Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 19 and 20 discussion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 19 - Usagi embarrassed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 20 - Makoto cringes

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

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

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

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

Feel free to leave a comment with your own thoughts on these two episodes. If you’re looking to watch along with the series you can get English subtitled fan subbed versions from sites such as Miss Dream, TV-Nihon and Sea of Serenity. Fans looking to stream the show can do so from Dramanice and Kiss Asian.

Keep reading for more screenshots from these episodes.

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Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 17 and 18 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 18 - Hina

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

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

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 17 - Minako faints

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 18 - Makoto empathizes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feel free to leave a comment with your own thoughts on these two episodes. If you’re looking to watch along with the series you can get English subtitled fan subbed versions from sites such as Miss Dream, TV-Nihon and Sea of Serenity. Fans looking to stream the show can do so from Dramanice and Kiss Asian.

Keep reading for more screenshots from these episodes.

Continue reading

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 15 and 16 discussion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 15 - Ami Mizuno

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luna using a computer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 16 - Sailor Mercury

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

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

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 16 - Jadeite lives

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

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

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

Mamoru checking out Usagi while Hina is upset

Feel free to leave a comment with your own thoughts on these two episodes. If you’re looking to watch along with the series you can get English subtitled fan subbed versions from sites such as Miss Dream, TV-Nihon and Sea of Serenity. Fans looking to stream the show can do so from Dramanice and Kiss Asian.

Keep reading for more screenshots from these episodes.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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