Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 and 8 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Mamoru sees Sailor Moon transform

This is a review and discussion of Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7, He Saw Me Transforming, and Act 8, Rei and Her Father. These episodes originally aired on TV in Japan on November 15th and 22nd respectively. The date on the amusement park tickets for Act 7 show November 15th, which again confirms that the events of the series are taking place in something that resembles real time. Both titles are objectively incorrect because the phrasing of “He Saw Me Transforming” suggests that Usagi had awareness of this fact, which she did not, and “Rei and Her Father” does not actually feature Rei’s father, though the story is influenced by his actions where most of the action and plot takes place.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - A rare appearance by Ami

Sailor Mercury fans won’t be seeing much of Ami in these episodes. The excuse? She’s “Looking for Sailor V”. It isn’t really clear how she’s doing this exactly. Internet research? Looking it up at the library? Listening to police frequencies on the radio? Sailor V isn’t hard to find! She’s around Sailor Moon all the time! Ami should just do some fighting if she wants to find her. Ami’s scenes in these two episodes are confined to scenes filmed either at Karaoke Crown or the school. These are probably scenes filmed along with other episodes. The actress doesn’t go to any of the location shoots used in these episodes.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Motoki with Tuxedo Mask's jacket

Act 7 is all about someone finding out someone’s identity, but it isn’t who we think it is! In the set up for the episode we see a monster fight in which Sailor Moon sees Tuxedo Mask have his tuxedo jacket ripped in the shoulder. Usagi then, very observantly, noticed that Motoki has this exact jacket ripped in the exact same place! Usagi’s conclusion, which is not completely unreasonable, is that Motoki is actually Tuxedo Mask! This is humorous as, in the Sailor Moon anime, Usagi also believed at one point that Motoki might be Tuxedo Mask! She imagines this in anime episode 13, Girls Unite: The End of Jadeite, while looking at various constellations, including the Motoki constellation and the Tuxedo Mask constellation which I have honestly never seen but I guess they are visible from Tokyo?

Sailor Moon episode 13 - Motoki as Tuxedo Mask

It seems we didn’t even get Motoki’s name prior to this, as Usagi has to ask him what it is. She’s starting to think she’s in love with Tuxedo Mask, and so she makes an attempt to get closer to Motoki by buying him food for his turtle! Another fantastic observation on Usagi’s part as Motoki is absolutely obsessed with Kamekichi and offers her amusement park tickets on the spot to thank her for them! The twist? She must bring two other friends! Sounds like a plot device!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Motoki returns Mamoru's jacket

Usagi brings Makoto and Rei! Rei, naturally, is not happy to be there. Motoki brought along Mamoru and Takai, his fellow turtle lover who in contrast makes Motoki seem like a cool ladies man! Takai is like an unrealistic joke character out of a cartoon or the Big Bang Theory in that he gets hiccups when he’s around girls. If anime has taught me anything many boys and men are completely incapacitated around women leading to nosebleeds and all other sorts of reactions which people never have in the real world which I inhabit. The viewer, at this point, already knows that Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask. Motoki, it turns out, had Tuxedo Mask’s jacket so that his mother could fix it for Mamoru. Mamoru is an orphan as we later learn, with no mother to sew a busted tuxedo jacket. I wonder why he didn’t get Hina to do it? Another reason for which I believe some elements of this series were made up as they went along and not planned from the beginning!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Motoki and Usagi on a boat

When the gang needs to split up into couples they do so using rock paper scissors and we first have Makoto with Motoki, Takai with Rei and Mamoru with Usagi. Aside from Takai and Rei, the biggest mismatch in the history of television, these are all big couples of the series! This is the first hint at the Makoto/Motoki relationship and yes I am absolutely shipping these two! Makoto gets what all of this is about and offers to switch partners with Usagi so that she can be with Motoki. They go on a roller coaster ride and then ride some boats in a pond which reminds me of… Usagi and Umino’s date in anime episode 15, Usagi’s Panic: Rei’s First Date! When Motoki again expresses his love of turtles Usagi notes that the two of them are like the tortoise and the hare! These aren’t lovers but it’s a neat idea! Things aren’t going great for Usagi however as she doesn’t feel that something something she does when Tuxedo Mask is around. Very observant once again! Usagi is on a roll!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Usagi and Motoki separate in a house of mirrors

Usagi and Motoki enter a house of mirrors. Have you ever been in one of these? I’ve been in a few and they can be a bit confusing but not as bad as this episode makes us think! Motoki, hesitant to make any sort of physical contact, has Usagi hold the same handkerchief as him so that they don’t get lost which of course means he immediately lets go and they get separated. When Mamoru comes by to help Usagi he’s not having any of this handkerchief nonsense and grabs her hand assertively! Usagi senses the same thing she does when Tuxedo Mask is around, but isn’t able to put the whole puzzle together! For that we will need a Batman Returns type moment which is some time away. Since Motoki is claustrophobic, he needs to be rescued by Makoto, which is cute, but she immediately abandons him when the monster is about. It’s a bit ironic that Motoki, a turtle lover, is claustrophobic. If he was ever an actual turtle he’d probably be afraid to hide in his own shell!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Sailor Moon transforms

When Usagi finally gets a call about a monster attack she thinks no one is around and transforms. Mamoru is able to see her in a mirror. This is not only not how house of mirrors’ work but it’s also not how mirrors work! The general rule, one way glass aside, is that if you can see a person, they can see you! It doesn’t matter how many mirrors you bounce your gaze off of. If you look at a person they can see that you’re looking at them! Since there’s no one way glass involved, as this is actually just an effect of a light room and a dark room on either side of a sheet of glass which is not the case here, there is really no plausible reason for which Usagi would not be able to see Mamoru but that he could still see her. Regardless, the plot requires Mamoru to learn of Usagi’s secret identity before Usagi learns his, and so that is how this magic house of mirrors works. Maybe Luna made it with her magic!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Moon in front of a mural

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7

Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger episode 5 - Pink Ranger in front of mural

Zyuranger episode 5

All of the fighting goes down at this familiar looking stage. We have coloured benches around an outdoor stage with some unique windows and a mosaic. Though I did not make the connection when I first saw this episode I later noticed that this same location was used in a number of episodes of Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, the Super Sentai show which was adapted as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. This location appears in two episodes of the English Power Rangers show, which is where I first noticed it, but it also features more prominently in the equivalent Zyuranger episodes. The location is first featured in Zyuranger episode 5, Scary Riddles, in which the Zyurangers face off against the Sphynx. This was adapted as the 5th episode of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, A Pressing Engagement. The location is again used in Zyuranger episode 16, The Great Sneeze Plot, which was adapted in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as episode 11, No Clowning Around, in which the gang fight Pineoctopus, a pineapple octopus monster.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Moon in front of windows

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7

Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger episode 5 - Red Ranger

Zyuranger episode 5

Zyuranger aired in 1992 while Sailor Moon aired in 2003 and we can see that this area has been cleaned up considerably. Back in 1992 there were broken windows, graffiti on the walls and the paint on the benches seems faded, though this last point may simply be differences in video quality. By 2003 there seems to be no graffiti, restored windows and freshly painted or perhaps simply cleaned benches. I wonder what it looks like today! I haven’t been able to tell specifically where around Tokyo this location is. A reverse image search said it was a “wall”. If any readers know more about this location I’d love to hear about it. The live action series has a lot in common with Super Sentai series, and this is just one of those similarity. We will see reused costumes and even footage directly lifted from this series in future episodes.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Rei in front of stands

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7

Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger episode 16 - Grifforz, Dora Endos, Totpat and Bookback

Zyuranger episode 16

After the fight Sailor Moon uses her handkerchief, which she has shown to both Motoki and Mamoru, to bandage Tuxedo Mask’s injured hand. When he untransforms Mamoru, who has already seen Usagi transform into Sailor Moon, recognizes the handkerchief. This is an odd double reveal of her identity. If he hadn’t seen her in the house of mirrors, he would certainly have figured out her identity here! The handkerchief also appears in the manga as Usagi, dressed as a Princess, drops it in Act 4, Masquerade Dance Party. That one had her name on it though.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 7 - Sailor V warns Sailor Moon against seeing Tuxedo Mask

Sailor V tells Sailor Moon to stay away from Tuxedo Mask twice in this episode. After Sailor Moon ignores the first warning she later states that she can’t stay away from him for obvious reasons. Sailor V, who the audience is meant to believe is the Princess, says that destiny can not be avoided. The natural interpretation of this is that, like in the manga, the tragedy that is unavoidable is the murder suicide of Princess Serenity and Endymion. I believe this is what the line was meant to indicate when it was originally spoken, but the true meaning will turn out to be much more complicated as the series progresses. At the time that this series was airing there was a group of fans who, even though they were familiar with other continuities, were convinced at this point that Minako was the Princess. That somehow the live action series was totally mixing things up and that Sailor V would be Sailor Venus and she would be the Princess. I’m not going to say at this point that this isn’t true, because that’s what the show is trying to have us believe, but let us try to think about what Sailor V is saying here in the context of this. What tragedy is it that Sailor V, as the Princess, would be aware of which is not going to be avoided if Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask pursue a romantic relationship? If Sailor V is indeed the Princess, then this can not be the Serenity/Endymion murder suicide or anything related to the Princess at all. After all Sailor V is the Princess. If Princess Serenity and Prince Endymion were a thing in some past life, then Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask being in a relationship is great news! The tragic events of the past, which in this case would have taken place between Sailor V and Endymion, will not be repeating themselves! Well I’m just ranting. Maybe Minako really is the Princess! Let’s wait and see…

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - Rei and Makoto fight

Act 8 is about Rei’s relationship with her father but it’s also about Nako Nako, Minako’s mascot! There is an absurd contest going on where people can cosplay as Nako Nako, a sort of flying blue horse, and compete in order to win a plush Nako Nako toy. A lot of effort goes into this which makes me wonder if this is perhaps some one of a kind plush not available at retail? The cost and effort put into any of these costumes is much more than I would have expected a plush toy to cost. So Usagi calls in her friends to help with her costume because she didn’t properly prepare for a test. Rei thinks helping her will make her weak while Makoto things helping her will make her stronger. This is sort of a proxy argument for both of them dealing with some other psychological baggage in their lives. Rei thinks she did well on her own and thinks it’s good for a person, but Makoto who was also on her own and wishes for more relationships in her life, believes that’s the way to go. They fight!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - Rei using up her minutes

Rei is asked to join her father for a meal, a sort of formality they do once a month. She has this conversation on her magical clothes changing phone which makes me wonder… is she using this as a personal phone? Her father’s assistant, who she wants nothing to do with, has this number somehow? Is it listed? Maybe she took her personal phone’s sim card and put it in her magic phone? She doesn’t want to go with her father and is basically forced into doing it, which Makoto believes is a kidnapping! It turns out Rei’s father, the politician, is having an article written about the ideal parent and child relationship, which Rei is pissed about since he abandoned her when her mother died and he’s scared of her magic powers. I wonder how he’d react to her phone and newfound abilities? Some serious themes going on here in this children’s show!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - A vandalized room service cart

Makoto to the rescue! She sees Rei being taken and literally runs after a speeding car all the way to a hotel. Impressive! When she learns this wasn’t really a kidnapping, though it sort of is, she’s all about being on team Rei and proceeds to be violent with people in order to protect her! You would think Makoto, who’s parents are both dead, would want Rei to have a good relationship with her still alive father but instead she basically says she doesn’t get family stuff because she doesn’t have one and supports Rei. They order room service, perhaps using their magic phones, and then Makoto puts on the room service lady’s clothes and escapes with Rei under the table. Did they like… beat up and strip the room service lady or did they have a nice heart to heart and maybe she had some daddy issues so she offered to trade clothes? Did they expose their identities by using their magic phones to change into her clothes? Where did Makoto’s uniform go? If she left it in the hotel room she’ll probably have trouble replacing it since it’s from her old school which she moved away from and isn’t enrolled in anymore. Also they somehow cut a perfectly circular hole in the room service cart so that we can do a gag where the little cover thing is lifted and Rei’s head is underneath. What sort of tool did they do this with? Oh… it was probably Luna!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - Zoisite and Jadeite

Meanwhile Zoisite has a pretty decent plan. He can play music which plays through FM radio which can project someone to where a target is. Genius! He uses this on Jadeite to send him to where Sailor Moon is and it works! Does her identity get compromised? Well Usagi is actually wearing a kind of bad Nako Nako costume so I guess Jadeite can’t see through that? The contest is held at a hotel. Rei and Makoto are also at a hotel. Is the same hotel? That’s not really clear but they do get there pretty quickly and when things get serious with Jadeite he is snapped back to Zoisite’s room.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - Zoisite attacks Minako

Zoisite tries his trick again to find Sailor V. He targets Sailor V who he thinks in the Princess. I wonder could he just have targeted the Princess instead? Who knows. The solution it seems is to turn off the FM radio. Great! Unfortunately Zoisite never tries this trick again, as it seems like it would be a fairly easy way to figure out one of the Sailor Guardians’ identities and then using that information kill all of them, assuming they could be caught off guard while they weren’t in super powered basketball mode or something.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - A man of no consequence

After Minako gets attacked there’s a man in the car with her that asks her if everything’s okay! Who is this? Could it be Alan, her old love interest from her days as Sailor V in the anime as featured in episode 42? Could it be Kaitou Ace or one of her other half dozen first loves from the Codename: Sailor V manga? No. He’s is of no consequence and we never learn more about him. In fact she later has a flamboyant cartoon character manager who isn’t this guy at all. Abandoned character and plot line or bit actor who was never meant to be anything special? No idea.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - Rei posing dressed as Nako Nako

Finally both Rei and Makoto enter the Nako Nako contest on Usagi’s behalf. They both have cute and out of character costumes and they both receive consolation prizes for their effort. The two have settled their differences and are now good friends! Rei’s relationship with her father however, is still terrible and that might be fine since he seems to be a bit of a jerk. I don’t think anyone in this show has a good father who is not dead.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 8 - Makoto dressed as Nako Nako

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. Fans looking to stream the show can do so from Dramanice and Kiss Asian.

Keep reading for more screenshots from these episodes.

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Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5 and 6 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Sailor Jupiter, Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury and Sailor Mars

This is a review and discussion of Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5, Is Usagi a True Friend?, and Act 6, The Transfer Student is Sailor Jupiter. These episodes aired on TV in Japan on November 1st and 8th respectively and, as with earlier episodes, those dates seem to match dates in the show as a calendar in Usagi’s room shows that the month is November. For the first time we get a live action original story with Act 5 and Act 6. While Act 6 is somewhat close to the manga Act 5, is still its own original story. While it may have seemed at first like this would be an episode per episode adaptation for the manga, this is no longer the case and the series will continue to deviate from the source material as it goes on. Want a faithful adaptation? Watch Sailor Moon Crystal! This series is about to do its own thing!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5 - Usagi shoots Ami

Act 5 is all about Ami doubting her friendship with Usagi. There’s a monster in here somewhere, but that small aside is almost unnecessary to the story. This is a pure drama episode focusing on the friendship between Usagi and Ami. In earlier episodes it seemed as if things were going well for those two, but we are quickly learning that for Ami, making friends doesn’t come all that naturally. As she goes through her daily life she sees a number of examples telling her that many friendships are not as they appear, and so she begins to doubt the strength of her bond with Usagi. This goes so far as to having her imagine being shot by Usagi! Like mother, like daughter! Though my mind always goes to Chibiusa when I see Usagi with a gun, there is an early image of Usagi drawn by Naoko Takeuchi which similarly shows Sailor Moon wielding a gun. This was drawn before the concept of Sailor Moon was completely figured out.

Usagi with a gun

Sailor Moon R episode 60 - Chibiusa pointing a gun at Usagi

Ami buys a book, “How To Be A True Friend” which gives advise that she doesn’t really follow all that well. This causes her to act atypical in a number of ways. She speaks to Usagi more casually, using the honorific “chan”, which was something Usagi had mentioned she wanted her to use. The “chan” honorific is used between friends while the “san” honorific is more formal. When other students boo the teacher because of a surprise test, she boos along! She even intentionally fails the test (or pretends to have failed the test) in order to help out with chores as punishment. She even skips her cram school in order to go to a pyjama party with Usagi and Naru. This is not the Ami we are used to, and it’s not one we will see for long!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5 - Ami the clown

This pyjama party is some weird stuff. It’s no one’s birthday, but it’s full of streamers! The girls sing karaoke and Ami claps along in a robot like motion and finally joins in. When it comes to trying on makeup however things are not as easy as screaming a catch phrase and transforming. Ami ends up looking like a clown causing Usagi and Naru to laugh, which Ami perceives as laughing at her. Distraught she tries to wash it off and collapses out of exhaustion. Usagi finds the book and is upset that Ami is trying to be someone she’s not. She tells her that lying is the one thing friends don’t do! Usagi, of course, is a good friend through all of this but Ami only sees evidence that their friendship is eroding as she basically is hearing her state ways in which they aren’t real friends. She doesn’t say “chan” and they lie to each other.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5 - Rei is the voice of reason

Meanwhile Rei, who herself has been shown to be very antisocial in past episodes, is very socially aware and the voice of reason. She tells Usagi not to push things and she’s totally right! What we have in Ami and Rei are a girl who doesn’t have friends because she’s bad at it and a girl who doesn’t have friends because she doesn’t want any!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5 - Poser Ami with her fake glasses

There’s a whole glasses sub plot. Ami wears fake glasses, which is pretty odd. Do people really do this? I’ve recently started wearing real glasses and it’s a real pain to get used to. As I type this I’m distracted by the visible frames and twitching my nose, but Ami feels some sort of comfort from them. This makes me wonder… what if she really needed glasses? Ami wears glasses but Sailor Mercury doesn’t! Does transforming somehow heal all physical limitations? In the not at all canon Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon series which only ever had a pilot which never went to air, Sailor Mercury was in a wheel chair but when she transformed she still needed a special flying vehicle (which we can’t call a wheel chair because it doesn’t have wheels) to move around. Would a Sailor Guardian with glasses have something like Sailor Mercury’s visor? Regardless, they’re fake, and by the end of the episode Ami finds she isn’t wearing them anymore which is a sign of her gradual transition into the person she was pretending to be.

Toon Makers' Sailor Moon - Sailor Mercury

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5 - Sailor Moon, Mercury and Mars

Ami also manages to call Usagi by her given name “Usagi” by the end, though there is no “chan” honorific included. This is an upgrade from the “Tsukino-san” she would usually say. Moreso Naru and Usagi’s other friends refer to Ami as the more informal “Ami-chan” instead of the formal “Mizuno-san” they had been using. This was a small change none of them had noticed, but indicative of an overall acceptance on their part that they were seeing Ami differently. The use of honorifics in this show and anime in general isn’t something that is always obvious to western viewers who don’t use such terms, but this episode in particular illustrates how different honorifics can be used even between classmates at the same level and that this can tell us something about their relationship. Throughout the series it is notable that Usagi very quickly uses the “chan” honorific when she first encounters the Sailor Guardians. This is an example of how easily she makes friends and is reflective of her genuine kind heart.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5 - FM 77.7 doesn't exist

A bit of trivia. Early in the episode when Ami is listening to the radio she’s tuned to the FM frequency 77.7. This would refer to a 77.7 MHz carrier frequency. The problem? This is out of the normal range for FM radio which is in the range of 87.5 to 108 MHz. So what’s at 77.7 MHz? Pretty much nothing! A bit of reading at Wikipedia tells me that in the US and Canada radio controlled devices generally use between 72 and 76 MHz, putting this frequency between those that are commonly used. I don’t know why Ami isn’t just tuning in to everyone’s favourite radio station, FM no. 10!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Sailor Jupiter transforms

Act 6 introduces us to Makoto Kino, Sailor Jupiter. She’s played by Mew Azama who I feel perfectly captures the character both in the way she looks and acts. The immediately evident thing about her is that she’s incredibly tall, and we’ll notice that whenever we see a group shot of the girls either posing in the show or in promotional material. Check out the new banner I’m using for the site and you’ll see that she’s leaning in and still taller than everyone else! This episode once again has a lot of drama and emotion and to me is one of the high points of the series. One might be inclined to say that, like with the episodes introducing the other characters, that this episode follows the manga Act 5, Makoto – Sailor Jupiter, but upon some reflection the only resemblance is the appearance of Makoto. While the Manga story centres around a wedding dress shop this episode is about basketball and no more resembles it in any way than the anime episode 25, Jupiter – the Powerful Girl in Love, with Crane Game Joe follows it. The anime, similarly, introduces Sailor Moon, Mercury and Mars in similar ways to the manga, but did not do the same for Sailor Jupiter or Venus.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Takeru is not properly dressed to play basketball

Basketball is a major theme here and I wonder if anyone working on the show ever actually played the game. I’m no pro myself but at 6’2″ it was inevitable that I end up shooting a few hoops from time to time in my day, although a general lack of coordination and athleticism kept me from excelling at the sport. The superstar basketball player that all the girls show up to watch play is Takeru and this dude is not at all well equipped to play basketball! He’s wearing a really inappropriate hat and his scarf can’t possibly be doing him any good. Instead of basketball shoes he’s got these old and busted boots. Nice superstar! I wonder, do people really do this kind of thing in Japan? Just hang around a basketball court fawning over a run of the mill street player and taking photos? It reminds me a bit of episode 14 of the anime that centred around tennis where everyone turned out in droves to watch a player.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Makoto defends Usagi

Usagi, creeping around the court to watch this Takeru guy, gets confronted and intimidated by a few jerks. Makoto shows up, protects her, and beats the crap out of them! How fantastic. Makoto is a transfer student from another school where, rumour has it, she got in a fight and so she got kicked out! As always Makoto is wearing the wrong school uniform and although it isn’t mentioned the idea is that she continues to wear this because she’s so tall and that her new school doesn’t have a uniform in her size. I don’t know how sizes work in Japan but as I understand it in North America women’s clothes sizes only affect width and for height you get petite, grande and venti clothes. I think that’s right…

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Makoto and Usagi

Makoto has no friends, and so she hangs out on the roof at lunch time in the no friends club with Ami! As always though, Usagi is there to become her friend! This seems natural at this point as Makoto helped defend her. While walking on a bridge Usagi walks on a ledge to compensate for the fact that Makoto is so tall! Shopping montage! The two go shopping and try on various humorous clothes. The store they go to is Claire’s which is a chain which has locations here in Canada. A good place to buy gloves during prom season which work for Sailor Moon cosplay! Makoto is new to the area, having not only changed schools but also having moved in to a new place. She lives on her own since, as she states, her parents died when she was 10. These backstories keep getting more tragic! More important than that, as we eventually learn, is that she left because of her “Sempai”, a theme which is always around for Makoto. She compares various boys she finds attractive to her “Sempai”, a term which here means a student of a higher grade, something which in the English dub was a reference to her “old boyfriends” though in reality it does not seem like they ever dated. We see a number of people leaving Makoto at one point and it seems like one of them is likely her Sempai. There are two teenaged boys in the mix but I imagine the last one to leave, the well dressed one, is meant to be him.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Makoto in the rain

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 147 - Makoto in the rain

When Makoto arrives home at her apartment one night she finds a love letter from Takeru inviting her to show up at a fountain at 10. Makoto arrives early in the morning, but hours and hours go by and no one shows up. This bears a striking similarity to episode 147 of Sailor Moon SuperS, Destined Partners? Makoto’s Innocence, in which Makoto waits for hours in the rain for Tiger’s Eye who has stood her up. Inspiration for this series from the anime is certainly possible, as that series had completed airing years before this series began production. In this story however, Takeru did not stand her up at all. The letter was a cruel prank by the three basketball jerks which causes great heartbreak to Makoto. Luckily Luna sees this and, somehow, is able to alert the girls via their cell phones. I expect she could communicate with them when in the headquarters but she’s clearly on the go when she sees this which makes me once again wonder if Luna’s powers have any limit!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Ami, Usagi and Rei ready for basketball

This leads to a completely ridiculous and hilarious scene in which Usagi, Ami and Rei seek to take revenge on the basketball jerks by somehow using their phones to transform into basketball players? Does using a magic phone to make yourself wear basketball clothes make you better at basketball? This episode seems to suggest that yes it does, which makes us wonder why this isn’t used for actual saving the world purposes! So the girls show up looking all bad ass and totally cream these jerks at basketball using seemingly superhuman abilities to do things like jump super high. Justice?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Rei doesn't like boys

Meanwhile through a conversation with Rei she mentions that she doesn’t like boys. Does this mean she likes girls? The interpretation from the manga would more mean that she’s not interested in boys, not that she’s interested in girls instead. In this way she’s quite unlike her boy crazy anime counterpart, though in other ways she is much like she was in the anime. In the manga it is mentioned by Rei and Minako that as Sailor Guardians their dedication to protecting the Princess precludes them from pursuing romantic relationships. Though this passage somewhat resembles the sentiment Rei mentions here, it can’t be said that it’s for the same reasons. Rei has only been a Sailor Guardian for a brief time, around a month by my estimate, and does not know who the Princess is or have full access to her memories of her previous life. It seems like this attitude about men is one she had before meeting Usagi. Further, without getting into specifics, the girls continue to pursue romantic relationships and it’s strongly indicated that far in the future at least one of the Sailor Guardians, besides the Princess, will herself be getting married.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Makoto cries

Finally Takeru seemingly shows up at Makoto’s apartment but he’s actually possessed by a monster and he takes her to a dimension filled with candles. Makoto is so hardcore that she resists his charm and decks him. Woo! We get a real sad montage of everyone who’s left her, but Sailor Moon comes in to take Makoto’s hand, perfect symbolism of Usagi’s friendship which saves Makoto from a life of loneliness. Takeru, it turns out, is a bit of a wuss as he flees from the monster in terror while hardcore Makoto faces him. He’s quickly dispatched and the four Sailor Guardians are finally together as a team! Now there’s just that pesky business of finding the Princess…

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Zoisite

We get a glimpse of Zoisite as the episode ends. Again, he looks very little like his manga and anime counterpart, except for the pony tail.

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. Fans looking to stream the show can do so from Dramanice and Kiss Asian.

Keep reading for more screenshots from these episodes.

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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?

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Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 1 and 2 discussion

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

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

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

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 1 - Sailor V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 2 - Sailor Mercury

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

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

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

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

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 2 - A MiniDisc

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

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

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

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

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 2 - Rei Hino

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

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

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

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Kenny has Sailor Moon’s Moon Stick in the trailer for the South Park: Phone Destroyer game

South Park: Phone Destroyer - Princess Kenny with Sailor Moon's Moon Stick

A new South Park cell phone game by Ubisoft is coming to mobile phones. The trailer for this game, released at E3 this week, includes Kenny as a Princess wielding Sailor Moon’s Moon Stick complete with the Silver Crystal it has once upgraded. This is not the first time we see Princess Kenny, who had appeared in the episode “A Song of Ass and Fire” back in 2013. In that episode Kenny transformed with the help of an item which closely resembled Sailor Moon’s Crisis Moon Compact. Watch the trailer for the game below. Princess Kenny shows up 44 seconds into the clip.

Thanks to Amanda who spotted this reference and posted about it on Twitter.

South Park: Phone Destroyer - Princess Kenny with Sailor Moon's Moon Stick

Sailor Moon episode 43 - Sailor Mars with the Moon Stick

South Park: Phone Destroyer - Princess Kenny with Sailor Moon's Moon Stick

Satomi Okubo, who previously played Sailor Moon, has been cast as Sailor Cosmos in the Le Mouvement Final musical

satomi_okubo_as_sailor_cosmos_with_chibi_chibis

Sailor Cosmos has been cast in the upcoming Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final musical and she will be played by none other than Satomi Okubo, the actress who played Sailor Moon before Hotaru Nomoto took over the role. Satomi Okubo was Sailor Moon in the La Reconquista, Petite Étrangère and Amour Eternal musicals. This is such an interesting casting choice when considering the actual identity of Sailor Cosmos. Spoilers below for those who may not have read the manga!

Sailor Cosmos

Sailor Cosmos is basically Sailor Moon from the very distant future. This is way beyond when she was Neo Queen Serenity. There is some disagreement amongst the fan community about what exactly this means. Is Sailor Cosmos just a really old but still alive version of the Sailor Moon we see in the series or is she a reincarnated version, much like Princess Serenity from Silver Millennium is the Sailor Moon we know? Alternatively some fans think of her more like a descendant of Chibiusa, which isn’t really an interpretation I can get behind. It seems like Sailor Cosmos once was Sailor Moon which is what makes this casting so brilliant. Here is a great way to have a slightly older version of Sailor Moon that looks totally familiar. With there being less than two years between the ages of the two actresses the difference isn’t all that drastic, but it’s a nice touch.

Spock and Spock - Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy

This reminds me of a few other instances in fiction where a similar interaction with a prior actor occur. The most similar comparison to me is the 2009 Star Trek movie which included a completely new cast but included interactions between the new Spock, Zachary Quinto, and older time traveling Spock played by the original actor Leonard Nimoy. In this case everything down to the time travel similarity is in place. The X-Men film franchise did something similar as the Days of Future Past film from 2014 included new cast members James MacAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Professor X and Magneto acting alongside their original series future counterparts of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.

Professor Xs - James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart

There are a few other not totally similar examples. John Wesley Shipp played the Flash in a 1990 TV series and returned to play the father of the Flash in the 2014 Flash TV series. His name changed but it was an interesting juxtaposition. Batman The Animated Series did similar things a few times. The Grey Ghost was a Batman like character from Bruce Wayne’s childhood who was played by Adam West who had played Batman in the 1966 series. In the 1999 series Batman Beyond Bruce Wayne was portrayed by Kevin Conroy who voiced him in the 1992 animated series. In this case the new Batman was Terry McGinnis, a completely new character, so it’s not really the same thing. Doctor Who is all about changing his face and time traveling so this has happened in the series more times than I would attempt to count.

All we need now is a movie in which Thomas Dekker and Edward Furlong meet! Can you think of any other examples in which an actor previously portraying the role met with a new actor?

Source: Sailor Moon Official Site

Viz’s Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray looks fantastic and is well worth buying despite the unpopular cover art

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Princess Serenity

Sailor Moon R The Movie was released on DVD and Blu-Ray April 18th and it looks amazing. I’m not talking about the lacklustre cover art which everyone seems fixated on but rather the video quality of the actual Blu-Ray. This is a top quality release which seems to come from the film source. The level of detail is absolutely not something which could have simply been gotten from software upscaling, which is what has been used for all of the home video releases we’ve seen for the Sailor Moon TV series to date. But don’t take my word for it! Look at these screenshots to see the difference. Prior to this release I watched the Japanese DVD as my gold standard. The French DVD release which came out in 2014 looks great too, but is still in the same ball park. It has a slightly cleaned up image and a higher resolution due to them having different TV standards. The old DVD we got from Pioneer in 1999 is borderline VHS quality, but it is an unmated full screen so there’s a bit more to the picture. This new Blu-Ray is in a league of its own. View the full sized versions of these pictures to see the difference. There’s a small amount of loss of quality from the JPEG compression on these uploads but it should give you a good idea of the difference.

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Usagi gives a rose to Mamoru

Viz Blu-Ray (2017)

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Japense R2 DVD 2002 - Usagi gives a rose to Mamoru

Japanese DVD (2002)

Sailor Moon R The Movie - French DVD - Usagi gives a rose to Mamoru

French DVD (2014)

Sailor Moon R The Movie - English Pioneer release - Usagi gives a rose to Mamoru

English Pioneer DVD (1999)

Pay attention to small details in the image like Fiore’s nose or the lines on Mamoru’s face. This new Blu-Ray image is not something which could have been extrapolated through software from any of the standard definition masters. This is a high quality HD transfer from film source and it looks as good as we could hope for! Fans who were lucky enough to have seen the film in theatres probably noticed that they could see a lot of detail in the image and we see that in this release as well. Look at another comparison between a wide shot of the street which gives us a lot of small details of individual characters.

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Wide shot of the street

Viz Blu-Ray (2017)

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Japense R2 DVD 2002 - Wide shot of the street

Japanese DVD (2002)

It’s really refreshing to see such a nice quality release from Viz considering some of the earlier stuff we’ve gotten from them. I’ve always said that they’re doing the best that they can with low quality masters and this seems to confirm that idea. They’ve gotten a lot of criticism for using too much post processing and such but at the end of the day if you start off with a low quality master there’s really only so much you can do to try to make it look nice. The minor differences between the different releases of the original anime don’t add up to much but this release is on another level. This is a great movie, part of the best of what Sailor Moon has to offer, and at the relatively low price it’s being sold for it’s a no brainer to pick it up.

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray  - Cover

But wait, you’re all thinking, what about this terrible box art??? Indeed, the cover art isn’t the best. For weeks fans have been criticizing it. I’ll agree that it isn’t the best box art compared to their other releases but is that what’s most important? We’ve gotten a lot of really nice looking boxes with great little booklets and the video content always looked kind of terrible. Here we have the opposite, a box which isn’t that nice and a top quality release inside! All things considered I’d rather we get a release with a cover drawn by 3 year old with crayons if we could somehow keep getting quality releases like this!

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Sailor Moon returns to life

Let’s look at what else is in this release. First off is the feature, which is only 1 hour long. This is the first of the Sailor Moon movies and it includes both a new English dub by Viz and a Japanese audio track with English subtitles. Sailor Moon R The Movie is one of my all time favourite films and my favourite of the Sailor Moon movies. It includes some of the best animation seen in the series. I watched the film in Japanese with English subtitles as I’d already heard the dub in theatres and found it to be good. Having seen a number of different versions of the film countless times I didn’t notice anything amiss with the translation, but as I don’t speak Japanese I can’t comment on it more than that.

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Make Up! Sailor Guardians

Also included is the Make Up! Sailor Guardians special. This originally aired with Sailor Moon R The Movie in theatres in Japan. It was also included in North American theatres when it played here. This is a fun little extra, running at only 16 minutes, with some new animation but mostly recycled clips from the TV series. This extra feature also looks great. This makes me wonder what kind of masters TOEI had access to when they put it together! This release was obviously mastered from a film source but the TV clips included also seem to come from a higher quality source even than we’ve seen with the Japanese DVD releases. With the upcoming Blu-Ray release of the original Sailor Moon anime in Japan being advertised as being software upscaled from standard definition sources I wish they had access to the same source material they used in 1993 when this special was put together. Just look at this shot of Ami from her first appearance early in the first season with the fine detail in the lines. It isn’t the best but it’s nothing like what we’ve gotten in any other TV release of the series. Let’s hope the Japanese release we get in June looks something close to this!

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Make Up! Sailor Guardians - Ami from the TV series

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Cast Interview

There are a few extras on this disc. When Sailor Moon R The Movie played in theatres it was introduced by an interview with the cast. This included Stephanie Sheh, Sailor Moon, Ben Diskin, Fiore and Robbie Daymond, Tuxedo Mask. When I saw this in theatres I thought it was a bit silly to have it before the main feature. I was there to watch the movie, not see something which wasn’t more thrilling than your run of the mill DVD extra. Having it as an extra like this however is totally reasonable. This feature is about 10 minutes.

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - LA Premiere Q & A

Also included is an interview which followed the LA Premiere. This included nearly all of the voice actors from the film, Viz’s Charlene Ingram and the ADR voice director for the film, Suzanne Goldish. The cast present included Carrie Keranen, the Xenian flower, Ben Diskin, Fiore, Cherami Leigh, Sailor Venus, Amanda Miller, Sailor Jupiter, Cristina Vee, Sailor Mars, Michelle Ruff, Luna, Sandy Fox, Chibiusa, Robbie Daymond, Tuxedo Mask, and Stephanie Sheh, Sailor Moon. The only main actors not present were Kate Higgins, Sailor Mercury, and Johnny Yong Bosh, Artemis. The interview included your standard kind of banter about how mind blowing it is to see Sailor Moon the big screen and the fan reaction. Suzanne Goldish, ADR director, tells a humours story about how her notes had her flip flopping from calling the villain Fiole, which means nothing, and Fiore, the objectively correct character’s name and the Italian word for flower. This explains why the voice actors refer to him as Fiole in the pre-movie interview. ADR directors don’t have the star power of the voice actors but they usually have some good insight into the production which makes for interesting stories.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Character art

Note that this book is not included with the film.

There is also some character art on the disc itself. I wanted to grab some screenshots but this feature wasn’t included on the DVD and the tool I used to get Blu-Ray screenshots doesn’t support menus. I’ll spare you photos of my TV and assure you these are character designs for the film similar to those seen in the above photo from the Japanese art book. It would have been nice to see a booklet with some character bios and maybe some of this kind of art but there’s nothing in the way of inserts with this release. The Japanese Sailor Moon R The Movie art book includes over 100 pages of content. It would have been easy for Viz to put together 20 or so pages to accompany this film!

Sailor Moon R The Movie Blu-Ray - Discs

We also get the standard trailers which are included in all Viz releases. If you haven’t been convinced to buy the remastered uncropped Ranma 1/2 Blu-Ray release at this point it’s just not going to happen.

So what’s my final verdict? Isn’t it obvious? Just buy the movie! Don’t bother with the DVD as it doesn’t showcase the high quality video of the HD transfer. Buy the Blu-Ray which includes the DVD if you somehow don’t have a Blu-Ray player in 2017. I got mine on Amazon. You can also get it from other retailers like Right Stuf. If you don’t want a physical copy you can save a few bucks by getting it digitally on iTunes or Amazon Video, but be warned that the digital version is currently only available in English. This is a high quality release of a great movie which every fan should own. Go get it!

Now that we’ve agreed that it’s worth getting whether you have another copy of the film or not a practical question is whether or not it supersedes any other release. Should you just throw your old copy out? The old Pioneer release has some advantages, mainly the old dub which some people have nostalgia for an the unmated full frame image. For most people in 2017 with widescreen displays this has limited appeal, but to this day the English release is the only way to get this full pictured version. Even the original Japanese laserdisc version was presented in widescreen. As for the Japanese release it still has some special features which are nice. A rare DVD feature that all of the Japanese Sailor Moon movies have is an isolated music only track which is a nice addition which isn’t on this release.

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This Fall’s musical will be called Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final

Sailor Moon Le Movement Final

An update posted to the Official Sailor Moon site this morning revealed that the name of the upcoming musical, taking place in Japan this fall, will be called Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Le Mouvement Final. The above logo was included with the post. No other details were included.

Sailor Moon Amour Eternal Musical DVD - Taking a bow

We have previously learned that almost all of the cast will be reprising their roles with the exception of Karin Takahashi who will not be returning as Sailor Saturn. That role will be played by Mirai. Though we’ve received no official confirmation of the subject of the musical it seems logical that this will focus on the Stars arc of the manga. The wings in the logo suggest we will be seeing Eternal Sailor Moon, who appears at the end of the Amour Eternal musical. The title, French for “final movement”, suggests that this final arc of the manga will somehow finalize the story of these musicals. I had been hoping that after this 5th musical we would somehow continue the story of Sailor Moon with some kind of original musical that takes place after the story of the manga. Perhaps this will still be the case!

Update: I misreported the title as “Movement Final” and not “Mouvement Final”. This is the correct French word for Movement.