Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray review

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Cover

The Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical was released on DVD and Blu-Ray in Japan on March 20th and I’ve been working on this post since around then. The musical was originally performed in Japan last summer but I’d never gotten around to seeing any version of it until now. As such this will be a review of the Blu-Ray itself as well as my thoughts on the musical. If you’re looking to pick it up there are three version up on Amazon Japan. The limited edition Amazon Blu-Ray, now sold out, includes two folders. The regular Blu-Ray seems to be the same without the folders. Finally the DVD is a bit less expensive but of much worse quality. Keep in mind that as is often the case with Japanese Sailor Moon releases this set includes no English audio or subtitle options.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Back

Right off I have to say that I’m very happy to see that this release is on Blu-Ray and not just on DVD. I have not hidden my contempt for the sub par DVD releases we’ve gotten for the recent musicals, always featuring horrible looking 480i standard definition video. This release finally gives us a Sailor Moon in high definition! Looking at the fine print on the back of the box we see that it’s technically 1080i and not 1080p as you might see for most Blu-Ray releases. I guess they just love that interlaced video! What’s the difference? It’s nothing major! 1080i mean it’s interlaced instead of the 1080p progressive scan. Interlaced video works with scan lines where odd and then even lines are updated one at a time instead of the entire image being loaded one complete frame at a time. If you pause an old VHS tape you have probably noticed how there are often two images overlaid on the screen at a time which is the side effect of this. It can also affect the quality of screenshots. At such a high resolution it’s harder to notice and in motion it’s even less obvious. Most television is broadcast at 1080i and still of very high quality, so it’s really not a big problem as far as I’m concerned. Screenshots included in this post have not been modified to eliminate the scan lines and they still look decent.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Luna and Usagi

Overall the image quality is quite good! This musical looks great in high definition and after seeing so many standard definition releases, this really is a pleasure. The musical features a lot of fun special effects which are projected onto the stage and these are all captured beautifully in high definition. The sets, actors and costumes all appear clearly like only those who attend these shows in person have been able to see in the past! The camera work on the musical is good, following the important action when needed and letting us see the full musical. All special features included are also in high definition and those look great as well.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Zoisite, Kunzite and Jadeite

The musical itself is quite enjoyable. This is the Nogizaka46 musical meaning it features members of the band Nogizaka46 as the main cast. They make up two teams, Team Moon and Team Star, and this three disc set includes the full musical in both Team Moon and Team Star versions! From what I could tell both of these musicals were essentially the same, with the main cast of Sailor Guardians differing between teams. All other characters were played by the same actors in both versions. As this covers the Dark Kingdom story arc the extended cast includes Tuxedo Mask, Queen Beryl, the Shitennou, Queen Serenity as well as Umino and Naru. It’s great to see Usagi’s friends included in this musical.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Naru and Umino

The story of the musical follows that of the manga quite closely, which also follows quite well with the original anime and Sailor Moon Crystal. This is more faithful than most other musicals. Although there is no English dub or subtitles on this set fans familiar with the series should still be able to follow easily enough. We start out with the first story, introducing us to Usagi, Umino, Naru and even Haruna as well as Luna and Morga. We then move on to the second with the introduction of Mercury and then Mars, all somewhat following their introductions from the manga. Next we start to combine stories by having Sailor Jupiter introduced during the Masquerade Dance Party and things start to deviate.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - The Shitennou with the Sailor Guardians in the past

The main difference in this version, which we start to see at the party, are the pairings between the Sailor Guardians and the Shitennou. This was originally hinted at in some art in the Sailor Moon manga though those relationships, aside from a bit of Minako and Kunzite’s, were not really fleshed out. These were brought back in Sailor Moon Crystal which was a nice addition, though the series was so closely based on the manga that there wasn’t room for much deviation. They were kept alive to dwell on the pairing only to be killed off later before it really went anywhere.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Tuxedo Mask attacks Usagi

The rest of the musical goes through the story of the manga which has been touched upon in previous musicals. The gang go to the Moon and talk to a hologram of Queen Serenity. We get a series of deaths and suicides and evil Mamoru trying to kill Usagi and ultimately the world is saved.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Chibiusa arrives

Finally the musical ends with an interesting scene! The gang are hanging around and Usagi sees something falling from the sky. Is this meant to be Chibiusa? If so, why are we including this scene? The first story arc of the manga does indeed end with the arrival of Chibiusa to set up the Black Moon story arc but in that case there was the intention to have it continue! The Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical is, as far as I understand it, only meant to be a one time thing. Could this really be setting up a Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical 2? Not sure about that!

Nogizaka 46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Puppet Luna

Technically the musical looks great. The puppet work on Luna was particularly impressive. There was an actor who can very clearly be seen controlling Luna, which can be a bit distracting, but the actual cat’s movements were something which would not have been possible by other means. Beyond Luna there were also Phobos and Deimos puppets. These two crows were also controlled by human puppeteers which can be seen on the stage. Luna even gets a chance to ride on one of the crows!

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Star - Q and A

The musical is followed by the now expected seemingly never ending series of encores which includes an enjoyable rendition of La Soldier, a classic from the first Sailor Moon musicals, and a version of Moonlight Densetsu sung by the entire cast. We then have each cast member sharing a few words and crying, which has become another staple of the final performances of the musicals.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Bonus features - Team Star - Happy Birthday

Aside from the Team Moon and Team Star discs there is a third disc which includes bonus features. Each feature has both a Team Moon and Team star version. The first feature is a “cast cam” which is a bunch of behind the scenes footage of rehearsal and the performance of the musical. One moment includes the cast of Team Star singing happy birthday to Ranze Terada who plays Sailor Mars in Team Star. This was funny to me as it was, in September 2018, her 20th birthday which reminds us that she, and many others in this musical, are so young that they were no only born after Sailor Moon started airing but even after the original Sailor Moon manga and anime were done.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Bonus features - Team Star Game

Next there is a game! I should remind everyone at this point that I do not speak Japanese so it was a bit hard to tell exactly what was going on. In each case they pitted the Sailor Guardians, who were a different group between the Team Moon and Team Star games, against the Dark Kingdom, who are the same actors in both versions and therefore both games. As far as I can tell Team Moon did a game of charades and Team Star did a Pictionary or Win Lose or Draw style game where one sketches something and the others have to guess it. Both seem entertaining but it’s hard to get much from these features when you don’t speak the language.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Sailor Mars

Finally we have a series of clips to highlight the various characters. These are all clips from the musical but often the camera angle is changed to focus on that particular character. This sort of features seems mostly useless to me.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Star Disc and Extras

The packaging is good. This is a nice looking set with photos of both casts on the front. The art of the discs themselves is quite nice. There’s an insert with a few pages again showing both casts.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Amazon exclusive folders

Since I ordered the Amazon Japan limited edition version my copy also came with two mini folders. One features Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask and the other features the Sailor Guardians.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Minako and Rei

All in all I would say this set is quite worth it. Yes it is expensive compared to buying a movie in North America but it’s not much more than the other musical releases and it really is a much higher quality release. After so many sub part standard definition DVDs it’s a real treat to get this Blu-Ray. The image quality is fantastic. The set includes two full versions of the musical and numerous extras. The lack of English audio or subtitles is of course a problem for English speaking fans. This set was made for a Japanese audience but other fans should enjoy it.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Q and A

Ultimately fans may find that this istheir best chance at seeing this musical. Like many others I enjoyed watching the fan subbed versions of the musicals supplied by Miss Dream. After they received a takedown notice for four recent musicals, it seems that they will not be subtitling any of the newer musicals. (June 8th update: Miss Dream’s Dan Bednarksi has clarified in a comment on this post that the issue had to do with the trouble getting a translator for this musical. The two teams added complication to this issue as it would potentially double some of the work needed.) As a result importing the musicals on video may be the only way some fans will be able to see them! I certainly hope that some time soon we will be seeing international releases of these musicals with subtitles for fans to enjoy. Perhaps this will happen around the time we get more Sailor Moon Crystal!

Keep reading for a lot more photos of the set and screenshots from the musical.

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A new Sailor Moon musical based on the Princess Kaguya’s Lover manga side story is coming in 2020

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon manga vol. 11 - Princess Kaguya's Lover

We have finally gotten an update about the next Sailor Moon musical! According to an update on the official Sailor Moon site it will be coming next summer, in 2020, and it will be following the manga side story Princess Kaguya’s Lover. Fans may be most familiar with this story as Sailor Moon S The Movie, the film adaptation of the manga. This covers the story of Luna falling in love with a human while the earth is attacked by the evil ice alien Princess Snow Kaguya.

Nogizaka 46 x Sailor Moon musical Blu-Ray - Team Moon - Puppet Luna

Luna in the Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical

Though we don’t have any real details on the musical we can be fairly certain that it will have Luna transforming into Human Luna. As Luna features heavily in the manga story I am curious to see how they handle cat Luna before her human transformation in the final scenes. The recent Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical featured a fairly detailed puppet Luna which, aside from the somewhat distracting puppeteer, made for a very convincing effect. Could this technique have been done in anticipation of this musical? This would probably be a better choice than to just have people dressed up as cats as they did in the first Sailor Moon musical.

Artemis and Luna from the Summer 1993 Sailor Moon musical

Artemis and Luna in the first Sailor Moon musical (1993)

It’s worth mentioning that this was the third “New Musical” which was announced in early 2018 along with the Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical and The Super Live musical. At the time we had no details about what this third musical was about and it was simply referred to as “New Musical”. It was originally scheduled for summer 2019 but we now have confirmation that the musical is delayed until next summer. Without any other news about upcoming musicals it seems like we may not be getting a musical in 2018 which would make this year the first year without a Sailor Moon musical since 2012.

Logo - 3rd Sailor Moon Musical

The name “New Musical” was almost certainly a placeholder so we should expect a better title to be announced at some point! We have quite a bit of time to wait for this musical so there’s no telling how much longer we’ll have to wait until we get more specifics on this one. Hopefully it won’t be too long! Will we be seeing those Dream Arc Sailor Moon Crystal movies before this musical is out? I won’t be holding my breath for either!

Sailor Moon manga - Princess Kaguya's Lover - Human Luna

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Meet Kotono Mitsuishi, the voice of Sailor Moon, Keiko Han, the voice of Luna, and Katsuji Mori, the voice of Nephrite, at the Animazement convention in Raleigh, North Carolina May 24th to the 26th

Kotono Mitsuishi, the voice of Sailor Moon

Great news for Sailor Moon fans in North Carolina! They will have a chance to meet the Japanese voices of Sailor Moon, Luna and Nephrite at the upcoming Animazement convention in Raleigh May 24th to the 26th! This includes Kotono Mitsuishi, the original voice of Sailor Moon as well as her voice in Sailor Moon Crystal! She has also done a number of other roles in other popular anime series such as Misato in Evangelion. Returning to Animazement is Keiko Han, the voice of Luna from the original Sailor Moon anime as well as the plush and CG Luna from the fantastic live action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series. Finally there is also Katsuji Mori, who voiced Nephrite in the original Sailor Moon anime. When not drinking chocolate parfaits Katsuji Mori is an anime voice acting veteran and the main star of many classic series having played Ken the Eagle in Gatchaman (Battle of the Planets), Tekkaman in the original Tekkaman series and Go Mifune (Speed Racer) in Mach GoGoGo.

Keiko Han, the voice of Luna in Sailor Moon

A specific schedule doesn’t seem to be available quite yet but it stands to reason that they would be available for autographs and potentially some panels. Be sure to check out the full schedule when the event approaches. Are any of you in the area and planning to attend this convention? Let us know in the comments!

Katsuji Mori, the voice of Nephrite

Sailor Moon Monopoly game review

Sailor Moon Monopoly - Board

The Sailor Moon Monopoly game is now out in stores and online. I got my copy from an EB Games store in Ottawa (the Canadian equivalent to GameStop) a while back and it seems like many fans have done the same. With the game in hand we can get a good look at exactly what’s going on with the various pieces! As we’d discussed earlier this seems to be Sailor Moon S the game for reasons which I can’t really fathom. The various characters are mostly all from Sailor Moon S, mainly the villains being the Witches 5, Professor Tomoe and Mistress 9 as well as the inclusion of all Sailor Guardians including Sailor Moon S’s new additional Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Saturn. With the Viz video releases now having reached the end of Sailor Moon SuperS this seems an odd way to do it. Perhaps the game was simply in development for too long or this may have been an intentional choice as many of the Sailor Guardians introduced in this season would not appear in Sailor Moon SuperS and a Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Monopoly game would not be as recognisable to fans. For whatever the reasons, it’s Sailor Moon S Monopoly!

As with many other versions of Monopoly this really is the same old game we’ve seen time and time again with a different esthetic. This was immediately obvious to me as I’ve played countless hours of the game in my youth and I even spent quite some time programming a Monopoly computer game in Turbo Pascal when I was a child (the game mostly worked well but lacked houses, hotels, Chance and Community Chest cards). This is good for purists who want to have the same game experience as normal Monopoly. One thing which I think is fairly odd however is the completely random grouping of characters for most of the properties. Allow me to rant a bit about each one.

Sailor Moon Monopoly - Mortgaged Properties

First we have Luna and Artemis, as a single property, bundled with Mimette of the Witches 5. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just use this, one of the only two pairs of properties, as Luna and Artemis? Mimette does not fit with Luna and Artemis at all. The characters don’t ever actually interact.

Next we have Eudial, Viluy and Tellu. This actually works! They are 3 of the Witches 5 and since there are no sets of five properties (most are groups of three) this sort of works!

Then there’s Cyprene/Ptilol with Kaolinite and … Sailor Chibi Moon! Kaolinite does have a brief interaction with Chibiusa at some point and the two characters do show up together in succession in the later versions of the Sailor Moon S credits. Cyprene and Ptilol fit only with Kaolinite. It would have made more sense to have put Mimette with her fellow Witches and then put Chibiusa with either her parents or maybe with Sailor Saturn!

Next is Sailor Mercury, Mars and Jupiter. There are all Sailor Guardians so this works decently. Aside from Sailor Moon they do spend some time together before Sailor Venus joins the show so I’ll say this is one of the three less terrible one.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 167 - Professor Tomoe and Hotaru

Next is Sailor Venus, Professor Tomoe and Sailor Pluto. None of these characters have much to do with each other, except perhaps for a brief interaction between Sailor Venus and Pluto in one episode of Sailor Stars. Sailor Venus belongs with the Sailor Guardians from the first season while Sailor Pluto fits in better with Sailor Uranus and Neptune or even with Sailor Chibi Moon. I would personally have put her with King Endymion but that’s because I like trolling people. Professor Tomoe is a villain and if he’s going to be paired with anyone but his fellow villains from the season it should probably be his daughter, and not the Sailor Guardians who steals his baby from him in Sailor Stars.

Next is Sailor Uranus and Neptune with … Tuxedo Mask! Naturally Sailor Pluto would have worked better here. There’s nothing these two lesbians love more than the show’s male love interest! At least Sailor Uranus and Neptune are together where they belong.

Sailor Moon Monopoly - Board

On the last side we have Sailor Moon with Sailor Saturn and Mistress 9. This sort of works since Sailor Moon fights Mistress 9 and sort of saves Sailor Saturn but these characters would fit so much better elsewhere. Saturn should be with her father or her friend Chibiusa and Mistress 9 could easily fit with the villains! It does of course work that two versions of Hotaru be grouped together.

Finally we have the only grouping that works well, and that is Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion. The only issue here is that they don’t really appear in Sailor Moon S so they don’t fit with the game at all.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Makoto the cop

Other groupings make some sense! The railroads are all items, either Talismans or Sailor Saturn’s Silence Glaive. The utilities are replaced by Sailor Moon’s items, that being her broach and rod. Jail and Free Parking are unchanged. It seems like there’s an opportunity here to use something a bit more Sailor Moon themed for these. Maybe Pharaon 90 sends you to the Tau Star System or something like that. A missed opportunity which leaves art which ultimately clashes with the rest of the game.

Sailor Moon Monopoly - Tokens

When it comes to the game pieces they are nice! These are the three Talismans, Sailor Moon’s Cosmic Heart Compact and Spiral Heart Moon Rod, and the Holy Grail. They’re all things and not characters but then aside from the dog most Monopoly game pieces are just things anyway.

Sailor Moon Monopoly - Money

The money is a bit odd. The colours and values are more or less kept from real Monopoly with different characters appearing on each bill. The money is all shown with an M with a slash through it. Moon dollars or something of the sort. It’s not like Sailor Moon takes place in a universe they don’t use normal currency. We frequently see prices and money in the series being yen. Is there some rule that a themed Monopoly came have some weird non existent currency?

Sailor Moon Monopoly - Love Cards

Finally we have the Love and Friendship Cards. These seem to basically be Chance and Community Chest cards with the flavour language changed and the same dollar amounts and consequences. The descriptions of what is occurring are just random events occurring during Sailor Moon S.

Sailor Moon Monopoly - Friendship Cards

Should you buy this game? If you wanted to I imagine you already would have! It’s just one of a very, very, very long series of Monopoly games with images based on many franchises. The specific decisions made in adapting this game seem to be pretty poor as someone with a minor amount of effort would likely have been able to put together property groupings and other aspects of the game which work much better. It seems like someone with next to no knowledge of the franchise was given a list of characters, art and perhaps episode summaries of Sailor Moon S and that they threw together a version of Monopoly that superficially seemed to have made sense. For my money the Sailor Moon games by Dyskami Publishing are a much better way to play a Sailor Moon game.

Keep reading for more photos of this game.

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As Kristen Bell raises concerns about consent and kissing sleeping people, let’s examine the many inappropriate sleeping kisses in Sailor Moon!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 4 - Tuxedo Mask kissing Sailor Moon without consent

In a recent interview with Parents Magazine Kristen Bell made some comments about Snow White which have been making headlines. Basically she talked about how, while reading stories to her children, she asks them to think about the implications of certain actions in fairy tales and what they mean. One particular example which is relevant to Sailor Moon, as I’ll get to shortly, is Snow White. She asks her children to consider if it’s wise to take an apple from a stranger and if it’s okay to kiss a sleeping person. Various media outlets picked up on this by saying that she is calling out older Disney films, which is surely helped by the Parents Magazine article headline “Kristen Bell Worries Disney Princesses Teach Her Daughters Bad Lessons”. In reality she is specifically speaking to fairy tales in books, many of which happen to have been adapted as Disney films. Though Snow White includes a few questionable life choices the fairy tales of the likes of Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm are ancient tales full of gruesome violence as they are products of an older and much more violent period in human history. Modern versions such as the story books we may see in stores and the Disney films we enjoy will often sanitize these to appeal to our modern sensibilities. Kristen Bell is herself the voice of Anna in Frozen, a film which sets itself apart from other Disney films by calling out tropes like marrying someone you just met, the evil queen and acts of true love coming from a newly acquainted love interest. I’ve probably watched Frozen with my daughter roughly 50 times in the past year so I’ll just stop myself from elaborating on my many thoughts on this film and its relation to other Disney classics. So much to say Kristen Bell has the privilege of having worked on a Disney film which questions the status quo of films that came before it and has a number of positive progressive messages.

Sailor Moon R episode 56 - Natsumi and Mamoru

All of this brings us to Sailor Moon! I’ve mentioned this time and time again and it always seems to be divisive amongst fans. The idea is that a number of non consensual kisses given to sleeping people in the series are inappropriate due to the sleeping person’s inability to give consent. I am aware of the risk of applying a modern lens to an older work as these weren’t things I thought of in the 90s but I don’t think there’s much harm in discussing these. I am certainly not calling to ban or boycott Sailor Moon but instead, as with the conversations Kristen Bell has with her children, use it as a reason to discuss issues.

Ultimately I think it may be a little simple to give a blanket statement like saying kissing someone who is sleeping is wrong. If I kiss my baby daughter or wife while they sleep this isn’t the same as kissing a stranger. People generally kiss babies when they are too young to give overt consent, though not on the mouth. There’s nothing terribly dangerous about this. That said if I try to kiss my daughter and she says no, I will respect that request and stop. The Snow White example is perhaps not such and open and shut case. It’s not that kissing a sleeping person you’ve never met without consent is okay, however, if there is a good expectation that this will cause the person to be brought out of a comma, one could easily argue that it is morally justifiable. Similarly it may be completely inappropriate to rip a stranger’s shirt off because they are attractive however in an emergency situation it is certainly justifiable to touch someone and remove a piece of their clothing in order to perform life saving intervention. An EMT of course shouldn’t be groping a patient for sexual gratification or go around kissing people they are treating. The motivation behind these actions are the important distinction here. Most adults appreciate this nuance though children may not, hence the value in talking about the stories and media you share with them.

Sailor Moon episode 22 - Drunk Usagi

There are two examples in Sailor Moon where a sleeping person is kissed and, to me, it does not seem appropriate. The first falls into a bit of a grey area because of reincarnation and that is the kiss following the Masquerande in the Dark Kingdom story arc of the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal which also takes place in episode 22 of the original anime, “Romance Under the Moon: Usagi’s First Kiss”. In this case Usagi accidentally drinks alcohol thinking it is juice. She passes out drunk after which Tuxedo Mask kisses her. This looks particularly creepy in the original anime as the animation in this particular episode is a bit cheap. The issue here is, as the title of the anime episode title suggests, this is Usagi’s first kiss. Had Mamoru and Usagi been in an established relationship in which this kind of exchange was commonplace enough to be considered normal and he kissed her while she slept, this would not have been the same kind of breach of etiquette however in this case no such relationship existed… well not in this lifetime. The complication of course is that Mamoru and Usagi are reincarnated versions of Endymion and Princess Serenity. They had a relationship in the past and are dealing with fragments of memories of that. In the real world if someone used this as a defense for kissing a person who was passed out drunk they would rightfully be chastised for it as reincarnation isn’t real however in Sailor Moon it’s a real thing so it’s a bit more complicated. That Usagi is herself infatuated with Tuxedo Mask doesn’t really clear him of any wrongdoing as one can’t just assume someone else’s feelings though I think this may be why people feel more comfortable about this exchange. The fact that Usagi and Mamoru ultimately do end up in a relationship makes this seem okay in but this logic only works in retrospect. Mamoru and Rei were actually in a relationship at this time, though that infidelity isn’t even factoring into my objections to this. If you’re not convinced that this is a problem then instead consider if Umino, or anyone else, had found a drunk Usagi and done the same.

Sailor Moon episode 22 - Tuxedo Mask kissing a drunk Usagi

This seems to have been a concern for someone at DiC when the original Sailor Moon anime was first dubbed. Episode 22 was heavily edited for a number of reasons, including adding some backwards footage to make it appear as if Serena went back and took the stairs instead of falling off the balcony. In this particular there is no alcoholic punch, Serena never gets drunk and never passes out. The “first kiss” between her and Tuxedo Mask doesn’t really take place. The scene is shown but a voice over by Tuxedo Mask states that it’s simply his dream. So much to say it’s generally considered okay to kiss pretty much anyone in your dream. As a result of this the first on screen kiss for the Sailor Moon English dub takes place in Sailor Moon R right before Rini drops in from the future. This momentous occasion is spoiled by an awkward joke about Darien tasting peanut butter and getting stuck.

Sailor Moon S The Movie - Luna kisses Kakeru

Next we have a series of kisses from Sailor Moon S The Movie. These are fresh in my mind having just watched the recently released Blu-Ray release of the film. Many fans would have seen the film in theatres this summer. In this film Luna falls in love with a human. After asking Usagi what a kiss tastes like she takes advantage of Kakeru, the source of her affection, by kissing him while he is asleep. There is no past life relationship between Luna and Kakeru. In fact Kakeru himself has a love interest in Himeko. This isn’t cool! Kakeru does not consent to the act and is in no state to do so. The situation is a bit complicated by the fact that Luna is a cat. I have cats and I have been known to kiss them on occasion. Dogs enjoy licking people’s faces and this is generally not considered to be some violation or assault, but then dogs are animals without human intelligence. Luna is a cat, yes, but a cat who essentially has a human equivalent mind. As an aside there is very little that resembles consent in the animal kingdom as most sexual interactions are forced. This is more or less true of humans until recent history as well, but we’ve come a long way and we should all be glad to live in a world where a person’s autonomy is respected. This isn’t the only kiss in the film as Luna later kisses Kakeru while she is in human form and the two fly around space for a while. Kakeru may believe this surreal experience to be a dream but it is real and Luna doesn’t ask if it is okay to kiss him, but he is awake and he doesn’t back away. This is probably similar to how a lot of human on human kisses take place so I won’t harp on that one too much. In the 90s I don’t think anyone would bat an eye at this but in 2018 some people might take issue with such behaviour.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Tuxedo Mask kisses a dead Sailor Moon

There are a few Snow White style kisses in the series. The first takes place during Sailor Moon R episode 69 “Awaken the Sleeping Beauty: Mamoru’s Distress” in which Sailor Moon is very much trapped in a Snow White style sleep which Mamoru wakes her up of with a kiss. Something similar occurs in Sailor Moon R The Movie when Sailor Moon literally dies, again, but can be healed through the nectar of the Kisesian Flower. Mamoru sucks up the nectar and gives it to Sailor Moon in a kiss. In both cases this resembles Snow White in that it is a necessary life saving intervention but, unlike in the story of Snow White, Mamoru and Usagi have an established relationship when this happens.

Sailor Moon R episode 56 - An, as Snow White, tries to kiss Mamoru, as Prince Charming

Snow White style kiss that never quite happened however is the kiss between An and Mamoru in Sailor Moon R episode 56 “Steal a Kiss from Mamoru! An’s Project Snow White”. In this episode An orchestrates things so that she will play Snow White in a play and get a chance to kiss Mamoru, who is playing Prince Charming. Things don’t go as planned however as her attempt to kiss him during rehearsal fails and the play is cut short by an attack by a Cardian summoned by none other than her brother lover.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 28 - Sailor Uranus kissing Sailor Moon

Finally we have the kiss between Sailor Uranus and Sailor Moon in the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal. This a sort of surprise kiss that Sailor Moon doesn’t expect and doesn’t have time to consent to one way or another. This in turn opens up the story to all sorts of interesting questions about sexuality which are quite worthwhile but it’s something I felt was worth pointing out.

All said I think Kristen Bell’s attitude of simply wanting to discuss what she’s reading with her children to be completely reasonable. She’s hardly arguing that Snow White is responsible for all of the ills of society and banning them in her household but rather finding a way to allow her children to consume media which she might not be totally okay with all while using it as a way to start a conversation about a serious topic. This isn’t quite the same attitude that Keira Knightley has, as her recent appearance on Ellen illustrated. She bans certain movies in her house, even some she quite enjoys, such as the Little Mermaid, because she’s concerned they might present a negative message. Far be it for me to tell someone else how to raise their kids! If this works for her than so be it. When I watch The Little Mermaid with my daughter I keep in mind the simple lesson this movie teaches. Don’t make a deal with a Sea Witch to get something you can get from your daddy for free if you’d just learn to communicate. I don’t think Disney is too upset about this either. If it bothers them they can wipe away their tears with some of that Pirates money.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you believe some of these kisses are inappropriate? Am I just overreacting and applying a modern lens to a harmless story? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

An Ojibway fan is creating a Sailor Moon fan dub in Anishinaabemowin

Sailor Moon Episode 1 - Japanese Blu-Ray - Usagi and Luna

Westin Sutherland, an 18 year old Ojibway Sailor Moon fan from Winnipeg, has been working on creating a fan dubbed version of Sailor Moon in Anishinaabemowin, one of the many Indigenous languages which is spoken in Canada. A news story on the CBC web site covering this has been getting a lot of attention this week. Westin shared a clip of the first episode on Facebook a few weeks ago. This includes Luna telling Usagi that she is Sailor Moon and her first transformation sequence. You can watch it embedded below.

Westin Sutherland, who is from the Peguis First Nation, decided to dub Sailor Moon and other cartoons because he loved the sound of Anishinaabemowin and felt that his people didn’t have a lot of programming and books in their language. He’s also working on dubbing The Proud Family and other shows. There doesn’t seem to be any particular web site where these episodes are to be shared. The clips in question have only been posted on Westin Sutherland’s private Facebook account. I’ll be keeping an eye out to see if a full episodes shows up somewhere.

Sailor Moon episode 1 - Usagi removing a bandage from Luna's head

You might notice that the sample clip is a mirror image of what was seen in the original episode. This was likely an attempt to avoid having the video flagged for copyright violation.

Luna waking Usagi

What do you think of the clip? Can any First Nation Canadian readers understand the dialogue?

Kotaku attempted to track down the Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon pilot and stumbled upon another show which isn’t Sailor Moon at all

Team Angel - Group shot

Every once in a while some Sailor Moon related article gets enough mainstream attention that even people who aren’t into the show send it to me! This has been the case for the past few days with Kotaku’s article on the “Long-Lost American Sailor Moon”. What the article contains is a fairly in depth explanation of the Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon series, also known as “Saban Moon” to some fans, which culminates not in finding the actual Toon Makers’ pilot but instead something called “Team Angel” which is absolutely not Sailor Moon and at best loosely inspired by it.

Toon Makers' Sailor Moon voice-over session script title

Most of the information contained in the article is information which was already known to some of the fan community. This is all about the clip which was shown at Anime Expo in 1995 which was a mix of live action and animated segments and would have been a Power Rangers style Americanized Sailor Moon. The author, Cecilia D’Anastasio, admits not to be being a Sailor Moon fan. The reader follows along with her attempt to find more about the clip. She does a good amount of investigative work which doesn’t lead to much but she presents it in a fairly compelling way. The article includes a mention of the voice over script which I bought back in 2012, back when this site was relatively new.

Toon Makers' Sailor Moon - Sailor Mars

Also featured are some of the cels which ended up on eBay. I ended up buying a lot of these when they were sold and I’m glad I did as there aren’t many more sold after that original batch if my eBay saved searches are any indication! Images used in the article and video are mostly from the Moon Sisters web site which has a lot of information about the show. Some of those, including the up close head shots of the Sailor Guardians, are also in my personal collection. The Moon Sisters photos which made it in the video were from the original auction before I painstakingly removed the cels from the lined paper they were stuck to and got better photos of them.

Toon Makers Sailor Moon - Live action Luna

This cat was apparently heavily drugged and peed everywhere

One interesting new tidbit of information which I hadn’t seen before what that the white cat, who was actually Luna in this version, was so drugged that it kept peeing everywhere. Having a cat in a show isn’t as easy as having a dog! As many cat owners probably know bringing a cat to a new environment or to encounter new people usually results in a frightened hiding cat. TV cats usually have a calm temperament or are heavily drugged!

The author tracks down Rocky Solotoff who mostly gives us information we knew before and puts her in touch with Frank Ward who, after many dramatic interactions, may not ever have actually been involved with the Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon pilot. Either Rocky Solotoff misremembers Frank Ward’s involvement in the project or Frank Ward simply doesn’t remember working on it. Some 24 years later neither would be all that surprising. The 17 minute Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon pilot, it would seem, is still lost and may never be recovered. What is it that was finally found? What is the big reveal of this article? You can see the clip embedded below.

Team Angel - Stars

I don’t feel that the video’s title “Lost American Sailor Moon – Team Angel” is terribly accurate. This is a couple minutes long clip pitching a show called Team Angel. There is certainly something which could be said to be Sailor Moon inspired about this show but it is not well demonstrated that this is “American Sailor Moon”. There’s a group of girls who transform to be superheroes but that’s about it. It was made in 1998, years after Sailor Moon had already aired in English here in North America and in the same year that Sailor Moon started to air on Cartoon Network. I see Sailor Moon as an influence but also Power Rangers, Spice Girls, Xena and probably a bunch of other things.

Team Angel - Around a fountain

The fact that this is a girl team doesn’t need to be Sailor Moon inspired. This was 1998 when the term “Girl Power” permeated popular culture. The Spice Girls were at the height of their popularity and I think this shows in the show as well. Xena Warrior Princess was a hit show which could easily explain the greek style costumes from the beginning of this clip. The Charlie’s Angels movie was only a couple of years away. I’d say a girl power show like this is more reflective of what was going on 20 years ago than it would today.

Team Angel - Transformation - Nails

Certainly some of the transformation sequence look Sailor Moonish. The greek goddesses style somewhat matches what the Sailor Guardians looked like in Silver Millennium though I don’t think this resemblance is likely to be intended. Knowing that this was done by people who were involved with the Toon Makers Sailor Moon version suggests those similarities are more than a coincidence but if they weren’t I wouldn’t assume a connection. To me claiming that this is a Sailor Moon show is a bit of a stretch. An exaggeration to make this discovery fit with the narrative of the article when ultimately it seems to simply be an unrelated show pitch which loosely fit the description which Frank Ward was given. It seems like the idea of the article was to reveal the actual footage of the Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon show and when they got something else rather than just scrap it, they tried to make it fit. Kotaku tried to put a square peg in a round hole and judging by the article’s popularity, they did a decent job of making it fit.

Team Angel - Not Chris Pratt

This is not Chris Pratt

Another fun thing I noticed in this trailer was this guy who looks a lot like Chris Pratt. The similarity was so striking that I had to see what he looked like in 1998! Sadly it doesn’t appear to be him as the actor in this scene has detached earlobes while Chris Pratt’s are attached.

Team Angel - Transformation - Headband

What do you think? Does Team Angel look like Sailor Moon to you?

Keep reading for more images of this clip. Do you recognize any of the actresses?

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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 11 and 12 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 12 - Sailor Venus

This is a review and discussion of the Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series Act 11, We Got to Meet the Real Minako!, and 12, Sailor V’s True Identity Was The Princess. These episodes introduce us more personally with the character of Minako and reveal Sailor Venus and Artemis for the first time! Since these two episodes aired in Japan just before Christmas in real time, that being December 13th and 20th, they also include a decent amount of Christmas content. Karaoke Crown and many other locations are decorated with Christmas decorations and in Act 12 Usagi transforms into Santa Claus and buys Minako some cake, which appears to be some sort of strawberry shortcake, and wishes her a Merry Christmas. We also have discussion of a Christmas pageant and Minako is redecorating Nako Nako in a Christmas style. Once again this confirms that these episodes come close to real time.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 11 - Minako judging Usagi

Though we have seen her previously as Minako and Sailor V Act 11 gives us our first elaborate scenes featuring Minako Aino as portrayed by Ayaka Komatsu. This character is really the polar opposite of Usagi in nearly every way as we’ll see in both of these episodes. While Rei is generally portrayed as being the voice of reason, keeping Usagi’s impulsive light heartedness in check, Minako is the same on a whole other level! In her we see a serious, mission driven and broody character who, though in contrast to others in the series, is incorporated well and makes for an interesting dynamic. It took a while for Rei to come around but ultimately she fully integrates into the group hanging around HQ and in social situations. We won’t be seeing the same for Minako.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 11 - Minako and her Sailor V costume

The plot for Act 11 is straightforward. Minako was injured and taken to a hospital and Usagi is looking to crash it. She mentions that she is only superficially wounded. I wonder how one gets superficially wounded by getting hit by a truck? This seems like an all or nothing type of thing where either the truck doesn’t hit you, and you’re totally fine, or the truck hits you and you have a bunch of broken ribs, a concussion and possibly end up dying. Perhaps it is Minako’s super strength and powers, which she exhibits even in civilian form, which account for her coming out of this relatively unharmed. I wonder what the truck looks like!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 11 - Minako's annoying manager

Minako has a couple of handlers in this episode and neither of them is the guy who was with her when the car accident occurred. Did he get killed? One of them brings her the Sailor V outfit from the trunk. Does this mean that Sailor V brought her Sailor V outfit to London in case she needed to fight crime? Perhaps it was simply in the car when she landed! I wonder why the uniform is even removed. Most Sailor Guardians transform and don’t actually keep their uniforms separate. Minako clearly has Sailor V’s compact which allows her to transform in the manga so why does her costume persist after reverting to her civilian form? Assisting her starting in this episode is her ridiculous cartoon character of a manager who looks like some drop out from a Japanese variety show which isn’t worth watching.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 11 - Artemis

Artemis is seen but not heard in this episode, though his identity isn’t revealed. He is voiced by veteran anime voice actor Kappei Yamaguchi who has voiced iconic characters such as Ranma in Ranma 1/2, InuYasha in InuYasha and many, many more. They discuss Minako’s decision to become Sailor V and the Princess. Odd… isn’t the Princess already the Princess???

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 11 - Mamoru keeps Usagi's handkerchief on his nightstand

Mamoru still has Usagi’s handkerchief on his night stand. Has Hina noticed this? He’s playing a very dangerous game!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 11 - Nurse Makoto and Usagi

So Usagi wants to find Minako and offer her some kind of well wishes, and get an autograph, but no one knows which hospital she’s at! Luckily her father, who we don’t see in this episode or ever, somehow found out that she’s at the Juuban Hospital. This is relayed through Usagi’s mother, with whom she has actual contact and an actual relationship. Usagi and Makoto go to the hospital and abuse of their powers to disguise themselves as nurses. Not a bad trick! They see Minako’s annoying manager chasing her at the hospital and assume he is a monster! Hilarity ensues, Usagi blows Minako’s cover and somehow they end up getting pushed into a room alone with Minako and horrible manager.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 11 - Usagi wants Minako's autograph

Minako immediately notices that Usagi is Sailor Moon, though neither Usagi or Makoto can do the same. Her impression of Usagi is complete disappointment, as Usagi is a star crazy fan looking for a signature who seems to put no priority into her missions, the exact opposite of Minako. Usagi actually mentions looking for Sailor V and the Princess along with other less important things than chasing idols, because she is very bad at masking her secret identity. Minako is so completely upset by who Usagi is that she choses not to show up to this week’s conflict in order to fight bad guys instead simply asking herself why this girl is Sailor Moon. Why, we must ask, does Minako care so much about one of the four Guardians? She is the Princess, as we are meant to believe at this point, and Sailor Moon, who the show is named after, is one of her guardians and not the other way around! The truth, as you may suspect, is a bit more complicated.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 11 - A clue!

Back at the HQ we get an actual look at just what it is that Ami is doing when she’s “looking for Sailor V”, as she’s apparently been doing for the past month and a half. She’s at a computer doing web searches on the Internet! Fair enough! It seems to work! They find a hit for a Planetary Festival which includes Moon, Mars, Mercury and Jupiter in the description and mentions that the guest is V. This is sadly not a great lead as Minako actually flakes on showing up but it is a great trap set up by Zoisite, who does a really good job of hypnotizing everyone!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 11 - Luna magically removing tape

Luna, it seems, can’t be hypnotized and it tied up and has tape put on her mouth. How can she get out of this? Band aids on her forehead was literally a thing she could not get out of in the manga and anime series! Still we see Luna effortlessly remove the tape from her mouth by, if you look closely, simply touching her paw to the non sticky side of the tape. This is not how tape works! Shortly after Luna’s struggling seems to have completely removed the ropes. How is this possible? It must have been done in the same way that she tied a clock to herself in the anime.

Sailor Moon episode 9 - How did Luna tie this clock to herself?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 11 - Tuxedo Mask and the Princess

At the climax of the battle Zoisite and Tuxedo Mask touch each other, which causes and a big flash and a revelation. Zoisite also sees Tuxedo Mask and the Princess! Unfortunately the silhouette of the Princess we see can’t be accurately identified as anyone. It seems that it’s neither Miyuu Sawai, who plays Sailor Moon who isn’t actually the Princess as far as we know, or Ayaka Komatsu, who plays Sailor V who at this point we are to believe is totally the Princess. Why is this? Is it some third person? Actually it just seems that they hired an actress to play this silhouette in order to keep the worst kept secret a secret from fans. To be fair, this was probably effective amongst young fans, first time viewers and that odd subset of watchers who were convinced that Minako was the Princess who I will never stop harping on.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 12 - Minako disappointed with Usagi

Act 12 starts where Act 11 left off, with Minako being disappointed with Usagi! It really is a continuation and follow up to the last episode as Usagi goes back to the hospital to get the autograph she forgot, and we go through a lot of the same motions again! This time she seems to be more of a doctor than a nurse in her disguise and when she see the manager, who’s actually a monster this time, she suspects that he’s just a manager unlike the last time where he was just a manager and Usagi assumed he was a monster! Life is hard for a superhero teenager!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 12 - Minako works on a Nako Nako logo in Photoshop Elements

Meanwhile Minako is using Photoshop Elements to work on a Nako Nako graphic. I’m really surprised she isn’t getting someone else to do this or perhaps farm the work out to some outside company. Never a moment’s rest for an idol I suppose!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 12 - Chibi Chibi

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 187 - Sailor Chibi Chibi Moon

Let’s talk about this manager monster for a moment, and not just the fact that they found a way to make an annoying actor even more annoying by making him a monster. The odd thing I always noticed was that this monster’s shadow looks like Chibi Chibi! Chibi Chibi isn’t actually anywhere near this series and I doubt the resemblance is intentional.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 12 - Usagi as a doctor

Minako ends up doing normal person for a day! This wasn’t why she was running away from her manager but that’s what Usagi thought, noting that this kind of thing happens in comics all the time! Totally legit. In fact an episode of the original Sailor Moon anime, Sailor Moon SuperS episode 146, Juban Holiday: The Carefree Princess, had just this plot when Princess Ribuna shrugs off her responsibilities to be normal for the day. Minako is upset that Usagi doesn’t notice that her manager is a monster and thinks her idea that she just wants to escape is dumb, even though that’s exactly what she was doing when Usagi found her in the last episode! She was trying to escape the hospital without her manager knowing!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 12 - Minako tries on clothes

Minako gets her clothes dirty on wet paint and so her and Usagi go clothes shopping, a great excuse to bond! They get ambushed by fans at the store and Usagi dresses herself up as Minako, using her clothes and not her magic phone, and distracts the crowd. Minako thinks this is stupid because she could just have taken the back door. This reminds me of myself, a cynic calling out something ridiculous from this show! This would have been a perfect time to ditch Usagi completely but I guess Minako wanted her hat back and so she meets up with Usagi again!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 12 - Minako and Usagi getting along

Finally the two end up in a ferris wheel, why not, and Usagi gives Minako a cake for Christmas. To their surprise the two eat it the same way which they find quite funny and in this, Minako finally allows herself to laugh and relax for the first time in ages. Indeed even Minako, originally dismissive of Usagi’s simple mindedness and lack of focus on her mission, warms up to Usagi’s kind hearted optimism! All of the girls are lonely and find friendship in Usagi and Minako is no different. In her case she secluded herself for the purpose of her important mission. With this she finally decides it’s time to reveal herself to the gang.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 12 - Princess Sailor Venus

Following the battle with Minako’s manager monster Sailor V shows up and transforms into Princess Sailor Venus. She’s got a tiara! Oh wait they all have tiaras… She has a tiara fitting of an actual Princess! She also has a crescent Moon on her forehead in the style of Princess Serenity. Artemis the cat shows up and presents Sailor Venus as the Princess of the Silver Millennium! Looks like the gang’s all together and there are no more mysteries! Sailor “Venus” is the Princess of the “Moon” Kingdom and Sailor Moon is just another guardian. Makes sense! Case closed. This revaluation somewhat resembles the appearance of Sailor Venus in the manga which takes place at the end of Act 7, Mamoru Chibi – Tuxedo Mask, and beginning of Act 8, Minako – Sailor V, but the rest of these manga chapters have little relevance to this story and we the big Princess switcheroo from early in Act 8 doesn’t happen for a while or possibly ever!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 12 - Zoisite and Tuxedo Mask

There’s another confrontation between Zoisite and Tuxedo Mask but this time Zoisite remembers something important! Tuxedo Mask is Endymion! Mamoru recognizes this name too, but what does it mean? Maybe it was his name back when he was courting the Princess. You know Sailor Venus who is the Princess! It’s in the episode title “Sailor V’s True Identity Was The Princess”. During this confrontation Sailor Venus attacks Zoisite with an unnamed attack which appears to be crescent beam and he turns into a rock. They’re running out of Shittennou. Maybe they should bring in Kunzite!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 12 - The whole gang is together ... except Sailor Jupiter isn't here

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 9 and 10 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Many Tuxedo Masks

This is a review and discussion of the Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series Act 9, I’ll Protect the Legendary Silver Crystal, and Act 10, I am Queen Beryl, Queen of Darkness. These originally aired on Japanese TV on November 29th and December 6th 2003. These two episodes follow a story similar the manga Act 6, Tuxedo Mask. In this story in the manga Tuxedo Mask tries to solicit the help of the people of the city in order to find the Crystal, as occurs in Act 9, and then after Zoisite attacks them Sailor Moon heals the people of the city with her Moon stick, which resembles the end of Act 10. Though Act 9 and 10 as Live Action episodes don’t really have much to do with each other they both take elements from this manga story.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - The Icy Queen looks like the Silver Crystal from the Anime

The Icy Queen from the live action series

Sailor Moon - Chibiusa with the Silver Crystal

The Silver Crystal from the original anime series

Act 9 is all about Tuxedo Mask and the hunt for the Silver Crystal! What does this Crystal look like? We don’t really know but a couple of depictions in this episode remind of of what it looked like in the original Sailor Moon anime, as opposed to what it looked like in the manga. In the opening scene we see a child looking at a round gem called the Icy Queen that looks like the Crystal in the original anime. A depiction on television mentions that it would glitter in rainbow colours, and this includes 7 distinct colours shining. This is reminiscent of the 7 Rainbow Crystals from the original Sailor Moon anime, which were shards of the Silver Crystal which when assembled formed the complete Crystal.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - The Silver Crystal with 7 colours

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Minako in London

For this episode Minako is off in London to record a new song. This again reminds us of the original Sailor Moon anime which had Minako spending time in London while she was Sailor V, though it’s unlikely she’s fighting any crime in London as this would be incredibly suspicious, like how Batman always shows up in Metropolis when Bruce Wayne is there for business. This keeps Minako out of the picture for Act 9 and 10, which serves the plot well.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - The Moon Princess, whoever that is

We get a bit of an idea as to why Tuxedo Mask is looking for the Crystal! We see a dream of his where the Princess is asking him to find the Crystal. We don’t see any real details of her as her hair style is fairly normal however her voice is closer to that of Miyuu Sawai, who plays Usagi, as opposed to that of Ayaka Komatsu, who plays Sailor V.

Live action Sailor Moon episode 9 - News broadcast looking for the Silver Crystal

Reporters talking about the Silver Crystal in the live action series

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Zoisite dressed as a woman

Zoisite looking for the Silver Crystal in Sailor Moon Crystal

In order to try to flush out the Crystal Tuxedo Mask makes a very public statement telling people what to look for and that it’s worth a billion yen, roughy 9 billion US dollars. This is similar to the plot of the manga Act 6, Tuxedo Mask, where Tuxedo Mask does the same. Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 more specifically based one scene on the live action series. When Zoisite appears on a large TV in the street asking people to find the Crystal this is nearly identical to a scene in this episode where two reporters are asking the viewers to find the Crystal.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Mamoru finds Usagi's handkerchief

Tuxedo Mask is looking through his coat and sees the handkerchief that Sailor Moon patched his hand with. Odd that this would be in his Tuxedo jacket since he was clearly still wearing it after changing back into his civilian clothes in the last episode! Plot hole or did Mamoru just put it in his jacket after he removed it? Doesn’t this thing go to hammer space like any respectable superhero costume?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Luna doesn't want Usagi hanging around with Tuxedo Mask

The gang don’t like Tuxedo Mask one bit! He’s a thief and he’s competing for the Crystal. Rei suggests he may save Sailor Moon as a trick! Usagi of course doesn’t want to hear any of this as she’s totally in love with Tuxedo Mask! This is the worst kept secret however she is only able to admit it to an empty room! Usagi is conflicted about what to do with Luna and her friends against him on one side but Naru, who only has vague details about the situation, cheering her on from the other.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Jadeite is jade

Queen Beryl turns Jadeite into a rock in this episode. It’s probably jade. In the manga when a Shitennou gets turned into a gem they’re essentially dead only returning as ghosts to talk to Mamoru, but this is not the last we will see of Jadeite!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Ami the Shinto Priestess

As the city is furiously looking for the Crystal a rich man, Masanobu Narita, believes he’s found it and wants to hire Rei to protect it for him! Rei, not being hired to appear at this episode’s location shoots, isn’t interested at all and so Ami volunteers to go on her behalf, posing as her top apprentice, a fellow Shinto Priestess. She keeps doing this weird thing with her glasses which makes them squeak. A tick that she gave her fictional character which doesn’t actually do anything? It’s kind of odd.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Two people who aren't Tuxedo Mask

Usagi and Makoto come along to help Ami and transform. Makoto becomes a police officer and Usagi a worker who is trimming trees. When a ton of Tuxedo Masks show up though, Usagi thinks she sees the real one! Why, I wonder, is everyone dressing up as Tuxedo Mask? They want the Crystal, sure, but does this incredibly conspicuous costume help anyone? What’s one more Tuxedo Mask? Usagi uses her phone to make herself dressed as Tuxedo Mask in order to distract the real police from who she thinks is the real Tuxedo Mask. He turns out to be a weird kind of pervert who gets off on touching Usagi’s wrist which is a very odd form of intimacy.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Usagi dressed as Tuxedo Mask

When Tuxedo Mask Usagi gets cornered the real Tuxedo Mask tells her to transform! How does this help the situation at all? We don’t know. She transforms, we see her stock footage, and then the problem is somehow resolved! There’s no scene of her escaping or anything, she just transforms and we don’t deal with that problem anymore. Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon have a little heart to heart. She expresses that she wants to know who he is but he doesn’t want to share.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Not the Silver Crystal. Not even close. Possibly made out of glass.

Meanwhile the supposed Silver Crystal is so fake that it breaks from being dropped. This means it’s what, made of glass? It looks like something that would hang off of a cheap chandelier. The gem was appraised as having qualities similar to the Silver Crystal yet… it just breaks when it’s dropped? Very lame! What do these people do to test them? Does Tuxedo Mask really need to steal all of these to find out if they’re legit? Does he look at it with one of those little monocle microscope thingeys or can he just sense it after having illegally repossessed it and held it a bit?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - A drawing of Princess Kaguya returning to the Moon

Act 10 is all about the story of Princess Kaguya, known in Japan as The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. It’s difficult for a North American viewer to completely appreciate the episode without having the expected understanding of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter that most Japanese children would have. Just another example of why this show is not very accessible outside of Japan. This story is well known in Japan and was recently adapted as a 2013 Studio Ghibli film The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. I would recommend checking out the film which presents a fairly straightforward adaptation of this ancient tale as it is something that is referenced frequently in Sailor Moon. As we learn in this episode it is the story of a young girl who is born from a bamboo shoot and raised by her adoptive parents until she finally learns that she is from a Kingdom on the Moon and must return home. Sound familiar? There are certainly a lot of parallels to Usagi’s story as told in the original manga and anime, as she is a Princess who originally comes from a Kingdom the Moon and was reincarnated on Earth to finally return to the Moon to meet her real mother. It seems likely that the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter served as some inspiration for the story of Sailor Moon.

Sailor Moon S movie - Human Luna - Princess Kaguya

In addition to this episode The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is related to the manga side story The Lover of Princess Kaguya, which was adapted as the Sailor Moon S movie. The film itself doesn’t actually have much to do with the story. Kakeru, the man who Luna falls in love with, is a romantic who believes in the legend of Princess Kaguya and who, despite being a brilliant astronomer, believes that what he sees in space relates to such magical things. When Luna finally takes human form in the story she identifies with Princess Kaguya but her character or journey in the story doesn’t have much to do with Princess Kaguya beyond the superficial fact that she’s going to space. The villain of this story Princess Snow Kaguya also doesn’t have much in common with the Princess Kaguya from the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. Kakeru’s girlfriend Himeko, who based on the title would be the lover of Kakeru, who is Princess Kaguya’s lover, also doesn’t have much in common with Princess Kaguya, aside from the fact that she goes to space.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - Young Rei

This episode has Rei dealing with the loss of her mother. In the opening scene we see her at the hospital shortly after her mother died, with a children’s story book about Princess Kaguya left on her mother’s bed. This leads into a unique transition to the opening credits as Rei stares at the Moon as it leads into the opening. Rei believed, and still seems to believe to some extent, that her mother is still alive on the Moon, like Princess Kaguya from the story which her mother frequently read to her as a child. She befriends a young girl, Erika, who also believes that her recently deceased mother is still living on the Moon. The two are working on a picture story of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, with Erika and Rei working on the final page where Princess Kaguya leaves for the Moon on her chariot. Young Rei, as seen in this episode, is not the same young Rei we will be seeing in the future!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - Usagi, Erika and Rei paint Princess Kaguya images

While Rei is sad about her mother dying Usagi has a really pointless argument with her own mother about whether or not to put cheese on her omelette. She tries to run away first to Crown Karaoke, then to Naru’s, then to Ami’s, then to Makoto’s and finally, as a last resort, to see Rei at her shrine. When she shows up Rei asks if Usagi had a fight with her parents, which is humorous since Usagi’s father is as unseen in this series as Princess Serenity’s father! Rei is happy to let Usagi stay there for a while, which doesn’t even end up being overnight, though when Usagi realizes that Rei’s mother is dead she feels particularly bad about her comparatively silly problem!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - Princess Kaguya's image burning

Zoisite, meanwhile, is working on his latest song! This one creates a monster which sings and makes any Princess, be it an image, a person, or someone who just sort of feels like a Princess, burn up! This causes all sorts of non Princesses to have problems and seems to cause few problems to the actual Princesses we care about! The image of Princess Kaguya that Rei and Erika are working on lights on fire. So does a young girl’s doll. Erika, who thinks of herself as Princess Kaguya because of her thing with her mom, gets a fever, which is convenient since it would have been really extreme if she just spontaneously combusted. There’s also an actual Princess who falls ill on TV, which is how Makoto knows something is up. Who isn’t affected by this? Minako, who we are meant to believe is the Princess, who is away in London supposedly out of Zoisite’s range. Usagi isn’t affected. This could either mean that people who are Princesses but don’t know it aren’t affect or that Sailor Moon is not Princess Serenity in this continuity, as some fans legitimately believed at this point in the series and I’ll never let them forget it.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Sempai?

Makoto’s Sempai from Act 6

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - Makoto's Sempai

Mysterious man at the library from Act 10

Ami is at the library and she sees a Princess from a young girl’s story book catch fire. The other notable thing about the library? Makoto’s “Sempai” is there! Back in Act 6 we learned that Makoto left her old school after having an unrequited love for a student in another grade, frequently referred to as her “Sempai”. When we see her flashback about people leaving, such as her parents, the last person we see leave is the person who I assume is this older boy who she was in love with. This guy is in the library! We are made to believe that Makoto moved and changed schools to get away from this guy. Did Ami go to a really far away school? Did this guy go to a far away library that she thought might have a book with information helping her to find Sailor V? Did they just reuse an extra and not expect some overly analytical fan to notice some 14 years later?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - Sailor Moon heals the city

So the gang fights the monster by dancing to dodge her musical notes and it’s all silly. Finally Sailor Moon uses her Moon Stick to heal everyone, real or paper, who has been negatively affected by this weird thing which attacks anyone who isn’t a Princess. This is similar to the end of Act 6 of the manga where Sailor Moon uses her Moon Stick to resurrect the people of Tokyo, though not much else from this episode resembles that story.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - Usagi crying about her mother

The gang are then confronted by Queen Beryl who gives them a bit of information about their past which Luna was hesitant to share. She tells them that they all come from the Moon! What a shocker! Later at the Princess Kaguya picture show Usagi breaks down crying due to the fact that her birth mother may not actually be her mother! This is something I’ve mentioned in the past as a potentially confusing plot point of the series. Unlike Princess Kaguya these girls were born from the wombs of their Earth mothers, not cut out of a bamboo shoot. Is Usagi Tsukino genetically identical to Princess Serenity of Silver Millennium? If so, does she actually share any genes with her mother and father who live in present day Tokyo as most human children do or was there a magical cloning or embryo implantation done at conception? Does she share roughly 1/2 of her genes with her brother Shingo who was also born from those parents? Does he have a Silver Millennium equivalent that he’s reincarnated from? If not, is it actually creepy when Shingo has a crush on Sailor Moon in the original Sailor Moon anime if they don’t actually have any genetic similarities? This very significant and meaningful observation by Usagi, which is mostly ignored by her friends who are in a similar situation, is atypical for her to catch on to. Shouldn’t Ami, the genius child of a doctor mother who’s career path she aspires to follow in, be wondering where her intelligence comes from if it’s not inherited? Shouldn’t Rei, who hates her father, be glad to be potentially the genetic equivalent to being adopted by him through magical reincarnation? What link does she have to her mother who she misses? Regardless of genes she may have she was still raised in her womb as that prenatal environment affects her development. She seems to have some concern about some aspect of this as she’s also brought to tears by the sentiment. Should Makoto be pleased at the prospect of having parents on the Moon or are they also dead? Will we ever get answers to any of these questions? No we really don’t. Queen Serenity or any other inhabitants of Silver Millennium aren’t really seen in this series, not that we’d likely get answers to such specifics questions if they were.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - Minako attacked by a truck

In the final scene Minako, who’s been away in London for the past two episodes, arrives back in Tokyo. Zoisite plays his song which instead of directly attacking her seems to be controlling the driver of a truck which is swerving towards her! End of episode! Cliffhanger! This is almost identical to the final scene from the fantastic Street Fighter II animated movie which has Bison trying to run a truck into Ryu! Coincidence? Certainly!

Street Fighter II The Animated Movie

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