Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie has the same plot as The Matrix

Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie and The Matrix - Dream coffins are basically The Matrix

A few weeks ago I was rewatching the 1999 hit film “The Matrix” and I came to a realization that I somehow hadn’t before. The Matrix and the 1995 animated film Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie have basically the same story. Both movies’ villains have a massive farm of humans stuck in a simulated reality for the purpose of enslaving them and draining their energy for their own purpose.

The Matrix - Pods of humans

In The Matrix a bunch of robots which have captured all of the people of Earth to have them living in pods which plug them into a complex computer simulation, called the Matrix, which exists just to keep people occupied while they are used as a power source to keep the machines running. I’m still not sure why they didn’t populate it with cows.

Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie - Children in Dream Coffins

In Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie the villain Badiane kidnaps the world’s children by the boatload and puts them into these pod like Dream Coffins where they sleep forever in a simulated reality, their dreams. Marzipan Castle appears to be a futuristic spaceship with metallic walls which look like large computer circuit boards. Badiane uses the children as a power source for her Black Dream Hole by extracting their Sugar Energy, which grows inside of children’s dreams, from them. Her plan is to envelop the Earth into her Black Dream Hole, placing all of the humans into Dream Coffins. In the case of this movie it seems likely that cow and calf dreams do not generate Sugar Energy.

Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie - Marzipan Castle

Elements of choice and happiness come into both films. In The Matrix we learn from Agent Smith that an original incarnation of The Matrix simulation was a paradise but that this didn’t work. Humans rejected this reality and kept trying to wake up from it.

Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie - Usagi choses reality

In Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie, when Sailor Moon enters the Black Dream Hole she goes into a seemingly perfect dream world where she can be alone with Mamoru. When things appear too good to be true she asks him if she is more important to him than Chibiusa. When he chooses her she knows that it’s an illusion and, like Neo being freed from the Matrix, breaks out of her Dream Coffin. Sailor Moon does the equivalent of choosing the Red Pill, a symbol of the truth, to escape her simulated reality, rather than remaining blissfully ignorant like Cypher eating his delicious simulated steak. For her like those early crops of humans a paradise may seem like what she wants but she just doesn’t believe it.

Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie and The Matrix - Usagi and Neo escape The Matrix

The similarities seems obvious with a little thought, but is it just a coincidence or is there some inspiration at play? The Matrix, released in 1999, was a tremendous influence on decades of movies which followed it to the point where what was groundbreaking at the time seems standard upon repeated viewings since this is what so many films look like these days. But Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie was released in 1995, a whole 4 years before the Matrix. The Wachowskis are huge anime fans with Ghost in the Shell, released in 1996, being their most obvious influence. There was certainly enough time for them to have seen and drawn inspiration from the film. Though the English dubbed version of the film wasn’t out until years later many anime fans had seen the film not long after its Japanese release.

Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie - The Sailor Guardians in a simulated reality

While I’m sure one could splice together clips of the film and present a compelling conspiracy theory for why The Wachowskis absolutely ripped off this movie, I don’t think this one is guaranteed. It’s possible and the timeline would work out, but given we don’t have any specific indication that either Lana or Lilly Wachowski were Sailor Moon fans I’m willing to accept that this may be a coincidence. Stories of simulated realities had existed before in science fiction stories and I don’t pretend that everything that was similar to something which came before it was necessarily an homage or rip off.

Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie - Badiane

The Matrix and Sailor Moon SuperS The Nine Sailor Soldiers Gather! The Miracle of The Black Dream Hole are both great films with a great science concept at their core. Do you think the similarities are more than chance?

Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie - Agents

Agents Banane, Poupelin and Orangeat?

Sailor Moon R The Movie screening impressions

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Envelope and contents

This past Wednesday, March 1st 2017, I was lucky enough to see Sailor Moon R The Movie in theatres. I consider myself lucky for many reasons! For one I was lucky enough to live in a city in which the film was playing but more importantly to me because this was something I’d wanted to do for decades. I always hoped I would be able to see this, one of my all time favourite movies, on the big screen but as a Sailor Moon fan in the 90s this never seemed realistic. Because of this I am thankful that Viz Media and Eleven Arts brought this movie to select theatres for these special screenings. A lot of additional showtimes have been added for many Canadian cities. Fans should check out the Cineplex site for more information if they’re looking to watch it or watch it again.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Envelope

I saw the film at South Keys movie theatre in Ottawa. This was the theatre I spent the most time at as a teenager, in the years when I first watched Sailor Moon, as I would see one or two movies a week here for a number of years. There was no end to my nostalgia last night! As I entered the theatre I was given a gift of an envelope with a postcard sized card inside. Mine featured Sailor Moon, though there were also some featuring Sailor Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus. This was a nice touch as fans could be heard chatting about who they’d gotten, who they wanted and looking for people to trade. My girlfriend and myself both got Sailor Moon, as did many people around us, which makes me suspect that perhaps these weren’t shuffled or randomized terribly well. The envelope also contained a few ads. The ad for the manga featured an image of volume 12 of the recent manga release. The ad for the Sailor Moon R The Movie home video release also had an ad for the TV series Blu-Ray and DVD releases on the back.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Sailor Moon Card

The event itself was billed at being 90 minutes long, which didn’t ad up for an hour long movie and short special, but a bonus featurette filled out the time. Before the film the audience was presented with an interview with three of the actors from the film. Stephanie Sheh, the voice of Sailor Moon, Robbie Daymond, the voice of Tuxedo Mask, and Ben Diskin, the voice of Fiore, answered questions about the film. One oddity about the interview was that the voice actors called Fiore “Fiole” despite it clearly being pronounced Fiore throughout this English dubbed version of the film. Sure the R and L sound are interchangeable in Japanese but Fiore is the Italian word for flower which seems to be its meaning. Though I’ve seen this film some 50 times the occasional spoilers from this interview didn’t bother me, but I wondered if everyone else in the theatre felt the same. Audience reactions from some twists in the film made me think some of them may not have seen it before. Sailor Moon played on TV a lot back in the 90s here in Canada but the films were released a few years after the theatrical run. Though I’ve seen them play on TV they would have been more readily available to viewers on home video, so it seems likely that more casual fans or those that didn’t follow the show much after it was on TV may not have gone out of their way to see this film before last night. Overall the interview was nice and had some decent insight, but I’m not sure playing it before the feature was the best idea.

Make Up! Sailor Senshi - Chibiusa and Usagi at the Dam Dam Hamburger and Coffee Restaurant

Next was the “Make Up! Sailor Guardians” special which originally played with Sailor Moon R The Movie in Japan. This had not previously been released domestically so it is likely that many fans hadn’t seen it before. I’d seen it on the Japanese DVD release and fan subs so I was familiar with the dialogue and it seemed to be mostly accurate to the dub. This special is a series of clips from the series featuring the various Sailor Guardians inter spliced with footage of two girls at a cafe who are chatting near Chibiusa and Usagi. It’s funny because Chibiusa is on a poster behind them and they don’t really seem to notice. The quality of this film was great, despite using visuals from the TV series which were never intended to be seen on the big screen.

Sailor Moon R: The Movie - Mamoru and Fiore

Finally there was the main feature, Sailor Moon R The Movie. The film itself is fantastic, a story of Mamoru’s childhood friend who’s being manipulated by a magical and evil flower into doing all sorts of terrible thing. It’s full of action and drama and to me represents the Sailor Moon anime at its finest, keying in on elements which make the show what it is. It showcases Usagi’s strength, which is her ability to be a true friend and to save those around her from loneliness. I wasn’t sure what to expect as video quality goes. The video releases of the original Sailor Moon series have pretty marginal quality, but this film is nothing like that. The presentation was likely using some sort of HD video projector, likely with a 1080p Blu-Ray equivalent source. I’ve seen this movie a number of times on the Japanese DVD release, which had previously been the best quality transfer of this film, and the level of detail I could see on the screen was far beyond anything I’d seen before of Sailor Moon. The quality of the lines and small bits of animation showed me detail that was drastically better than the DVD version. It seems like this was an HD transfer of the original film source that had likely gone through some remastering work as opposed to a software upscale of a standard definition source like we’ve seen for the TV series. This is promising for the Blu-Ray release which is currently planned for April 18th.

Tuxedo Mask Kisses a dead Sailor Moon in the Sailor Moon R Movie

All in all seeing a Sailor Moon movie in theatres was a wonderful experience for a Sailor Moon fan and aside from the volume being a bit loud I though the whole event was handled quite well. I sincerely hope that there was enough fan interest that Viz and Eleven Arts are planning to do something similar with the Sailor Moon S and SuperS movies. Considering the turn out and extra showings which were added I am optimistic that we will be seeing Human Luna and Perle (Peruru?) on the big screen over the next couple of years.

What was your experience like watching the film?

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Chris Wiggins, Sailor Moon’s narrator and the voice of Mr. Baxter, has died at age 87

Chris Wiggins

I am sad to report that Chris Wiggins, a voice actor from the original English dub of the Sailor Moon anime, has died at age 87. He passed away on February 19th after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The provided the voice of Mr. Baxter from the episode “An Unnatural Phenomenon”. Mr. Baxter was a mild mannered gardener turned ecoterrorist thanks to Nephlite’s influence. He also voiced the narration included at the beginning of the first episode and episode 41. This first narration, added for the dubbed English version, provided excessive spoilers for the upcoming season including the identity of the Moon Princess and Prince Darien as well as the specific fate of the Moon Kingdom.

Sailor Moon episode 15 - Ami and Mr. Baxter

Aside from his brief work on Sailor Moon Chris Wiggins also had a lengthy resume. As a fellow Canadian the roles I knew him best for were Chief Quimby from Inspector Gadget and No Heart from Care Bears. His obituary can be found in The Toronto Star. He will be missed by fans around the world.

The Sailor Moon Amour Eternal musical will be performed at Anime Matsuri in Houston in April

Sailor Moon Amour Eternal poster for Anime Matsuri

The first ever North American performance of a Sailor Moon musical will be taking place in Houston Texas during the Anime Matsuri convention in April. The news of this special performance of the Sailor Moon Amour Eternal musical was posted on the official Sailor Moon site and Anime Matsuri site last month. The specific date of the musical performance has not yet been announced but it will be during the convention weekend which takes place from April 7th to the 9th at the George R. Brown convention centre in downtown Houston, Texas. This may be a slightly modified version of the musical as the entire cast will not be present. At this time only the Sailor Guardians and Tuxedo Mask, with the exclusion of Chibiusa, will be in attendance. Notice that the poster specifically made for this event features all regular cast members but Airi Kanda who plays Chibiusa.

Fumio Osano aka Osabu aka Osa-P

In addition to the musical there will be many Sailor Moon themed guests. This includes Fumio Osano, Osabu, who is best known as the editor of the Sailor Moon manga. Also appearing are voice actors from the English versions of Sailor Moon Crystal and Viz’s new dub of the original Sailor Moon anime Cristina Vee, who plays Sailor Mars, and Christine Cabanos, who plays Sailor Saturn.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Amour Eternal Musical - The Sailor Team

Confirmed guests for the musical are Hotaru Nomoto, Sailor Moon, Yume Takeuchi, Sailor Mercury, Karen Kobayashi, Sailor Mars, Kaede, Sailor Jupiter, Rimo Hasegawa, Sailor Venus,
Syu Shiotsuki, Sailor Uranus, Sayaka Fujioka, Sailor Neptune, Mikako Ishii, Sailor Pluto, Karin Takahashi, Sailor Saturn, and Yuga Yamato, Tuxedo Mask. Also attending are dancers Risa Kawamura, Yoshimi Hidano, Ayano Nagasawa and Ayumi Sagisaka.

These Canadian theatres will be screening Sailor Moon R The Movie on March 1st

Sailor Moon R The Movie on DVD

Great news for Canadian Sailor Moon fans! We’ve gotten confirmation that Sailor Moon R The Movie will be playing in Cineplex theatres on March 1st at 7pm in theatres across the country. At this point there are showings in Ottawa, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Halifax, Sydney, Winnipeg, Calgary and Burnaby. You can search to see if your city is playing the film by checking out the Cineplex site.

I had a bit of trouble finding listings for all of Canada so I just messed with the search URL to include every theatre within 5000 km of my city which seems to easily cover the entire country. It is possible that more theatres get listed as March 1st approaches. I can’t find any indication of whether these presentations will be dubbed or subbed, but I think it is likely these will all be English dubbed showings of the film.

I’ve included a list of theatres planning to show the film as of February 6th for your convenience.

Update: Many more cities have been added since I originally posted this list. Check out the Cineplex site to see if your city has showings.

Ottawa, Ontario:

Cineplex Odeon South Keys Cinemas

Toronto, Ontario:

Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas and VIP
Cineplex Cinemas Vaughan
Cineplex Cinemas Queensway and VIP

Niagara Falls, Ontario:

Cineplex Odeon Niagara Square Cinemas

Halifax, Nova Scotia:

Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane

Sydney, Nova Scotia:

Cineplex Cinemas Sydney

Winnipeg, Manitoba:

SilverCity St. Vital Cinemas

Calgary, Alberta:

Cineplex Odeon Sunridge Spectrum Cinemas

Burnaby, British Columbia:

Cineplex Cinemas Metropolis

Sailor Moon R The Movie on Netflix Japan - Endymion and Serenity

Looks like I’m going to be putting my wallet in my front pocket and taking a trip to South Keys! Is the film playing in your town? How far do you plan to travel to see it?

The original Sailor Moon anime is coming to Blu-Ray in Japan starting this summer

Sailor Moon Blu-Ray Collection vol. 1

Great news for completists who want to have Sailor Moon in the best possible quality! The original 90s Sailor Moon anime is coming to Blu-Ray in Japan with the first half of season 1 coming out on June 14th 2017 and the rest of season 1 coming August 9th. These are Japanese language releases with no English audio or subtitles. Following the release of the first season Sailor Moon R and then the 3 movies will be released. These sets won’t be cheap! This first volume, containing episodes 1 to 23, is being sold by Amazon Japan for 15,903 yen, about $140 US. Set 1 and set 2 are also available from CD Japan for $175 US a piece. This is also listed on the Sailor Moon 25th Anniversary page. Why, you might ask, would I buy this set when Viz already released a less expensive Blu-Ray set of the Sailor Moon anime and I can watch these episodes for free in HD on Yahoo! View? Quality! The Viz release didn’t look great and to this date the Japanese region 2 DVD releases remain the gold standard of video quality. Some other international releases have been comparable in quality but nothing released in North America has really been close.

Sailor Moon Blu-Ray Collection vol. 2

The HD version of the original Sailor Moon series has been aired on Japanese TV since April 6th 2015. Unfortunately we shouldn’t expect anything too mind blowing in the way of quality. This won’t look like Sailor Moon Crystal or any other recently made anime series on Blu-Ray. The product description on the Amazon Japan listing and the official site clearly state that the HD video source was upconverted from SD source material, that being a standard definition of 480 lines of horizontal resolution. What this means is that this isn’t a high definition transfer of some analog film source but instead a software upgrade of the source material which had DVD equivalent resolution. This may be a practical consideration. I don’t know if Sailor Moon ever existed on film or if the cels were recorded directly to standard definition video. You can’t get something from nothing. While the software scaling to improve the video will likely appear nicer than anything else we’ve seen, it’s still just software tricks to resize, resample and smooth out the picture, something that TVs and Blu-Ray players are also able to do with a good quality DVD. I don’t expect this video quality to be a significant improvement to the Japanese DVDs that are already on the market, but this is always a bit subjective.

It should be noted that up until now only the first season of Sailor Moon and the movies were ever released in progressive scan (480p). Sailor Moon R, S, SuperS and SailorStars were only ever released in lower quality interlaced video (480i). These releases will almost certainly have gone through a software deinterlacing process which will make them appear nicer on a more modern flat panel display instead of the CRT TVs that were common in the 90s when Sailor Moon was originally produced. The movies may also be of a higher quality if the original film source is used. When the region 2 Japanese DVD releases of the films were released they went back to the film source to create anamorphic widescreen releases rather than using the matted standard definition source material. I’m hopeful that this release, and perhaps even the Sailor Moon R movie Viz will be releasing in April, will have a legitimate high definition transfer.

Sailor Moon episode 1 and Sailor Moon R episode 47 on YouTube

To advertise this, as part of TOEI’s 60th Annivesary, the official Sailor Moon site has announced that fans in Japan can watch the first episodes of Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon R on TOIE’s YouTube channel. These videos, however, are not available to view outside of Japan.

These discs appear to be free of region restrictions, meaning that they will play in any country’s Blu-Ray players. Note that Japanese Blu-Ray coding is a non issue for North Americans who share region A with Japan. The lack of English, however, may be more concerning.

Do any of you moneybags have enough disposable income to justify this purchase? By this summer I’ll be knee deep in diaper and formula bills but I’ll likely still scrounge up the many hundreds needed to buy these sets.

Sailor Moon ages 5 years overnight as we transition from the 20th to the 25th Anniversary

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

On July 6th 2012 there was a live show to celebrate Sailor Moon’s 20th Anniversary. This celebration continued for the following 4 and half years as we continued to celebrate this seemingly never ending anniversary. The Sailor Moon manga was first published on December 28th 1991 with the anime starting on March 7th 1992, which puts us squarely into Sailor Moon’s 25th Anniversary. Last night the Sailor Moon official site, which had been using the 20th Anniversary name and logo on it’s projects up until yesterday, finally embraced the 25th Anniversary. Sorry Anniversaries 21 through 24! You’re never going to happen.

Sailor Moon 20th anniversary logo

Old and busted

The Sailor Moon franchise is worse off than an unfortunate child born on February 29th who’s parents are too cheap to buy streamers and presents on anything but a leap year. How long will the 25th Anniversary celebration last? If the past is any indication it will be until about 2022 when we celebrate the 30th Anniversary perhaps with the final arc of the still ongoing Sailor Moon Crystal anime and some Sailor Moon themed suppositories. Farewell Sailor Moon 20th Anniversary! It was a good five years!

Sailor Moon 25th Anniversary project

New hotness

Sailor Moon R: The Movie is coming to Cineplex theatres in Canada in March

Sailor Moon R: The Movie listed on the Cineplex web site

According to this listing for Sailor Moon R The Movie on the Cineplex site we will be getting Sailor Moon R: The Movie in Canada on March 1st. Since the film was first announced I’ve been anxiously searching for the it on the Cineplex site as they are a major Canadian film distributor who have played anime films in the past. The movie opens in theatres across the US today. You can check out the many cities with showings on the Eleven Arts web site.

Sailor Moon R: The Movie listed on the Cineplex phone app

This is great news for Canadian fans hoping to see the film in theatres prior to it’s April 18th home video release. We don’t have a list of theatres in Canada which will be playing the film at this time but I will be sure to update you with details as we learn them.

The listing includes the following summary:

GENRE

Animation, Anime

CAST

Stephanie Sheh, Robbie Daymond, Ben Diskin

SYNOPSIS

Sailor Moon comes to the big screen in her first dazzling movie! Uncut and for the first time in theaters, Join Sailor Moon on an adventure to save not only the world, but also her true love! This limited engagement also includes the North American debut of the original theatrical short, Make Up! Sailor Guardians and exclusive extras. English dubbed.

Will you be watching the film in theatres if it plays in your city? For those of you living in the US, have you already seen it?

Sailor Moon R: The Movie will be released on video April 18th

Sailor Moon R The Movie on DVD

As Sailor Moon R: The Movie premiered in Los Angeles tonight anime retailer Right Stuf added the film to their online store. The listing, currently only including a DVD option priced at $17.98, lists a release date of April 18th 2017! The film will include Japanese and English audio tracks with English subtitles. For now we only have a promotional image for the cover. (Update: a Blu-Ray DVD combo option has been added to Right Stuf’s web site for $26.98)

The film will be playing in theatres starting next weekend. A full list of theatres can be found on the Eleven Arts web site. If you’re not lucky enough to have the film showing in your city you will still have a chance to see it when it’s released on video in April. Do you plan on picking this release up?

Sailor Moon R: The Movie premieres in Los Angeles tonight and many more theatres will be showing the movie starting next week

Sailor Moon R The Movie Premiere Marquee

Sailor Moon R: The Movie is being screened for the first time in North America tonight. The film’s premiere is in Los Angeles at the Theatre at Ace Hotel. Many more cities will be showing the movie starting next weekend with the first showings on Thursday January 19th. We originally posted a list of theatres which were showing the film. More cities and theatres have since been added to the list which can be found at the Eleven Arts web site. Last time I included a full list in the post but since this is a dynamic list with cities being added every week I would encourage you to visit to page to see if your city has been added.

Sailor Moon R The Movie Silhouette

Sadly there are still no Canadian cities which have announced screenings of the film. I hope this changes soon!