Rika Izumi, Live Action Sailor Mercury, appears alongside pages of the Sailor Moon manga in the latest issue of Tokyo Calendar

Rika Izumi, live action Sailor Mercury, on the cover of Tokyo Calendar magazine

Rika Izumi, who played Sailor Mercury in the live action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series, can be seen on the official Sailor Moon site although no mention of her involvement in the franchise accompanies it! Rika Izumi, who went by the name Hama Chisaki when she played Ami Mizuno, appears on the cover of the latest issue of Tokyo Calendar. The fact that the magazine’s cover model used to be on a Sailor Moon series actually has nothing to do with the magazine’s inclusion on the site. It is featured because of a story in its pages which discusses Sailor Moon taking place in the Azuba Juban area of Tokyo. Though the site only mentions that the article will be appearing in the next issue of the magazine the Tokyo Calendar site actually includes an online version of the article. Check it out to see an interview, in Japanese, with Sailor Moon’s editor Fumio Osano, Osabu, about Sailor Moon taking place in Azuba Juban.

A page from the Sailor Moon manga from Tokyo Calendar

You can also check out this article on dining in Azuba Juban which features Rika Izumi who is in this piece a normal Japanese adult and not dressed as a superhero or genius school girl.

Rika Izumi eats a piece of bacon

I sometimes feel like the fantastic live action series is being completely forgotten by those who control the Sailor Moon property! It often receives little or no mention when various versions of the series are considered and this latest article is a fine example of that! Rather than acknowledge that this actress who had a major role in the only Sailor Moon series to be on TV during that entire decade the live action series remains firmly swept under the carpet like it was the Star Wars Holiday Special!

The cast of the Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon

Meanwhile the cast of the series got together recently to celebrate Daigo’s 40th birthday. Daigo is Keiko Kitagawa’s husband. They regularly get together to celebrate each other’s birthdays or similar such events. I’m glad someone remembers this series favourably!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 16 - Sailor Mercury

Rika Izumi eats a cookie

Rika Izumi

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 21, Complication – Nemesis, Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 21 - Chibiusa with the symbol of the Black Moon Clan

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, Act 21, Complication – Nemesis, is now available to stream on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. This week Sailor Moon is kidnapped by Prince Demande and we get tons of exposition from him about the Black Moon Clan and from Chibiusa.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 21 - Black Lady

One of the first images of the episode has Sailor Moon seeing what appears to be Chibiusa, but a bit older. This is a glimpse of a character we will be seeing a lot more of in a couple of episodes. The episode touches on how old Chibiusa is and it turns out she’s 900! This is not something that was ever dealt with in the Anime but that happens in the Manga. Chibiusa is born when Usagi is relatively young, she just never ages. This is an odd plot point which takes away some of the sympathy the viewers may have for her. She still outwardly appears to be a child but then how much of our ways of thinking are determined by the amount of life experiences we’ve had and how much are based on the biological state of our brains, which change quite a bit throughout life. A true 900 year old child would likely be extremely mature and intelligent in some ways but still frustratingly immature in others. Chibiusa doesn’t seem to be a well thought out and well researched example of how such a person would turn out, but rather she is simply portrayed as a child.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 21 - Prince Demande kisses Neo Queen Serenity

Prince Demande kidnapped Sailor Moon, but why? It seems this is a good strategic move on his part, but it turns out it’s quite personal. Demande is completely infatuated with the future Neo Queen Serenity but since she’s unobtainable (surrounded by a Crystal) he’s settling for going back in time and getting her younger self! Prince Demande is completely terrible and uses mind control to rape kiss Usagi. Usagi seems to have bad luck since this is pretty much what Mamoru did for their first kiss at the masquerade dance party. In that case she was asleep, not being mind controlled, but she was unable to consent in both cases. When she thinks about Mamoru the image that comes to her mind is of him naked and hovering above her. This is likely from when they had sex a few episodes ago.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 21 - Naked Mamoru

We learn a lot more about the Black Moon Clan’s backstory. They seem to not like that people aren’t able to die, so they agree with a lot of sci fi movies and people who aren’t that old in feeling that people shouldn’t live really long. It’s a bit of the naturalistic fallacy. Since we never see much about the day to day lives of the people of Crystal Tokyo it’s a bit hard for us to really determine whether or not there has been any negative impact to living for 1000 years. We can imagine perhaps some level of complacency setting in or perhaps some problems with population growth but none of this is demonstrated so it’s very hard for us to have any sort of sympathy for Prince Demande and his cohorts.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 21 - The weird island that is Crystal Tokyo

We get a better look at the future city of Crystal Tokyo as we see images of the Evil Black Crystal landing in Tokyo. First when seen from the side we see that the edges of the main island that the Crystal Palace is on get thinner towards the bottom, which is the opposite of how a real island would form. It looks from this point of view that this island is perhaps not naturally forming or even moved as a chunk of earth from elsewhere. When seen from above we see an image of the city in which is clearly Tokyo Bay. When comparing it to current satellite photos of Tokyo the shape of the coast somewhat matches to the point where we can make out some landmarks. The location of the island does not match that of Azuba Juban from present day Tokyo where most of the series takes place. It’s unclear whether the main island is completely new here or somewhat carved out of existing land. It exists in a part of the bay which is largely built up over the water. One reader suggested global warming melted ice caps causing some of Tokyo to sink and that this build up was the result. I would suggest that perhaps a chunk of the Moon which housed the Crystal Palace was moved to the Earth to create this island, though no specific evidence of this is given.

Tokyo in the 21st Century vs. 30th Century Crystal Tokyo

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 21 - Ami, Makoto and Rei

We see where Ami, Makoto and Rei have been, though we don’t see much in the way of detail. They’re in this room that unlike its manga equivalent is not filled with a bunch of decaying bodies. That would probably have been a bit gross. We’ll see more of what they’re up to next time.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 21 - Chibiusa gets bullied for not looking exactly like her mother

Chibiusa goes through the events we didn’t see of her adventure to date. This reveals to us that she took the Silver Crystal in a smash and grab and seems to believe that this is why the Black Moon Clan attacked. We see some nice scenes of her with her father, King Endymion. There is this recurring theme that she is somehow overshadowed by her parents and that no one really cares about Chibiusa. Of course, because people generally don’t have any interest when royalty has children. Children make fun of Chibiusa because she doesn’t look like her parents. Is that why she copies her mother’s hair style? Who’s her pink haired mother? Jem? Pinkie Pie?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 21 - Not Chibiusa

Apparently pink hair isn’t unique in Crystal Tokyo as we see Prince Demande try to kill a young Chibiusa clone who herself has pink hair. Who is this girl? In the manga she doesn’t look much like Chibiusa and is quickly killed. Here it almost seems as if either Prince Demande or Neo Queen Serenity mistakes this girl for Chibiusa, causing them to come into contact with each other.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 21 - Chibiusa sees Usagi fail a test

Chibiusa flashes back to seeing Usagi getting scolded by her mother for getting a 30 on her test. Wait what? That was the first episode which was a long time before Chibiusa appeared. Does she just consistently get grades of 30% on her tests? Did Ami’s influence do nothing to improve her grades? Upon close examination the test is not actually the same one. Compare the test images below to see the differences. Her original Act 1 test is on the left and her new test is on the right.

Usagi's tests Act 1 vs. Act 21

When Chibiusa is seen on her first visits to Sailor Pluto she is completely cool with it because all members of Silver Millennium are welcome at the Space-Time Door! So why exactly did she try to kill Sailor Moon a few episodes ago? Perhaps it’s because she’s in love with King Endymion and is trying to eliminate the competition! Chibiusa seems somewhat traumatized to see Sailor Pluto showing affection for him. No she isn’t upset because of what this means for King Endymion and her mother, but because she is jealous of Sailor Pluto’s affections.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 21 - Sailor Pluto and King Endymion

Finally, Chibiusa loses her Key of Space-Time and ends up in Wise Man’s hands! We see Chibiusa with a Black Moon Clan symbol on her forehead, which is usually something we only ever see on her head once she’s transformed into Black Lady. In the manga when she meets Wise Man she has the symbol of the White Moon on her forehead. Chibiusa is wearing her white school uniform with short sleeves when she takes Wise Man’s hand. This makes perfect sense!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 21 - Chibiusa takes Wiseman's hand

Next time is Act 22, Hidden Agenda – Nemesis. Somehow now Chibiusa is back in her dark blue school uniform! This show can’t seem to keep these uniform colours straight! It’s very simple. Chibiusa has a dark blue long sleeved uniform which she wears in the future and when she first arrives in the past. Once Chibiusa enrols in school she gets a white short sleeved uniform which, multiple animation mistakes aside, she wears from then on. She has the short sleeved uniform on when she meets Wise Man but now we see her taking his hand, a scene we just saw in the episode we were watching minutes ago, but somehow she has her long sleeved blue uniform on again. Will this be corrected before the next episode? We hope so!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 22 - Chibiusa takes Wiseman's hand

The next episode will be available on May 16th. We won’t actually get to see what happens with Chibiusa in this episode as it will instead focus on what Sailor Moon and the rest of the Sailor Guardians are up to. We will get a good look at Black Lady next month!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 22 - Hidden Agenda - Nemesis

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

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Sailor Moon R episodes 65 and 66 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon R episode 65 - Calaveras and Petz

The two latest episodes of Sailor Moon R are now available on Hulu and Neon Alley. This week for episodes 65 and 66 we have the Sailor Guardians face off against Petz and Calaveras … twice.

Episode 65, Dispute Over Love: Minako and Makoto’s Conflict, has Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Venus sharing an episode! We recently saw Ami and Rei get their own episodes but I guess Makoto and Minako weren’t able to hold their own! Instead they fight with each other for a while, which is mimicked by Calaveras and Petz’s bickering and fighting in this same episode. Sailor Jupiter uses Sparkling Wide Pressure for the first time in the ensuing fight while Sailor Venus uses her Venus Love Me Chain for the first time. The Droid in this episode is made out of wine which is kind of cool!

Sailor Moon R episode 66 - Usagi, Chibiusa and Mamoru

Episode 66, Usagi’s Parental Love: the Curry Romance Triangle is all about making curry! We get a good look at the future version of Usagi and Mamoru in this episode. Normally when we see Crystal Tokyo in other episodes we see Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion all decked out in their royal garb. Here we seem to be seeing them in civilian clothes, though those are fairly fancy clothes. Chibiusa thinks a lot about her parents as she gets close to Usagi and Mamoru. So right. Curry. Chibiusa needs to make curry for a school curry party. Is this a thing in Japan? In North America we do pot lucks but diversity is the key. Having a pot luck where everyone brings the same food is a bit of a waste of time. Whatever. Usagi, Chibiusa and Mamoru go to Juban Super, the supermarket in Azuba Juban, to get some meat. Too bad Calaveras and Petz took over the supermarket and turned all of the patrons into zombies! Unfortunately the zombies’ black skin makes it look a bit like all of the zombies are really just dark skinned minorities.

Sailor Moon R episode 66 - Dark Fruit turns people in to black zombies

Finally Chibiusa and Mamoru ditch Usagi and run into Rei. Rei reluctantly agrees to help them make curry, but ultimately Chibiusa decides to go back to Usagi. This makes us wonder what the Curry Romance Triangle mentioned in the title actually is. Is it Chibiusa/Mamoru/Usagi? This love triangle is always a problem and at the heart of the Sailor Moon R series, culminating in some rather incestual behaviour between Black Lady and Tuxedo Mask. The other love triangle here is the Usagi/Mamoru/Rei combo. Rei and Mamoru were a legitimate couple in the first season, something which ended abruptly when Mamoru was mortally wounded, regained memories of a past life and then was turned evil. The Moonlight Knight only recently gave Mamoru his memories of him and Rei’s relationship back at which point there was an assumed romance between him and Usagi, but the choice was never really presented to him. We can see Rei’s obvious hesitation at getting in the middle of existing relationships. Where does this hesitation come from? Does she not want to take Usagi’s place in her relationship with Chibiusa or is is that she’s worried she may rekindle some old feeling between herself and Mamoru? Luckily Mamoru is wearing the absolute worst shirt so there’s no risk of a hot girl like Rei falling for that!

Sailor Moon R episode 66 - Rei, Chibiusa and Mamoru

This is supposed to be one of those mosquito repellent things, right?

Next week is episode 67, The Beach, the Island and a Vacation: The Guardians’ Break, which was not previously dubbed into English or released in Viz’s subbed only set.