Sailor Moon episodes 39 and 40 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon episode 39 - Makoto skating

The latest episodes of the original Sailor Moon anime, in Japanese with English subtitles by Viz, have been added to Hulu and Neon Alley this morning. As with every Monday two new episodes are added. This week we have episodes 39 and 40 which showcase just how terrible Mamoru is at being a bad guy. The Dark Kingdom is doing a pretty terrible job with this guy.

Sailor Moon episode 39 - Ami, Rei and Minako skating

First up we have episode 39, Paired With a Monster: Mako, the Ice Skating Queen, and it’s all about skating. It’s episode 39 but it feel like episode 390 by the way they’re just kind of going through some winter sports. Last week was skiing. This week is skating! Supposedly back in the day skating was really popular on the Moon. So where did the ice come from? Currently the Moon is a barren wasteland, and freezing cold as there’s virtually no atmosphere, so water could only ever exist as ice, though only in shaded areas. Silver Millennium is said to be located in the Sea of Tranquility which gets a decent amount of sun during it’s days which last 14 Earth days. Images of the Moon show flowing fountains at times and ice skating rinks in this episode where the people are wearing ear muff to keep warm. Also the Moon has a very small axial tilt meaning it would have virtually no seasons. So Usagi is a terrible skater, even though Princess Serenity was apparently really great at it. Makoto on the other hand is great right out of the gate and so she’s targeted by the enemy because that’s right this week they’re looking for really good skaters to find Sailor Moon! It’s not until she’s properly transformed that Sailor Moon actually starts to skate well and then Tuxedo Mask joins her. But isn’t he a bad guy? Oh yeah I guess Tuxedo Mask is kind of mad at Kunzite so he joins Sailor Moon in this episode. Beryl needs to keep a leash on this guy. It’s total nonsense. A little arguing amongst bad guys is one thing but teaming up with your top enemy is not a good idea. Also if you’re a fan of skating and hockey you should be sure to check out the Keeping Karlsson podcast for all the best hockey pool strategies.

Sailor Moon episode 40 - Shingo stealing Usagi's towel at the hot springs

Episode 40, The Legendary Lake Yokai: The Bond of Usagi’s Family, is a hot springs episode! But it’s not quite as saucy as you might think. Usagi and her family are going on a little trip to the hot springs, which based on what I’ve seen in anime seems to be a huge deal in Japan. We get some good Shingo/Usagi shipping action as they fight and he steals her towel. Mamoru is an absolutely terrible bad guy in this episode as he just kind of hangs around looking at the lake because Queen Beryl made a mistake in sending him. The lake is home to a lake monster which actually has nothing to do with the Dark Kingdom. Aside from Sakiko we haven’t really seen any monsters that weren’t directly created by the Dark Kingdom before. Turns out the lake monster is a jealous girlfriend that’s mad that a boy she was in love with hooked up with a girl from space. This story strongly parallels the Beryl/Endymion/Serenity love triangle. Beryl is in love with Endymion and he falls in love with Serenity who is from the Moon, leaving her. But then instead of turning into a lake monster Beryl took her army and killed everyone on the Moon. We all deal with our jealousies in our own ways. I’m not the only one to see this similarity as the lake monster mistakes Usagi for the woman stealing hussie from her day. Sailor Moon heals the monster releasing the jealous girl from her curse. The rest of the girls eventually show up for some hot springs fun which will make some of our readers happy, like that guy that keeps asking if they’re going to do a beach episode of Sailor Moon Crystal. You know who you are!

Sailor Moon episode 40 - Makoto, Minako, Rei and Ami at the hot springs

Speaking of sexy bodies at the hot spring, check out Kenji Papa in this episode! He’s looking fit. What does he do between this point and when they go to the VR place in Sailor Moon R where he’s got a gut?

Sailor Moon episode 40 - Ikuko Mama and Kenji Papa

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6, Tuxedo Mask, Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Shirtless Mamoru

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, Act 6 – Tuxedo Mask, is now available for viewing on
Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. The episode was released on September 20th in Japan and worldwide. This week’s it’s all about Tuxedo Mask as we finally see Mamoru with his shirt off, just like we did in the manga and original anime. How does everyone like shirtless Mamoru in Sailor Moon Crystal?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Shirtless Mamoru

One noticeable change in this episode is that the intro has been modified. Most of the changes are relatively minor, like changes to shading or colouring, but some are more significant such as Sailor Mars’s pose at the end of the intro or Queen Serenity’s hair and eye colour. In the original manga and anime Queen Serenity, Sailor Moon’s mother on the Moon, had white or silver hair. In the intro for streaming episodes 1 to 5 she has blonde hair. This has been updated, most likely because she will be appearing in the series soon and her hair colour will be white. With the DVD and Blu-Ray release coming up on October 15th it’s likely that this intro will be used for those, but we won’t know for sure for a few weeks.

Sailor Moon intro - Queen Serenity with white hair

There are minor changes in this episode compared to the manga. It was otherwise as always mostly faithful. When Luna explains the power of the Silver Crystal, she says it has the ability to destroy a planet while in the manga it has the ability to destroy a star. Did the Silver Crystal get a downgrade in power? It never really did either so perhaps it’s not that huge a deal. Tuxedo Mask has a great moment in this episode where he explains to Sailor Moon that her true power is about making her friends happy and bringing out the best in them. This has always been what I like about Sailor Moon. Her strength is her kindness and compassion, not in her sheer power to destroy a planet or star. Luna finally explains to the girls that she’s from the Moon, a shocking revaluation indeed. She also speaks of who she thinks the enemy is and we see and image of Queen Metalia, the evil energy which is controlling the Dark Kingdom. When the plot progresses Luna also shows the girls their awesome headquarters hidden under the Crown Game Center. Slightly more impressive than the Karaoke room from the live action series!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Headquarters under the Crown Game Center

This episode has Mamoru asking the public to find the Silver Crystal, followed by Zoisite doing the same, but while dressed as a woman. It’s certainly nice to see this series showing someone cross dressing after last week’s episode. Usagi was meant to transform into a groom in act 5 but this sequence was removed from the series. When Zoisite appears on TV asking people to find the Silver Crystal it looked very similar to a scene in the live action Sailor Moon series in which reporters are urging people to tell them to look for the Crystal and the broadcast is similarly shown to a group of people on a large outdoor TV in downtown Tokyo. Unlike most scenes that have a similarity to the original anime or live action series, this one was not lifted from the manga as those TV broadcasts were only shown on small TVs.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Zoisite dressed as a woman

Live action Sailor Moon episode 9 - News broadcast looking for the Silver Crystal

Sailor Moon finally gets to use her new Moon Stick in this episode, as she learns a lesson from the Sailor V game. While at the arcade she notices how Sailor V is using a weapon which bears a striking resemblance to her new Moon Stick. It’s by following what Sailor V does in the game that she is able to use her new attack Moon Healing Escalation which she uses to heal the town which has had it’s energy drained by Zoisite.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Moon Healing Escalation

On top of her appearance in the Sailor V game we also get a live look at Sailor V in this episode. The girls speculate a bit about who she might be, and if she has a civilian identity. We also see Artemis along with her. If the manga is any indication, and it has been to date, we should be seeing Sailor Venus at the end of the next episode.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Sailor V and Artemis

Act 7, Mamoru Chibi – Tuxedo Mask, will be available Saturday October 4th. We see a bit more of Mamoru in this episode as Usagi wakes up at his place and has learned that he’s Tuxedo Mask. In the original manga story the Dark Kingdom uses VHS tapes to brainwash the people of Tokyo. I have a feeling this might be updated for a 2014 audience just a little! Be sure to check that out in two weeks.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Usagi discovers Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask

Keep reading for more screenshots from this episode.

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Schedule of Sailor Moon related events at Unplugged Expo in Toronto September 27th and 28th

Unplugged Expo III

Unplugged Expo III is just a week away, September 27th and 28th, in Toronto. Sailor Moon fans will be able to meet Barbara Radecki, the voice of Sailor Neptune and Serena’s Mom, Sabrina Grdevich, the voice of Anne and Sailor Pluto, Roland Parliament, the voice of Melvin and author of the upcoming Sailor Moon Reflections, Ron Rubin, the original voice of Artemis, and Johnny Yong Bosch, the new voice of Artemis. The Unplugged Expo schedule has been posted to their web site. Here’s a run down of what’s going on.

Saturday at noon they’ll be starting off with the Sailor Moon Celebration voice actor panel featuring Barbara Radecki, Sabrina Grdevich, Ron Rubin, Roland Parliament and hosted by Emily from Moon Chase.

Saturday afternoon at 4pm Emily from the Moon Chase Sailor Moon News blog will also be running her Sailor Moon Merchandise panel in which she talks about all kinds of licensed Sailor Moon items from Japan and here in North America.

Saturday evening at 6pm and 8pm and Sunday morning at 11am Roland Parliament, the voice of Melvin and voice director for the first 65 episodes of the dub, will be reading excerpts from his new book Sailor Moon Reflections, The inside story of the original recordings of the English version of Sailor Moon. He will have a limited number of copies of the book for sale at the convention.

Sailor Moon episode 37 - Artemis is Luna's contact

Sunday afternoon at 3pm will be the Sailor Moon Now and Then panel featuring both voices of Artemis, Ron Rubin and Johnny Yong Bosch. This panel will discuss how much has changed throughout the series and discuss Sailor Moon Crystal. Emily from Moon Chase will also be hosting this panel.

For autographs and photo ops the Sailor Moon cast, Barbara Radecki, Sabrina Grdevich, Ron Rubin and Roland Parliament, will be available Saturday at 1pm. Johnny Yong Bosch will be available Saturday at 2pm and again Sunday at 1pm. Johnny Yong Bosch and Ron Rubin will be having a joint autograph and photo session Sunday at 4pm.

These are all the Sailor Moon events officially listed but there will be a lot more going on at the con including a lot of Sailor Moon cosplayers! Toronto Sailor Moon fans should be sure not to miss this one!

Watch Act 6 of Sailor Moon Crystal, Tuxedo Mask, staring September 20th at 6am EST

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Tuxedo Mask

The next episode of Sailor Moon Crystal will be available streaming online on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico starting Saturday September 20th at 7pm Japan Standard Time which is 6am Easter Standard Time and 3am Pacific Standard Time. This week’s episode, Act 6, Tuxedo Mask, will show us a more of Mamoru. By more of Mamoru of course I’m talking about perhaps seeing him topless! Yes indeed in act 6 of the manga we see a very shirtless Mamoru. Let’s all hope we have the same in store for tomorrow morning!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Tuxedo Mask

Luna is convinced Tuxedo Mask is an enemy when he publicly requests people look for the Silver Crystal. Usagi thinks he’s all right, but is concerned that knows her identity. Will we see Zoisite in drag? Will Tuxedo Mask once again take advantage of an unconscious Usagi? Find out in a few hours!

The cast of the live action Sailor Moon show got together for Keiko Kitagawa’s birthday

Rika Izumi, Mew Azama, Keiko Kitagawa, Miyuu Sawai and Ayaka Komatsu

Here’s a great look at what the cast of the live action Sailor Moon series look like now, 10 years later. The whole recently got together to celebrate the 28th birthday of Keiko Kitagawa, Sailor Mars in the series. From left to right are Rika Izumi, Sailor Merucry, Mew Azama, Sailor Jupiter, Keiko Kitagawa, Sailor Mars, Miyuu Sawai, Sailor Moon and Ayaka Komatsu, Sailor Venus. The photo was posted to Keiko Kitagawa’s official blog and Facebook page.

It’s great to see that these girls are still getting together nearly 10 years after the last episode aired. Just a short while ago they also got together to celebrate Ayaka Komatsu’s birthday.

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.

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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Watch Act 5 of Sailor Moon Crystal, Makoto – Sailor Jupiter, starting September 6th at 6am EST

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 Preview - Sailor Jupiter

Tomorrow, Saturday September 6th at 7pm Japan Standard Time, Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5, Makoto – Sailor Jupiter, will be available streaming on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. This coincides with 6am Eastern Standard Time and 3am Pacific Standard Time.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5, Makoto, Sailor Jupiter

This episode introduces us to Makoto Kino, Sailor Jupiter. Makoto is a new student at Usagi’s school who everyone is afraid of because of rumours she was kicked out of her old school for fighting. Meanwhile the Dark Kingdom targets a local bridal boutique which causes people to believe it’s haunted.

Sailor Moon content added to the Line Play mobile game

Sailor Moon in Line Play - Sailor Moon Crystal room

Sailor Moon Crystal content has been added to Line Play. What’s Line Play? It’s an avatar based mobile game where you can dress up your character, buy furniture for your house and interact with other players all while doing menial tasks (or paying money…) to get gems to buy more items. I’d never heard of this game when this news was announced on the Sailor Moon official site so I downloaded it to see what it was all about.

Sailor Moon in Line Play - Sailor Moon Crystal room

Line Play is a Japanese game but there is an english version. It is available in the iTunes store for iOS devices and the Google Play store for Android devices. I have heard people had issues getting the iOS version in English speaking countries but I had no issue installing it on my Android device. To say the game isn’t really for me would be somewhat of an understatement but it seems to appeal to some people. The Sailor Moon content is interesting enough. You can add Sailor Moon Crystal as a friend and after doing so you can travel to Sailor Moon Crystal’s room which is totally filled with cool Sailor Moon Crystal gear! Sailor Moon themed furniture and decorations as well as costumes. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get some of these items for yourself? Indeed you can! Using the “Gacha” in the Sailor Moon Crystal room you can use 2500 gems to get a random Sailor Moon item. With the 10000 gems you start with you can get four such items. You gain gems at a slow rate while playing or, naturally, you can pay real money to buy some!

Sailor Moon in Line Play - Serena School Uniform

I played all of my gems and got four items. First I got two copies of Usagi’s school uniform which is called “Serena School Uniform”. This is a curious choice of names given Serena is the name from the old English dub, not that used in the English adaptation of Sailor Moon Crystal or for the new dub of Sailor Moon which will soon be released by Viz. Still, many fans of the series from back in the day may be used to that name and so she is referred to as Serena. Next I got Serenity’s dress, which is a rare item. Both of these are clothing items which can be equipped through your closet. Next I got a Moon Stick Chair which is a furniture item you can place in your house. Finally I got Luna which is a fashion accessory which can be placed on your head.

Sailor Moon in Line Play - Serenity Dress

While playing Sailor Moon also took a number of baths. So scandalous!

Sailor Moon in Line Play - Usagi taking a bath

Keep reading to see more images from the game.

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Pre-order the first Sailor Moon Crystal visual book

Sailor Moon Crystal visual book

This Friday, August 22nd 2014, a Sailor Moon Crystal visual book will be released in Japan by Kodansha. This book will include information and images from the new Sailor Moon anime, Sailor Moon Crystal, including voice actor and staff information as well as a number of bonuses. Included will be a sleeve for the previously released Moon Pride single by Momoiro Clover Z and a DVD featuring the TV sized version of Moon Pride and a trailer for Sailor Moon Crystal. This DVD will be region 2, viewable only on Japanese DVD players or for those who have a region free DVD player or drive.

The art book, likely the first of many of it’s kind, can be preordered from Amazon Japan or CD Japan. Once I receive my copy I’ll post more information and images.

Source: Moonkitty, Sailor Moon: The Moonieverse and the Sailor Moon official site