Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 13 and 14 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 13 - Kunzite

This is a review and discussion of the Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series Act 13, The Last of the Shitennou, Kunzite, Appears, and 14, Usagi is Turning Into a Monster? These episodes first aired on December 27th 2003 and January 10th 2004 on Japanese television. There was no episode aired on January 3rd in the usual time slot, likely due to some sort of new years related event. I recall being quite disappointed that there was no new episode that week back in the day! Act 13 discusses the build up to New Years events and Act 14 includes a late New Year celebration, once again confirming that the show takes place in real time. A date on a computer in Act 14 even shows that it is January 10th 2004. These two episodes centre around the introduction of the fourth of the Shitennou Kunzite!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 13 - Makoto wants to meet Sailor Venus

The episode starts with the girls recalling their great times meeting Sailor Venus, the Princess, who is totally not in either of the episodes I’m talking about this week! Humourously Sailor Jupiter, who was not included in the scenes where the gang met Sailor Venus, says she wished she could meet her! I’m sure they’ll find the budget to arrange for all of them to be in the same scene soon enough! The only thing we see of Sailor Venus is a flashback to a scene that we didn’t previously see where she basically says don’t protect me but keep protected the Earth! It’s like she’s shielding them from something!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 13 - Motoki is devastated that he lost Kamekichi

We start the story out with a bit of humour! Motoki lost his beloved turtle Kamekichi! He’s turned Karaoke Crown upside down looking for him and it seems as if he hasn’t slept all night! Usagi and Mamoru, who seem to keep crossing paths, agree to help him track down his turtle! Sounds like either the turtle would be found very close or not at all, given what I know about turtles! I do actually know a thing or two about turtles as I had a pet painted turtle when I was younger. He’s still alive and well because turtles live quite long! While most celebrity pets from older shows and movies you’ll watch likely died years ago Kamekichi is probably one of the few long lived exceptions to this. Well it seems I was totally wrong about Kamekichi because he shows up at a creepy looking house that by all indication appears to be some distance from the busy city streets where Karaoke Crown is located.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 13 - Shin

Kamekichi ended up at this guy Shin’s house. Who’s Shin? A guy who, like Mamoru, has lost his memory! This is a very interesting character that adds a whole other angle to the Shitennou that we’ve never really seen before. Shin is a nice guy who likes flowers, nature and the sea, but he’s afraid there’s something very sinister lurking inside his lost memories and he’s sort of right! So who is the real Shin? Is this nice guy really anybody or the absence of a person? Beryl seems to have intentionally just put him in this weird state to have him on stand by waiting to awaken Kunzite who’s pretty much evil and doesn’t care about Shin having been there. There are actually further layers of repressed memories beyond what we see in this episode which only complicates the issue. All of this reminds me of this movie called Regarding Henry where Harrison Ford loses his memory and amnesia Harrison Ford is actually a nice guy but memory Harrison Ford is a jerk lawyer who cheats on his wife. Good movie!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 13 - Usagi and Mamoru going for a motorcycle ride along the coast

Usagi, who loves to meddle, decides to get a few things to try to jog Shin’s memory. Mamoru, who claims not to like meddling, comes along to make sure she doesn’t do anything too irresponsible. What ensues is a lovely date sort of non date! Usagi rides on Mamoru’s motorcycle across the romantic coast! We get a sneak peak at the new single Over Rainbow Tour which is sung by Miyuu Sawai, Usagi’s voice actress. We’ll be seeing a few of these in the coming episodes as there was a lot of merchandising going on! In Act 12 we had the first of Minako’s new singles as well. All of the Sailor Guardians had singles which included two songs each. Minako, what with her character being a singer, has additional songs throughout the series.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 13 - Usagi shares a meat bun with Mamoru

After getting a few trinkets for Shin Usagi decides to buy what looks to be a meat bun and shares it with Mamoru. How sweet of her! A lovely end to their not really date. I wonder if Hina knows about this?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 13 - Kunzite

Mamoru gives the trinkets to Shin alone, as Usagi is a bit late, and although it seems like this is what’s giving him his memory back it’s actually just a coincidence as Queen Beryl is blowing evil into a flower which seems to be doing it. Shin is actually Kunzite and was actually out the night before turning some girl into a monster which looks like a werewolf. Mamoru lies to Usagi telling her that Shin got his memory back and decided to leave. In reality Shin turned into a bad guy and attacked Mamoru! Bad news! As for Shin, did he have a mortgage to pay on this house? Was he just squatting? Does he have a job and income?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 13 - Usagi becoming a monster

There’s a fight against the girl turned monster and Kunzite, now sporting much longer hair than Shin, uses his long hair as a weapon! He makes hair appear around Usagi’s neck much as it had done to the girl turned werewolf monster. Looks like Sailor Moon’s going to turn into a monster! To be continued! A little cliffhanger.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 14 Preview - Usagi becomes tired

The next episode preview at the end of Act 13 actually takes place a whole 2 weeks before Act 14, due to the missed episode. As a result we have a bit of an inconsistency between what is shown in the preview and what we see in the episode. We see the 5 girls dressed in formal kimonos for a New Years celebration and Usagi faints in this scene. In reality Usagi doesn’t faint at this point at all but later, while singing karaoke. Did most people forget during this 2 week period? Not the hardcore fans that watched the episodes over, over and over again while waiting for the next one!!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 14 - Sailor Moon's tiara gem supposedly heals hear

Last time Usagi had a strand of Kunzite’s hair embedded into her neck which, based on what it did to another girl, means she’ll turn into a monster! Somehow though Sailor Moon’s tiara’s gem glows and she seems to be totally fine! Or is she?!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 14 - Ami and Usagi sing C'est la vie

The gang celebrate a late New Years party dressed in Kimonos, which seems to be the thing to do. We get a reference to something that is known in the west, New Years day, but mixed in with Japanese traditions which are very unique to their culture. Rei was preparing for New Years celebrations in the last episode and the gang is now getting together to do the the same. They have a Karaoke party, which is a good idea since they have free unlimited access to a magical room at Karaoke Crown which seems to exist outside of space. Makoto sings Minako’s new song, Katagoshi ni Kinsei (Venus Over My Shoulder), which we previously got a preview of during Act 12. Want to hear the full version? Just buy this CD! (Amazon conveniently reminds me that I already purchased this particular item on March 8th 2004…) The rest of the party involves Jenga and Nako Nako dress up.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 14 - Mamoru carries Usagi on his back

Suddenly … Usagi faints! The first stage to becoming a monster, it seems. Everyone wants to do something which seems to exclude watching over Usagi or bringing her to a hospital. I guess bringing in a girl who’s turning into a monster is a bit like bringing in someone with a gun shot wound. Bound to bring up some questions! Ami decides to watch over her and take charge of Usagi’s unconscious body. Mamoru, who knows very well that Usagi is Sailor Moon and knows that she’s got a magic strand of hair turning her into a monster, sees what’s going on and offers to help carry Usagi to Ami’s place. Motoki says that carrying her is too much for a girl! This is nonsense of course. Makoto could easily carry Usagi, or perhaps even Mamoru, on her back with ease. It is probably true however that carrying Usagi on her back is too much for Ami but something that Mamoru is more well suited to do given her strength and size! While it is neither incorrect or controversial that men are, on average, stronger and larger than women one must not generalize in such cases, especially when a strong and tall woman who regularly beats up guys who are up to no good is around!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 14 - Ami's computer monitors Usagi's health

At Ami’s home she whips out her computer which seems to have some fancy apps on it! I almost wondered if this was a Super Computer like the one from the manga and anime! After all it seems to have an application to monitor someone’s vitals! Who would have that except for … ah yes Ami’s mother is a doctor. The machine, attached to Usagi’s finger, monitors her “temperatur”, “blood pressue” and other things. The temperature seems to be in Celcius as a correct body temperature is listed as 30 degrees. Monster temperature seems to hover around 0 C which is when water freezes.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 14 - Ami shoves Naru

Since it’s getting late Ami calls Usagi’s mother to ask if she can stay over. Solid plan! Too bad Naru calls looking for a CD that Usagi was supposed to return to her which leads her to Ami’s next. Here we have the beginning of a complicated relationship between Ami and Naru. Previously Naru was a bit surprised to see Usagi befriending Ami but she seemed to be turning around on her. Unfortunately when Naru comes to Ami’s to see Usagi, Ami pretty much denies her access to her home. She could say a lot of things here to clear things up like that Usagi is sick and is resting, which is technically true, or even some elaborate lie like that she’s drunk or she’s out doing something she doesn’t want her mother to know about and Ami was just the cover! Ami’s not great with people though and wouldn’t be great at casually lying like this, and so she shoves Naru thinking that Ami and Naru’s relationship can stand to be sacrificed for Usagi’s good!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 14 - Sailor Mercury fights Kunzite

Well things get serious with Usagi as her temperature drops and Kunzite teleports her away. Ami, somehow, knows how to find her and chases after her finding Usagi in some cavern. Where is this cavern? Probably not at the D-Point in the North Pole though it looks like the standard cave type sets they use for all of the Dark Kingdom stuff. Ami and Kunzite fight for real. Ami is so beat up that she ends up with dirt on her face!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 14 - Sailor Mercury defends with a sword

Sailor Mercury manages to make a sword out of water which is a weapon we will be seeing something very similar to, but not identical to, in a future episode. Kunzite may not have had much success in making Sailor Moon evil but this is something that will be revisited later in the series. Sailor Mercury will again get a sword and her and Kunzite will find themselves in a similar cave. Ami’s character is conflicted with all kinds of feelings and this will be culminating in a very different story arc for her character that we don’t see in any other incarnations of the series.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 14 - Sailor Mercury cries

Sailor Jupiter and Mars show up, because Sailor Venus isn’t in these episodes, and the fighting continues. Ami keeps calling out, in a psychic way but not with actual words, to Usagi in order to try to reach her. Just when it looks like she’s about to transform into a monster… she tells everyone to shut up and is healed. How? It seems everyone calling her was so loud, especially Ami’s calling, that it woke her up! Perfect plot device which requires only seriously wanting her to be all right without actually requiring anyone to actually do anything to make her better!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 14 - Tuxedo Mask and Kunzite

Finally Tuxedo Mask confronts Kunzite. He says that it looks like Shin is gone and Kunzite responds that he never really existed. What exactly does this mean? Is it because he wears a wig now? Is it because he doesn’t have a social security number? Shin was Kunzite without his memories. If Kunzite exists so did Shin just like Usagi still exists even if she’s … I mean just like Minako still exists even if she’s just the reincarnated version of the Princess! This makes us ask ourselves some interesting existential questions about what makes a person and if that is still a person lacking some memories. Since most of the characters in the show lacks some past memories we’d tend to think that yes they still exist, but in what state are they a different person when those memories return? Henry still “existed” when he lost his memories in the film! In the same way we are always changing as our memories grow as no one is the same person they were when they were a child or even yesterday. Does the show plan to answer such deep existential questions? Not really. But it’s kind of fun that it even plays with them.

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 7 and 8 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Mamoru sees Sailor Moon transform

This is a review and discussion of Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7, He Saw Me Transforming, and Act 8, Rei and Her Father. These episodes originally aired on TV in Japan on November 15th and 22nd respectively. The date on the amusement park tickets for Act 7 show November 15th, which again confirms that the events of the series are taking place in something that resembles real time. Both titles are objectively incorrect because the phrasing of “He Saw Me Transforming” suggests that Usagi had awareness of this fact, which she did not, and “Rei and Her Father” does not actually feature Rei’s father, though the story is influenced by his actions where most of the action and plot takes place.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - A rare appearance by Ami

Sailor Mercury fans won’t be seeing much of Ami in these episodes. The excuse? She’s “Looking for Sailor V”. It isn’t really clear how she’s doing this exactly. Internet research? Looking it up at the library? Listening to police frequencies on the radio? Sailor V isn’t hard to find! She’s around Sailor Moon all the time! Ami should just do some fighting if she wants to find her. Ami’s scenes in these two episodes are confined to scenes filmed either at Karaoke Crown or the school. These are probably scenes filmed along with other episodes. The actress doesn’t go to any of the location shoots used in these episodes.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Motoki with Tuxedo Mask's jacket

Act 7 is all about someone finding out someone’s identity, but it isn’t who we think it is! In the set up for the episode we see a monster fight in which Sailor Moon sees Tuxedo Mask have his tuxedo jacket ripped in the shoulder. Usagi then, very observantly, noticed that Motoki has this exact jacket ripped in the exact same place! Usagi’s conclusion, which is not completely unreasonable, is that Motoki is actually Tuxedo Mask! This is humorous as, in the Sailor Moon anime, Usagi also believed at one point that Motoki might be Tuxedo Mask! She imagines this in anime episode 13, Girls Unite: The End of Jadeite, while looking at various constellations, including the Motoki constellation and the Tuxedo Mask constellation which I have honestly never seen but I guess they are visible from Tokyo?

Sailor Moon episode 13 - Motoki as Tuxedo Mask

It seems we didn’t even get Motoki’s name prior to this, as Usagi has to ask him what it is. She’s starting to think she’s in love with Tuxedo Mask, and so she makes an attempt to get closer to Motoki by buying him food for his turtle! Another fantastic observation on Usagi’s part as Motoki is absolutely obsessed with Kamekichi and offers her amusement park tickets on the spot to thank her for them! The twist? She must bring two other friends! Sounds like a plot device!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Motoki returns Mamoru's jacket

Usagi brings Makoto and Rei! Rei, naturally, is not happy to be there. Motoki brought along Mamoru and Takai, his fellow turtle lover who in contrast makes Motoki seem like a cool ladies man! Takai is like an unrealistic joke character out of a cartoon or the Big Bang Theory in that he gets hiccups when he’s around girls. If anime has taught me anything many boys and men are completely incapacitated around women leading to nosebleeds and all other sorts of reactions which people never have in the real world which I inhabit. The viewer, at this point, already knows that Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask. Motoki, it turns out, had Tuxedo Mask’s jacket so that his mother could fix it for Mamoru. Mamoru is an orphan as we later learn, with no mother to sew a busted tuxedo jacket. I wonder why he didn’t get Hina to do it? Another reason for which I believe some elements of this series were made up as they went along and not planned from the beginning!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Motoki and Usagi on a boat

When the gang needs to split up into couples they do so using rock paper scissors and we first have Makoto with Motoki, Takai with Rei and Mamoru with Usagi. Aside from Takai and Rei, the biggest mismatch in the history of television, these are all big couples of the series! This is the first hint at the Makoto/Motoki relationship and yes I am absolutely shipping these two! Makoto gets what all of this is about and offers to switch partners with Usagi so that she can be with Motoki. They go on a roller coaster ride and then ride some boats in a pond which reminds me of… Usagi and Umino’s date in anime episode 15, Usagi’s Panic: Rei’s First Date! When Motoki again expresses his love of turtles Usagi notes that the two of them are like the tortoise and the hare! These aren’t lovers but it’s a neat idea! Things aren’t going great for Usagi however as she doesn’t feel that something something she does when Tuxedo Mask is around. Very observant once again! Usagi is on a roll!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Usagi and Motoki separate in a house of mirrors

Usagi and Motoki enter a house of mirrors. Have you ever been in one of these? I’ve been in a few and they can be a bit confusing but not as bad as this episode makes us think! Motoki, hesitant to make any sort of physical contact, has Usagi hold the same handkerchief as him so that they don’t get lost which of course means he immediately lets go and they get separated. When Mamoru comes by to help Usagi he’s not having any of this handkerchief nonsense and grabs her hand assertively! Usagi senses the same thing she does when Tuxedo Mask is around, but isn’t able to put the whole puzzle together! For that we will need a Batman Returns type moment which is some time away. Since Motoki is claustrophobic, he needs to be rescued by Makoto, which is cute, but she immediately abandons him when the monster is about. It’s a bit ironic that Motoki, a turtle lover, is claustrophobic. If he was ever an actual turtle he’d probably be afraid to hide in his own shell!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Sailor Moon transforms

When Usagi finally gets a call about a monster attack she thinks no one is around and transforms. Mamoru is able to see her in a mirror. This is not only not how house of mirrors’ work but it’s also not how mirrors work! The general rule, one way glass aside, is that if you can see a person, they can see you! It doesn’t matter how many mirrors you bounce your gaze off of. If you look at a person they can see that you’re looking at them! Since there’s no one way glass involved, as this is actually just an effect of a light room and a dark room on either side of a sheet of glass which is not the case here, there is really no plausible reason for which Usagi would not be able to see Mamoru but that he could still see her. Regardless, the plot requires Mamoru to learn of Usagi’s secret identity before Usagi learns his, and so that is how this magic house of mirrors works. Maybe Luna made it with her magic!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Moon in front of a mural

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7

Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger episode 5 - Pink Ranger in front of mural

Zyuranger episode 5

All of the fighting goes down at this familiar looking stage. We have coloured benches around an outdoor stage with some unique windows and a mosaic. Though I did not make the connection when I first saw this episode I later noticed that this same location was used in a number of episodes of Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, the Super Sentai show which was adapted as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. This location appears in two episodes of the English Power Rangers show, which is where I first noticed it, but it also features more prominently in the equivalent Zyuranger episodes. The location is first featured in Zyuranger episode 5, Scary Riddles, in which the Zyurangers face off against the Sphynx. This was adapted as the 5th episode of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, A Pressing Engagement. The location is again used in Zyuranger episode 16, The Great Sneeze Plot, which was adapted in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as episode 11, No Clowning Around, in which the gang fight Pineoctopus, a pineapple octopus monster.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Moon in front of windows

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7

Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger episode 5 - Red Ranger

Zyuranger episode 5

Zyuranger aired in 1992 while Sailor Moon aired in 2003 and we can see that this area has been cleaned up considerably. Back in 1992 there were broken windows, graffiti on the walls and the paint on the benches seems faded, though this last point may simply be differences in video quality. By 2003 there seems to be no graffiti, restored windows and freshly painted or perhaps simply cleaned benches. I wonder what it looks like today! I haven’t been able to tell specifically where around Tokyo this location is. A reverse image search said it was a “wall”. If any readers know more about this location I’d love to hear about it. The live action series has a lot in common with Super Sentai series, and this is just one of those similarity. We will see reused costumes and even footage directly lifted from this series in future episodes.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Rei in front of stands

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7

Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger episode 16 - Grifforz, Dora Endos, Totpat and Bookback

Zyuranger episode 16

After the fight Sailor Moon uses her handkerchief, which she has shown to both Motoki and Mamoru, to bandage Tuxedo Mask’s injured hand. When he untransforms Mamoru, who has already seen Usagi transform into Sailor Moon, recognizes the handkerchief. This is an odd double reveal of her identity. If he hadn’t seen her in the house of mirrors, he would certainly have figured out her identity here! The handkerchief also appears in the manga as Usagi, dressed as a Princess, drops it in Act 4, Masquerade Dance Party. That one had her name on it though.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Sailor V warns Sailor Moon against seeing Tuxedo Mask

Sailor V tells Sailor Moon to stay away from Tuxedo Mask twice in this episode. After Sailor Moon ignores the first warning she later states that she can’t stay away from him for obvious reasons. Sailor V, who the audience is meant to believe is the Princess, says that destiny can not be avoided. The natural interpretation of this is that, like in the manga, the tragedy that is unavoidable is the murder suicide of Princess Serenity and Endymion. I believe this is what the line was meant to indicate when it was originally spoken, but the true meaning will turn out to be much more complicated as the series progresses. At the time that this series was airing there was a group of fans who, even though they were familiar with other continuities, were convinced at this point that Minako was the Princess. That somehow the live action series was totally mixing things up and that Sailor V would be Sailor Venus and she would be the Princess. I’m not going to say at this point that this isn’t true, because that’s what the show is trying to have us believe, but let us try to think about what Sailor V is saying here in the context of this. What tragedy is it that Sailor V, as the Princess, would be aware of which is not going to be avoided if Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask pursue a romantic relationship? If Sailor V is indeed the Princess, then this can not be the Serenity/Endymion murder suicide or anything related to the Princess at all. After all Sailor V is the Princess. If Princess Serenity and Prince Endymion were a thing in some past life, then Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask being in a relationship is great news! The tragic events of the past, which in this case would have taken place between Sailor V and Endymion, will not be repeating themselves! Well I’m just ranting. Maybe Minako really is the Princess! Let’s wait and see…

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - Rei and Makoto fight

Act 8 is about Rei’s relationship with her father but it’s also about Nako Nako, Minako’s mascot! There is an absurd contest going on where people can cosplay as Nako Nako, a sort of flying blue horse, and compete in order to win a plush Nako Nako toy. A lot of effort goes into this which makes me wonder if this is perhaps some one of a kind plush not available at retail? The cost and effort put into any of these costumes is much more than I would have expected a plush toy to cost. So Usagi calls in her friends to help with her costume because she didn’t properly prepare for a test. Rei thinks helping her will make her weak while Makoto things helping her will make her stronger. This is sort of a proxy argument for both of them dealing with some other psychological baggage in their lives. Rei thinks she did well on her own and thinks it’s good for a person, but Makoto who was also on her own and wishes for more relationships in her life, believes that’s the way to go. They fight!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - Rei using up her minutes

Rei is asked to join her father for a meal, a sort of formality they do once a month. She has this conversation on her magical clothes changing phone which makes me wonder… is she using this as a personal phone? Her father’s assistant, who she wants nothing to do with, has this number somehow? Is it listed? Maybe she took her personal phone’s sim card and put it in her magic phone? She doesn’t want to go with her father and is basically forced into doing it, which Makoto believes is a kidnapping! It turns out Rei’s father, the politician, is having an article written about the ideal parent and child relationship, which Rei is pissed about since he abandoned her when her mother died and he’s scared of her magic powers. I wonder how he’d react to her phone and newfound abilities? Some serious themes going on here in this children’s show!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - A vandalized room service cart

Makoto to the rescue! She sees Rei being taken and literally runs after a speeding car all the way to a hotel. Impressive! When she learns this wasn’t really a kidnapping, though it sort of is, she’s all about being on team Rei and proceeds to be violent with people in order to protect her! You would think Makoto, who’s parents are both dead, would want Rei to have a good relationship with her still alive father but instead she basically says she doesn’t get family stuff because she doesn’t have one and supports Rei. They order room service, perhaps using their magic phones, and then Makoto puts on the room service lady’s clothes and escapes with Rei under the table. Did they like… beat up and strip the room service lady or did they have a nice heart to heart and maybe she had some daddy issues so she offered to trade clothes? Did they expose their identities by using their magic phones to change into her clothes? Where did Makoto’s uniform go? If she left it in the hotel room she’ll probably have trouble replacing it since it’s from her old school which she moved away from and isn’t enrolled in anymore. Also they somehow cut a perfectly circular hole in the room service cart so that we can do a gag where the little cover thing is lifted and Rei’s head is underneath. What sort of tool did they do this with? Oh… it was probably Luna!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - Zoisite and Jadeite

Meanwhile Zoisite has a pretty decent plan. He can play music which plays through FM radio which can project someone to where a target is. Genius! He uses this on Jadeite to send him to where Sailor Moon is and it works! Does her identity get compromised? Well Usagi is actually wearing a kind of bad Nako Nako costume so I guess Jadeite can’t see through that? The contest is held at a hotel. Rei and Makoto are also at a hotel. Is the same hotel? That’s not really clear but they do get there pretty quickly and when things get serious with Jadeite he is snapped back to Zoisite’s room.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - Zoisite attacks Minako

Zoisite tries his trick again to find Sailor V. He targets Sailor V who he thinks in the Princess. I wonder could he just have targeted the Princess instead? Who knows. The solution it seems is to turn off the FM radio. Great! Unfortunately Zoisite never tries this trick again, as it seems like it would be a fairly easy way to figure out one of the Sailor Guardians’ identities and then using that information kill all of them, assuming they could be caught off guard while they weren’t in super powered basketball mode or something.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - A man of no consequence

After Minako gets attacked there’s a man in the car with her that asks her if everything’s okay! Who is this? Could it be Alan, her old love interest from her days as Sailor V in the anime as featured in episode 42? Could it be Kaitou Ace or one of her other half dozen first loves from the Codename: Sailor V manga? No. He’s is of no consequence and we never learn more about him. In fact she later has a flamboyant cartoon character manager who isn’t this guy at all. Abandoned character and plot line or bit actor who was never meant to be anything special? No idea.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - Rei posing dressed as Nako Nako

Finally both Rei and Makoto enter the Nako Nako contest on Usagi’s behalf. They both have cute and out of character costumes and they both receive consolation prizes for their effort. The two have settled their differences and are now good friends! Rei’s relationship with her father however, is still terrible and that might be fine since he seems to be a bit of a jerk. I don’t think anyone in this show has a good father who is not dead.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - Makoto dressed as Nako Nako

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 1 and 2 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 2 - Sailor Moon and Sailor Mercury

This is a review and discussion of the first two episodes of the Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series. Act 1, I am Sailor Moon!*, and Act 2, Ami Became a Friend*, which originally aired in Japan October 4th and 11th 2003.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 1 - Luna and Usagi

Act 1 mainly introduces us to Usagi, played in this series by actress Miyuu Sawai. Fans may notice the considerable similarities between this episode and the first episode of the original anime series and the first act of the manga. Don’t let that fool you! The first few episodes may go along closely with the manga, in a similar way to how Sailor Moon Crystal did it, but this doesn’t last terribly long as the series will go in its own direction soon enough. That said, this one is a lot like that first story. We have Usagi meeting Luna, getting her powers and thwarting a monster, controlled by Jadeite, which is attacking Naru’s mother at her place of business. Sound familiar? It should!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 1 - Sailor V

The episode starts out with Sailor V confronting Tuxedo Mask. Here’s one great change from the original anime in that we get to see Sailor V in action rather than just in a few posters and video games. As with other continuities Minako Aino is not yet Sailor Venus but instead fighting as Sailor V. We already get a look at the real life Minako though. She’s not an aspiring idol at all, she’s a full fledge pop star! She’s really hiding in plain sight with her career too. Her new hit song is “C’est la vie” (French for “That’s life”) which is a bit of a pun as it also sounds like “Sai-la V”, a close approximation to how a Japanese person would pronounce Sailor V. Further her new album is called Venus. She’s not even trying! This hit song is popular with Usagi. She plays it on her alarm clock to wake up and even performs it with her friend Naru at Karaoke Crown. That’s right! The Crown arcade has been updated to be a Karaoke parlour in this series! What a great opportunity to sell music along with the show!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon - Act 1 - Plush Luna

On her way to school in the morning, late as usual, Usagi is confronted with a plush cat which falls from the sky. That’s right, Luna is a stuffed plush toy in this version! This seems a bit odd. A talking cat? Suspicious. A cat that moves around however is not that suspect. A plush on the other hand that does anything but be completely immobile is incredibly suspicious! Beyond this Luna the plush cat is CG in some scenes but a toy with swappable eyes in others! This is probably the cheapest part of the show. Easy to animate a real cat but having a realistic looking CG or even animatronic cat, like in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, would have been even harder to pull off! When Usagi runs into Luna, the talking plush, at home, she suspects she might be dreaming. I’ve often been unsure if I was dreaming or awake during a dream but I’ve never had this sensation while actually awake, but then I’ve never talked to a plush cat. Luna gives her a cell phone which looks identical to the toy. Using the camera Usagi can use it to change her clothes. Now that’s an app that would be popular with the kids!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 1 - Naru confronts her mother

Naru, as in the anime and manga equivalents, plays a prominent role in this story as the plot features around her mother’s Jewelery store. In this particular incarnation it’s not a sale but rather a fashion show that is taking place. Amongst the signs we see the name Mayumi Osaka, the name of Naru Osaka’s mother. This is the only version of Sailor Moon in which her mother has a family name! Naru’s mother is taken over by a monster in this version, not replaced as she usually is. When Naru confronts her mother she doesn’t recognize her daughter at all. How was her total lack of any memories of the woman she’s replacing not an issue before? Imagine being dropped in at your workplace with no memory of your job, you coworkers’ identity or even where you desk is! Naru calls her out on it and is immediately suspicious, which in itself is suspicious. This girl is ready for invasion of the body snatchers, shape shifters, robot doubles from the future or whatever problem it could be! Instead of assuming her mother is having some critical and medically concerning memory loss, it’s “Who are you?”. Wolfie’s fine Naru. Your step parents are dead. This borderline paranoid preparation however, does not stop her from being knocked unconscious. Poor Naru.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 1 - The Moon Stick

The fact that Naru’s mother was possessed rather than replaced however meant that the monster of the week couldn’t be straight up killed but needed to be healed. This means that Usagi couldn’t use Moon Frisbee now renamed Moon Tiara Boomerang as it would leave Naru orphaned, assuming she doesn’t have a father around because well dads in this show are mostly dead or not around themselves. Instead Usagi gets her Moon Stick right off the bat and uses Moon Healing Escalation to purify the monster and restore Naru’s mother. You’ll eventually see the pattern but the Moon Stick is also just like the toy.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 1 - Sailor Venus and Sailor V in the same image?

And so the bad guy is beat and we are briefly introduced to Tuxedo Mask. This show is all about trying to confuse the audience on the expectation that they have no idea what Sailor Moon is about. When Luna tells Sailor Moon that she’s one of the four guardians of the princess we see Sailor Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and … Sailor V! Yes we see Sailor Venus and Sailor V next to each other. Perhaps they’re different people in this version? Many fans at the time of the series first airing were convinced that Sailor Venus was the Princess in this version.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 2 - Sailor Mercury

Act 2 once again follows its equivalent manga counterpart quite closely. It’s all about Ami Mizuno, the genius from Usagi’s school, who attends a cram school which is targeted by a monster and eventually becomes the second guardian, Sailor Mercury. Still some of the details varie considerably as we’ll see. Ami Mizuno is played by Rika Izumi, but you wouldn’t have known it in 2003. The actress went by the name Chisaki Hama at the time, changing her professional given name to Rika and eventually using her birth name Rika Izumi in all aspects of her life. She is younger than the rest of the main cast and was only 14 in this and other early episodes of the series.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 2 - Motoki and Kamekichi

During the previous episode we got a look at Karaoke Crown and here we learn that it’s the new hideout! Always working at the front counter is Motoki who in this version is fanatical about turtles, including his pet Kamekichi which, at least during the day, is kept at his place of employment. Usagi has a special yearly pass which was forged by Luna who is “borrowing” a bit of Karaoke Crown’s space for a massive headquarters. Space in downtown Tokyo is at a premium so I imagine this headquarters is hurting the owner’s bottom line quite a bit! As long as Motoki can afford to feed his turtle I guess everything will turn out all right.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 2 - Ami and Luna

Luna suspects that Ami is a Sailor Guardian, and so she ambushes her on the bridge, leading Usagi, who has no idea what’s up, to start a conversation with her and immediately become friendly. Ami, as we’ve learned, has a lot of phonies trying to be her friend because she’s smart and because her mother is a doctor because I guess in Japan these are good reasons to want to be someone’s friend? My best friend in high school is smart and his father was a doctor but I we probably became friends because we both played a lot of Super Nintendo, which was important to me when I was 14. Usagi is delighted to hear that Ami is a fellow Sailor Guardian, but Ami is not happy to hear the news. She thinks Usagi is a poser who just wanted to be her friend so that they could save the world and stuff. This is nonsense of course, as Usagi had no idea about Ami’s Sailor Guardian status at the time. While Luna thinks it’s important to force Ami to be a Sailor Guardian, Usagi doesn’t want to force her to do anything. Here we see where Sailor Moon’s true strength comes from. It’s not about the power of her crystal or anything like that. It’s that she’s has a big heart and is a good caring friend. There’s a recurring theme about her befriending lonely girls who happen to be superheroes and this is the real difference she makes in their lives.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 2 - A MiniDisc

Fans of the various incarnations of the manga and anime will notice that there is no floppy disk or CD rom in this version. Instead there is a side plot where Ami borrows a MiniDisc of Minako’s new album from Usagi. What in the hell, you may be asking, is a MiniDisc? It was a format for recording and playing music which was fairly popular in Japan, a bit popular in Europe and not that well adopted here in North America. It stored music digitally, like a CD, so it had better sound quality than a cassette tape, but could easily be written and rewritten to which kept some of the convenience of an audio tape. Usagi’s copy of Venus by Minako Aino has a hand written label suggesting this is not a store bought album. Perhaps we should be referring to Usagi as Pretty Guardian Pirate Moon!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 2 - Sailor Moon holds Ami

The enemy attacks the school where the next Sailor Guardian happens to be. Ami starts to fall off a ledge and Sailor Moon catches her. Now we have a fairly unfortunate situation where Sailor Moon is holding the ledge with one hand and Ami with the other. Have you ever done a pull up? That’s not that hard. How about a muscle up, which is when you pull yourself right over the pull up bar? Quite difficult. I’ve done very few in my life and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Well if you’re hanging off a ledge and you want to pull yourself up without using your feet, you pretty much need to do that. Here Sailor Moon can only pull herself up with one arm and she is holding all of Ami’s weight with the other. Does Sailor Moon get super strong when she transforms? If not, there was really no way out of this situation. Some rare people can do a one armed muscle up but I don’t imagine anyone can do it with an extra hundred or so pounds of weight to drag. It reminds me of a similar scene in the film “This Is The End” which did not end well for the person hanging for their life. So Ami says she’ll transform to get out of it but Sailor Moon is convinced that they’ll figure something out. Maybe she could use her Moon Stick to create a bubble around them so that they slowly float to safety. Oh I’m getting ahead of myself…

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 2 - The monster of the week and the teacher

This episode’s monster is a double monster! The main humanoid part is an actor in a suit while the dog part is CG. The humanoid part possesses the teacher but leaves her body at one point. This helps free up the monster to be killed by Sailor Moon and Sailor Mercury, who use a synchronized combination of Moon Twilight Flash and Mercury Aqua Mist. This is the first time Mercury Aqua Mist gets used. There is an unnamed move in the original manga which resembles this. It is first named here in the live action series and is later written in as Mercury Aqua Mist for new versions of the manga and this was adapted in Sailor Moon Crystal. Sailor Moon’s Moon Twilight Flash is done with her Moon Stick here. In the manga this was done using her tiara in Act 4.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 2 - Rei Hino

The episode wraps up with a teaser for Act 3. We see Jadeite leave a gem at the Hiyakawa Shrine and get our first look at Rei Hino!

*A note on titles. The live action series had no titles included when it originally aired on TV. Episodes were simply titled Act 1, Act 2 and so forth. After the series aired in its entirety a Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Memorial Book was released in Japan which, among other things, included a list of titles for the episodes. I have this book but I can’t read any of it since it’s in Japanese and so I will be using this episode title list from Genvid. I would have been happy to just call the episodes by their Act number but it seems this relatively obscure list of titles is now commonly referenced when people discuss the show and so I am including them. Just keep in mind that back when the show first aired, no one knew anything of their titles beyond the number.

Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on these episodes. Looking to watch along with the series? Though there is no official international release of the live action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series you can get English subtitled fan subs from sites such as Miss Dream, TV-Nihon and Sea of Serenity.

Keep reading for more screenshots from these episodes.

Continue reading

Usagi and Luna dream of the Ford Fusion constellation in a bizarre Ford commercial

Sailor Moon Dreams of the Ford Fusion Constellation

You thought the Japanese Sailor Moon merchandise was expensive? Has your love of Sailor Moon made you buy a car?! In the latest in Ford’s “Overdubs” ad campaign they have remixed a clip from Sailor Moon to have it look like Usagi and Luna are daydreaming about the Ford Fusion car complete with specs that only a car salesmen would bother quoting. Commercials don’t have credits but it sounds like Stephanie Sheh and Michelle Ruff, the new voices of Usagi and Luna, are reprising their roles here. Watch the clip below!

The original clip which was edited here is from episode 13 of the first season. It has Usagi stargazing at the Motoki and Tuxedo Mask constellations. I know what you’re thinking! We don’t have Motoki and Tuxedo Mask constellations! That’s because Japan is more down south than many parts of the US and Canada so they have Motoki and Tuxedo Mask constellations over there. That’s also why they see the rabbit on the Moon and we only see a face. QED.

Sailor Moon episode 13 - The Motoki constellation

At this point in the series, which is quite early, Usagi imagines that Motoki and Tuxedo Mask are the same person. Eventually Jadeite shows up to challenge her, her friends, and most of the city to come fight at the airport.

Sailor Moon episode 13 - The Tuxedo Mask constellation

So … will you be buying a Ford Fusion? As much as I’d love to spend my hard earned money on a car that one of my favourite anime characters endorsed I just bought a van because I’m going to need room for a car seat and stroller in April.

Sailor Moon episode 13 - Motoki as Tuxedo Mask

The English version of Sailor Moon Crystal Act 11, Reunion – Endymion, is now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 11 - Endo and Mamoru are good friends

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal has been added to Hulu and Neon Alley. This week we get Act 11, Reunion – Endymion. A mysterious new boy Endo is in town and he happens to look exactly like Mamoru only his eyes are red so there’s just no way it’s him. Mamouru and Motoki, while under evil influences, appear to have a romantic interest in each other where such a thing was not previously insinuated. This is problematic not because is it showing a same sex relationship, but because it associates that relationship with the characters being evil. Ignoring all else, one could get the impression based on this coupling that homosexuality is evil, or that evil characters were more likely to be homosexual. Given the relationships found between same sex characters elsewhere in the series it seems evident to me that this is not the position of the author Naoko Takeuchi and not what is meant to be shown here. All said, taking this relationship on its own one can see why it is potentially controversial.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 11 - Endo is absolutely no Mamoru

Next week is Act 12, Enemy – Queen Metalia, as things get real and the gang faces off against Queen Beryl. We are getting close to wrapping up the Dark Kingdom story arc.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 11 - Reunion - Endymion

Watch the English dubbed version of Sailor Moon Crystal Act 11, Reunion – Endymion, January 22nd at 9pm Eastern Time

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 11 - Evil Tuxedo Mask

This Friday the next English dubbed episode of Sailor Moon Crystal will be released. As with every week the episode will be available at 9pm Eastern Time, 6pm Pacific Time, on Hulu and Neon Alley. This week we get Act 11, Reunion – Endymion. Last we saw Mamoru was dead. Now there’s a new guy in town who looks exactly like him, but with slightly different eyes and who likes Motoki a lot more than he used to.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 11 - Endo and Mamoru are good friends

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 11 - Reunion - Endymion

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 11, Reunion – Endymion, Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 11 - Endo and Mamoru are good friends

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal is now available. Act 11, Reunion – Endymion, can be streamed on Crunchyroll, Hulu or Niconico. This week a mysterious familiar looking fellow named Endo shows up in Tokyo.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 11 - Endo is absolutely no Mamoru

So who is this Endo who looks exactly like Mamoru but has no costume? Everyone seems to very quickly notice that he is Mamoru but for some reason quickly discounts it because his eyes seem to look a bit different. It’s hard enough to accept the show’s basic concept that a tiny mask or tiara completely hides one’s identity. Indeed Sailor Moon Crystal, like the Manga, does a great job of not falling for this too much as people are pretty quick to recognize the true identities of other despite their costumes. Why is is that all of a sudden no costume and simply telling people your name is Endo is a perfect disguise? Then there’s of course the fact that the name Endo is clearly short for Endymion, but also the name of Motoki’s effeminate friend. I guess this is supposed to be a colossal coincidence since Evil Mamoru takes Endo’s name?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 11 - Endo brainwashes Motoki

Endo instantly bonds with Motoki. His reason for targeting the arcade actually makes some sense. He senses something about the Sailor V video game, which is over the Sailor Guardians’ headquarters, and so he infiltrates the place by befriending Motoki. Endo and Motoki’s relationship in the Manga is a bit gay, most noticeably in a reach around arcade stick grab panel that is seen at one point, but generally in the way they hang off of each other. Brad from Moonkitty make an interesting observation on Twitter that it’s trouble to associate homosexuality with evil. Indeed the examples of homosexuality in the first arc of the manga and subsequently the first season of the anime, are amongst villains. Sailor Moon is fairly good about portraying their heroes as being gay or lesbian once Sailor Neptune and Uranus show up, as well as hinting at some same sex attractions amongst other characters earlier in the series. I like to think this early connection between evil and homosexuality was not intended as a correlation, but all things considered it’s nice to see it toned down.

Sailor Moon Manga Act 11 - Reunion, Endymion - Endo's suggestive reach around arcade stick grab

Motoki’s heterosexuality is also present in this episode as we get a better look at Reika, Motoki’s love interest. We originally saw a brief glimpse of her in act 3 but this is the first time she is fully present. She seems a bit miffed at Endo and Motoki’s affections for each other.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 11 - Reika

This week we get a look at Ami’s apartment, which we are supposed to be really impressed with because it is fancy looking. Perhaps this is a cultural difference but I find the fact that Usagi’s family lives in a full on house in crowded Tokyo to be more impressive and desirable than Ami’s apartment living. Minako humorously asks if her carrying around a sword in an apartment lobby is conspicuous and everyone thinks it is. The sword’s strength is demonstrated as Minako then uses it to destroy one of Ami’s mother’s diamonds.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 11 - Does this sword make me look sketchy?

As things develop the headquarters is infiltrated by Makoto who is herself brainwashed into stealing the Silver Crystal. When things get serious I guess there wasn’t much to fill the episode as we painstakingly watch every character’s transformation sequence. There is a lot from the original anime that I miss but excessive stock footage is not one of those things! In the original manga publication this act and the next were actually a single story but they were split for later publications. This is why they likely needed to fill a bit of time. During the ensuing battle Venus uses her “Venus Love Me Chain” attack for the first time and Rei kicks evil Tuxedo Mask.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 11 - Sailor Mars kicks Tuxedo Mask

Beryl shows up and it’s revealed that Endo is actually Mamoru, and for some reason people are surprised by this. Does anyone actually ship Beryl and Mamoru? I mean, I love to ship all kinds of people and relish in how much it annoys fans but this coupling just doesn’t work for me.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 11 - Sailor Moon comforts an injured Luna

Luna and Usagi’s relationship has some attention this week. She console’s Usagi at the beginning of the episode and later, after being attacked by a very evil Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Moon hugs her once more. Their complex relationship is obviously much more than owner/cat dynamic and closer to one of mentoring and close friendship.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 12 Preview - Evil Tuxedo Mask and Queen Beryl

Next time is act 12, Enemy – Queen Metaria. As I mentioned this next story was originally part of act 11 in the first manga publication. During the 2003 rerelease of the manga the story was split in two. Sailor Moon Crystal is following those chapter breaks for episodes.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 12 - Enemy - Queen Metaria

On December 20th we’ll be seeing more of evil Tuxedo Mask, some Mamoru/Queen Beryl shipping and some pretty violent shocking events.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 12 Preview -

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

Continue reading

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5, Makoto – Sailor Jupiter, Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Sailor Jupiter pose

Saturday September 6th the 5th episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, Act 5, Makoto – Sailor Jupiter, became available on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. This episode marks the introduction of Makoto Kino, Sailor Jupiter. Once again it follows the manga fairly closely but there are a some differences to note this time around.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Makoto saves Usagi

This episode is all about Usagi getting herself into trouble and Makoto saving her! First it’s from a car which almost hits her, which may very well have killed her. The second time Makoto stops a baseball from almost hitting Usagi in the face. We know from the original Sailor Moon anime that Sailor Moon can take a high speed tennis ball to the face so that’s no big deal. Usagi and Makoto become instant friends, despite the fact that many of the student are scared of Makoto having heard she got kicked out of her last school for fighting. Once again we see Usagi’s greatest quality, her easy ability to make friends. Even without knowing her new classmate has super powers, she’s immediately nice to her, offering to show her around the arcade and such.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Makoto and Motoki

While at the arcade Makoto runs into Motoki and she is instantly smitten by him. Motoki is later used by the enemy to lure in Makoto which is a very effective ploy, as he reminds her of her old “sempai” or rather another student at her school from a higher grade. This idea of Makoto’s sempai recurs in many series. She did not leave her old school for fighting but rather because her heart was broken by this boy. Here we get to see Makoto’s sempai in a flashback scene and we learn that he broke Makoto’s heart because he had a girlfriend. During this scene I kept waiting for her Rainy Day Man to show up, but alas there was no such person to console her.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Makoto and her sempai

There is no cross dressing in this episode. For shame! In the manga when Usagi visits the Bridal Boutique she disguises herself as a well dressed groom before transforming into Sailor Moon. Here we have Usagi getting lured from her bedroom by Tuxedo Mask and remaining in her pyjamas when she gets to the action! Luna calls Rei and Ami and while Rei is wearing her standard Miko Robe Ami is wearing some sort of comfortable night clothes that may very well be pyjamas. Girls! Don’t leave home like this. Take a hint from Optimus Prime. Transform and Roll Out. These girls are always waiting until they’re in front of the monster to transform. This is a terrible way to keep a secret identity. Oh and yes the implication with Mamoru at Usagi’s window is that Mamoru knows that she is Sailor Moon. I think the handkerchief from the last episode gave her away.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Pyjama party

Sailor Jupiter does two attacks in this episode. The first is Flower Hurricane, which cuts clothes and paralyses opponents. The second is Jupiter Thunderbolt which in the manga kills Nephrite but here it does not finish the job. This follows Jadeite not being killed by Rei in act 3, a change from the manga. Clearly something is being planned by keeping them all alive. All four Shitennou are shown to be alive and well in the next episode preview for act 6. Nephrite also makes the comment “I’ve seen this look before” as Sailor Jupiter charges up her Thunderbolt. In an image in the manga it’s insinuated that Sailor Jupiter and Nephrite had a romantic relationship during Silver Millennium. Similarly in act 3 Jadeite made a comment about how beautiful and familiar Sailor Mars’s face looked, and they are also paired together in the manga. Surely there has not been much deviation from the source material to date but this small change may be indicative of something substantial to come in the future.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Nephrite not dying

Finally we see the first appearance of the new Moon Stick in this episode! At this point we’ve seen it in other places, such as the cover art for the first Blu-Ray (which does not include episodes where Sailor Moon actually has the Moon Stick…) but it’s nice to see it in the show. It’s a bit different from the original anime Moon Stick or even the one seen in the manga. The silver crescent moon is a bit similar to the live action series Moon Stick but there are differences from that one too. Surely we will be getting a toy of this Moon Stick in time!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Luna gives Usagi the Moon Stick

The next episode, airing September 20th 2014, will be Act 6, Tuxedo Mask. As the title suggests it’s all about Tuxedo Mask. Will we see Mamoru with his shirt off like we do in the manga? Find out in two weeks!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Tuxedo Mask

Until then here are more screenshots from the episode.

Continue reading

Sailor Moon episodes 29 and 30 are now on Hulu

Sailor Moon episode 29 - Motoki and Reika

The two latest episodes of the original Sailor Moon anime have been added to Hulu and Neon Alley. As with every Monday Viz adds two new episodes of the series with English subtitles. This week we have episodes 29 and 30 as the search for all of the Rainbow Crystals continues. The major theme for these episodes is relationships!

Sailor Moon episode 29 - Kunzite and Zoisite

In episode 29, Total Chaos: the Messy Love Rectangle, Usagi and Makoto are devastated to learn that Motoki has a girlfriend, Reika. Since it’s still early in the series Usagi hasn’t figured out that Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask so she’s still fawning over Motoki while Makoto is reminded of her old boyfriend. The Makoto/Motoki coupling in the anime continues throughout the first season as he’s used by the DD Girls to try to trick her when they go to the North Pole. In the live action series this relationship is more important as it’s ultimately insinuated that they are to be married after Usagi and Mamoru tie the knot. This episode also features a nice romantic scene between Kunzite and Zoisite. These lovers were a male/female couple in the dub as Zoisite’s gender was swapped while here in the original subtitled version we see their relationship as it was intended, a strong love between two men. The art in this episode is particularly interesting, as there are many cool animation tricks showing super deformed characters and hidden frames that aren’t always that obvious, including the kind of racist portrayal of Usagi shown below.

Sailor Moon episode 29 - Usagi as a racist Japanese stereotype

In episode 30, Grandpa Loses Control: Rei in Danger, we are introduced to Yuuichirou who shows up at Rei’s shrine and is immediately smitten with her. Though Rei and Mamoru’s relationship is well established at this point the end of that is near, thanks to pesky destiny, so a romantic interest for her is found in Yuuchirou. He’s a bit of a bumbling idiot but has a good heart and cares about her. We also see Rei’s Grandpa showcased in this episode as he plays host to another of the Rainbow Crystals. Rei’s Grandpa is romantically linked with every young girl to visit the Hikawa Shrine because he’s a pervert!

Sailor Moon episode 30 - Rei kissing Yuuichirou

Enjoy the romances this week because next week is pure comedy with two of the funniest episodes of the series.

Sailor Moon episode 30 - Rei's Grandpa

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 1 first impressions

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Usagi and Luna

This morning the first episode of the new Sailor Moon anime, Sailor Moon Crystal, premiered worldwide on Crunchyroll, Niconico and Hulu. The show is free to watch on a number of these services. For more details, check out these instructions on how to watch the show. I personally found the quality of Crunchyroll’s stream to be higher than Hulu or Niconico’s and so I would recommend checking them out to watch the show if you haven’t already.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Title screen

The episode, titled Act.1 Usagi – Sailor Moon, resembled the first episode of the original Sailor Moon anime quite closely. This is fairly expected given this series is meant to resemble the Manga closely and the first episode of each series was quite faithful to that. In fact the first Act of the manga is also titled Usagi – Sailor Moon. With only 26 episodes for this series we certainly can’t expect an episode per episode repeat of the original show.

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

In this episode we get a pretty good look at Silver Millennium, the ancient kingdom on the Moon, as well as Princess Serenity and Endymion through a couple of Usagi’s dream sequences. Once again we have Morga, a monster impersonating Naru’s mother as ordered by Jadeite, as the main villain of the episode. We are also introduced to Luna, Naru, Umino, Shingo, Sailor Moon’s mother Ikuko and her teacher Haruna. We also see mention of Sailor V, who will later be appearing as Sailor Venus, who shows up in a newspaper, is mentioned by Umino and is the star of her own video game.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Serenity and Endymion

One aspect which bothered me a bit was the reaction Usagi had to her first meeting of Mamoru. Instead of being annoyed but a little intrigued she is instead completely infatuated with him from the beginning. We shall see how this relationship develops throughout the series. If this show truly does mirror the manga, things should escalate fairly quickly.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Super Sonic Wave Attack

Sailor Moon makes two attack in this episode. The first is the same Supersonic Waves attack which she made in the first episode of the original anime, which she almost never uses again. The second was Moon Tiara Boomerang. This attack was first used in the live action Sailor Moon series. In the original Manga the attack was Moon Frisbee and in the original anime it was Moon Tiara Action. In the rereleased Manga books the move was updated to be called Moon Tiara Boomerang, as is seen here.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Ami Mizuno

Act.2, as I guess we are now referring to the episodes as acts, will be premiering in two weeks time, July 19th at 7pm JST, 6am EST and 3am PST in the same places. Since Ami is shown very briefly at the end of this episode I would imagine she will be joining as Sailor Mercury as of the next act. This would be consistent with Sailor Mercury’s appearance in the second act of the Sailor Moon manga “Act 2: Ami – Sailor Mercury”.

Keep reading for more screenshots from the episode.

Continue reading