As Kristen Bell raises concerns about consent and kissing sleeping people, let’s examine the many inappropriate sleeping kisses in Sailor Moon!

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

In a recent interview with Parents Magazine Kristen Bell made some comments about Snow White which have been making headlines. Basically she talked about how, while reading stories to her children, she asks them to think about the implications of certain actions in fairy tales and what they mean. One particular example which is relevant to Sailor Moon, as I’ll get to shortly, is Snow White. She asks her children to consider if it’s wise to take an apple from a stranger and if it’s okay to kiss a sleeping person. Various media outlets picked up on this by saying that she is calling out older Disney films, which is surely helped by the Parents Magazine article headline “Kristen Bell Worries Disney Princesses Teach Her Daughters Bad Lessons”. In reality she is specifically speaking to fairy tales in books, many of which happen to have been adapted as Disney films. Though Snow White includes a few questionable life choices the fairy tales of the likes of Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm are ancient tales full of gruesome violence as they are products of an older and much more violent period in human history. Modern versions such as the story books we may see in stores and the Disney films we enjoy will often sanitize these to appeal to our modern sensibilities. Kristen Bell is herself the voice of Anna in Frozen, a film which sets itself apart from other Disney films by calling out tropes like marrying someone you just met, the evil queen and acts of true love coming from a newly acquainted love interest. I’ve probably watched Frozen with my daughter roughly 50 times in the past year so I’ll just stop myself from elaborating on my many thoughts on this film and its relation to other Disney classics. So much to say Kristen Bell has the privilege of having worked on a Disney film which questions the status quo of films that came before it and has a number of positive progressive messages.

Sailor Moon R episode 56 - Natsumi and Mamoru

All of this brings us to Sailor Moon! I’ve mentioned this time and time again and it always seems to be divisive amongst fans. The idea is that a number of non consensual kisses given to sleeping people in the series are inappropriate due to the sleeping person’s inability to give consent. I am aware of the risk of applying a modern lens to an older work as these weren’t things I thought of in the 90s but I don’t think there’s much harm in discussing these. I am certainly not calling to ban or boycott Sailor Moon but instead, as with the conversations Kristen Bell has with her children, use it as a reason to discuss issues.

Ultimately I think it may be a little simple to give a blanket statement like saying kissing someone who is sleeping is wrong. If I kiss my baby daughter or wife while they sleep this isn’t the same as kissing a stranger. People generally kiss babies when they are too young to give overt consent, though not on the mouth. There’s nothing terribly dangerous about this. That said if I try to kiss my daughter and she says no, I will respect that request and stop. The Snow White example is perhaps not such and open and shut case. It’s not that kissing a sleeping person you’ve never met without consent is okay, however, if there is a good expectation that this will cause the person to be brought out of a comma, one could easily argue that it is morally justifiable. Similarly it may be completely inappropriate to rip a stranger’s shirt off because they are attractive however in an emergency situation it is certainly justifiable to touch someone and remove a piece of their clothing in order to perform life saving intervention. An EMT of course shouldn’t be groping a patient for sexual gratification or go around kissing people they are treating. The motivation behind these actions are the important distinction here. Most adults appreciate this nuance though children may not, hence the value in talking about the stories and media you share with them.

Sailor Moon episode 22 - Drunk Usagi

There are two examples in Sailor Moon where a sleeping person is kissed and, to me, it does not seem appropriate. The first falls into a bit of a grey area because of reincarnation and that is the kiss following the Masquerande in the Dark Kingdom story arc of the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal which also takes place in episode 22 of the original anime, “Romance Under the Moon: Usagi’s First Kiss”. In this case Usagi accidentally drinks alcohol thinking it is juice. She passes out drunk after which Tuxedo Mask kisses her. This looks particularly creepy in the original anime as the animation in this particular episode is a bit cheap. The issue here is, as the title of the anime episode title suggests, this is Usagi’s first kiss. Had Mamoru and Usagi been in an established relationship in which this kind of exchange was commonplace enough to be considered normal and he kissed her while she slept, this would not have been the same kind of breach of etiquette however in this case no such relationship existed… well not in this lifetime. The complication of course is that Mamoru and Usagi are reincarnated versions of Endymion and Princess Serenity. They had a relationship in the past and are dealing with fragments of memories of that. In the real world if someone used this as a defense for kissing a person who was passed out drunk they would rightfully be chastised for it as reincarnation isn’t real however in Sailor Moon it’s a real thing so it’s a bit more complicated. That Usagi is herself infatuated with Tuxedo Mask doesn’t really clear him of any wrongdoing as one can’t just assume someone else’s feelings though I think this may be why people feel more comfortable about this exchange. The fact that Usagi and Mamoru ultimately do end up in a relationship makes this seem okay in but this logic only works in retrospect. Mamoru and Rei were actually in a relationship at this time, though that infidelity isn’t even factoring into my objections to this. If you’re not convinced that this is a problem then instead consider if Umino, or anyone else, had found a drunk Usagi and done the same.

Sailor Moon episode 22 - Tuxedo Mask kissing a drunk Usagi

This seems to have been a concern for someone at DiC when the original Sailor Moon anime was first dubbed. Episode 22 was heavily edited for a number of reasons, including adding some backwards footage to make it appear as if Serena went back and took the stairs instead of falling off the balcony. In this particular there is no alcoholic punch, Serena never gets drunk and never passes out. The “first kiss” between her and Tuxedo Mask doesn’t really take place. The scene is shown but a voice over by Tuxedo Mask states that it’s simply his dream. So much to say it’s generally considered okay to kiss pretty much anyone in your dream. As a result of this the first on screen kiss for the Sailor Moon English dub takes place in Sailor Moon R right before Rini drops in from the future. This momentous occasion is spoiled by an awkward joke about Darien tasting peanut butter and getting stuck.

Sailor Moon S The Movie - Luna kisses Kakeru

Next we have a series of kisses from Sailor Moon S The Movie. These are fresh in my mind having just watched the recently released Blu-Ray release of the film. Many fans would have seen the film in theatres this summer. In this film Luna falls in love with a human. After asking Usagi what a kiss tastes like she takes advantage of Kakeru, the source of her affection, by kissing him while he is asleep. There is no past life relationship between Luna and Kakeru. In fact Kakeru himself has a love interest in Himeko. This isn’t cool! Kakeru does not consent to the act and is in no state to do so. The situation is a bit complicated by the fact that Luna is a cat. I have cats and I have been known to kiss them on occasion. Dogs enjoy licking people’s faces and this is generally not considered to be some violation or assault, but then dogs are animals without human intelligence. Luna is a cat, yes, but a cat who essentially has a human equivalent mind. As an aside there is very little that resembles consent in the animal kingdom as most sexual interactions are forced. This is more or less true of humans until recent history as well, but we’ve come a long way and we should all be glad to live in a world where a person’s autonomy is respected. This isn’t the only kiss in the film as Luna later kisses Kakeru while she is in human form and the two fly around space for a while. Kakeru may believe this surreal experience to be a dream but it is real and Luna doesn’t ask if it is okay to kiss him, but he is awake and he doesn’t back away. This is probably similar to how a lot of human on human kisses take place so I won’t harp on that one too much. In the 90s I don’t think anyone would bat an eye at this but in 2018 some people might take issue with such behaviour.

Sailor Moon R The Movie - Tuxedo Mask kisses a dead Sailor Moon

There are a few Snow White style kisses in the series. The first takes place during Sailor Moon R episode 69 “Awaken the Sleeping Beauty: Mamoru’s Distress” in which Sailor Moon is very much trapped in a Snow White style sleep which Mamoru wakes her up of with a kiss. Something similar occurs in Sailor Moon R The Movie when Sailor Moon literally dies, again, but can be healed through the nectar of the Kisesian Flower. Mamoru sucks up the nectar and gives it to Sailor Moon in a kiss. In both cases this resembles Snow White in that it is a necessary life saving intervention but, unlike in the story of Snow White, Mamoru and Usagi have an established relationship when this happens.

Sailor Moon R episode 56 - An, as Snow White, tries to kiss Mamoru, as Prince Charming

Snow White style kiss that never quite happened however is the kiss between An and Mamoru in Sailor Moon R episode 56 “Steal a Kiss from Mamoru! An’s Project Snow White”. In this episode An orchestrates things so that she will play Snow White in a play and get a chance to kiss Mamoru, who is playing Prince Charming. Things don’t go as planned however as her attempt to kiss him during rehearsal fails and the play is cut short by an attack by a Cardian summoned by none other than her brother lover.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 28 - Sailor Uranus kissing Sailor Moon

Finally we have the kiss between Sailor Uranus and Sailor Moon in the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal. This a sort of surprise kiss that Sailor Moon doesn’t expect and doesn’t have time to consent to one way or another. This in turn opens up the story to all sorts of interesting questions about sexuality which are quite worthwhile but it’s something I felt was worth pointing out.

All said I think Kristen Bell’s attitude of simply wanting to discuss what she’s reading with her children to be completely reasonable. She’s hardly arguing that Snow White is responsible for all of the ills of society and banning them in her household but rather finding a way to allow her children to consume media which she might not be totally okay with all while using it as a way to start a conversation about a serious topic. This isn’t quite the same attitude that Keira Knightley has, as her recent appearance on Ellen illustrated. She bans certain movies in her house, even some she quite enjoys, such as the Little Mermaid, because she’s concerned they might present a negative message. Far be it for me to tell someone else how to raise their kids! If this works for her than so be it. When I watch The Little Mermaid with my daughter I keep in mind the simple lesson this movie teaches. Don’t make a deal with a Sea Witch to get something you can get from your daddy for free if you’d just learn to communicate. I don’t think Disney is too upset about this either. If it bothers them they can wipe away their tears with some of that Pirates money.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you believe some of these kisses are inappropriate? Am I just overreacting and applying a modern lens to a harmless story? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

How accurate is the Tuxedo Mask “My job here is done” meme?

"My Job Here Is Done" "But You Didn't Do Anything" meme

You have probably seen this meme somewhere on the Internet! Tuxedo Mask states “My job here is done” to which Sailor Moon replies “But you didn’t do anything”. This lends itself well to a variety of humourous situations in which a person claims to have done something and really did nothing at all. Very funny, but just how accurate is this meme in the first place?

Sailor Moon episode 1 - My job here is done

There are really two things to ask ourselves here. The first is whether or not anything close to this exchange ever took place in the show and the other, more general idea, is whether Tuxedo Mask does indeed do anything with his interventions. Let us first look at the scene in question. The images we see in this meme are from the first episode of Sailor Moon “The Crybaby: Usagi’s Beautiful Transformation”. Tuxedo Mask says something to Sailor Moon after her battle with Morga and then departs. Contrary to what the meme states he does not actually say anything which resembles “My job here is done” or “My work here is done”. This can be a bit tricky as there are so many versions of Sailor Moon and its dubs, so let’s look at a few. With Sailor Moon first coming into popularity in North America in 1995 the version most Internet users and casual fans are likely to be familiar with is the DiC English dub. In this version he states “You have done well Sailor Moon and now Molly’s mother and all the other women are free. Others will test you. Do not be afraid. I will fight with you.” to which Sailor Moon responds, after he’s gone, “What a hunky guy”. Note that the response isn’t from the image used in the meme but is said when she has hearts in here eyes moments later.

Sailor Moon episode 1 - Sailor Moon is very impressed with Tuxedo Mask

Sure, you may be saying, but that’s the horrible butchered DiC dub which committed various atrocities to my childhood and humanity! Let’s look at the original line then. This scene appears in the manga, in the original Japanese anime and in Sailor Moon Crystal. It has been translated more or less faithfully a number of times and always gives roughly the same idea. The recent more accurate Viz dub has Tuxedo Mask saying “Well done Sailor Moon. I won’t soon forget what happened here tonight.” to which Sailor Moon responds “He’s so cute”. The subbed version is essentially the same. The manga version is a bit different as there was no rose thrown and Tuxedo Mask actually didn’t do anything, though again there is no dialog which resembles the meme at all. In no version does Tuxedo Mask actually say “My job here is done” or anything like it. Sailor Moon similarly doesn’t respond that he didn’t do anything but this is hardly a surprise as this unexpected response is more meant to be a mocking of what he did rather than what she actually said.

Sailor Moon episode 1 - Morga nearly kills Sailor Moon

Next then we should look at whether in this episode in question and the series as a whole, Tuxedo Mask actually does anything! In this particular scene the dialogue follows Sailor Moon’s fight with Morga. While Sailor Moon is fighting she is backed against a wall with a bunch of brainwashed jewelry store clients marching against her. Morga extends her claws to Sailor Moon, ready to strike her with a deadly blow. All hope seems lost when … a single rose flies in front of her distracting the enemy. Sailor Moon then cries which causes this amplified sonic attack which is not used again until Sailor Moon SuperS. Luna then tells Sailor Moon to use her tiara which defeats the enemy. Would Sailor Moon still have had the time to use her sonic attack without Tuxedo Mask intervening? It seems very unlikely. The image of Morga reacting to the rose shows that her hand was just in front of Sailor Moon and it seemed unlikely she would have had time to launch her sonic attack. It isn’t terribly fair to say that Tuxedo Mask didn’t do anything in this scenario. He caused a momentary distraction which allowed Sailor Moon to get the upper hand and use her own power to save the day and this is close to how that interaction usually occurs. Had he not been here would Sailor Moon have been killed by Morga? Who knows. Perhaps Sailor Moon would have died and then reincarnated through some plot device. Perhaps she would have cried which caused the light of the Silver Crystal to scare off Morga (though the Crystal in this continuity is split up into seven Rainbow Crystals with Sailor Moon’s tear being the catalyst to bring them together). Perhaps Luna would have sacrificed herself by putting her body between Sailor Moon and the attack, as she does when Fiore tries to kill Sailor Moon in Sailor Moon R The Movie. Lots of options but, generally speaking, it seems like his intervention did in some sense save Sailor Moon here.

Sailor Moon episode 1 - A rose appears

In general Tuxedo Mask usually does about the same thing. The monster shows up and things start to get a little tense when a well timed rose shakes things up enough for Sailor Moon and her friends to get their footing and deal a finishing blow to the enemy. Without Tuxedo Mask perhaps some of these close calls would have gone the other way leading to Sailor Moon losing instead of winning some of these close fights. Still Tuxedo Mask has no attacks in the original anime. He fights with roses and a cane which are not terribly lethal and at best helps to give the upper hand rather than actually defeating the monster of the week.

Sailor Moon episode 1 - Sailor Moon not saying he didn't do anything

All said this is Sailor Moon’s show. She is the strong capable superhero and is not your typical damsel in distress in constant need of saving. Tuxedo Mask comes in with a quick assist from time to time but he’s not scoring the game winning goal. It’s an odd state where he is made to be protecting Sailor Moon and saving her without doing most of the heavy lifting. This is a tough line to walk and likely an intentional one. Sailor Moon is a role model and inspiration to viewers. She has strength and power of her own and is not helpless next to the man who protects her. Still Tuxedo Mask is the valiant and courageous love interest who protects and helps her because that is a sort of archetype which is appealing to the viewer. Sailor Moon herself is impressed with how he wants to protect her. Tuxedo Mask’s name Mamoru even means “protect” in Japanese. The manga and anime really do try to have it both ways by having Tuxedo Mask protect and rescue Sailor Moon but also have her be strong on her own. This is a hard balance to get. I have certainly heard criticism that Sailor Moon is a damsel in distress but I don’t think this is accurate. She really is strong and really does fight her own battles and Tuxedo Mask does the minimum needed to be the dashing protector and saviour while still making Sailor Moon’s victories her own well earned accomplishment, not to mention Sailor Moon getting along just fine when Tuxedo Mask is busy being evil, a bad boyfriend, injured or dead.

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

With that I’d say the meme is certainly funny and I understand how in some fundamental way it strikes a cord but ultimately I don’t think it accurately reflects the dynamic between the two. Tuxedo Mask does something. He doesn’t do much and he doesn’t do enough to take away Sailor Moon’s spotlight but he’s a worthwhile low powered sidekick who provides well timed distractions and words of support when they are needed. Beyond that he doesn’t take credit for being the victor in battles which he isn’t actually winning.

Sailor Moon episode 1 - Tuxedo Mask leaves

What do you think? Is Tuxedo Mask a useless blowhard who takes credit when nothing is done? Is he a harmful stereotype teaching girls they’re damsels in distress who can’t do anything on their own? Am I overthinking this harmless joke?

Hinamatsuri Petit Chara figures of Usagi, Mamoru, Haruka and Michiru are coming in January

Hinamatsuri Petit Chara - Mamoru and Usagi

Four new Sailor Moon Petit Chara figures have been announced on the official Sailor Moon site. These ones are Hinamatsuri themed, showing Usagi, Mamoru, Haruka and Michiru in traditional Japanese dress. What, you may ask, is Hinamatsuri? Some of you may already be familiar with this but I certainly wasn’t before seeing these. Hinamatsuri, also known as Doll’s Day or Girl’s Day, is a holiday in Japan celebrated on March 3rd of each year. On this day ornamental dolls, which these figures are meant to resemble, are displayed.

Hinamatsuri Petit Chara - Haruka and Michiru

There are two sets of figures available. One is on Mamoru and Usagi and the other is of Haruka and Michiru. As these dolls traditionally show a wedding or an Emperor and Empress it seems fitting to use Sailor Moon’s two most iconic couples for these sets. The figures are available for pre-order on certain online sites now and will be released online and in stores in Japan in January 2019. Though prices vary slightly each set of two figures will sell for roughly 3000 yen, about $26.50.

Hinamatsuri Petit Chara - Mamoru and Usagi, Haruka and Michiru

Do you plan on picking up these sets? There are a lot of photos of the figures so keep reading for more images.

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Check out the board and pieces for the upcoming Sailor Moon Monopoly game

Sailor Moon Monopoly - Board

A Sailor Moon Monopoly game is coming! A listing for this game has been up with many retailers for a while now but we can now see, from the GameStop listing for the product, what the game’s board will look like! The game will retail for $39.99 US and will be released November 9th according to GameStop’s site. With the release of this version of Monopoly there will be as many different types of Monopoly games as there are Funko Pop toys at GameStop! The box and board feature all characters from the Sailor Moon S season including all 10 Sailor Guardians as well as other villains from that season such as Professor Tomoe, the Witches 5 and Mistress 9. Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion are also on the game though those characters don’t make a proper appearance in the S season. As a long time Monopoly player it seems obvious that the values on most of the board match what people would be used to only all spaces are replaced with Sailor Moon themed characters and items. Properties are all characters with other characters and items making up others squares. I’ve listed a breakdown of what characters are replacing for every original Monopoly space:

Mediteranian Avenue – Luna and Artemis
Baltic Avenue – Mimete

Oriental Avenue – Eudial
Vermont Avenue – Viluy
Connecticut Avenue – Tellu

St. Charles Place – Cyprine/Ptilol
States Avenue – Sailor Chibi Moon
Virginia Avenue – Kaolinite

St. James Place – Sailor Mercury
Tennessee Avenue – Sailor Mars
New York Avenue – Sailor Jupiter

Kentucky Avenue – Sailor Venus
Indiana Avenue – Professor Tomoe
Illinois Avenue – Sailor Pluto

Atlantic Avenue – Tuxedo Mask
Ventor Avenue – Sailor Neptune
Marvin Gardens – Sailor Uranus

Pacific Avenue – Mistress 9
North Carolina Avenue – Sailor Saturn
Pennsylvania Avenue – Sailor Moon

Park Place – King Endymion
Boardwalk – Neo Queen Serenity

Reading Railroad – Garnet Rod
Pennsylvania Railroad – Deep Aqua Mirror
B. & O. Railroad – Space Sword
Short Line – Silence Glaive

Electric Company – Cosmic Heart Compact
Water Works – Spiral Moon Heart Rod

Community Chest – Love
Chance – Friendship

Income Tax and Luxury Tax – Something with the Witches 5?

The following spaces are unchanged:
Go
In Jail/Just Visiting
Free Parking
Go To Jail

In addition we can get a bit of a look at the “Sailor Moon Money” in this image and we see the following denominations on bills:

$1 – Sailor Moon
$5 – Sailor Chibi Moon
$10 – Sailor Mercury
$20 – Sailor Mars
$50 – Sailor Jupiter
$100 – Sailor Venus
$500 – Sailor Moon

Why Sailor Moon is on both the $1 and $500 isn’t clear! I may be mistaken as it’s hard to see exactly what it says on the $1 bill but it seems to have a crescent moon and the “Sailor” part is clear and the second 4 letter word appears to be Moon from the top of the letters we see. I’m not sure the $ is the appropriate symbol to be using in this case as there seems to be an M symbol to reference Sailor Moon Money when dollars are mentioned but it is a bit hard to make out. Sailor Moon Money has no basis in canon. Throughout most of the series the character live in Tokyo and would use Japanese Yen as currency. I don’t know what currency would be used in Crystal Tokyo but it seems unlikely that it would be called Sailor Moon Money as Sailor Moon is no longer an active superhero at the time, what with being the Queen of that city.

Sailor Moon Monopoly - Box

We also see what the tokens for the game will be. These are also listed on the GameStop site. These are the Cosmic Heart Compact, Moon Chalice, Spiral Heart Moon Rod, Garnet Orb, Deep Aqua Mirror and Space Sword. These are again all items appearing in Sailor Moon S.

Why Sailor Moon S? Why now? Sailor Moon SuperS has now been released in its entirety in North America on home video. Sailor Moon Sailor Stars is out subtitled on streaming services. When it comes to Sailor Moon Crystal we’ve only gotten up to the Infinity Arc, telling the equivalent of the Sailor Moon S story, but these are clearly original Sailor Moon anime based designs and not Sailor Moon Crystal designs like we’ve seen with the Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge game. Surely there is the convenience of having all of the Sailor Guardians appearing in Sailor Moon S allowing for more properties with those characters in it. If we had a first season based game we might be seeing Queen Beryl and the Shitennou alongside Naru and Umino instead. There are certainly reasons for which Sailor Moon S makes sense for the game’s setting, but it still seems odd and a bit arbitrary to me.

Do you plan on picking this game up? How many versions of Monopoly do you own?

Check out images of the cast of the Sailor Moon The Super Live musical

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Super Live musical cast

Last weekend the Sailor Moon Official Site was updated with images of the entire cast of the upcoming Sailor Moon The Super Live musical. We had previously gotten a complete cast listing and some partially obscured images of the cast. Here we have the Pink Heart, Yellow Diamond and Blue Musical Note casts. I had previously made an attempt to translate most of the cast names and was missing only a few. I’ve been able to fill in the blanks with details from a post on Anime News Network. The image on the official site and those posted to Twitter were a bit confusing with a number of repeated images for Queen Beryl, Kunzite and Tuxedo Mask who’s actors span multiple teams. I attempted to simplify them in the amalgamated image above. The Super Live Musical web site also gives a decent matrix showing them all. Check out the updated cast listings, with separate images, below.

Sailor Moon The Super Live Musical - Pink Heart Cast

Pink Heart Cast:

Sailor Moon/Usagi Tsukino: Kanae Yumemiya
Sailor Mercury/Ami Mizuno: Cocona
Sailor Mars/Rei Hino: Kitomi Hirai (2)
Sailor Jupiter/Makoto Kino: Kie Obana
Sailor Venus/Minako Aino: Sena Hooper

Sailor Moon The Super Live Musical - Yellow Diamond Cast

Yellow Diamond Cast:

Sailor Moon/Usagi Tsukino: Natsuki Koga (2)
Sailor Mercury/Ami Mizuno: Umino Kawamura (2)
Sailor Mars/Rei Hino: Kyoko Ninomiya
Sailor Jupiter/Makoto Kino: Kanna Matsuzaki
Sailor Venus/Minako Aino: Yu Nakanishi

Sailor Moon The Super Live Musical - Blue Musical Note Cast

Blue Musical Note Cast:

Sailor Moon/Usagi Tsukino: Kasai Tomomi (2)
Sailor Mercury/Ami Mizuno: Momoko Kaechi
Sailor Mars/Rei Hino: Yui Hasegawa
Sailor Jupiter/Makoto Kino: Shio Yamazaki (2)
Sailor Venus/Minako Aino: Saaya Goto (2)

Confusingly, there are two Queen Beryls over the three teams.

Sailor Moon The Super Live Musical - Pink Heart and Yellow Diamond Queen Beryl

Pink Heart and Yellow Diamond Cast:

Queen Beryl: Kyoka

Sailor Moon The Super Live Musical - Blue Musical Note Queen Beryl

Blue Musical Note Cast:

Queen Beryl: Makoto Aikawa

Kunzite and Tuxedo Mask are the same amongst all three teams, as was reported last time.

Sailor Moon The Super Live Musical - Kunzite and Tuxedo Mask

Pink Heart, Yellow Diamond and Blue Musical Note Cast:

Kunzite: Sanada Reo
Tuxedo Mask/Mamoru Chiba: Riona Tatemichi

What do you think of the look of the latest Sailor Teams? Casting for Tuxedo Mask is always important. Do you think Riona Tatemichi who played Taiki in the Le Mouvement Final musical fits the part? The musical starts at the end of the month on August 31st and will run until September 9th in Tokyo. It will also be held at the Japonismes event in Paris November 3rd and 4th. With so many showings there are often multiple teams doing shows on the same day. Good news for the cast members who get to relax between showings but a lot of work for Sanada Reo and Riona Tatemichi was are present for every performance! Are any of you planning on seeing this one?

Here’s a first look at the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Super Live musical

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Super Live - Poster

The official Sailor Moon site has been updated with a full list of the cast of the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Super Live musical as well as a trailer and a poster but for whatever reason we can’t see any of the actor’s faces in them. Seems like an odd decision since the cast has been revealed but there’s a good reason for this! There is no single cast of this musical but rather three different teams! The Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical had Team Moon and Team Star and we’re doing one more here with teams , and which are denoted simply by those coloured characters. I don’t know what the naming convention will be in Japanese but these are pink heart, yellow diamond and blue musical note. Sounds a bit like Lucky Charms marshmallows when it’s said like that. Check out the trailer embedded below.

As with other recent musicals we once again have an all female cast which includes the Sailor Team, which is split up into three groups, as well Queen Beryl, Kunzite and Tuxedo Mask which are the same actors throughout the different groups. This tells us the story, if there is some overarching story, will be that of the Dark Moon story arc once again. We also have a series of extras, some of which are in two groups, which are likely playing monsters or other types of background characters. I’ve done my best to translate the names and find a public social media profile for most of these actors but for some of them I wasn’t able to find anything and so I left the original untranslated Japanese names. If anyone has any more details for some of these please feel free to share them in the comments and I’ll update the post.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Super Live - Sailor Moon

The (Pink Heart) Team includes:

Sailor Moon/Usagi Tsukino: 夢宮加菜枝 (Kanae Yumemiya?)
Sailor Mercury/Ami Mizuno: Cocona
Sailor Mars/Rei Hino: Kitomi Hirai (2)
Sailor Jupiter/Makoto Kino: Kie Obana
Sailor Venus/Minako Aino: Sena Hooper

Background dancers:

松林篤美
新橋 和
土定美月
Osawa Suzuka
Miyuu Ohashi (2)

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Super Live - Sailor Mercury

The (Yellow Diamond) Team includes:

Sailor Moon/Usagi Tsukino: 古賀なつき (2)
Sailor Mercury/Ami Mizuno: Umino Kawamura (2)
Sailor Mars/Rei Hino: Kyoko Ninomiya
Sailor Jupiter/Makoto Kino: Kanna Matsuzaki
Sailor Venus/Minako Aino: Yu Nakanishi

Background Dancers:

松林篤美
Aiko Enomoto
Ayumi Higashikawa
小泉もえこ
Hinako Aikawa

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Super Live - Sailor Mars

The (Blue Musical Note) Team Includes:

Sailor Moon/Usagi Tsukino: Kasai Tomomi (2)
Sailor Mercury/Ami Mizuno: Momoko Kaechi
Sailor Mars/Rei Hino: Yui Hasegawa
Sailor Jupiter/Makoto Kino: Shio Yamazaki (2)
Sailor Venus/Minako Aino: Saaya Goto (2)

Background Dancers:

小泉もえこ
新橋 和
土定美月
Osawa Suzuka
Miyuu Ohashi (2)

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Super Live - Sailor Jupiter

All performances will include the same actors as Queen Beryl, Kunzite and Tuxedo Mask:

Queen Beryl: 京香
Kunzite: Sanada Reo
Tuxedo Mask/Mamoru Chiba: Riona Tatemichi

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Super Live - Sailor Venus

We have a few returning actors in this musical. Riona Tatemichi, who will be portraying Tuxedo Mask with all casts, was previously cast as Taiki Kou, Sailor Star Maker, in the Le Mouvement Final musical. Yui Hasegawa, who will be Sailor Mars in the (Blue Musical Note) group was also Viluy of the Witches 5 in the Un Nouveau Voyage musical.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Super Live - Sailor Team

This musical will be taking place quite soon with performances in Tokyo being held from August 31st to September 9th and performances at Japonismes, a cultural event in Paris, being held November 3rd and 4th. Are any fans who will be in Japan or France around this time planning to attend this musical?

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Super Live - Banner

The Pretty Heroes convention featuring many Sailor Moon voice actors is coming to Toronto June 16th and 17th

Pretty Heroes banner

We’re only a couple of weeks away from a great convention featuring many Sailor Moon guests in Toronto. After two successful years as the Toronto Sailor Moon Celebration this event is being rebranded as the Pretty Heroes convention which will take place the weekend of June 16th and 17th. While this new convention, broader in scope, will still include all things Sailor Moon it will also cover other things which fall under the umbrella of Pretty Heroes. Naturally many Sailor Moon fans will also be interested in many other things which are covered by this convention and so I would suggest you check out the convention’s web site for all of the details. As in the past this convention will be taking place at the Ontario Science Center in Toronto.

Sailor Moon episode 47 - Ail and An

The convention will feature a ton of Sailor Moon related voice actors which includes, from the original English dub of Sailor Moon, Stephanie Morgenstern, the voice of Sailor Venus, Vincent Corazza, the 3rd voice of Tuxedo Mask and the voice of Alan the alien, Sabrina Grdevich, the voice of Ann the alien as well as the original voice of Sailor Pluto, and Barbara Radecki, the voice of Sailor Neptune. Also from Viz’s new dub of Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal is Lauren Landa, the voice of Sailor Neptune, and Amanda Miller, the voice of Sailor Jupiter. There may be more guests announced as the convention comes up so keep an eye out on the guest list for the latest.

Sailor Neptune

I had a great time at the first Toronto Sailor Moon Celebration a couple of years ago but unfortunately I could not attend last year and won’t be able to make the trip to Toronto again this year. Will any of you be attending?

Check out cast information and images of this summer’s Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical - Team Moon and Team Star

A few weeks ago we got our first look at the Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical. This new musical will be playing in Tokyo this summer first at the Tennōzu Galaxy Theatre June 8th to the 24th and then at the TBS Akasaka ACT Theater September 21st to the 30th. What, you may ask, is this musical all about? Nogizaka46 is an all female pop band in Japan and this is a Sailor Moon musical featuring members of that band. As we can see from the promo image and the posts on the Sailor Moon official site and musical’s official site, 10 of the band members have formed two Sailor Teams. One is Team Moon and the other is Team Star.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical - Team Moon

The two teams seem to be identical in costume and appearance, though we can clearly see that the members in those costumes differ from one image to the other. With multiple shows being put on over a fairly short time the two teams are scheduled to perform on different nights. At first I imagined this was to give the other team a break on the off days but since a lot of the other cast of the musicals is only listed once it seems like not everyone is on that schedule. Perhaps this setup is simply meant to vary the performances to feature more of their talent. It remains to be seen if the performances themselves will vary depending on the team performing. Perhaps each team will have an exclusive song to encourage people to see multiple performances! At this point this is only speculation.

Nogizaka46 x Sailor Moon musical - Team Star

Here’s a translated cast listing. I’m not good with Japanese names (since Google Translate messes them up) so I had a little help from this Anime News Network article for this list. I attempted to find a relevant link when possible. All members of Nogizaka46 have profiles from the official site and for others I tried to find a profile or social media link.

Team Moon:
Sailor Moon/Usagi Tsukino: Mizuki Yamashita (Nogizaka46)
Sailor Mercury/Ami Mizuno: Riria Itō (Nogizaka46)
Sailor Mars/Rei Hino: Kazumi Takayama (Nogizaka46)
Sailor Jupiter/Makoto Kino: Ami Noujo (Nogizaka46)
Sailor Venus/Minako Aino: Hina Higuchi (Nogizaka46)

Team Star:
Sailor Moon/Usagi Tsukino: Sayuri Inoue (Nogizaka46)
Sailor Mercury/Ami Mizuno: Miria Watanabe (Nogizaka46)
Sailor Mars/Rei Hino: Ranze Terada (Nogizaka46)
Sailor Jupiter/Makoto Kino: Minami Umezawa (Nogizaka46)
Sailor Venus/Minako Aino: Kana Nakada (Nogizaka46)

Naru Osaka: Yuka Yamauchi
Umino Gurio: Marina Tanoue

Kunzite: Chihiro Andō
Zoisite: Sari Kojima
Nephrite: Shin
Jadeite: Rina Takeda

Ensemble (I assume this means background dancers, various monsters and such):
Mayuko Kawamoto, Mayu Kaburagi, Kumiko Saitō, Ayuka Kurachi, Minami Watanabe, Mami Mitsuoka

Queen Beryl: Nami Tamaki

Tuxedo Mask/Mamoru Chiba: Mikako Ishii

Director: Worry Kinoshita

Sailor Moon Petite Étrangère musical - Sailor Pluto

Only the main cast of the Sailor Team will be composed of Nogizaka46 members. The rest of cast of characters are played by various musical stars and dancers, as was the case with other musicals. To me the most interesting casting decision here is that Mikako Ishii, who played Sailor Pluto in the last few musicals, will be playing Tuxedo Mask! It’s well established that Sailor Pluto has an unrequited love for King Endymion in the future! What better way to gain someone’s affection than to literally become them? Also returning is Chihiro Ando as Kunzite. She previously played Tiger’s Eye in the Amour Eternal musical. As we see from this an other casting we once again have an all female cast even including the male characters.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Amour Eternal Musical - The Amazon Trio

It seems clear that the story will cover the Dark Kingdom story arc though beyond that it’s hard to get a sense of what the content or structure of the musical will be like. Given the cast and that we have two returning cast members I’m inclined to think that it will be a similar presentation to musicals we have seen in the past.

So … which Team are you rooting for? Is that how we’re supposed to be reacting to this? Go Team Star! No way Team Moon is the best! … and so forth.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 and 22 discussion

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Dark Mercury

This is a review and discussion of the Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series Acts 21, What Did You Do To Ami?, and 22, Ami Becomes An Enemy. These aired on February 28th and March 6th 2004. These episodes introduce us to Dark Mercury, the evil version of Sailor Mercury, which is a unique character to the live action series. I think this story arc is a lot of fun and this very cool character is one of the key differences between other incarnations of the Sailor Moon story and the live action series.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Makoto punches Tuxedo Mask

Act 21 starts out with a ton of flashbacks. Naturally we need to focus on what just happened, as something happened to Ami we just don’t yet know exactly what it is. Along with these flashbacks we see a scene of Makoto punching Tuxedo Mask which takes place during Act 20 but that we didn’t actually see in Act 20. Perhaps it just didn’t fit in that episode so they spliced it in as a flashback? She’s angry that he’s using Usagi which isn’t a great characterization of what’s happening but that’s not to say that she doesn’t have good reason to be upset that this man who clearly has a fiancé is stringing her friend along. Makoto is the central character for the early part of this episode for whatever reason.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Ami pretends to be sick

Usagi is not at school. She claims to be sick but it’s actually because she’s a bit heartbroken, again, because of this whole Mamoru’s fiancé situation. Ami is also not at school, prompting Makoto to go check out her home. When she first rings the doorbell we clearly see that Ami’s bed is empty but upon entering Makoto finds Ami passed out sick barely able to wake up. What this likely means is that Ami isn’t really sick and that she’s just messing around with Makoto at this point. Considering that Makoto’s is showing constant and legitimate concern for Ami this ruse is very cold and calculated. Makoto makes her some food to help her out. What is that food? It looks like soggy rice. A bit of searching tells me that it’s kayu, called congee in other countries, a sort of rice porridge which is typically served to a sick person. As a write this I have a cold and recently ate chicken soup, a staple sick person food in western countries, but it seems like such a thing is not universal! Ami chows it down, seems to make a miraculous recovery and wishes to go to the amusement park! How atypical!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Ami and a bear which looks like Usagi's costume

Act 21

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

Act 4

At the amusement park we see a bear that looks just like Usagi’s costume from Act 4. In fact if I didn’t know better I’d say they were reusing props!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Kamekichi

Just hanging around the amusement park is Motoki. Who works at Karaoke Crown when he’s out doing this kind of thing anyway? He always seems to be at the counter when the girls are there yet is frequently seen outside as well. Motoki claims to be taking Kamekichi, his turtle, out for some fresh air. This seems to be a colossally inefficient way to give your turtle fresh air. Although last time we learned that you have to pay for some parks in Japan an amusement park generally carries a heavy price of admission. Did Motoki really pay to come and give his turtle fresh air, a thing which is more of less available outdoors on the entire surface of the Earth? Perhaps he got more free tickets like he did earlier in the series!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Motoki gives Makoto a cup of coffee

After Ami passes out on the ferris wheel Motoki comes to the rescue! He has his car there because apparently he even drove his turtle to a place to give him some fresh air. His car naturally is green and looks a bit like a turtle. It is filled with turtle decorations. Do I judge him for this? Not with the amount of Sailor Moon merchandise I own! Motoki is wearing Makoto’s scarf and mentions that it was the only valentine’s gift he received! Makoto, trying to deflect the implication, says that it wasn’t meant to be that big a deal. Motoki, being the great guy that he is, accompanies Makoto to the hospital and only reluctantly leaves, giving her a bunch of magazines and snacks to help her pass the time. Makoto and Motoki’s fingers touch when he hands her a coffee. I usually wouldn’t make a big deal about this kind of thing however when Motoki went to the amusement park with Usagi he made a point of only holding her hand with a handkerchief as an intermediary showing perhaps a more intimate relationship between him and Makoto!

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Nice guy Shingo

Shingo is actually not terrible in this episode! He realizes that Usagi is down and so he gets her… a meat bun! This is a bit like getting anime Naru a chocolate parfait to cheer her up as the meat bun reminds her of the one she got Mamoru on their romantic not date along the coast back in a time before Hina was in the credits for the show.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - University of Saintford

Meanwhile Mamoru is getting ready to study abroad! He mentions that there’s only one month and he has material from “Saintford College” which is also written in English as “University of Saintford”. There is no such place in the real world. A bit of searching only uncovered an unfinished piece of fan fiction which uses such a name. The name is likely a reference to the real life Stanford University. Anyway Mamoru going abroad to study. Sound familiar? It should! This was a theme in the manga and original Sailor Moon anime where Mamoru left during the Stars or Sailor Stars story arc leaving room for Seiya to saunter in and try to steal his girl! Turns out he never really made it to the United States. Will he make it this time?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Ami beat these guys up for fun

Well it turns out Ami went missing from the hospital. This is a lot like when Usagi was being turned evil by Kunzite and ended up disappearing as well. Ami runs into some thugs and she seems to beat them up off screen. Makoto listens to the trees in order to track down her friend which seems to work.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 21 - Dark Mercury's tiara

And then the big moment! Ami transforms but not using Mercury Power. Instead she calls out “Dark Power Make Up!” and transforms into an evil goth looking version of Sailor Mercury known as Dark Mercury or Darkury for short. This character is somewhat of an opposite in appearance and behaviour of Sailor Mercury. Simply put this is the evil version of Sailor Mercury and she’s out to attack her former friends! This is a great story arc showing some great drama between Ami and her friends who’s friendship started out rocky but seemed, until recently, to be pretty solid.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Dark Mercury and her sword

Act 22 continues where we left off with Sailor Mercury attacking her friends. First she turns an icicle into a cool looking sword. This reminds me a bit of the sword that Sailor Mercury created when she was defending Usagi, who Kunzite was turning into a monster. Now Sailor Mercury finds herself in a similar situation to Usagi’s in that episode except with one important difference! When Usagi was on the verge of being turned evil by Kunzite it was Ami who brought her back. Ami can’t bring Ami back because she’s herself! It is the abandonment that Ami is feeling by her friends which has precipitated this transformation and it doesn’t look like there’s any coming back from it! Sailor Moon attempts to heal Sailor Mercury with her Moon Stick but Mercury quickly strikes down the attack! The fight is only halted by Kunzite who seems to be calling the shots, but not for long.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Mamoru and Hina discuss their legal romantic relationship

Back at what seems to be Hina’s place she has made hamburger for the two which Mamoru doesn’t seem to be eating. We learn a bit more about the arrangement. Mamoru has agreed to study abroad, presumably at Saintford University, and promised Hina’s father than he would marry her. This whole arrangement seems odd to me from a Western perspective but a few readers have pointed out that this kind of thing isn’t terribly uncommon in Japan. The concept of mukoyoshi has a family adopting an adult son in law by having him marry the daughter. In many such cases the man will take the daughter’s family name. Does this mean Mamoru would end up as Mamoru Kusaka?

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Evil Ami and her posse

Usagi is stressing about how to cover for Ami becoming evil to her teacher and it turns out… she actually came to school! She may be evil but no need to let her grades and attendance record suffer needlessly! Ami has also brainwashed her classmates, including Naru, against Usagi who is stuck eating on the roof like a reject! We’ll remember that both Ami and Makoto spent some time eating their lunch on the roof in earlier episodes, as it seems to be the place for people without friends to go to pass their lunch break. Usagi uses this moment to reflect upon how Ami must have felt herself being abandoned by her friends.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Luna and Artemis

The opinion of the cats seems to be that the gang will have to fight Sailor Mercury but Usagi doesn’t want to have anything to do with that. Unfortunately they will be forced into that situation! A monster appears at the amusement park and the setting for the combat is an odd stage in or close to an aquarium.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Dark Mercury defeats Sailor Venus

Sailor Mercury quickly dispatches Sailor Venus who’s happy to fight a fellow Sailor Guardian. When it comes to Sailor Moon though she won’t fight but instead transforms back into Usagi. This is Usagi at her finest. Her true strength does not come from her ability to fight but from her compassion for her enemy, who in this case is one of her closest friends. This doesn’t convince Dark Mercury as she slashes the mittens that she’d made! This is a symbolic gesture to demonstrate her severing their friendship.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Sailor Moon's light briefly heals Dark MercuryLive Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Sailor Moon's light briefly heals Dark Mercury

Usagi cries and the tear lands on her broach causing a bright cleansing light. Ami appears briefly, calling Usagi’s name, but Kunzite takes her away before this can go anywhere. This Dark Mercury story arc could easily have been ended here. Usagi essentially put fighting aside and showed her feelings to Ami and then there was some magic stuff to make the bad magic go away, which wasn’t really the problem. The issue was between Ami and her friends and it is essentially resolved through their feelings but we can get more out of this story arc by having Ami remain evil and I’m all for it since I dig the character. It reminds me a bit of what they did with Black Lady in the original Sailor Moon anime. She shows up, there’s a little fight, then Sailor Moon pretty much heals her but they needed to do a big finale episode later so Wiseman sweeps her away.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Usagi's tear on her locket

Sailor Venus mentions that Sailor Moon has begun to awaken with that bright light. It’s easy to see the parallel of the tear to other incarnations. In the manga as well as both Sailor Moon anime series the Silver Crystal appears from Sailor Moon’s tear. At this point in the series we have still not seen the real crystal, just fakes put on by Sailor Venus who is absolutely Princess Serenity in this series. The light wasn’t a total waste of time though. Those mittens were repaired which is again symbolic. If the mittens which were cut can be fused together then perhaps there is still hope for Ami’s friendship. The gang are dedicated to getting her back.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Mamoru doesn't think he left the CD player on

Back to Mamoru and Hina, who are otherwise not really interacting with the rest of the cast in these episodes, they arrive back at Mamoru’s apartment and there is music playing! Hina wonders if he left a CD on, which seems like a perfectly reasonable explanation! I would think a radio or TV could also fit the bill! Mamoru, being no stranger to monsters and all sorts of terrible things, assumes the worst! It’s also worth mentioning that Mamoru is a thief who regularly breaks into jewellery stores to steal expensive gems. A person like that probably assumes some illegal break in could be a real possibility! Alternatively as a fairly unfaithful man perhaps he suspects there is a lady in his apartment! He goes in alone, which serves the plot well because Hina would not know how to react to seeing Zoisite’s ghost. He again refers to Mamoru as Master Endymion. Endymion is Princess Serenity’s lover! Looks like Mamoru’s juggling three women since it’s well established that Minako, and not Usagi, is actually Princess Serenity.

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 22 - Zoisite

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.

Continue reading

See footage of the Universal Studios Japan Sailor Moon 4-D ride in this new commercial

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D Universal Studios Japan ride - Sailor Moon

A commercial has been released for the Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D ride which is coming to Universal Studios Japan. From this commercial we can get a better idea of what the ride will look like! The CG models we saw in an earlier press image do appear to be the designs we will be seeing in this show, meaning it won’t be done in the traditional animation style of either the original Sailor Moon anime or Sailor Moon Crystal. Watch the short commercial below.

Since the footage shows an actual theatre and audience reactions this won’t be exactly what the ride will look like, but it seems likely that the characters and designs shown are what we will see. There needs to be audience interaction because otherwise we wouldn’t have any way to realize it’s actually in 3D. Remember those ads for Avatar that showed the Navi sticking their hand out and trying to grab audience members? Me neither.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D Universal Studios Japan ride - Morga

Sailor Moon Crystal Act.1 Usagi - Sailor Moon - Morga

Featured in the clip is a monster which looks a lot like Morga, the monster from the first Sailor Moon manga story and the first episode of the original Sailor Moon anime as well as Sailor Moon Crystal. In those versions Morga poses as Naru’s mother though it isn’t clear if that will be the case here.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D Universal Studios Japan ride - A rose appears

The final moment of the trailer shows a rose appearing. This is Tuxedo Mask’s trademark however the rose is something which first appeared in the original Sailor Moon anime as it did not originate in the manga and didn’t appear in Sailor Moon Crystal.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon The Miracle 4-D Universal Studios Japan ride - Sailor Moon in a theatre

What do you think of these designs? The CG sure does look dated. With almost all western animation being done in CG these days this short ride doesn’t look to be up to par even with the lower budget shows that use this kind of technology. That said the simple designs do look more like the 90s anime brought to life even though they don’t resemble actual humans. This may have been an intentional style choice rather than an economic constraint. Perhaps it’s a bit of both.