Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 and 10 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Many Tuxedo Masks

This is a review and discussion of the Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series Act 9, I’ll Protect the Legendary Silver Crystal, and Act 10, I am Queen Beryl, Queen of Darkness. These originally aired on Japanese TV on November 29th and December 6th 2003. These two episodes follow a story similar the manga Act 6, Tuxedo Mask. In this story in the manga Tuxedo Mask tries to solicit the help of the people of the city in order to find the Crystal, as occurs in Act 9, and then after Zoisite attacks them Sailor Moon heals the people of the city with her Moon stick, which resembles the end of Act 10. Though Act 9 and 10 as Live Action episodes don’t really have much to do with each other they both take elements from this manga story.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - The Icy Queen looks like the Silver Crystal from the Anime

The Icy Queen from the live action series

Sailor Moon - Chibiusa with the Silver Crystal

The Silver Crystal from the original anime series

Act 9 is all about Tuxedo Mask and the hunt for the Silver Crystal! What does this Crystal look like? We don’t really know but a couple of depictions in this episode remind of of what it looked like in the original Sailor Moon anime, as opposed to what it looked like in the manga. In the opening scene we see a child looking at a round gem called the Icy Queen that looks like the Crystal in the original anime. A depiction on television mentions that it would glitter in rainbow colours, and this includes 7 distinct colours shining. This is reminiscent of the 7 Rainbow Crystals from the original Sailor Moon anime, which were shards of the Silver Crystal which when assembled formed the complete Crystal.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - The Silver Crystal with 7 colours

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Minako in London

For this episode Minako is off in London to record a new song. This again reminds us of the original Sailor Moon anime which had Minako spending time in London while she was Sailor V, though it’s unlikely she’s fighting any crime in London as this would be incredibly suspicious, like how Batman always shows up in Metropolis when Bruce Wayne is there for business. This keeps Minako out of the picture for Act 9 and 10, which serves the plot well.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - The Moon Princess, whoever that is

We get a bit of an idea as to why Tuxedo Mask is looking for the Crystal! We see a dream of his where the Princess is asking him to find the Crystal. We don’t see any real details of her as her hair style is fairly normal however her voice is closer to that of Miyuu Sawai, who plays Usagi, as opposed to that of Ayaka Komatsu, who plays Sailor V.

Live action Sailor Moon episode 9 - News broadcast looking for the Silver Crystal

Reporters talking about the Silver Crystal in the live action series

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Zoisite dressed as a woman

Zoisite looking for the Silver Crystal in Sailor Moon Crystal

In order to try to flush out the Crystal Tuxedo Mask makes a very public statement telling people what to look for and that it’s worth a billion yen, roughy 9 billion US dollars. This is similar to the plot of the manga Act 6, Tuxedo Mask, where Tuxedo Mask does the same. Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 more specifically based one scene on the live action series. When Zoisite appears on a large TV in the street asking people to find the Crystal this is nearly identical to a scene in this episode where two reporters are asking the viewers to find the Crystal.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Mamoru finds Usagi's handkerchief

Tuxedo Mask is looking through his coat and sees the handkerchief that Sailor Moon patched his hand with. Odd that this would be in his Tuxedo jacket since he was clearly still wearing it after changing back into his civilian clothes in the last episode! Plot hole or did Mamoru just put it in his jacket after he removed it? Doesn’t this thing go to hammer space like any respectable superhero costume?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Luna doesn't want Usagi hanging around with Tuxedo Mask

The gang don’t like Tuxedo Mask one bit! He’s a thief and he’s competing for the Crystal. Rei suggests he may save Sailor Moon as a trick! Usagi of course doesn’t want to hear any of this as she’s totally in love with Tuxedo Mask! This is the worst kept secret however she is only able to admit it to an empty room! Usagi is conflicted about what to do with Luna and her friends against him on one side but Naru, who only has vague details about the situation, cheering her on from the other.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Jadeite is jade

Queen Beryl turns Jadeite into a rock in this episode. It’s probably jade. In the manga when a Shitennou gets turned into a gem they’re essentially dead only returning as ghosts to talk to Mamoru, but this is not the last we will see of Jadeite!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Ami the Shinto Priestess

As the city is furiously looking for the Crystal a rich man, Masanobu Narita, believes he’s found it and wants to hire Rei to protect it for him! Rei, not being hired to appear at this episode’s location shoots, isn’t interested at all and so Ami volunteers to go on her behalf, posing as her top apprentice, a fellow Shinto Priestess. She keeps doing this weird thing with her glasses which makes them squeak. A tick that she gave her fictional character which doesn’t actually do anything? It’s kind of odd.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Two people who aren't Tuxedo Mask

Usagi and Makoto come along to help Ami and transform. Makoto becomes a police officer and Usagi a worker who is trimming trees. When a ton of Tuxedo Masks show up though, Usagi thinks she sees the real one! Why, I wonder, is everyone dressing up as Tuxedo Mask? They want the Crystal, sure, but does this incredibly conspicuous costume help anyone? What’s one more Tuxedo Mask? Usagi uses her phone to make herself dressed as Tuxedo Mask in order to distract the real police from who she thinks is the real Tuxedo Mask. He turns out to be a weird kind of pervert who gets off on touching Usagi’s wrist which is a very odd form of intimacy.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Usagi dressed as Tuxedo Mask

When Tuxedo Mask Usagi gets cornered the real Tuxedo Mask tells her to transform! How does this help the situation at all? We don’t know. She transforms, we see her stock footage, and then the problem is somehow resolved! There’s no scene of her escaping or anything, she just transforms and we don’t deal with that problem anymore. Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon have a little heart to heart. She expresses that she wants to know who he is but he doesn’t want to share.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 9 - Not the Silver Crystal. Not even close. Possibly made out of glass.

Meanwhile the supposed Silver Crystal is so fake that it breaks from being dropped. This means it’s what, made of glass? It looks like something that would hang off of a cheap chandelier. The gem was appraised as having qualities similar to the Silver Crystal yet… it just breaks when it’s dropped? Very lame! What do these people do to test them? Does Tuxedo Mask really need to steal all of these to find out if they’re legit? Does he look at it with one of those little monocle microscope thingeys or can he just sense it after having illegally repossessed it and held it a bit?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - A drawing of Princess Kaguya returning to the Moon

Act 10 is all about the story of Princess Kaguya, known in Japan as The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. It’s difficult for a North American viewer to completely appreciate the episode without having the expected understanding of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter that most Japanese children would have. Just another example of why this show is not very accessible outside of Japan. This story is well known in Japan and was recently adapted as a 2013 Studio Ghibli film The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. I would recommend checking out the film which presents a fairly straightforward adaptation of this ancient tale as it is something that is referenced frequently in Sailor Moon. As we learn in this episode it is the story of a young girl who is born from a bamboo shoot and raised by her adoptive parents until she finally learns that she is from a Kingdom on the Moon and must return home. Sound familiar? There are certainly a lot of parallels to Usagi’s story as told in the original manga and anime, as she is a Princess who originally comes from a Kingdom the Moon and was reincarnated on Earth to finally return to the Moon to meet her real mother. It seems likely that the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter served as some inspiration for the story of Sailor Moon.

Sailor Moon S movie - Human Luna - Princess Kaguya

In addition to this episode The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is related to the manga side story The Lover of Princess Kaguya, which was adapted as the Sailor Moon S movie. The film itself doesn’t actually have much to do with the story. Kakeru, the man who Luna falls in love with, is a romantic who believes in the legend of Princess Kaguya and who, despite being a brilliant astronomer, believes that what he sees in space relates to such magical things. When Luna finally takes human form in the story she identifies with Princess Kaguya but her character or journey in the story doesn’t have much to do with Princess Kaguya beyond the superficial fact that she’s going to space. The villain of this story Princess Snow Kaguya also doesn’t have much in common with the Princess Kaguya from the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. Kakeru’s girlfriend Himeko, who based on the title would be the lover of Kakeru, who is Princess Kaguya’s lover, also doesn’t have much in common with Princess Kaguya, aside from the fact that she goes to space.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - Young Rei

This episode has Rei dealing with the loss of her mother. In the opening scene we see her at the hospital shortly after her mother died, with a children’s story book about Princess Kaguya left on her mother’s bed. This leads into a unique transition to the opening credits as Rei stares at the Moon as it leads into the opening. Rei believed, and still seems to believe to some extent, that her mother is still alive on the Moon, like Princess Kaguya from the story which her mother frequently read to her as a child. She befriends a young girl, Erika, who also believes that her recently deceased mother is still living on the Moon. The two are working on a picture story of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, with Erika and Rei working on the final page where Princess Kaguya leaves for the Moon on her chariot. Young Rei, as seen in this episode, is not the same young Rei we will be seeing in the future!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - Usagi, Erika and Rei paint Princess Kaguya images

While Rei is sad about her mother dying Usagi has a really pointless argument with her own mother about whether or not to put cheese on her omelette. She tries to run away first to Crown Karaoke, then to Naru’s, then to Ami’s, then to Makoto’s and finally, as a last resort, to see Rei at her shrine. When she shows up Rei asks if Usagi had a fight with her parents, which is humorous since Usagi’s father is as unseen in this series as Princess Serenity’s father! Rei is happy to let Usagi stay there for a while, which doesn’t even end up being overnight, though when Usagi realizes that Rei’s mother is dead she feels particularly bad about her comparatively silly problem!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - Princess Kaguya's image burning

Zoisite, meanwhile, is working on his latest song! This one creates a monster which sings and makes any Princess, be it an image, a person, or someone who just sort of feels like a Princess, burn up! This causes all sorts of non Princesses to have problems and seems to cause few problems to the actual Princesses we care about! The image of Princess Kaguya that Rei and Erika are working on lights on fire. So does a young girl’s doll. Erika, who thinks of herself as Princess Kaguya because of her thing with her mom, gets a fever, which is convenient since it would have been really extreme if she just spontaneously combusted. There’s also an actual Princess who falls ill on TV, which is how Makoto knows something is up. Who isn’t affected by this? Minako, who we are meant to believe is the Princess, who is away in London supposedly out of Zoisite’s range. Usagi isn’t affected. This could either mean that people who are Princesses but don’t know it aren’t affect or that Sailor Moon is not Princess Serenity in this continuity, as some fans legitimately believed at this point in the series and I’ll never let them forget it.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Sempai?

Makoto’s Sempai from Act 6

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - Makoto's Sempai

Mysterious man at the library from Act 10

Ami is at the library and she sees a Princess from a young girl’s story book catch fire. The other notable thing about the library? Makoto’s “Sempai” is there! Back in Act 6 we learned that Makoto left her old school after having an unrequited love for a student in another grade, frequently referred to as her “Sempai”. When we see her flashback about people leaving, such as her parents, the last person we see leave is the person who I assume is this older boy who she was in love with. This guy is in the library! We are made to believe that Makoto moved and changed schools to get away from this guy. Did Ami go to a really far away school? Did this guy go to a far away library that she thought might have a book with information helping her to find Sailor V? Did they just reuse an extra and not expect some overly analytical fan to notice some 14 years later?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - Sailor Moon heals the city

So the gang fights the monster by dancing to dodge her musical notes and it’s all silly. Finally Sailor Moon uses her Moon Stick to heal everyone, real or paper, who has been negatively affected by this weird thing which attacks anyone who isn’t a Princess. This is similar to the end of Act 6 of the manga where Sailor Moon uses her Moon Stick to resurrect the people of Tokyo, though not much else from this episode resembles that story.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - Usagi crying about her mother

The gang are then confronted by Queen Beryl who gives them a bit of information about their past which Luna was hesitant to share. She tells them that they all come from the Moon! What a shocker! Later at the Princess Kaguya picture show Usagi breaks down crying due to the fact that her birth mother may not actually be her mother! This is something I’ve mentioned in the past as a potentially confusing plot point of the series. Unlike Princess Kaguya these girls were born from the wombs of their Earth mothers, not cut out of a bamboo shoot. Is Usagi Tsukino genetically identical to Princess Serenity of Silver Millennium? If so, does she actually share any genes with her mother and father who live in present day Tokyo as most human children do or was there a magical cloning or embryo implantation done at conception? Does she share roughly 1/2 of her genes with her brother Shingo who was also born from those parents? Does he have a Silver Millennium equivalent that he’s reincarnated from? If not, is it actually creepy when Shingo has a crush on Sailor Moon in the original Sailor Moon anime if they don’t actually have any genetic similarities? This very significant and meaningful observation by Usagi, which is mostly ignored by her friends who are in a similar situation, is atypical for her to catch on to. Shouldn’t Ami, the genius child of a doctor mother who’s career path she aspires to follow in, be wondering where her intelligence comes from if it’s not inherited? Shouldn’t Rei, who hates her father, be glad to be potentially the genetic equivalent to being adopted by him through magical reincarnation? What link does she have to her mother who she misses? Regardless of genes she may have she was still raised in her womb as that prenatal environment affects her development. She seems to have some concern about some aspect of this as she’s also brought to tears by the sentiment. Should Makoto be pleased at the prospect of having parents on the Moon or are they also dead? Will we ever get answers to any of these questions? No we really don’t. Queen Serenity or any other inhabitants of Silver Millennium aren’t really seen in this series, not that we’d likely get answers to such specifics questions if they were.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 10 - Minako attacked by a truck

In the final scene Minako, who’s been away in London for the past two episodes, arrives back in Tokyo. Zoisite plays his song which instead of directly attacking her seems to be controlling the driver of a truck which is swerving towards her! End of episode! Cliffhanger! This is almost identical to the final scene from the fantastic Street Fighter II animated movie which has Bison trying to run a truck into Ryu! Coincidence? Certainly!

Street Fighter II The Animated Movie

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.

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Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38, Infinity 12 – Infinite – Journey, review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - The 10 Sailor Guardians

The entire Infinity arc of Sailor Moon Crystal is now available to view online. The final episode we’ll see for a while, Act 38, Infinity 12 – Infinite – Journey aired on Japanese television on Monday June 27th at 11pm Japan Standard Time. Immediately afterwards it was available to view on Crunchyroll, Neon Alley and Hulu, starting at 10:30am Eastern Time. This week is a bit of a mixed bag as we wrap up the story of Sailor Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Saturn and then move on for a teaser of the upcoming Dream arc. We still have no official confirmation that this new arc will be adapted. This episode is just doing exactly what the equivalent manga chapter did. While it seems likely at this point that we will be seeing more episodes this would certainly not be the first show to have a really awesome cliffhanger final episode which we never saw a follow up to.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Title Screen with Sailor Saturn

As always we start with an unreasonably long flashback! This week’s spans 3 minutes and 13 seconds which covers half of the last episode! At least we see a lot of Sailor Saturn. The opening theme, In Love With the New Moon, is the first version sung by Etsuko Yakushimaru. The full length version of this song is also heard in the episode itself. This is my favourite version of the opening so it was nice to hear. The ending theme used is Eternal Eternity sung by the voices of Sailor Uranus, Junko Minagawa and Sailor Neptune, Sayaka Ohara.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Super Sailor Venus

Sailor Moon blasts out of the Pharaoh 90/Mistress 9 monster juice thing and in doing so causes some damage. She gives everyone super transformations! Well almost everyone. How come Tuxedo Mask doesn’t get an upgrade? He’d look great in some transparent shoulder pads! Poor guy. At least he has his male privilege to fall back on.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Sailor Saturn smiles Sailor Moon Crystal Act 37 - Super Sailor Moon going to her death

Sailor Saturn, who was supposed to be destroying the world at the end of the last episode, decides to attack Pharaoh 90 and go to her death. She turns and smiles to her friends just like Sailor Moon had last week. This was a nice touch, as both seem willing to sacrifice themselves to save others.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Three Women and a Baby

Unfortunately Sailor Saturn has to die. Sailor Pluto is the one to do this. She’s upset about it, although this was kind of the plan all along. Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were ready to kill Hotaru in order to save the world. The solution now is to lock her, Pharaoh 90 and the Tau Star System away forever. Sailor Pluto does this with the Dark Dome Close attack. Her penance for killing Sailor Saturn? Her and her friends have to raise the reincarnated baby version of her! There’s some sort of odd justice here. This will be a tough conversation when she gets a bit older and asks why she has three moms! This is basically a genderbend version of Three Men and a Baby, a mediocre 80s comedy movie by Leonard Nimoy. “Well you see we helped killed your Dad and then killed you, so you’re adopted. Sorry not sorry.”

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - The Messiah

Sailor Moon becomes Neo Queen Serenity. OMG she was the one we saw in the visions. This isn’t the future version of Neo Queen Serenity possessing Sailor Moon in some way. This is Usagi in full control of her faculties. There’s no other consciousness in there. So I wonder why she doesn’t seem to remember what happens. Sailor Moon asks where this baby came from, and Sailor Uranus basically says it’s “From precious you”, which no doubt is a terrible translation, but basically she believes that Neo Queen Serenity caused Sailor Saturn to reincarnate as baby Hotaru. Sure. The original Queen Serenity is the one that sent everyone to reincarnate in the present time after they were all killed. Future Neo Queen Serenity is the one who sent Sailor Pluto back in time to reincarnate as Setsuna. It stands to reason that Sailor Moon, the present version, is the one that did this. There’s no other consciousness which is doing stuff here. It’s not insinuated that old lady uploaded consciousness computer simulated Queen Serenity on the Moon has any real power here. Why doesn’t Sailor Moon have full memory of doing this? It doesn’t really add up to me.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Super Sailor Chibi Moon

Sailor Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Saturn leave and then we have a commercial break. There’s meant to be a massive passage of time here but I don’t feel that this is well conveyed at all. In the original manga the Infinity arc concludes here which is the end of a chapter. Following this we get The Lover of Princess Kaguya side story which is a full manga book which is the equivalent of the Sailor Moon S movie, which then has a side story about Rei. There are a bunch of other side stories published later which are understood to take place during this break which is basically the time when the girls are preparing for their high school entrance exams. Ami’s First Love, which was adapted in an anime special, falls into this period as well. The first three story arcs all follow one another directly, but the Dream arc was never meant to do so. When the manga was rereleased in 2003 the chapters were broken up differently so they ended up breaking this particular Act up very poorly so that this passage of time isn’t properly demonstrated and happens between pages of the same story. I think Sailor Moon Crystal had a good chance to pace things out a bit differently and have the season end here, but they didn’t do that and instead, it’s time to go to high school.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - High school girls

This episode is kind of like the first episode of Sailor Stars from the original Sailor Moon anime. Those first 6 episodes of Sailor Stars basically fix the problems that the SuperS season skipped, including some characters which will be returning later in the Dream arc. The girls are supposed to be in high school before meeting Pegasus as we see here. Most of the girls have Juban High School Uniforms. Rei does not, as she goes to her own school which does not use high school entrance exams. We don’t really have an equivalent to these in the West. I suppose maybe the SATs are something similar but as a Canadian this is also something I only know of through TV and movies. I’ve never had a test so important in my schooling that it required me getting addicted to caffeine pills like Jessie Spano. So much to say Japanese high school entrance exams are a big deal and the source of a lot of stress, and the girls are meant to have been preparing for this during the long period covered by the commercial break which we don’t even get in the streaming version.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Solar Eclipse

Chibiusa says she’s going to leave on April 1st, at the time of a Solar Eclipse. The next Solar eclipse that will occur on April 1st is in 2098 and there certainly wasn’t one in the 90s when the manga was written, but this is pretty nitpicky even for me. She mentions in her letter to her mother “Please come to pick me up”. How exactly does this work? Is Neo Queen Serenity from the future going to travel to the 30th century to come pick up Chibiusa? Who’s guardian the Space-Time Door with future Sailor Pluto dead and Diana in the past?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Artemis and Luna cry for Diana

Speaking of Diana! Usagi says to Luna, who isn’t present when this is said, that she will see Diana “very soon”. What does this mean? From the frame of reference of Diana then she would see her parents soon, in the future. From Luna and Artemis’s point of view they won’t see her soon at all. Diana is a kitten. Chibiusa, who is born in less than a decade, is 900 years old in the 30th century. Is Diana a permakitten born in the 20th or 21st century and never aging? Permakittens would revolutionize the pet industry! Kittens are most of the reason people have adult cats!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 38 - Usagi and Chibiusa see Pegasus

So the gang are watching the eclipse and they hear a bell. They turn around to see… Pegasus! Well we don’t see Pegasus but in the manga version of Act 38, the final image has Usagi and Chibiusa seeing Pegasus. There’s no preview for another episode, but we will likely at some point be seeing Act 39, Dream 1 – Eclipse Dream. This will be part of the 4th story arc which, if current trends continue, will likely be referred to as Season 4 or Season IV in Japan. I’ve still been calling them arcs or phases but I may start using the term season if that becomes well established. We have no specifics on if and when we might get new episodes but perhaps we will learn something tomorrow at the live event to celebrate Usagi’s birthday.

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