Sailor Moon Crystal Act 36, Infinity 10 – Infinite – Upper Atmosphere, review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 36 - Hotaru dies

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal aired Japanese TV Monday June 13th 11pm. Immediately afterwards, starting at 10:30am Eastern Time, the show became available to stream first on Crunchyroll and then on Neon Alley and Hulu. Act 36 is the first of a three part finale for the Infinity arc, as this was once a single long chapter of the manga. The episode is all about Hotaru freeing herself from Mistress 9 and the consequences of that as well as a power up for Sailor Chibi Moon.

Phanto from Super Mario Bros. 2 Sailor Moon Crystal Act 36 - Pharaoh 90 happy face

We get an idea of the Death Busters’ end game here. Pharaoh 90 wants to vesselize the planet. How odd! Up until now we’ve only seen the vesselization of living being but he wants to do it to the planet. What will this look like? Literally a comical smiley face on planet earth. No this isn’t a bad photoshop but rather a screenshot from the episode! Looks like Phanto from Super Mario Bros. 2/Doki Doki Panic to me! They seek to make the Earth a second Tau Star System with this. Wait a minute how do you make a planet a star system which is shown as a galaxy? I don’t really understand the scope of the astronomical references of this arc.

Sailor Moon Manga Act 36 - Mistress 9 with elf ears Sailor Moon Crystal Act 36 - Mistress 9 has elf ears

Mistress 9 is some weird looking in this episode. What’s with the elf ears? This could be a reflection of the monster inside. She does have a more monstrous looking face as time goes on in the manga. I think, however, that those ears are inspired but a misinterpretation of some art in the manga. Only one panel shows Mistress 9 with pointy ears and I don’t think it was meant to be elf ears at all. She has all sorts of things sticking out of her in this one image and the sharp things near her ears just happen to look like pointy ears. She has normal small round ears in all other panels in the manga. She’s also got bulging Total Recall dying on the surface of Mars eyes.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 36 - Hotaru protects the Sailor Guardians' souls

Mistress 9 is chowing down on hostes or souls. She eats Sailor Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus’s but this doesn’t last long. Hotaru protects them, along with Chibiusa’s soul and Crystal, and decides it’s time to GTFO. She leaves Mistress 9’s body, which is actually her body, and is able to take those souls with her. Great news? Actually it means she’s going to have to die.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 36 - Hotaru and Chibiusa

Hotaru uses her last bit of life to bring Chibiusa’s soul back to her, along with her Crystal. What follows is a tearful and heart wrenching farewell. She mentions that she feels like her encounter with Chibiusa was destiny, pointing out that this seems odd because they’re both girls. The obvious interpretation of this is that destiny is usually something that would connect lovers. In Japan there is an idea, shared amongst other Asian cultures, that a red thread connects lovers together through fate or destiny. Why does Hotaru think this is odd? Because they aren’t lovers, or because their relationship is not heterosexual and therefore not fitting with her expectation? This story arc, and the show as a whole, has precedent dealing with same sex relationships. Ultimately the romantic aspects of Hotaru and Chibiusa’s relationship are subject to interpretation. There’s nothing overt about this relationship, but this is one of the many insinuations that it has romantic undertones. In case you were wondering, of course I’m shipping these two!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 36 - Sailor Chibi Moon flies

Mamoru encourages Chibiusa to go out in fight. You can see this is hard for him, but he pushes her for it anyway. Chibiusa is totally bad ass here. She digs deep and finds the will to fight to save the world. A lot of fans may not have liked her portrayal in the original anime but it’s hard not to like Chibiusa now. She seems to have immediately increased in power and she jumps out the window and flies to where she’s going. We previously saw that Chibiusa appeared to be the only member of the team that was not able to fly.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 36 - Tuxedo Mask transforms

I was really hoping that this episode would have an amazing transformation sequence for Tuxedo Mask. In the manga we see him transform and get a look at his nakedness. Sadly this doesn’t occur here. I was hoping for a full on elaborate stock footage calibre transformation for Tuxedo Mask. Instead we see him glow and quickly transform behind his cape. I blame the patriarchy.

Ryuk from Death Note Sailor Moon Crystal Act 36 - Mistress 9's Daimon

When Hotaru left Mistress 9’s body, it meant that Mistress 9 was also no longer bound to that body. The Daimon inside escaped, destroying the body, which killed Hotaru. This Daimon kind of looks like Ryuk from Death Note. I don’t know much about this series, and only ever saw the terrible live action movie adaptation, but this guy from that show immediately came to mind when I saw it.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 36 - Super Sailor Moon and Super Sailor Chibi Moon

What’s the gang to do? Sailor Chibi Moon does an effective Pink Sugar Heart Attack for a change but that isn’t enough. We need Super Sailor Moon … but wait! Chibiusa gets a grail too and she becomes Super Sailor Chibi Moon. Unfortunately we don’t get a full transformation sequence for Super Sailor Chibi Moon. Oh well.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 37 Preview - Sailor Saturn

Next time is Act 37, Infinity 11 – Infinite – Judge. Sailor Saturn. That’s all. Who cares what else happens in this episode because it’s Sailor Saturn! We’ve been waiting for this for like… ever! Finally we will start seeing a proper representation of Sailor Saturn in an animated series after she got totally shafted in the original Sailor Moon anime. I can’t wait!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 37 Preview - Sailor Saturn

Keep reading for more screenshots from this episode and the preview for Act 37.

Continue reading

Watch Sailor Moon Crystal Act 36, Infinity 10 – Infinite – Upper Atmosphere, Monday June 13th at 10:30am Eastern Time

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 36 Preview - Hotaru

The next episode of Sailor Moon Crystal will air on Japanese TV tomorrow, June 13th, at 11pm Japan Standard Time. Afterwards, starting at 10:30am Eastern Time, the episode will be available to stream on Crunchyroll, Neon Alley and Hulu. . Act 36, Infinity 10 – Infinite – Upper Atmosphere, is the first of a three part conclusion to the Infinity arc. These next three episodes were originally one massive chapter of the original Sailor Moon manga. Because of this the pacing may seem a bit off.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 36 Preview - Sailor Moon cries

Hotaru is a big deal this week, trying to free herself from the evil Mistress 9 who’s ingesting human souls like they were candy. One major thing we just might see in this episode is a Tuxedo Mask transformation sequence. The equivalent manga chapter, which we expect should be faithfully adapted as all others before it have, shows Mamoru transforming into Tuxedo Mask. We never got an elaborate stock footage transformation for Tuxedo Mask in the original Sailor Moon anime. This happened a few times but these were quick and nothing like what the other Sailor Guardians did, and by that I mean we didn’t see a glowing naked version of him. Fingers crossed!

Sailor Moon Manga Act 36 - Tuxedo Mask transforms

Meet Linda Ballantyne, Katie Griffin, Susan Roman and Toby Proctor at Eternal Con in Long Island this weekend, June 11th and 12th

Eternal Con Sailor Moon Reunion

This weekend is Eternal Con at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, New York. New York City Sailor Moon fans will have a chance to meet Linda Ballantyne, the voice of Sailor Moon, Katie Griffin, the voice of Sailor Mars, Susan Roman, the voice of Sailor Jupiter, and Toby Proctor, the voice of Tuxedo Mask. Though the convention runs from June 10th to the 12th these voice actors from the original dub of the Sailor Moon anime will be there on Saturday June 11th and Sunday June 12th.

A panel will be held on Sunday, June 12th, at 1pm with all of the voice actors. Photo ops will be Saturday at 11am and Sunday at 12pm. I did not see any specifics about autographs on the site but the cast likely be available throughout Saturday and Sunday when they are not otherwise occupied.

Also appearing at the convention is Yuuta Mochizuki who played Tuxedo Mask in a number of Sailor Moon Musicals. He was the second Tuxedo Mask and first appeared as Kunzite in the very first musical. Many Sailor Moon and Sentai fans may also know him as the original Red Power Ranger in Zyurangers, the series which was adapted as the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Yuga Yamato will reprise her role as Tuxedo Mask in the next Sailor Moon musical

Yuga Yamato as Tuxedo Mask

It has been confirmed that Yuga Yamato will be playing Mamoru Chiba, Tuxedo Mask, in the upcoming Sailor Moon musical. The five main Sailor Guardians retired from the Sailor Moon musicals following last year’s musical Un Nouveau Voyage. It was unclear at the time who else might be leaving or returning. The new cast was announced a couple of week ago, but we got no details about who would be playing Tuxedo Mask. We now have confirmation via the official Sailor Moon site that Yuga Yamato will indeed be returning as Tuxedo Mask in October.

June 30th live events details

This likely means that the upcoming, still unnamed musical, will feature an all female cast. We will learn more about this new musical during a June 30th event, scheduled on Usagi and Chibiusa’s birthday. This event will feature the five actresses playing the main cast of the new musical as well as Kotono Mitsuishi, the voice of Sailor Moon. The event will be streamed on Niconico, though it will likely be region restricted to viewers in Japan.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34, Infinity 8 – Infinite Labyrinth 1, review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 - The Witches 6

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal aired on Japanese TV Monday May 30th at 11pm Japan Standard Time. Shortly afterwards, starting at 10:30am Eastern Time, it was available to stream on Crunchyroll, Neon Alley and Hulu. Act 34, Infinity 8 – Infinite Labyrinth, has Chibiusa dead and the gang reluctantly fighting to save her.

First off we have a new opening theme. Once again it’s In Love With the New Moon but this time sung by Momoiro Clover Z. They sang Moon Pride, the opening theme for the first two story arcs. This version is fine but I prefer the first version by Etsuko Yakushimaru. Not sure I have much else to say about that. Momoiro Clover Z seems like a perfectly mediocre J-Pop band.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 - Chibiusa is dead

Chibiusa is dead. The day fans have been waiting for since the 90s is here! With her soul ripped out, Chibiusa’s body dies. The doctor announces quite clearly that she went through cardiac arrest and then passed away. All hope is not lost though, as Mamoru is able to keep her alive through some sort of healing touch. It’s as if he’s able to keep her blood pulsing with his heart which only makes sense considering he has magic healing powers. In the manga he mentions that her body is so small that supporting her is easy, but in Sailor Moon Crystal we get the impression that this is draining on him.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 - Usagi and Chibiusa

Usagi is heartbroken by this, and really feels as if Chibiusa is dead. What option is there to save her? Well they just need to kill Hotaru! Actually they don’t have to kill anyone, they just need need to defeat Mistress 9. Not every enemy needs to be killed when they’re defeated! Oh right this is the manga version where Sailor Moon kills pretty much anyone. Original anime Sailor Moon seems to win over and heal more villains. Anyway the trolley problem is a bit different now. Instead of kill Hotaru vs. the world it’s Hotaru vs. Chibiusa vs. the world. And now the trolley has run over Chibiusa and is heading towards the world and pulling the lever will make it roll back in time, bringing Chibiusa back to life and then killing Hotaru. I’m not sure I want to attempt to illustrate that. So much to say despite hesitation everyone, including Mamoru, supports the idea of moving forward and trying to get Chibiusa’s soul back.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 - Hotaru stuck in some vines

The whole thorn thing seems to be new to Sailor Moon Crystal. There are thorns around the building at Mugen Academy which makes it seem something like when the Makaiju grew all over the apartment building in Sailor Moon R. There are thorns and roses all around the lobby. What’s more Hotaru’s soul, which we see occasionally inside of Mistress 9, is held down by thorns. The manga doesn’t have this level of thorniness, and Hotaru is just seen sort of floating around in nothingness. This is a sort of physical visualization of the way she’s restricted inside of Mistress 9. All this really means is that Hotaru is still alive, so there’s still hope.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 - Eudial seduces Sailor Mars

The Witches 5 return and now there are 6. Everyone seems to be getting a dream of something they would like. Sailor Mars sees a version of Eudial which pretty much just want to make out with her. She pins her down holding her hand and seems to want to kiss her. Did I ever mention that Eudial is my favourite of the Witches 5 and that Sailor Mars is my favourite Sailor Guardian? I’m totally shipping these two. The rest of the gang are presented with predictable things. Sailor Mercury sees a powerful artificial intelligence supercomputer, which is cool but probably nothing compared to the supercomputer on the Moon which has the consciousness of Queen Serenity uploaded to it. Sailor Venus holds a microphone for a while but doesn’t actually sing, which is disappointing. Sailor Jupiter likes flowers. The recurring theme is making them all want to quit being Sailor Guardians.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 - Chibiusa tries to kill Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon gets a whopper of a dream. Chibiusa tries to choke and kill her! This is fake, unlike the time Chibiusa tried to shoot her in the head! This really is a great episode for Chibiusa haters! Sailor Moon doesn’t buy it though.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 - Kaolinite is a monster

Turns out Kaolinite is actually a monster! This is not in the manga and new to Sailor Moon Crystal. She transforms into this weird kind of Daimon who the Sailor Guardians quickly dispose of. We see a couple of new attacks with Sailor Neptune’s Submarine Reflection, which is awesome, and Sailor Pluto’s Chronos Typhoon, which is completely disappointing.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 34 - The Silver Crystal of the future

To wrap up the episode Mistress 9 eats the Chibiusa’s Silver Crystal! How terrible! Does she even know that Chibiusa’s soul is in there? Good news for Hotaru though. She’ll have some company inside of Mistress 9.

Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3 ending theme - Mamoru in a wet shirt

Next is the new ending theme, Only Eternity Brings the Two Together, sung by Kenji Nojima, the voice of Tuxedo Mask. This ending theme contains wet shirt Mamoru which I find looks like something out Yaoi fan art. I guess some readers will appreciate this!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35 Preview - Hotaru protecting Chibiusa

Next week is Sailor Moon Crystal Act 35, Infinity 9 – Infinite Labyrinth 2. Mistress 9 has reunited Chibiusa and Hotaru inside her being. Isn’t that great! Even in death these two good friends can hang around together! We’ll also see naked Usagi in this episode if that’s something that interests you.

Keep reading for more images of this episode and the next episode preview for Act 35.

Continue reading

Meet the cast of Sailor Moon at Anime North 2016 this weekend in Toronto

Anime North

Anime North is this weekend, May 27th to the 29th, at the Toronto Congress Center and 9 actors from the original dub of the first Sailor Moon anime will be there! This includes two voices of Sailor Moon. The first voice of Sailor Moon Tracey Moore, provided her voice for only the first 11 episodes as well as another four throughout the series. Linda Ballantyne was the third voice of Sailor Moon, providing her voice for the S and SuperS seasons. Also appearing are Katie Griffin, the voice of Sailor Mars, Susan Roman, the voice of Sailor Jupiter, Barbara Radecki, the voice of Sailor Neptune, Jill Frappier, the voice of Luna, Ron Rubin, the voice of Artemis, Toby Proctor, the second voice of Tuxedo Mask, and John Stocker, voice director for Sailor Moon S and SuperS. Toby Proctor, having himself replaced Rino Romano as the second voice of Tuxedo Mask, mostly acted alongside Terry Hawkes and not the two Sailor Moon voice actors in attendance, though he did appear in four episodes with Tracey Moore.

Sailor Moon Resurgent Panel at Anime North 2014 - Toby Proctor, John Stocker, Linda Ballantyne, Katie Griffin and Susan Roman

The panel with these voice actors will take place on Friday at 5pm. On Sunday at 11am Tracey Moore and John Stocker will be holding a behind the scenes of voice acting panel. The voice actors will be signing autographs throughout the weekend. Check out the Anime North schedule for the exact times.

The convention is full of Sailor Moon related events. A Sailor Moon panel will be held Saturday at 10am and a Sailor Moon Merchandise presentation will be held Sunday at 11am.

Though I am Canadian I don’t live in Toronto. I’ve been to Anime North a number of times and have always had fun but unfortunately I won’t be attending this year.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30, Infinity 4 – Sailor Uranus – Haruka Tenoh – Sailor Neptune – Michiru Kaioh, Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30 - The Holy Grail art project

The most recent episode of Sailor Moon Crystal is now available to view on Crunchyroll, Neon Alley and Hulu. This week’s title is the longest to date as we get Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30, Infinity 4 – Sailor Uranus – Haruka Tenoh – Sailor Neptune – Michiru Kaioh. But is this the title? That is what the original manga chapter is called and from the title card appears to be the proper Japanese title but the Crunchyroll and Hulu subs and page titles call it “Episode 31 – Act.30 INFINITY 4 Haruka Tenoh, Michiru Kaioh – SAILOR URANUS, SAILOR NEPTUNE”. Why change the name like this? Seems an odd choice! This week we continue to deal with drama related to our new friends and Sailor Mercury faces off against Viluy of the Witches 5.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30 - Infinity 4 - Sailor Uranus - Haruka Tenoh - Sailor Neptune - Michiru Kaioh

First things first, we have a new opening theme song. Somehow I didn’t realize we were getting it this week. This story arc will actually have three opening and three ending themes. These are the second batch. The opening theme song, In Love With the New Moon, is now sung by Mitsuko Horie who is best known as the voice of Sailor Galaxia. She also covered the Sailor Stars Song as part of the 20th Anniversary Album. It’s a bit odd to hear a slightly changed version of the theme song we’d just started to get used to. I tend to prefer the first version but I wonder if my feelings would change had I heard this one first. I guess we will be getting this version for another few weeks before it is replaced with the Momoiro Clover Z version of the song. They sang Moon Pride for the first two story arcs of Sailor Moon Crystal.

Sailor Moon Crystal Ending - Chibiusa and Luna P

The new ending theme is Maiden’s Advice, sung by Misato Fukuen, the voice of Chibiusa. The ending theme is full of pink and Luna Ps as far as the eye can see. A big change from the last ending theme we had. This will eventually be replaced by Only Eternity Brings the Two Together, sung by Kenji Nojima, the voice of Tuxedo Mask. A CD single with the current opening and ending themes will be released on May 25th, after which I suspect we will be getting the third opening and closing.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30 - Chibusa is bad at keeping secrets

As the episode begins it is immediately obvious that these new Sailor Guardians can’t be our friends. Prelude to drama! Sailor Uranus and Neptune straight up attack Sailor Moon and her friends because we sort of have the same mission but we aren’t friends so we just aren’t. In the process Chibiusa immediately betrays her promise to Haruka and Michiru by revealing that Sailor Neptune’s Mirror is a Talisman. Too bad she doesn’t share Hotaru’s secret and tell us who the big bad guy is but whatever we needed to make Ami work a bit this week anyway.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30 - Messiah

Another shared dream. This one shared by Mamoru and Usagi, who see the “Deity of Destruction”. The Messiah? Looks like Princess Serenity with a staff, maybe a glaive, to me. The two seem surprised to share a dream, even though this has been happening consistently for the past few episodes.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30 - Haruka surprises Usagi

Usagi is chilling in the park and someone comes by from behind covering her eyes with a sort of “guess who” thing. I hate this game, especially when the person who plays it isn’t someone you play it with a lot. Guess right and it’s not a big deal. Guess wrong and it’s drama drama drama. So Usagi guesses Mamoru, which is odd since she recognizes that Haruka smells like Sailor Uranus. I guess she’s bad at this game too. At this point everyone seems to know who’s who and when Haruka gets close… Mamoru shows up!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30 - Chibiusa interrupts an awkward moment

The drama continues at Mamoru’s apartment and while things are tense Chibiusa crashes the party! She appears to be oblivious to the problem but we eventually learn that her and Diana are actually trying to get them to make up. Chibiusa’s makeup attempt includes making the Holy Grail! This is an odd thing. Chibiusa remembers seeing this item, which Sailor Moon used back in the day aka the future, in a painting in her mother’s room. So the Holy Grail that is made in this episode actually doesn’t exist yet! Mamoru looks up the Holy Grail in “An Encyclopedia of World History”. I don’t really think of the Holy Grail as being a historical object what with it in all likelihood never having actually existed, but whatever. It’s a show about magical girls.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30 - Diana and Chibiusa

Finally once Chibiusa and Diana are asleep Mamoru and Usagi have a little moment where they both admit to being jealous and then they probably have sex. But Chibiusa and Diana aren’t really sleeping so Chibiusa maybe sees her parents having sex. I guess it’s in Chibiusa’s best interest to encourage her parents to have sex because that’s how she’ll be made some day, unless human sexuality changes drastically in the next seven or so years.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30 - The Tau Star System

On to part two which has almost nothing to do with the first half of the episode. Ami enrolls at Mugen Preparatory School, which is a sort of high school exam preraration school given at Mugen Academy but with a ton of students from others schools, hence the variety of uniforms. Ami is a genius, so it makes sense that she goes here, but she’s actually investigating too! She goes up to the 13th floor and sees a scale model of a galaxy. I say galaxy of course because I know that’s what it looks like. Yui Bido, actually Viluy of the Witches 5, refers to it as a scaled down universe, and states that it’s the Tau Star System. Let’s correct some confusing terminology here. The Universe is vast and contains at least a hundred billion galaxies. This model contains a single galaxy. This is hardly a scale model of any Universe as we know it. It’s also referred to as the Tau Star System. What exactly does this mean? A solar system is a star with planets and such around it. A star system can mean a few stars orbiting each other, such as a binary star system, but when you get to galaxy scale, containing hundreds of billions of stars, you don’t call things a star system anymore. So much to say, what we see about this thing contradicts the wildly varying things it’s called. It’s not that hard to get these things accurately, especially given Naoko Takeuchi’s interest in space. I’m sure this won’t get better as the story arc proceed and we learn more about the Tau Star System. Everything we know about physics also tells us that you can’t just scale something down like this. Is this galaxy made up of tiny stars with tiny planets around them filled with tiny people made up of tiny cells and tiny molecules made up of tiny atoms? Whatever. It’s a show about magical girls.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30 - Ami jumping out of a window

Ami starts to poke around. She throws a pen into a camera which is bad ass. She’s on the 13th floor. She sees a door that is labeled “Underground laboratory”. She’s on the 13th floor and sees a door that leads to a lab which is under the ground, generally accepted to be at floor one. In there she finds Daimons and the enemy shows up. She’s underground at this point. She runs to the nearest window and … she’s back on the 13th floor! What exactly is going on here with a dedicated stairwell that goes down 13 floors but doesn’t open up to any other floor? Is there some sort of portal through space that leads from one floor to another? Anyway Ami is totally bad ass again by jumping out the windows, diving into a pool and transforming while diving, emerging as Sailor Mercury. Pretty awesome. Reminds me a bit of Ami’s first transformation in the live action series which is done while she’s falling.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30 - Viluy of the Witches 5

Sailor Mercury fights Viluy who fights with nano robots. Advanced technology which is basically a swarm of tiny robots all working in unison for something. For whatever reason the cloud of nanobots appears as formulae over Sailor Mercury. Why not? Sailor Uranus and Neptune appear and transform for the first time. The transformation sequences are brief and similar to those from the original Sailor Moon anime. After a few attacks magic beats technology yet again. Viluy’s power level was 202. I’m not sure how accurate this scale really is, but they keep using it. The page of the book which the Holy Grail appears on happens to be 202. What an odd reference.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30 - The Holy Grail

Finally we see an old friend. Reika and Motoki are at the University and we see a new first year student, Setsuna Meioh. If the resemblance was not immediately obvious this is the civilian identity of Sailor Pluto, who died last season in the distant future.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30 - Setsuna Meioh

Next week is Act 31, Sailor Pluto – Setsuna Meioh, in which we will see Sailor Pluto once again.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 31 Preview - Setsuna Meioh

Keep reading for more screenshots from this episode and the preview for Act 31.

Continue reading

Watch Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30, Infinity 4 – Sailor Uranus – Haruka Tenoh – Sailor Neptune – Michiru Kaioh, Monday May 2nd at 10:30am Eastern Time

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30 Preview - Usagi and Haruka

The next new episode of Sailor Moon Crystal airs on Japanese TV Monday May 2nd at 11pm Japan Standard Time and will be available to stream on Crunchyroll, Neon Alley and Hulu immediately afterwards, starting at 10:30am Eastern Time. Episodes are sometimes limited to Hulu Plus users at first but should be viewable on Neon Alley right away. I always watch the episodes on Crunchyroll myself because I’m Canadian and find the feed is of a better quality. Act 30, Infinity 4 – Sailor Uranus – Haruka Tenoh – Sailor Neptune – Michiru Kaioh has got to be the longest Sailor Moon Crystal episode title to date! The new Sailor Guardians have introduced themselves but we’re about to see that they’re not quite as friendly as we might have hoped.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30 Preview - Mamoru and Usagi

As Mamoru and Usagi struggle with their relationship troubles we’ll be getting our first look at the Holy Grail, an item which is first seen as Chibiusa creates a replica of it based on what she’s seen in the future, even though it doesn’t exist yet. We’ll also be seeing an old friend we thought was dead!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30 Preview - Diana and Chibiusa

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 29, Infinity 3 – Two New Soldiers, Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 29 - Genderbent Minako

The latest episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal aired on Japanese television on April 25th at 11pm Japan Standard Time and was available to stream on Crunchyroll, Neon Alley and Hulu following that around 10:30am Eastern Time that same morning. I watch the show on Crunchyroll due to the quality of their feed and the fact that as a Canadian it’s my legal option. This week’s episode, Act 29, Infinity 3 – Two New Soldiers, has Usagi struggling with the kiss she shared with Haruka.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 29 - Sailor Moon blushing

The kiss is meant to occur early in Act 29 of the manga but, like most of this story arc’s episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal, the last episode ended with a scene from the next act. The clip before the bumper however shows us the kiss again and we see this time that Sailor Moon has a blushing reaction to it. This insinuates that she liked it and Usagi will be dealing with these feelings throughout this episode and the rest of the season. Is Usagi gay? Classifying her as such doesn’t seem to be terribly helpful. Sexuality is fairly fluid amongst the characters in Sailor Moon, which reflects real people’s feelings quite well. Usagi loves Mamoru and her dedication to him doesn’t really waver. She has also been shown to find other girls in the series attractive, most prominently Rei when she first showed up, and here she is clearly attracted to Haruka as well. Beyond this other girls in the series have feelings of attraction to other girls. Haruka seems to exclusively like girls. Michiru loves Haruka but also seems attracted to other men. While many of the women in the series are attracted to men, they are comfortable in also being attracted to women. This really is a great way to portray characters as they aren’t terribly bogged down by labels or preconceptions. No doubt viewers and readers dealing with similar feelings appreciate seeing such things portrayed in a series they watch.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 29 - Haruka in Usagi's dreamSailor Moon Crystal Act 29 - Haruka in Usagi's dream

Everyone is sharing the same dream in this episode. Last week we had a few people having a shared dream, voiced by Hotaru, but it was somewhat limited. Here all of the main Sailor Guardians are getting the same dream this time voiced by Haruka. Things are so different in an anime series than in a manga. If we see a statement made on the pages of a comic we don’t really know who is saying them. In a series with voice actors there’s a bit more revealed. The dreams are all about talismans, and no one seems to know if they are good or bad, or what they should do about them. Not really useful. The real prophetic dream which we see is Usagi’s vision of Haruka. She’s dreaming about her kiss and seems to have a good idea that Haruka is the Sailor Guardian who kissed her. She sees here as male and female but the female version she sees has a scarf and vest which aren’t actually seen until later in the episode. Sounds like some magic dreaming prediction! Of course in a series full of magic with dreams already predicting the future in this episode, this explanation doesn’t seem to be terribly out of place.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 29 - Haruka kissing Usagi

While discussing Mugen Academy the cats mention the Tokyo Bay reclamation project. I didn’t really understand what this term meant at first so I looked it up and in this context it’s referring to filling up the Bay with some sort of fill to make new land and building that up. This certainly makes sense in the context of what is going on. We’re in downtown Tokyo which is space which has been inhabited in some form or another for hundreds of years. It doesn’t make sense that there would be room for all of these new constructions but if Tokyo Bay was filled in to do this, we understand where all of these buildings are coming from. There is a lot of precedent for this in the real world as a lot of Tokyo Bay is reclaimed land, which has changed the shape of the shore line over time. About 250 square km (100 square miles) have been reclaimed from Tokyo Bay.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 29 - Chibiusa and Hotaru make a promise

Kazuko Tadano and Hiromi Matsushita make a promise in the Sailor Moon anime

Chibiusa is all about secrets this week! Hotaru totally knows her secret and then Hotaru basically tells her that her father is making monsters. This should be a big deal and if Chibiusa acts on this it’s game over for the season but she doesn’t. When she seals the promise with Hotaru they lock their pinkies. This reminds me of Kazuko and Hiromi from episode 21 of the original anime, Protect the Children’s Dreams: Friendship Through Anime. When Chibiusa goes on a helicopter ride she promises not to divulge what she discusses with Haruka or Michiru. Why are these two even taking this gamble? We will see next week how well she hides this. Chibiusa seems really impressed with flying in a helicopter. Normally I would agree that this is a big deal but let’s not forget that Chibiusa literally flies through time, so I’m thinking a helicopter ride to her would be like me going for a horse pulled wagon ride through an overgrown pumpkin patch. The helicopter drops Chibiusa off in the middle of the street and the townspeople are rightfully disturbed by this.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 29 - Won't this cause noise problems?

There’s a concert. Actually there are two concerts. These are in the same building on different floors at the same time. How practical is this? You know when you’re in a movie theatre watching a quiet drama and in the next theatre there are a bunch of Autobots killing Decepticons and you can hear the vibrations from the explosions coming through? I imagine Mimete’s loud pop music in a massive auditorium might have some bleeding out onto the classical violin performance that Michiru is doing. Anyway there’s a bunch of drama over tickets here! Haruka gives Usagi a bunch, which she shares with her friends, but in comes Mamoru who got tickets from Michiru. He was going to share them with his girlfriend, but she’s already going so he takes Chibiusa. Rather than communicate, which good couples should do in order to avoid misunderstandings and conflict, he just doesn’t say anything and runs into her at the event. Good plan bro! There are all sorts of concerns going on now with Usagi having been kissed by a girl and Mamoru maybe doing something with Michiru.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 29 - Minako's Sailor V compact

While everyone but the cats seemed covered with tickets for Michiru’s concert, the real show that Minako wants to see if Mimete’s. This is a concert which is offered free to Mugen Academy students and in order to prove your attendance to that school you seem to only be required to wear a school uniform. Minako has a plan which involves using her old compact from her Sailor V days. The Sailor Moon manga follows the Sailor V manga, but Sailor Moon Crystal hasn’t really touched on this much. In Codename: Sailor V Minako would use this to transform into various things much like Usagi does with her transformation pen. In the original Sailor Moon anime Minako does not have access to such an item as when she disguises herself as Sailor Moon in Sailor Moon S she states that she borrowed Usagi’s pen to do so, which she should not need to do if she had the ability to do so with her compact. This makes one wonder where old transformation items end up. The ones that aren’t hurled into masses of evil energy or dropped in alternate dimensions before the world is recreated I mean.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 29 - Minako as a boy from Mugen Academy

Anyway Minako decides to transform into a boy. An odd decision since there are a lot of female fans at the concert, but this is something she choses to do. It was nice to see this scene actually remain in Sailor Moon Crystal. Back in Act 5, when Sailor Jupiter first appeared, the manga had Usagi transforming into a man at the bridal shop. For whatever reason this transformation was not included in Sailor Moon Crystal and some fans speculated that it was because it had a character changing their gender. Whether or not this was truly the reason this does not seem to have been a problem with this episode. While posing as a boy Minako is clearly attracted to Mimete, complete with the hearts all around. Mimete of course is evil and part of the Witches 5. They don’t mention her power level but it’s 40. Why are we sending the weakest one second? This is a messed up RPG strategy.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 29 - Mimete of the Witches 5

Finally the two new Sailor Guardians reveal themselves to be Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune. Did anyone not know these names at this point? They also use their attacks which is cool enough.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 29 - Sailor Neptune

Next week is Act 30, Infinity 4 – Sailor Uranus – Haruka Tenoh – Sailor Neptune – Michiru Kaioh. In it Sailor Mercury faces off against Viluy of the Witches 5. She’s power level 202 if that seemed important to you.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 30 Preview - Mamoru and Usagi

Keep reading for more screenshots from this episode and the next episode preview for Act 30.

Continue reading

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 28, Infinity 2 – Ripples, Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 28 - Sailor Uranus kissing Sailor Moon

Sorry for the late review but I was in Italy last week. Sailor Moon Crystal Act 28, Infinity 2 – Ripples, aired on Japanese TV on Monday April 18th and is available to view on Crunchyroll, Neon Alley and Hulu. Actually Act 29 is out at this point too. This episode has the gang heading out to the woods and facing off against the first of the Witches 5. It’s really all about the final scene where Sailor Uranus kisses Sailor Moon, but we’ll get to that.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 28 - Sailor Chibi Moon blushing

There’s a lot of Hotaru this week as we see that Chibiusa seems to have a bit of a crush on her. She’s not about to use magic and time travel to make out with her or anything like she did with her last crush though. They’re mostly good friends, but as we see this season the show is all about girls liking girls. We learn a bit about Hotaru’s relationship with Kaolonite and her father. There’s a bit a “you’re not my real mom” kind of scene going on. Professor Tomoe sounds sort of like a zombie. This isn’t an unfair assessment of his state but, given his portrayal in the manga has no voice and that he’s more crazy than zombie in the original anime, I feel like this portrayal is showing what’s to come a bit too much. Also I’m staring to wonder if Professor Tomoe lives in his lab coat. He’s a Professor, but he’s not always in the lab with beakers. The only Professor I know that wears a lab coat this much is Professor Oak from Pokémon. Who would you cast as the voice of Professor Tomoak in the Sailor Moon/Pokémon crossover? Professor Tomoe is an Academic professor and he owns a school so he really should be wearing something else while performing some of those duties. We actually see a clock showing 1am while he’s at home and still in his lab coat. Take a second to unplug! While Sailor Moon has outfit changes galore for some of the girls, including pyjamas and judo outfits this week alone, the men don’t get so lucky.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 28 - Professor Tomoe

Though largely faithful to the manga as always, there are minor changes which bear mentioning. In the manga version of Act 29 Minako comments that they seem to be Sailor Guardians because they flew through the sky. Upon reading this I wondered did Sailor Guardians really fly? They generally did not in the original anime and though they are often seen in the sky in the manga since it’s not animated we don’t really think of them as floating. In Sailor Moon Crystal however they are often seen just chilling in the sky, pretty much flying, but for whatever reason the reference to flying was removed from this episode.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 28 - Sailor Uranus and Neptune flying

Identities, as usual, are not well hidden in Sailor Moon Crystal. The similarity between the new Sailor Guardians and the mysterious Haruka and Michiru are immediately noted by Usagi. This bypasses an obvious problem with many superheroes comics, which is something that is seen in the original Sailor Moon anime, which is that these costumes should not by any reasonable logic be hiding these people’s identities. This just makes it a bit inconvenient as we need to ignore the fact that Usagi’s parents and friends don’t ever seem to see any really good photos of Sailor Moon that would allow them to tell what’s going on. All in all the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal actually do a decent job of this.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 28 - Michiru and Mamoru

Mamoru and Michiru have a bit of a thing. They meet in a book store and have a nice chat after which Michiru gives Mamoru tickets to her concert. Usagi sees all this and is totally jealous. More on this next episode, which you probably already saw.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 28 - Rei

Rei is chilling in the mountains to purify herself for her 15th birthday. That’s right! Rei’s birthday is April 17th. Coincidentally this episode aired on April 18th, incredibly close to her birthday. I say coincidentally because this date was not chosen to fit with the release date. The Sailor Guardians’ birthdays were determined back in the 90s and they have astrological significance. It’s very doubtful that the Sailor Moon Crystal season 3 schedule was intentionally delayed to make this birthday, which is mentioned in the manga, fit closely enough.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 28 - Haruka and Makoto doing Judo

As the gang head out to the mountains some may find similarities between this episode and Sailor Moon S episode 105, I Want Power: Mako Lost in Doubt, in which Makoto goes to the mountains to train. Here Rei goes to the mountain but Makoto also has a prominent part. Mugen Acamedy, not content to fill in Tokyo Bay and build stuff there, also seems to own property here including a gym where we find Haruka practicing Judo. I did Judo for a short time when I was really young and I got my yellow belt. I didn’t do any terribly elaborate moves so I’m wondering how these two still have their white belts! When Haruka beats up Makoto it’s mentioned that it’s wrong for a man to use all his strength against a woman, and Haruka states that there should be no difference and Makoto agrees. There’s a good point to be made in here somewhere but one needs to tread carefully in supporting it rather than encouraging men to physically assault women. These girls are fighting for a good reason of course and they can’t expect their opponents to pull any punches, regardless of what their gender might be.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 28 - Eudial

This week’s enemy is Eudial of the Witches 5, who is posing as a Mugen Academy official and brainwashing students into serving Pharaon 90. She mentions that she’s level 78 and hoping to raise her level by beating the girls. Sounds like a fun RPG. How exactly does this levelling system work? Why didn’t we start with Mimete who has a lower level? There’s a nice little fight and then when it’s done the new Sailor Guardians show up. Sailor Moon chases them and …

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 28 - Sailor Uranus kissing Sailor Moon

Sailor Uranus kisses Sailor Moon! This is a big thing in the manga which actually doesn’t happen until Act 29. I foolishly made my blog post about Act 29 ahead of time, as I was traveling last week, mentioning this event as being the big deal in Act 29 but it already happened. We can get into conversations about consent here. Sailor Uranus surprises Sailor Moon who doesn’t actively avoid the kiss, but still doesn’t seem to expect or endorse it. Her not minding it isn’t really relevant since Sailor Uranus doesn’t ask. There’s blushing that will occur but we don’t see that until Act 29. All that said, the importance of having the show’s hero involved in a lesbian kiss generally overshadows other concerns so I’ll try not to get too bogged down in that. Let’s not forget that the first time Tuxedo Mask kissed Sailor Moon she was unconscious and unable to consent. I could write all day about this kiss, which we never saw in the original Sailor Moon anime, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 29 Preview - Haruka kissing Usagi

The consequences of the kiss will be seen next week with Act 29, Infinity 3 – Two New Soldiers, which has actually already aired and I already watched it so I’ll be working on that review next.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 29 Preview - Minako loves Mimete

Keep reading for more screenshots from this episode.

Continue reading