The cast for the Sailor Moon Prism On Ice show includes Anza, Evgenia Medvedeva, Kurt Browning and many more world class figure skaters

Sailor Moon Prism on Ice - Evgenia Medvedeva as Sailor Moon

The Sailor Moon official site has posted a lot of details about the upcoming Sailor Moon Prism On Ice show which was announced last summer. The event will be taking place June 5th to the 7th at the KOSÉ Shin Yokohama Skate Center in Tokyo. We had previously learned that Evgenia Medvedeva, a Russian figure skater and Olympic medalist, was going to be in the show. We now have confirmation that she will be playing Sailor Moon herself! An article at Oricon includes photos of Evgenia Medvedeva in her Sailor Moon costume! The rest of the cast includes Sailor Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus as well as Tuxedo Mask. The villains are the Dark Kingdom’s Queen Bery, Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite and Kunzite. All of the above mentioned characters will be portrayed by figure skaters, most of whom are world class competitive skaters, from around the world.

Anza

Also appearing in the musical is Anza as Queen Serenity. Anza is best known to Sailor Moon fans as the first to play Sailor Moon in a Sailor Moon musical. She continued in this role for many years. The other special guest, who’s role is not mentioned, is Kurt Browning. He is a World Champion figure skater who was a well known sports celebrity here in Canada in the 1990s.

Sailor Moon Prism on Ice

The show will also have a voice cast which includes the main cast from Sailor Moon Crystal. Only the Sailor Guardians currently have voice actors listed at this time. This could mean that the show will mainly feature those characters in spoken roles or perhaps the others will be announced at a later time. The details on the site list them as being the voice actors from the Sailor Moon Eternal films. As the Dark Kingdom specific characters will not be in the Sailor Moon Eternal films, they may not have been mentioned for this reason. It may also prove more complicated in booking voice talent from a previous season when there hadn’t been an expectation for them to be reprising their roles in the future.

Anza and Akiko Kosaka from the Sailor Moon Crystal visual book

Music will be by Akiko Kosaka, who has been involved with music in the original Sailor Moon anime, the Sailor Moon Musicals and Sailor Moon Crystal.

A full translated cast list in included below:

Sailor Moon/Usagi Tsukino: Evgenia Medvedeva
Sailor Mercury/Ami Mizuno: Satoko Miyahara
Sailor Mars/Rei Hino: Mirai Nagasu
Sailor Jupiter/Makoto Kino: Alissa Czisny
Sailor Venus/Minako Aino: Becky Bereswill
Tuxedo Mask/Mamoru Chiba: Andrew Poje
Queen Serenity: ANZA
Kunzite: Jason Brown
Jadeite: Takahito Mura
Nephrite: Dylan Moscovitch
Zoisite: Seiya Hashimoto
Queen Beryl: Shinko Sakamaki

Additional skaters: Youji Nakano, Shigeru Matsumura, Koichi Kobayashi, Kohei Yoshino, Yuka Kono, Takana Ito

Special guest appearance: Kurt Browning

Voice cast:

Sailor Moon/Tsukino Usagi: Kotono Mitsuishi
Sailor Mercury/Ami Mizuno: Hisako Kanemoto
Sailor Mars/Rei Hino: Rina Sato
Sailor Jupiter/Makoto Kino: Ami Koshimizu
Sailor Venus/Minako Aino: Shizuka Ito

Other staff:

Screenplay: Takuya Hiramitsu
Choreography: Yuka Sato, Benji Schwimer (Assistant)
Music: Akiko Kosaka, Lunar Eclipse Meeting

As I put the list from the official site through Google Translate some of the names that aren’t hyperlinks may be incorrect. I’ve included Wikipedia links when I found them to give some insight into what those athletes have done.

Sailor Moon Prism on Ice - Evgenia Medvedeva as Sailor Moon

Are you excited for this event? Will any of you be making the trip to Japan to check out this show in June? Who are you most excited to see?

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Lizzo wishes she could trade places with Sailor Moon!

Lizzo Dressed as Sailor Moon

Lizzo is quite a Sailor Moon fan and in a recent interview with CBS This Morning she told interviewer Gayle King that if she could trade places with anyone it would be Sailor Moon! You can watch clips of that interview below which includes that exchange.

At first I thought of how unrealistic it would be to switch places with a fictional character but then I realized that real people in the real world can’t actually switch places either so why not? Lizzo is clearly a Sailor Moon fan as has been shown in the past a number of times. A couple of years ago she dressed as Sailor Moon for a performance.

Is Galarian Slowpoke meant to look like Sailor Moon? If so, what will Galarian Slowbro and Slowking look like?

Galarian Slowpoke's moves

It has come to my attention that Galarian Slowpoke looks like Sailor Moon and now I can’t unsee it! What does this mean? Slowpoke is a Pokémon. One of the original 150 from the first games actually, but there is a new variant on this Pokémon that was announced in the past week and that is Galarian Slowpoke. This version of Slowpoke is native to the Galar region, which is where the new games Pokémon Sword and Shield take place. There was a new bit of DLC (Downloadable Content) announced last week and while that won’t be playable until the summer fans can get a sneak peak by catching a Galarian Slowpoke. This looks a lot like a normal Slowpoke except for the fact that it has some yellow on the top of it’s head and tail. Due to the way Slowpoke has round ears this makes it look as if it has blonde hair with two hair buns. These clearly resembles Sailor Moon’s famous Odango Atama or Meatball Head hair style!

Galarian Slowpoke as Sailor Moon by @sindorman

I first heard about this when I stumbled upon an image on Instagram that artist @sindorman made of Slowpoke as Sailor Moon. The artist also posted this image to his Twitter account. He mentions that he heard about this on Twitter but I didn’t see any particularly viral Tweet discussing this idea. I can only assume he saw this Tweet by @csmith03 which mentioned the idea. An earlier Tweet by @squirreIseok mentioned it as well but this didn’t have much visibility.

Who first noticed the similarity? I’m not certain but some time before Galarian Slowpoke was even conceived of this “Sailor Slowpoke” animation was made by YouTube user Mdbruin. This video appears to similarly be inspired by Slowpoke’s ears which are similar Usagi’s hair. You can watch the video embedded below.

It’s a bit funny that Slowpoke is known for being a sleepy, lazy Pokémon while Usagi is herself known for being lazy. For fun I called a Slowpoke Sailor Moon and gave her the moves Slack Off, Yawn, Rest and Confusion. They all seemed to fit. Unfortunately she was unable to learn Cosmic Power via TM and there’s no way to teach her Moonblast, a move learned only by leveling up or breeding in the game but not by Slowpoke. Perhaps Slowbro or Slowking will be able to learn these and other Sailor Moon themed moves when the expansions are released!

Galarian Slowpoke at Wedgehurst Station

Now comes the big question. Was this similarity deliberate? Not one usually prone to speculation I am inclined to say … maybe? One can not deny that Galarian Slowpoke’s yellow head looks like hair. The ears really do look like two buns on Slowpoke’s head. In Japan this hair style, especially in a blonde colour, makes one think of Sailor Moon. Slowpoke doesn’t look like Chun-Li or Princess Leia, but rather like Usagi or Sailor Moon! It may very well be the case that the similarity is intentional and that one or both of the evolutions of Galarian Slowpoke, that being Slowbro and Slowking, which we will see only when the DLC is released are planned to be some sort of magical girl inspired Pokémon. This could include a tiara, a bow, a skirt or something of the sort. Is there any precedent for this?

Ohmega Pokémon

While I think an obvious reference may be unlikely something more subtle is certainly possible. There have been a number of references to other pop culture characters and even real people throughout the series, including many to characters in Japan. To me Ledian always looked like a Power Ranger, something out of a Japanese Sentai series. In the latest game Falinks is a group of six small Pokémon who work together as one which is similar to a Sentai team. Tyranitar resembles Godzilla quite a bit. More than that Ohmega, a Pokémon which never made the final cut for the original games, is a mechanical giant lizard who closely resembles Mecha Godzilla. Kadabra and Alakazam are psychic type Pokémon who are bending spoons, inspired by real life scam artist Uri Geller. Kadabra’s Japanese name “Yungerer” is clearly a play on his name. Uri Geller sued over Kadabra’s name and likeness.

dynamax_galarian_slowpoke

Nintendo certainly doesn’t want to commit any copyright violation with Slowpoke or its evolutions, but a subtle reference isn’t something which is likely to cause any legal troubles. We will have to wait until later this year to see what Galarian Slowbro and Slowking will look like. The first DLC, coming this summer, will allow access to the Isle of Armor, where trainers will get the item which will evolve Galarian Slowpoke into Galarian Slowbro. The second DLC, to be released this fall, will allow access to the Crown Tundra where trainers will be able to get an item to evolve Galarian Slowpoke into Galarian Slowking. It’s likely that Game Freak will reveal what these Pokémon will look like prior to the DLC’s release. I’ll certainly be waiting patiently to see if an upcoming Nintendo Direct confirms my suspicions!

Galarian Slowpoke

Are you playing Pokémon Sword or Shield? If it wasn’t obvious I’ve been playing quite a bit. My friend code is SW-1634-7770-3416. Let me know in a comment if you add me so that I knew who I’m getting request from. My name will be Adam G. though my Pokémon trainer’s name is Blitzy. If you haven’t picked up the game yet you can support the site by buying it using the links below.

Here’s the latest news on the Sailor Moon Eternal films from the Sailor Moon Fan Club newsletter

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 15 - Usagi conspicuously talking to Luna in front of her family

The Sailor Moon Eternal films are coming to theatres in Japan on September 11th 2020. We don’t have a ton of information about these films but a recent mock interview shared with Japanese members of the Official Sailor Moon Fan Club gives us some morsels of information about the films. We could have inferred most of this information already, but it’s nice to get some confirmation about some of these things.

I am not currently a member of the Sailor Moon Fan Club so I did not receive this newsletter however I read about it on the Tuxedo Unmasked web site. If you don’t already follow that site I suggest you do as there’s a ton of research that goes into those articles which I always enjoy reading. If you can read Japanese you can check out this scanned version of the Sailor Moon Official Fan Club Members Only Special Issue volume 13. I do not, so I will be referencing Tuxedo Unmasked’s translation.

Sailor Moon Fan Club Newsletter volume 11 - Page 3

The interview isn’t with an actual person who exists in the real world. Instead it’s a fake conversation between Luna and Usagi in which they destroy the fourth wall and talk somewhat in character about the upcoming films. This reminds me a bit of the Sailor Moon Memorial laserdiscs which are season recaps hosted by Usagi and Luna. So what does the interview tell us?

Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Paralympic games

First there’s a reminder that the movies will come out “After the Olympics” which is a bit vague. The 2020 Summer Olympics, which will take place in Tokyo, will run from July 24th to August 9th. The film has already been announced to be released on September 11th so this bit of dialogue is less precise than what we already know. The actual release date appears on the page and later in the interview.

Then Usagi asks Luna what actually happened in Act 4 of the manga. We already knew that these two films will cover the Dream arc of the Sailor Moon manga which is the story which was adapted as the Sailor Moon SuperS season of the original Sailor Moon anime. This means it will include the Dark Moon Circus, Pegasus, the Amazon Trio, the Amazoness Quartet, Zirconia and Queen Nehelenia. Despite the similar characters the actual stories of the manga and anime differ quite a bit though, so Sailor Moon Eternal will be new to fans of the original Sailor Moon anime!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Viewing the eclipse

We learn that the new movie will be about the Dead Moon Circus who break free of a mirror during an eclipse. That eclipse was is seen at the end of the final episode of Sailor Moon Crystal’s third season many, many eclipses ago. We will see Usagi and Chibiusa switch bodies, which is something that also happened in the original Sailor Moon anime though this was a minor story contained to one episode. It is also mentioned that this is a very Chibiusa intensive story! This arc is basically a romance between Chibiusa and Pegasus/Helios so there’s no ignoring that she will feature heavily.

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 158 - Old Sailor Chibi Moon and Young Sailor Moon

More importantly they ask where the visuals for Sailor Uranus, Neptune and the other Sailor Guardians representing the outer planets are. Luna muses that this must mean that Hotaru’s awakening will be in the second film. This fits with what I had been assuming about the films. These characters only appear in the second half of the manga’s arc and it seems like a good split of the films would be to include them only in Sailor Moon Eternal Part 2, or whatever it is we will be calling it. This would start with us seeing what Haruka, Michiru, Setsuna and Hotaru have been up to for the past while and having them join the rest of the team. In the original Sailor Moon anime this never happens during Sailor Moon SuperS and the short six episode arc which starts off Sailor Moon Sailor Stars does its own quick version of these events. If this information is to be trusted it seems unlikely we’ll be seeing any designs for these characters for the first film, though I still think it may be possible they will appear briefly as an end of movie teaser.

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

Following this exchange we get some quotes from Chiaki Kon, the film’s director, Kazuyuki Fudeyasu, the film’s writer, Kazuko Tadano, the animation director, Kotono Mitsuishi, the voice of Sailor Moon and Misato Fukuen, the voice of Chibiusa. These are some nice little comments but they don’t really tell us anything new about the films. Misato Fukuen comments that she will finally get to see “an important character” who we can only assume is Pegasus. It seems they’re all being very careful not to tell us anything!

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 158 - Chibiusa kissing Pegasus

This all makes me wonder if the person that wrote this fictional exchange actually knows anything we don’t or if they instead are just inferring all of this from what we already know? I can’t say for sure. For now we are all anxiously waiting until September and wondering just when we’ll be getting the movies outside of Japan! I’m hopeful for some sort of limited North American theatrical run around the same time as the film will be released in Japan but that may be too optimistic of me! We may instead only get the film some while later, possibly not until 2021, and it’s not really guaranteed that it will be out theatrically here at all. I’ll be sure to share anything conclusive as that information becomes available!

Source: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Official Fan Club Mailer Vol. 13 translated by Tuxedo Unmasked

Keep reading for the full interview translation.

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The first Sailor Moon Eternal film will be released in Japan on September 11th 2020

Sailor Moon Eternal poster with release date 2020.9.11

An update on the Sailor Moon Official Site gives us the release date of the first Sailor Moon Eternal film which will be hitting theatres in Japan on September 11th 2020. This includes a poster which shows us the image we’ve already seen and the release date.

The note on the official site as well as a longer text on the film’s news section mentions that a poster will be available at the Tamashii Nations event on October 25th and that the back of the poster will include an image of Usagi and Chibiusa meeting Helios. I wonder if this will actually be Helios the human, who appears later in the story, of Pegasus the winged horse, the incarnation of Helios which appears in the earlier parts of the Dream arc. The details on the site also mention that this is the release date of the first Sailor Moon Eternal movie, confirming that this is still indeed meant to be two films.

Sailor Moon Eternal 2020.9.11

The word “Roadshow” appears alongside this date on the poster and official site. This is a term used in Japan to refer to a limited release of a film prior to a wider release. Roadshow releases were common in the US until the 1970s when the practice was mostly stopped but this continues in Japan. This makes me wonder when a wide release of the film is planned in Japan, though ultimately this doesn’t make much of a difference as my real concern is when the film will be released in North America. We have not yet received any details about the film’s release outside of Japan.

Sailor Moon Eternal’s web site states that TOEI will be collaborating with Studio DEEN for the films

Sailor Moon Eternal - Poster

The Sailor Moon Eternal films now have an official Japanese web site. There’s really not much there besides the poster and teaser, both of which we’ve already seen. The text at the bottom of the site is an image, meaning I can’t even copy and paste it into Google Translate! Luckily some fans have deciphered this text and the noteworthy information on this page is that TOEI will be collaborating with Studio DEEN for these films. What does this mean?

Studio DEEN

Studio DEEN is a Japanese animation studio which has been around since 1975. They’ve done a lot of anime for TV, video and film. This means that some fans are jaded because of what the studio did with some property or another, but at the end of the day it can’t be denied that Studio DEEN has also done some quality work over the years. Hit and miss? Sounds like Sailor Moon Crystal to me! What can we infer from this? I’d say pretty much nothing! For such a large studio who’s worked on so many properties we don’t know what effect this will have on Sailor Moon Crystal. We will have to see what they come up with!

Have a look at the Studio DEEN Wikipedia page to see which of their works you’ve seen. What did you think of them? I’ve seen some of the stuff listed but it’s hard to tell if the episodes I saw were those they worked on. Since I’m mostly familiar with older anime series the two works which stick out as being of high quality to me are DNA² and Angel’s Egg. Angel’s Egg in particular is an absolutely beautiful film. Since it was made in 1985 I don’t imagine much of that staff is still around! I can’t say I’ve seen anything the studio has put out recently.

Sailor Moon Eternal Poster - Sailor Moon

Looking at this new web site we see that elements of the Sailor Moon Eternal poster are actually saved as individual images. This allows us to get a look at just Sailor Moon or Sailor Chibi Moon from the posters.

Sailor Moon Eternal Poster - Sailor Chibi Moon

Sailor Moon Eternal Poster - Background

Sailor Moon Eternal logo

Yuranis León’s Sailor Moon music video is something that has the words Sailor and Moon in it

Yuranis León - Sailor Moon

Here’s a music video by Instagram influencer Yuranis León which is called Sailor Moon and has the words Sailor Moon in the lyrics and even has the words Sailor Moon appearing on the screen though I’m not sure what, if anything, it has to do with Sailor Moon.

I don’t think I have a very good explanation for what this is or even who Yuranis León is. As far as I can tell she is an Instagram influencer which I think means she has a popular Instagram account but doesn’t have any sort of “normal” job for which people follow that account other than is just being a very popular account. This is a thing which happens now and I am an old person who does not understand the world I live in. Yuranis León has recently released a music video “Sailor Moon” which is very popular. It has nearly 10 million views on YouTube which is more than many recording artists can hope to get. I suppose this makes her a singer, though her popularity predates this activity as far as I can tell.

Yuranis León - Sailor Moon - Shooting money out of a gun with a cat

So what does this have to do with Sailor Moon? I’m not sure. It seems as if this was a video made by someone who had heard the name Sailor Moon but had no real idea what it was. Everything is pink though Sailor Moon isn’t really about pink things. In the back of the video where Yuranis León spends some time dancing is something which looks like a toy box but this seems to fit more with Barbie than Sailor Moon. If this song had been about Barbie I think it would have worked about as well or maybe a bit better. She has a cat and Sailor Moon also has a cat though this cat doesn’t look much like Luna. The cat does resemble the fluffy white cat Luna from the Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon series though! Could that be a reference? Almost certainly not. Her name is Yuranis which is sort of like Uranus? Not really.

Yuranis León - Sailor Moon - Toon Makers' Sailor Moon Luna

Update:

Following my posting of this article Aurélia, a fan who frequently comments on the posts here at Sailor Moon News, added a translation to the lyrics. They have many more references to Sailor Moon than I expected! It seems like the song itself is heavily related to Sailor Moon while the music video itself doesn’t really match the lyrics. Here is her translation:

Somos las Sailor, las Sailor Scouts
[We are the Sailor, the Sailor Scouts]
Que llegamos todas a salvar al mundo
[Who all come to save the world]
A salvar el mundo de todas las malignas
[To save the world from all the Youma]

Porque somos las Sailor Scouts, las Sailor Moon
|For we are the Sailor Scouts, the Sailor Moons]
Las Sailor Moon, Moon, Moon, Moon
[The Sailor Moons, etc.]
Fuego de Marte, enciéndete, enciéndete
[Mars fire, ignite, ignite]
Burbujas de Mercurio, estallen, estallen
[Mercury bubbles, blast, blast]
Rayo creciente de Venus, fulmina, fulmina
[Crescent beam of Venus, strike, strike]
Curación lunar acción, curación lunar acción
[Moon Healing Escalation, Moon Healing Escalation]

Ay, me transformaste
[Oh, transform me!]

What do I even tag this in? It doesn’t reference any particular incarnation of Sailor Moon. I’ve chosen “Reference” but I’m not sure there’s even anything that would pass for a Sailor Moon reference in here. It’s just using the words “Sailor Moon”. I can’t really tag it in “Fan Community” because I haven’t seen any evidence that Yuranis León is a fan. I guess she must be to use the name Sailor Moon in this song. Whatever. I watched it. Now you have to watch it. If you have Sailor Moon fan friends who you hate you can send this to them so that they have to watch it too.

Toon Makers' Sailor Moon - Luna

Thanks to @JulioDHH on Twitter for spotting this one. He asked fans to flag it and instead I’m sharing this with a bunch of fans which probably isn’t what he would want but here we are. Forgive me Julio!

A two day concert, Akiko Kosaka 45th Anniversary Sailor Moon Music History Supported by Pretty Guardians, is coming to Tokyo November 9th and 10th

Anza and Akiko Kosaka from the Sailor Moon Crystal visual book

A two day concert named “Akiko Kosaka’s 45th Anniversary Sailor Moon Music History Supported by Pretty Guardians” will be taking place in Tokyo on November 9th and 10th. This two days concert will actually include two different performances with completely different artists on each day. November 9th will be a relaxed piano concert with some conversations and the 10th will have a band performance. So what exactly is this? Akiko Kosaka is well known for having written many songs for the original Sailor Moon anime as well as Sailor Moon Crystal but in this case it is likely her involvement writing many songs for the Sailor Moon musicals which is the basis for this concert. We can tell from the other artists appearing at this event that this will almost certainly involve performances of a number of Sailor Moon musical songs as this will involve performers from the musicals. Across the two days actresses who portrayed almost all of the Sailor Guardians in the musicals, that being everyone but Sailor Pluto, as well as others will be performing. Sailor Pluto is likely only absent because Yuuko Hosaka, who originally played Sailor Pluto in some musicals, was originally scheduled to be involved with the event but had to cancel.

With this year’s Sailor Moon musical being delayed until 2020 this concert may serve as a nice alternative for some fans. I can only speculate as to the specific format but with there being performers to represent each characters with no duplicates it seems likely that some effort to have someone take the part of the Sailor Guardian they previously portrayed is likely. Will they wear some sort of costume or just sing some classic songs? Who knows! Here’s a breakdown of who’s going to be involved and when.

Anza as Usagi from the first Sailor Moon musical

Not everyone is going to be involved with both days, but here’s a list of the actors which are going to be there for both November 9th and 10th. Akiko Kosaka, who’s career is being celebrated with this concert, will evidently be there for both days. Anza, the first actress to play Sailor Moon in a musical from 1993 to 1998, will likely be performing as Sailor Moon. Hisano Akamine, the third actress to play Sailor Mercury from 1999 to 2000, will likely be performing as Sailor Mercury. Misako Kotani, the second actress to play Sailor Mars from 1994 to 1997, will likely be performing as Sailor Mars. Emi Kuriyama, the seventh actress to play Sailor Jupiter from 1999 to 2000, will likely be performing as Sailor Jupiter. Akiko Miyazawa, the fourth actress to play Sailor Venus also played Queen Beryl and musical exclusive characters Bilhah Emerald and Elizabeth Bathory, a vampire. She will likely be performing as Sailor Venus. Sanae Kimura, the first actress to play Sailor Uranus from 1994 to 1997, will likely be performing as Sailor Uranus.

Yuuta Mochizuki, the second actor to play Tuxedo Mask, also played Kunzite in the very first musical and later the musical exclusive character Count Dracul. He is also well known for playing the Red Power Ranger in Zyuurangers, the series which was adapted in North America as the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. He will likely be performing as Tuxedo Mask. Hikari Ono has played Hawk’s Eye, Sailor Star Maker, Loof Merrow, a musical exclusive pirate, Bloody Dracul Vampir, a musical exclusive vampire who is Dracula’s daughter, and Prince Demande. It isn’t clear who she would be portraying in this concert as there doesn’t seem to be an actress to represent each of the Sailor Starlights.

The only person who will only be at the first day performance is Sakoto Yoshioka who played Princess Kakyuu in a musical in 1997. While it’s possible that she could be reprising her role as Princess Kakyuu, there is currently only one Sailor Starlight scheduled to be present on the first day so it doesn’t really add up.

There are a more performers who will only be there on the second day. This is when the full cast was originally planned to be together all at once. Yuuka Asami, the sixth actress to play Sailor Neptune from 1999 to 2002, later returned to play Jadeite in 2003. She will likely be performing as Sailor Neptune. Mao Mita, the fourth actress to play Sailor Saturn from 1999 to 2000, will likely be performing as Sailor Saturn. Tamaki Dia Shirai, the third actress to play Chibiusa from 1995 to 1996, will likely be performing as Sailor Chibi Moon. Ryuuji Kasahara played a number of characters including Kunzite, Death Ra, a musical exclusive member of the Death Busters, Tiger’s Eye, MC Fly, a musical exclusive minion of Galaxia, Chaos, Professor Tomoe, Baron Gilles de Rais, a musical exclusive vampire, and Dark Nibiru, a musical exclusive character. It’s not clear who he will be portraying. Momoko Okuyama, the first actress to play Sailor Star Healer in musicals from 1996 to 1998, may be reprising her role but once again as there is no Sailor Star Fighter actress involved we can’t be sure what role she will be playing.

Akiko Kosaka 45th Anniversary Music history

With this event only taking place on a single day it may prove more difficult to get tickets than other musicals. Do any of you hope to be able to make it to this concert? I’m certainly hoping a CD or video release will be made available for fans who aren’t likely to attend.

Source: Sailor Moon official site Original Story with an Update.

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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50 years ago today humans walked on the Moon for the first time since Queen Beryl destroyed the Moon Kingdom

Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the Moon

50 years ago today, on July 21st 1969, was the pinnacle of the Apollo 11 mission in which Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the Moon since the fall of the Moon Kingdom, Silver Millennium. Though we don’t know who the first person to ever walk on the Moon was, we know of course that Neil Armstrong was the first to do it in a very long time as there was no one on the Moon when the Apollo Lunar Module made it’s landing on July 20th, except of course if we count the consciousness of Queen Serenity which was uploaded into an advanced Moon Kingdom supercomputer following her death.

Apollo 11 Plaque

One may of course quibble as to whether or not the inhabitants of the Moon Kingdom were in fact human or aliens, with some of them being born on the Moon or other planets. The plaque left by the Apollo 11 crew in 1969 stated quite clearly “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969, A. D. We came in peace for all mankind.” While the inhabitants of the Moon Kingdom itself did not come from the Earth, others did. Endymion traveled to the Moon from the Earth to see Princess Serenity and of course Queen Beryl, the Shitennou and the army which accompanied them were all natives from the Earth who set foot and eventually died on the Moon.

Sailor Moon episode 44 - Princess Serenity and Prince Endymion dying

Though no women walked on the Moon throughout the time of the Apollo missions, we know that a few have been there since. Sailor Moon and the Sailor Guardians, as well as a couple of cats, all went in the 90s. The specifics vary depending on the canon of course. In the original anime the cats got in a fight with Kunzite while the rest of the girls were in a time warp which somehow landed them on the Moon in the present day, but the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal clearly show them all going to the Moon. Though they may all have been aliens in their previous lives they were reborn to human families as humans on the Earth.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 10 - The Earth is too low in the sky for where they should be on the Moon and if the Sun was obscured like this there would be a partial lunar eclipse

Naturally most biased news coverage of the Apollo 11 mission fails to dwell on the specifics, that they weren’t actually the first people on the Moon. Just like Christopher Columbus was not technically the first person in the Americas we use these kind of simplified versions of history to highlight the great achievements of those involved. Nothing but respect for the hardworking men and women at Nasa who managed to make it from the Earth to the Moon without using some kind of teleportation. That might actually have been a first. Some aliens have been shown to be able to travel interstellar distances in bubbles generated by plants but it isn’t clear if this was ever used to go to the Moon.

Sailor Moon episode 44 - Princess Serenity gazing at the Earth

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