Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Part 1 Limited Edition Blu-Ray review

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Part 1 Blu-Ray - Contents

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Part 1 was released on Blu-Ray and DVD a couple of months ago, on June 18th. Fans who haven’t already picked it up can get from stores locally or from online retailers such as Amazon. Since it’s been out a while I’ve had the time to watch the entire set and so I wanted to give some general impressions about it. Though the video quality of these releases has generally not been great, this series looks better than sets in the past have. The new English dub is pretty good, as it has been for the rest of the series, and the script remains mostly unchanged.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Viz Blu-Ray - Seiya

Viz Blu-Ray

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 173 - Seiya Kou

Japanese DVD

First let’s look at the video. The quality certainly does not compare with that of the Japanese Blu-Ray sets which have been released more recently, but it’s fairly good. To be sure this won’t look like a newer anime series such as Sailor Moon Crystal does on Blu-Ray. This Blu-Ray was mastered from older standard definition video which was put through software to upscale it to high definition. What that gives is something that I wouldn’t really say looks any better than the Japanese DVD releases which came out well over a decade ago. That said I’m not sure that comparison really matters. We’ve never gotten Sailor Stars in North America before. The subbed version was out on Hulu a few years ago but there was no dub and that release used similar source material as this. When it comes to comparisons, we don’t have an old North American release to compare it to. This release certainly looks better than nothing, which is the baseline!

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Viz Blu-Ray - Professor Tomoe and Baby Hotaru

Viz Blu-Ray

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 167 - Professor Tomoe and Hotaru

Japanese DVD

In this post I have provided comparisons to the Japanese DVD release. Since the Japanese Blu-Ray releases have not gotten to Sailor Stars yet I don’t have that for comparison. It’s pretty difficult to conclusively say if one is better than the other. The Viz Blu-Ray is certainly HD, in that it is 1080p, but that HD image lacks detail that would be there if it had been mastered from a film source. Anime of the time was drawn on cels and shot onto a film intermediate which was then transferred to video before broadcast. We have been told that this higher quality film version of Sailor Moon is lost. It is fairly evident from close examination of screenshots, or even upon viewing the video itself, that this is an upscaled version of standard definition video. There has also been some amount of post processing done in order to clean up the image. This means the colours will look more solid and have less noise on them, but potentially at the cost of detail, but is it detail that matters? Sailor Moon, like most traditional animation, is largely chunks of solid colour separated by solid black lines. The filters used seem to be optimized to this, giving a consistent colour and clear lines. Had this been a live action series with actors with pores and hair as well as other textured things, a different type of upscaling filter would likely have been used. While we shouldn’t necessarily mourn the loss of some grain there is a loss of detail in the backgrounds which aren’t as much just solid colours as we can see from the example of the cherry blossom tree behind Professor Tomoe in the above pictured image. Had we gone back to the film source for these, something which we’ve been told is impossible, then the image would likely look much better. If you check out my review of the Japanese Blu-Ray sets and look at the samples of the Make Up! Sailor Guardians on Blu-Ray you’ll see what that could have looked like.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Viz Blu-Ray - Young Queen Nehelenia

Viz Blu-Ray

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 172 - Young Nehelenia

Japanese DVD

With earlier releases by Viz we had more ghosting, which means a double image or shadow near some lines, as well as some interlacing artifacts. I didn’t notice any such problems in this set. No doubt the quality has improved likely due to the fact that these episodes were made four years after the first season so the quality of the masters available get a little better with each year. This is likely also why the ADV releases of Sailor Moon seasons 1 and R were the worst while the Pioneer releases of Sailor Moon S and SuperS looked much better. Don’t take my word for it though! Check out the many comparison images here and later in the post to judge for yourself. There’s no objectively correct answer to how much post processing looks best, sometimes it’s just a matter of personal preference. While there has been some change in quality with these screenshots due to jpg compression it should give a good idea of what each looks like.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Viz Blu-Ray - Mamoru sees something on the wing

Viz Blu-Ray

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 173 - Mamoru sees something on the wing

Japanese DVD

Moving on from the video quality to the content. This is the first time we’re getting an English dub of Sailor Stars which is quite a treat. For years people considered this season to be impossible to market to the North American public, though I never really understood why. Is it really all that scandalous to have men who transform into women and vice versa? Sure, the Sailor Starlights’ outfits are fairly revealing but as far as anime goes this isn’t terribly shocking. It’s a joy to finally hear Sailor Stars in English. This is a cast we’ve heard for the past four seasons and three films as well as for Sailor Moon Crystal so even though it’s a departure from the DiC/Cloverway dub of most of our youth, for me there was still enough familiarity with the cast that it feels like Sailor Moon. The new actors for the Sailor Starlights do a great job. Having women play them as both men and women works well. This was the same approach which was used for the Japanese dub many years ago. The alternatives, either having two actors per character or having men do the voices would likely not have worked as well. For those who don’t appreciate the English version they also have the option of listening in Japanese with English subtitles.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Viz Blu-Ray - Sailor Saturn

Viz Blu-Ray

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 172 - Sailor Saturn

Japanese DVD

The episodes included are the first half of Sailor Stars. This includes the amazing six episode Nehelenia arc in which she is given a very different ending as she got in Sailor Moon SuperS. The rest of the episodes are about Usagi getting to know The Three Lights, more specifically Seiya, as she grows further and further out of touch with Mamoru who is away and somehow completely out of touch. This parallels the Sailor Starlights who have appeared and who fight Sailor Galaxia’s Sailor Animamates. My feelings on Sailor Stars have changed over the years. I originally found Seiya sort of annoying as he was just a distraction from Usagi’s true relationship which she never waivers from. This is generally true but I find the story much more appealing. She is hurting and though there is no infidelity he fills a need she has for companionship. His interests in her are not reciprocated which is more tragic than anything. I’ve given more thoughts on all of the episodes in my individual reviews which you can find by searching the episode numbers in the search field on the site if you are interested. So much to say it is a very good half season and I’m glad that everyone can see it now, assuming some fans haven’t already seen it some other way!

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Viz Blu-Ray - Special features

There aren’t a ton of special features included. Each disc has an Art Gallery which doesn’t seem to be Japanese concept art but more likely something by Italian artist Marco Albiero who does a remarkable job of duplicating the original anime style. For whatever reason the Blu-Ray viewing software I use to take screenshots couldn’t load the Art Galleries so you can take my word for that.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Viz Blu-Ray - Interview with Lauren post, the voice of Nehelenia

Also included are three voice actor interviews. The first is with Laura Post, the voice of Nehelenia. Having also been in SuperS it’s a bit odd to see this interview here but she mostly talks about her appearance in those first 6 episodes which fits.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Viz Blu-Ray - Interview with Stephanie Sheh, the voice of Usagi

Next we have an interview with Stephanie Sheh, the voice of Usagi. This is the longer of the interviews. She does the whole thing with her dog! A few things stood out to me. First she mentions that the season was pretty long. This is objectively untrue as Sailor Stars is the shortest Sailor Moon season with only 34 episodes. One can hardly blame her for thinking this though as Usagi and Sailor Moon dominate this season like no other. It would be difficult to count but it seems likely that Usagi had more lines in Sailor Stars than any other seasons except perhaps the first one. There was much less focus on other Sailor Guardians. Chibiusa who dominated SuperS is gone, along with her father, for most of the season. Stephanie Sheh also makes a joke that it was lucky that Usagi didn’t have a cell phone because if Mamoru didn’t respond to a few texts this would be a sign of trouble. More generally she is lucky that this occurred at the dawn of the Internet age where it would be believable that Usagi would not have access to e-mail or chat software. I consider myself an early adopter of the Internet and I had no Internet access at home while Sailor Stars was airing. Ami is shown to communicate with some people through the Internet, but she is clearly an outlier amongst her friends. She also mentions that she ships Usagi and Mamoru and thinks her relationship with Seiya is inappropriate. This is probably best as such a view reflects her character’s! There’s also a funny bit where she wonders what’s up with the Starlights, asking similar questions that many fans have like if they’re men who turn into women, women who turn into men, women dressing as men or what? All around I found the interview very humourous. It’s obvious that Stephanie Sheh has spent a lot of time with the Sailor Moon character throughout the years and has many thoughts about the series.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Viz Blu-Ray - Interview with Stephanie Sheh, the voice of Chibi Chibi

Finally we have “A Chibi Interview with Stephanie Sheh”, the voice of Chibi Chibi. It’s a short interview where she talks about that character. She mentions being happy to play Chibi Chibi and points out that in the Japanese version the voice of Usagi played Chibi Chibi as well, but it wasn’t clear why. This is funny because in the manga there is a clear connection between the characters which doesn’t actually exist in the anime. It might make more sense for Chibi Chibi to share voice actors with another character, but I’ll avoid the specifics for now. Fans who are familiar with the end of the series will understand why.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Viz Blu-Ray - The non super credit less opening

Beyond the interviews we have a “Clean Opening” and “Clean Ending” which basically means the intro and ending without Japanese credits overlayed. These are of a very poor quality! The Japanese releases humourously refer to these as being “Non Super” meaning they aren’t HD. While they are technically HD in that they are encoded on the disk as 1080p, they are clearly taken from something of roughly the same quality as a VHS tape. A nice extra to have though one we’ve seen on every Japanese release ever.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Part 1 Blu-Ray - Blu-Ray opened

As for the packaging this set continues to look quite nice, as have other released to date. This is all new art, whereas the Japanese releases have continued to reuse the original laserdisc box art for decades. The special booklet that is included with the Limited Edition is quite nice, including episode summaries and art of a number of characters. I believe all of this art is once again done by Italian artist Marco Albiero. The booklet also includes a relationship chart which has been the source of some controversy which I posted about closer to it’s release as well as an ad which refers to the first three seasons of Sailor Moon Crystal as the entire series.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Part 1 Blu-Ray - Booklet - Final message

Since this booklet is meant to cover the entire series it has cast information and summaries for the entire season. It also includes a nice goodbye message to the fans which I will quote below.

To all the longtime fans and those who joined us during this journey: This previously unreleased season is here because of you. Your support makes the stars twinkle brighter and we couldn’t have done this without you!

Starlight Honeymoon… THERAPY KISS!

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars Viz Blu-Ray - Eternal Sailor Moon

All considered I think this set it worth getting. The video quality is not the best possible but it is quite good. While the Japanese Blu-Ray which is coming in November will probably look marginally better, it won’t even have English subtitles, let alone English audio, so it’s of little use to most fans. If you’re only looking to watch the Japanese series with subtitles you can of course always stream these episodes, but buying this set or digital downloads of the episodes is the only way to get Viz’s English dub. I look forward to seeing part two of Sailor Stars and rewatching the final episodes. For those of you who are interested in this set but have not gotten it yet, you can support the site but buying it using the Amazon links below.

Keep reading for more images of the box art and comparisons of the video quality between this Blu-Ray and the Japanese DVD release.

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Watch these clips for Sailor Moon SuperS Part 1, out on home video April 24th

Sailor Moon SuperS Limited Edition Blu-Ray and DVD

Sailor Moon SuperS Part 1 will be out on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 24th. Those looking to pre-order it should be careful to get the right version. I often get these from Amazon however the Special Edition is hard to find on the site. The Amazon listing for the product only includes the DVD and Regular Edition Blu-Ray but there is a separate page with no box art which has the Special Edition Blu-Ray. This includes a box to house both volumes and a special booklet. The set can also be pre-ordered from Right Stuf. They have Special Edition Blu-Ray, Standard Edition Blu-Ray and DVD copies listed on their site.

As is often the case with such a release Viz has given us a sneak peak at a lot of the voices in the form of some videos. These ones were posted to the Viz Media Twitter account as well as their YouTube channel. This includes a full trailer showing various characters and a couple of clips of the Amazon Trio. You can watch them embedded below:

We also recently got cast information about Sailor Moon SuperS Part 2! Long ago we learned about the actors appearing in Part 1 but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago at Anime Boston that we finally got an announcement of who would be voicing Queen Nehelenia (now spelled Nehalennia) and the Amazoness Quartet. This was confirmed on Twitter. The Amazon Quartet take the place of the Amazon Trio as the season’s villains once their story arc is completed. The cast includes Laura Post as Queen Nehalennia, Erica Lindbeck as Ves-Ves, Xanthe Huynh as Palla-Palla, Erika Ishii as Jun-Jun and Cassandra Lee Morris as Cere-Cere. Cassandra Lee Morris previously voiced Calaveras of the Ayakashi Sisters in Sailor Moon R.

Cast info for Sailor Moon SuperS Part 2 - The Amazoness Quartet and Queen Nehalennia

Are you planning on picking up this set?

Did Doctor Who’s season 10 premiere draw inspiration from Sailor Moon?

Mamoru from Sailor Moon and Heather from Doctor Who obsessed with mirrors with a star in one eye

A number of similarities occur between a recent episode of Doctor Who and a story arc in Sailor Moon Sailor Stars! More specifically both stories revolve around obsessions with gazing at mirrors which actually house some sort of monster by people with a yellow reflecting star in one eye. The episode of Doctor Who in question is the season premiere of season 10, The Pilot, which aired this past weekend. In this episode a character, Heather, has a defect in her eye which causes it to have a yellow shine in it. The Doctor’s new companion Bill refers to it as a star and the episode’s original title was “A Star In Her Eye”. In the episode Heather is obsessed with staring at her reflection in a puddle as she gazes at it and invites Bill to do so too. Ultimately the reflection is actually an alien which sucks her into the mirror and then attacks others through reflections. Sound familiar?

Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 01 - Heather looking at her reflection

I was struck by a surprising similarity to a few episodes of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars. In the first 6 episodes of this season, with the similarities more specifically being during episodes 167 through 169, there was a brief story arc where Mamoru got a shooting star in his eye which was actually a piece of mirror from space. This caused him, and a number of other people, to become obsessed with mirrors gazing at them day and night. The bit of star in their eye caused a yellow shimmer which looks just like that seen in Heather’s eye in Doctor Who. Ultimately Nehelenia was in the mirror, as the shooting star was actually a bit of the Mirror of Dreams which had been confining her and the reflection pulls Mamoru in just like we’d seen in Doctor Who.

Sailor Moon SailorStars episode 168 - Mamoru and Nehelenia

Doctor Who Season 10 Episode 01 - Heather's alien hijacked reflection

Coincidence? I like to joke about these similarities being intended but I’m not convinced anything more than coincidence is really necessary at this point given the countless hours of TV produced every week. It is possible that Steven Moffat, who wrote the episode, had seen the episodes of Sailor Moon in which this took place and used it more for a visual inspiration. The specific story details beyond the superficial don’t really add up.

Sailor Moon SailorStars episode 169 - Usagi's classmate gazing at a mirror

Looking for more of a Doctor Who/Sailor Moon link? Sailor Iron Mouse, also appearing in Sailor Stars, travels around in a phone booth. Doctor Who travels around in a TARDIS which is disguised as a Police Box which is a specialized kind of phone booth/panic room that a person can use to call the police. This is similar to Bill and Ted’s phone booth which was itself likely inspired by Doctor Who. Whether Sailor Iron Mouse’s phone booth was directly inspired by the TARDIS or through the intermediate of Bill and Ted’s phone booth isn’t something I can definitively determine. Regardless it’s nice to see Doctor Who finally has a Bill in their phone booth. Let’s get a Ted in there too!

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 175 - Sailor Iron Mouse and her phone booth

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Check out the Sailor Guardians, Helios and the villains from the Sailor Moon Amour Eternal musical

Sailor Moon Amour Eternal Helios, Nehelenia, Zirconia, Tiger's Eye, Hawk's Eye and Fish Eye

We’ve gotten a few updates about the upcoming Sailor Moon musical, Amour Eternal, recently. The latest is an image of Helios, Nehelenia, Zirconia and the Amazon Trio which was posted to the official Sailor Moon site. We’ve also gotten a look at the Sailor Guardians, old and new, in their uniforms in some images and a commercial which is included below:

We had previously learned who all of these actors were going to be but this is the first time we see them in costume. What do you think?

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Amour Eternal cast

There has also been a cast change, which was mentioned in our last update, where Hikari Kuroki who was originally cast as Sailor Mercury was replaced by Yume Takeuchi. This was said to have simply been because of “cast circumstances” without specifics. I’ve learned some details about what may have prompted this. She posted on Twitter that she was leaving because of complaints. Some believe she may have been removed from her role for having posed as a gravure model in the past, which means that she did modeling in clothing such as revealing swimsuits. I also saw comments suggesting she had changed her name since then. I do not know the exact nature of all of her previous works so I can not comment on the specifics, but it seems unfortunate for something like this and the public shaming that ensued to have caused problems with her career. Many other actors who have been affiliated with various incarnations of Sailor Moon have done this type of work so it’s hard to say if this is the actual reason for her leaving and we will likely not be getting anything in the way of official confirmation if this is the case. Some details about this come from an article from Yahoo Japan. You can read a translation of this and her tweet on the Ai No Message Tumblr page.

This musical, which covers the Dream arc of the manga, will be playing in Japan in October and November of this year.

Additional images can be found at 25news.jp.

The next Sailor Moon musical, Amour Eternal, has a terrible name

Amour Eternal - Did you mean Amour éternel?

An update has been posted to the official Sailor Moon site which reveals the name of the latest musical, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Amour Eternal, as well as a complete cast listing. The new musical has been confirmed to be covering the Dream arc of the manga, adapted as Sailor Moon SuperS in the original Sailor Moon anime. This title is just the worst! Amour, as most probably know, is the French word for love. Eternal however is not French at all. It’s a full on English word. What the hell? Why not Amour éternel, which would actually be proper French? Are we supposed to pronounce it in French? It just sounds gross to say Amour Eternal. It’s just bastardizing two languages. It’s gross. The last two musicals all had fully French names. Is this supposed to be a misspelled French word or is this intentionally terribly mismatched English and French words? This is just bad and it will not stop bothering me and I will probably not be able to avoid mentioning how terribly stupid it is at least once in any post referencing this musical. This offends me as both and English and French speaking person and it should bother you too.

Everlasting love translates to Amour éternel

This title will just lead to more confusion on what the name means. Amour éternel would translate roughly to everlasting love or eternal love. I guess eternal is more the word we’re going for since it’s the actual English word in the horrible title.

Here’s an English translation of the cast, courtesy of Wikimoon:

Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon: Hotaru Nomoto
Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury: Yume Takeuchi
Rei Hino/Sailor Mars: Karen Kobayashi
Makoto Kino/Sailor Jupiter: Kaede
Minako Aino/Sailor Venus: Rimo Hasegawa
Haruka Tenou/Sailor Uranus: Syu Shiotsuki
Michiru Kaiou/Sailor Neptune: Sayaka Fujioka
Hotaru Tomoe/Sailor Saturn: Karin Takahashi
Sailor Pluto: Mikako Ishii
Sailor Chibi Moon/Chibiusa: Airi Kanda
Helios: Hikaru Hiyama
Queen Nehellenia: Sayu Otsuki
Zirconia: Kanami Sakai
Tiger’s Eye: Chihiro Ando
Hawk’s Eye: Riona Tatemichi
Fisheye: Yumi
Dead Moon Circus: Yoshika Kobayashi, Risa Kawamura, Yoshimi Hidano, Chiemi Doi, Ayano Nagasawa, Ayumi Sagisaka
Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Mask: Yuga Yamato

Some newcomers and some repeat performances here. Sailor Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus are all new actors, as we’ve seen announced previously. We already saw that Yuga Yamato would return as Tuxedo Mask. Shuu Shiotsuki, Sayaka Fujioka, Mikako Ishii and Karin Takahashi will be reprising their roles as Sailor Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Saturn. Airi Kanda will also be returning as Chibiusa. Riona Tatemichi, who previously played Rubeus in the Petite Étrangère musical, will be playing Hawk’s Eye. The rest of the cast are newcomers to the musicals, as those characters have no appeared before.

We Are The New Pretty Guardians - The cast of the next Sailor Moon musical

We previously reported that Hikari Kuroki would play Ami Mizuno, Sailor Mercury. This role is now credited as Yume Takeuchi. I don’t know what prompted this change in casting, but this replacement was posted as a separate update on the Sailor Moon official site on the same day as this updated cast listing was shared.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episodes 170 and 171 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 170 - Young Ami studies basketball

The two latest episodes of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars are now available on Hulu and Neon Alley. This week we get parts 4 and 5 of the 6 parts mini series that starts off this season. We have the Sailor Guardians split up into unlikely pairings as they are left to make due with what they have and fight Queen Nehelenia. This gives us interesting explorations of all of the Sailor Guardians. Next week this arc will wrap up and we will also see the first of the Three Light and the Sailor Starlights Sailor Star Fighter, Sailor Star Healer and Sailor Star Maker.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 170 - Sailor Mercury and Sailor Uranus

Episode 170, Night of Destiny: The Sailor Guardians’ Ordeals, spends a nice amount of time having the gang prepare for battle. The girls are all together in civilian mode to talk about what to do about this whole problem of Mamoru getting kidnapped by Nehelenia and sucked into a world of mirrors. Usagi gets real upset and has an epic transformation into … Eternal Sailor Moon. Okay this is getting lame at this point. Eternal Sailor Moon is the new Super Sailor Moon. We need to stop making a big deal of it every time this transformation happens. This leaves the rest of the girls ready to transform and I know what you’re thinking! Will we finally see Sailor Saturn’s transformation sequence? No. Transformation is done off screen and the gang use Sailor Teleport to go after Usagi and save the day. Unfortunately as they are flying around they are broken up and left into a series of unusual pairings. Though most of the core group have been paired together with one another at some point in the series there has been very little one on one contact between the original Sailor Guardians and the newer ones. This next couple of episodes gives us a bit of that. First off we have Sailor Mercury and Sailor Uranus left in some sort of ancient ruins. When the two run we learn from Haruka that although she always thought Michiru was keeping up with her when they ran the truth is that Michiru was pacing herself. This is indicative of the power balance between the two. Haruka sees herself as leading in that relationship but Michiru is able to hold her own and is willing to let Haruka believe what she would like. There’s a nice flashback of Ami when she was a kid. She was basically terrible at basketball but after reading a bunch of books on strategy was able to help her team in other ways. This is indicative of her overall role in the group. Bubbles and other lame water based attacks aren’t beating the bad guys but Sailor Mercury is able to use her brain to save the day. She does so to find the source of the Nehelenia’s power. After the defeat the two are trapped in mirrors anyway. Next up is Sailor Mars and Neptune. I wasn’t crazy about this one. It’s insinuated right away that Sailor Neputune has a better power of prediction than Sailor Mars. All this time we see Rei as having a strong power but it is instantly neutered in this simple interaction where Sailor Neptune knows what’s right and Sailor Mars seems to be bluffing. To be continued…

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 170 - Sailor Neptune and Sailor Mars disagree

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 171 - Sailor Venus saves Sailor Pluto

Episode 171, For Love: the Endless Battle in the Dark World, continues where we left of fighting these evil Nehelenia monsters. Sailor Mars and Neptune quickly dispatch the one they are fighting but then inexplicably fall unconscious into a pond and are trapped in mirrors. What is the point of beating these things if they lose anyway? Defeating these Nehelenia clones seems roughly equivalent to being found innocent by a Quintesson. Next up is the unlikely paring of Sailor Venus and Sailor Pluto. They don’t fair so well. They fall into a chasm and Venus uses her Venus Love Me Chain as a rope to save both of them. The Nehelenia monster shows up and drops them in the ravine. Their fate is no different than that of their friends who beat their Nehelenia clones as they as well get stuck in mirrors. Oh well. Meanwhile Usagi marched through the snow to find a field of flowers which made her lose all memories. Sailor Jupiter shows up to save the day and takes a beating protecting Usagi. She loses her rose shaped earring in the process and this reminds Usagi of Tuxedo Mask’s roses. How lovely would it have been if Usagi had been reminded of her cherished friendship with Makoto instead but she is looking for her boyfriend and so this memory is what breaks the spell. She continues to march towards her destination on a giant stairway which is filled with thorny rose bushes. Back at the top of the tent we have the common pairing of Sailor Chibi Moon and Sailor Saturn. Sailor Saturn means business as she threatens what seems to be the real Nehelenia with her Silence Glaive. To be continued…

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 171 - Sailor Jupiter protects Usagi

Next week we will wrap up this Nehelenia story with a real high quality final episode. After that we are introduced to the Sailor Starlights at last!

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 171 - Sailor Saturn threatens Nehelenia

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Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episodes 168 and 169 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 168 - Sailor Saturn gives Hotaru her memories

The two latest episodes of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars were added to Hulu and Neon Alley this morning. This week we get episodes 168 and 169, which takes us half way through this 6 episode mini arc which starts off the season. Sailor Saturn finally returns and then the town is enthralled with mirrors for mysterious reasons.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 168 - Hotaru Tomoe

Episode 168, Saturn Awakens: the Ten Sailor Guardians Unite, gives us more Sailor Saturn than we’d previously seen in the entire series! We had only seen here briefly at the end of Sailor Moon S before she was turned into a baby. She has been growing at an astonishing rate and seems to be developing the language skills to go with it. Judging by what is happening with Usagi and Mamoru it doesn’t look like much time has passed at all since the last episode, so there’s really no implication that Hotaru could have possibly learned all of these things at a normal rate. She is speaking easily, referring to her three parents as Haruka Papa, Michiru Mama and Setsuna Mama. At night Hotaru is visited by the ghost of Sailor Saturn who gives her the memories she had lost. This insinuates that her functional memories returned as she aged but her specific memories of her life are unlocked all at once from her alter ego. She remembers many things including her relationship with Chibiusa. How sweet! It would be a shame if Chibiusa would leave and never return in a few episodes. Another thing she sees is a memory of Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, who are now her parents, trying to kill her. She doesn’t struggle with this at all. She also has no bad feeling when seeing her loving father who is still very much alive and was recently separated from her. So Hotaru transforms into Sailor Saturn. We need a monster so this week we still have these Nehelenia glass monsters. Sailor Moon powers up into Eternal Sailor Moon and uses an attack which resembles, but is not named, Starlight Honeymoon Therapy Kiss. This is done with her new weapon the Eternal Tiare. This doesn’t last long.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 168 - Eternal Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 169 - Usagi's classmate stuck looking at her mirror

Episode 169, The Cursed Mirror: Mamoru Caught in a Nightmare, is all about teenagers being addicted to looking at themselves in the mirror! Replace the mirrors with cell phones and you’d have a scathing commentary on 2015 society! This one reminds me a bit of episode 5, Scent of a Monster: Chanela Will Steal Your Love, where students were infatuated with these Chanela pets. This time a lot of people, including Mamoru, are almost hypnotized by mirrors. The girls first notice this in their school but then Usagi notices this at Mamoru’s place. When she goes to see him she sees a suspicious boy looking for him. This is the one and only anime appearance by Ittou Asanuma, who we’ve seen in the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal. Inside Mamoru can’t stop starring at mirrors and he even buys a ton of them. Since we need an action beat we once again face off again the Nehelenia mirror monsters! Not compelling at all! It turns out Nehelenia is the one in the mirror and she manages to somehow pull Mamoru into it! To be continued…

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 169 - Mamoru loves mirrors

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Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 169 - Ittou Asanuma

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 169 - Nehelenia steal Mamoru

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 168 - Mamoru has a thing in his eye

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 168 - Hotaru remembers her friend Chibiusa

The first episode of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars and final episode of Sailor Moon SuperS are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars banner

At long last Sailor Moon Sailor Stars now has an official release in the United States. Enjoy Hulu’s new banner featuring characters we won’t be seeing until 6 or more episodes from now! This morning the final episode of Sailor Moon SuperS and the first episode of Sailor Stars were added to Hulu and Neon Alley. New episodes will be added every Monday until the series completes. With this we finally wrap up the story with Queen Nehelenia… and then we unwrap that story because well the anime didn’t quite match up with the manga and we need to go back and fix a few things. Sailor Stars was first released in Japan back in 1996 but it was never released in English when the series was originally dubbed. Fans who were looking to see the end of the series originally had to trade fan subbed video tapes, buy the expensive laserdiscs and later buy either bootlegged DVDs or expensive imports with no English subtitles. Some of us actually did all of those. I’d like to thank VKLL for keeping me in Sailor Stars fansubs over the years. Before we get to the first episode of Sailor Stars, we have one more episode of SuperS to take care of.

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 166 - Princess Serenity catching Sailor Chibi Moon

Episode 166, Dreams Forever: Fill the Heavens With Light, finishes up a story which already sort of seems finished. The enemy seemed defeated as the children of the world, including the viewers, were asked to say “Moon Crisis Power” and vanquish evil, but Nehelenia has one last trick up her sleeve! The circus tent she’s on is floating away in the sky towards the Moon. We get some backstory on why Nehelenia is evil. She was afraid to become old so she ate the mirrors of all of the people who loved her. Before retreating into her mirror she tosses Sailor Chibi Moon off of the tent to her death. Sailor Moon, being the bad ass that she is, does not hesitate and dives after her. This shows Sailor Moon’s true strength. She has no plan. She does not have any reason to expect this to work out but she refuses to give up even for a moment and jumps to her certain death to save her daughter. What follows is a fairly long but tense plunge down to the Earth as Sailor Moon eventually catches up to Sailor Chibi Moon. She finally wakes and summons Pegasus just in time to give them wings and save them right now the ground. Never mind that they are seen breaching the top of skyscrapers over a minute before being rescued, much longer than it would take a person falling at terminal velocity to hit the ground, but this is just for dramatic effect. The world is saved. Chibiusa is saved. Everyone is happy. Chibiusa and Helios say their goodbyes as the Amazoness Quartet decide it wouldn’t be their style to do the same. It is a bit sad that these characters don’t get to become Sailor Guardians like they should have, but the first six episodes of Sailor Stars have enough to fix without doing anything about that.

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 166 - Princess Small Lady Serenity and Princess Serenity

In the final scene of this episode all characters are wearing familiar clothes. They are actually wearing the exact same things they were wearing at the beginning of the Sailor Moon R movie both in the credits, at the flower garden and then at the Hikawa Shrine. All of Sailor Moon S and SuperS have taken place since the R movie! What are the chances that six people happen to be wearing all of the same clothes on the exact same day after two years? Chibiusa, naturally, is wearing something different. She would not likely have fit in her old clothes and it may not have been kept after her trip to the future and back. What do the movie and this episode have in common? I couldn’t find much though they were both directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara. This may be one reason for the similarity.

Sailor Moon R Movie - The girls spying on Usagi and Mamoru

The Sailor Moon R Movie

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 166 - The gang wearing old clothes

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 166

Sailor Moon R Movie - A hurricane of flower pedals

The Sailor Moon R Movie

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 166 - Helios and the gang in old clothes

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 166

Episode 167, The Flower of Nightmares Scatters: The Queen of Darkness Returns, is the first episode of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars, but we won’t be seeing the Sailor Starlights, Star Crystals, Sailor Animamates or Sailor Chibi Chibi for a while. Why not? Well because we have to redo a bit of Sailor Moon SuperS to get things to the baseline they need to be at for Sailor Stars. A recurring problem with the original Sailor Moon anime is that it gets written while the manga is still in development so the stories deviate a lot. The main problem that this episode has to make up for is that Sailor Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Saturn were in the later half of the Dream arc of the manga but did not appear in Sailor Moon SuperS. There was this whole story in the manga where Hotaru grows at a fast rate and then they come join the rest of the gang. In the manga Professor Tomoe died in the big battle but in the anime he survived and kept Hotaru, his daughter who he loved. His daughter who he literally sold his soul to protect. The single only important thing in the world to him, his beloved daughter, is snatched away by Setsuna in this episode. This is completely unforgiveable and this is the kind of mess you end up with when your show deviates too much from the source material and then you have to play catch up.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 167 - Professor Tomoe and Hotaru

Annoyingly we have to pretend Chibiusa is leaving again. This scene is absolutely terrible. I just can’t stand anything about it. We’ve seen Chibiusa try to leave and fail in Sailor Moon R a bunch of times, and then we see her leave in what is actually a very touching scene. Then Sailor Moon S wraps up with the fake leaving, which is lifted from the manga, which has Chibiusa make a big deal about leaving but then come back immediately. So now Chibiusa tries to leave but can’t because there are shooting stars which it turns out aren’t really what they seem. To make matters worse we do all of this song and dance but Chibiusa’s days are actually numbered and she will leave the series between episodes, with no tearful send off, and is erased from the show like Pootchie going back to his home planet. Surely some may have felt that there was too much focus on Chibiusa in Sailor Moon SuperS, but the answer to this is not, as Sailor Stars plays out, simply to erase her from the story. This scene should have been removed and placed when Chibiusa actually leaves, a time which should have had a stronger emotional impact, but here we are. So Nehelenia is back and the gang is all back together as Setsuna shows up with this new baby while Haruka and Michiru are fighting bad guys. They get their suits upgraded and now we’re all but caught up. Mostly. More on Saturn next episode.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 167 - Chibiusa leaving ... again

Oh boy that was a pretty negative review. I guess I have strong feelings on some of these things. Don’t let my pessimism keep you from watching! There’s a lot of good stuff in Sailor Moon Sailor Stars to come and this first chunk of six episodes is a very good short arc of episodes which just doesn’t have much to do with the rest of the season.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 167 - Sailor Pluto, Uranus and Neptune

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Sailor Moon SuperS episode 166 - Nehelenia is old

Sailor Moon SuperS episodes 164 and 165 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 164 - Nehelenia takes the Golden Crystal

Sailor Moon SuperS is nearly over with the two latest episodes which were just added to Hulu and Neon Alley. This week we get episodes 164 and 165, after which there will be only one episode left. This focuses a lot on the Amazoness Quartet, who redeem themselves yet again, as the final confrontation between Nehelenia, Helios and the Sailor Guardians takes place.

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 164 - The Amazoness Quartet meet Nehelenia

Episode 164, The Golden Crystal Appears: Nehelenia’s Magic, finally gives us some background on the Amazoness Quartet. We see them playing innocently in the forest of Elysion. They don’t seem the least bit mischievous, but instead seem to be getting along. They fall upon a mirror in which Nehelenia is trapped. She gives them magical powers which are houses in magic spheres and uses them to escape. All said the Amazoness Quartet are innocent pawns in this whole game. Ultimately they destroy those orbs to sacrifice their own power to save themselves and turn on Nehelenia. The manga actually has them becoming Sailor Guardians to protect Chibiusa as she is to follow her mother once her reign of terror is over some 900 years later. None of this is really dealt with in the anime. Stuff goes bad at this point. Nehelenia retrieves the Golden Mirror from Sailor Chibi Moon, which we kind of already did, and she finally gets her hands on the Golden Crystal. She exits this mirror world she inhabits and by doing so destroys Ziriconia. It’s never clearly indicated but Ziriconia seems to be some sort of copy or puppet of Nehelenia. Nehelenia is kept forever young in the mirror but we will later see how old she actually is and Ziriconia appear to look as she would if she continued to age outside of this mirror.

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 165 - Sailor Chibi Moon is dead

Episode 165, When the Crystal Shines: The Beautiful Power of Dreams, is sort of the epic ending of the battle, though there will be one more episode of Sailor Moon SuperS to follow it. All hope seem lost as Sailor Planet Attack doesn’t cut it and Sailor Chibi Moon appears to be dead. Luckily the Amazoness Quartet have turned on Nehelenia and swap out the Golden Crystal for a pineapple. Hilarity ensures when this is discovered and the Golden Crystal is given to Sailor Moon, who is unable to use it to defeat Nehelenia. Sailor Chibi Moon has a plan! She uses the Golden Crystal to talk to all of the innocent children and ask them to save the Earth from this evil. She pleads to them to say “Moon Crisis Power” and they do, like a bunch of zombies, which removes the shadow from the Earth and saves the day. Hooray!

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 165 - The Golden Crystal is a pineapple

Only one episode of Sailor Moon SuperS remains. We will get that next week along with the first episode of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars, seen for the first time in the United States!

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 165 - Sailor Chibi Moon and The Golden Crystal

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Sailor Moon SuperS episode 165 - Moon Crisis Make Up!

Sailor Moon SuperS episodes 162 and 163 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 163 - Nehelenia

The two latest episodes of Sailor Moon SuperS have been added to Hulu and Neon Alley this morning. This week with episodes 162 and 163 we have some very story rich episodes that delve into the origins of Queen Nehelenia, the Dead Moon Circus, Elysion, Helios and all that stuff as the Golden Mirror is revealed and the Sailor Guardians are captured.

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 162 - Elysion being destroyed

Episode 162, The Source of Darkness: Dead Moon Circus, gives us some backstory we’ve been waiting for. Pegasus does a bit of exposition and explains that the Dead Moon Circus and Nehelenia destroyed Elysion, his home, looking for the Golden Crystal which is actually his horn. The Golden Crystal is this all powerful thing that can destroy planets and cause all sorts of problems if someone evil gets it. Sound familiar? There are vines starting to grow around the city and as we’ve seen, Mamoru is dying. The girls fight their way past a bunch of Lemures to get into the tent. Finally the Golden Mirror, and therefore the person who’s dream Pegasus was hiding in, is revealed to be Chibiusa! We pretty much knew this and Fish Eye told us straight up in case there was any confusion. Sailor Chibi Moon gets her Golden Mirror removed and tries to put it back in with no success. To be continued.

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 162 - Sailor Chibi Moon and her Golden Mirror

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 163 - Nehelenia on the Dead Moon

Episode 163, Labyrinth of Mirrors: Chibi Moon Captured, gives us even more backstory than the last episode! We get the scoop on Queen Nehelenia. Back in the day she observed the White Moon from… another Moon? Wait what? Now we know that there is just one Moon around the Earth so what exactly is going on here? Are we to believe that there used to be a second Moon or is it just that this second Moon is somehow not visible to us because it’s like… Dark? It’s best not to try to tease out the astronomical implications of this. A large Moon sized object rotating around the Earth would be very detectable not only because of its gravitational effects on objects in our system but also because of its ability to mask other objects, such as stars. The Dead Moon is sort of like the Moon when it is eclipsing the Sun, but showing it as a second celestial body is a bit odd. Anyway Nehelenia is into Helios and covets his Goidlen Crystal, but she’s evil so that doesn’t work out. Elysion is shown to have architecture reminiscent of ancient Greece, not unlike that seen in Silver Millennium, though the timeline is not specifically stated. Nehelenia has Chibiusa captured and tied up so the Amazoness Quartet, who can’t manage to obey anyone for long, bust her out by replacing her with a rag doll. They try to put a bridle on Pegasus to tame him as a pet, but this causes him to start a massive fire and all sorts of bad things happen. Meanwhile the Sailor Guardians are seduced with mirror like copies of themselves that are really Ziriconia. How fitting since she’s sort of like a mirror version of Nehelenia. The Amazoness Quartet get busted too and are themselves stuck in mirrors. Looks like everyone is trapped and all hope is lost!

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 163 - Swapping a Sailor Chibi Moon doll for Sailor Chibi Moon

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Sailor Moon SuperS episode 163 - Elysion

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 163 - The Amazoness Quartet stuck in mirrors

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 163 - Two Sailor Moons

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 162 - Tuxedo Mask dying