Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album track listing and cover art has been revealed

Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album cover art

Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album will be released on April 4th. You can pre-order it from sites like Amazon Japan. The Sailor Moon Official Site has posted a track listing for the album which shows us what will be included and what artists will be performing them. It also includes the album cover which is somewhat underwhelming as it’s art we’ve already seen for the 25th Anniversary Book. I’ve translated the track listing below.

1. Moonlight Densetsu (Moonlight Legend) by LiSA
2. La Soldier by Gesshoku Kaigi
3. Moon Revenge by BiSH
4. Otome no Policy (Maiden’s Policy) by Yoko Ishida
5. Kakumei wa Night & Day (Revolution is Night & Day) by Etsuko Yakushimaru
6. “Rashiku” Ikimashou (I’ll Go As Myself) by Sonoko Inoue
7. Kaze mo Sora mo Kitto… (The Wind, the Sky, Surely…) by Gesshoku Kaigi
8. Sailor Stars Song by Silent Siren
9. Eternal Eternity by Ziyoou-vachi

A bit of a mixed bag here. I was hoping for a bit more of a variety of tracks that weren’t on the 20th Anniversary Tribute Album. Most of these are songs from the original Sailor Moon anime with only one musical song and two songs from Sailor Moon Crystal. I would have liked to have seen more songs from films, musicals or even the live action series which had not been revisited rather than rehashing the same songs yet again.

LiSA

As always the album starts out with Moonlight Densetsu or Moonlight Legend, the Sailor Moon opening theme, this time performed by LiSA. This is surely the Sailor Moon song which has been performed by the most artists.

Gesshoku Kaigi

La Soldier, performed by Gesshoku Kaigi, is a song which was used in most of the early Sailor Moon musicals. It was also featured at the end of Sailor Moon R episode 88. Gesshoku Kaigi will also be performing Kaze mo Sora mo Kitto or The Wind, the Sky, Surely, the ending theme for Sailor Stars. They are the only band to perform two songs on this album.

BiSH

Moon Revenge, performed by BiSH, is the first track that wasn’t on the 20th Anniversary Tribute Album. It was the theme song of Sailor Moon R The Movie which had the five Sailor Guardians each performing in this song. BiSH currently has six members. Perhaps one of them won’t be included in the song or will only sing in the parts where all members are involved. Previously Momoiro Clover Z performed a cover for this song which worked well as that group includes five members.

Yoko Ishida

Otome no Policy or Maiden’s Policy, the Sailor Moon R ending theme, is being performed by Yoko Ishida who originally performed the song for the Sailor Moon anime. This seems an odd choice for a tribute album which is otherwise all covers by new artists. I would expect that this version would be done in some other style especially after we just got a cover of it by Yoko Ishida for the Classic Concert.

Etsuko Yakushimaru

Kakumei wa Night & Day or Revolution is Night & Day is perhaps the most obscure inclusion on this album. It was originally included in the fairly unmemorable Sailor Moon Crystal character song CD. It was not, to my knowledge, ever included in the series itself. Character songs have existed for the original anime and the live action series but the more memorable ones of these were featured in those series although many were only included in singles and albums. There are surely many other character songs which could have been used instead of or in addition to this one. The song will be performed by Etsuko Yakushimaru. This is a particularly odd choice as this song, like Moon Revenge, was performed by the five members of the Sailor Team. Since Etsuko Yakushimaru is a single artist I’m not sure why this track was chosen. This, like all other Sailor Moon Crystal tracks, was not included in the 20th Anniversary Tribute Album since Sailor Moon Crystal did not exist at the time.

Sonoko Inoue

“Rashiku” Ikimashou or I’ll Go As Myself will be performed by Sonoko Inoue. This was the second Sailor Moon SuperS ending theme which was also used for the end credits of the Ami’s First Love special which played with the Sailor Moon SuperS movie.

Silent Siren

The Sailor Stars Song, the second opening theme used for the entire Sailor Stars series, will be performed by Silent Siren.

Ziyoou-vachi

Eternal Eternity will be performed by Ziyoou-vachi. This was the opening theme for Sailor Moon Crystal Season III.

Sailor Moon 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album exclusive incentives

The post also included a list of vendor exclusive bonuses. These are art by Naoko Takeuchi which was originally included with the manga.

What do you think of the artists chosen for these tracks? Which are you most looking forward to hearing?

Sailor Moon SuperS Part 1’s DVD and Blu-Ray release has been delayed until April 24th

Sailor Moon SuperS Limited Edition Blu-Ray and DVD

Fans waiting for Viz’s next Sailor Moon TV series release will need to be a little more patient. The release had originally been scheduled for April 10th, as we mentioned back in November, however some readers have noticed that pre-orders were being delayed until April 24th. Indeed the listings on Amazon and Right Stuf’s web sites now show an April 24th release date. After some concern in our comments section reader Drew reached out to Viz for clarification and they confirmed that the new release date for Sailor Moon SuperS Part 1 is in fact April 24th. This is only a two week delay but I know some fans have been waiting quite some time for this one!

Sailor Moon SuperS Special - Haruka and Michiru during SuperS

I’m not aware of any reason given for the delay, though such things are not uncommon. Since there haven’t been any dubbed episodes released to stream yet this will be the first chance we get to hear Viz’s new Sailor Moon SuperS dub. It will also be the first time the Sailor Moon SuperS Special will be available in North America. This shows, amongst other things, what Haruka and Michiru were up to during the Sailor Moon SuperS season. Are you planning on picking up this set? You can pre-order it from Amazon using the link below.

Japanese Sailor Moon movie Blu-Ray set review

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray - Cover

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray, a set including all three of the Sailor Moon films, was released in Japan on February 7th. This is the first time the Sailor Moon S and SuperS films were released on Blu-Ray and the set looks really great. It also includes the Make-Up! Sailor Senshi and Ami’s First Love specials which played with the R and SuperS movies in theatres as well as a handful of special features. MSRP is 15,000 yen, about $140 US. You can order it from sites such as Amazon Japan or CD Japan. The set is Japanese only with no English subtitles. I believe the discs are region free as no region code is listed on the box but regardless Japanese Blu-Ray discs are region A which is the same region as North America. Fans looking to see the films in English can already buy Sailor Moon R The Movie from Viz which has similar video quality. Though the other films have not been announced they will likely be released eventually.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Princess Serenity

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Princess Serenity

Viz Blu-Ray (2017)

A lot of people were wondering what the video quality is like. This release looks fantastic. That said, so did Viz’s Blu-Ray release of the R movie. With such poor quality in Viz’s Blu-Ray releases of the original TV series many blame them for the job they did with it but their Sailor Moon Crystal and R Movie releases show that they are able to make a nice looking product with nice looking masters. These films are HD versions taken from the original film source and it shows. They look considerably superior to the TV series Blu-Rays which have been released in Japan as these were simply software upconverted versions of standard definition video sources.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Usagi gives Mamoru a rose

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Usagi gives a rose to Mamoru

Viz Blu-Ray (2017)

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Japense R2 DVD 2002 - Usagi gives a rose to Mamoru

Japanese DVD (2002)

Sailor Moon R The Movie - English Pioneer release - Usagi gives a rose to Mamoru

English Pioneer DVD (1999)

I’ve got a lot of comparison screenshots between this new Japanese release, Viz’s release of the R movie and the Japanese version. You can also compare it to the original English DVD release but this doesn’t have much value as that was such a poor quality release. Still the English version has an unmated 4:3 picture so there is a bit more of the image to see. For all of the images in this post just click on it to enlarge and then click on the hyperlink showing the image dimensions (for example, 1920×1080) to see the full picture. These suffer from minor compression artifacts because they’re uploaded as JPEGs but you should get an idea for the difference or rather lack of any difference in quality between versions.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Umino cameo

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Umino cameo

Viz Blu-Ray (2017)

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Japense R2 DVD 2002 - Umino Cameo

Japanese DVD (2002)

Sailor Moon R The Movie - English Pioneer release - Umino Cameo

English Pioneer DVD (1999)

These are just a few comparisons. I’ll include more at the end of the post with the rest of the images of the packaging.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Usagi and Mamoru

Now about the contents. The Sailor Moon films are really a great part of the series. Due to the nature of their release they’re often overlooked. Here in North America for example they were released fairly late with the original dub and with the entire series now released subbed to stream and coming out on home video we only have the first film which has been released theatrically and on video. Though it is often hard to fit the films into continuity, they still generally follow what’s going on with the associated series. Their standalone stories are enjoyable and an easy introduction to the series for new fans.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Young Mamoru and Usagi

First is Sailor Moon R The Movie. This is one of my favourite films of all time, let alone one of the better anime films and, in my opinion, the best of the Sailor Moon films. It centres around Fiore, a childhood friend of Mamoru’s who happens to be an alien. It isn’t explicitly mentioned in the film but Fiore is of the same alien race as Ail and An from the early episodes of Sailor Moon R. It’s full of all of what makes Sailor Moon great with emotional scenes, dramatic battles and of course Sailor Moon sacrificing herself and showing compassion for the enemy, which I consider to be her true strength. I’ve spoken at length about my love of this film before! It’s great.

Make-Up! Sailor Senshi - Chibiusa and Usagi

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Make Up! Sailor Guardians

Viz Blu-Ray (2017)

As a bonus feature with Sailor Moon R The Movie is Make-Up! Sailor Guardians, a short which was originally shown with the film in theatres. I don’t have a great amount of love for this feature since it’s mostly clips, but there is a bit of unique animation. The quality here is not quite that of the film but better than any release of the TV series, of which it features many clips. As I mentioned in my review of Viz’s release of the R movie it seems like the original footage, which is claimed to be lost, was available back when this special was put together because the TV series clips featured throughout are of good quality authored from film source and not converted somehow from a standard definition video source as all Blu-Ray releases of the TV series have been.

Sailor Moon S The Movie - Human Luna

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon S movie - Human Luna - Princess Kaguya

Japanese DVD (2002)

Next we have Sailor Moon S The Movie. This is the only film which is based on the Sailor Moon manga as Naoko Takeuchi wrote a standalone story “The Lover of Princess Kaguya” following her trip to Cape Canaveral in the United States. It is the story of Luna who falls in love with a man and turns into a human herself. Also some ice villain. My feelings are mixed on this one. Simply put I don’t care for it all that much. When I first saw it on bootleg VHS back in the 90s I was fairly underwhelmed. I can never really pinpoint why though. Upon reflection I find the villain uninteresting and having little to tie into the story and I think Kakeru is generally annoying and unintelligent for a scientist. His conflict with Himeko is a bit forced. Still I find the drama around Luna’s feelings compelling and certain aspects of the film are enjoyable, such as Tuxedo Mask dressed as Santa Claus.

Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie - Sailor Moon in a Dream

Japanese Blu-Ray (2018)

Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie - Usagi choses reality

Japanese DVD (2002)

Finally we have Sailor Moon SuperS: The Nine Sailor Guardians Unite! Miracle of the Black Dream Hole. This is the only one of the films with a proper title and it’s a mouthful, hence I often just call it the SuperS Movie or SuperS The Movie, to keep with the convention set by the other films. It introduces us to Perle, or Peruru as I will always think of him due to the subtitles used on VKLL’s version of the film. Perle is a sort of fairy, possibly a bird animated through magic, who is defecting against Badiane, the villain who is possibly an alien who is attempting to enslave the world’s children into an eternal dream like state in which she syphons off their energy. Last year I wrote an article arguing that this film’s plot is similar to that of The Matrix, which was released a few years later. I really enjoy this film. The animation is good and the story interesting. It introduces us to some fun characters and concepts. The main plot is a sort of science fiction story and the idea of enslaving people into a perfect happy dream at the cost of their freedom presents interesting philosophical questions which are fun to think about. Perle’s character somewhat mimics that of Pegasus/Helios as Chibiusa has romantic feelings for him. Having seen this film before watching the later half of the Sailor Moon SuperS season it was this relationship which I was originally exposed to which is a bit backwards to be sure.

Ami's First Love - Ami in the bath

Along with the SuperS Movie is Ami’s First Love, a special which was included with the film in theatres. This short is entirely composed of new animation and tells the story of Ami receiving a love letter which she thinks is from a rival student but which turns out to be from a monster. Her “First love” in this case would be Mercurius though she doesn’t really have any direct interaction with this Umino looking guy. This is a funny special and well worth watching. It remains some of the last bits of animation, along with the SuperS Special, that we haven’t seen an official release for here in North America. I expect that if and when Viz gets around to releasing the SuperS film that it will include Ami’s First Love with it. I’m curious to see what rating it gets as it features a semi naked Ami getting out of the tub, but it really isn’t anything too explicit. Quality for this special is quite good and similar to that of the other films. As with the rest of the release the masters used appear to be the film source which means a high quality HD image.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Low quality creditless opening

Low quality “clean” opening

As bonus features go we have the same thing which was including in the laserdiscs and I do mean the exact same thing! All special features are standard definition source, converted fairly poorly to HD. This includes three commercials for every film, “clean” (no credits) opening and ending themes and an interview which is included with the R Movie. The commercials aren’t that great. Each has one which was clearly made before any animation on the films was done, in HD, another is a short one with clips and finally there’s a longer commercial with more clips.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Trailer - Mamoru in front of a billboard

Trailer

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Tuxedo Mask in front of a billboard

Completed scene

One interesting aspect of the commercial for Sailor Moon R The Movie is that it includes a clip of Tuxedo Mask when he first appears with a different billboard. In the film itself the billboard is of men in Tuxedos. Tuxedo Mask blends in with the billboard and then we see that he’s actually separate from it and standing on a lamp post. In the commercial there are no men in Tuxedos on the billboard which makes us wonder why he’s even perched so oddly in front of it. Was this unfinished animation where the Tuxedos weren’t filled in? An attempt to keep audiences unspoiled on the nature of this big Tuxedo Mask reveal? Given what I’ve seen from other Japanese film trailers not giving spoilers doesn’t seem to be a huge priority!

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Bonus feature - Kunihiko Ikuhara wearing Mamoru's jacket Sailor Moon episode 1 - Usagi and Mamoru

An interesting feature with the R Movie is an interview with Kunihiko Ikuhara, director of the film and one of the directors of Sailor Moon for which much of what made the series great is attributed. Unfortunately without subtitles there isn’t much to get out of this interview as is. I recall having seen this subtitled on my VKLL fan sub of the R Movie back in the day but what I never noticed previously was that he’s wearing Mamoru’s green jacket! This is a jacket which he wears consistently throughout the entire Sailor Moon series which makes me wonder if Kunihiko Ikuhara owned this jacket and based Mamoru’s jacket on it, if he went out of his way to get a jacket like Mamoru’s or if this is some sort of coincidence and green jackets are more common than I thought. I can’t take credit for noticing this! I believe it was something I saw on Twitter by Tuxedo Unmasked though I can’t pull up the original reference. As you can see in the caption of the photo on this blog post, he made a comment about the jacket at least as early as June 2017!

Sailor Moon R The Movie Laserdisc - Track listing Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Scene Selection Menu 1
Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Scene Selection Menu 2 Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Bonus Features Menu

An interesting thing I noticed while looking at the laserdiscs for the films is that the track listings are actually identical. The track numbers for each scene is the same on the old laserdiscs and the Blu-Ray. Similarly we can see from these comparisons that the special features are the same, just not always in the exact same order. The DVD release also had a lot of these special features included but the Kunihiko Ikuhara interview was previously only on the laserdisc release.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray - Booklet - Pages 2 and 3

The set also includes a cool booklet which is full of images and character art of all of the films. This is similar to the booklets which have been released with the Blu-Ray releases of the TV series. I’ve included photos of all pages of this booklet later in the post. While this is a nice thing to include I think the theatrical programs included with the DVD set were much better.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray - Comparison - Sailor Moon R The Movie

Finally let’s talk about the box art. With three movies there was no single image to use on the cover which covers all three and so for whatever reason the S Movie poster gets the cover. Inside we have the R Movie as the front and SuperS Movie as the back. I’m including photos of the laserdiscs for comparison but this is not the source of this artwork. The images used are the original theatrical posters for the films. I only have a poster for the R Movie myself! This art is also found on the insert for a U2 CD!

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Movie Blu-Ray - Inside cover Sailor Moon R The Movie poster
U2 in front of a Sailor Moon R The Movie poster

All in all this is a great release. Do I recommend it? Well it’s in Japanese and has no English so as always that’s of limited value given the price point. These are films I’ve seen a couple of dozen times each so I don’t find it terribly hard to follow along. That said there will probably be releases of these films by Viz at some point. This may be in a few years so the set is still worth getting if you would expect to watch it a few times before that happens.

Keep reading for more pictures of this release including photos of the box art, screenshot comparisons between releases and photos of all pages of the included special booklet.

Continue reading

Happy Birthday to Naoko Takeuchi. In what year was she actually born?

Naoko Takeuchi

Naoko Takeuchi is the creator of Sailor Moon and author of the Sailor Moon manga and today, March 15th, is her birthday! Last year many fans wished her a happy 50th birthday, as I did in a Tweet which went viral after being retweeted by Brianna Wu. Shortly afterwards however a few things made me wonder if it really had been her 50th birthday or that it was perhaps her 51st.

Naoko Takeuchi

Last year a message by Naoko Takeuchi was read at a 25th anniversary event and posted to the official site which I covered previously. She mentions that on the date of the Sailor Moon manga’s first publication, specified in the letter as being July 6th 1992, she was 26 years old. Since July 6th is after March 15th this would indicate that, had Naoko Takeuchi really celebrated her 26th birthday on March 15th 1992, her date of birth would be March 15th 1966. When I saw this I started to wonder if I was wrong about what I assume was her year of birth. Wikipedia, and many other reputable sources, currently list her year of birth as 1967, which would make her 51 years old today.

Naoko Takeuchi

The Wikipedia talk page shows that there is some disagreement over this date. I think Wikipedia is a reliable source of information but when something appears to be in doubt, I always recommend checking out the talk page to see what open discussions people are having about an issue. This mentions that some Japanese pages list her year of birth as 1966. That said the Japanese Wikipedia page and other Japanese sites currently list her year of birth as 1967. Due to her private nature her age was never listed on the official site, only the day of her birth without the year.

The source for the 1967 number appears to have been Hitoshi Doi’s Sailor Moon page. Fans who scoured the Internet in the late 90s will recall this as being a great English language resource by a Japanese Sailor Moon fan. The other source listed is an interview in Punch!! where Naoko mentions that in 1997, when the final episode of Sailor Moon aired, February 8th 1997, that she was happy to get a 5 month vacation at age 30. If Naoko was 30 in February 1997 that would mean that her 31st birthday was on March 15th 1997, making her year of birth 1966. However since there is a 5 month “vacation” mentioned she could simply be saying that she was 30 later in that vacation, making her 30th birthday on March 15th 1997, which would give her a year of birth of 1967.

With most signs currently pointing to a 1967 year of birth the statement on that letter stating she was 26 when Sailor Moon began doesn’t add up. This could be an indication that most online sources, all derived from the same place or the result of some assumptions about the Punch!! interview, are incorrect or simply that she misremembered or mistakenly mentioned being 26 at the time the series began. She could simply have recalled being that age when she began working on Sailor Moon earlier that year or simplified the math estimating her age at the beginning of 1992 rather than the later part of it.

So what’s the truth? I couldn’t say for sure. With so many sources repeating the 1967 number that seems the likely correct value but there is enough doubt placed on it for me to think there’s a legitimate possibility that she’s actually born in 1966. I’m putting all of the information out there so you can decide for yourself. This isn’t important like, say, when we’ll get more Sailor Moon Crystal.

This brings up the other issue. Does it really matter? Not really. It is Naoko Takeuchi’s birthday. She’s in her early 50s and was in her mid to late 20s when she wrote Sailor Moon. Her family may care about what kind of joke card to get her or how many candles to put on her cake but her exact age doesn’t make a big difference in the lives of fans. I’m just stubbornly interested in discovering the truth about the world so when I see something that doesn’t add up I must strive to know what the right answer is. If you’ve got any thoughts or insight into this feel free to mention it in the comments.

Happy Birthday Naoko Takeuchi. Thanks for everything!

The Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final musical is now playing in US theatres and coming to Canada April 4th

Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final banner

Fans of Sailor Moon musicals who aren’t able to make yearly trips to Japan will be happy to hear that they may be able to head to their local movie theatre to see the latest musical! Indeed Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final has already been playing in some US theatres since March 10th. Many locations have more showings of the musical coming up including some tonight. Visit the sailormoonlive.com web site for a full list of participating theatres in North America to see if yours is having a showing!

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final - Cosmos

The “film” will be showing here in Canada at Cineplex theatres. The Cineplex site has showing starting on Wednesday April 4th. Links for individual Canadian theatres on the sailormoonlive.com site redirect to that page.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final - The Three Lights

The presentation is a filmed version of the stage musical. Showings are in Japanese with English subtitles. Have any of you had a chance to attend any of the showings which have already taken place? Will any of you be attending showings in your city?

Fans interested in a Japanese copy of the DVD release of this musical can order it now as it was released today, March 14th.

You’ll need to shell out a lot of Moon Bucks to buy these gold and silver Sailor Moon coins

Sailor Moon Collectible Coins - Gold and Silver

Good news for exceptionally wealthy Sailor Moon fans who like to flaunt their money! A couple of official Sailor Moon coins are being minted to celebrate the 25th anniversary. There will be a gold and silver coin and despite their coming in $10 and $2 denominations they are significantly more expensive. The gold $10 coin costs 39,800 yen, about $375 US while the silver $2 coin is a mere 19,800 yen or $187 US. Yes it would appear, based on the amount listed on the coin, that the more expensive gold coin is the better value! In truth, the economics of these Cook Island coins are a bit more complicated as I’ll explain shortly.

Sailor Moon Collectible Coin - Gold

The gold coin features Super Sailor Moon from Sailor Moon SuperS on one side with the face of Queen Elizabeth II on the other. The silver coin has Sailor Moon from Sailor Moon S with her Spiral Heart Moon Rod as well as Sailor Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus with the Moon Palace in the background on one side and again the face of Queen Elizabeth II on the other. Both are dated 2017 which is not actually the year these coins are being sold in. They come in nice collectible boxes. The gold coin box features Super Sailor Moon with her Kaleidomoon Scope and the silver coin box shows the Space-Time Door. Queen Elizabeth II is featured on these coins, as she is featured on many pieces of currency around the world including those here in Canada because the Cook Islands has a free association with New Zealand and New Zealand, though they have a Prime Minister, still has Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state. Since Sailor Moon is technically royalty and the future Queen of Crystal Tokyo there really are two monarchs on these coins which seems like a bit of a conflict.

Sailor Moon Collectible Coin - Silver

What are the Cook Islands? Good question! I’d never heard of these before hearing about these coins. This series of small islands in the Pacific get their name from Captain James Cook and have a reputation for helping investors shelter their money, though not through investing in expensive Sailor Moon collectible coins. Since Cook Island’s Government allows private groups to mint commemorative coins for a fee they regularly produce this sort of collectible coin. Taking a quick look at the Japanese Mint’s list of collectible coins released to date we can see that unlike other countries they aren’t in the market of making anime and other pop culture based coins, which is likely why these are being made in the Cook Islands. What will the $10 and $2 coins actually be worth in Cook Island dollars then? The Cook Island dollar has a fixed exchange rate with the New Zealand dollar. The $10 gold piece has a value of about $7.30 US while the $2 silver coin is worth about $1.45 US … or at least they would be except for the fact that commemorative coins from Cook Island are not recognized as legal tender on the Cook Islands. That’s probably for the best since it would take you over 50 Sailor Moon gold coins to buy one Sailor Moon gold coin when exchange rates are considered.

Sailor Moon Collectible Coin boxes

As a Canadian I’m familiar with a number of collectible coins based on popular franchises being sold here for a fraction of this price with such coins often selling for $50 to $150 which seems cheap in comparison to these! Though only some of these are minted in Canada I was surprised, while looking into these, that some of them are produced by the New Zealand mint for places such as Nieu, near the Cook Islands. Since Canadian coins also feature Queen Elizabeth II such things are not always evident when examining a coin at face value. There is clearly a complex world of collectible coin politics I’ve only just scratched the surface of!

Are you a rich person who heats their home with the burning pages of Sailor Moon Volume Infinity art books who plans on getting these?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 and 22 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Dark Mercury

This is a review and discussion of the Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series Acts 21, What Did You Do To Ami?, and 22, Ami Becomes An Enemy. These aired on February 28th and March 6th 2004. These episodes introduce us to Dark Mercury, the evil version of Sailor Mercury, which is a unique character to the live action series. I think this story arc is a lot of fun and this very cool character is one of the key differences between other incarnations of the Sailor Moon story and the live action series.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Makoto punches Tuxedo Mask

Act 21 starts out with a ton of flashbacks. Naturally we need to focus on what just happened, as something happened to Ami we just don’t yet know exactly what it is. Along with these flashbacks we see a scene of Makoto punching Tuxedo Mask which takes place during Act 20 but that we didn’t actually see in Act 20. Perhaps it just didn’t fit in that episode so they spliced it in as a flashback? She’s angry that he’s using Usagi which isn’t a great characterization of what’s happening but that’s not to say that she doesn’t have good reason to be upset that this man who clearly has a fiancé is stringing her friend along. Makoto is the central character for the early part of this episode for whatever reason.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Ami pretends to be sick

Usagi is not at school. She claims to be sick but it’s actually because she’s a bit heartbroken, again, because of this whole Mamoru’s fiancé situation. Ami is also not at school, prompting Makoto to go check out her home. When she first rings the doorbell we clearly see that Ami’s bed is empty but upon entering Makoto finds Ami passed out sick barely able to wake up. What this likely means is that Ami isn’t really sick and that she’s just messing around with Makoto at this point. Considering that Makoto’s is showing constant and legitimate concern for Ami this ruse is very cold and calculated. Makoto makes her some food to help her out. What is that food? It looks like soggy rice. A bit of searching tells me that it’s kayu, called congee in other countries, a sort of rice porridge which is typically served to a sick person. As a write this I have a cold and recently ate chicken soup, a staple sick person food in western countries, but it seems like such a thing is not universal! Ami chows it down, seems to make a miraculous recovery and wishes to go to the amusement park! How atypical!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Ami and a bear which looks like Usagi's costume

Act 21

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Tuxedo Mask and Usagi the bear

Act 4

At the amusement park we see a bear that looks just like Usagi’s costume from Act 4. In fact if I didn’t know better I’d say they were reusing props!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Kamekichi

Just hanging around the amusement park is Motoki. Who works at Karaoke Crown when he’s out doing this kind of thing anyway? He always seems to be at the counter when the girls are there yet is frequently seen outside as well. Motoki claims to be taking Kamekichi, his turtle, out for some fresh air. This seems to be a colossally inefficient way to give your turtle fresh air. Although last time we learned that you have to pay for some parks in Japan an amusement park generally carries a heavy price of admission. Did Motoki really pay to come and give his turtle fresh air, a thing which is more of less available outdoors on the entire surface of the Earth? Perhaps he got more free tickets like he did earlier in the series!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Motoki gives Makoto a cup of coffee

After Ami passes out on the ferris wheel Motoki comes to the rescue! He has his car there because apparently he even drove his turtle to a place to give him some fresh air. His car naturally is green and looks a bit like a turtle. It is filled with turtle decorations. Do I judge him for this? Not with the amount of Sailor Moon merchandise I own! Motoki is wearing Makoto’s scarf and mentions that it was the only valentine’s gift he received! Makoto, trying to deflect the implication, says that it wasn’t meant to be that big a deal. Motoki, being the great guy that he is, accompanies Makoto to the hospital and only reluctantly leaves, giving her a bunch of magazines and snacks to help her pass the time. Makoto and Motoki’s fingers touch when he hands her a coffee. I usually wouldn’t make a big deal about this kind of thing however when Motoki went to the amusement park with Usagi he made a point of only holding her hand with a handkerchief as an intermediary showing perhaps a more intimate relationship between him and Makoto!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Nice guy Shingo

Shingo is actually not terrible in this episode! He realizes that Usagi is down and so he gets her… a meat bun! This is a bit like getting anime Naru a chocolate parfait to cheer her up as the meat bun reminds her of the one she got Mamoru on their romantic not date along the coast back in a time before Hina was in the credits for the show.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - University of Saintford

Meanwhile Mamoru is getting ready to study abroad! He mentions that there’s only one month and he has material from “Saintford College” which is also written in English as “University of Saintford”. There is no such place in the real world. A bit of searching only uncovered an unfinished piece of fan fiction which uses such a name. The name is likely a reference to the real life Stanford University. Anyway Mamoru going abroad to study. Sound familiar? It should! This was a theme in the manga and original Sailor Moon anime where Mamoru left during the Stars or Sailor Stars story arc leaving room for Seiya to saunter in and try to steal his girl! Turns out he never really made it to the United States. Will he make it this time?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Ami beat these guys up for fun

Well it turns out Ami went missing from the hospital. This is a lot like when Usagi was being turned evil by Kunzite and ended up disappearing as well. Ami runs into some thugs and she seems to beat them up off screen. Makoto listens to the trees in order to track down her friend which seems to work.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Dark Mercury's tiara

And then the big moment! Ami transforms but not using Mercury Power. Instead she calls out “Dark Power Make Up!” and transforms into an evil goth looking version of Sailor Mercury known as Dark Mercury or Darkury for short. This character is somewhat of an opposite in appearance and behaviour of Sailor Mercury. Simply put this is the evil version of Sailor Mercury and she’s out to attack her former friends! This is a great story arc showing some great drama between Ami and her friends who’s friendship started out rocky but seemed, until recently, to be pretty solid.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Dark Mercury and her sword

Act 22 continues where we left off with Sailor Mercury attacking her friends. First she turns an icicle into a cool looking sword. This reminds me a bit of the sword that Sailor Mercury created when she was defending Usagi, who Kunzite was turning into a monster. Now Sailor Mercury finds herself in a similar situation to Usagi’s in that episode except with one important difference! When Usagi was on the verge of being turned evil by Kunzite it was Ami who brought her back. Ami can’t bring Ami back because she’s herself! It is the abandonment that Ami is feeling by her friends which has precipitated this transformation and it doesn’t look like there’s any coming back from it! Sailor Moon attempts to heal Sailor Mercury with her Moon Stick but Mercury quickly strikes down the attack! The fight is only halted by Kunzite who seems to be calling the shots, but not for long.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Mamoru and Hina discuss their legal romantic relationship

Back at what seems to be Hina’s place she has made hamburger for the two which Mamoru doesn’t seem to be eating. We learn a bit more about the arrangement. Mamoru has agreed to study abroad, presumably at Saintford University, and promised Hina’s father than he would marry her. This whole arrangement seems odd to me from a Western perspective but a few readers have pointed out that this kind of thing isn’t terribly uncommon in Japan. The concept of mukoyoshi has a family adopting an adult son in law by having him marry the daughter. In many such cases the man will take the daughter’s family name. Does this mean Mamoru would end up as Mamoru Kusaka?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Evil Ami and her posse

Usagi is stressing about how to cover for Ami becoming evil to her teacher and it turns out… she actually came to school! She may be evil but no need to let her grades and attendance record suffer needlessly! Ami has also brainwashed her classmates, including Naru, against Usagi who is stuck eating on the roof like a reject! We’ll remember that both Ami and Makoto spent some time eating their lunch on the roof in earlier episodes, as it seems to be the place for people without friends to go to pass their lunch break. Usagi uses this moment to reflect upon how Ami must have felt herself being abandoned by her friends.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Luna and Artemis

The opinion of the cats seems to be that the gang will have to fight Sailor Mercury but Usagi doesn’t want to have anything to do with that. Unfortunately they will be forced into that situation! A monster appears at the amusement park and the setting for the combat is an odd stage in or close to an aquarium.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Dark Mercury defeats Sailor Venus

Sailor Mercury quickly dispatches Sailor Venus who’s happy to fight a fellow Sailor Guardian. When it comes to Sailor Moon though she won’t fight but instead transforms back into Usagi. This is Usagi at her finest. Her true strength does not come from her ability to fight but from her compassion for her enemy, who in this case is one of her closest friends. This doesn’t convince Dark Mercury as she slashes the mittens that she’d made! This is a symbolic gesture to demonstrate her severing their friendship.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Sailor Moon's light briefly heals Dark MercuryLive Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Sailor Moon's light briefly heals Dark Mercury

Usagi cries and the tear lands on her broach causing a bright cleansing light. Ami appears briefly, calling Usagi’s name, but Kunzite takes her away before this can go anywhere. This Dark Mercury story arc could easily have been ended here. Usagi essentially put fighting aside and showed her feelings to Ami and then there was some magic stuff to make the bad magic go away, which wasn’t really the problem. The issue was between Ami and her friends and it is essentially resolved through their feelings but we can get more out of this story arc by having Ami remain evil and I’m all for it since I dig the character. It reminds me a bit of what they did with Black Lady in the original Sailor Moon anime. She shows up, there’s a little fight, then Sailor Moon pretty much heals her but they needed to do a big finale episode later so Wiseman sweeps her away.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Usagi's tear on her locket

Sailor Venus mentions that Sailor Moon has begun to awaken with that bright light. It’s easy to see the parallel of the tear to other incarnations. In the manga as well as both Sailor Moon anime series the Silver Crystal appears from Sailor Moon’s tear. At this point in the series we have still not seen the real crystal, just fakes put on by Sailor Venus who is absolutely Princess Serenity in this series. The light wasn’t a total waste of time though. Those mittens were repaired which is again symbolic. If the mittens which were cut can be fused together then perhaps there is still hope for Ami’s friendship. The gang are dedicated to getting her back.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Mamoru doesn't think he left the CD player on

Back to Mamoru and Hina, who are otherwise not really interacting with the rest of the cast in these episodes, they arrive back at Mamoru’s apartment and there is music playing! Hina wonders if he left a CD on, which seems like a perfectly reasonable explanation! I would think a radio or TV could also fit the bill! Mamoru, being no stranger to monsters and all sorts of terrible things, assumes the worst! It’s also worth mentioning that Mamoru is a thief who regularly breaks into jewellery stores to steal expensive gems. A person like that probably assumes some illegal break in could be a real possibility! Alternatively as a fairly unfaithful man perhaps he suspects there is a lady in his apartment! He goes in alone, which serves the plot well because Hina would not know how to react to seeing Zoisite’s ghost. He again refers to Mamoru as Master Endymion. Endymion is Princess Serenity’s lover! Looks like Mamoru’s juggling three women since it’s well established that Minako, and not Usagi, is actually Princess Serenity.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Zoisite

Feel free to leave a comment with your own thoughts on these two episodes. If you’re looking to watch along with the series you can get English subtitled fan subbed versions from sites such as Miss Dream, TV-Nihon and Sea of Serenity. Fans looking to stream the show can do so from Dramanice and Kiss Asian.

Keep reading for more screenshots from these episodes.

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A Sailor Moon 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album is coming April 4th

Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute Album

A second Sailor Moon Tribute Album, this time called Sailor Moon The 25th Anniversary Memorial Tribute, is coming on April 4th 2018. This one is to commemorate the 25th Anniversary while the previous tribute album, released in January of 2014, celebrated the 20th anniversary. The album will sell for 3000 yen, about $28 US, and is already available to pre-order from sites such as Amazon Japan. Like the last tribute album this will be a collection of songs performed by Japanese artists and bands. These will likely all be covers of songs from the Sailor Moon series. Since the 20th Anniversary Tribute Album was released before Sailor Moon Crystal began airing it only included covers of songs from the original Sailor Moon anime series. La Soldier, a song from the musicals, was also included though it also appeared in the original anime. It seems possible that we will be seeing songs from Sailor Moon Crystal and the musicals with this release but without a specific track listing we don’t have a ton of details. Since so many iconic songs were included with the last tribute album it seems reasonable to expect that an effort may be made to avoid duplicating too many of those tracks or at least to revisit songs which were not included on the last tribute album, but again this is simple speculation.

Amongst the talent included in this work are a number of Japanese artists and bands some of which were previously involved with Sailor Moon and many who were not. I’ll go through a run down of who’s been announced and where you can find more about them.

Yoko Ishida

First is Yoko Ishida who has been affiliated with Sailor Moon since back in the days of Sailor Moon R. She provided the vocals for Otome no Policy, Maiden’s Policy, the ending theme for Sailor Moon R. More recently she provided the vocals for a number of songs at the Sailor Moon 25th Anniversary Classic Concert and can be heard on many tracks on the CD recording of this event.

Sonoko Inoue

Next is Sonoko Inoue, a singer and actress. You can learn more about her from her web site, Twitter profile and Instagram page.

Gesshoku Kaigi

Gesshoku Kaigi is a band composed of members who seem to like to dress is steampunk and other peculiar costumes. They’ve performed songs for games and anime series. Check out their web site and Twitter profile for more.

Silent Siren

Silent Siren is an all girl band who have an album titled “Girls Power”, which seems fitting for Sailor Moon! The group was formed by amateur models. For more on these girls check out their web site, Twitter profile and Instagram page.

Ziyoou-vachi

Ziyoou-vachi is a four piece rock band. They have a interesting fashion sense to say the least. Check out their web site or Twitter profile for more.

BiSH

BiSH, known as Brand-new idol SHiT, is well… an idol group that is relatively new, formed in 2015. Learn more about them from their web site or Twitter profile.

Etsuko Yakushimaru

Etsuko Yakushimaru, is the other artist who is not new to the world of Sailor Moon. She previously sang the vocals for the first version of the Sailor Moon Crystal Season III opening theme New Moon Ni Koishite or In Love With The New Moon. She has also performed theme songs for many other anime series. You can learn more about her from her web site.

LiSA

LiSA, short for Love Is Same All, is a singer who has performed songs for a number of anime series. For more on her check out her web site, Twitter profile and Instagram page.

That’s all the information we have for now. As April 4th approaches I expect we will be getting more information about the track listing and what artists are performing what songs. Are you a fan of any of these artists and bands? Who are you most excited to hear on this album?

See footage of the Universal Studios Japan Sailor Moon 4-D ride in this new commercial

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D Universal Studios Japan ride - Sailor Moon

A commercial has been released for the Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D ride which is coming to Universal Studios Japan. From this commercial we can get a better idea of what the ride will look like! The CG models we saw in an earlier press image do appear to be the designs we will be seeing in this show, meaning it won’t be done in the traditional animation style of either the original Sailor Moon anime or Sailor Moon Crystal. Watch the short commercial below.

Since the footage shows an actual theatre and audience reactions this won’t be exactly what the ride will look like, but it seems likely that the characters and designs shown are what we will see. There needs to be audience interaction because otherwise we wouldn’t have any way to realize it’s actually in 3D. Remember those ads for Avatar that showed the Navi sticking their hand out and trying to grab audience members? Me neither.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D Universal Studios Japan ride - Morga

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Morga

Featured in the clip is a monster which looks a lot like Morga, the monster from the first Sailor Moon manga story and the first episode of the original Sailor Moon anime as well as Sailor Moon Crystal. In those versions Morga poses as Naru’s mother though it isn’t clear if that will be the case here.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D Universal Studios Japan ride - A rose appears

The final moment of the trailer shows a rose appearing. This is Tuxedo Mask’s trademark however the rose is something which first appeared in the original Sailor Moon anime as it did not originate in the manga and didn’t appear in Sailor Moon Crystal.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D Universal Studios Japan ride - Sailor Moon in a theatre

What do you think of these designs? The CG sure does look dated. With almost all western animation being done in CG these days this short ride doesn’t look to be up to par even with the lower budget shows that use this kind of technology. That said the simple designs do look more like the 90s anime brought to life even though they don’t resemble actual humans. This may have been an intentional style choice rather than an economic constraint. Perhaps it’s a bit of both.

The Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge game is now available for pre-order

Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge box

The upcoming Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge game is now available for pre-order on the Dyskami web site for $35. The game should be ready to ship in April or May of this year. The pre-order page includes a bunch of details about the game including photos of what’s included. As an incentive those who pre-order the game now will get a special Sailor Pluto game card and Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge poster. The pre-order is a crowd funding campaign with a goal of $10,000 dollars and it seems likely that it will hit that goal before the deadline of March 9th. A video included on the page shows the game being played at the pre-release tournament held in Guelph in December. You can watch it below.

The game will ship to the US or Canada. Unfortunately it can’t be shipped elsewhere due to limitation of the licensing deal between Toei and Dyskami. The game is set to be released in May.

Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge components

At this point we have images of all of the cards included with the game and the characters cover the Dark Kingdom and Black Moon story arcs of Sailor Moon Crystal. For heroes we have Sailor Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Venus and Chibi Moon as well as Tuxedo Mask, Luna and Artemis (as a single card), Queen Serenity, Princess Serenity, Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion with Sailor Pluto as a pre-order exclusive. For villains we have Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, Kunzite, Queen Beryl, a generic Droid, Esmeraude, Rubeus, Saphir, Prince Demand, Black Lady and Wiseman.

Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge - Sailor Pluto promo card and poster

I’ve got my game pre-ordered. What about you?