Watch Sailor Moon Crystal Act 8, Minako – Sailor V, starting October 18th at 6am EST

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 8 Preview - Sailor Venus

This Saturday, October 18th, the latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal will be available streaming on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico starting at 7pm Japan Standard Time. Set your alarm clocks because this is 6am Eastern Standard Time and 3am Pacific Standard Time. This week’s episode is Act 8, Minako – Sailor V. Despite the title Sailor V will indeed by Sailor Venus in this episode. We continue to attempt to keep the worst kept secret in Tokyo as everyone believes Sailor Venus to be Princess Serenity! This is nonsense of course because she doesn’t have pig tails in her silhouette like a certain other character in the series.

Sailor Moon manga Act 8 - It's still only 6am

This episode includes a scene where Kunzite talks to the dead bodies of Jadeite, Nephrite and Zoisite. Since they are still alive, how will this scene play out? Also this week Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask share their first consensual kiss!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 8 - Minako, Sailor V

Until now the manga acts have followed the anime acts in a 1 to 1 ratio, even preserving the titles. How long will this last? Many speculate, and I’m starting to think this is correct, that this trend will continue right into the Black Moon story arc beginning with act 14, Conclusion and Commencement – Petite Étrangère. The original expectation was that the 26 episode Sailor Moon Crystal series would be a retelling of the Dark Kingdom arc, but at this rate they will be done telling that story in half of those episodes wrapping up the Black Moon story arc with episode 26. Should there be filler episodes, a reasonable time to start with that would be after all five of the Sailor Guardians are together, so after this week. Should the next episode preview list Act 9 as Serenity – Princess, we know that the trend of sticking with manga titles will continue. Should it have another title, all bets are off and we may not be getting to the Black Moon story arc during Sailor Moon Crystal’s first year.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 8 Preview - Tuxedo Mask being killed

Sailor Moon Crystal sanitary napkins to be released in Japan November 1st

Sailor Moon Crystal saniatory napkins

In an effort to monetize anything and everything, we are now getting Sailor Moon Crystal branded feminine hygiene products! These sanitary napkins, by Elle Air, will be on sale in stores across Japan starting November 1st. Sailor Moon characters will be featured on the Elis Ultra Guard pad packaging. A total of six designs are available in both nighttime and daytime versions. Characters paired on the boxes are Sailor Moon with Luna, Sailor Mercury with Sailor Mars and Sailor Jupiter with Sailor Venus. Check out the designs featuring various character logos in different colours that are shown in the circles in the images above and below.

Sailor Moon Crystal saniatory napkins

Source: Official Sailor Moon site, Elle Air site

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7, Mamoru Chiba – Tuxedo Mask, Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Young Mamoru

Act 7 of Sailor Moon Crystal, Mamoru Chiba- Tuxedo Mask, is now available to view on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. This week Usagi has just found out that Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask, we learn more about the Dark Kingdom and we get our first look at Sailor Venus! But first, could Mamoru be Fatal Fury’s Terry Bogard?

terry-bogard_fatal_fury Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Young Mamoru

One of the first things we see in this episode is the flashback to Mamoru’s past. Mamoru’s parents died when he was just 6 years old. We get a look at them, two faceless people who have dark hair like his. Funny we see their faces in the Manga, though this doesn’t ever really come back. The more important issue is Mamoru’s hat, which looks just like Terry Bogard’s from Fatal Fury, a fighting game series originally on the Neo Geo. Am I forcing this connection? I don’t think so. I’ve never played a Fatal Fury game in my life but this connection was instantly obvious. In addition to this Tuxedo Mask does a bunch of punching in this week’s episode! His exchange of blows with Zoisite was not in the original Manga. Sailor Moon is attacked by Zoisite and then Artemis and Sailor Venus come to her rescue while Tuxedo Mask just watches. His punching must be due to an attempt at making him look more like Terry Bogard from Fatal Fury.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Preparing to punch

The episode starts out with Mamoru and Usagi’s tender moments but this scene seems plagued with inconsistent animation to me. I’ve not been one to complain about the animation in this series to date but after starting to feel like things were improving this episode in particular seemed like a disappointing step back. After this we get to meet Queen Metalia, the evil energy that is behind the Dark Kingdom, and we get a bit more back story for Queen Beryl. We unfortunately don’t get a good look at a normal woman in the North Pole discovering the Dark Kingdom like we do in the manga but the same story seems to be going on here.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Queen Metalia

As expected, the VHS tapes from the original story were not kept, but instead updated to DVDs. Really? No Blu-Rays in 2014? Regardless of the technology upgrade the story can’t help but feel a bit dated. Video rental stores are not what they used to be, and the idea of the youth of today not spending enough time at the arcade because they’re renting video only reminds us that arcades are also not close to as popular as they were in the 90s. This is why things like updating Crown from an arcade to a Karaoke bar made sense for the live action series, but that Sailor Moon Crystal being so faithfully adapted but still taking place in moderns times at times doesn’t make a ton of sense. Also, do these DVDs look like Kuri’s boobs?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Yumiko, Kuri and Naru renting antiquated DVDs

As technology goes, Ami’s computer has been replaced with a “FinePad” in this episode, an obvious take on the iPad. The icons in the background look like those on iOS though the windows and the red, yellow and green buttons on them are similar to Mac OS. This level of multitasking would be too convenient for an iPad.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Ami's FinePad

A funny scene in this episode shows us more of creepy, creepy Umino. Original manga and anime Umino was nerdy but pretty much harmless and non threatening but Sailor Moon Crystal Umino is downright creepy! Here he shows up to share that he’s looking for Sailor Moon, which makes sense as he’s been brainwashed along with everyone else into doing so, but we almost forget that this is part of the Dark Kingdom’s plot as this creepiness fits right in with his character! Not sure why he’s made to look like a Heartless from Kingdom Hearts. He also looks a bit like Professor Tomoe.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Creepy Umino looks like a heartless Heartless - Kingdom Hearts

This episode finally introduces us to two new charters, Artemis and Minako Aino as Sailor V and Sailor Venus. The first appearance of Sailor V in this episode is on Luna’s computer. In the manga when this conversation takes place you can see a bit of Minako’s bow but it’s not as obvious that this is Sailor V. Once the battle commences it’s Artemis, not Sailor Venus, that saves the day. We see the top of his head followed by him jumping and slashing Zoisite, who doesn’t die in this episode. Then we finally see both him and Sailor Venus together.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Artemis

The episode does an odd thing with Sailor Venus’s introduction. First we see her from behind, clearly wearing Sailor V’s outfit, but then when seen again from the front she’s clearly dressed as Sailor Venus. That’s a quick costume change!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Sailor V

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Sailor Venus

In two more weeks, October 18th, we’ll see Act 8, Minako – Sailor V. This one will be all about Sailor Venus. The team is finally all together!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 8 Preview - Sailor Venus

Keep reading for more screenshots from this episode and the next episode preview.

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Watch Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7, Mamoru Chiba – Tuxedo Mask, starting October 4th at 6am EST

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

The next episode of Sailor Moon Crystal will soon be available on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. Act 7, Mamoru Chiba – Tuxedo Mask, will be available to stream starting at 7pm Japan Standard Time on Saturday October 4th. This is 6am Eastern Time and 3am Pacific Time. Usagi has just discovered that Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask! Where will their relationship go from here?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Mamoru Chiba - Tuxedo Mask

No doubt this episode will continue to follow the manga, as others have, but some things just might not be fitting to 2014. The manga story for this act has the Dark Kingdom using rented VHS tapes to brainwash people. People rented tapes in 1992 but this hasn’t been done in some time. The VHS tapes will need to be updated, but what will they be replaced with? DVDs and Blu-Rays are common but people don’t really rent videos in any format anymore. It’s tricky adapting an over 20 year old story so faithfully. This manga story also has Zoisite getting killed, though with none of the Shitennou having been killed yet this is unlikely to happen. Finally we will be seeing Sailor Venus show up at the end of this week’s episode. The whole gang will soon be together.

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!

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.