Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 and 4 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Sailor Mars, Mercury and Moon

This is a review and discussion of Live Action Sailor Moon Act 3, The 3rd Senshi is Miko Rei, and Act 4, Sneaking into the Party! These episodes originally aired on TV in Japan October 18th and 25th 2003. Since Act 3 includes a date of October 22nd on a blackboard and Act 4 takes place at a Halloween party, it is safe to conclude that these episodes of the series were intended to take place roughly during the same dates in which they were aired. Assuming this trend was meant to continue we can estimate that roughly a year of time is elapsed over the course of the series.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Sailor Mars

Act 3 introduces us to the Miko, or Priestess, Rei Hino who becomes Sailor Mars. Once again this episode quite closely follows the equivalent manga story for Act 3, which has a plot by the Dark Kingdom around Hikawa Shrine causing the disappearance of girls, where Rei is suspected, and where ultimately she travels to a pocket dimension and transforms into Sailor Mars. Rei is played by the lovely Keiko Kitagawa. Though most of the actresses have had minor acting and modelling careers following the series Keiko Kitagawa has without a doubt had the most success. She is a very accomplished model and has acted in many movies and TV series in Japan.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - A game show at Karaoke Crown HQ

The episode opens with a game show hosted by Luna. A lot of the sense of realism becomes a bit hard to grasp with some of the things which take place at Karaoke Crown. How does Luna, a cat with no opposable thumbs, do any of this? How did she create the forged year long passes that the girls use to freely come and go? How did she set up the headquarters? How does she set up things like gameshow buzzers on a whim? All magic, perhaps? There’s no evidence that she’s able to transform into a human to do this work… yet. Luna quizzes the girls and the answers we get are at best intentionally misleading and at worst, completely false. In an answer to the question of how many more Guardians there are, the correct answer is given to be 2. Let us ignore Sailors Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Saturn as they do not appear in this series, but the answer is still incorrect. There are 4 Sailor Guardians who protect the Princess. Okay let us assume, for argument’s sake, that one of the remaining 3 Sailor Guardians is the Princess, meaning two more to protect her, but there’s still this pesky business of a 6th Sailor Guardian which appears in the later half of the series. Without getting into specifics, this is perhaps something Luna should have some knowledge about! Little things like this, and the general way the show plays out, lead me to believe that even with a relatively short run of the show, a lot of the plot points were not known ahead of time but instead were a bit made up as the show goes on. Minako in the opening, for example, is seen interacting with the others and wearing a school uniform that never appears in the series, but resembles what is seen in the manga and anime.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Umino?

A bit of probably pointless trivia. This guy in Usagi’s class… doesn’t he look a bit like Umino? Perhaps it’s just a guy with glasses.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Ami doesn't want to have lunch with Usagi

In class Usagi invites Ami to eat with her and her friends. She is at first excited but, upon seeing her friends looking at her oddly, declines the invitation stating that it would be too suspicious if all of a sudden they were friends. This seems to be a fabricated excuse on Ami’s part because of a potentially uncomfortable situation with Naru and Usagi’s other friends. Usagi and Ami bonded quickly before it was even known that she was Sailor Mercury, simply because they ran into each other on a bridge. They could have stated that, perhaps leaving out the part about the magical talking stuffed cat which can arrange game shows without thumbs, and it should be good enough!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Usagi's mom is a bit nuts

Meanwhile Ami visits Usagi’s house, and their friendship appears to be developing, but we will eventually see that things aren’t all that easy. We learn in the process that Usagi’s mother is a bit nuts.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Rei Hino

Enter Rei! She first bumps into Usagi on a bridge, leaving behind a bracelet which leads Usagi to try to track her down. With all of the disappearances and rumours about Hikawa Shrine, Usagi gets scared when she hears a couple of crows. These crows aren’t named however they could be Phobos and Deimos, Sailor Mars’s two pet crows.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Usagi and Rei

Some girls show up at the shrine and bully Rei, taking her weird birdhouse looking thing and even pushing her to the ground. Usagi to the rescue! It doesn’t take much for her to befriend someone, and she immediately tries to be kind with Rei, again not knowing that she’s really a Sailor Guardian. It seems like the series constantly assures us that Usagi would get along with these girls if they didn’t have super powers, so that we don’t think they are just together for convenience.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Rei attacks

In a classic Terminator move it looks like Rei is about to attack Usagi and Ami with a charm but it turns out she’s attacking a pack of leaves turned monster behind her. Kyle Reese does this to Sarah Connor in the first film. The Terminator does this to John Connor in the second. Usagi and Rei get whisked away to this pocket dimension type thing where everything has a blue haze to it. The fight goes on as expected with Rei becoming Sailor Mars and using Youma Taisan, which is an attack unique to the live action series similar to her Fire Soul from the anime and manga.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Where did Tuxedo Mask come from?

The fight is won and everyone starts leaving the blue pocket dimension thanks to Sailor Mercury. Sailor Moon gets cut off and … Tuxedo Mask… is in the blue dimension? Where did he come from? Jadeite mentioned 6 girls were kidnapped. Did he kidnap Tuxedo Mask as well? Did he sneak in at some point? It seems plausible that he snuck in through the portal as it was closing, but this isn’t clearly demonstrated.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 3 - Rei snubs Usagi and Ami

The episode concludes when Usagi, happy to have her friends together, suggests a karaoke party. Rei says that she hates karaoke and doesn’t intent to join them! Big spooky music, this is clearly the conflict to be dealt with in Act 4…

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Tuxedo Mask and Usagi the bear

Act 4 on its surface appears to be a story unique to the live action series, but it actually has some similarities to the manga Act 4, Masquerade – Dance Party. This is also somewhat similar to episode 22 of the original anime, Romance Under the Moon: Usagi’s First Kiss. In these there is a gem to be revealed at a masquerade party which invites the attention of the Sailor Guardians, Nephrite and Tuxedo Mask, who all fight to get the crystal. Here the masquerade is instead a Halloween themed disguise birthday party for a girl who is again revealing a gem with all parties interested in getting it.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Nephrite

This episode introduces us to a great relationship of the series, and that’s Queen Beryl and Jadeite! She point blank says to Jadeite that if he loves her, he should be of some use to her. It seems that Jadeite’s motivation is his love for Queen Beryl. This dedication, as we will see throughout the series, is beyond that of the other Shitennou. With that we are introduced to Nephrite, the second of the Shittennou, who looks nothing like his manga or anime counterparts! He has short red hair and a reddish uniform. While Jadeite looks much like other versions of Jadeite, we will see that this similarity is not there for the rest of our Dark Kingdom villains!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Skirt pants

Another first of the series we see here is Rei and her skirt pants! Back in 2003 when this show was first airing I had never seen a person wear a skirt and pants at the same time. This was a fashion trend that eventually became somewhat common, but whether this was due to my ignorance of high fashion or not, this was the first time I saw it and I thought it was weird! I’ve since come to accept and appreciate Rei’s shirt pants and pretty much anything she wants to wear to be honest.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Rei and Ami

The tension with Rei continues. Not only does she not like karaoke but she doesn’t want to attend the party with Ami and Usagi. Ami confronts Rei alone about this and insightfully suggests that perhaps Rei is afraid of friends. This seems right on the mark as Rei says that friends and family eventually abandon a person, and we get some insight into her past that we will be seeing more of as the series goes on. By the end of the episode Rei warms up to Usagi and Ami a little, stating that even though she still hates karaoke, she would be okay with a get together if it didn’t involve karaoke. If only all social problems were this easily resolved!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Usagi transforms in public

In two cases in this episode Usagi does a terrible job of hiding her super powers. In the first case, while looking for fancy dresses for the party, Usagi uses her magical clothes changing phone in front of a crowded street full of traffic to change her outfit a number of times. In the second case, at the end of the episode, Ami calls out “Tsukino-san” to Sailor Moon in front of Tuxedo Mask. Sailor Moon responds by calling Sailor Mercury “Ami-chan” and Sailor Mars “Rei-chan”. Tuxedo Mask appears to be too dense to notice this, as the eventual revelation of Usagi’s identity much later in the series is a total surprise to him.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Ami as a cat

Ami shows up at the party wearing a ridiculous cute/sexy cat costume. Luna makes a comment asking how they could have known it was a Halloween party. This is ridiculous for a few reasons. For one, they clearly seem to know as Ami and Usagi both came with costumes. Sure they have those phones which can copy another person’s costume, but there do not appear to be any other sexy cat or ridiculous furry bear costumes present at Yuka’s party. The other reason should be obvious and that’s that it’s Halloween! During Act 3 we see a date of October 22nd on a blackboard. Act 4 aired on October 25th, within a week of Halloween. It stands to reason, based on this and the fact that this is a Halloween party, that it is in the whereabouts of Halloween at this point! Why, then, is a Halloween costume party so out of the question?

Adam dressed as Jadeite

Back in 2002 I was invited to a Halloween party at a friend’s house. This friend had Halloween parties every year and they were always dress up parties. I made my own Jadeite costume for this party and, upon arriving, was informed by all my friends that it wasn’t a costume party! The correct question is not how one could have known it was a costume party, but how anyone in their right mind could expect that one wouldn’t think such a thing was a Halloween costume party! I spent the night ignoring my friends and talking with people at the party who I had never met. They, having no prior contact with me, did not have the social responsibility of explicitly informing me that this was not a costume party and so I was not upset at any of them.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Sailor Mars, Moon and Mercury

Much like in the manga and anime versions of the episode, the guest of honour of the party, in this case Yuka, is possessed by a monster so that she can steal her own gem. The monster, in this case, is a ridiculous looking cactus. It splits into 3 pieces requiring precise timing of three attacks to defeat him. The trick? The three girls sing Minako’s hit song “C’est la vie” in unison. This was a trick used in the film Hudson Hawk by a bank robber played by Bruce Willis and his partner. They sang a song of a particular length to get the timing of their job just right, and like in Sailor Moon, the trick worked! As Rei sang along with “C’est la vie” all I could think was “Who hates karaoke now, Rei?”. This will not be the last time we hear Rei sing in this series!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 4 - Tuxedo Mask holds Sailor Moon

With the fight completed Usagi leaps to catch the jewel, in doing so nearly falling off the ledge of the building. Tuxedo Mask grabs her and in doing so puts her in a much more favourable position that Sailor Moon and Ami were in Act 2. Tuxedo Mask, in this case, is fully stable on the roof. Although Sailor Moon told Ami not to give up when in a much worse position, she tells Tuxedo Mask it’s no use. Where did that optimism go? They both fall and Sailor Moon creates a magic bubble to float to the ground. In the manga and anime equivalent stories, the two fall off of a balcony and Usagi uses her disguise pen to create an umbrella which allows them to defy physics and float to safety. Since the disguise pen in this series is a cell phone app, things needed to be switched up a bit.

Feel free to leave a comment with your own thoughts on these two episodes. If you’re looking to watch along with the series you can get English subtitled fan subbed versions from sites such as Miss Dream, TV-Nihon and Sea of Serenity. What does everyone think of the new banner?

Keep reading for more screenshots from these episodes.

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The English version of Sailor Moon Crystal Act 4, Masquerade Dance Party, is available now on Hulu

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 4 - Tuxedo Mask kissing Sailor Moon without consent

The latest English dubbed episode of Sailor Moon Crystal has been added to Hulu and Neon Alley. This week we get Act 4, Masquerade Dance Party. The Kingdom of D has a very impressive gem and everyone, Tuxedo Mask, the Sailor Guardians, the Dark Kingdom, wants to know if it’s the Silver Crystal so they all crash the party and check it out! This version of the dub has decided to refer to Princess D as “The Princess of D”, though she is also called Princess D in the episode. The Japanese reference of the name Princess D was likely a reference to Princess Diana, often called Princess Di, who was popular in the media in the early 90s. As her death in 1997 was over 13 years ago the reference is less relevant and so no adapting it certainly makes sense. The original Sailor Moon anime referred to her as Princess Dia, a mix between Princess Di and Princess Diana. The original English dub named her Princess Diamond.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 4 - Princess D

This version of the episode features updated animation used in the Japanese Blu-Ray and DVD home video release. I had mixed feelings about this episode when it first streamed and my feelings haven’t really changed. The big moment in this week’s episode is when Tuxedo Mask kisses and unconscious, somewhat drunk, Usagi. This isn’t cool! A sleeping person can’t consent, even when you have an existing relationship in a past life. That excuse sounds absurd here, though we must consider that within the reality of the Sailor Moon mythos, this past life did exist so there some precedent for this kiss. There was a similar scene in episode 22 of the original Sailor Moon anime, Romance Under the Moon: Usagi’s First Kiss, but in the old English dub the dialogue was changed so that it was insinuated this was a dream. Certainly kissing in a dream is hardly the same kind of violation as the rape kiss featured in this episode.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 4 - Masquerade Dance Party

New episodes are released every Friday evening at 9pm Eastern Time, 6pm Pacific Time. Next week is Act 5, Makoto – Sailor Jupiter, we will be introduced to Makoto Kino.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 5 - Usagi stealing Makoto's food

Sailor Moon episodes 21 and 22 are now available on Hulu

Kazuko Tadano and Hiromi Matsushita from the Sailor Moon anime

As of this morning, July 21st 2014, episodes 21 and 22 of the original Sailor Moon anime have been added to Hulu and Neon Alley. These subbed episodes by Viz will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 11th along with their new English dub. For now two new episodes are released every Monday.

Kazuko Tadano and Hiromi Matsushita as students from the Sailor Moon anime

Episode 21, Protect the Children’s Dreams: Friendship Through Anime, takes place at an animation studio working on the Sailor V anime. This episodes provides a meta look at the making of Sailor Moon, as many characters included are based on those who worked on the Sailor Moon anime. The two main characters Hiromi and Kazuko are themselves inspired by two of Sailor Moon’s animation directors Hiromi Matsushita and Kazuko Tadano. Though both characters are female, Hiromi Matushita is actually a man. I had the priveledge of meeting these two at Otakon 2008 and they had fond memories of this episode and mentioned that the designs of those characters were loosely based on themselves. When Nephrite targets Hiromi it tears her and Kazuko apart. Their friendship is put to the test as they are both tempted by the power of magic pencils!

Sailor Moon episode 22 Nephrite and Naru dancing

Episode 22, Romance Under the Moon: Usagi’s First Kiss, has everyone who’s anyone crashing a ball to try to steal what they think is the Silver Crystal. Princess Diamond is holding an event to show off her jewels and that attracts everyone including Nephrite, Naru, Usagi and Tuxedo Mask. It turns out Princess Diamond is a dead ringer for Naru, which Nephrite takes advantage of in order to try to steal the jewel. This episode furthers Naru and Nephrite’s completely dysfunctional relationship, but that’s not the only terrible behaviour that happens between future lovers! Usagi, who crashes the party more to have a good time than to do her duty in searching for the crystal, gets drunk and is found passed out by Tuxedo Mask who takes advantage of the situation to kiss her. Is this romantic, assault or a little of both? Ultimately the jewel was only pricessless, so everyone went home empty handed. This episode follows an act of the manga fairly closely, which has become pretty rare at this point in the series.

Sailor Moon episode 22 - Naru attacking Princess Diamond

Episode 1 through 23 had previously been released for digital download. Next week with episodes 23 and 24 we’ll start to get into new episodes which are not currently available.

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