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

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 32 - Young Hotaru

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

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

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

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 27 - Diana on the table

Act 27

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

Act 32

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

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 32 - The gang

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

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 32 - Usagi reading Nakayoshi

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

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 32 - Hotaru the cyborg

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

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

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

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

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 32 - Sailor Jupiter attacks Sailor Uranus

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

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 32 - The Holy Grail

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

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 33 Preview - Super Sailor Moon

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

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 33 Preview - Sailor Saturn

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

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Both Codename Sailor V Complete Edition manga books are out now

Codename: Sailor V - Complete Edition Manga - Covers

Following the last release of the Sailor Moon Complete Edition manga we now have all of Codename Sailor V released in Japan in this same format. The Complete Edition of the Sailor Moon, and now Sailor V, manga are high quality collector’s editions of the manga with larger, brighter pages and which include all colour pages previously only seen in pages of Nakayoshi and Run Run. While Sailor Moon appeared in Nakayoshi the Codename Sailor V manga was often serialized in another magazine, Run Run. The Codename Sailor V manga was also written by Naoko Takeuchi and it predates Sailor Moon, though it continued to be written alongside it and it’s final story was actually written after Sailor Moon’s run had been completed. It tells the story of Minako when she was Sailor V in the days before she joined Sailor Moon as Sailor Venus. Chronologically the entire story takes place prior to the first issue of the Sailor Moon manga.

Codename: Sailor V - Complete Edition Manga - Comparison with original manga

This complete edition was released on Thursday May 29th. Unlike the Sailor Moon releases of this manga there is no new art for the covers but instead the art of the original books for Codename Sailor V volumes 1 and 2 are used for these. As you can see by the comparison to the original manga releases these ones are a bit larger and feature a much larger image of the volume 2 cover art. These books are Japanese only. You can order them from Amazon Japan (vol. 1, vol. 2) or CD Japan (vol. 1, vol. 2).

Codename: Sailor V - Complete Edition Manga - Colour pages - Gym uniform

Keep reading to see more of the colour pages included in this release.

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The first issues of the Complete Edition of the Sailor Moon manga are now out in Japan

Large display promoting the new Sailor Moon manga

The new release of the Sailor moon manga is finally out in Japan and with that we can get a better look at a lot of the differences with this edition. This Kanzenban or “Complete Edition” is larger than any previous release and is hard cover.

Manga size comparison

Left to right the original release, the 2003 reprint and the 2013 edition

The actual art inside is updated like the version released in Japan 10 years and ago, which had the same art as the version which was recently released in North America by Kodansha.

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A new Sailor Moon musical will be playing this September

New Sailor Moon Musical flyer translated by Miss Dream

A new Sailor Moon stage musical will be playing in Japan this September. Miss Dream bring us many details of this event with their translations of Fumio Osano’s Tweets and various flyers. Japanese readers can see the announcement on the official Sailor Moon site. We’ve got dates, preorder details and cast information.

This Sailor Moon Musical, which is referred to as SeraMyu by some fans, will be playing over a 10 day period, running from September 13th to the 23rd. Tickets will be on sale starting in July by phone but can already be purchased online through this link.

New Sailor Moon Musical Nakayoshi flyer translated by Miss Dream

From the description in the flyer in Nakayoshi we learn that this musical will be a retelling of the story of the fight against the Dark Kingdom, which covers the first manga story and first season of the anime. We already have the main cast with Satomi Ookubo as Sailor Moon, Miyabi Matsuura as Sailor Mercury, Kanon Nanaki as Sailor Mars, Yu Takahashi as Sailor Jupiter, Shiori Sakata as Sailor Venus and Yūga Yamato as Tuxedo Mask. Indeed, Tuxedo Mask will be played by a woman in this musical. Check out a picture of all of the cast members below. What do you think of their likeness?

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Fumio Osano mentions new “Complete Versions” of the Manga are coming

Fumio Osano tweet about the complete versions of the Sailor Moon manga

A Kanzenban or “Complete Version” of the Japanese Sailor Moon manga is in fact coming. A layout change will come with this printing which is likely to include colour pages not in previous releases. Sailor Moon’s editor Fumio Osano mentioned this on his twitter account recently. A translation appears below courtesy of the @OsabuP_English account:

Note: The aizoubon manga has a name change to kanzenban (complete version). The size + layout has changed too. More info in our next meeting

Since the 20th Anniversary event there has been talk of a new version of the Japanese manga in a different larger format. Numerous tentative release dates for this have come and gone. When new printings of the manga were released earlier this year it was not clear if these were in fact all we would get. It now appears that these were not the version we’d heard about but these Kanzenban versions are.

So what exactly is a “Kanzenban”? This term is used to describe special releases of a manga that are usually A5 sized which is 148x210mm or 8.5×5.8″ and will include all original chapter covers, colour pages and side stories. Many of the colour pages from the Sailor Moon or Sailor V manga were not included in any releases since their original inclusion in the magazines Run Run and Nakayoshi so this will be a real treat for completist fans. Original reports mentioned A4 sized comics which would have been double the size of the A5 size typical of Kanzenban releases.

Fumio Osano aka Osabu aka Osa-P

Thanks to Andrew Yu for mentioning this on our Facebook page.