At long last Sailor Moon fans in the United States can now see the Sailor Starlights in a legal release! This week on Hulu and Neon Alley‘s new episodes of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars we get to see the Sailor Starlights Sailor Star Fighter, Maker and Healer, also known as the Three Light Seiya, Taiki and Yaten. But first we must wrap up this short 6 episode arc and close the story of Nehelenia. Many have noticed that I’m often negative in my reviews so I will just say that this week we are getting two absolutely fantastic episodes of the series. Now let me talk about these wonderful episodes as I complain about little problems I have with them.
Episode 172, Moon Power of Love: The Nightmare Ends, is the last in this mini arc that we are starting out the Sailor Stars season with. The main focus here is on Sailor Chibi Moon and Sailor Saturn. For some reason Sailor Chibi Moon is disappearing. This is somewhat like how Marty McFly was disappearing while time traveling when it looked like his parents weren’t going to get together. This is nonsense in a time travel movie and is double nonsense here. Time travel isn’t involved. Nehelenia does not come from the future and is not affected by time travel. Galaxia, who we will learn is the one that released Nehelenia, is also not traveling through time. Many things have threatened Mamoru and Sailor Moon but they don’t generally result in this Marty McFlying of Chibiusa. Beyond this time travel is not used to resolve the situation and to save Chibiusa either. Whatever. This episode isn’t about Chibiusa McFly. It’s all about Sailor Saturn being awesome! Sailor Saturn appears so late in Sailor Moon S that we don’t get much of a look at her. She is gone for SuperS and although she will be around for this season, she actually doesn’t get much screen time. She never actually gets a transformation sequence or any stock footage attacks. She does manage to use two moves in this episode. First she uses the Silence Wall to block Nehelenia’s attack. She then uses Silence Glaive Surprise which, in the Manga, just makes mist, but here it seems to be much more important. It releases a massive amount of energy even though it is blocked by Sailor Chibi Moon so that it isn’t completed. The insinuation seems to be that this attack would destroy Sailor Saturn and Nehelenia if used to completion.
Finally Usagi shows up after climbing through a bunch of rose bushes. She takes pity on Nehelenia. This is what Sailor Moon is about! This is how Sailor Moon SuperS should have ended. Nehelenia is evil, sure, but she has a rich back story where we can see her as young and innocent and then corrupted. Usagi and her friends feel her pain and this is something which hurts her much more than hostility would. In the Sailor Moon Manga the Sailor Guardians kill the bad guys. In the Sailor Moon Anime they use compassion to find non violent solutions to their problems and this is what I love about the anime. This all works out well. Mamoru is healed, Sailor Chibi Moon returns and sticks around until the end of the episode only. Young Nehelenia is seen waking up from what seems like a bad dream. It’s not clear exactly what her fate is. Either there is some sort of reboot or she’s trapped in a dream of an ideal world, possibly not unlike death. Whatever it’s all good.
I must stop for a moment to discuss what isn’t happening now. Chibiusa leaves at some point and isn’t seen again for most of the season. This is done without any fanfare. I mentioned in my thoughts on episode 167 that her fake leaving should have been retooled as a better departure either at the end of 172 or the beginning of 173. Either place would have been fine. As the final insult when I grabbed my Japanese R2 DVD for Sailor Stars volume 2 to get screenshots of episode 173 it has Sailor Chibi Moon and Sailor Saturn on the cover. Nonsense! Chibiusa is not on this disk at all, which includes episodes 173 to 178. The original laserdisc containing this same image contained episodes 171 to 174, and so it included the majorly Sailor Saturn and Sailor Chibi Moon centric episode which this refers to. So I am sad to see Chibiusa leave, even though I understand why she is gone and the story of the season works best without Usagi having her family around, but it is still an unfortunate departure from the manga, where all 10 Sailor Guardians are present throughout.
Finally we get to episodes 173, Farewells and Encounters: the Transitioning Stars of Destiny. We open with a look at the new idol group the Three Lights! It seems everyone is a fan. Minako and Makoto like Seiya. Rei likes Yaten. Ami likes Taiki. Usagi doesn’t seem to know anything about them and is instead preoccupied with the fact that Mamoru is leaving for America. No only did Chibiusa leave between episodes, but her boyfriend is going too! At the airport Mamoru gives her a ring and puts it on her ring finger. He does not flat out ask her to marry him but the symbolism of the ring and its placements is essentially a marriage proposal. The two kiss in the airport as strangers walk by. A North American audience may not find this noteable but in Japan kissing in public is uncommon, which is why it will often seem important for characters to verify that they are alone before they kiss. This public gesture demonstrates the strength of their feelings for one another. Mamoru leaves in this episode, and there is a strange light seen outside of his plane. We won’t learn until much later what that is specifically about. For Usagi, Mamoru has gone to America to study.
As Mamoru leaves, Seiya enters. It’s not even a little bit subtle and it isn’t supposed to be. Even while they are still at the airport the Three Lights arrive, and so Usagi’s potential love interest Seiya enters her life. As he crosses Usagi he senses something about her. The target for this episode is an actress Alice, who is doing a movie with the Three Lights. This puts Usagi once again in Seiya’s presence. She doesn’t know who he is and assumes he is trying to pick her up by suggesting she should. The combat starts and we see one of my favourite villains of the series, Sailor Iron Mouse. She is one of the Sailor Animamates, the Sailor Guardians who work for Galaxia. Sailor Iron Mouse extracts a Star Seed from Alice but it isn’t a True Star Seed so it’s just like a Mirror of Dreams that isn’t Golden or a Heart Crystal that isn’t a Talisman. The Sailor Starlights show up and fight alongside Sailor Moon. For no real reason Usagi decides not to tell her friends about this encounter.
A note on gender. Things get a bit complicated when it comes to the Three Lights and the Sailor Starlights. In the manga they are women who dress as men when they are the Three Lights. In the anime they are men in their civilian forms and women in the Sailor Guardian forms. We can debate weather they are originally or truly men or women. I tend to feel that their true forms are their Sailor Guardian selves and that the Three Light male identities are their disguise. This does not really matter at the end of the day, as gender is fairly fluid in this series, with sexual preference being an independent vector to gender. They are who they are, they love who they love and they are loved by whoever loves them, regardless of their gender. All said I will refer to the Three Light with masculine pronouns and the Sailor Starlights with feminine pronouns.
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I know that most of the original series is filler, but with the last three seasons I feel like the filler got really too repetitive. At least with the first two seasons, they changed things up a bit, with Rainbow Crystals and searches for Sailor Moon’s identity, time travel and even an original arc. Despite the Nehelenia arc in Sailor Stars, it feels like they just decided, “Eh, we’ll keep the same formula going from now on: a new villain looking for a needle in a haystack, new allies appear as well, villains die or are redeemed after a while, and then the last five or six episodes are big stuff.” Talk about annoying.
I agree. I liked Stars for the most part but I also hated how much of the Starlights were in there. To me, they weren’t really all that interesting until the end and didn’t add all that much. I’d rather have had more focus on all 10 Senshis finally being together again and focus on the Animamates as they were truly some unique villains that could have had some awesome backstory and plot shown.
You know, Naoko Takeuchi really hated Sailor Stars. While she could tolerate some of the changes the anime made, this season went a little too far for her. Just watching it, you can see why.
I personally felt like SuperS and Stars really dropped the ball, they tossed out so much important story and really felt unfulfilled.
I still love them though.
I never heard that Naoko Takeuchi didn’t like Stars, that’s interesting, but like you said, I don’t blame her. And I agree about Super S and Stars dropping the ball. Of course I loved them, but I really don’t understand why they changed the story so much and really watered it down. I’ll never understand how they could take out the outers from SuperS after such a rich and detailed story in S. It just seemed like it was a repetitive plot line with the monster of the day in SuperS, like the first season all over again.
I agree. Stars and SuperS were really seasons that dropped the ball in a good season. Stars had too much focus on idiotic stuff like the 3 lights and random stuff. I think Toei ran out of filler ideas and went with whatever. Reusing the music theme hundreds of times. There were so many missed opportunities. Chibiusa had a great interaction with Hotaru in the stars arc. And considering Hotaru was brought back, I don’t see why Chibiusa was cut out of the main chunck of the season. Yes we get it, to show Usagi without her family. I’m sorry but even in stars we didn’t see Usagi sad until like the last 10 episodes. Other than that she was cheery so I saw no point in cutting Chibiusa. Oh yeah and the outers barely appear at all. It pisses me off that out of over 30 episodes the outers didn’t get a single one dedicated to them. Mako got 0 episodes about her alone. But the 3 lights get like 92798 episodes. I find it sad Toei cut out so many sailor animates and so much story because they wanted to show the 3 lights in every single episode. SuperS wasnt as bad. At least not every episode was about Chibiusa. Though it has a similar issue. They cut lots of story and opportunities in that season as well. Chibiusa was there too much to the point it was like the whole 3 lights issue. I don’t like the changes Toei made. It could have been better than what we got. To me the manga really showed how mature Usagi was in the final arc. Anime barely showed shit. She still was a cry baby, she still was childish, she still was the same. Yes I liked the seasons but only to a point. Toei really dropped the ball in what could have been. They did the first 3 seasons fine but definitely failed at executing the proper story structure and development it should of in the final 2 seasons. Overall I prefer Classic, R, and S more than SuperS and Stars.
Good riddance, Sailor Mini Moon, and Tuxedo Mask. I never liked him. In the first season in DIC, he always called her meatball head.
Since in the anime (and even the manga) the Three Lights are referred to as masculine and the Starlights as feminine, I think you are perfectly correct in doing so.
We will never see Chibiusa interact with Setsuna or Hotaru. It’s sad!
Cheer up, we might see it in Crystal in the future. You never know.
I think the Silence Glaive Surprise here is the attack Saturn uses to destroy worlds and she planned to do just that then but Chibi Moon stopped her
great review! “Now let me talk about these wonderful episodes as I complain about little problems I have with them.” you had me crackin up with that bit. i enjoy all of your reviews and the negatives have always opened my eyes towards things i never really analyzed before, keep up the great work brotha [insert peace sign emoji here]
I never understood why the Sailor Starlights’ gender fluidity was such a big deal that kept it from being released in the U.S. for such a long time. Disney’s Mulan featured Mulan crossdressing as a guy to keep her grandfather safe and she was even in a romantic relationship with a guy who thought she was a guy at the time. But Mulan’s crossdressing was never a huge deal for American families and in fact Mulan is highly regarded as a beloved classic and Disney is even remaking it now. The double standards for anime is absurd and it seems like the decision to ban Sailor Stars the first time around was motivated by transphobia.
why cant i find any dub websites with sailor moon stars i dont wanna watch subbed i want english dubbed cruel world we live in
How is it cruel? Sailor Stars was never dubbed and you can only watch subbed! You should watch the original to see what this is all really about, what Usagi actually is not the crappy version dub pushes us
For the time-travel – it was in the manga too that future Usagi and Mamoru were affected in Stars where they got stolen Crystals. They were affected by Black Moon when Usagi faced them in past. This Crystal Tokyo future takes place only AFTER Beryl and BEFORE all other villains. Chibiusa travelling to the past changed it all. This is the reason Death Busters and Nehelenia and even Galaxia attacked – Chibiusa time-travelling and messing things up. So when Nehelenia kidnapped Mamo-chan she had him completely under her spell and the way things were going Mamoru was with Nehelenia and he wouldn’t ever again be with Usagi so Chibiusa won’t be born
HELP. Is Kou Seiya and other Sailor Stars gonna be at the new version of Sailor Moon (2016). i did searched it, and i’m not content of the answers that i searched. please help me?
Why can’t the united states have the sailor moon stars in English please would like to be able to watch with out having to read subtitles