The Sailor Moon manga is 30 years old!

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

The Sailor Moon manga was first published in the pages of Nakayoshi on December 28th 1991. This was over 30 years ago. What does this mean for a franchise that still carries branding related to the 25th anniversary? Will new Sailor Moon Crystal be announced soon? I expect we may eventually be seeing updated “30th Anniversary” branding for the official Sailor Moon site and the brand in general. When this might occur isn’t evident. The “25th Anniversary Project” was announced in January of 2017. At that time they teased new episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal which eventually came out as Sailor Moon Crystal’s 3rd season. Prior to this the 20th anniversary event took place in July of 2012. It was at this event that Sailor Moon Crystal was originally announced. Based on this it seems likely that Sailor Moon’s official “30th Anniversary” would be celebrated in Japan in the year 2022, which is the year in which the Sailor Moon anime originally aired. The first episode of the series aired on Japanese television March 7th 1992. There’s more value for the franchise to expand the event beyond any since day to the entire year or, as we’ve seen, an ongoing five year long celebration.

Sailor Moon 25th Anniversary project

We are all anxious to hear confirmation of a Stars arc of Sailor Moon Crystal and I do hope this will be announced in the next few months. Considering that we are approaching ten years since the series was first announced and that we’ve had four story arcs over this decade, patience is certainly warranted. We deal in months and years, not days and weeks, when it comes to Sailor Moon Crystal news! It’s likely we’ll have the manga’s story wrapped up before the 35th anniversary at this pace, but I wouldn’t bet on much more than that!

Sailor Moon 20th anniversary logo

The next time you run into someone who’s under 30 just remember that when they were born Sailor Moon already existed.

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 133 - Chibiusa is an old lonely cat lady watching Sailor Moon

What’s your bet for when a new season will be announced and when we might see it? I’m thinking teased in January along with a 30th anniversary logo, confirmed at an event for Usagi’s birthday in the summer and released in 2023! This is just a guess on my part. Perhaps I’m being optimistic!

Here’s more information on the planned Sailor V anime series

Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art book - Sailor V characters

Earlier this week I posted about some newly unearthed images which appear to be art from the original planned Sailor V anime series which was ultimately retooled as the Sailor Moon anime we all known and love. I mentioned a few character names but wasn’t sure where those had come from. Twitter user @MinakoMoments posted a couple of images and their translations which are the source of a lot of the older information around about these. While these looked familiar I had obviously missed out on this information. These are from the Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art book, which is a very rare book showing a lot of images of characters from Sailor Moon drawn by other artists and people involved with the series. These images looked familiar to me because I have this book but as I don’t read Japanese I assumed these were simply early designs for Rei, Makoto and Ami. While this is technically true, these are actually Miyabi, Mamoru and Hikaru from the planned Sailor V anime!

Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art book - Sailor V information

Based on the resolution it looks like the Japanese originals from those pages in question come from the Three Lights dot net scans of the Infinity art book. The translation is attributed to a friend of the @MinakoMoments account’s poster @switchpoint. Some of the details from this image were mentioned in yesterday’s article but there’s a bit more here that we can dig into. While I fully realize this may be old news to many this was new to me so I’m sharing it here for the benefit of others who may not have known the specifics before. Close up photos were taken from my copy of the Infinity art book.

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Amano Gurikazu

At the top of the page is Amano. He was the Umino lookalike from Codename Sailor V. Perhaps I’m saying this wrong. Umino looks like Amano much like Ami looks like Hikaru, not the other way around. Those characters came first and Sailor Moon’s characters came afterwards. It is mentioned that Amano looks handsome when he took his glasses off. In the Masquerade Dance Party chapter of the Sailor Moon manga when Princess D is found to be beautiful behind her googly glasses the girls speculate that Umino must similarly be handsome behind his. Amano seems to resemble Umino in this way as well!

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Minako

Minako is presented more or less as she is in Codename Sailor V and Sailor Moon with some minor differences. She, along with a few others characters, is 15. Minako was only 13 at the start of Codename Sailor V while Usagi and the other girls are 14 at the start of the Sailor Moon manga and anime series. The plan seemed to have been to age them up a bit for this series. This would put them all in high school, which is something which doesn’t occur until the Dream Arc of the Sailor Moon manga and the Sailor Stars season of the anime. Note that the crescent moon on Minako’s forehead is upside down compared to what we see in Codename Sailor V and Sailor Moon. She looks like a member of the Black Moon clan! In her character description it’s mentioned that she has no specific ability besides her super powers, which is a big difference in this story as her friends do not actually transform. They use their worldly and otherworldly gifts to assist Sailor V. It says that Minako’s special skill is love! She really was the Usagi of this series. It seems that Minako was retooled as Usagi but then was herself brought back into the series as another character, so it’s no surprise that the two characters share some similarities.

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Miyabi Yoronu

Next up is Miyabi Yoronu. In my previous article I called her a Rei like character but now I see that she’s had a real name all along! The image seen through the page I mentioned is in fact this image of Miyabi. She uses a scroll with Rei’s catchphrase “Akuryou Taisan”, an incantation used to exercise evil spirits. That Miyabi had supernatural powers that weren’t related to being a Sailor Guardian is an interesting explanation for why Rei has powers that seem to be completely unrelated to her being Sailor Mars. The character she was adapted from needed these powers because she didn’t actually transform!

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Mamoru Chino

Mamoru Chino is not actually related to Mamoru Chiba in any way but by name. This character was clearly later adapted into Makoto Kino. This image of her smoking is why many people were mentioning that she smoked. She is 17, a full two years older than the other characters, and so she would not be in their class or grade though she would still be at their school as both 15 year olds and 17 year olds are high school aged in Japan. Mamoru is known for being strong, like Makoto, but is referenced as having “herculean strength”. Whether this means she truly had the superhuman strength of demi-god Hercules or not isn’t clear. Regardless she still has super powers! Mamoru has telekinesis, the ability to teleport and ESP (extra sensory perception). She also runs fast, which may simply be a side effect of her super strength. Surprised she doesn’t get out of breath what with her smoking. Surprisingly, Mamoru is associated with the planet Saturn and not Jupiter.

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Hikaru Sorano

Next is Hikaru who is already a character in the Codename Sailor V manga. In this series she was to be the intelligent one which was the obvious inspiration for Ami. In the Sailor V manga Hikaru isn’t mentioned as being particularly brilliant. Though she physically resembles Ami her role was similar to Naru’s as she was simply Minako’s friend and classmate.

Sailor V Anime Concept Art - Human Female Artemis

So there were only four girls in this series instead of five? The fifth woman on this page is a female human Artemis! She is credited as “fifth beautiful girl” and is shown nude wearing a tiara adorned with Artemis’s crescent moon. What the exact plan was for this gender bending male cat who transformed into a a female human isn’t clear. Perhaps Artemis was meant to be female in this series? It is mentioned in the Codename Sailor V manga that Artemis is a woman’s name, though this seemed to be intended as a joke.

A Sailor V Manga Ad featuring Usagi as Sailor V with Artemis

One other odd piece is this ad for the Sailor V Manga where it appears that Usagi is the one dressed as Sailor V along with a white cat, presumably Artemis. This ad was published though by the time the manga it advertised was out, it was quite different than what was in the ad.

Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art book - Sailor V information

So what happened to this series? I believe it was incorrect for me to say that this series was abandoned or scrapped. It’s more accurate to say that Sailor V evolved into Sailor Moon. I’m not privy to all of the behind the scenes decisions but it seems like Codename Sailor V showed promise to be a series. The idea of a girl fighting crime alone was expanded into more of a group show, like we see with these characters who would have helped out Minako. This was in turn further expanded into the girl version of Super Sentai which was Sailor Moon. Minako become Usagi, Hikaru became Ami, Miyabi became Rei, Mamoru became Makoto and then the original Minako became the slightly different Minako. Many of the other elements don’t really map from one series to another. The Dark Agency is not terribly similar to the Dark Kingdom and there wasn’t a real equivalent to Mamoru in Sailor V, though surely some sort of love interest would have popped up eventually. It seems like Sailor Moon, the manga, was made with the intention of it being adapted into an anime series. The Sailor V anime concept was just a step on that path. Wouldn’t it be great if that series had been made? It kind of did, there were just a lot of changes in getting there. The Sailor V anime is like Star Trek with Captain Pike and Number One. Sailor Moon is what we got after the idea evolved a bit.

Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art book - Sailor V characters

Kazuko Tadano and Hiromi Matsushita from the Sailor Moon anime

Some images appear to be from a Sailor V anime that was almost made before Sailor Moon

Sailor V anime - Sailor V, Minako and Artemis

Some very interesting images surfaced online last week and started making the rounds in the Sailor Moon fan community yesterday, October 3rd. The earliest sign of these I could find were a series of Tweets from user @ayumikapimofu who posted a number of photos of a “new program plan” for both Sailor Moon and Sailor V. The Sailor V program appears to show details for a planned Sailor V anime based on the Codename Sailor V manga. This was in the works before that plan was abandoned in favour of a Sailor Moon anime which eventually became the show which was released in 1992. Along with the booklet featuring Naoko Takeuchi’s art are three colour images which appear to be from a Sailor V anime. These include characters from the Codename Sailor V manga as well as all new characters from this anime.

Sailor V Anime - Sailor V, Mamoru, a Rei clone and Hikaru

What’s in here is really interesting! We have Minako as Sailor V, obviously. Along with her were three girls who didn’t transform themselves, or aren’t shown to do so in these images. The one we know of is Hikaru, a girl who strongly resembles Ami from the Sailor V manga who is Minako’s friend and classmate. We also have a Makoto like character named Mamoru and a Rei like character to round out the group. Although there’s no Usagi equivalent, aside from Minako herself, this more or less resembles the group from the first season of the Sailor Moon anime. The villain seen in this is Ashura, a Jadeite looking character with blue hair. Ashura also resembles Higashi, the Dark Agency’s enemy from the first Sailor V story.

Sailor V anime - Ashura

I also spotted what looks to be the Rei type character seen through the page preceding the image of Hikaru. Messing around with the contrast it looks like she could have a crow on her shoulders. It’s also possible this is Natsuna Sakurada, the Superintendent General of the police who is obsessed with Sailor V. She has similar long black hair to Rei.

Sailor V Program - Is this Rei?

Are these authentic? It’s hard to say. These appear to have originated in a Yahoo! Auctions Japan listing which is no longer online. The art in the book looks like Naoko Takeuchi’s so those documents may be authentic but the colour images seem to be something else and their origin is not clear at all. These don’t look like some sort of concept art but rather high quality images from never before seen finished footage which I’ve never heard of, so this does strike me as a bit suspicious. Could there have been actual animation for this made and hidden for nearly 30 years? Perhaps these were just colour mock ups made in the style of what the finished animation might look like, even if no full scenes were animated. Alternatively a fan have made this art themselves inspired by the content of this booklet which is more or less a show Bible. The art style very much resembles that of an early 90s anime! I’m not able to make a definitive call one way or another. It seems plausible this is authentic, but that doesn’t mean it certainly is.

Sailor V Anime Program Plan - Index page

What’s next? Hopefully whoever buys this thing ends up scanning this or at least getting some better photos of it and then someone can do a good job of translating some of this text. If there’s more art where this came from I would love to see it but if it took nearly 30 years for this to surface new information about this series may be as elusive as the Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon pilot! I’ll be sure to post any more information about this if I get any!

Sources:

I first heard about this on the moonsisters.org Facebook page which includes some decent images.

The earliest images I found were posted on Twitter on September 25th. These included an image of “new program plans” for Sailor Moon and Sailor V, the first page of the Sailor V program, a manga image from RunRun, a colour image of Sailor V, Minako and Artemis, the group image of Sailor V, Mamoru, a Rei like character and Hikaru, an image of Ashura, Naoko Takeuchi’s illustration of Ashura, a photo of all three anime images, a post with many images including the Sailor V program index which hadn’t been posted separately.

Keep reading for more images from this book.

Continue reading

The first volume of the Codename: Sailor V Eternal Edition manga is out now

Codename: Sailor V Eternal Edition volume 1

The first of the two volumes of the Codename: Sailor V Eternal Edition manga was released today, September 28th. Following in the style of the Sailor Moon Eternal Edition manga which was published in 10 volumes from 2018 to 2020, this Sailor V manga has similar large high quality glossy pages. This release includes all of the colour pages which haven’t been published since the manga was originally serialized in RunRun from 1991 to 1997. The Sailor V manga, written by Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi, tells the story of Minako during her time as Sailor V which chronologically predates the story of the Sailor Moon manga. The first chapters were published before Sailor Moon, though the manga continued to be published until after the Sailor Moon manga had been completed. The story is quite interesting and at times includes story elements and characters who bear striking similarities to some that we see later in the Sailor Moon manga and in some cases adapted as ideas in the Sailor Moon anime.

Codename: Sailor V - Complete Edition Manga - Comparison with original manga

As with the Japanese Complete Edition releases, which were similar but slightly smaller equivalents to the English Eternal Editions, we have the same cover art. While the Sailor Moon Complete and Eternal Editions featured original art for the covers the Codename: Sailor V covers, originally released in Japan in 2014, use the same art from volumes 1 and 2 of the original Japanese manga releases. I don’t have my hands on this manga yet but you can see my post about the Japanese releases for a look at what those looked like. These really are the definitive versions that fans should be looking to collect. Forget about those Naoko Takeuchi Collection versions which keep getting delayed. Those are terrible. Waste of money. Spend a little more and get the Cadillac Eternal Edition manga. They are expensive but worth every penny.

The first volume is out today and the second will be available next month on October 21st. Feel free to support the site by ordering volume 1 or any volumes of the Sailor Moon manga and pre-ordering volume 2 using the links below.




Also please check out the very outdated Sailor V Page of Funk which I made back in 1998 when no English version of this manga existed. The first time I read this manga I had a printed translation of the script which I followed along with.

The Sailor Moon Naoko Takeuchi Collection, a pocket sized budget version of the manga, is coming in April

Sailor Moon Manga Bunko Collection - Covers

Fans may have noticed that a new version of the Sailor Moon Manga is coming starting April 13th. This version, published by Penguin Randomhouse, is being called the Naoko Takeuchi Collection, named after the Sailor Moon manga’s author. So what is this new version and should fans, many of whom have just bought the Eternal Editions, be looking to pick these up? Probably not! Read on to see why I don’t think this is worth your money.

The Sailor Moon Eternal Editions which were released over the past couple of years really were the ultimate version of the manga. These huge volumes were even bigger than the similar sets which were released in Japan. The pages were a high quality glossy white and all colour pages from the original issues of Nakayoshi were reproduced in these. The 10th and final volume was released last month and Code Name Sailor V will be released on April 27th 2021. You might have thought you were almost done shelling out your hard earned dollars on Sailor Moon manga until the news of these new versions dropped! So what exactly is the Naoko Takeuchi Collection all about?

Sailor Moon Manga Bunko Collection - Index - Black and White

The image on the Penguin Randomhouse web site is likely not the final cover art. What is actually pictured is the Japanese cover of the Sailor Moon Bunko Collection. These versions were released in Japan starting in September 2018, as we originally posted about on this site. Though we don’t have all of the specifics about these new versions it seems likely they will be similar to those. There are usually minor differences between the size and paper quality of Japanese and American versions of the comic, which may be the case with these versions.

As the Japanese versions were fairly inexpensive I bought the whole set. The books are fairly unimpressive. These are very small versions of the manga commonly called bunkobon or bunkoban in Japan. They are A6 size which means they are 4.1″ by 5.8″, smaller than any other versions of the Sailor Moon manga I own. Here is a size comparison photo of the Bunko Collection next to the English Eternal Edition which I took back when I got the first volume of the manga. As you can see this is tiny in comparison.

Sailor Moon Eternal Edition and Bunko Collection

The quality of the paper is also of a lower quality than the Eternal Editions. Instead of glossy white pages we have a simpler more affordable matte paper. Where the Eternal Editions included a large number of colour pages all of those are included in black and white in these versions. The price matches this, with an MSRP of only $12.99 US per book ($16.99 in Canada) these are quite a bit less expensive than the Eternal Edition, but is it really worth saving that money? If money really is the issue the digital versions of the manga, with colour pages, will cost less even than this budget version.

Sailor Moon Manga Bunko Collection - Inside jacket cover

So why are these called the Naoko Takeuchi Collection? A budget version of the manga is hardly fit to be named after a woman who names characters after precious gems and owns multiple sports cars! Instead these should be called the Ghetto Edition, Cheapskate Edition or Budget Edition, but such a name may not be as likely to make sales! Perhaps we could call them the “Mamoru After He’s Gone Shopping With Usagi Editions”!

In short I’m not sure who the audience is. I similarly wondered this about the Japanese version as I continued to order copies of it. If I were you I wouldn’t bother. Check out the Eternal Editions if you haven’t already! They are fantastic! They are expensive and although the price tag and Canadian prices have meant I haven’t bought them all yet I do plan on doing so. They are worth every penny! Feel free to support the site by buying the physical or digital versions from Amazon using the links below.



A fully colourized Sailor Moon All Color Complete Edition manga is coming in a digital only format starting June 29th

Sailor Moon All Color Complete Edition manga - Sample pages

Can you ever have enough copies of the Sailor Moon manga? Of course not! The latest iteration is a fully colourized version which will be available only as a digital download. After being spotted in a magazine it has now been officially announced on the official Sailor Moon web site. The good news is that the first two volumes will be released in a couple of days, on June 29th! The bad news is there is no current plan for a physical release of this version of the manga. It remains to be seen if we will be getting a printed version eventually.

Sailor Moon All Color Complete Edition manga

The price of this version if fairly low at only 990 yen per volume. This works out to about $9.25 US. It isn’t clear if or when it might be released internationally. The big advantage of the digital versions which were released last year was that they were released in a number of languages and stores worldwide. While I certainly hope that’s eventually the case with this version, I’m not seeing them for sale in any particular stores outside of Japan at this time.

Sailor Moon All Color Complete Edition manga - Vol. 1 cover

So what’s going on with this version? Sailor Moon was originally a black and white manga and this version has colour added. The original release of the Sailor Moon manga in the magazine Nakayoshi had a few colour pages at the start of each chapter. These were not included in all manga releases though all colour pages were in the latest release, the Eternal Edition of the manga. Oddly these colour pages are actually recoloured differently for this new version of the manga and while it isn’t clear why this is I suspect the aim was to have a consistent look throughout the new version which may not have worked seamlessly if the original colour pages were used.

Sailor Moon All Color Complete Edition manga - Vol. 2 cover

It’s also worth noting that this colour version is not the same as the ones seen in the 20th Anniversary art exhibit a few years back. Check out this comparison on Twitter which shows slight differences.

Sailor Moon All Color Complete Edition manga compared to the exhibit pages

Will you be checking out this release? Will you buy the Japanese version or hold out for an English release or perhaps a physical printed edition?

Sailor Moon All Color Complete Edition manga compared to the exhibit pages

Watch a short clip of Naoko Takeuchi mentioning that Super Sentai shows inspired her as a child

Naoko Takeuchi with the Zyurangers

Yesterday I found this photo of Naoko Takeuchi, the creator of Sailor Moon, with the Zyurangers, from the Super Sentai series which was adapted as the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series in North America. The photo was posted to Twitter by Tuxedo Unmasked, who runs a great web site by the same name. He later shared a link to the source video, which was a 20th Anniversary video of TOEI’s Sentai Series which aired on March 21st 1995. I can’t embed the video but you can watch the video on YouTube to see the brief appearance by Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi at 16 minutes and 57 seconds. This interview lasts less than 30 seconds.

Naoko Takeuchi discusses Super Sentai series

Why is Naoko Takeuchi, who created Sailor Moon, wrote and drew the Sailor Moon manga, and provided work for various incarnations of the Sailor Moon series, appearing in a show about Super Sentai? As she mentions in this brief clip, she was inspired by Super Sentai series as a child. This special from 1995, which commemorates 20 years of Super Sentai series for TOEI, demonstrates that such series had been around a long time before Sailor Moon. It is often said that Sailor Moon, a series in which many girls transform into coloured uniforms and use attacks to defeat monsters, is a kind of Super Sentai type story about and for girls. This clip confirms that such series were a partial inspiration for the Sailor Moon manga and ultimately the anime and live action series as well.

Sailor Moon

I’ve certainly mentioned this similarity many times in the context of the live action series. The Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series is a Tokusatsu (live action special effects) series much like Super Sentai series are. As Sailor Moon is a manga version of a Super Sentai series the live action version is a way of the franchise evolving into something even more similar to the shows which inspired it. The few recycled sets and even costumes are not proof of that, so much as the general similarities in the basic plots of these series.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 18 - The Sailor Guardians with Sailor Venus in the middle

Although Naoko Takeuchi likely drew at least partial inspiration from Super Sentai series, it’s not possible for her to actually have been inspired by Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, which was later adapted in North America as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. That series first aired in February of 1992. The Codename: Sailor V manga started in August of 1991 and Sailor Moon, which has more similarities to a Super Sentai team show, was first published in December of 1991. The Sailor Moon anime series began airing in March of 1992, so it’s certainly easy to compare Sailor Moon to Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, because they were both on television at the same time, but without a time machine it’s impossible for either to have been an inspiration for the other.

Kimberly the Pink Power Ranger

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers didn’t start airing until August of 1993 which was still two years before Sailor Moon started airing on TV in the US and Canada in August of 1995. Though Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was adapted from three different Super Sentai series, they kept the Zyuranger outfits for all three of those seasons, so North American fans would mostly only be familiar with those costumes when Sailor Moon’s first 65 episodes played on TV until Power Rangers Zero started in April of 1996 after which the costumes for each series continued to change.

Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger episode 5 - Red Ranger

Source: Tuxedo Unmasked on Twitter

A miniature version of Sailor Moon’s Tokyo and Crystal Tokyo will be displayed at Small Worlds Tokyo next Spring

Sailor Moon at Small Worlds Tokyo

Big news about something very small! Have you ever wanted to see a real life version of the world of Sailor Moon? Fans in Tokyo will have a chance in Spring 2020 as Sailor Moon comes to the Small Worlds Tokyo miniature theme park. What is this about? Small Worlds Tokyo will feature miniaturized versions of various places. How small? A 1/80th scale meaning one inch of the exhibit will represent some 80 inches or 6′ 8″ of the real world. Sailor Moon and her friends would be less than an inch height!

For reference this would be slightly smaller than the 1/60th scale used by Dungeons and Dragons miniatures and many Gundam models as well as the 1/64th scale which is your standard Hot Wheels and Matchbox car size. So imagine a recreated city in which the cars are a bit smaller than Hot Wheels!

The 30th Century Crystal Tokyo

The announcement on the official Sailor Moon site specifies that the exhibit will include a recreation of Tokyo from the Sailor Moon series as well as 30th century Crystal Tokyo, the future which Chibiusa comes from which is featured heavily in the Black Moon arc of the manga which is Sailor Moon R in the original Sailor Moon anime. A preview image shows the front of Game Center Crown and a tiny Tuxedo Mask. Though only “Crown” is seen on the building the arcade machines inside suggest this is the arcade and not Fruits Parlor Crown or Karaoke Crown.

Game Center Crown from the Sailor Moon manga

It’s difficult to tell without seeing more of the exhibit just how accurate this will be. The show’s location was heavily based on the real Azuba Juban district of Tokyo, though only certain places were featured in the series. Crown, like many other locations in the series, was a real place in Tokyo. Comparison photos from Serenitatis show us that both the real and manga version look quite a bit like this model. Will the exhibit feature only those highlights or fill in the 1990s real locations which weren’t shown in the series as well? We will see in the Spring when Small Worlds Tokyo opens to the public! I look forward to seeing more!

Kotono Mitsuishi at Game Center Crown

Are any of you hoping to be able to check this out in person? Doesn’t anyone have a “Honey I Shrunk The Kids” style shrink ray I can borrow?

The Sailor Moon manga is now available digitally through a number of retailers in many languages

Sailor Moon Eternal Edition - Colour page - English

Great news for Sailor Moon fans who hate paper, or don’t have a lot of paper in the form of money, the Sailor Moon Eternal Edition manga is now available digitally through a large number of ebook retailers in English and in nine other languages. This was announced as part of Usagi’s Birthday event on June 30th and the digital versions have been available since July 1st. Details can be found on the Japanese site, which includes 30 page previews in all languages, or the Kodansha site which includes links to all US distributors. Options for English fans in the US include Amazon Kindle (which includes comiXology) for $7.67 per book (all prices in US dollars), comiXology for $13.77 per book, Book Walker for $12.47 per book, Google Play for $9.99 per book, Apple Books for $9.99 per book and Kobo for $11.19 per book.

Using the links above you can order the Amazon Kindle version. The adds show the price as $13.99 but after clicking on them it shows up as $7.67 for now. The page mentions that this also includes a comiXology version, though I’m not familiar with how that service works. This does seems to be the best price of all of the versions. Since both Kindle and comiXology have apps which run on modern phones and tablets, this should be a good option for many fans, though those who have libraries on other services may find it’s worth an extra few dollars to purchase it from another retailer. Whatever option one might chose, this digital version is a fraction of the price of the fairly expensive print versions of the large size Eternal Edition of the manga.

Sailor Moon Eternal Edition - Act 1 - Usagi: Sailor Moon Sailor Moon Eternal Edition - Act 1 - Usagi: Sailor Moon

One advantage of the digital version is that without the crease of a physical book you’ll be able to see all details of two page spreads! What are the differences and advantages of one platform over another? I can’t say I’m familiar enough with either to have a preference. While I have a functional and recent iPhone I only have a very old hand me down iPad which doesn’t run newer versions of apps so I don’t think this is something I will be getting, what with the countless paper versions of the manga I own. I’d be curious to see what this site’s users are deciding to use, if any. Let us know in the comments!

How much does the Galaxy Cauldron from Sailor Moon resemble the recently imaged supermassive black hole?

An image of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Messier 87 Galaxy

Earlier this week Nasa released the first ever image of a black hole. I’m referring to it as an image and not a photograph due to the technique used. For more on the specifics check out this special mini episode of The Reality Check featuring Exposing Pseudoastronomy’s Stuart Robbins. This is an image of the supermassive black hole which is located at the centre of the Messier 87 galaxy which is about 55 million light year away. This of course makes one immediately think of Sailor Moon! The final conflict between Sailor Moon and Galaxia takes place at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy. In this case it’s at the Galaxy Cauldron, the birthplace of all of the Milky Way’s heavenly bodies. What, if any, basis does this location have in reality? Most, possibly all, galaxies have a supermassive black hole at the centre and so the imaged black hole in Messier 87 is likely quite similar to the one in the Milky Way.

Sagittarius Zero Star

The Stars arc of the manga mentions a number of times that the location in the centre of the galaxy where Galaxia finds what she is looking for and ultimately where Sailor Moon follows, is Sagittarius Zero Star. This is a fictional place however it is mentioned that it is located within Sagittarius Alpha Star. This is based on a real astronomical area which, in the real world like in the manga, is located at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy, our galaxy. The actual of the area is “Sagittarius A*“, pronounced “Sagittarius A Star”, which is quite close in spelling to the fictional “Sagittarius Alpha Star”. No Galaxy Cauldron or Galaxia’s castle exists at Sagittarius A* which describes the entire supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy!

So what, if anything, is the black hole meant to be? Is all of Sagittarius Alpha Star the supermassive black hole in Sailor Moon? It isn’t really clear. As Sagittarius Zero Star is located at the centre of Sagittarius Alpha Star it seems like this itself isn’t in the black hole. One can wonder how much of this area Naoko Takeuchi chose to base on black holes.

Sailor Moon enters the Galaxy Cauldron

One feature of a black hole is the loss of any information which enters it. This doesn’t mean that a book entering a black hole comes out empty, but rather than any information, such the way matter is arranged or a signal that enters it, would be lost. What does eventually escape a black hole is known as Hawking Radiation and this does not preserve the information of what originally went into the black hole. When entering Sagittarius Alpha Star, traveling to meet Sailor Galaxia, Sailor Moon travels down the River of Forgetfulness where Sailor Lethe causes her to lose her memory. It may be a bit of a stretch but there’s a comparison to be made here. The information in a person’s mind is lost when entering a black hole and that is manifested as a magical process in which memory is lost. The counterpart to Sailor Lethe is Sailor Mnemosyne and the River of Memory. I can’t say I can think of a black hole equivalent to this!

Further there’s the idea that nothing escapes the event horizon of a black hole. When Sailor Moon enters the Galaxy Cauldron there is an expectation that she could not come out or remain intact. Guardian Cosmo mentions that she is powerful to maintain her appearance inside the Cauldron. Is this a reference to things being stuck in a black hole or the loss of information? Clearly we have things in Sailor Moon which do actually get preserved after entering the black hole and subsequently escape it, but this is presented as being exceptional. This is a magical series where hard rules are often broken. How many times has the Silver Crystal been used and not resulted in Sailor Moon’s death or had her somehow cheat that rule after all?

Galaxy Cauldron

Besides this the Galaxy Cauldron exhibits a number of properties which don’t really fit with black holes or more specifically the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy. It is said to be the birthplace of all heavenly bodies in the Milky Way. This would include all stars, planets and moons. Pretty much anything which has a Sailor Guardian! This isn’t really how the galaxy works to be sure. Solar systems, with their stars, planets, moons and other celestial bodies, are formed as matter from dust and gasses groups together thanks to gravity in the vastness of space. This does not require a black hole and quite to the contrary, if any of this matter does go into a black hole, it generally doesn’t come out. A star which explodes certainly can eventually be reformed as new stars, planets and such, but a black hole is not included in this life cycle. This also plays around Sailor Crystals which go in and out of the Galaxy Cauldron. This behaviour certainly makes sense as an in universe explanation of things but it doesn’t fit with how black holes work. A supermassive black hole will grow in mass and size as other stars and celestial bodies enter them, but this is a one way trip.

Considering that the Milky Way is only one of the countless galaxies in our Universe, what happens in other galaxies? Does the Messier 87 galaxy, along with its supermassive black hole, also contain a Galaxy Cauldron which is the birthplace of all heavenly bodies in that galaxy? Does every celestial body have a Sailor Guardian? Would Galaxia and Chaos have moved on to another galaxy when they were done with the Milky Way or are the distances between galaxies too vast to bridge? When two galaxies collide, as happens frequently in the cosmos, do the various Sailor Guardians from those galaxies fight each other? Does everyone else also look like a human for some reason? These questions almost certainly don’t have answers!

The Black Dream Hole

Besides this reference to the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy, we also have a black hole featured in the movie Sailor Moon SuperS: The Nine Sailor Guardians Unite! Miracle of the Black Dream Hole. This black hole has only some similarities to real black holes. It is black! That’s a similarity! Things get absorbed by it and seemingly can’t escape it, though again Sailor Moon goes in and is able to get out, by destroying it, but again she’s full of magic and such. The way in which it is very unlike a real black hole is its enormous size! A black hole with the mass of the entire Earth would have a radius of less than a centimetre. As the Black Dream Hole is attempting to absorb the Earth its size grows and grows to a size which is suggested to be even bigger than the planet. This is a pretty standard way to misinterpret a black hole as it is hard to conceive of something being massive, in this case the mass of the Earth, but not being large. Since Naoko Takeuchi didn’t write the SuperS film, we can’t really expect any consistency here with what we see in the manga.

Sailor Moon enters the Black Dream Hole

I hope you’ve enjoyed this random musing about black holes. Do you think any parallels were actually intended by the author, or am I just grasping at passing similarities?