Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 19 and 20 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 20 - Usagi gazing at Mamoru

This is a review and discussion of the Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series Acts 19, Usagi’s Doki Doki Valentine, and 20, Hina was Mamoru’s Fiancée. These episodes once again focus a lot on Usagi’s reaction to Mamoru’s girlfriend Hina and the events surrounding Valentine’s Day as a new young friend of Usagi’s explores a romance with a young boy. The episodes originally aired on Japanese TV on February 14th, Valentine’s Day, and February 21st and because of this some of Act 19 actually takes place on Valentine’s Day as the title suggests. A note on the Act 19 title! Doki Doki is the Japanese noise for a heart beat so the title might read something like Usagi’s Thump Thump Valentine or Usagi’s Ba-dum Ba-dum Valentine. There isn’t really a single universally accepted English onomatopoeia for the sound of a heart beat as there is in Japanese. Considering the domestic name for the North American release of the Famicom video game Doki Doki Panic perhaps it would make sense to call it Usagi’s Bros. 2 Valentine.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 19 - Usagi completes her scarf

Act 19 continues with the saga of Usagi’s cursed scarf! This middle school teacher really did create a lot of drama when she suggested her students give their scarves to a boyfriend! Usagi, motivated by the power of love, completed her scarf and is glowing while looking at the completed product only to then become overcome with sadness. A little heartbreaking.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 19 - Hina and two jealous girls

Usagi is surprised when she walks into her dining room one morning to find that in Shingo’s place is a young girl! This is her mother’s friend Nozak’s daughter Hikari. Usagi isn’t sure how to entertain her but Hikari knows exactly what she needs help with! Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and she wants to buy chocolate for a boy she likes, Daichi. The catch? He’s in love with another girl. The twist? It’s Hina! Hilarious! Usagi and Hikari are both trying to win over the affection of a boy who is in love with the same girl!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 19 - Usagi embarrassed

When the two run into Hina and Mamoru both Usagi and Hikari are treated the same way as she gives them both a lollipop! Mamoru laughs at this, as we see that Hina is treating them both as children. This naturally leaves Usagi a bit embarrassed. She’s already self conscious about the fact that Mamoru has a serious relationship with this older woman and this action, one of kindness from Hina, doesn’t help her case. This gets even worse when Usagi attempts to eat her sucker and sees that Hikari have given hers away to an even younger child. Looks like Usagi has a lesson to learn from her young friend!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 19 - Hikari gives chocolate to Daichi

Is there actually a chocolate which will make a boy forget about the girl he’s in love with? It looks like there is but it’s the 5000 yen chocolate, which is about $45 US, while Usagi was eyeing a chocolate which cost about 1/10th of that cost. Somehow giving this chocolate to Daichi totally wins over his heart! He says he’s got a new game, supposedly a video game, and invites Hikari over to… watch him play. I thought they would play together but in the next episode he makes reference to showing her how to play next time. Really bro? It’s a new game! You can both learn together! I wonder what kind of game this would have been in 2004. It’s probably a PlayStation 2 game, since they had the most market penetration in Japan, though it could have been a GameCube game or, much less likely, an Xbox game. The Gameboy Advance was also nearing end of live at the time but judging by the fact that Hikari goes to his home to play it, they’re probably not talking about a handheld.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 19 - Rei pretends she doesn't know Minako is Sailor Venus

Meanwhile Makoto knows all about Mamoru and Hina’s engagement but doesn’t want to tell Usagi about it because she’s already upset enough. Seems like a plot device to me! They also don’t want to tell Rei, who is also keeping Sailor Venus’s identity a secret. This is all just bad for the group! Rei also seems to be keeping Sailor Venus’s identity from Luna who has actually spoken directly to Minako in front of Rei so the show can’t seem to make its mind up on whether or not Luna knows what’s up. You would think she would be in a hurry to get together with Artemis so that they can share stories about how awkward it is to pretend to be a plush cat.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 19 - Minako loves Artemis

Luna has got some competition for Artemis’s affection though because Minako got him chocolate! As always I ship Minako and Artemis though this relationship is more heavily hinted at in the manga and more prominently the anime than it is here. Still Minako seems to have chosen Artemis as her Valentine, giving him first a jack in the box style gag box of chocolates and then real chocolates. Life, it seems, is like a box of chocolate. The real kick? Cats don’t actually like chocolate. Chocolate is toxic to both cats and dogs, though it’s only really an issue for dogs who will eat pretty much anything they think might be food. Cats on the other hand are much more discriminating and don’t like sweet foods, like chocolate. Of course Artemis is a plush cat who can talk so I can’t really say what his tastes are like. In the manga and anime Luna enjoys star candies so perhaps these alien cats do like sweet foods after all.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 19 - Motoki and his scarf

More Makoto and Motoki shipping going on in this episode! First we need to get the turtle shipping out of the way. If you recall back in Act 15 Motoki was trying to hook up his turtle Kamekichi with some lady turtles. One of them was Maririn and I guess he liked that one since she got him chocolates in this episode. Having only seen turtles eat turtle food, some bugs and spiders I can’t say for sure this is something he’ll want to eat but it fits with Motoki’s odd fascination with turtles. I wonder if they’re chocolate turtles! Makoto, who has her sweater she made for her assignment, very nonchalantly gives it to Motoki claiming it doesn’t fit her style and he’d be taking it off her hands. Motoki, previously forever alone, is ecstatic at getting a Valentine’s gift but Makoto doesn’t seem to have put the same importance in it.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 19 - Sailor Moon gives chocolate to Tuxedo Mask

Sailor Moon gives her Valentine’s chocolate to Tuxedo Mask, who naturally isn’t her first choice. Tuxedo Mask, knowing fully well that Sailor Moon is Usagi, asks if there’s someone else she should be giving this too. When she tells him that “someone else” has a girlfriend he tells her not to give up! I know Mamoru has been acting a bit dense but he really should know that someone else in this case means his alternate identity who has a girlfriend and is engaged. If he doesn’t, he’s being really ignorant. If he does, well this is sort of infidelity. Is it unfaithful to encourage someone, via an alternate identity, to pursue a relationship with you even though you are unavailable? I would think so.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 19 - Minako continues to do her own photoshop work

Minako continues to do her own graphic design work! She’s using photoshop once again this time to superimpose herself on an image of a stadium as a trap for the enemy! Decent enough trick because the enemy seems to assume she’ll still be at this stadium by the time the photo is uploaded to her web site. Rei knows the score and tracks down the same building to find the generic monster. I can’t even tell when we are getting the same monster or if we’re getting “new” monster meaning an old costume with some feathers on the shoulder pads or something. This show’s strength isn’t its unique monster designs! Sailor Moon SuperS it is not! Anyway Sailor Mars finds Nephrite attacking Sailor Venus because they both fell for the same trap. He takes the Crystal! Oh no!!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 19 - Nephrite steps on Sailor Venus

Act 20 immediately follows Act 19! It’s convenient that these episodes seem to go in pairs which match the way I’m reviewing them. Anyway Venus makes the Crystal explode somehow and it turned out to be a fake! Oh look I have a whole suitcase full of fake Crystals!!! Rei is starting to suspect that Minako is trying to distract the enemy. She’s about to ask if she’s really… something but Minako cuts her off saying she’ll need to awaken first. We are meant to assume at this point that Minako has already awakened and the rest of the Sailor Guardians have not.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 20 - Mamoru, Daichi, Hikari and Usagi on a bus

The ridiculous double love triangle between Hikari, Daichi, Hina, Mamoru and Usagi is about to get much more ridiculous! Hikari and Daichi want to go on a date but they need chaperones. Who better than Usagi and Mamoru? Not an awkward situation in the least! Granted they are both participating as chaperones but one can not get past the idea that it’s kind of like they’re going on a date together themselves! Hina is unavailable for a change. It’s funny that for the first 15 episodes of the series Mamoru is always wandering the streets of Tokyo alone but since the Hina plot point was introduced they’re always always about town together!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 20 - Usagi walks awkwardly

Usagi is very awkward at this date, at one point walking with her arms and legs in unison. From watching various anime series I’ve learned that this is a sign of awkwardness or nervousness which isn’t really common in the west. Still it’s fairly easy to grasp the idea that a person be too focused on something to walk properly. Try to pay attention to exactly how your arms move in relation to your legs and you’ll probably mess it up. Consciousness isn’t good for everything! I’m not totally sure what the venue for this date it. It seems like a somewhat basic field and park but they actually pay for entry. In Canada one would never pay for such a place but perhaps in Tokyo where space is at a premium this makes sense. The venue has some zip line type of thing, badminton without an actual net and finally the gang settle down for a picnic in which Mamoru comments that the food is very good. Usagi is generally universally considered to be a bad cook in all continuities but it’s also some sort of important relationship indicator that a man find a woman’s food to be palatable in Japanese culture. Again something I know only because I watch a lot of anime.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 20 - Makoto cringes

Makoto is stalking to two on their date, planning to tell Usagi about Hina and Mamoru being engaged. She seems to have figured out that Tuxedo Mask is Mamoru and confronts him about this. I’m not sure when exactly this realization was meant to have happened but Usagi still has no idea. Makoto doesn’t get a chance to warn Usagi and when Hina shows up there is a comment made about the bride needing to sit next to the groom! Now it all comes crashing down again for Usagi! She sees a monster and says she has to leave which probably would seem awkward to Mamoru, the only one for whom this social situation is awkward, but he is actually Tuxedo Mask and has full knowledge of the existence of monsters and such so it’s not really a big deal!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 20 - Kunzite confronts Ami

The monsters, all repeats of earlier monsters, were just illusions to distract the Sailor Guardians. Early in the episode Kunzite, watching Sailor Mars and Venus’s building tension, decides that he wants a Sailor Guardian for himself! Conveniently everyone starts to ditch Ami not for any personal reason but just because they all have their own stuff going on. Ami sits quietly alone in the headquarters knitting mittens for everyone while Luna keeps her company. Now at the end of the episode Kunzite confronts Ami on the street and attacks her, at which time she transforms. He surrounds her with this black energy stuff. This is the start of one of the more interesting differences which is unique to the live action series and we’ll be seeing more of that in the next episode!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 20 - Kunzite attacks Sailor Mercury

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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Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 17 and 18 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 18 - Hina

This is a review and discussion of the live action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series Acts 17, Minako Transforms in Front of Rei’s Eyes, and 18, At Last, All 5 Sailor Guardians Are Together. These episodes aired on Japanese television January 31st and February 7th 2004. They focus on the appearance of Mamoru’s girlfriend Hina and the shipping of Sailor Mars and Sailor Venus.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 17 - Mamoru checks out Usagi while Hina is jealous Distracted Boyfriend or Man Looking at Other Woman meme

Act 17 starts off where Act 16 ended with Usagi running into Mamoru and Hina. They do this awkward thing where they reshoot the events of the last episode which sort of already happened, having Mamoru react to seeing Usagi with Hina on his arm. I can’t help but notice how similar the scene of Mamoru looking at Usagi while Hina looks at him is to the recent meme of the “Distracted Boyfriend” or “Man Looking at Other Woman” which I’ve posted about a number of times. I’ve included both for reference. Hina asks if that girl is there to see him and Mamoru, being totally awkward and ignorant, assumes she is not because she didn’t speak up. He really should know better! The source of the conflict here is not Hina but Mamoru! Hina is portrayed by actress Moeco Matsushita who we’ll be seeing for a number of additional episodes.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 17 - Minako faints

Meanwhile Minako continues to be on the run! We see that she’s hiding out in a hotel with a painting of a greek temple on the wall. Is she in Greece, like she did in the Sailor V manga? Almost certainly not as she quickly ends up hiding out in a Church in Tokyo and then back at the hotel, so it’s likely a local one. We see Minako faint, which is the first tangible indication of her mysterious illness which will be a plot point for most of the rest of the series. The specifics of this illness are never explicitly described but for the purposes of the show it’s some sort of supposedly terminal illness which she is suffering. In the interest of those who may not have seen the entire series I won’t get into more specifics until they play out.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 17 - Usagi chose the right yarn

At school Usagi’s home ec teacher, or whatever we call that kind of class in Japan, is giving the students a project to make a scarf and give it to someone special such as, and she actually suggests this, a boyfriend! This seems like a large amount of pressure to put on a bunch of young teenage girls but whatever I’m no educator! Usagi is clearly torn as she wants to make the scarf for Mamoru but that would be mildly inappropriate given he apparently has a girlfriend and so she instead decides to make the scarf for Tuxedo Mask because that’s a totally different person. She picks out the perfect yarn to match Tuxedo Mask, which is white, and proceeds to neglect her knitting as she drowns her sorrows in some very intense karaoke of, naturally, “C’est la vie”.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 17 - Hina is actually really nice

While the scarf is only partially complete Usagi literally runs into Mamoru and Hina. Hina’s reaction? She’s apologetic and deeply concerned that Usagi may have ruined her scarf which is clearly intended for a special person who she doesn’t realize is actually her boyfriend. A lesser show would have made Hina evil so that Usagi would be justified in trying to steal her boyfriend. This isn’t a lesser show! It’s Sailor Moon! By making Hina a kind and caring person it just complicates and puts a more realistic spin on this drama. Most love triangles don’t involve a “good guy” and “bad guy” pining after the same person. The real world is more nuanced! Usagi is devastated by this finally empathizing with Hina and realizing what a nice person she is.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 17 - Rei's mother Risa Hino's grave

It is the anniversary of Rei’s mother’s death, meaning that she died around January 31st. Her tomb stone notes that her name is Risa Hino and that she lived from 1963 to 1995. This puts her at about 32 years old when she died. Rei is about 14 at the beginning of the series, in 2003, so she would be about 6 when her mother died. This seems to roughly fit with the age of the various versions of young Rei we see in flashbacks when her mother dies. Rei would have been born when her mother was around 26 which also seems like a pretty reasonable age to have a child. No inconsistencies here from the prop department! Risa Hino is buried, or at least has a grave marker dedicated to her, at a Christian church in Tokyo. This seems a bit odd to me as I learned from a fantastic book, Warriors of Legend: Reflections of Japan in Sailor Moon, that only foreigners are usually buried in Japan as laws require Japanese born citizens to be cremated. Rei appears to be fully Japanese and Risa is a common Japanese given name not often found in other cultures. Still this church has an English speaking white priest who has an accent when speaking Japanese and occasionally says things in English. While speaking to the priest we learn that Rei hates her father for working while her mother was dying.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 17 - Rei prays to her mother at St. Juban Church

Speaking of this church, it’s clearly not a real church! Well not all of it. The various signs refer to it as “St. Juban Church”. How to break this down… a Saint is a person, generally a human, who is determined by in this case the Catholic church to be holy and given the title of Saint. Juban is a place, not a person. It is a reference to Azabu-Juban (or Juuban). It is a neighbourhood in the Azabu district in Tokyo. One might wonder if Juban is named after a person who might be the Saint this church is referencing? Not really possible. Juuban means “10th” or “Number 10″ so it’s like saying the 10th neighbourhood in Azabu which means it isn’t named after a person. St. Juban is not only not an actual Saint but the concept of such a Saint doesn’t make much sense.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 17 - Sailor Mars and Sailor Venus in the St. Juban Church gymnasium

Further a lot of the shots of this church are clearly just taking place in a gymnasium which looks like a school gymnasium. It actually looks very similar to the gym that Minako plays volleyball in Sailor Moon S episode 100, I Want to Quit Being a Sailor Guardian: Minako’s Dilemma. I know there is a school gym later in the series but I don’t recall if it’s the same set. Do some churches include school type gymnasiums? This seems plausible but I’m not expert in the Japanese Christian Church scene. The area, which has a podium and projected cross on the stage, clearly has basketball nets visible as well as lines on the ground for various sports. My primary school and many others I’ve visited had this sort of gym/stage set up so that large gatherings such as graduations or school plays could be held in the gymnasium rather than requiring the school to have a large and expensive auditorium. Another variant on this type of amalgam is the cafetorium, which is a mix of a cafeteria and auditorium. While a lot of the action in Act 17 takes place in the gym there are also other parts to this church including a proper chapel. While these could all be part of a real church in Tokyo, which I couldn’t find any specific information on, it may also be the case that these are just a number of locations used for these episodes that were dressed up with a few prop crosses and Christian decorations to make them seem like part of a single church. Alternatively the gymnasium may have been part of a school affiliated with the church. As a child I attended cubs at a Christian school which was next door to an affiliated church which I also attended at Christmas time. The school and church shared and name and both had crosses and Christian imagery displayed throughout. That school’s gym also had a stage in it!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 17 - Minako recognizes Sailor Mars

This church is the stage of major Minako/Rei shipping! This is a prominent friendship and somewhat complex relationship of the series and this is just the beginning. Minako nearly immediately notices that Rei is Sailor Mars, because she’s good at that, but Rei can’t do the same. Instead she seems to notice something but it’s actually that Minako is well known pop idol Minako Aino, something that almost any other girl her age would have noticed. This reminds me a bit of Usagi who fails to recognize who Seiya of the Three Lights is despite the fact that he’s a big star. Minako was at the Church praying which may insinuate that she is Christian in this continuity. Though Rei is visiting her mother it’s not clear how much she may be an observing Christian. She attends a Catholic girls school in the manga and anime despite being a Shinto priest. She may simply be visiting her mother’s grave though she is kneeling and praying in a Christian fashion. I wonder if either Minako or Rei feel that their own godlike powers are at odds with their various religious beliefs. My understanding of religious beliefs in Japan is that many people will simultaneously observe certain practices of conflicting religions without any real concern. There is a lost sick dog which shows up at the Church and Minako and Rei seem to think it’s their responsibility to care for him which is the excuse for them to remain around and interacting with each other for a couple of episodes.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 17 - Dancers make Sailor Venus blonde

After the monster attack Rei immediately transforms but Minako hesitates, unwilling to give up her secret identity. Finally she does and we are exposed to the most ridiculous of transformation sequences to date! The best part is when these gymnastic dancers frolic through her hair to make it blonde! I guess in the continuity of the show this is their actual hair and not awful wigs! During the fight Sailor Venus is injured by an exploding sword and Sailor Mars stops to help her, still under the impression that she is Princess Serenity. Sailor Venus chastises her for this and so we are introduced to the Venus/Mars conflict which just make this ship that much better!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 17 - Sailor Venus and Sailor Mars face off

Act 18 again starts where we left off, with Sailor Mars and Venus fighting! Sailor Mars doubles down saying she wouldn’t have had to stick around if Venus had been better in battle! Venus insists that she doesn’t want to be protected by the rest of the Sailor Guardians. How odd! She’s the Princess, isn’t she??? Later in the episode she clarifies to Sailor Mars that she should never leave Sailor Moon’s side and that this is an order from the Princess! What a curious order from someone who we should suspect is the one that should be protected!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 18 - Rei is jealous of Minako's poster

The Rei/Minako feud continues in the form of taking care of the dog! Rei shows up with a big bag of cheap dog food so moneybags Minako goes out and buys premium healthy canned dog foot! All well and good but he’ll get sick if he’s not used to eating wet food. Rei refers to the dog as Taro and Minako refers to him as Riki. In order to help find Taro/Riki’s owner the two make signs. So they make a little flyer with a photo of the dog on the computer and make some photocopies because it’s 2004 and such a thing is easily done? We did see Minako use Photoshop Elements not long ago! Well no. Each of them hand paints a lost dog sign complete with a painting of the dog! Rei puts up her small but fairly elaborate sign and Minako, who should be working on her new album, hangs a much larger sign! Humourous if not completely ridiculous! This of course is a proxy fight taking the place of their actual argument which is rooted in misunderstanding. We can note here that Luna seems to share knowledge of Sailor Venus’s identity as she is there at the poster feuding and speaks to Minako. When speaking to Artemis Minako seems to regret what she said to Rei but the next time she sees her she spews out the exact same arguments! Why don’t these two just get along?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 18 - Usagi images placing a scarf on Mamoru

Meanwhile Usagi’s scarf isn’t going well. Her teacher calls her out and says it’s more like a handkerchief. Hilarious! She’s already given two handkerchiefs to Tuxedo Mask/Mamoru. Why not a third to go with his collection that he has going on his nightstand? While confiding in Makoto and Ami she reveals what we’d all figured out. She wasn’t really thinking of Tuxedo Mask when she was making this thing. She was thinking of Mamoru. Well okay she was actually thinking of Tuxedo Mask anyway but she didn’t actually know that. In her mind they are still separate entities.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 18 - Makoto empathizes

Makoto’s reactions to Usagi’s unfolding emotions are impressive. Just seeing the look in her face shows so much. She’s really feeling Usagi’s pain and, knowing what we do about her recent unrequited love, I like to think this also played into the way she acts and feels here. Ami similarly feels pain for Usagi but she doesn’t have the emotional baggage to really feel it like Makoto does.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 18 - Motoki and Makoto on a pseudo date

Makoto has some advice for Usagi! Don’t give up even if he has a girlfriend! She might not stick around! This reminds me of episode 30 of the original Sailor Moon anime, Total Chaos: the Messy Love Rectangle, in which Usagi and Makoto find out that Motoki has a girlfriend and Makoto is unphased! Of course in this continuity Motoki is quite single, so Makoto arranges a meeting with him to grill him about Mamoru’s girlfriend. Have I mentioned I’m shipping these two? This isn’t the first hint at a relationship between these two we’ll see and there’s more to come! Motoki is disappointed that Makoto wasn’t interested in a date with him, but Makoto gives him some turtle food and all is well. Motoki confirms that Mamoru indeed has a girlfriend and that her name is Hina. He says that Usagi should give up on Mamoru since he and Hina are in love. That’s great Motoki! Where was this wisdom when Naru asked him for Mamoru’s contact information so that she could set Usagi and him up? I guess Motoki just isn’t that great with women.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 18 - Young Hina and Mamoru

Now that we know a bit about Hina, we get a bit of backstory. Hina and Mamoru have known each other since they were children when Mamoru said that one day he’d marry Hina! I used to say stuff like this to girls when I was like 5 years old as well but I never married any of them! If you liked it, Mamoru, then you should have put a ring on it. With all the jewellery theft he does in his night life he had ample opportunity to make it official! Right so we see young versions of Hina and Mamoru in this one scene and as luck would have it the Church that Hina wants to get married in is none other than St. Juban Church, home of the holiest church gym in all of Tokyo! In this case they are in a legit church, where the priest turns out to be the monster who actually was a separate entity in episode 17 but whatever. The monster probably possessed the priest. Everyone is knocked unconscious except for Mamoru and Hina who escape to the church gymnasium and pass out!

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

Everyone is called to the church gym and for the first time in the series all five of the Sailor Guardians are together! There’s a cool series of shots that takes place here showing all of the Guardians in order with Sailor Venus, the Princess, in the middle. Seen from a different angle however we see the Sailor Guardians with Sailor Moon in the middle. The camera lingers on this shot for a moment. What could this mean??? If you haven’t figured it out you probably aren’t paying attention and aren’t familiar with any other continuity! This is the part in the series where the online arguments between the Sailor Venus is the Princess and Sailor Moon is the Princess camps became really heated. I recall someone at the Genvid forums pointing out this fact and it seemed like a slam dunk to me. There’s even a basketball net in the background! Dunks for Jesus!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 18 - Mamoru and Hina holding hands

The monster is dispatched and afterwards the gang find Mamoru and Hina unconscious, holding each other’s hands. Sailor Moon mentions that love is always a good thing, and so she’s accepted Hina’s feelings but also accepted how she feels about Mamoru. Amazing. How many people would look at such a situation with such optimism? Once again we see that the strength of Usagi’s heart, rather than that of Sailor Moon and her Crystal, are what really make her the exceptional hero that she is! Sailor Moon quickly heals the two which makes me wonder… could she heal someone’s terminal illness with that thing? She is seen regularly healing people who have had their energy drained by the Dark Kingdom but could she heal cancer or pneumonia with that thing too? Seems relevant since …

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 18 - Minako only has 6 months

Back at the hotel room Minako is chatting with Artemis. He suggests that she may be pushing away the other girls in order to spare their feelings. She mentions that she only has 6 months left. Six months until what exactly?

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.

Continue reading

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 15 and 16 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 16 - Tension grows between Ami and Naru

This is a review and discussion of the live action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series Act 15, I’ll Punish the Thief!, and Act 16, I Must Save Osaka! These episodes aired on Japanese television on January 17th and 24th 2004. A date of January 26th is written on the blackboard during Act 16 and by the general winter wardrobe choices we again see that the series takes place in real time as the episodes aired. Mamoru, while talking to Motoki, refers to events in Act 7, which took place around November 15th, as being “last year”. This is an odd way to reference an event a bit over 2 months old but it is not itself an incorrect assertion. To me it seems a bit like, on a Monday, referring to the events of the weekend that has just passed as “last week”. The events of these two episodes largely revolve around a relationship conflict between Ami and Naru as well as Usagi and Mamoru’s blossoming romance which leads us to the introduction of his… girlfriend?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 15 - Minako and Artemis

We start out the episode with a look at Minako’s house. She says goodnight to someone. Is she entering her house, saying goodnight to one of her work colleagues or maybe her manager, or is she entering her room and saying goodnight to a parent? Her parents aren’t seen in the series so we don’t really get confirmation. She talks about it being a lot of work being chased and then we learn that her house gets burglarized! While Minako and Artemis look out the window they see a monster outside. How does this fit into the episode’s story? Thieves steal her jewels which are then taken by a monster posing as a cop. If the thieves weren’t monsters what is this monster doing outside? Was the place being double staked out?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 15 - Mamoru receives a phone call

Mamoru receives a cryptic call. What’s going on? He asks if the agreement is by graduation. Who’s this? It seems, later events considered, that this is likely Hina’s father. We’ll see Hina in Act 16 and beyond! She’s like a female Seiya only Usagi’s not dead. Actually that’s probably not a very good analogy.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 15 - Nephrite and Kunzite argue in front of Queen Beryl

Fun exchange between Kunzite and and Nephrite. Nephrite makes fun of Kunzite and he, all while insulting Nephrite, suggests that if Nephrite is calling out Kunzite as being a mistake that this means that Beryl made a mistake! A sort of funny play on the idea that if God is all knowing and all seeing than that every bad thing that happens in the Universe is really his doing. Does this mean that Beryl is responsible for fully creating all of the Shitennou? This is not at all accurate given what we will learn about them later making this line of thought pretty weak but still funny on Kunzite’s part!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 15 - Ami Mizuno

There’s a bunch of Ami/Naru tension going on in this episode mostly as a fall out of Ami basically physically assaulting Naru in the last episode. Ami senses Naru’s discomfort and intentionally excludes herself from hanging out with all of them together. We’ll see more of that in Act 16. We’re kind of putting that storyline on the back burner while we can focus on Usagi and Mamoru for a bit.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 15 - Motoki tries to get a date for Kamekichi

Motoki is looking for a girlfriend for his turtle, Kamekichi. At least that seems to be his plan as he’s showing him photos of turtles. Is this some really weird turtle dating service or did he just find photos of turtles to make Kamekichi think he had a girlfriend? Strangely, this might work. I used to own a turtle named Tommy. We noticed at some point that when he’d see the colour yellow he would do this weird thing where he put his hands in front of his face and vibrated them. We joked about it and used to put Lego men in front of his aquarium sometimes for days at a time. I later learned what was really going on! Tommy thought the yellow was the belly of a female turtle and he was trying to mate with her! He would be perpetually stuck in this seduction loop never actually getting any satisfaction!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 15 - Mamoru and Motoki talk about Usagi

Mamoru, observant as usually, recommends that Motoki get a girlfriend for himself before he hooks up his turtle, asking about what’s going on with Usagi. This is supposedly to try to clear up that Mamoru is not a total jerk for going after this girl that his friend had a potential romantic situation with. Motoki mentions that this isn’t a thing anymore, so Mamoru is fine to pursue a relationship with her. Naru seems to see the same going on as she, through Motoki, gets Mamoru’s various contact info and sets Usagi and him up for a romantic date at the jewellery auction.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 15 - Luna at the computer

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Luna and Artemis typing on a computer

Luna using a computer

At the headquarters wee see Luna using a computer! We’ve seen Luna using a computer in many adaptations of the story to date!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 15 - Usagi and Mamoru talk to an incompetent cop

While neither Usagi or Mamoru are particular into this set up date thing, they are into trying to stop some Yakuza looking guys who seem to have Minako’s jewels! Usagi recognizes some jewels in a briefcase from what Minako was wearing on TV. Mamoru, a vigilante, suggests that it is a cop’s job. She tells a lazy cop about it and he suggests that more than one piece of jewellery could look the same which is actually a completely reasonable thing to say! Even if it’s from an expensive store and collection Minako’s jewellery, except for her tiara, are probably not one of a kind! Mamoru and Usagi both think this is unreasonable and so they take justice into their own hands. Usagi suggests she could do it herself by transforming into Sailor Moon and then cuts herself off. The two pretend not to have noticed! Mamoru of course knows fully well that Usagi is Sailor Moon but she is still none the wiser about his secret identity!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 15 - Usagi is torn, much like Mamoru's jacket

Mamoru throws a lit flare into the theives’ car and Usagi steals the briefcase! Somehow they don’t get killed. The cop? Turns out he’s a monster. The monster cuts Mamoru’s sleeve and then he falls off of this bridge type thing and Usagi… uncharacteristically runs after the monster instead of staying with Mamoru. This is actually a completely reasonable thing to do but very unlike Usagi who would generally prioritize this nice action of staying with this guy instead of chasing the monster.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 15 - Usagi bandages Mamoru

Once the monster is defeated Usagi once again patches up Mamoru’s arm, or in this case his jacket, with her handkerchief. This reminds me a bit of Cloud in Final Fantasy Advent Children who wears Aereth’s ribbon but even though that come out a year after this I imagine this to be a coincidence. So does he have two handkerchiefs now? This increases the chances of Hina finding one by about 100%! Well not really if he keeps them together but it’s still very reckless. “It’s not what you think she’s actually a superhero.”. Is Mamoru upset about the whole Usagi running off after the monster? Of course not! He’s knows she’s Sailor Moon! He invites her on another bike ride this time to the police station where, supposedly, those cops would not be as dismissive as the others. If the police are at all reasonable they would chastise these citizens for risking their lives for jewels that they only suspected belonged to someone who can certainly afford to lose them.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 15 - Makoto falling into the Sarlacc Pit

To wrap up the episode there’s this big Sarlacc Pit type of hole that opens up in the ground and almost sucks in Makoto, who I should clarify was clearly sick and sneezing prior to getting attacked by this thing!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 16 - Sailor Mercury and Mars save Makoto

Act 16 takes off where 15 left off with Makoto falling into a hole! Turns out… she’s fine. She does this weird sneezing thing which makes the whole screen shake. This appears to be done in post instead of using the old Star Trek trick of shaking the camera. She comments about how she probably got sick when the monster tried to suck her into that hole which is of course nonsense since she was sneezing before it happened. It’s just a plot device to keep Sailor Jupiter out of most of the episode as a cost saving measure. I joke about that but there may be other reasons for not including all actresses in all scenes that I’m just not aware of. It seems like the show tries as much as possible to have only 2 or 3 actresses on the location shoots at a time.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 16 - Naru judging Ami

This episode is all about the growing tension between Naru and Ami! This started in Act 14 when Ami shoved Naru and denied her access to Usagi, who in fairness was turning into a monster. We get all sorts of elaboration on that here. First there’s the issue with teaming up in class, in that Usagi can’t actually go with both Ami and Naru. The solution? The teacher pairs people up! Ami and Naru are with Usagi’s two other friends and Usagi is paired with … Hikeomon. Who’s that? Just some awkward looking dude with a really low voice!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 16 - Naru falling into the Sarlacc Pit

Naru is sucked into the Sarlacc Pit while Ami makes a legitimate effort to save her. She later confesses that deep inside she was jealous of Naru and that it made her hate her a little and so she wondered what it would be like if she was gone. Rei doesn’t think that’s a big deal and says everyone has a dark side! She shouldn’t worry about it. Terrible? Well it would have been pretty bad if she’d, say, intentionally dropped Naru into the Pit or otherwise just not done a good job of trying to save her but as we see in the scene she really did all she could! She may have some negative feelings but she doesn’t let them affect her actions so that’s fine. As for Ami’s dark side, we haven’t seen anything yet!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 16 Preview - Usagi hits a window

Turns out these people are sucked into the Sarlacc Pit and then they end up in an energy farm. They’re basically zombies walking around in a building while their energy is slowly drained. Reminds me a bit of the plot of the Matrix where humanity is being used for their energy while they live in a computer simulated reality. This particular version lacks the computer simulation so it’s much less elaborate. When the gang go to break in there’s a “barrier”. Some kind of force field. In the next episode preview at the end of Act 15 Usagi runs into it and it seems like she just hits a pane of glass. In the episode proper a few effects are added to make it actually look like a proper force field.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 16 - Sailor Mercury

During the fight with the monster Sailor Mercury does this amazing move. She jumps over the monster, stomps on her head and then does a finger wagging move to her following it up with a deadly attack. Sailor Mercury sure is getting bad ass!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 16 - Ami and Naru make up

Ami and Naru eventually make up! Ami comes clean about her feelings of jealousy and … Naru is totally cool with it because she feels the same way! The two pair up. What a nice change from the manga where Naru pretty much only interacts directly with Usagi which results in her being dropped as a character when more of her friends show up. Usagi this time gets paired with … the teacher. I guess this is bad but it seems like a nice way to do well on the assignment!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 16 - Jadeite lives

Meanwhile in the Dark Kingdom Queen Metalia is resurrected and… Jadeite’s back! Hooray!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 16 - Usagi sees Hina and Mamoru

Finally Usagi goes to Mamoru’s place to give him some cookies which she made. In the Sailor Moon SuperS movie her cookies are terrible but in this case she made them in class with the teacher so they’re probably actually pretty good. She has his address because of the plot device where Naru got it for her in the last episode. There she finds … him with a girl hanging off his arm! Mamoru notices this and it’s damage control time! He basically shrugs off Usagi as being nobody and goes off with this girl. This is Hina, the one I’ve been making jokes about this whole time. Her and Mamoru are in a relationship. This is a fitting plot device because things were moving far too quickly between him and Usagi. You don’t put Ross and Rachel or Lois and Clarke together right away, you have to drag the drama out a little! This character and story arc are unique to the live action series and it’s certainly an interesting twist. I can’t help but notice the similarity between the scene when Usagi shows up and the meme of the man and his partner being distracted by another woman so I had to put this together…

Mamoru checking out Usagi while Hina is upset

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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