The English version of Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7, Mamoru Chiba – Tuxedo Mask, is now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Usagi discovers Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask

The latest English dubbed episode of Sailor Moon Crystal is now available on Hulu and Neon Alley. This week, just in time for Christmas, we get Act 7, Mamoru Chiba – Tuxedo Mask. Usagi slept over at Mamoru’s last night so they now know each other’s identity. We get a flashback to Mamoru’s childhood where he wore a hat that looks just like Terry Bogard’s from Fatal Fury. Believe it or not we’re actually halfway through the first story arc at this point. In another 7 episodes we will be saying goodbye to the Dark Kingdom and introducing Chibusa and the Black Moon Clan.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Young Mamoru

Fans who previously viewed the subtitled version when it was originally released will notice a considerable change in this version. One of my favourite parts of this episode was creepy Umino who looks like a Heartless from the Kingdom Hearts games. For whatever reason this scene was updated for the Blu-Ray release to include a less monstrous looking Umino. Since the updated home video versions are used for the English dub these are the visuals we get. Another change we see is that when Sailor Venus shows up at the end of the episode we originally saw her looking like Sailor V from behind but Sailor Venus from the front. This animation mistake was corrected to include Sailor Venus from all angles. To see changes between the two versions of Sailor Moon Crystal check out Crystal Comparisons.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Creepy Umino looks like a heartless

Sailor Moon Crystal Act. 7 Blu-Ray - Umino is less creepy than in the streaming version

Next week is Act 8, Minako – Sailor V. Make no mistake though. This will feature Minako Aino as Sailor Venus more than as Sailor V.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 8 - Sailor Venus wearing Sailor V's mask

Watch the English dubbed version of Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7, Mamoru Chiba – Tuxedo Mask, Christmas Day at 9pm Eastern Time

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Young Mamoru

Santa Claus finally brought you the gift you wanted. The next episode of Sailor Moon Crystal will be available to watch in English on December 25th, Christmas Day, at 9pm Eastern Time on Hulu and Neon Alley. This week we will be getting Act 7, Mamoru Chiba – Tuxedo Mask. Usagi slept over at Mamoru’s and now everyone seems to know who’s who! We will get a flashback to Mamoru as a child where he has Terry Bogart’s hat.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Usagi discovers Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask

The episode will also feature our first look at Artemis and Sailor Venus. We had previously seen her only as her other identity, Sailor V. It looks like the old gang is just about back together!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Sailor Venus

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Mamoru Chiba - Tuxedo Mask

Sailor Moon Crystal Deluxe Limited Edition Blu-Ray vol. 4 review

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 4 - Box

The 4th volume of the Sailor Moon Crystal Deluxe Limited Edition Blu-Ray was released in Japan on January 14th. Because I’m irresponsible with my money I’ve purchased this, so here is my review. The set is Japanese audio and contains just two episodes, Act 7, Mamoru Chiba – Tuxedo Mask and Act 8, Minako – Sailor V. It comes with a 24 page full colour booklet and a charm of Sailor Jupiter’s transformation item in a decorative box.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 4 - Contents

As with other releases, minor changes to the animation are included. This one it no different, though some of the changes here are more considerable. One of my favourite parts of act 7 is the part where Umino drops in uninvited to a conversation between Usagi, Makoto and Ami to talk about Sailor V. He’s ultimately creepy and for some unexplained reason is a black shadowy figure with yellow eyes and a mouth, looking something like a Heartless from the Kingdom Hearts games. For whatever reason this has been fixed up for the Blu-Ray release so that he is just normal looking, though still intensely creepy, Umino. While changes in the past were largely cosmetic, this is one that is a little more intrusive and something I’m not very comfortable with.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Creepy Umino looks like a heartless

Sailor Moon Crystal Act. 7 Blu-Ray - Umino is less creepy than in the streaming version

Other changes in the episode were not as big a deal. Act 7 contains what I would consider to be the worst animation of the series to date. Some of those shots have been fixed up, but a lot of the really terrible looking shots remain. An error that occurred in the original streaming version of act 7 was that Sailor Venus was wearing Sailor V’s uniform when seen from behind but then Sailor Venus’s orange uniform when seen from the front. This has been fixed to correctly show Sailor Venus’s uniform for all angles. It was unclear it this had been intended or not, as the idea might have been that at first Sailor Venus looked like Sailor V, but upon closer investigation was actually wearing a different costume. This wasn’t really what the scene seemed to insinuate so it’s a decent thing to change. I didn’t notice anything but fairly cosmetic changes to act 8.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Sailor V

Sailor Moon Crystal Act. 7 Blu-Ray - Sailor Venus is no longer dressed as Sailor V

The rest of the content was pretty much as expected. The cover of this one includes an image of Sailor Jupiter. The charm included, to go with the charm bracelet included in the first volume, is of Sailor Jupiter’s transformation item and bow.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 4 - Sailor Jupiter charm

Also included as always is the full colour booklet. It includes interviews with Yukie Sako, animation director and character designer and Ami Koshimizu, the voice of Sailor Jupiter. There are also episode summaries, production art and a special page by Fumio Osano as always. Photos of all pages of the book are included at the bottom of this post.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 4 - Booklet - Page 12 and 13

The disk itself includes the two episodes, act 7 and 8, as well as and audio commentary for each. The commentary track is in Japanese with no subtitles so I can’t really comment on it. From a brief listen I can tell that voice actors Kenji Nojima, Tuxedo Mask, and Shizuka Ito, Sailor Venus, are on this one as well as some other Japanese people who worked on the show who’s names and jobs you will quickly figure out if you can understand the commentary.

Sailor Moon Crystal Blu-Ray vol. 4 - Disk

You can import this disk from online stores such as Amazon Japan, CD Japan or YesAsia for as low as 5194 yen, which is about $45 US, though shipping can be considerable on some sites. The regular edition Blu-Ray and DVD versions will be released on February 11th if you’re feeling cheap. With only two episodes included as always I can’t really recommend buying these when a free an legal way to support the show always exists with the streaming options. If you’re hardcore about the show and video quality well you’ve probably bought other volumes so I don’t need to tell you what to do.

Keep reading for more images of the set and photos of all pages of the included booklet.

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Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7, Mamoru Chiba – Tuxedo Mask, Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Young Mamoru

Act 7 of Sailor Moon Crystal, Mamoru Chiba- Tuxedo Mask, is now available to view on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. This week Usagi has just found out that Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask, we learn more about the Dark Kingdom and we get our first look at Sailor Venus! But first, could Mamoru be Fatal Fury’s Terry Bogard?

terry-bogard_fatal_fury Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Young Mamoru

One of the first things we see in this episode is the flashback to Mamoru’s past. Mamoru’s parents died when he was just 6 years old. We get a look at them, two faceless people who have dark hair like his. Funny we see their faces in the Manga, though this doesn’t ever really come back. The more important issue is Mamoru’s hat, which looks just like Terry Bogard’s from Fatal Fury, a fighting game series originally on the Neo Geo. Am I forcing this connection? I don’t think so. I’ve never played a Fatal Fury game in my life but this connection was instantly obvious. In addition to this Tuxedo Mask does a bunch of punching in this week’s episode! His exchange of blows with Zoisite was not in the original Manga. Sailor Moon is attacked by Zoisite and then Artemis and Sailor Venus come to her rescue while Tuxedo Mask just watches. His punching must be due to an attempt at making him look more like Terry Bogard from Fatal Fury.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Preparing to punch

The episode starts out with Mamoru and Usagi’s tender moments but this scene seems plagued with inconsistent animation to me. I’ve not been one to complain about the animation in this series to date but after starting to feel like things were improving this episode in particular seemed like a disappointing step back. After this we get to meet Queen Metalia, the evil energy that is behind the Dark Kingdom, and we get a bit more back story for Queen Beryl. We unfortunately don’t get a good look at a normal woman in the North Pole discovering the Dark Kingdom like we do in the manga but the same story seems to be going on here.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Queen Metalia

As expected, the VHS tapes from the original story were not kept, but instead updated to DVDs. Really? No Blu-Rays in 2014? Regardless of the technology upgrade the story can’t help but feel a bit dated. Video rental stores are not what they used to be, and the idea of the youth of today not spending enough time at the arcade because they’re renting video only reminds us that arcades are also not close to as popular as they were in the 90s. This is why things like updating Crown from an arcade to a Karaoke bar made sense for the live action series, but that Sailor Moon Crystal being so faithfully adapted but still taking place in moderns times at times doesn’t make a ton of sense. Also, do these DVDs look like Kuri’s boobs?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Yumiko, Kuri and Naru renting antiquated DVDs

As technology goes, Ami’s computer has been replaced with a “FinePad” in this episode, an obvious take on the iPad. The icons in the background look like those on iOS though the windows and the red, yellow and green buttons on them are similar to Mac OS. This level of multitasking would be too convenient for an iPad.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Ami's FinePad

A funny scene in this episode shows us more of creepy, creepy Umino. Original manga and anime Umino was nerdy but pretty much harmless and non threatening but Sailor Moon Crystal Umino is downright creepy! Here he shows up to share that he’s looking for Sailor Moon, which makes sense as he’s been brainwashed along with everyone else into doing so, but we almost forget that this is part of the Dark Kingdom’s plot as this creepiness fits right in with his character! Not sure why he’s made to look like a Heartless from Kingdom Hearts. He also looks a bit like Professor Tomoe.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Creepy Umino looks like a heartless Heartless - Kingdom Hearts

This episode finally introduces us to two new charters, Artemis and Minako Aino as Sailor V and Sailor Venus. The first appearance of Sailor V in this episode is on Luna’s computer. In the manga when this conversation takes place you can see a bit of Minako’s bow but it’s not as obvious that this is Sailor V. Once the battle commences it’s Artemis, not Sailor Venus, that saves the day. We see the top of his head followed by him jumping and slashing Zoisite, who doesn’t die in this episode. Then we finally see both him and Sailor Venus together.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Artemis

The episode does an odd thing with Sailor Venus’s introduction. First we see her from behind, clearly wearing Sailor V’s outfit, but then when seen again from the front she’s clearly dressed as Sailor Venus. That’s a quick costume change!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Sailor V

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Sailor Venus

In two more weeks, October 18th, we’ll see Act 8, Minako – Sailor V. This one will be all about Sailor Venus. The team is finally all together!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 8 Preview - Sailor Venus

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

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Watch Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7, Mamoru Chiba – Tuxedo Mask, starting October 4th at 6am EST

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Usagi discovers Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask

The next episode of Sailor Moon Crystal will soon be available on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. Act 7, Mamoru Chiba – Tuxedo Mask, will be available to stream starting at 7pm Japan Standard Time on Saturday October 4th. This is 6am Eastern Time and 3am Pacific Time. Usagi has just discovered that Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask! Where will their relationship go from here?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Mamoru Chiba - Tuxedo Mask

No doubt this episode will continue to follow the manga, as others have, but some things just might not be fitting to 2014. The manga story for this act has the Dark Kingdom using rented VHS tapes to brainwash people. People rented tapes in 1992 but this hasn’t been done in some time. The VHS tapes will need to be updated, but what will they be replaced with? DVDs and Blu-Rays are common but people don’t really rent videos in any format anymore. It’s tricky adapting an over 20 year old story so faithfully. This manga story also has Zoisite getting killed, though with none of the Shitennou having been killed yet this is unlikely to happen. Finally we will be seeing Sailor Venus show up at the end of this week’s episode. The whole gang will soon be together.