game up? What did you think of the other Sailor Moon Crystal games by Dyskami?

Source: Right Stuf via Sailor Moon Fan Network

The Princess Kaguya’s Lover musical will be available to stream with English subtitles starting December 10th

Musical Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon - Princess Kaguya's Lover Poster

Great news for Sailor Moon fans who read English! If you’re reading this site “That means you”! The most recent Sailor Moon musical, Princess Kaguya’s Lover, will soon be streaming for international audiences with English subtitles by Japan 2.5D Stage Play World! Fans who missed seeing the Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical earlier this year will also have a chance to stream that musical. This will take place between December 10th and February 3rd with a $20 ticket (plus a $2 service fee) allowing access to stream the new musical for a period of up to two weeks. While previously this type of event was streamed live with the option to watch for 24 hours afterwards, this new event should be better for those hoping to watch the stream more than once.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Lover of Princess Kaguya musical

The full name of the musical being used for this event is “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Musical -Kaguya Hime’s Beloved-” where “Kaguya Hime” means simply “Princess Kaguya”. Japan 2.5D Stage Play World will also be streaming the Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical, previously streamed on the service in August of this year, two Naruto musicals and a My Hero Academia musical. The streams will be available for periods of two weeks. Whenever someone buys a ticket during this period they will only have access to it for the remainder of that period. If you buy your ticket ahead of time you’ll have it for the whole period but if you buy it late you may only have it for a day or two so plan ahead. The two week periods are as follows:

1st: December 10 (Fri) – December 23 (Thu)
2nd: December 24 (Fri) – January 6 (Thu)
3rd: January 7 (Fri) – January 20 (Thu)
4th: January 21 (Fri) – February 3 (Thu)
All in Japan Standard Time

You can buy your tickets now. I’ve already gotten mine for the first period.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon 2019 musical poster

Having streamed the Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical in August I have some idea of how this system will work. The stream is supported through a web browser on a computer or mobile device so I personally connected my laptop to my TV via HDMI though watching directly on a smaller screen is also an option. For the last event I watched it live at the specific advertised time as it would only be available to rewatch after the musical was completed. For this new event it seems like you should be able to stream it any time during that two week period.

Shut Up and Take My Money

Fans of the Sailor Moon musicals who would like to see more events like this should certainly consider getting tickets for this event. This would surely encourage Japan 2.5D Stage Play World to do similar events in the future. Fans have been able to watch earlier musicals, which never had any release outside of Japan, through fan subs. This hasn’t been an option for the last few musicals for a number of reasons. The case for downloading something which would never be released domestically, even if technically illegal, is something fans have justified in the past. This argument is no longer valid as we now have a company which is making these available to us. Those of us with the means to do so now have a way to support this official release. Tickets aren’t cheap for what is essentially a digital rental but it’s certainly reasonable considering this is a fairly niche interest and the alternatives are flying to Japan to see the musical or importing a Japanese home video release which has no English subtitles for a lot more money!

Tuxedo Mask dressed as Santa Claus - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - Sailor Moon S The Movie

Will you be streaming this musical? If so, what period will you be getting tickets for? It is certainly fitting that fans will have the option to watch this musical during the Christmas season!

The Sailor Moon R, S and SuperS movies are now available to watch for free on YouTube

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Princess Serenity

Great news for cheap American Sailor Moon fans! All three of the original 1990s Sailor Moon films are now available to watch for free on YouTube! This includes Sailor Moon R The Movie, Sailor Moon S The Movie and the not so conveniently named Sailor Moon SuperS: The Nine Sailor Guardians Unite! Miracle of the Black Dream Hole. Great … if you happen to live somewhere where you can watch it. I don’t. The movies are blocked in Canada and likely all countries outside of the United States of America.

Sailor Moon S The Movie - Human Luna

But wasn’t the R Movie already on YouTube, you may ask? Well yes indeed. Sailor Moon R The Movie was uploaded to YouTube nearly two years ago on December 13th 2019, around the same time it was added to Crunchyroll. The two other films, however, were added only recently with Sailor Moon S The Movie being added on October 22nd of this year and the SuperS film being added just this past Friday on November 5th.

Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie - Perle, Chibiusa and Diana

With TV and streaming I’ve gotten the impression over the years that although a lot of fans had seen a lot of the Sailor Moon anime many people hadn’t seen the films. These were generally something someone would have to pay to watch. The films did air on TV occasionally but not as often as the series. Now fans have no excuse not to watch the films!

Of course this still leaves some of us without the free option. If you’re looking to pick up the Blu-Rays of the films I would certainly recommend them. The quality is great. If you buy them through these Amazon links you will be supporting the site. The R Movie is only $9.99 right now which is quite a bargain. Unfortunately the S Movie is not currently available from Amazon but can be obtained from resellers. The SuperS film is also quite affordable at $15.99. Of course if you’re ordering from the US Amazon you are part of the audience that watch the movies for free so check out your local retailers. Amazon Canada has all three movies for a pretty good price.

Here’s more information on the planned Sailor V anime series

Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art book - Sailor V characters

Earlier this week I posted about some newly unearthed images which appear to be art from the original planned Sailor V anime series which was ultimately retooled as the Sailor Moon anime we all known and love. I mentioned a few character names but wasn’t sure where those had come from. Twitter user @MinakoMoments posted a couple of images and their translations which are the source of a lot of the older information around about these. While these looked familiar I had obviously missed out on this information. These are from the Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art book, which is a very rare book showing a lot of images of characters from Sailor Moon drawn by other artists and people involved with the series. These images looked familiar to me because I have this book but as I don’t read Japanese I assumed these were simply early designs for Rei, Makoto and Ami. While this is technically true, these are actually Miyabi, Mamoru and Hikaru from the planned Sailor V anime!

Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art book - Sailor V information

Based on the resolution it looks like the Japanese originals from those pages in question come from the Three Lights dot net scans of the Infinity art book. The translation is attributed to a friend of the @MinakoMoments account’s poster @switchpoint. Some of the details from this image were mentioned in yesterday’s article but there’s a bit more here that we can dig into. While I fully realize this may be old news to many this was new to me so I’m sharing it here for the benefit of others who may not have known the specifics before. Close up photos were taken from my copy of the Infinity art book.

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Amano Gurikazu

At the top of the page is Amano. He was the Umino lookalike from Codename Sailor V. Perhaps I’m saying this wrong. Umino looks like Amano much like Ami looks like Hikaru, not the other way around. Those characters came first and Sailor Moon’s characters came afterwards. It is mentioned that Amano looks handsome when he took his glasses off. In the Masquerade Dance Party chapter of the Sailor Moon manga when Princess D is found to be beautiful behind her googly glasses the girls speculate that Umino must similarly be handsome behind his. Amano seems to resemble Umino in this way as well!

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Minako

Minako is presented more or less as she is in Codename Sailor V and Sailor Moon with some minor differences. She, along with a few others characters, is 15. Minako was only 13 at the start of Codename Sailor V while Usagi and the other girls are 14 at the start of the Sailor Moon manga and anime series. The plan seemed to have been to age them up a bit for this series. This would put them all in high school, which is something which doesn’t occur until the Dream Arc of the Sailor Moon manga and the Sailor Stars season of the anime. Note that the crescent moon on Minako’s forehead is upside down compared to what we see in Codename Sailor V and Sailor Moon. She looks like a member of the Black Moon clan! In her character description it’s mentioned that she has no specific ability besides her super powers, which is a big difference in this story as her friends do not actually transform. They use their worldly and otherworldly gifts to assist Sailor V. It says that Minako’s special skill is love! She really was the Usagi of this series. It seems that Minako was retooled as Usagi but then was herself brought back into the series as another character, so it’s no surprise that the two characters share some similarities.

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Miyabi Yoronu

Next up is Miyabi Yoronu. In my previous article I called her a Rei like character but now I see that she’s had a real name all along! The image seen through the page I mentioned is in fact this image of Miyabi. She uses a scroll with Rei’s catchphrase “Akuryou Taisan”, an incantation used to exercise evil spirits. That Miyabi had supernatural powers that weren’t related to being a Sailor Guardian is an interesting explanation for why Rei has powers that seem to be completely unrelated to her being Sailor Mars. The character she was adapted from needed these powers because she didn’t actually transform!

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Mamoru Chino

Mamoru Chino is not actually related to Mamoru Chiba in any way but by name. This character was clearly later adapted into Makoto Kino. This image of her smoking is why many people were mentioning that she smoked. She is 17, a full two years older than the other characters, and so she would not be in their class or grade though she would still be at their school as both 15 year olds and 17 year olds are high school aged in Japan. Mamoru is known for being strong, like Makoto, but is referenced as having “herculean strength”. Whether this means she truly had the superhuman strength of demi-god Hercules or not isn’t clear. Regardless she still has super powers! Mamoru has telekinesis, the ability to teleport and ESP (extra sensory perception). She also runs fast, which may simply be a side effect of her super strength. Surprised she doesn’t get out of breath what with her smoking. Surprisingly, Mamoru is associated with the planet Saturn and not Jupiter.

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Hikaru Sorano

Next is Hikaru who is already a character in the Codename Sailor V manga. In this series she was to be the intelligent one which was the obvious inspiration for Ami. In the Sailor V manga Hikaru isn’t mentioned as being particularly brilliant. Though she physically resembles Ami her role was similar to Naru’s as she was simply Minako’s friend and classmate.

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Human Female Artemis

So there were only four girls in this series instead of five? The fifth woman on this page is a female human Artemis! She is credited as “fifth beautiful girl” and is shown nude wearing a tiara adorned with Artemis’s crescent moon. What the exact plan was for this gender bending male cat who transformed into a a female human isn’t clear. Perhaps Artemis was meant to be female in this series? It is mentioned in the Codename Sailor V manga that Artemis is a woman’s name, though this seemed to be intended as a joke.

A Sailor V Manga Ad featuring Usagi as Sailor V with Artemis

One other odd piece is this ad for the Sailor V Manga where it appears that Usagi is the one dressed as Sailor V along with a white cat, presumably Artemis. This ad was published though by the time the manga it advertised was out, it was quite different than what was in the ad.

Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art book - Sailor V information

So what happened to this series? I believe it was incorrect for me to say that this series was abandoned or scrapped. It’s more accurate to say that Sailor V evolved into Sailor Moon. I’m not privy to all of the behind the scenes decisions but it seems like Codename Sailor V showed promise to be a series. The idea of a girl fighting crime alone was expanded into more of a group show, like we see with these characters who would have helped out Minako. This was in turn further expanded into the girl version of Super Sentai which was Sailor Moon. Minako become Usagi, Hikaru became Ami, Miyabi became Rei, Mamoru became Makoto and then the original Minako became the slightly different Minako. Many of the other elements don’t really map from one series to another. The Dark Agency is not terribly similar to the Dark Kingdom and there wasn’t a real equivalent to Mamoru in Sailor V, though surely some sort of love interest would have popped up eventually. It seems like Sailor Moon, the manga, was made with the intention of it being adapted into an anime series. The Sailor V anime concept was just a step on that path. Wouldn’t it be great if that series had been made? It kind of did, there were just a lot of changes in getting there. The Sailor V anime is like Star Trek with Captain Pike and Number One. Sailor Moon is what we got after the idea evolved a bit.

Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art book - Sailor V characters

Kazuko Tadano and Hiromi Matsushita from the Sailor Moon anime

Some images appear to be from a Sailor V anime that was almost made before Sailor Moon

Sailor V anime - Sailor V, Minako and Artemis

Some very interesting images surfaced online last week and started making the rounds in the Sailor Moon fan community yesterday, October 3rd. The earliest sign of these I could find were a series of Tweets from user @ayumikapimofu who posted a number of photos of a “new program plan” for both Sailor Moon and Sailor V. The Sailor V program appears to show details for a planned Sailor V anime based on the Codename Sailor V manga. This was in the works before that plan was abandoned in favour of a Sailor Moon anime which eventually became the show which was released in 1992. Along with the booklet featuring Naoko Takeuchi’s art are three colour images which appear to be from a Sailor V anime. These include characters from the Codename Sailor V manga as well as all new characters from this anime.

Sailor V Anime - Sailor V, Mamoru, a Rei clone and Hikaru

What’s in here is really interesting! We have Minako as Sailor V, obviously. Along with her were three girls who didn’t transform themselves, or aren’t shown to do so in these images. The one we know of is Hikaru, a girl who strongly resembles Ami from the Sailor V manga who is Minako’s friend and classmate. We also have a Makoto like character named Mamoru and a Rei like character to round out the group. Although there’s no Usagi equivalent, aside from Minako herself, this more or less resembles the group from the first season of the Sailor Moon anime. The villain seen in this is Ashura, a Jadeite looking character with blue hair. Ashura also resembles Higashi, the Dark Agency’s enemy from the first Sailor V story.

Sailor V anime - Ashura

I also spotted what looks to be the Rei type character seen through the page preceding the image of Hikaru. Messing around with the contrast it looks like she could have a crow on her shoulders. It’s also possible this is Natsuna Sakurada, the Superintendent General of the police who is obsessed with Sailor V. She has similar long black hair to Rei.

Sailor V Program - Is this Rei?

Are these authentic? It’s hard to say. These appear to have originated in a Yahoo! Auctions Japan listing which is no longer online. The art in the book looks like Naoko Takeuchi’s so those documents may be authentic but the colour images seem to be something else and their origin is not clear at all. These don’t look like some sort of concept art but rather high quality images from never before seen finished footage which I’ve never heard of, so this does strike me as a bit suspicious. Could there have been actual animation for this made and hidden for nearly 30 years? Perhaps these were just colour mock ups made in the style of what the finished animation might look like, even if no full scenes were animated. Alternatively a fan have made this art themselves inspired by the content of this booklet which is more or less a show Bible. The art style very much resembles that of an early 90s anime! I’m not able to make a definitive call one way or another. It seems plausible this is authentic, but that doesn’t mean it certainly is.

Sailor V Anime Program Plan - Index page

What’s next? Hopefully whoever buys this thing ends up scanning this or at least getting some better photos of it and then someone can do a good job of translating some of this text. If there’s more art where this came from I would love to see it but if it took nearly 30 years for this to surface new information about this series may be as elusive as the Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon pilot! I’ll be sure to post any more information about this if I get any!

Sources:

I first heard about this on the moonsisters.org Facebook page which includes some decent images.

The earliest images I found were posted on Twitter on September 25th. These included an image of “new program plans” for Sailor Moon and Sailor V, the first page of the Sailor V program, a manga image from RunRun, a colour image of Sailor V, Minako and Artemis, the group image of Sailor V, Mamoru, a Rei like character and Hikaru, an image of Ashura, Naoko Takeuchi’s illustration of Ashura, a photo of all three anime images, a post with many images including the Sailor V program index which hadn’t been posted separately.

Keep reading for more images from this book.

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