Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38, Infinity 12 – Infinite – Journey, review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - The 10 Sailor Guardians

The entire Infinity arc of Sailor Moon Crystal is now available to view online. The final episode we’ll see for a while, Act 38, Infinity 12 – Infinite – Journey aired on Japanese television on Monday June 27th at 11pm Japan Standard Time. Immediately afterwards it was available to view on Crunchyroll, Neon Alley and Hulu, starting at 10:30am Eastern Time. This week is a bit of a mixed bag as we wrap up the story of Sailor Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Saturn and then move on for a teaser of the upcoming Dream arc. We still have no official confirmation that this new arc will be adapted. This episode is just doing exactly what the equivalent manga chapter did. While it seems likely at this point that we will be seeing more episodes this would certainly not be the first show to have a really awesome cliffhanger final episode which we never saw a follow up to.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Title Screen with Sailor Saturn

As always we start with an unreasonably long flashback! This week’s spans 3 minutes and 13 seconds which covers half of the last episode! At least we see a lot of Sailor Saturn. The opening theme, In Love With the New Moon, is the first version sung by Etsuko Yakushimaru. The full length version of this song is also heard in the episode itself. This is my favourite version of the opening so it was nice to hear. The ending theme used is Eternal Eternity sung by the voices of Sailor Uranus, Junko Minagawa and Sailor Neptune, Sayaka Ohara.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Super Sailor Venus

Sailor Moon blasts out of the Pharaoh 90/Mistress 9 monster juice thing and in doing so causes some damage. She gives everyone super transformations! Well almost everyone. How come Tuxedo Mask doesn’t get an upgrade? He’d look great in some transparent shoulder pads! Poor guy. At least he has his male privilege to fall back on.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Sailor Saturn smiles Sailor Moon Crystal Act 37 - Super Sailor Moon going to her death

Sailor Saturn, who was supposed to be destroying the world at the end of the last episode, decides to attack Pharaoh 90 and go to her death. She turns and smiles to her friends just like Sailor Moon had last week. This was a nice touch, as both seem willing to sacrifice themselves to save others.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Three Women and a Baby

Unfortunately Sailor Saturn has to die. Sailor Pluto is the one to do this. She’s upset about it, although this was kind of the plan all along. Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were ready to kill Hotaru in order to save the world. The solution now is to lock her, Pharaoh 90 and the Tau Star System away forever. Sailor Pluto does this with the Dark Dome Close attack. Her penance for killing Sailor Saturn? Her and her friends have to raise the reincarnated baby version of her! There’s some sort of odd justice here. This will be a tough conversation when she gets a bit older and asks why she has three moms! This is basically a genderbend version of Three Men and a Baby, a mediocre 80s comedy movie by Leonard Nimoy. “Well you see we helped killed your Dad and then killed you, so you’re adopted. Sorry not sorry.”

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - The Messiah

Sailor Moon becomes Neo Queen Serenity. OMG she was the one we saw in the visions. This isn’t the future version of Neo Queen Serenity possessing Sailor Moon in some way. This is Usagi in full control of her faculties. There’s no other consciousness in there. So I wonder why she doesn’t seem to remember what happens. Sailor Moon asks where this baby came from, and Sailor Uranus basically says it’s “From precious you”, which no doubt is a terrible translation, but basically she believes that Neo Queen Serenity caused Sailor Saturn to reincarnate as baby Hotaru. Sure. The original Queen Serenity is the one that sent everyone to reincarnate in the present time after they were all killed. Future Neo Queen Serenity is the one who sent Sailor Pluto back in time to reincarnate as Setsuna. It stands to reason that Sailor Moon, the present version, is the one that did this. There’s no other consciousness which is doing stuff here. It’s not insinuated that old lady uploaded consciousness computer simulated Queen Serenity on the Moon has any real power here. Why doesn’t Sailor Moon have full memory of doing this? It doesn’t really add up to me.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Super Sailor Chibi Moon

Sailor Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Saturn leave and then we have a commercial break. There’s meant to be a massive passage of time here but I don’t feel that this is well conveyed at all. In the original manga the Infinity arc concludes here which is the end of a chapter. Following this we get The Lover of Princess Kaguya side story which is a full manga book which is the equivalent of the Sailor Moon S movie, which then has a side story about Rei. There are a bunch of other side stories published later which are understood to take place during this break which is basically the time when the girls are preparing for their high school entrance exams. Ami’s First Love, which was adapted in an anime special, falls into this period as well. The first three story arcs all follow one another directly, but the Dream arc was never meant to do so. When the manga was rereleased in 2003 the chapters were broken up differently so they ended up breaking this particular Act up very poorly so that this passage of time isn’t properly demonstrated and happens between pages of the same story. I think Sailor Moon Crystal had a good chance to pace things out a bit differently and have the season end here, but they didn’t do that and instead, it’s time to go to high school.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - High school girls

This episode is kind of like the first episode of Sailor Stars from the original Sailor Moon anime. Those first 6 episodes of Sailor Stars basically fix the problems that the SuperS season skipped, including some characters which will be returning later in the Dream arc. The girls are supposed to be in high school before meeting Pegasus as we see here. Most of the girls have Juban High School Uniforms. Rei does not, as she goes to her own school which does not use high school entrance exams. We don’t really have an equivalent to these in the West. I suppose maybe the SATs are something similar but as a Canadian this is also something I only know of through TV and movies. I’ve never had a test so important in my schooling that it required me getting addicted to caffeine pills like Jessie Spano. So much to say Japanese high school entrance exams are a big deal and the source of a lot of stress, and the girls are meant to have been preparing for this during the long period covered by the commercial break which we don’t even get in the streaming version.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Solar Eclipse

Chibiusa says she’s going to leave on April 1st, at the time of a Solar Eclipse. The next Solar eclipse that will occur on April 1st is in 2098 and there certainly wasn’t one in the 90s when the manga was written, but this is pretty nitpicky even for me. She mentions in her letter to her mother “Please come to pick me up”. How exactly does this work? Is Neo Queen Serenity from the future going to travel to the 30th century to come pick up Chibiusa? Who’s guardian the Space-Time Door with future Sailor Pluto dead and Diana in the past?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Artemis and Luna cry for Diana

Speaking of Diana! Usagi says to Luna, who isn’t present when this is said, that she will see Diana “very soon”. What does this mean? From the frame of reference of Diana then she would see her parents soon, in the future. From Luna and Artemis’s point of view they won’t see her soon at all. Diana is a kitten. Chibiusa, who is born in less than a decade, is 900 years old in the 30th century. Is Diana a permakitten born in the 20th or 21st century and never aging? Permakittens would revolutionize the pet industry! Kittens are most of the reason people have adult cats!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Usagi and Chibiusa see Pegasus

So the gang are watching the eclipse and they hear a bell. They turn around to see… Pegasus! Well we don’t see Pegasus but in the manga version of Act 38, the final image has Usagi and Chibiusa seeing Pegasus. There’s no preview for another episode, but we will likely at some point be seeing Act 39, Dream 1 – Eclipse Dream. This will be part of the 4th story arc which, if current trends continue, will likely be referred to as Season 4 or Season IV in Japan. I’ve still been calling them arcs or phases but I may start using the term season if that becomes well established. We have no specifics on if and when we might get new episodes but perhaps we will learn something tomorrow at the live event to celebrate Usagi’s birthday.

Keep reading for more screenshots from this episode.

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The next Sailor Moon musical, Amour Eternal, has a terrible name

Amour Eternal - Did you mean Amour éternel?

An update has been posted to the official Sailor Moon site which reveals the name of the latest musical, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Amour Eternal, as well as a complete cast listing. The new musical has been confirmed to be covering the Dream arc of the manga, adapted as Sailor Moon SuperS in the original Sailor Moon anime. This title is just the worst! Amour, as most probably know, is the French word for love. Eternal however is not French at all. It’s a full on English word. What the hell? Why not Amour éternel, which would actually be proper French? Are we supposed to pronounce it in French? It just sounds gross to say Amour Eternal. It’s just bastardizing two languages. It’s gross. The last two musicals all had fully French names. Is this supposed to be a misspelled French word or is this intentionally terribly mismatched English and French words? This is just bad and it will not stop bothering me and I will probably not be able to avoid mentioning how terribly stupid it is at least once in any post referencing this musical. This offends me as both and English and French speaking person and it should bother you too.

Everlasting love translates to Amour éternel

This title will just lead to more confusion on what the name means. Amour éternel would translate roughly to everlasting love or eternal love. I guess eternal is more the word we’re going for since it’s the actual English word in the horrible title.

Here’s an English translation of the cast, courtesy of Wikimoon:

Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon: Hotaru Nomoto
Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury: Yume Takeuchi
Rei Hino/Sailor Mars: Karen Kobayashi
Makoto Kino/Sailor Jupiter: Kaede
Minako Aino/Sailor Venus: Rimo Hasegawa
Haruka Tenou/Sailor Uranus: Syu Shiotsuki
Michiru Kaiou/Sailor Neptune: Sayaka Fujioka
Hotaru Tomoe/Sailor Saturn: Karin Takahashi
Sailor Pluto: Mikako Ishii
Sailor Chibi Moon/Chibiusa: Airi Kanda
Helios: Hikaru Hiyama
Queen Nehellenia: Sayu Otsuki
Zirconia: Kanami Sakai
Tiger’s Eye: Chihiro Ando
Hawk’s Eye: Riona Tatemichi
Fisheye: Yumi
Dead Moon Circus: Yoshika Kobayashi, Risa Kawamura, Yoshimi Hidano, Chiemi Doi, Ayano Nagasawa, Ayumi Sagisaka
Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Mask: Yuga Yamato

Some newcomers and some repeat performances here. Sailor Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus are all new actors, as we’ve seen announced previously. We already saw that Yuga Yamato would return as Tuxedo Mask. Shuu Shiotsuki, Sayaka Fujioka, Mikako Ishii and Karin Takahashi will be reprising their roles as Sailor Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Saturn. Airi Kanda will also be returning as Chibiusa. Riona Tatemichi, who previously played Rubeus in the Petite Étrangère musical, will be playing Hawk’s Eye. The rest of the cast are newcomers to the musicals, as those characters have no appeared before.

We Are The New Pretty Guardians - The cast of the next Sailor Moon musical

We previously reported that Hikari Kuroki would play Ami Mizuno, Sailor Mercury. This role is now credited as Yume Takeuchi. I don’t know what prompted this change in casting, but this replacement was posted as a separate update on the Sailor Moon official site on the same day as this updated cast listing was shared.

Does a Chibiusa and Pegasus Figuarts Zero statue confirm that more episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal are coming?

Pegasus and Chibiusa Figuarts Zero statue

The International Tokyo Toy Show is on now, running from June 9th to the 12th. One thing which has been revealed is this great looking Figuarts Zero statue featuring Chibiusa and Pegasus from the Dream arc of the Sailor Moon manga. This on its own is not odd as we’ve gotten a lot of figures from throughout the Sailor Moon series in the past couple of years, not all of them tied to stories being told in Sailor Moon Crystal. Something important to note though, as noticed by the Moon Sisters Facebook page, is that the sign for this statue refers to it as a Sailor Moon Crystal figure. We are currently seeing the Infinity arc of Sailor Moon Crystal and we’ve had no official confirmation of episodes covering the next story arc, the Dream story arc, which covers the manga chapters which were adapted as Sailor Moon SuperS in the original Sailor Moon anime.

Pegasus and Chibiusa Figuarts Zero statue

This isn’t just branding. The Figuarts Zero statues have had two distinct lines of figures. The Sailor Moon figures are in a style closer to that of the original anime and the Sailor Moon Crystal figures have designs that colours that match those used in Sailor Moon Crystal. It’s hard for me to tell what style this figure is in. The main indicators of a Sailor Moon Crystal specific Figuarts Zero statue are the colours, such as Sailor Moon being a bit more pink in her reds, and some proportions. Without two Chibiusas to compare this figure to there isn’t much to go on. Her dress does not use standard colours. Her legs are hidden so we can’t see their shape. The face does look a bit more like the rounder Sailor Moon Crystal Figuarts Zero statue than the normal Sailor Moon statue. Have a look at both below to see the difference.

Sailor Moon Crystal Sailor Moon Figuarts Zero

Sailor Moon Crystal Figuarts Zero figure

Sailor Moon Figuarts ZERO figure size comparison to the S. H. Figuarts figure

Sailor Moon Figuarts Zero figure

Is this conclusive? Absolutely not. Many things could mean this does not actually indicate that the Dream arc of the manga will be adapted in Sailor Moon Crystal. Perhaps someone just made the sign incorrectly. Note that it says Chibi-Usa and Helios but this is clearly Helios in his Pegasus form. We don’t call something an Usagi figure if she’s in her Sailor Moon form. Perhaps the toy is done in a Sailor Moon Crystal style but does not reflect any plans to actually adapt these particular episodes. Figures take a long time to sculpt and approve. Perhaps when this figure was originally conceived and approved there was no indication of what the future of Sailor Moon Crystal might bring. Perhaps when the figure was planned there was an expectation that the Dream arc would be adapted but since then any number of complications has put a halt to development of those episodes. Perhaps there’s some other scenario I’m not even thinking of that is causing a disconnect between what this figure represents and what we will see in the show. There are a lot of unknowns so we should always wait for official confirmation before jumping to conclusions. That said, we may very well be getting our very first look at Pegasus from Sailor Moon Crystal!

Pegasus and Chibiusa Figuarts Zero statue

The figure is due out in January and will sell for 6912 yen, about $65 US.

Image source: Hobby Maniax (Twitter) via Sailor Moon Italy

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35, Infinity 9 – Infinite Labyrinth 2, review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35 - Hotaru in thorns

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal premiered on Japanese TV on Monday June 6th at 11pm Japan Standard Time. Shortly afterwards, starting at around 10:30am, it was available to stream first on Crunchyroll and later on Neon Alley and Hulu. Act 35, Infinity 9 – Infinite Labyrinth, mostly takes place inside of Mistress 9 and in an elevator.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35 - Chibiusa and her Crystal

Mistress 9 ate the Silver Crystal of the future. This is the one Chibiusa stole from her mother in the 30th century and has been using to fight as Sailor Chibi Moon. More importantly, Chibiusa’s soul is now fundamentally tied to this Crystal which causes all sort of problems, mainly that she’ll die if it’s apart from her body and consumed by an evil entity. How exactly does this work? Sailor Moon’s Silver Crystal of the present is similarly tied to her soul. It’s her Star Seed and all that fun stuff. What’s Neo Queen Serenity doing in the future? In the last story arc Neo Queen Serenity still seems bound to the Silver Crystal of the future so what happened to her when her daughter went gallivanting around time with it? Sure she was dormant for most of the last season but now that her daughter is gone on her training is Crystal Tokyo defenseless? Did Neo Queen Serenity need to somehow disassociate herself from the Crystal? If I take a powerful Crystal and keep it in my pocket for too long will my soul get tied to it like Golum being bound to the one ring?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35 - Hotaru and Chibiusa

My favourite part of this episode takes place within Mistress 9. Chibiusa, bound to her Crystal, is lost inside of Mistress 9 who basically ate her. Hotaru goes out of her way to protect her and her Crystal. These are two sort of ghosts or spirits stuck inside of this body which has been controlled by this evil entity. Hotaru hasn’t known Chibiusa that long, but she has strong feelings for her and is protecting her with everything she has. It seems like Mistress 9 won’t be getting full access to that Crystal just yet, which is unfortunate since she immediately destroys the Taioron Crystal once she gets something better. This is kind of like getting a new phone, deciding you don’t need your older out of date phone, and destroying it only to realise there’s some software problem with the new one and you can’t use it but oops I obliterated the iPhone 4s. Too bad so sad.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35 - A terrible directory

A lot of this episode takes place in an elevator which somehow leads to a bunch of weird mistakes. Let’s see what we know. The gang starts on the 56th floor, obvious from the sign we see and what is mentioned, and Sailor Venus decides to take one group and go down floor by floor while Sailor Moon and the people who want to kill Hotaru are going to take the elevator to the basement. Look at this chart. How terrible is this thing? It has a column with floor numbers, a column with descriptions, a second column with floor numbers and … that’s it. There are no descriptions for the second column! What’s on floors 31 to 60? The manga equivalent pages show an extra column there with descriptions of what’s on those floors, but there’s nothing here. Minor nitpick but that’s how it is.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35 - Elevator

Sailor Moon gets in an elevator with Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto and in doing so they go down. All indications from shots in the elevator shaft seem to indicate that it is going down at incredible speeds. A line in the manga, omitted from this version, speaks about the effect of the acceleration that Sailor Moon is feeling. Watching the floor numbers we seem to go from 50 to 40 in a number of seconds. Then we go from 30 to 20 in nearly a minute. It’s a few minutes more until we get to 6. Following this things get weird, we go into this weird other dimension, and then we arrive at floor zero. Or is it? There is clearly space for two digits on the display however when we are in single digit floors, like 6, we don’t have a preceding zero. It’s “6” not “06”. Also the numbers take up the full height of the display while the display on the final floor takes up half. The manga chapter has the gang travel down to floor negative infinity. With the infinity symbol, ∞, being like a horizontal 8. The manga has them mostly travel through basement floors to get there though. Here the floor indicator, which looks like “oo” could be taken to mean infinity. There is no negative floor indicator on the display. The reason for which those two os aren’t touching could be an artifact of the display. The show have easily avoided ambiguity by just putting another row of dots between the two numbers and having oo display as ∞. Also notable is that there are 60 buttons shown and 60 floors in the directory, so any basement floors don’t seem to be listed. If there really are on the minus infinity floor what does this even mean? If they go down infinity floors they would go through the earth, outside of our solar system and galaxy and beyond the reaches of the known universe.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35 - Floor infinity and Professor Tomoe

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35 - Hotaru has a messed up face

There is a flashback to when the Death Busters arrived. We see the accident once again and Hotaru’s face is real messed up in one shot! Koalinite is called Kaori, as she appears to have been a normal human woman working for Professor Tomoe before this incident. She was infected by an egg and then Professor Tomoe decided to infect himself with one. We also learn that Mistress 9, who was placed inside of Hotaru, was once Pharaoh 90’s partner. This seems to be new to Sailor Moon Crystal. The other Witches 5 however were created artificially.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35 - Sailor Uranus on Uranus

For the second time we see Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto on their home planets. Uranus seems tiny. We can actually see the curvature of the planet. Uranus has a diameter of about 4 times that of the Earth. That means its surface is much flatter than the Earth’s surface. Do you ever find yourself gazing out at the horizon and actually noticing the curvature of the Earth? Probably not. Based on the curve we see here Uranus should be roughly the size of The Little Prince’s asteroid. Just imagine tracing out a circle from that thumbnail image and it wouldn’t even be larger than your computer screen. Alternatively if Uranus is the right size Sailor Uranus could be huge. She’d probably be about the size of the Earth’s Moon for this to work. Sailor Pluto appears to actually be on Pluto. Previously we saw her guarding the Space-Time Door but it wasn’t clear exactly where it was. What’s the deal with this thing? In Crystal Tokyo when there was this door at the end of a long hall which led to the Space-Time Corridor, were people traveling to Pluto as an intermediate before going back in time? Did the door itself move at some point? Who’s even protecting this door in the 30th century now that Sailor Pluto is dead, Diana went back in time and Neo Queen Serenity has no Crystal? Maybe it’s that pink haired kid who isn’t Chibiusa. How rare would children be in a world where humans live 1000 years? Pretty rare.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35 - Princess and Queen Serenity

We learn that when they were bored and alone Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto would look at Queen Serenity and Princess Serenity. For some reason Princess Serenity is pointing to her bracelet in this image. It must have been new at the time.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35 - Professor Tomoe

Bad news for Professor Tomoe, who turns into this big monster thing. Sailor Moon hesitates to kill him because he was Hotaru’s father a few minutes earlier. Realistically he hasn’t been Hotaru’s father for some time, though I wonder if Kaolinite and Professor Tomoe have little spirits of themselves wrapped up in thorns inside their minds somewhere. Oh well. He gets killed.

Sailor Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus are attacked and Super Sailor Moon transforms back into normal Sailor Moon. She seems to think this is because something happened to her friends. Not a great omen.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 36 Preview - Hotaru

Next week is Act 36, Infinity 10 – Infinite – Upper Atmosphere. There’s more of Hotaru’s ghost resisting Mistress 9 and being all bad ass. With only three more episodes the story arc will be done soon. These next three episodes were originally one massive manga chapter!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 36 Preview - Hotaru

Keep reading for more screenshots from this episode and the next episode preview for Act 36.

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Watch Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35, Infinity 9 – Infinite Labyrinth 2, Monday June 6th starting at 10:30am Eastern Time

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35 Preview - Usagi

The next episode of Sailor Moon Crystal will air on Japanese TV on Monday June 6th at 11pm Japan Standard Time. Immediately afterwards it will start to be available to stream on Crunchyroll, Neon Alley and Hulu. In Act 35, Infinity 9 – Infinite Labyrinth 2, the gang continue to fight against the Death Busters and work their way down Infinity floors under Mugen Academy which should take them out of the other side of the earth, outside of our galaxy and beyond the end of the known universe.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35 Preview - Hotaru protecting Chibiusa

Mistress 9 has eaten the Silver Crystal which contains Chibiusa’s soul. Inside of Mistress 9 she’ll meet Hotaru’s soul and they’ll get up to all sorts of fun.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35 Preview - Mistress 9

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34, Infinity 8 – Infinite Labyrinth 1, review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 - The Witches 6

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal aired on Japanese TV Monday May 30th at 11pm Japan Standard Time. Shortly afterwards, starting at 10:30am Eastern Time, it was available to stream on Crunchyroll, Neon Alley and Hulu. Act 34, Infinity 8 – Infinite Labyrinth, has Chibiusa dead and the gang reluctantly fighting to save her.

First off we have a new opening theme. Once again it’s In Love With the New Moon but this time sung by Momoiro Clover Z. They sang Moon Pride, the opening theme for the first two story arcs. This version is fine but I prefer the first version by Etsuko Yakushimaru. Not sure I have much else to say about that. Momoiro Clover Z seems like a perfectly mediocre J-Pop band.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 - Chibiusa is dead

Chibiusa is dead. The day fans have been waiting for since the 90s is here! With her soul ripped out, Chibiusa’s body dies. The doctor announces quite clearly that she went through cardiac arrest and then passed away. All hope is not lost though, as Mamoru is able to keep her alive through some sort of healing touch. It’s as if he’s able to keep her blood pulsing with his heart which only makes sense considering he has magic healing powers. In the manga he mentions that her body is so small that supporting her is easy, but in Sailor Moon Crystal we get the impression that this is draining on him.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 - Usagi and Chibiusa

Usagi is heartbroken by this, and really feels as if Chibiusa is dead. What option is there to save her? Well they just need to kill Hotaru! Actually they don’t have to kill anyone, they just need need to defeat Mistress 9. Not every enemy needs to be killed when they’re defeated! Oh right this is the manga version where Sailor Moon kills pretty much anyone. Original anime Sailor Moon seems to win over and heal more villains. Anyway the trolley problem is a bit different now. Instead of kill Hotaru vs. the world it’s Hotaru vs. Chibiusa vs. the world. And now the trolley has run over Chibiusa and is heading towards the world and pulling the lever will make it roll back in time, bringing Chibiusa back to life and then killing Hotaru. I’m not sure I want to attempt to illustrate that. So much to say despite hesitation everyone, including Mamoru, supports the idea of moving forward and trying to get Chibiusa’s soul back.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 - Hotaru stuck in some vines

The whole thorn thing seems to be new to Sailor Moon Crystal. There are thorns around the building at Mugen Academy which makes it seem something like when the Makaiju grew all over the apartment building in Sailor Moon R. There are thorns and roses all around the lobby. What’s more Hotaru’s soul, which we see occasionally inside of Mistress 9, is held down by thorns. The manga doesn’t have this level of thorniness, and Hotaru is just seen sort of floating around in nothingness. This is a sort of physical visualization of the way she’s restricted inside of Mistress 9. All this really means is that Hotaru is still alive, so there’s still hope.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 - Eudial seduces Sailor Mars

The Witches 5 return and now there are 6. Everyone seems to be getting a dream of something they would like. Sailor Mars sees a version of Eudial which pretty much just want to make out with her. She pins her down holding her hand and seems to want to kiss her. Did I ever mention that Eudial is my favourite of the Witches 5 and that Sailor Mars is my favourite Sailor Guardian? I’m totally shipping these two. The rest of the gang are presented with predictable things. Sailor Mercury sees a powerful artificial intelligence supercomputer, which is cool but probably nothing compared to the supercomputer on the Moon which has the consciousness of Queen Serenity uploaded to it. Sailor Venus holds a microphone for a while but doesn’t actually sing, which is disappointing. Sailor Jupiter likes flowers. The recurring theme is making them all want to quit being Sailor Guardians.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 - Chibiusa tries to kill Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon gets a whopper of a dream. Chibiusa tries to choke and kill her! This is fake, unlike the time Chibiusa tried to shoot her in the head! This really is a great episode for Chibiusa haters! Sailor Moon doesn’t buy it though.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 - Kaolinite is a monster

Turns out Kaolinite is actually a monster! This is not in the manga and new to Sailor Moon Crystal. She transforms into this weird kind of Daimon who the Sailor Guardians quickly dispose of. We see a couple of new attacks with Sailor Neptune’s Submarine Reflection, which is awesome, and Sailor Pluto’s Chronos Typhoon, which is completely disappointing.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 - The Silver Crystal of the future

To wrap up the episode Mistress 9 eats the Chibiusa’s Silver Crystal! How terrible! Does she even know that Chibiusa’s soul is in there? Good news for Hotaru though. She’ll have some company inside of Mistress 9.

Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3 ending theme - Mamoru in a wet shirt

Next is the new ending theme, Only Eternity Brings the Two Together, sung by Kenji Nojima, the voice of Tuxedo Mask. This ending theme contains wet shirt Mamoru which I find looks like something out Yaoi fan art. I guess some readers will appreciate this!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35 Preview - Hotaru protecting Chibiusa

Next week is Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35, Infinity 9 – Infinite Labyrinth 2. Mistress 9 has reunited Chibiusa and Hotaru inside her being. Isn’t that great! Even in death these two good friends can hang around together! We’ll also see naked Usagi in this episode if that’s something that interests you.

Keep reading for more images of this episode and the next episode preview for Act 35.

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Watch Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34, Infinity 8 – Infinite Labyrinth 1, Monday May 30th at 10:30am Eastern Time

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 Preview - Mistress 9

The next episode of Sailor Moon Crystal will air on Japanese TV Monday May 30th at 11pm Japan Standard Time. Immediately following this, at 10:30am Eastern Time, it will be available to stream first on Crunchyroll and then on Neon Alley and Hulu. Act 34, Infinity 8 – Infinite Labyrinth 1, continues the fight against Mistress 9 and the Death Busters.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 Preview - Usagi cries

We continue to debate the morality of killing Hotaru but now that Chibiusa is almost dead, Usagi must weigh Hotaru’s life not only against that of the world but that of her daughter! Never mind that the world also includes Hotaru and Chibiusa. Quite a dilemma! Also the Witches 5 are back! And now there are six!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 Preview - Sailor Jupiter

I believe we will be hearing the new opening and ending themes with this episode. The first themes were used for 4 episodes and we have had 4 with the second theme. Also the first CD came out after the last time we had heard those themes in the episodes and the second CD has just come out. With 5 episodes remaining in this story arc the new themes will likely be this week, if not they will be the next Monday. This third version of In Love With the New Moon will be performed by Momoiro Clover Z, the band who performed Moon Pride during the first two story arcs. The new ending theme, Only Eternity Brings the Two Together, will be performed by Kenji Nojima, the voice of Tuxedo Mask

Sailor Moon Crystal Season III CD 2 single review

Sailor Moon Crystal Season III CD 2 - Cover

The second of three CD singles with theme songs for Sailor Moon Crystal Season III was released on Wednesday May 25th. You can order it along with the first CD from Amazon Japan. It features the second version of the opening theme, In Love With the New Moon, this time sung by Mitsuko Horie, the voice of Sailor Galaxia from the original Sailor Moon anime. The new ending theme is Maiden’s Advice by Misato Fukuen, the voice of Chibiusa. This is a CD/DVD combo. The CD includes the second opening and ending in full length versions as well as karaoke versions. The DVD includes music videos for both songs. This includes shorter TV sized openings and full length versions. The CD is not very expensive, about $13 US plus a bunch of shipping, and I would suggest picking it up to support the show though if you’re feeling cheap I’m sure you can find it somewhere.

Sailor Moon Crystal Season III CD 2 - Backs

The packaging is nice, as with the first disc. It comes with an insert with the lyrics and an ad for the Blu-Ray. The back of the case features Sailor Saturn, Sailor Moon, Sailor Chibi Moon and Sailor Jupiter. This seems like an odd grouping until you see the back of Sailor Mars’s hair on the side. This fits together with the back of the first CD and no doubt the third CD will fit on the right.

Sailor Moon Crystal Season III CD 2 - CD

What can I say about these songs? I didn’t care as much for this version of In Love With the New Moon as I did the first one. It’s enjoyable just not quite as catchy. The ending theme speaks for itself. Maiden’s Advice embodies everything that is Chibiusa. I feel like I’ll get cavities listening to it!

Sailor Moon Crystal Season III CD 2 - DVD menu

The DVD features are nothing spectacular. The TV sized opening and endings are pretty much exactly what we see in the episodes only without credits and in lower resolution. The music videos accompanying the full length versions are nice enough. They both features footages of the episodes which we’ve seen to date, right up the end of the latest episode, Act 33. The In Love With the New Moon video shows clips from the entire series, focusing a lot on Usagi’s relationship with Haruka. The video for Maiden’s Advice is all about Chibiusa! It’s just like you’d expect.

Momoiro Clover Z

The final CD will be released on June 22nd. You can pre-order it from Amazon Japan. The listing shows an image of Momoiro Clover Z though I imagine the art will be consistent with the other releases and perhaps showcase Tuxedo Mask on the cover. This will once again feature the opening theme, In Love With the New Moon, but this time sung by Momoiro Clover Z, the band who performed Moon Pride during the first two story arcs. The new ending theme, Only Eternity Brings the Two Together, will be sung by Kenji Nojima, the voice of Tuxedo Mask. I believe based on the timing of other themes that this new opening and ending theme will be featured during Act 34 which will be available on Monday May 30th. If not, they will almost certainly be featured during Act 35.

Keep reading for more images of the packaging.

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Sailor Moon Crystal Act 33, Infinity 7 – Transformation – Super Sailor Moon, review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 33 - Sailor Saturn

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal aired on Japanese TV Monday May 23rd at 11pm Japan Standard Time. Following this it was available to stream first on Crunchyroll and then on Neon Alley and Hulu, starting at around 10:30am. Act 33, Infinity 7 – Transformation – Super Sailor Moon, introduces us to Sailor Saturn as well as to Sailor Moon’s new powered up form.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 33 - Infinity 7 - Transformation - Super Sailor Moon

Everything before the opening credits is repeated footage. We had some of this in earlier episodes too. This is a way to recap but also a cost savings tactic. Not only is this all footage we’ve seen but this repeated footage itself has flashbacks in it, so there’s stuff in here that we’re seeing for a third time at least!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 33 - Super Sailor Moon

The episode starts out with Sailor Moon powering up to Super Sailor Moon. This is probably a deal to some people. I don’t really care about power ups. This is Sailor Moon, not Dragonball Z! The power level of our heroes and their attacks or those of their enemies are largely irrelevant. So Super Sailor Moon beats a level 999 Witch. The struggle between hero and villain is never about power in Sailor Moon. One thing stands out to me here. Who names Super Sailor Moon? Sailor Chibi Moon recalls the name from her past, Usagi’s future. She is the first to say the name and the rest of the gang catch on and use it. Sailor Moon’s new uniform doesn’t come with a name tag. If Usagi learned the name from Chibiusa and in turn tells her the name in the future, then where did it even come from? Basic paradox. The name Super Sailor Moon is Kyle Reese.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 33 - Neo Queen Serenity creates a paradox

Speaking of Neo Queen Serenity, what’s up with that hair? Usagi, Princess Serenity and Sailor Moon are blonde however the Neo Queen Serenity we’ve seen in 30th century Crystal Tokyo has always had white or silver hair up to now. The Neo Queen Serenity we see here is from beyond what we saw in the Black Moon story arc, because Chibiusa speaks to her about Sailor Moon having saved the future and has her uniform she got at school in the past. This newer Neo Queen Serenity has blonde hair. Is this a mistake, a new look for Queen Serenity going forward or does she also, like she did in the past, go through transformations between her civilian look and her more formal look as queen? The manga, being black and white, is no help here!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 33 - What's a patron?

Sailor Uranus is upset at the damage to the windows in her apartment. I’d be surprised that the building wasn’t evacuated due to concerns of structural integrity! She admits that her rent is a million yen a month, which is about $9000 US. I’ve paid rent for a year that cost about that! When asked how they afford it Sailor Uranus says that they have patrons so they don’t have to worry about money. Sailor Moon asks what a patron is and we don’t get an answer. So what does this mean? It’s not a word that is commonly used in this sense in English. I originally read the manga in French where they used to French word “patron” which, in Canada, means boss. I thought maybe this was some kind of joke about prostitution. A little research tells me this is hardly the meaning they were going for. As far as I can figure it’s a reference to some sort of financial backer for artistic ventures, which in this case might be Michiru’s violin playing or perhaps Haruka’s race car driving. This does not explain the embarrassment in the statement. Surely there’s something more to this story, but I don’t understand it.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 33 - Sailor Saturn

Finally we get to see Sailor Saturn in this episode! Doesn’t she look great? We learn of the last time she appeared, and get to see Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto in their native environments. Sailor Neptune appears to be on a rocky planet, which doesn’t really mesh with what I know about the surface of Neptune. The three are then transported to Saturn, which also seems a lot more solid than I would expect, and there they summon Sailor Saturn who shows up and kills them. As Silver Millennium was falling, Sailor Saturn seems to have picked up all the bits and pieces by conveniently killing the rest of the Sailor Guardians. Why? I guess it would be boring for them to keep living for a really long time? We then learn that the three of them were reincarnated on Earth, although we know of course that Sailor Pluto was reincarnated from her future self, unless there are two that is.

The trolley problem Sailor Moon variant

Once again we have a trolley problem as we weigh the morality of killing Hotaru to save the world. It’s simple really. If Hotaru becomes Sailor Saturn, she will destroy the world. This will kill everyone including Sailor Saturn. Alternatively if Hotaru is killed, everyone else survives! Also Hotaru is dying anyway. The only way to cure her is to let her become Sailor Saturn which means everyone dies. This is sort of like the trolley problem. In this thought experiment a trolley is flying out of control down a track which will kill five people. You can pull a lever which sends the trolley onto another track which saves those five and kills one person. Do you pull the lever? I feel like my experience with Sailor Moon has taught me that I should not pull the lever. Utilitarian ethics dictates one should go for the greater good, and should feel morally obligated to pull the lever. Similarly, the morally correct solution to the Sailor Saturn problem, prioritising the needs of the many over the needs of the few, means that Hotaru should be killed. Sailor Moon doesn’t go for this and neither does Chibiusa. They are convinced there is a better way in which everyone can be saved. They refuse to sacrifice one life at any cost, but Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are more practical about the issue, opting for child murder to save the world. Would you pull the lever?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 33 - Sailor Saturn

Sailor Pluto makes the argument that because the future exists Sailor Saturn must have been killed. This is a really odd comment, and reminds me of seeing a later episode of a TV show and then going back, knowing they are going to get to a certain point and trying to figure out how. It makes me wonder of course whether or not Sailor Pluto lived through these years already, in the past of the future self which died and was reincarnated in the present. If she did then she would remember the world not ending and possibly some serious stuff going on in Tokyo around this time.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 33 - Flying Sailor Guardians

I don’t think I’ve addressed the issue of flying before. In the old anime, there was usually no flying, but in the manga the characters seem to fly around a lot. They do it a lot in Crystal too, and because it’s animated it’s more obvious than seeing static people floating in manga pages. This week we see the Sailor Guardians fly right into the broken window of the apartment building but more specifically this includes everyone but Sailor Chibi Moon and Tuxedo Mask. Are they unable to fly? They show up a bit afterwards and then when Sailor Chibi Moon runs off she literally runs away, through the elevator and then jumping from rooftop to rooftop, at a height of over 20 feet with every jump. When she gets to Hotaru’s place, Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto beat her there, but were nice enough to not murder her friend. It certainly would make sense that Sailor Chibi Moon be less powerful than the rest. I imagine Tuxedo Mask can fly but was being a nice guy accompanying his daughter who can not.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 33 - Mistress 9

Hotaru may not turn into Sailor Saturn this week but she does transform into Mistress 9. She basically kills Sailor Chibi Moon by stealing her Silver Crystal and then turns into this older eviler version of Hotaru. In the manga she doesn’t appear with the dress and everything in this chapter, but here she does. Chibiusa is essentially killed in the process. This is Sailor Moon though so she’s only mostly dead.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 33 - Sailor Chibi Moon dies

Next week is Act 34, Infinity 8 – Infinite Labyrinth 1. Chibiusa’s dying, Mistress 9 is running amuck and we’re still debating whether or not it’s cool to kill Hotaru who isn’t all that innocent any more. I believe we will be seeing the third opening and ending songs with Act 34, though I’m not sure. The second themes appeared for the 5th episode following the first CD release. The second CD came out today, May 25th, and the next episode is the 9th of this story arc with 5 remaining. The new intro will still be In Love With the New Moon but this time performed by Momoiro Clover Z. The new ending theme will be Only Eternity Brings the Two Together, sung by Kenji Nojima, the voice of Tuxedo Mask.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 Preview - Usagi cries

Keep reading for more screenshots from Act 33 and the preview for Act 34.

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Sailor Moon Crystal Act 32, Infinity 6 – Three Guardians, review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 32 - Young Hotaru

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal aired on Japanese TV Monday May 16th at 11pm Japan Standard Time. Afterwards it was streamed on Crunchyroll, Neon Alley and Hulu starting at about 10:30am Eastern Time. This week we get Act 32, Infinity 6 – Three Guardians. The gang is mostly all together and we get a ton of back story about Sailor Pluto and Hotaru. We also face off against the last of the Witches 5. Things are advancing quite a bit now as we’re over half way done the Infinity story arc.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 32 - Sailor Chibi Moon and Sailor Pluto

First things first. Sailor Pluto is back, and we get a bit of an explanation as to how. Pluto immediately recognizes Sailor Chibi Moon and knows her as both Small Lady and Sailor Chibi Moon. This means that the Sailor Pluto we see here has the same memories as the one we saw in 30th century Crystal Tokyo. She mentions that she was reincarnated by Neo Queen Serenity, the future version of Usagi, not Queen Serenity, the mother of Princess Serenity from Silver Millennium. This means that this is not the reincarnation of the Sailor Pluto that died in Silver Millennium, but the reincarnation of the Sailor Pluto which we saw die at the end of the Black Moon story arc. She reincarnated back in time, which may seem silly but in a series in which both reincarnation and time travel exist, it is not unreasonable to assume this to be possible. Later it is stated that Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were reincarnated in the present. But Sailor Uranus and Neptune did not die in the future. We will later learn the specifics but so much to say everyone died when Silver Millennium fell. So where did future Sailor Pluto who protects the Space-Time Door in Crystal Tokyo come from originally? She is not the future version of this character but rather the past version. Sailor Pluto in Silver Millennium can’t be the future version of this Sailor Pluto as we see her as a child talking to the original Queen Serenity. Is there a second Sailor Pluto kicking around somewhere right now which was the original reincarnation of the Sailor Pluto which died when Silver Millennium fell, who will live out her long life protecting the Space-Time Door? Sailor Pluto has died twice but as far as we have seen, has been reincarnated only once. She seems to exist outside of time but she is not beyond the causality of life and death. Something just doesn’t add up here. Does anyone have plausible theories as to what is going on?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27 - Diana on the table

Act 27

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 32 - Diana and Chibiusa have breakfast thanks to recycled animation

Act 32

As we’ve seen this new story arc is rich on stock footage but there’s even more recycled animation going on here. As you can see by the above screenshots, one from the first episode of the Infinity story arc, Act 27 Part 1, and the other from this week’s episode, there’s some reuse happening. While Chibiusa’s pose may not be identical in this exact frame look at Diana if you need proof that this is the same. The toast toping and clothes have changes but the rest of the shot is nearly identical right down to Chibiusa’s hands and the furniture. In addition to reused animation this story arc is full of flashbacks to earlier episodes. We even get flashbacks to scenes earlier in the same episode, sometimes only a few minutes apart. Every second of animation costs quite a bit of money. If this process can be tweaked to avoid a few minutes of animation per episode that is an immense cost savings. The animation this season has been terrific but you can’t get something from nothing. It seems that one cost saving measure that has been done is to try to reuse as much animation as possible in a number of ways. It’s important not to be too negative about this. The alternative is a show every second week or poorer quality animation.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 32 - The gang

You know all that drama where we can’t work together? Well everyone is friends now. Yay! The reason for the drama was not ignorance but it seems like Sailor Uranus and Neptune knew what was going on all along! Since they protect the solar system from outside invaders they consider it their job to protect against the Death Busters, a threat from another dimension. So everyone’s cool now? Not quite. The new guys still don’t want Sailor Moon and her friends to help, and it seems to boil down to not putting her in harm’s way. The drama must continue!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 32 - Usagi reading Nakayoshi

In one scene we see Usagi reading a comic with Sailor V on the cover. The title reads “Nakayoshi”. Codename: Sailor V mostly ran in RunRun but the first issue did appear in Nakayoshi, the magazine which would later run the Sailor Moon comic.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 32 - Hotaru the cyborg

Tons of back story on Hotaru this week. Chibiusa is supposed to meet her for a movie but she can’t make it because she’s undergoing surgery. As excuses to miss a date go, having surgery is a pretty rock solid one. Hotaru is pretty much a cyborg, with all sorts of artificial parts inside her arms and legs. This goes back to an accident which occurred years ago in which Hotaru’s mother died and Hotaru was left at the brink of death, seeming to have been saved only thanks to this surgery. When Chibiusa wants to call Hotaru, she uses a phone number which goes right to her room. Once again we’re adapting something from the 90s which doesn’t fit the world today. I remember having a “kid’s line” which had a different ring at my house. Do people still do this in 2016? I think most people just have cell phones. The eternal struggle of faithful adaptation vs. adapting to fit with the times. Once again Sailor Moon Crystal goes for the faithful adaptation, which I respect, but it creates an inconsistent universe in which these characters live.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 32 - Cyprine and Ptilol of the Witches 5

With four of the Witches 5 down that only leaves Cyprine … or does it? Cyprine of the Witches 5 somehow separates herself into Cyprine and Ptilol, which always makes me wonder why they aren’t called the Witches 6. They go on to say that they are one Witch, something which seems to be an attempt to have their name make some sort of sense.

The fight starts with Haruka and so she transforms into Sailor Uranus. Unfortunately we don’t see Sailor Neptune or Pluto transform, making it increasingly unlikely that we will see a Sailor Pluto transformation sequence in this story arc. We should not abandon all hope though! I’m still hoping to see a Sailor Saturn transformation sequence in my lifetime!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 32 - Sailor Jupiter attacks Sailor Uranus

The Sailor Guardians get sort of brainwashed and start fighting each other. They’re not fully controlled but rather their existing negative feelings for each other are amplified and so it’s the Sailor Moon version of Civil War. Nothing like an excuse to have the good guys fight each other! Things get pretty intense in the ensuing fight as the two teams really dish it out against each other in a fairly impressive display.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 32 - The Holy Grail

Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi Moon fail to stop the fighting on their own, which causes Sailor Moon, Sailor Chibi Moon and Tuxedo Mask to unite and create the Holy Grail. It looks a lot like the clay one which they made not long ago.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 33 Preview - Super Sailor Moon

Next week is Act 33, Transformation – Super Sailor Moon, in which the Holy Grail is used to well… have Sailor Moon transform into Super Sailor Moon. More importantly, as seen from the clips in the preview, we will be getting our first look at Sailor Saturn. Don’t get too excited though. Sailor Saturn will not be appearing in the present. As we can see by the slightly grainy quality to the clips in which we see her bow and boots, this is actually a flashback. This scene is where Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto remember their fateful encounter with Sailor Saturn as Silver Millennium fell.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 33 Preview - Sailor Saturn

Keep reading for more screenshots from Act 32 and the next episode preview for Act 33.

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