Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18, Invasion – Sailor Venus, Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18 - Venus Rolling Heart Vibration

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal was released on Saturday March 21st on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. This week we have Act 18, Invasion – Sailor Venus, which as the title suggests focuses on Sailor Venus as she faces off against Calaveras, the final remaining Ayakashi Sister.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18 - Rubeus kisses Calaveras

Things are getting pretty bad at this point! Sailor Mercury, Mars and Jupiter have all been kidnapped in standard character order so we focus on Minako, Sailor Venus this week! The Ayakashi Sisters have mostly been killed as well leaving only Calaveras. In her first scene we get a hint at a relationship between Rubeus and herself as he kisses her on the neck. She’s obviously upset over the death of her sisters as she summons their ghosts, doing channeling which is kind of her shtick. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from readers who don’t like my criticism of pseudoscience in my reviews. Indeed I’m not about to discount the magic and time travel aspects of the show but when the characters present pseudoscientific beliefs such as this week’s channelling as being true, I feel I must point out that such things are not legit. This is especially true this season as there is an obvious recurring theme with the Black Moon Clan reveling in pseudoscience which some believe to be true, as opposed to the general fantastic nature of the show which is obviously science fiction.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18 - The Ayakashi Sisters' ghosts

Calaveras does a public channeling of Rubeus, showing the future, but does she even need to do this? We see that she does actually have channelling powers but the people of Tokyo don’t really know this. She claims to have knowledge of the future because of this but that’s simply because she is from the future. Much like Koan’s ability to see the future could have been made up, so could have Calaveras. But the point of the show is not that the enemy is pretending to have great powers. They happen to actually have some and convince the world as such, while still relying on subterfuge.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18 - Momoko and Ikuko Tsukino

Chibiusa’s friend Momoko is introduced this week. Her hair colour in the original anime was first brown and later purple. Here we see her with bright red almost pink hair. Though the manga is mostly black and white Momoko is shown to have bright red hair when presented in colour making this her correct hair colour. The rest of her image is a bit odd. She is given a thin waist and breasts, which is not fitting with a character that is meant to be Chibiusa’s class mate.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18 - Umino with a DVD

Naru and Umino appear in this act. While the original manga had a “video” mentioned it was not actually shown. It is assumed this was a VHS tape or less likely a laser disk as DVD did not exist in the early 90s. A DVD is seen once again in Sailor Moon Crystal, updating the technology of the show for 2015 standards but still not embracing Blu-Ray for whatever reason. Naru reveals that she knows that something is up with Usagi and her friends, hinting that she either suspects she is Sailor Moon or is otherwise involved. It’s nice to see this friendship continue despite Usagi spending so much time with her more super powered friends and her new boyfriend.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18 - Windows operating system

When watching the DVD we get a look at the computers at the school. These are clearly Windows PC type computers. In the past in the series it was all macs, with the tablets having what appeared to be a mix between iOS, Apple’s handheld OS, and Mac OS, the full fledge OS for Mac desktops and laptops. This does not have any of the Apple look to it. The desktop folders look like Windows folders, the S shaped icon is similar to the Internet Explorer E. There are icons matching the My Computer, My Network Places and Recycle Bin icons. The Media Player app showing the video looks like Windows Media Player, complete with the menu options, controls and window borders. The only thing which is out of place is the Opera icon on the task bar. Who uses Opera anymore? Just like with the DVDs the Opera web browser is something that is still around but certainly obsolete by anyone who cares about technology!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18 - The Shitennou as ghosts

The Shitennou finally reappear in this episode! Fans of the original Anime would expect them to be confined to the first season but like with the manga Sailor Moon Crystal is not done with them. Mamoru still has the stones that represent the four Shitennou and he uses them to channel their ghosts, similar to the way Calaveras does with her sisters. He consults them about what’s going on as they are once again shown to be sympathetic heroes, loyal to Mamoru, not the villains they were when working for the Dark Kingdom.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18 - Moon Tiara Boomerang

Sailor Venus uses her Rolling Heart Vibration attack in this episode. In the manga she used this against Tuxedo Mask but in Sailor Moon Crystal this is the first time she uses it. Sailor Moon also uses her Moon Tiara Boomerang attack again. This did not occur in the manga. Artemis also gets some action this week as he is seen taking out a cameraman!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18 - Tuxedo La Smoking Bomber

Tuxedo Mask is the one to get a new power in this episode as he gets his first attack Tuxedo La Smoking Bomber. As he does this he shoots a kind of energy from his hands. Why not smoke? The term smoking here does not refer to actual smoke. It’s a reference “smoking”, the French term for Tuxedo. As a French Canadian this term is not one I would use but I was exposed to it reading the French translations of the Sailor Moon manga which was my first exposure to the books. One thing to note about Tuxedo Mask in this episode is that he is no longer wearing his hat. If the manga is any indication he will not be bringing his hat to the future and so we won’t be seeing it again in the series. Tuxedo Mask in the original anime wore his hat consistently when in costume but in the Manga he wears it less and eventually stops wearing it altogether.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18 - Chibiusa steals Usagi's transformation broach the Crystal Star

Chibiusa is a bit of a brat in this one. She steals Sailor Moon’s transformation item, the Crystal Star, because she wants the Silver Crystal. Usagi is mad at her naturally but when Chibiusa is in danger she is quick to defend her. This is a perfect illustration of Usagi and Chibiusa’s relationship. They get on each other’s nerves and are usually at odds with each other but when it really counts they do care for each other. Chibiusa returns Usagi’s broach, allowing her to transform. She then mentions that she took it because she want to take it to the future to save her mother. She mentions that she knows that a Silver Crystal out of it’s time period will not work but she still needs to try. Why does she think this? Clearly the Silver Crystal of the future works in the past or there would be no Sailor Chibi Moon! But that’s a story for another day.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 19 - Sailor Pluto

Next time on April 4th is Act 19, Time Warp – Sailor Pluto. Indeed, we will be seeing Sailor Pluto for the first time! We will have the team heading to 30th century Crystal Tokyo in the hopes of helping out Chibiusa’s mother.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 19 - Time Warp - Sailor Pluto

Chibiusa’s shirt gate continues! In the next episode preview we see Chibiusa in both her blue uniform, which she brought from the future, and her white uniform, which she gets in the past. The scene with the white uniform looks like some of the flashbacks we’ve seen. Chibiusa didn’t have her white uniform back in 30th century Crystal Tokyo so what is going on here? This doesn’t necessarily need to be a problem. The blue uniform could be a flashback to Chibiusa arriving and the white could be what she’s wearing when she arrives in the 30th century as it’s the uniform she wears to the future in the manga, and what she is wearing at the end of act 18.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 19 - Chibiusa in the future with a white outfit

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 19 - Chibiusa falling - Blue uniform

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

Continue reading

Watch Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18, Invasion – Sailor Venus, starting March 21st at 6am Eastern Time

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18 - Calaveras

This Saturday, March 21st, we will be seeing Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18, Invasion – Sailor Venus. The show will be available streaming on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico starting at 7pm Japan Standard which is 6am Eastern Time, 3am Pacific Time. Good news for those who enjoy their sleep but still like to watch the show as it’s released, you will get the show an hour later from now on. Japan does not celebrate Daylight Savings so now that we are once again observing Daylight Savings in most cities in North America our clocks are 1 hour closer to Japan Standard Time.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18 - Invasion - Sailor Venus

This new episode is all about Sailor Venus, since everyone else is gone! The enemy this week is Calaveras of the Ayakashi Sisters who is using misinformation and channeling to scare the public into distrusting those aligned with the “white Moon”. Things get serious as Chibiusa steals Sailor Moon’s transformation brooch! We also learn that Naru is suspecting that something is up with Usagi. The Shitennou will also be making their first appearance since the first story arc as Mamoru consults them for help.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18 - Sailor Venus

Continue reading

Sailor Moon Crystal Deluxe Limited Edition Blu-Ray vol. 5 review

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray Vol. 5 - Cover

The latest volume of Sailor Moon Crystal was released in a limited edition Blu-Ray set on February 11th. In fact that was so long ago that the next set is now out! Like with other sets this includes two episodes with Japanese audio in a collectible box with a full colour booklet and charm included. The disk is region A, meaning it will play in North American Blu-Ray players, but it does not have any English audio or subtitle options. It can be purchased from Amazon Japan or CD Japan for as little as 5,194 yen, about $44 US.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray Vol. 5 - Contents

No real surprises here. The cover features Sailor Venus. The charm included is of Sailor Venus’s transformation pen. This is different from previous charms simply because Sailor Venus has a very different looking transformation item in the first season as this is what she used in her days as Sailor V.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray Vol. 5 - Sailor Venus's transformation pen

The episodes included are Act 9, Serenity – Princess, and Act 10, Moon. This covers Sailor Moon being revealed as Princess Serenity and that aftermath as well as the trip to the Moon. Minor animation fixes occurred on these episodes as was the case with other volumes. This is nothing too drastic. I can’t say there was anything that jumped out as me as an obvious change when I watched it.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray Vol. 5 - Disk

The disks include an audio commentary which is in full on Japanese so I can’t really comment on that content as I am unable to speak or read Japanese.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray Vol. 5 - Booklet - Pages 10 and 11

Also included, like with other volumes, is a 20 page full colour booklet. The interviews included with this volume are with Yasuhiro Kato, the CG animation director, and Shizuka Ito, the voice of Sailor Venus. The booklet also includes episode summaries, character art and a special page by Fumio Osano, Osabu.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray Vol. 5 - Booklet - Pages 12 and 13

Keep reading for more images of this set including photos of all pages of the booklet.

Continue reading

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17, Secret – Sailor Jupiter, Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 -  Sailor Jupiter clone attacking Sailor Jupiter

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, Act 17, Secret – Sailor Jupiter, is now available on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. This week we get introduced to Petz as she faces off with Sailor Jupiter. This gives us a chance to delve into Makoto’s tragic past.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Chibiusa in her incorrect coloured uniform with Luna-P

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Chibiusa with a white top

This episode has been changed from the next episode preview. As I mentioned in the review of the last episode, Chibiusa was seen wearing a short sleeve dark blue uniform which does not match what is usually seen in the manga or original anime. Chibiusa has two main outfits. This new short sleeved uniform is from her new school and has a white top. Her original blue uniform which she brings with her from the future has long sleeves. Whenever the blue uniform is seen with short sleeves this is a mistake. This has been updated in this episode to reflect the correct colours. I feel like this must have been a last minute correction as can be seen in these comparison shots between the original blue inform from the episode preview at the end of Act 16 and the updated white uniform from Act 17.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Chibiusa with a white top

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Chibiusa with a blue top

There is still one instance of the incorrect colours that comes through in this episode. When Chibiusa is walking through the street she is seen wearing a white top at first and as she leaves the frame her top turns blue. No doubt all of this confusion is because the animators sometimes see blue as white, as occurred during dressgate.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Chibiusa cheating at the crane game

Chibiusa is seen using Luna P for all sorts of trivial purposes such as cheating at the crane game or making an umbrella with a bunch of birds. She also excels at the Sailor V game. Makes sense since she’s from the future and has more experience with games than people who were, by the original ages shown in the manga, born in the late 70s. We get to see a Tuxedo Mask doll in the opening scene, the puppet from last week’s episode, as well as a couple of Sailor V dolls. How odd it must be for these people to live in a world full of merchandise made after themselves.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - A Sailor V doll

A URL is seen on a poster for the Sailor V video game. The complete URL is not seen but we can see the partial URL “orV.gamecenter_news.jp”. This is either part of a URL along the lines of http://sailorv.gamecenter_news.jp or an e-mail address ending with a similar domain name. Whatever it might be this is an invalid URL or e-mail address. An underscore is not a valid character in a domain name. These must include only letters, numbers or dashes.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Mamoru reads in front of an invalid URL

We unfortunately do not see a glimpse of Sailor Pluto in this episode. The manga shows a very brief look at her as Chibiusa thinks back to Abracadabra, the words which activated Luna P. We will have to wait until Act 19 to get a proper look at her. Another character who does not appear once again is Motoki’s sister Unazuki. Although she appeared in a cameo in Act 3 all of her subsequent appearances in the manga have been omitted from Sailor Moon Crystal.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - King Endymion and Neo Queen Serenity

We do get to see Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion who look just like Usagi and Mamoru. There seems to be less of an attempt to mask their identity here than there was in the original Sailor Moon anime. It can easily be inferred from this episode that Chibiusa is in fact Mamoru and Usagi’s daughter.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Makoto's father was Brock from Pokémon Brock from Pokémon

Makoto brings Ittou Asanuma back to her apartment and tells him about how her parents died in a plane crash. We get to see a picture of her parents. Her father bears a striking resemblance to Brock from Pokémon. Included above is a drawing of Brock I made back in the 90s. One difference from the manga is that Ittou Asanuma doesn’t mention Mamoru’s super powers, as he overhears him talk about sensing Chibiusa’s thoughts and feelings through touch. He did catch Luna talking, which was only a matter of time since she doesn’t do a great job of hiding the fact that she can talk! Makoto seems to very easily share her secret about being a super hero to him, then gives him a fairly innocent kiss on the forehead.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Crop circles

This episode’s enemy is Petz, the third of the Ayakashi Sisters. The pseudoscience this time around is crop circles. For whatever reason this story arc is riddled with pseudoscience, previously covering fortune telling and dowsing, now touching on crop circles. The paranormal explanations, and the one given in this series, is that crop circles are the result of alien crafts. In reality no such elaborate explanation is necessary as crop circles have been quite definitely proven to be man made.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Petz

As with other episodes we wrap up with a Sailor Guardian being kidnapped and an Ayakashi Sister being killed. Sailor Jupiter is now a prisoner of the Black Moon Clan and Petz is now dead.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18 - Calaveras

Coming up next, on March 21st, is Act 18, Invasion – Sailor Venus. This episode will introduce us to Chibiusa’s class mate Momoko. The enemy will be Calaveras who is channeling Rubeus, following in the tradition of the Black Moon Clan practicing things which are no supported by science. Unlike previous episodes however it seems like her channeling of Rubeus is nothing more than an elaborate scam to con the general public. This is consistent with the real world where channeling is not real and used exclusively by charlatans and delusional people.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 18 - Invasion - Sailor Venus

Keep reading for more screenshots from this episode and the next episode preview for Act 18.

Continue reading

Watch Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17, Secret – Sailor Jupiter, starting March 7th at 5am Eastern Time

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Chibiusa in her incorrect coloured uniform with Luna-P

The next episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, Act 17, Secret – Sailor Jupiter, will be available this coming Saturday March 7th starting at 7pm Japan Standard Time which is 5am Eastern Time and 2am Pacific Time. The show will be available on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 -Ittou Asanuma

As the title mentions, this episode is all about Sailor Jupiter. She will face off against Petz this week and if the episodes titled after Sailor Mars and Mercury are any indication, it won’t turn out well for her! This week’s pseudoscience is crop circles which in this context are made by alien crafts but in reality they are made by people. We should be seeing a brief glimpse of Sailor Pluto and a decent look at Unazuki in this episode. Makoto will take Ittou Asanuma to her apartment, tell him all about the tragedy that causes her to live alone and maybe tell him all about her and her friends’ super powers.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Secret - Sailor Jupiter

Tired of getting up early? This Sunday Daylight Saving Times starts in some cities in North America but not Japan, so as of episode 18 many viewers will be getting their new episodes at 6am Eastern Time again.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Makoto Kino

As I will be out of the country attending PAX East 2015 this coming weekend I am unsure of when I will be able to watch and review the upcoming episode. My review may be later than usual this week.

Continue reading

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16, Abduction – Sailor Mercury, Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Ami and Berthier playing chess

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, Act 16, Abduction – Sailor Mercury, is now available to view for free on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. This week’s episode is tons of fun with the Tuxedo Mask puppet, some fan service in the form of swimsuits, young Ami and her daddy issues and of course Berthier who may or may not have been an inspiration for Elsa from Frozen.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Sailor Mercury and her visor

This episode had a number of differences from it’s original manga version, in changes, omitted scenes and in added content. That said, it also had a lot in common and like the rest of Sailor Moon Crystal is a very faithful adaptation.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Sailor Moon mad at Chibiusa

In the opening scene of the episode Usagi gets upset at Chibiusa but what she doesn’t do is raise her hand threatening to hit her as she did in the manga. This sort of changes the tone of the next scene where Usagi feels a sense of guilt but not about raising a hand at Chibiusa but instead about not protecting Sailor Mars who is now kidnapped.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Tuxedo Mask Puppet and ventriloquist Luna who Chibiusa already knows

Chibiusa runs off and, as usual, hides in the park. Mamoru takes her home and talks to her with his Tuxedo Mask puppet. This puppet has been in the original manga, original anime and even in the latest musical, Petite Étrangère. All of a sudden I wonder just where he go that thing. Is Mamoru such a megalomaniac that he built a puppet of himself? Maybe he found it in a store and finds it so bizarre that products of his alter ego exist that he had to buy one. He uses his ventriloquism to make the puppet talk and also makes the excuse that this is why Luna seems to talk. But why doesn’t Chibiusa expect Luna to talk? We will later learn that one of Chibiusa’s good friends in the future is Diana, a talking cat herself and daughter of Luna and Artemis. Chibiusa also travels with Luna P which looks just like Luna who she must surely know in the future. While Chibiusa has trouble recognizing her mother and father why would she also have trouble with this cat that looks so much like her ball and why would she be at all surprised to hear one talk?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Berthier of the Ayakashi Sisters

Enter Berthier! She uses dowsing to find water and help with her chess game. Dowsing is not real. This whole arc is riddled with pseudoscience. I understand that within the context of the story these people can use magic but just like UFOs and to a greater fortune telling were the nonsense in the last show dowsing is the nonsense this week. Historically it’s just something that used to be used to find water or minerals underground using items such as a divining rod but when there are modern dowsing products which claim to do things like detect bombs, directly contributing to a loss of lives in war zones, I feel people can do with being reminded that dowsing has no basis in reality.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Usagi, Naru and Ami in swimsuits

Those who read the comments on this blog will note that one particular commenter has been asking since the beginning just when we will be getting a beach episode, particularly desiring that we see some of the characters in two piece suits. Well his day has come. This week we see Ami, Naru and Usagi in swimsuits at the pool. In the original manga version we see these three only wearing simple one piece suits but they have been updated a bit for the show. Ami’s suit as seen from the pool seems like a simple one piece, though when seen from behind the design doesn’t appear to be that consistent. This is fitting with how she is usually portrayed in the original anime as well. Naru’s suit is the most interesting as it looks quite a bit like the bikini she wore in episode 23 of the original anime. While Sailor Moon Crystal is frequently manga based it only occasionally takes cues from the original 1992 Sailor Moon anime. This suit also bears a bit of a resemblance to the dress that Naru wears to the ball. Finally we have Usagi’s suit which goes from a one piece in the manga to a two piece bikini here in Sailor Moon Crystal. This seems like blatant fan service as Usagi wears her towel on her head. An awkward thing to do when your goal is anything but exposing your bare midriff to your fans. Apologies for speaking entirely too much about such a silly thing, but if the comments are any indication there are people who consider such things to be quite important.

Sailor Moon episode 23 - Naru's swimsuit

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Ami and Naru swimming

Another anime original thing which makes it into this episode is Usagi’s inappropriate cheering at a chess tournament. In both the original anime and Sailor Moon Crystal she makes a spectacle while cheering for Ami and is told to be quiet. One background character in this scene looks a bit like Yusuke from Yu Yu Hakusho, written by the husband of Sailor Moon’s creator Naoko Takeuchi.

Sailor Moon R episode 71 - Usagi's inappropriate cheering

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Usagi cheering inappropriately and Yusuke from Yu Yu Hakusho

Berthier is shown to be the the 3rd ranked chess player in the world. Later in the episode Ami beats her. Does this make Ami the 3rd ranked chess player in the world? You would think someone with such a skill would do more than just occasionally play on their iPad! I guess she does have world saving to do. Berthier’s clothing is ridiculous. It’s a full on super villain costume. That’s cool for fighting the forces of good and all but the way she just wears these clothes to a chess tournament like it was nothing is a bit silly.

Berthier from Sailor Moon and Elsa from Frozen

Speaking of the way Berthier dresses, some have mentioned similarities between her and Elsa from Frozen. See the image included above that explains the parallels between the two. This seems a bit far fetched to me. The controlling of the power and similarities in her relationship to Koan aren’t really the same. She does not encase herself in an ice tower. The similarities are mostly cosmetic and even that could be a coincidence. Elsa and Berthier both have ice powers, and so they dress in blue, a colour associated with cold. They also have white hair or light hair which is also natural for someone with ice powers. The braid is really the biggest similarity going on here. All considered I think Elsa bares more of a passing resemblance to Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy. Why not just get the Elsa Disney Infinity figure instead of the Rosalina Amiibo which has been so hard to find?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Young Ami with a chess board

This is a fairly Ami centric episode, as she is the one to get kidnapped this time around. One big addition to the story not in the manga was the inclusion of young Ami and showing more of her father. Young Ami is quite cute and shown being abandoned by her father who is a painter. She is also shown having an interest in playing chess. Sailor Mercury uses a new ability Shine Snow Illusion. This isn’t enough to save her from getting kidnapped. Who will be next?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Shine Snow Illusion

The next episode is Act 17, Secret – Sailor Jupiter. The episode preview shows some shipping between Makoto and Ittou Asanuma. His scenes were cut from episode 16 but we’ll be seeing more of him next time.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 -Ittou Asanuma

A couple of visually interesting things are seen in the next episode preview. Usagi has no nose in one shot and Chibiusa is wearing a short sleeved version of her blue school uniform. This seemed off to me and a post on the moonsisters.org Facebook page made me realize what is what. Chibiusa’s white school uniform is normally the one that has short sleeves while her blue school uniform has long sleeves.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Usagi has no nose

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Chibiusa in her incorrect coloured uniform with Luna-P

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

Continue reading

Watch Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16, Abduction – Sailor Mercury, February 21st at 5am Eastern Time

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Berthier

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal will be available this Saturday February 21st on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. Act 16, Abduction – Sailor Mercury, will be available at 7pm Japan Standard Time which is 5am Eastern Time, 2am Pacific Time. This week we continue with the story Chibiusa and the Black Moon Clan as Sailor Mercury faces off against Berthier.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Ami sitting intensely

This episode will feature Mamoru’s very cool Tuxedo Mask puppet. Where did he get that thing anyway? We learn more about Chibiusa and get a brief look at the future. Berthier, the second of the Ayakashi Sisters, will be facing off against Sailor Mercury in a chess match. More importantly, Ami will be swimming in this episode. That’s right! That guy who always asks in the comments about when there will be a swimsuit episode will finally get some minor satisfaction. This won’t be like in the original anime where we would randomly have beach episodes which were ultimately cut from the English dub, but this will provide for some level of fan service. In the original manga version of this story Ami, Usagi and Naru all appear in one piece swimsuits. Perhaps Luke’s prayers will be answered and these will be animated as two piece suits for Sailor Moon Crystal!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Abduction - Sailor Mercury

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15, Infiltration – Sailor Mars, review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - Koan the fortune teller

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal is now available on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. Act 15, Infiltration – Sailor Mars, gives us a better look at the mysterious Chibiusa and then pits Koan of the Black Moon Clan’s Ayakashi Sisters against Sailor Mars.

Sailor Moon Crystal Intro - The Black Moon Clan

The first thing to note this week are the changes to the intro. Despite a few minor cosmetic changes the scenes specific to the first story arc, that being Queen Serenity and the Dark Kingdom, have been replaced with images of the Black Moon Clan, Chibiusa and Sailor Pluto. This is actually a very short part of the intro, as most of it is fairly generic not having anything season specific. That said if you look closely at Sailor Moon’s brooch you will see that it is still the one she had in the first story arc.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - The Ayakashi Sisters

The Black Moon Clan are finally here! We get a good first look at pretty much all of the characters on their home planet of Nemesis (which Rubeus mistakenly refers to as a star, which may be a subtitle issue). We see Demande, Esmeraude, Saphir, Rubeus and Wise Man. We also get a look at the Ayakashi Sisters though this episode heavily features Koan.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - Chibiusa shooting Usagi

Chibiusa’s gun wasn’t real! It just had a flower in it. She decides to follow Usagi around, a good instinct as she has the Silver Crystal and is Sailor Moon, so she brainwashes the Tsukino family into thinking she belongs there. This causes Luna to hit Usagi and Mamoru in order to avoid them being brainwashed. Nice to see Luna hitting Mamoru right in the face. It’s also nice to see Shingo again! He is dropped so quickly in the original anime that it’s good to see that he’s still around.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - The Tsukino family being hypnotized while Luna hits Mamoru in the face

The girls receive new transformation items and communicators in this episode. These transformation pens are called the Star Power Sticks and the girls mention that they feel more powerful after transforming with them, which explains Sailor Mars’s new power Burning Mandala and Sailor Mercury’s new power Shine Aqua Illusion.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - New transformation items and communicators

Arcades are so 1992! The Crown Arcade has been replaced with the Crown Fruit Parlor as the main hang out place of our characters. I’m not sure if this was meant to reflect the dwindling popularity of arcades when the manga was first published, the aging interests of the characters in the series or just a way to make it easier to tell the story. It’s easier to have exposition happen as the girls drink some juice rather than amongst noisy arcade games. A new character, Asanuma, is introduced at the Fruit Parlor. A scene from the manga has him commenting that he thinks that a beautiful girl like Rei is more fitting as a girlfriend to Mamoru than Usagi. Indeed, I support this manga shipping of Mamoru and Rei but unfortunately Sailor Moon Crystal chose not to include this.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - Crown Fruit Parlor

The main plot develops at Rei’s school, T. A. Academy. It’s an all girl’s school. All kinds of pseudoscience surround this episode’s plot as students investigate UFOs, spontaneous combustion and fortune telling! One character that is seen in the hall of T. A. Academy looks suspiciously like Heero Yuy from the 1995 anime series Gundam Wing. I find the other characters in this scene look a bit like they could be from other anime series, but no specific ones come to mind besides a girl showing a passing resemblance to Miki from Marmalade Boy.

Gundam Wing's Heero Yuy at T. A. Academy in Sailor Moon Crystal

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - Gundam Wing's Heero Yuy at Rei's school

One student of T. A. Academy is the white haired Kotono Sarashina. She is investigating all these pseudoscientific things that in the context of this completely fictional story happen to be real. Her white hair is a bit odd to see. I suppose she’s simply meant to have very light blonde hair, but she looks a bit like a ghost or a really old person! She is just one of the many characters who isn’t given any colour in the manga, so the artists behind Sailor Moon Crystal are free to give her any hair colour they chose.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - Kotono Sarashina

Rei is spending her time at the festival reading fortunes, which in the real world is nonsense but is a thing she can really do in the fictional world in which this story takes place. She has competition with Koan who is using her fortune telling powers to predict when people will die in the hopes that they will decide to join the Black Moon Clan with their remaining years. Not a terribly great plan.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - Rei the fortune teller

The other plan the Black Moon Clan has in this episode involves burning people alive! Originally in the Manga Rei has a vision of a young girl being burned alive by Koan. This is not quite as terrible in Sailor Moon Crystal as the young girl is replaced by an adult man. The Black Moon Clan has a number of drones who originally pose as nuns and then run around making sounds very similar to those made by the Snow Dancers in the Sailor Moon S movie.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - Black Moon Clan nunsSailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - Black Moon Clan nuns

Once the combat starts, Koan and Sailor Mars face off. Sailor Mars gets frozen by Koan’s fire. Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask summon the new attack item the Cutie Moon Rod which uses Moon Princess Halation to kill Koan. A pity, really, that she has to die. Indeed, this is how it was originally written in the manga. I always came to appreciate how the anime played out with Rei befriending Koan and sacrificing herself to protect her, ultimately making her abandon her evil ways to open up a makeup business which her sisters join her in. It shows a side of Sailor Moon that is more about forgiveness and friendship and less about power.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - The Cutie Moon Rod

Sailor Mars is kidnapped. That’s it. She’s gone for a bunch of episodes now. How terrible!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - Burning Mandala

Next week is Act 16, Abduction – Sailor Mercury. This will be an Ami heavy episode as she faces off against Berthier. The episode will also feature puppet Tuxedo Mask!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Berthier

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

Continue reading

Was Gundam Wing’s Heero Yuy in the latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal?

Gundam Wing's Heero Yuy at T. A. Academy in Sailor Moon Crystal

In the latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, Act 15, Infiltration – Sailor Mars, a familiar looking character appeared to fans of 90s anime. As a scene shows the halls of T. A. Academy, the private all girls’ school which Rei attends, a young man with black hair, a green tank top and black pants is seen. To me he bears a striking resemblance to Heero Yuy, the main character from the 1995 giant fighting robot series Gundam Wing. Does this reference seem intentional or do you think this is just a coincidence?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - Gundam Wing's Heero Yuy at Rei's school

Looking at the rest of this scene above there are a number of characters who are wearing very specific uniforms, not those from the T. A. Academy which are mostly seen throughout the episode. I am not an expert on all things anime but the only other one which looks a bit familiar to me is the girl in pink who looks like Miki Koishikawa from from the excellent 90s anime series Marlade Boy. This matches one of her tennis outfits which is seen frequently throughout the series. The guy with her bears only a passing resemblance to Yuu Matsura from the same series, so I expect he or perhaps both of them may be from another series.

Miki Koishikawa - Marmalade Boy

Obviously I’m at a loss for anything that’s not 90s anime related. Do you recognize any others? Let us know in the comments and I’ll put anything that looks feasible in the full writeup for the episode that will be coming soon.

Heero Yuy from Gundam Wing

Watch Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15, Infiltration – Sailor Mars, February 7th at 5am Eastern Time

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - Chibiusa and Luna-P

The next episode of Sailor Moon Crystal will be available this coming Saturday February 7th. Act 15, Infiltration – Sailor Mars, will start streaming on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico at 7pm Japan Standard Time which is 5am Eastern Time and 2am Pacific Time. With the first full episode covering the second story arc we will be seeing a lot of new characters from the Black Moon Clan.

Sailor Moon Crystal - Black Moon Clan character art - Diamond, Saphire, Rubeus and Esmeraude

The main villain we’ll be seeing this week is Koan of the Ayakashi sisters. We will also likely be seeing her 3 sisters who appeared mostly in the background in the manga. We will also be seeing other Black Moon Clan villains Demande, Rubeus, Esmeraude, Saphir and Wise Man. Chibiusa is integrating herself into the Tsukino family while Rei is looking into UFOs which she thinks could related to a new enemy. Tune in Saturday to see how that turns out!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 -Infiltration - Sailor Mars