The Infinity arc of Sailor Moon Crystal will begin this April

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity arc character art

An announcement has been posted to the official Sailor Moon site about an upcoming convention appearance at AnimeJapan 2016. In this article it is mentioned in passing, as if it was something we already knew, that the new episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal will be coming this April! These new episodes will cover the Infinity arc of the manga which introduces us to Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Saturn as well as the Death Busters. We don’t have any specifics about the time except that it will be some time in April.

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 133 - Chibiusa is an old lonely cat lady watching Sailor Moon

Details will be revealed at the AnimeJapan 2016 convention on March 26th in Tokyo. Guests in attendance will include Kotono Mitsuishi, the voice of Sailor Moon, Junko Minagawa, the voice of Sailor Uranus, Sayaka Ohara, the voice of Sailor Neptune, and Yukiyo Fujii, the voice of Sailor Saturn. Attendees present at this panel will receive a Sailor Moon Crystal postcard. Hopefully this event will give some specifics about a premier date and streaming options for international viewers outside of Japan. It is safe to say that one way or another, an official or unofficial fansubbed version will be available within a few days of any new episode’s release, but it would be much more convenient, morally and otherwise, to have the show streamed along with the original broadcast on Japanese TV.

Usagi watching TV

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episodes 182 and 183 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 182 - Chibi Chibi

This week on Hulu and Neon Alley‘s new episodes of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars we are introduced to Chibi Chibi. It’s a sort of mid season change up with two new villains, Sailor Aluminum Siren and Sailor Lead Crow, as well as the arrival of the mysterious Chibi Chibi. Episodes 182 and 183 have it all! We have Usagi holding Chibi Chibi in her arms followed by a swimsuit episode. At least one fan will be very happy with this!

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 182 - Sailor Lead Crow and Sailor Aluminum Siren

Episode 182, Invaders from Outer Space: The Coming of Siren, is all about Chibi Chibi! But first we have some new villains. As we saw last week, Sailor Iron Mouse has sadly been killed. It seemed like she did not have a lot of choice in her situation, and we get a bit of a hint at why that is as Galaxia is seen holding the true Star Seeds of three Sailor Animamates, including the new villains Sailor Aluminum Siren and Sailor Lead Crow, though two of them actually look like Sailor Lead Crow, making the identity of the third unknown and not like that of any character seen in the series. Sailor Aluminum Siren is a bit of a goof, always eating, and Sailor Lead Crow is embarrassed that she is her rival. Through this hostility the two seem to have a great deal of affection for each other. The Animamates are all great, but no one will replace Sailor Iron Mouse to me! Enter Chibi Chibi! She arrives from the sky floating down with an umbrella. Sure is more graceful than Chibiusa who just falls on people. Is that comparison even relevant? We don’t need to wonder whether Chibi Chibi us Usagi’s second daughter as the characters ask themselves this same question. Something seems up when Chibi Chibi seems to have brainwashed Ikuko mamma much like Chibiusa had. Setsuna, who apparently is still around, does not believe that Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion ever had a second child. What is the story with Chibi Chibi? I won’t get into the specifics of course but so much to say the truth deviates quite a bit from the manga, which had not been completed at the time this series was written, so that they didn’t know exactly how to finish things. It seems odd for this episode to make a strong statement about Chibi Chibi not being a second daughter when for all the writers knew, that might be what was actually in store for the character! One could always use time travel to write around this, as it’s unlikely that the Sailor Pluto we see here was around to see the King and Queen die or otherwise become infertile, creating the possibility of more children. Neo Queen Serenity does have a second daughter, Kousagi Tsukino, though this is from an alternate timeline in the Sailor Moon manga named Parallel Sailor Moon. Throughout the episode Usagi wears the tank top that was designed by Yoshiki Usui in Sailor Moon SuperS episode 140. When Chibi Chibi gets lost, because she is a very independent child that can barely speak, she is picked up by Seiya who is acting as a police officer for a day. This is apparently a thing that can happen in Japan. The target is the Police Chief who becomes Sailor Cop, who is a really cool looking robot cop. This faces us off against the new villains. Finally the episode ends with a tender moment where Usagi invites Chibi Chibi into her bed and holds her in her arms.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 182 - Usagi and Chibi Chibi

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 183 - Young Rei

Episode 183, The Screaming Dead: Terror of the Camp Monster, is all about Rei. Well sort of about Rei. We actually see Rei as a kid, which is sort of adorable, as she has these odd red dots on her cheeks. We meet her cousin, Kengo Ibuki, who makes art and is extremely self critical. He’s the target this week! Rei is out in some forested area where the Three Lights happen to be shooting a Power Rangers style movie. I always love it when Sailor Moon references Sentai, as it was itself meant to be a Sentai style series for girls. The live action series was a lot more Sentai style than any other incarnation, and the formula works quite well. The plot of the movie has a killer running around with a chainsaw, somewhat like Leatherface of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. The monster of the week, Sailor Artist, looks somewhat like him which leads to some high jynx. In the ensuing combat Sailor Artist recognizes a piece he made which Rei took as a child, which makes Sailor Mars realize who he is. At this point she begs Sailor Moon not to hurt him. Well is this really necessary? When did Sailor Moon last kill a monster? It’s been a really long time. As always, she uses Starlight Honeymoon Therapy Kiss and he’s healed. No need for anyone to get hurt! The episode wraps up with the gang chilling at a cottage. Chibi Chibi bumps Seiya while he’s talking to Usagi, which puts them in a compromising situation and causes everyone to blush at the situation. This episode happens to be this season’s swimsuit episode. There always seems to be a reason to have the gang in swimsuits at least once in the year. I know some people like these so here’s a screenshot of three very sexy Sailor Guardians in one piece swimsuits!

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 183 - The Three Lights in swimsuits

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 183 - Chou Yellow, Chou Blue and Chou Red

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Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 182 - Chibi Chibi arrives

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 182 - The Star Seeds of the Sailor Animamates

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 182 - Usagi and Setsuna discuss Chibi Chibi

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 182 - Usagi in her designer shirt

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 183 - Seiya seducing Usagi

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 183 - Chibi Chibi creating drama

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episodes 180 and 181 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 180 - Michiru and Seiya

The two latest episodes of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars were (probably) added to Hulu and Neon Alley this morning. This week we get episodes 180 and 181 which are all about Seiya! First we ship Seiya and Michiru, then Seiya and Haruka and then of course it’s all about Seiya and Usagi.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 180 - Sailor Iron Mouse is bad at her job

Episode 180, Brightness of Calling Stars! Haruka and Michiru’s Entry into Battle, brings back the absentee Haruka and Michiru! These two aren’t in Sailor Stars much because apparently they’re hanging out with Hotaru and Setsuna, who are nowhere to be seen in this episode. Michiru is performing a concert with the Three Lights which the girls want to go to and they are trying to phone in to buy tickets rather than the obvious solution of asking the girl who is performing in the concert if she could score them some tickets, you know for old time’s sake since they saved the world together and because thanks to Usagi their pseudo adoptive daughter who there were trying to kill is actually still alive. Michiru comes through with the tickets because that’s what you do when you’re in a superhero team with someone. The girls go to the concert, scheduled for July 13th 1996. We don’t often get years so this is a nice benchmark. Sailor Iron Mouse almost figures out who has some Star Seeds in a very comical scene! She’s starring at a poster which includes Michiru and the Three Light and determines that the Star Seed must belong to… the conductor on the poster. The show is kind of poking fun at one of my silly gripes with Sailor Stars at this point. In all other seasons the Sailor Guardians all got targeted in episodes but now for some reason no one with a Star Seed is actually having their Star Seeds removed. Well none that we’ve confirmed anyway. The concert is cool and then we ship Seiya with everyone! First Michiru asks him to help her out of her dress, which is not at all subtle. When Haruka walks in on this she tries to punch him, which is just full of sexual tension. Fighting ensues as Mr. Underpants has his star seed stolen. After the fight it looks like Sailor Moon and Sailor Star Fighter are about to become friends but then Sailor Uranus turns their hands shaking into a World Shaking. Same old. Sailor Uranus and Neptune don’t want anyone to be on the same team or be friends. They protect Sailor Moon from enemies from outside of the solar system, which is why they got involved in Sailor Moon S. Since the Sailor Starlights are also from another solar system, they are not allowed to play with the good guys! Forced drama! Oh well.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 181 - Usagi and Seiya dancing

Episode 181, Seiya and Usagi’s Nervous Date, is all about shipping Seiya and Usagi. Seiya wants to do something on his day off and decides to invite Usagi to come along for the fun. She doesn’t seem to realize this is a date and feels quite guilty about the whole endeavour. At one point she even thinks Seiya wants them to have sex, but he’s really just talking about dancing at a club. Oops! Sailor Iron Mouse is desperate at this point. She’s avoiding Galaxia and even hangs up on her! She has the bright idea that maybe the Three Lights have true Star Seeds, but when she tries to get one from Seiya he dodges the little bracelet thingy and flees. Ultimately Galaxia shows up and retrieves Sailor Iron Mouse’s bracelets, which kills her. We’ll learn more about the nature of these much later. For now lets mourn the loss of one of the coolest villains in the series, though the rest of the Sailor Animamates are cool too so we have something to look forward to. In true villain fashion Sailor Iron Mouse is killed right as she figured out who to target. If I’m ever a super villain I will always let my minions finish their sentence before I kill them. “But Adam I figured out who has the sacred amulet we’ve been searching for.” “Oh okay. Well tell me and I won’t kill you.” “It’s Ted.” “K. Thx.” *murder* While fighting, Sailor Moon sees a small bear toy that Seiya had and says his name, which causes Sailor Star Fighter to realize that Sailor Moon is actually Usagi. Good job Seiya!

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 181 - Seiya figures out that Usagi is Sailor Moon

Note: This is scheduled to be posted as I am sun bathing in St. Lucia. It was written last week. I’m assuming Viz went ahead and released these episodes on Monday as they always do. The episode titles I put may not match the translation Viz decided to go with. I usually add the titles and episode links before posting, though my screenshots come from my Japanese DVDs so much of this post is what it would have looked like anyway. I will fix up the links and titles once I return to the frozen wasteland that is Canada around February 8th.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 181 - Sailor Iron Mouse hangs up on Galaxia

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Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 181 - Usagi and Seiya

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 180 - Sailor Neptune and Uranus

The English version of Sailor Moon Crystal Act 12, Enemy – Queen Metalia, is now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 12 - Sailor Venus attacking Beryl

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal is now available to watch in English on Hulu and Neon Alley. Act 12, Enemy – Queen Metalia, has the Sailor Guardians facing off against Queen Beryl. A big change in that fight occurs here when compared to the manga, which lead to some controversy with the fans. This episode also sees Sailor Moon fighting with Evil Tuxedo Mask in a fairly heart wrenching scene.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 12 - Sailor Moon getting choked

The Shitennou make their final living appearance this week. In the manga they were killed off one by one through the series but in Sailor Moon Crystal they were kept around for… what exactly? A fairly brief exchange with the Sailor Guardians that doesn’t lead to much. Ultimately the story of Sailor Moon Crystal is so faithful to the manga that there isn’t much room for changing the story at this point.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 12 - Enemy - Queen Metalia

Next week is Act 13, Final Battle – Reincarnation, which is the final full episode of the Dark Kingdom story arc. This could be considered the finale of the first story arc though we won’t see this chapter fully concluded until Act 14, which is at once a finale and premiere.

Sailor Moon Crystal’s voice actors for Sailor Uranus, Neptune, Saturn and more revealed at this morning’s live event

Sayaka Ohara, Sailor Neptune, Junko Minagawa, Sailor Uranus and Kotono Mitsuishi, Sailor Moon

There was a live streaming event this morning in Japan, related to the upcoming Infinity arc of Sailor Moon Crystal. Art was shown, but since we’d seen that earlier this week this was not a big revelation. We did not get any details about a schedule for the series but we did get cast information for the upcoming season. Junko Minagawa, the voice of Sailor Uranus and Sayaka Ohara, the voice of Sailor Neptune, joined the event. The actress voicing Sailor Saturn, Fujii Yukiyo, showed up momentarily via a separate video.

Yukiyo Fujii, the voice of Sailor Saturn

In addition to this the actors playing the Death Busters, including the Witches 5, were announced. A full cast list, with IMDB links, is included below.

Sailor Uranus – Junko Minagawa
Sailor Neptune – Sayaka Ohara
Sailor Saturn – Yukiyo Fujii

Professor Tomoe – Takuya Kirimoto
Kaolinite – Hikari Yono
Pharaon 90 – Takaya Hashi

Eudial – Chiaki Takahashi
Mimete – Yuki Nagaku
Viluy – Rina Honizumi
Tellu – Naomi Ohzora
Cyprine – Umeka Shouji

I don’t watch much newer anime but a lot of these voice actors have a great deal of experience from recent years. MoonSisters.org posted a nice summary of all of their works on their Facebook Page. Most noteable is Takaya Hashi, who will be voicing Pharaon 90, who played a few small characters in the original Sailor Moon anime. He played Astronomer Dr. Sergai Ajimov in episode 120 of Sailor Moon S and the ventriloquist in the Sailor Moon SuperS Special.

Sailor Moon S episode 123 - Ptilol and Cyprine

Another odd thing was the inclusion of Cyprene but not Ptilol. In the recent musical Un Nouveau Voyage only Cyprene appeared, though Cyprene and Ptilol, twins, appeared together in the manga and original Sailor Moon anime. Assuming Sailor Moon Crystal will continue to be faithful to the manga it seems only logical that Ptilol will also be making an appearance. If this is the case she will likely also be voiced by Umeka Shouji.

The Exhibition of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon

Also announced at the event this morning was “The Exhibition of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon” in Tokyo from April 16th to June 19th. This exhibit will have stuff from the Sailor Moon comics and anime as well as merchandise for sale.

Sailor Moon Crystal Infinity arc character art

An image of the Infinity arc’s art was revealed, but as this was the same we’d seen earlier this week this wasn’t really anything new. We continue to wait for some confirmation of a timeline for the new episodes. At this point we can only speculate as to when it will be released.

Kotono Mitsuishi, the voice of Sailor Moon

Thanks to Twitter user @aers00 for streaming the event. I was unable to view the feed on Niconico and so I was happy to have an option to watch it while showering and getting ready this morning. I hope others who were looking to do the same found the feed as well.

Junko Minagawa, the voice of Sailor Uranus

Sayaka Ohara, the voice of Sailor Neptune

Voice actors playing the Death Busters

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episodes 178 and 179 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 178 - Yaten and Luna

The two latest episodes of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars have been released on Hulu and Neon Alley. Episode 178 and 179 were accidentally released early last Thursday but were taken down after a day, returning once again this morning. This week we get a great Yaten episode and a so so Taiki episode. I hope everyone loves shipping Luna with Yaten!!

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 178 - Luna in a dress

Episode 178, Luna’s Discovery: The Real Face of Yaten, is an episode in which I don’t believe Luna actually learns that Yaten is Sailor Star Healer as the title seems to insinuate. It is possible that the title is not a reference to Luna learning Yaten’s secret identity but instead seeing his true self under the hard exterior he puts on. More on that later. This episode is all about shipping Luna and Yaten! What a lovely couple! We know that Luna is into humans from the Sailor Moon S movie. We can also infer from her jealousy of Artemis and the Nun she thought he was into as being a further sign of her acceptance that cats can be attracted to humans. When Luna goes missing it turns out that she’s been with Yaten, living the good life, riding around in limos, overhearing conversations about their mission that don’t reveal a ton. Yaten is shooting a movie with a really terrible woman name Noriko Okamachi, an actress who is always carrying around her persian cat. She hits on Yaten but is quickly shot down. She later accuses him of being gay for turning her down, which causes Luna to scratch her face. Meanwhile Luna has been dressed up in some adorable/ridiculous girly clothes! Iron Mouse show up and takes Noriko’s star seed. The episode title insinuates that Luna sees Yaten transform, but this does not appear to happen. Luna is injured and left by Yaten who then runs some distance before transforming, seemingly while no one is watching. Naturally should he have transformed in front of a cat, that probably wasn’t something he considered a security risk, but we know it would have been. During the fight Sailor Star Healer mentions a cat and Sailor Moon asks if it’s Luna, to which she responds that it sounds like a nice name. The next day at school Yaten sees Usagi with Luna, referring to her by name. He really should be putting two and two together and figuring out that Usagi is Sailor Moon at this point, but that is a discovery for another time by another person.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 178 - Sailor Star Healer

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 179 - Makoto and Taiki on a cooking show

Episode 179, Friend or Foe? Star Lights and the Sailor Guardians, has a brief appearance by Haruka and Michiru. Great, so where’s Hotaru? Ah no of course we don’t see her. More on them next week! This episode is not about these cool characters we like. It’s about Taiki. Who likes this guy? He read poetry in this episode! Wow what a sensitive guy. Taiki seems to be all about slumming it on bad TV so he’s doing a cooking show this week, and Makoto comes along. This is a bad choice as the producers have clearly not properly vetted their guest to discover that she’s actually completely terrified of being on camera. Usagi to the rescue who manages to pretty much blow up the studio in a cooking mishap. The enemy is Sailor Chef and we see Taiki transform but we kind of already did a Taiki episode so there’s nothing really novel here. This episode includes a special sneak appearance by two new Sailor Animamates Sailor Aluminum Siren and Sailor Lead Crow. They are visible only briefly and partially obscured as we learn that Sailor Iron Mouse is doing a terrible job and is apparently replaceable. Oh no!

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 179 - Michiru and Haruka

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Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 179 - Sailor Aluminum Siren, Sailor Iron Mouse and Sailor Lead Crow

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 178 - Lost cat Luna

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 178 - Luna scratches Noriko

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episodes 174 and 175 have been added to Hulu and Neon Alley

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 174 - Seiya and Usagi

The two latest episodes of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars are now available on Hulu and Neon Alley. This week with episodes 174 and 175 we get a decent introduction to the Three Lights Seiya, Yaten and Taiki as they get into high jynx at Juuban High school.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 174 - Usagi and Seiya

Episode 174, A School Storm: The Transfer Students Are Idols, introduces us to a distraction for Usagi. Like with many Sailor Stars episodes we start off with Usagi writing a letter to Mamoru, who is off in the States studying. She will write him a lot but we don’t get any letters the other way. In 2016 Usagi would be sending text messages of some kind to Mamoru. In 2006 maybe it would be AOL instant messenger. In 2001 it might be ICQ. In 1996 though, it’s ancient pen and paper. This may seem archaic but this really was a different time where the Internet was a new and evolving thing that not everyone had access to. Email was common a couple of years later but in 1996 I did not have any regular access to the Internet, which I only occasionally used to find sites to trade Sailor Moon tapes. Enter Seiya. Usagi and him had a brief encounter last week but this week’s encounter is not at all subtle about their relationship. In a scene that mimics Usagi’s first encounter with Mamoru the two walk into each other on the street. Seiya even goes so far as to call Usagi “Odango Otama”, Mamoru’s first season nickname for her. There is no question. Seiya is here to replace Mamoru and everyone seems to know it but Usagi. Mamoru is out of sight and out of mind. Usagi writes to him but doesn’t hear back. Seiya is here and wants to be a part of her life. He is the appealing simple boy in contrast to her difficult and complicated current relationship. It only makes sense for her to gravitate towards him but Usagi is ever faithful to Mamoru. Only making this distraction more obvious, the Three Lights are attending Juuban High school, where Usagi, Minako, Makoto and Ami attend. Rei is at a different school but manages to show up all the time because she is, like everyone but Usagi, crazy about these new students. Not only are they sharing a school but they all sit next to each other. Minako asks Yaten to sit next to her. Taiki sits in front of Makoto, who is nervous of course. Seiya takes it upon himself to sit behind Usagi, which bothers her like it would bother no other girl in the whole world. As she formally introduces herself as “Tsukino Usagi” Seiya intentionally mispronounces her name as “Tsumiki Dango”, a reference to rice cakes that are eaten while starring at the Moon, further mocking of her “odango” hair style. Seiya is good at everything, and shows his prowess in various sports. This brings us to football jock Yuji Kayama, the target for this episode. He does not have a True Star Seed and so turns into Sailor Guts, a disgusting Phage who shoots sweat bombs at his enemies. The Sailor Starlights show up and we get to see the first instance of Sailor Star Maker’s Star Gentle Uterus. What is this about? I don’t even know. I tried many times to listen to this attack and find that it sounds like something different but there is no question that she is really saying “Star Gentle Uterus”. There is no alternative Japanese meaning to uterus that is not known to us ignorant western folk. It’s the womb inside of a woman where babies are made. This does make some sense with the concept of Maker, but it just seems like such an odd attack name.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 174 - Star Gentle Uterus

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 175 - Seiya kissing Minako

Episode 175, Becoming an Idol: Minako’s Ambition, steps up Minako’s polyamourous abilities! In Sailor Moon SuperS we saw her successfully dating two men at the same time. Now she’s trying to date three! She seems to be trying to get hooked up with all of the Three Lights! Usagi has taken a number of photos of her with all three of them. The sauciest being one of her and Seiya that looks like they’re kissing! In reality she pretending to have something in her eye and got Usagi to take a candid when they were close. Minako’s plan is simple and self serving. She is working as the Three Lights’ assistant to try to learn to be an idol herself and maybe score one of them as her boyfriend! What teenage girl would not like every aspect of this! It turns out being an idol is actually hard work! As we follow the Three Lights on an average day there isn’t a lot of down time. This brings us to Saki Itabashi, a photographer who is working with the group. Sailor Iron Mouse targets her as being someone full of ambition enough to perhaps have a True Star Seed! Oddly she doesn’t notice the Three Lights, who are right under her nose, as being potential targets. I’m sure there’s no reason for which these guys are being ignored. Finally Minako decides that all of this assistant work isn’t worth it and she decides to concentrate on being an idol herself.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 175 - The Three Lights

Something neat that viewers may notice is that Sailor Iron Mouse disappears with the help of a magic phone booth. This is not unlike Doctor Who’s TARDIS or the phone booth from the Bill & Ted films, both of which function as time machines. Which was this inspired by? Naturally the TARDIS is going to be assumed to be the inspiration as Doctor Who has been popular since its resurgence in 2005 and was itself the likely inspiration for Bill & Ted’s phone booth time machine. That said I think there is a case for Bill & Ted being the actual inspiration here. Doctor Who was popular back in the day but in 1996, when Sailor Moon Sailor Stars would air, the series was in the early part of a very long hiatus, having been off the air since 1989. The Bill & Ted movies did not come much later, in 1989 and 1991, but they would have been more in the public consciousness at this point in time. Additionally Doctor Who does not actually travel in a phone booth. His TARDIS is a Police Box, which is like a specialized phone booth only used to phone the police and protect a victim. The time machine from Bill & Ted however is actually a phone booth and, like Sailor Iron Mouse’s machine, is not bigger on the inside. This more similarly matches the style of her machine. All said I am not hip to what exactly was popular in Japan in the mid 90s, but as a teenaged boy who was only saw Doctor Who in passing but was a big fan of the Bill & Ted films, this is what immediately came to mind when I first saw this device.

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

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Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 174 - Taiki, Seiya and Yaten - The Three Lights

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 174 - Usagi's Luna comic

The Sailor Starlights are first seen in the US today as Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episodes 172 and 173 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 173 - The Sailor Starlights

At long last Sailor Moon fans in the United States can now see the Sailor Starlights in a legal release! This week on Hulu and Neon Alley‘s new episodes of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars we get to see the Sailor Starlights Sailor Star Fighter, Maker and Healer, also known as the Three Light Seiya, Taiki and Yaten. But first we must wrap up this short 6 episode arc and close the story of Nehelenia. Many have noticed that I’m often negative in my reviews so I will just say that this week we are getting two absolutely fantastic episodes of the series. Now let me talk about these wonderful episodes as I complain about little problems I have with them.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 172 - Sailor Saturn

Episode 172, Moon Power of Love: The Nightmare Ends, is the last in this mini arc that we are starting out the Sailor Stars season with. The main focus here is on Sailor Chibi Moon and Sailor Saturn. For some reason Sailor Chibi Moon is disappearing. This is somewhat like how Marty McFly was disappearing while time traveling when it looked like his parents weren’t going to get together. This is nonsense in a time travel movie and is double nonsense here. Time travel isn’t involved. Nehelenia does not come from the future and is not affected by time travel. Galaxia, who we will learn is the one that released Nehelenia, is also not traveling through time. Many things have threatened Mamoru and Sailor Moon but they don’t generally result in this Marty McFlying of Chibiusa. Beyond this time travel is not used to resolve the situation and to save Chibiusa either. Whatever. This episode isn’t about Chibiusa McFly. It’s all about Sailor Saturn being awesome! Sailor Saturn appears so late in Sailor Moon S that we don’t get much of a look at her. She is gone for SuperS and although she will be around for this season, she actually doesn’t get much screen time. She never actually gets a transformation sequence or any stock footage attacks. She does manage to use two moves in this episode. First she uses the Silence Wall to block Nehelenia’s attack. She then uses Silence Glaive Surprise which, in the Manga, just makes mist, but here it seems to be much more important. It releases a massive amount of energy even though it is blocked by Sailor Chibi Moon so that it isn’t completed. The insinuation seems to be that this attack would destroy Sailor Saturn and Nehelenia if used to completion.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 172 - Young Nehelenia

Finally Usagi shows up after climbing through a bunch of rose bushes. She takes pity on Nehelenia. This is what Sailor Moon is about! This is how Sailor Moon SuperS should have ended. Nehelenia is evil, sure, but she has a rich back story where we can see her as young and innocent and then corrupted. Usagi and her friends feel her pain and this is something which hurts her much more than hostility would. In the Sailor Moon Manga the Sailor Guardians kill the bad guys. In the Sailor Moon Anime they use compassion to find non violent solutions to their problems and this is what I love about the anime. This all works out well. Mamoru is healed, Sailor Chibi Moon returns and sticks around until the end of the episode only. Young Nehelenia is seen waking up from what seems like a bad dream. It’s not clear exactly what her fate is. Either there is some sort of reboot or she’s trapped in a dream of an ideal world, possibly not unlike death. Whatever it’s all good.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 172 - Mamoru and Sailor Chibi Moon

I must stop for a moment to discuss what isn’t happening now. Chibiusa leaves at some point and isn’t seen again for most of the season. This is done without any fanfare. I mentioned in my thoughts on episode 167 that her fake leaving should have been retooled as a better departure either at the end of 172 or the beginning of 173. Either place would have been fine. As the final insult when I grabbed my Japanese R2 DVD for Sailor Stars volume 2 to get screenshots of episode 173 it has Sailor Chibi Moon and Sailor Saturn on the cover. Nonsense! Chibiusa is not on this disk at all, which includes episodes 173 to 178. The original laserdisc containing this same image contained episodes 171 to 174, and so it included the majorly Sailor Saturn and Sailor Chibi Moon centric episode which this refers to. So I am sad to see Chibiusa leave, even though I understand why she is gone and the story of the season works best without Usagi having her family around, but it is still an unfortunate departure from the manga, where all 10 Sailor Guardians are present throughout.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars volume 2 Japanese R2 DVD

Sailor Stars Volume 2 on DVD

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars volume 2 Japanese Laserdisc

Sailor Stars Volume 2 on Laserdisc

Finally we get to episodes 173, Farewells and Encounters: the Transitioning Stars of Destiny. We open with a look at the new idol group the Three Lights! It seems everyone is a fan. Minako and Makoto like Seiya. Rei likes Yaten. Ami likes Taiki. Usagi doesn’t seem to know anything about them and is instead preoccupied with the fact that Mamoru is leaving for America. No only did Chibiusa leave between episodes, but her boyfriend is going too! At the airport Mamoru gives her a ring and puts it on her ring finger. He does not flat out ask her to marry him but the symbolism of the ring and its placements is essentially a marriage proposal. The two kiss in the airport as strangers walk by. A North American audience may not find this noteable but in Japan kissing in public is uncommon, which is why it will often seem important for characters to verify that they are alone before they kiss. This public gesture demonstrates the strength of their feelings for one another. Mamoru leaves in this episode, and there is a strange light seen outside of his plane. We won’t learn until much later what that is specifically about. For Usagi, Mamoru has gone to America to study.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 173 - Mamoru kisses Usagi at the airport

As Mamoru leaves, Seiya enters. It’s not even a little bit subtle and it isn’t supposed to be. Even while they are still at the airport the Three Lights arrive, and so Usagi’s potential love interest Seiya enters her life. As he crosses Usagi he senses something about her. The target for this episode is an actress Alice, who is doing a movie with the Three Lights. This puts Usagi once again in Seiya’s presence. She doesn’t know who he is and assumes he is trying to pick her up by suggesting she should. The combat starts and we see one of my favourite villains of the series, Sailor Iron Mouse. She is one of the Sailor Animamates, the Sailor Guardians who work for Galaxia. Sailor Iron Mouse extracts a Star Seed from Alice but it isn’t a True Star Seed so it’s just like a Mirror of Dreams that isn’t Golden or a Heart Crystal that isn’t a Talisman. The Sailor Starlights show up and fight alongside Sailor Moon. For no real reason Usagi decides not to tell her friends about this encounter.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 173 - Sailor Iron Mouse

A note on gender. Things get a bit complicated when it comes to the Three Lights and the Sailor Starlights. In the manga they are women who dress as men when they are the Three Lights. In the anime they are men in their civilian forms and women in the Sailor Guardian forms. We can debate weather they are originally or truly men or women. I tend to feel that their true forms are their Sailor Guardian selves and that the Three Light male identities are their disguise. This does not really matter at the end of the day, as gender is fairly fluid in this series, with sexual preference being an independent vector to gender. They are who they are, they love who they love and they are loved by whoever loves them, regardless of their gender. All said I will refer to the Three Light with masculine pronouns and the Sailor Starlights with feminine pronouns.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 173 - Seiya Kou

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 173 - Taiki Kou

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 173 - Yaten Kou

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Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 173 - Usagi is sad that Chibiusa and Mamoru are leaving

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 173 - Galaxia

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 173 - Mamoru proposes to Usagi

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 173 - Mamoru meets Seiya

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 173 - Mamoru leaves for America

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

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

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 170 - Young Ami studies basketball

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 171 - Sailor Jupiter protects Usagi

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

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 171 - Sailor Saturn threatens Nehelenia

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

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars banner

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sailor Moon R Movie

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 166 - The gang wearing old clothes

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 166

Sailor Moon R Movie - A hurricane of flower pedals

The Sailor Moon R Movie

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

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 166

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

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars episode 167 - Professor Tomoe and Hotaru

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

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

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

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

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Sailor Moon SuperS episode 166 - Nehelenia is old