Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 1 and 2 discussion

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

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

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

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 1 - Sailor V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 2 - Sailor Mercury

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

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

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

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

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 2 - A MiniDisc

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

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

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

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

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 2 - Rei Hino

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

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

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

Keep reading for more screenshots from these episodes.

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Meet Mary Long, Roland Parliament, John Stocker and Todd Haberkorn at Fan World in Niagara Falls July 21st to the 23rd

Sailor Moon S episode 95 - Umino and Naru

Good news for Sailor Moon fans both sides of the border! This weekend is Fan World in Niagara Falls. This convention will be held at the Conference & Events Center at Niagara Falls on the New York side of the border but it’s close enough for fans on the Ontario side, which has the nicer falls, to attend as well. This events will include voice actors and voice directors from the original English dub of Sailor Moon! One of the series’ great couples, Melvin and Molly, will be there as Mary Long and Roland Parliament make an appearance. In addition to providing the voice of Melvin Roland Parliament was also voice director for the first 65 episodes of the dub. John Stocker, who was voice director for the rest of the episodes, that being the later half of Sailor Moon R as well as all of Sailor Moon S and SuperS, will also be at the convention. John Stocker also did a few voices in the series including Raye’s grandfather.

Sailor Moon episode 32 - Tuxedo Umino Kamen and Naru

Also in attendance is Todd Haberkorn who voiced Jadeite in Viz’s new dub of Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal. Will any of you be at this convention this weekend?

Sailor Moon episode 13 - Jadeite illusion over the city

Sailor Moon episode 7 - Cross dressing Umino with Naru

Usagi is basically a tasty dessert in this upcoming Sweeties figure

Sailor Moon Sweeties figure

Do you like Sailor Moon and sweet desserts? Well this new line of “Sweeties” figures seems to basically be characters as some sort of sweet food? In this upcoming figure Usagi is dressed as a fruit parlor waitress sitting in a parfait glass with some whipped cream on her. She has a moon themed spoon in her hand which itself has whipped cream in it. If you have a weird thing about wanting to eat Usagi, this is the figure for you! It will be out in March and cost 5900 yen, about $58 US.

Sailor Moon Sweeties figure

I suppose we could say that this is somewhat Sailor Moon related as there is a “Fruits Parlor Crown” next to the Crown Arcade where the girls sometimes eat desserts. This is the first figure in this new line so it’s hard for me to say exactly what the recurring theme will be. Will other characters also appear in the same kind of food container? Different food containers? It’s a bit hard for me to completely appreciate this whole product since fruit parlors just aren’t a thing which is part of my culture but they are a thing in Japan, where this figure is being sold. As far as I can figure a fruit parlor is where you can pay a lot of money to get a little bowl of nicely arranged fruit and whipped cream.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - Crown Fruit Parlor

I know what you’re all thinking. Why start with Usagi? Why not start with a Nephrite x Naru chocolate parfait? Big time missed opportunity but I hope they will make up for it in the future.

Sailor Moon episode 24 - Naru and Nephrite

Could this be the next ridiculous figure in the series?

Sailor Moon R episode 76 - Sailor Venus is a cake

Source: Official Sailor Moon site, Kiddyland

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No significant news came out of C2E2 but something may be coming next week at Anime Boston which will feature Shino Kakinuma, the voice of Naru and Toshio Furukawa, the voice of Hawk’s Eye

Moon Panel at C2E2 with Michelle Ruff and Stephanie Sheh

Today, Saturday March 19th, was Viz’s official Sailor Moon panel at C2E2 in Chicago. The C2E2 panels were streamed on the C2E2 site. I didn’t catch the panel myself but thanks to many users following the panel on Twitter I was able to keep up with what was going on. We were hoping for significant news which is long overdue and we didn’t get any. We didn’t get anything about the release of the upcoming dub of Sailor Moon S and also didn’t get any specifics about the upcoming new episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal, covering the Infinity arc of the manga, which will be starting to air on Japanese TV on April 4th.

Never fear! Anime Boston is next weekend and we will be having yet another Official Sailor Moon panel next Saturday, March 25th, at 5pm. Big news about these topic may be left for then. Anime Boston is being held at the Hynes Convention Center in downtown Boston.

Sailor Moon episode 24 - Naru crying

Anime Boston will have some Japanese voice actors from the original Sailor Moon anime in attendance! Husband and wife voice acting couple Toshio Furukawa and Shino Kakinuma will both be there. Shino Kakinuma voiced Naru Osaka throughout the series. Her panel will be held on Friday March 25th at 4pm, right before the Official Sailor Moon panel. Great timing! Toshio Furukawa provided the voice of Hawk’s Eye in Sailor Moon SuperS as well as Shun Hayase, a side character from Sailor Moon S. His panel will be Friday at 1:30pm. The two will be signing autographs on Saturday March 26th at 11am. Toshio Furukawa will be doing his own autograph session on Sunday March 27th at 10:30am.

Toshi Furukawa, the voice of Hawk's Eye from Sailor Moon

Source: @abzeronow, @fredjfrancis and @NebsTV on Twitter
Image Source: @NebsTV on Twitter

Sailor Moon SuperS episodes 130 and 131 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 130 - Ikuko Mama's clone

The two latest episodes of Sailor Moon SuperS are now available on Hulu and Neon Alley. This week we get episodes 130 and 131 and everyone in Usagi’s entourage are targeted by the PUAs that are the Amazon Trio. First it’s her mother and then it’s her best friend, but will either stray from their committed relationships? Once you’ve watched these episodes you’ll want to watch the Sailor Moon SuperS Special as well. You can read more about that later in this post.

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 130 - Usagi going to school

Episode 130, Protect Mom’s Dream: Double Moon’s New Attack, is all about Usagi’s mother Ikuko Tsukino who is generally referred to as Ikuko Mama. In over three seasons we’ve somehow never had an episode focus on either of the Tsukino parents, so this one is a nice change. Usagi gets really mad that she didn’t get to eat a piece of her mother’s pie, which is a classic Usagi reason to get upset, and she storms off. This leads to a nice moment between Ikuko Mama and Chibiusa. What a lovely yet tragic relationship these two share. Chibiusa is stranded in the past and while Usagi does offer some sort of a parental figure to her, what with her being her actual mother, their relationship is much closer to that of sisters. Ikuko Mama believes herself to be Chibiusa’s aunt though as she lives with the Tsukinos she is more of a parent to her. Too bad all of her memories of Chibiusa are destined to disappear whenever she returns to the future. Will she still be alive when Usagi ascends to be Queen of Crystal Tokyo and Chibiusa is born? Will she ever be able to reclaim her lost memories? It’s hard not be a bit sad whenever I see these two interact. Ikuko Mama shows Chibiusa a series of photos of Usagi when she was growing up. This reminds me of the intro to the Sailor Moon SuperS movie where we see clips of all of the Sailor Guardians growing up. More importantly we see a calendar in the background of this scene which states 1995. The timeline for Sailor Moon makes no sense, as the episodes all seem to take place during the actual seasons and years they aired in over a five year period, though Usagi ages only two years over that time. Here Usagi, 14 years old throughout the first season, is 15 years old as determined by her birthday last season and her age being stated in episode 132 which is only two episodes and a short special away. A calendar in the first season showed 1992 while one in this episode shows 1995. Something doesn’t add up!

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 130 - 1995

Ikuko Mama is targeted by Hawk’s Eye, because she is older than the teenaged girls Tiger’s Eye goes after. This doesn’t seem to work very well, as she is quite happily married to Kenji Papa! Hawk’s Eye creates an elaborate lie about his own mother who looks just like her making pies. He really lays it on thick! When the fighting ensues Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon and finally powered up permanently to Super Sailor Moon and Super Sailor Chibi Moon with the weapons we’ve sort of already seen a couple of times. Not sure why this needed to be dragged out this much.

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 130 - The Tsukino family

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 131 - Tiger's Eye hits on Naru

Episode 131, Catch Pegasus: The Amazon’s Trap, is a great humour filled episode. Last episode Hawk’s Eye tried to seduce a married woman and this week Tiger’s Eye has about as much trouble trying to seduce Naru despite her relationship with Umino. This relationship is rock solid, not likely to be broken up by a slick peacocking PUA or some message from the future as we’ve seen with others in the series. Hawk’s Eye is hilariously shattered at the idea that a young lady could pass on his advances but be interested in such a seemingly low class guy as Umino, but he will not be deterred. He comes up with a great tactic, to fake a terminal illness! It somewhat works, as Naru decides it is the right thing to do to be at his side. Umino is broken up by this, going into a depression and drinking a ton of McDonald’s milkshakes which are MoG shakes but the similarity is no coincidence. All of this doesn’t work though. Naru’s love for Umino is too strong! They truly are the strongest couple in the series!

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 131 - Umino drowns his sorrows in milkshakes

Next, you should really watch the Sailor Moon SuperS Special which originally aired on April 8th 1995, two weeks after episode 131, which aired March 25th, and a week before episode 132, which aired April 15th. Although this episode aired on TV and fits chronologically within the Sailor Moon SuperS season it has never been released in English to date and is unlikely to appear on Hulu next week. If you look around the Internet you should be able to find a copy of this special.

Sailor Moon SuperS Special - A Lemures dummy

The special is broken into three parts which are each a sort of mini episode. The total length is about that of two episodes, so each episode is somewhat shorter than usual. The first part is a series of flashback clips which is generally uninteresting. The other two parts are much more better.

Sailor Moon SuperS Special - Haruka and Michiru during SuperS

In the second part, The Return of Haruka and Michiru! The Ghostly Puppet Show, We get a look at what Haruka and Michiru are up to this season as they fight an evil ventriloquist’s dummy. The dummy being the evil one. Haruka is sick throughout. A fight naturally ensues at which point we learn that Michiru would gladly sacrifice many lives just to save Haruka, which is funny but completely contradicting all of Sailor Moon S. As an indicator that we won’t be seeing them later in the season, the two agree that the core group of Sailor Guardians can handle the new threat. At this point in the manga Sailor Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Saturn would not have joined the story of the dream arc yet, but in the anime they never do.

Sailor Moon SuperS Special - Lilica Hubert

Next is the third part, Chibiusa’s Adventure! The Dreaded Vampire Castle, which is an adaptation of the first Chibiusa’s picture diary manga side story. It focuses on a young girl named Lilica who joins Chibiusa’s class. She seems like a nice enough girl until some of the boys in her class start disappearing. It turns out Lilica is actually a vampire, so it’s a good thing the girls had a garlic filled lunch allowing them to use Sailor Special Garlic Attack which is naturally never used in any other episode.

Sailor Moon SuperS Special - Sailor Special Garlic Attack

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Sailor Moon SuperS episode 130 - Usagi playing in a sandbox

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 130 - Usagi the rabbit in a play

Sailor Moon S episodes 94 and 95 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon S episode 94 - Unazuki kissing Makoto

The two latest episodes of Sailor Moon S are now available to stream on Hulu and Neon Alley. This week’s shows are all about love as episodes 94 and 95 deal with romance. First we have Unazuki dreaming of her first kiss and then we have a deepening of the romance between Umino and Naru.

Sailor Moon S episode 94 - Unazuki being sexually repressed by Rei

Episode 94, Protect the Pure Heart: The Three-Way Battle, is all about the purity of the first kiss. The main character and target this week is Unazuki Furuhata. Upon listening to this episode it seemed that Unazuki’s voice sounded a lot like Sailor Iron Mouse’s. This is because Miyako Endou, the actress who normally portrays Unazuki, did not voice her for episode 94. Instead she was voiced by Eriko Hara for this episode only. Eriko Hara also provided the voice of Sailor Iron Mouse in SailorStars as well as a number of monsters including the Dream Princess from episode 11. The main plot focusing on how pure a first kiss is. This all seems a bit silly. Yes Unazuki is young and there’s no shame in saving yourself for the right person but this story takes it a bit far. This kind of purity is often associated with a first sexual experience which is in itself a bit silly, but even more ridiculous when applied to something as innocent as a kiss. There is this pervasive idea presented in this episode, and throughout the series in general, that a young woman’s feelings are somehow embarrassing and that she should protect her innocence as if it was something sacred. We see this in Usagi’s reaction every time it’s asked if she’s kissed Mamoru. To me this seems like a somewhat antiquated point of view, the opposite being to allow women to be free to decide how to pursue their sexual interests without worrying about being shamed for it. When Unazuki has her pure heart removed what remains is a sort of husk without a soul intent on kissing anything that moves, which happens to be Makoto and Usagi. This insinuates something very impure and wrong about promiscuity which seems a bit too much like slut shaming to me. Rei needs to use her scroll to suppress her sinful desires.

Sailor Moon S episode 94 - Naked Usagi and Mamoru or Adam and Eve

In one scene Michiru mentions that the first kiss was between Adam and Eve. This is subject to some debate but I’ll avoid getting back on my soap box for this minor point. Usagi imagines the first kiss being being Adam and Eve who look just like her and Mamoru. She pictures two naked people kissing, complete with the somewhat visible outline of a nipple. No censoring on this one. It looks like they’re lying in grass. Must be the Garden of Eden.

Sailor Moon S episode 95 - Umino and Naru

Episode 95, Let Moon Help With Your Love Problems, once again focuses on Umino and Naru’s relationship. We’ve actually seen this touched on a number times at this point. Umino is trying to advance things, because saving someone’s life a bunch of times isn’t quite cutting it, so he goes to Usagi for advise. The brilliant idea is to enrol the two in a kind of game show for couples. Unfortunately Haruka and Michiru are also competing! Too bad the Death Busters have their eye on the monument they are doing all of this around. Luckily Haruka and Michiru drop out at the last minute. Why is this fortunate? Well if they hadn’t then perhaps the Daimon would have targeted them for their Pure Hearts instead of Umino. How differently the series would have played out had that happened. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Umino confesses his love to Naru in an impassioned speech which brings the audience to tears just as the Daimon bursts out. Naru is targeted and once again Umino shoves her aside and takes the attack for her. This is becoming a habit for him! Oh well Umino doesn’t have a Talisman. A humorous scene takes place during the battle. Some eligible bachelors invite the girls to dance. “Let’s dancing”. They accept and then they turn into monsters and attack them. Never accept an invitation for a dance during combat!

Sailor Moon S episode 95 - Michiru and Haruka

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Sailor Moon S episode 95 - Let's dancing

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16, Abduction – Sailor Mercury, Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Ami and Berthier playing chess

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, Act 16, Abduction – Sailor Mercury, is now available to view for free on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. This week’s episode is tons of fun with the Tuxedo Mask puppet, some fan service in the form of swimsuits, young Ami and her daddy issues and of course Berthier who may or may not have been an inspiration for Elsa from Frozen.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Sailor Mercury and her visor

This episode had a number of differences from it’s original manga version, in changes, omitted scenes and in added content. That said, it also had a lot in common and like the rest of Sailor Moon Crystal is a very faithful adaptation.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Sailor Moon mad at Chibiusa

In the opening scene of the episode Usagi gets upset at Chibiusa but what she doesn’t do is raise her hand threatening to hit her as she did in the manga. This sort of changes the tone of the next scene where Usagi feels a sense of guilt but not about raising a hand at Chibiusa but instead about not protecting Sailor Mars who is now kidnapped.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Tuxedo Mask Puppet and ventriloquist Luna who Chibiusa already knows

Chibiusa runs off and, as usual, hides in the park. Mamoru takes her home and talks to her with his Tuxedo Mask puppet. This puppet has been in the original manga, original anime and even in the latest musical, Petite Étrangère. All of a sudden I wonder just where he go that thing. Is Mamoru such a megalomaniac that he built a puppet of himself? Maybe he found it in a store and finds it so bizarre that products of his alter ego exist that he had to buy one. He uses his ventriloquism to make the puppet talk and also makes the excuse that this is why Luna seems to talk. But why doesn’t Chibiusa expect Luna to talk? We will later learn that one of Chibiusa’s good friends in the future is Diana, a talking cat herself and daughter of Luna and Artemis. Chibiusa also travels with Luna P which looks just like Luna who she must surely know in the future. While Chibiusa has trouble recognizing her mother and father why would she also have trouble with this cat that looks so much like her ball and why would she be at all surprised to hear one talk?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Berthier of the Ayakashi Sisters

Enter Berthier! She uses dowsing to find water and help with her chess game. Dowsing is not real. This whole arc is riddled with pseudoscience. I understand that within the context of the story these people can use magic but just like UFOs and to a greater fortune telling were the nonsense in the last show dowsing is the nonsense this week. Historically it’s just something that used to be used to find water or minerals underground using items such as a divining rod but when there are modern dowsing products which claim to do things like detect bombs, directly contributing to a loss of lives in war zones, I feel people can do with being reminded that dowsing has no basis in reality.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Usagi, Naru and Ami in swimsuits

Those who read the comments on this blog will note that one particular commenter has been asking since the beginning just when we will be getting a beach episode, particularly desiring that we see some of the characters in two piece suits. Well his day has come. This week we see Ami, Naru and Usagi in swimsuits at the pool. In the original manga version we see these three only wearing simple one piece suits but they have been updated a bit for the show. Ami’s suit as seen from the pool seems like a simple one piece, though when seen from behind the design doesn’t appear to be that consistent. This is fitting with how she is usually portrayed in the original anime as well. Naru’s suit is the most interesting as it looks quite a bit like the bikini she wore in episode 23 of the original anime. While Sailor Moon Crystal is frequently manga based it only occasionally takes cues from the original 1992 Sailor Moon anime. This suit also bears a bit of a resemblance to the dress that Naru wears to the ball. Finally we have Usagi’s suit which goes from a one piece in the manga to a two piece bikini here in Sailor Moon Crystal. This seems like blatant fan service as Usagi wears her towel on her head. An awkward thing to do when your goal is anything but exposing your bare midriff to your fans. Apologies for speaking entirely too much about such a silly thing, but if the comments are any indication there are people who consider such things to be quite important.

Sailor Moon episode 23 - Naru's swimsuit

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Ami and Naru swimming

Another anime original thing which makes it into this episode is Usagi’s inappropriate cheering at a chess tournament. In both the original anime and Sailor Moon Crystal she makes a spectacle while cheering for Ami and is told to be quiet. One background character in this scene looks a bit like Yusuke from Yu Yu Hakusho, written by the husband of Sailor Moon’s creator Naoko Takeuchi.

Sailor Moon R episode 71 - Usagi's inappropriate cheering

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Usagi cheering inappropriately and Yusuke from Yu Yu Hakusho

Berthier is shown to be the the 3rd ranked chess player in the world. Later in the episode Ami beats her. Does this make Ami the 3rd ranked chess player in the world? You would think someone with such a skill would do more than just occasionally play on their iPad! I guess she does have world saving to do. Berthier’s clothing is ridiculous. It’s a full on super villain costume. That’s cool for fighting the forces of good and all but the way she just wears these clothes to a chess tournament like it was nothing is a bit silly.

Berthier from Sailor Moon and Elsa from Frozen

Speaking of the way Berthier dresses, some have mentioned similarities between her and Elsa from Frozen. See the image included above that explains the parallels between the two. This seems a bit far fetched to me. The controlling of the power and similarities in her relationship to Koan aren’t really the same. She does not encase herself in an ice tower. The similarities are mostly cosmetic and even that could be a coincidence. Elsa and Berthier both have ice powers, and so they dress in blue, a colour associated with cold. They also have white hair or light hair which is also natural for someone with ice powers. The braid is really the biggest similarity going on here. All considered I think Elsa bares more of a passing resemblance to Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy. Why not just get the Elsa Disney Infinity figure instead of the Rosalina Amiibo which has been so hard to find?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Young Ami with a chess board

This is a fairly Ami centric episode, as she is the one to get kidnapped this time around. One big addition to the story not in the manga was the inclusion of young Ami and showing more of her father. Young Ami is quite cute and shown being abandoned by her father who is a painter. She is also shown having an interest in playing chess. Sailor Mercury uses a new ability Shine Snow Illusion. This isn’t enough to save her from getting kidnapped. Who will be next?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 16 - Shine Snow Illusion

The next episode is Act 17, Secret – Sailor Jupiter. The episode preview shows some shipping between Makoto and Ittou Asanuma. His scenes were cut from episode 16 but we’ll be seeing more of him next time.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 -Ittou Asanuma

A couple of visually interesting things are seen in the next episode preview. Usagi has no nose in one shot and Chibiusa is wearing a short sleeved version of her blue school uniform. This seemed off to me and a post on the moonsisters.org Facebook page made me realize what is what. Chibiusa’s white school uniform is normally the one that has short sleeves while her blue school uniform has long sleeves.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Usagi has no nose

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 17 - Chibiusa in her incorrect coloured uniform with Luna-P

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

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Watch the first two episodes of Sailor Moon R, episodes 47 and 48, on Hulu

Sailor Moon episode 47 - Ail and An

The first two episodes of Sailor Moon R are now available on Hulu and Neon Alley. Two new episodes are added every week and now that we’ve worked through the first season Viz is starting to post episodes from Sailor Moon R. For the first 13 episodes of the series, including these two, we deal with what fans call the Makaiju arc as the enemies are Ail and An, aliens who steal human energy to feed their tree the Makaiju. Chibiusa and the Black Moon Clan will not be showing up until episode 60. Until then is this short “filler” story arc which was not in the manga which fans have mixed feelings about. I personally loved this story line and am not adverse to parts of the anime that aren’t in the manga. From a technical point of view seeing Sailor Moon R in HD is a treat. The R2 Japanese DVDs were progressive scan for the first season but beginning with Sailor Moon R the episodes were interlaced, as they had been in their original broadcast. This was not an issue back in the 90s when everyone watched Sailor Moon on their CRT TVs, but in the age of HDTVs and watching things on computer screens it’s certainly nice to see a show in progressive scan. Ultimately this show doesn’t look like newer shows animated in HD, it’s still an old master from the 90s with some processing done to it to make it look as good as it can. That said I still feel like the quality looks better on the Japanese DVDs than the Hulu feed, interlacing issues aside.

Sailor Moon episode 47 - Natsumi and Seijuurou

Episode 47, Moon Returns: The Mysterious Aliens Appear, is the start of something new. Sailor Moon is just a normal girl again, with Luna and Artemis alone remembering the events of all that happened. Two aliens arrive on Earth, along with a big tree! Ail and An, joke names for “alien”, are the new villains who use Cardians, monsters born from cards, to drain human energy. Their relationship is strong at first as Ail and An speak kindly of their love for each other, but this won’t last long. They disguise themselves as teenagers and enrol in the local school because… well I’m not sure why they bother to do this. It would be easy enough to just hide in their apartment and go out at night draining energy. There doesn’t seem to be much of an end game to integrating in to the local culture. As luck would have it they go to the same school as a bunch of superheroes, Usagi, Ami and Makoto’s school. Ail poses as Seijuurou and An poses as Natsumi, because An isn’t really a good Japanese name. When a monster attacks Naru, who is a magnet for monsters, Usagi comes to her defence. Luna has no choice but to restore her memories! This seems shocking as Usagi has memories of everyone including herself dying a horrible death. She transforms into Sailor Moon and saves the day.

Sailor Moon episode 47 - Luna giving Usagi her memories back

Episode 48, For Love and for Justice: Sailor Guardians Once Again, deals with the rest of the Sailor Guardians not having their memories. Usagi is Sailor Moon again but can she fight the Cardians on her own? Auditions for a movie are a convenient excuse to get Naru, the monster magnet, as well as Ami, Rei, Makoto and Minako in a room together. A monster comes by and so Luna gives all the girls their memories back as well! Poor Naru. At least the first time around Usagi’s abandoning of her friend was gradual as the rest of the Sailor Guardians appeared one by one. This time around they all show up at once and she’s dropped like a bad habit.

Sailor Moon episode 48 - Rei is ready for a fight

The real conflict doesn’t come from any monsters at all, but from Natsumi and Seijuurou’s interfering with Usagi and Mamoru’s relationship! Mamoru doesn’t get his memory back in this episode. In fact he won’t be getting it for a while. Natsumi is instantly infatuated with him, wanting to make him hers. What is Usagi to do to stop her? She has no relationship with Mamoru to fall back on and is unable to convince him to be with her without all those past memories to help. Let’s not forget that Mamoru was in quite a happy relationship with Rei before that pesky destiny put a stop to it. Beyond that, Seijuurou is into Usagi, trying to win her over. This naturally creates some friction between Ail and An who’s jealously only pushes them more towards the humans they are falling for.

Sailor Moon episode 48 - Natsumi loves Mamoru

Also check out Hulu’s new banner which they’ve added for Sailor Moon R. It would have been nice to see Chibiusa or some other new characters on here but since there are no new Sailor Guardians in this season, except for a very brief appearance by Sailor Pluto, we will have to contend with this.

Hulu's Sailor Moon R banner image

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

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Sailor Jupiter pose

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

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Makoto saves Usagi

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

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Makoto and Motoki

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

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Makoto and her sempai

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

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Pyjama party

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

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Nephrite not dying

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

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

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

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Tuxedo Mask

Until then here are more screenshots from the episode.

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Sailor Moon episodes 31 and 32 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon episode 31 - Rhett Butler

The latest two episodes of the original Sailor Moon anime have been added to Hulu and Neon Alley. As with every Monday two new episodes, subbed by Viz, are added online. This week we have episodes 31 and 32 which are two of the funniest episodes of the series.

Sailor Moon episode 31 - Rhett Butler rescues Luna

In episode 31, Love and Chased: Luna’s Worst Day Ever, we meet Rhett Butler, a fat alley cat who falls in love with Luna. The search for the last Rainbow Crystal is on and leads Zoisite and the Sailor Guardians to the house of a young girl, but it’s her cat who’s actually the final Rainbow Crystal carrier! Rhett Butler choses to protect Luna from all of the stray cats in Tokyo. Their adventures take them deep into the sewers and ultimately back to the surface where Rhett Butler turns into the monster Bakene who is still able to keep his wits and protect Luna despite his monster status, a feat that none of the human Rainbow Crystal carriers were able to do. Like many of the romances early in the series, this one is short lived and the reasons are simply because there are other plans for some characters. Artemis will be showing up in just a few episodes and so there’s just no room to keep Rhett Bulter around beyond the scope of this episode, but in the final moments it’s quite clear that Luna and Rhett Butler shared a great love.

Sailor Moon episode 32 - Tuxedo Umino Kamen

In episode 32, Umino’s Resolve: I’ll Protect Naru, we see Umino’s protective side as he suits up and becomes Tuxedo Umino Kamen. Now that Usagi has new friends it’s long overdue that Naru and Umino hook up with each other so that we don’t have to feel bad about how neglected they are! Umino is of course completely socially awkward and has no idea how to win over Naru so he asks Usagi who describes what she is into as qualities attributed to Tuxedo Mask. Umino naturally decides to dress as Tuxedo Mask and protect Naru, which is met with some apprehension but is ultimately fairly successfull. They go on a date together to see Red Man, and when Zoisite misses Naru he ends up making a monster of the Power Ranger style character who attacks everyone in site, forcing Umino to step up as protector. Once again Umino isn’t terribly effective, but his heart is in the right place, and that’s what counts. This is one romance that isn’t about to get sidetracked by some inconvenient destiny as Umino and Naru are set to have a long and happy relationship.

Sailor Moon episode 32 - Tuxedo Umino Kamen and Naru

And here’s a funny still from episode 31:

Sailor Moon episode 31 - Sailor Jupiter looks at Sailor Mercury's butt