Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 5 and 6 discussion

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

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

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

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

Usagi with a gun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toon Makers' Sailor Moon - Sailor Mercury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sailor Moon SuperS episode 147 - Makoto in the rain

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

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

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

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

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Makoto cries

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

Live Action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Act 6 - Zoisite

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

Feel free to leave a comment with your own thoughts on these two episodes. If you’re looking to watch along with the series you can get English subtitled fan subbed versions from sites such as Miss Dream, TV-Nihon and Sea of Serenity. Fans looking to stream the show can do so from Dramanice and Kiss Asian.

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Queen Beryl and the Shitennou Petit Chara figures are coming in May

Dark Kingdom Petit Chara figures - Jadeite, Nephrite, Queen Beryl, Kunzite, Zoisite, Prince Endymion and Princess Serenity

We’ve got some great villain Petit Chara figures coming in May! The latest set includes Princess Serenity, Prince Endymion, Queen Beryl, Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisyte and Kunzite. These were announced on the official site and are also listed on the Premium Bandai and Kiddy Land sites. This is being called the Dark Kingdom set though I would say the Silver Millennium set might be a more accurate title with the inclusion of Princess Serenity and Prince Endymion. Regardless the Dark Kingdom characters are the big appeal of this set as we’ve already gotten a number of Sailor Moon variants including Princess Serenity, though this is the first time we get Prince Endymion himself, rather than Tuxedo Mask or Mamoru. I’m still waiting for a Moonlight Knight figure perhaps bundled Ail and An.

Dark Kingdom Petit Chara figures - Jadeite, Nephrite, Queen Beryl, Kunzite, Zoisite

These aren’t the first villains we’ve seen in this line of toys, which previously saw the release of the Ayakashi Sisters, the Black Moon Clan and the Amazon Trio. I’ve already gotten a few of these figures and look forward to adding these to my collection.

Dark Kingdom Petit Chara figures - Nephrite and Jadeite

Seeing Jadeite from this set reminds me of the super deformed version so of various characters we saw in Sailor Moon R episode 58. We only need Morga to be able to recreate this whole scene!

Sailor Moon R episode 58 - Sailor Moon stage show with Jadeite, Morga, Sailor Moon, Tuxedo Mask and Luna

Dark Kingdom Petit Chara figures - Kunzite and Zoisite

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Dark Kingdom Petit Chara figures - Jadeite, Nephrite, Queen Beryl, Kunzite, Zoisite, Prince Endymion and Princess Serenity

The S. H. Figuarts “Impostor Version” of Zoisite dressed as Sailor Moon will be a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive

Zoisite as impostor Sailor Moon - S. H. Figuarts - SDCC Exclusive

A while back we got a look at an odd choice for a Sailor Moon S. H. Figuarts figure with Zoisite dressed as Sailor Moon from episode 33 of the original Sailor Moon anime. This figure, with slightly different colours, a boomerang and a mean looking face, was Zoisite’s trap to lure in Tuxedo Mask. We have now learned, via the Sailor Moon official site, that this figure is a San Diego Comic-con exclusive. The figure is referred to in Japanese as “Nise Sailor Moon” which means a fake or imitation Sailor Moon. Like with other high quality Figuarts figures it comes with a number of replacement pieces and even a custom Luna with weird surprised eyes.

Zoisite as impostor Sailor Moon - S. H. Figuarts - SDCC Exclusive

Pictures of the packaging also surfaced and have been included above. San Diego Comic-con will be held next weekend, July 8th to the 12th, where the figure will sell for $45. A limited number of these figures will be sold via lottery in Japan as well. There has not been any mention of this figure’s availability following the convention. Are any of you attending San Diego Comic-con this year? If so, please drop me a line if you’re able to pick me up a figure and I’ll be sure to compensate you for any costs.

Zoisite as impostor Sailor Moon - S. H. Figuarts - SDCC Exclusive

Sailor Moon episode 33 - Zoisite as evil Sailor Moon

Image source: @donato_denny76 on Twitter (1, 2) and the Sailor Moon Tamashii Nations site

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Listen to previews of every song from the Sailor Moon Crystal Character Song Collection CD

Sailor Moon Crystal Character Song Collection - Sea of Fire by Rei Hino

We previously announced that a Sailor Moon Crystal Character Song Collection CD would be released on April 29th. Previews of all songs have been posted to the official Sailor Moon Instagram page. The first 9 tracks posted match the names given in the track listing earlier. The final song was previously posted to YouTube. The clips on Instagram are all 15 seconds, the maximum length for videos on the site, but with a sample of every track we get a good idea of what’s in store for next week.

Sailor Moon Crystal Character Song Collection - I'm Going Down by the Shitennou

All video clips are embedded below.

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Check out a preview of the Sailor Moon Crystal Character Song Collection CD

Sailor Moon Crystal Character Song Collection

A Sailor Moon Crystal Character Song Collection CD will be released on April 29th. A preview of this CD has been posted to the Official Sailor Moon site. Just what is this? This is not music or songs from Sailor Moon Crystal but rather songs performed by the voice actors from the show. The old Sailor Moon Anime frequently had these and occasionally included them in the series. The site mentions that it has been nearly 20 years since the release of a Character Music Collection. This should be a surprise to fans of the 2003 Sailor Moon Live Action series which had many albums and singles of character songs by the main cast.

The full track listing in Japanese is on the Sailor Moon official site. There are 10 tracks in total. Songs will be performed by the voices of Sailor Moon by Kotono Mitsuishi, Sailor Mercury by Hisako Kanemoto, Sailor Mars by Rina Sato, Sailor Jupiter by Ami Koshimizu, Sailor Venus by Shizuka Ito, Tuxedo Mask by Kenji Nojima, Jadeite by Daisuke Kishio, Nephrite by Kosuke Toriumi, Zoisite by Masaya Matsukaze and Kunzite by Eiji Takemoto. All of the Sailor Guardians have their own solo tracks, as does Tuxedo Mask. The Shitennou all perform together on one track. Two duets are done, one with Sailor Mercury and Sailor Jupiter and the other with Sailor Mars and Sailor Venus. The final track has all of the Sailor Guardians performing together.

Sailor Moon Crystal Character Song Collection

You can preorder the CD from Amazon Japan or CD Japan for 3240 yen, about $27 US.

Super Sailor Moon, Sailor V, Sailor Pluto and Zoisite dressed as Sailor Moon S. H. Figuarts figures revealed

S. H. Figuarts Super Sailor Moon

There have been a lot of new S. H. Figuarts figures revealed since I last posted about them. A Super Sailor Moon S. H. Figuarts figure has been officially announced. It was originally revealed at the Wonder Festival 2015 Winter along with many other figures! Also revealed at this convention were the long awaited Sailor Pluto, Sailor V and Zoisite dressed as Sailor Moon S. H. Figuarts. In total this makes 4 different Sailor Moon S. H. Figuarts figures, 3 of which are mostly just different colours. This is likely the case because it’s much easier to reuse existing molds and change the colours of a figure than to make new molds and a completely new figure. A Sailor Chibi Moon figure had already been revealed which we posted about last year. All figures will cost about $40 to $50 once released in North America.

Sailor Pluto S. H. Figuarts

Super Sailor Moon has a few cool accessories with the Kaleidomoon Scope, her attack item from Sailor Moon S, as well as the Holy Grail which she originally uses to transform in to Super Sailor Moon.

Sailor V S. H. Figuarts

Sailor V looks great. No accessories are shown to be included though this doesn’t mean she won’t have any. The Sailor Venus figure came with a Sailor V mask but this is a drastically different costume. Zoisite dressed as Sailor Moon is from anime episode 33 in which Zoisite posed as Sailor Moon in order to lure in Tuxedo Mask. His colours are slightly different than Sailor Moon’s with a darker costume and green eyes. No accessories are shown here either, though Zoisite stabs Tuxedo Mask while in that costume in the anime. That might be something nice to include.

Zoisite as Sailor Moon S. H. Figuarts

Sailor Moon episode 33 - Zoisite as evil Sailor Moon

Sailor Chibi Moon is only in her original form, not her Super Sailor Chibi Moon form. She comes with her Cutie Moon Rod.

Sailor Chibi Moon S. H. Figuarts

Source: Sailor Moon Official Site announcement for Super Sailor Moon, info about Anime Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon Collectibles post about Super Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon Collectibles post about Wonder Festival 2015 Winter

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Sailor Moon R episodes 69 and 70 are now available on Hulu

Sailor Moon R episode 69 - Usagi sees Mamoru with Unazuki

The two latest episodes of Sailor Moon R are now available on Hulu and Neon Alley. This week we get episodes 69 and 70, both of which deal with unhealthy relationships and how not to treat your partner!

Sailor Moon R episode 69 - Luna jumping on Mamoru's penis

Episode 69, Awaken the Sleeping Beauty: Mamoru’s Distress, gives us a better look at what’s been keeping Mamoru and Usagi apart. We once again see a flash forward to Usagi and Mamoru’s wedding but this time we see what has Mamoru concerned. It’s actually a prediction of doom! Dump her or she’ll die, basically. A tough situation. What’s a good guy to do? Sort of forced conflict which if there’s a good reason for it, makes a lot of sense, but we’ll learn later on just how stupid the reasons really are. So Mamoru knows just how to make Usagi know it’s over, that’s to make her think he’s with another girl! Enter Motoki’s younger sister Unazuki. When Usagi sees them on a bike together she is pissed, which sends her into an eating binge. This is some pretty real stuff, dealing with your problems by crying into an open fridge. The monster, who by chance comes along at the right time in Usagi’s life, plunges her into a dream where she is all chibi. Luna, who is all over it, figures that Mamoru’s kiss might get her out of this for some reason, as she can tell that Usagi is upset about something he’s done. She then jumps into his apartment and jumps onto his penis to wake him up (animated gif included below). He kisses her, she’s fine, everyone’s happy. Well not really at all. Mamoru and Usagi are still split up until further notice, so that’s kind of crappy.

Luna pouncing on Mamoru's crotch

Sailor Moon R episode 70 - Koan attacking Rei and Yuuichirou

Episode 70, Battle of the Flames of Love! Mars vs. Koan, covers two abusive relationships. The first is Koan and the horrible Rubeus. He’s completely terrible to Koan, threatening her and ultimately tossing her life away as if it were nothing. Rubeus isn’t terrible because he’s evil and wants to destroy Crystal Tokyo. It’s because of the way he treats women. This is very real horrible behaviour that is a real problem in our society, not some fantastical caricature of what a bad person might be. The other abusive relationship is Rei and Yuuichirou! At the beginning of the episode he’s carrying around her bags like a lap dog. She generally mistreats him for most of the episode, and it’s played up as a bit of a joke. It’s funny but this is kind of terrible. Rei isn’t all bad in this episode, as her behaviour with Koan shows the real strength of the show. Koan is trying to do evil at the Hikawa Shrine, again. It’s a Crystal Point after all. When the fighting starts Rei realizes that there’s good in Koan, and while the Sailor Guardians are attacking her she comes to her defense, putting herself in harm’s way to protect her, getting hit by Sailor Jupiter’s knee. Ultimately when Koan had all but given up and was ready to give her own life and killing her off seemed like an easy option, Sailor Mars wouldn’t have it. The real strength of Sailor Moon and it’s characters is not in their ability to harm someone, but in their compassion and willingness to help even an enemy. Koan is then healed by Sailor Moon’s crystal and is able to return to a normal life, all thanks to Rei. Similar transformations will be seen with the rest of the Ayakashi sisters in the coming episodes, but Rei really set the precedent for this behaviour. With all this considered, we can forgive her mistreatment of Yuuichirou.

Sailor Moon R episode 70 - Sailor Mars defending Koan from Sailor Jupiter's kick

Sailor Moon R episode 70 - Zoisite's final appearance

There are a couple of odd references in this episode. This is actually the final appearance of Zoisite, who actually died back in episode 35. He is seen in a single frame of animation as Koan snatches her bag back from Yuuichirou. Later at Rei’s, Usagi is seen reading reading what looks a lot like a Run Run magazine featuring Sailor V and Artemis on the cover. This isn’t that odd since it’s well established that Sailor V is an anime, manga and video game in the Sailor Moon universe, but seeing a real world manga in the anime is a bit weird.

Sailor Moon R episode 70 - Usagi reading a Sailor V manga

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7, Mamoru Chiba – Tuxedo Mask, Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Young Mamoru

Act 7 of Sailor Moon Crystal, Mamoru Chiba- Tuxedo Mask, is now available to view on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. This week Usagi has just found out that Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask, we learn more about the Dark Kingdom and we get our first look at Sailor Venus! But first, could Mamoru be Fatal Fury’s Terry Bogard?

terry-bogard_fatal_fury Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Young Mamoru

One of the first things we see in this episode is the flashback to Mamoru’s past. Mamoru’s parents died when he was just 6 years old. We get a look at them, two faceless people who have dark hair like his. Funny we see their faces in the Manga, though this doesn’t ever really come back. The more important issue is Mamoru’s hat, which looks just like Terry Bogard’s from Fatal Fury, a fighting game series originally on the Neo Geo. Am I forcing this connection? I don’t think so. I’ve never played a Fatal Fury game in my life but this connection was instantly obvious. In addition to this Tuxedo Mask does a bunch of punching in this week’s episode! His exchange of blows with Zoisite was not in the original Manga. Sailor Moon is attacked by Zoisite and then Artemis and Sailor Venus come to her rescue while Tuxedo Mask just watches. His punching must be due to an attempt at making him look more like Terry Bogard from Fatal Fury.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Preparing to punch

The episode starts out with Mamoru and Usagi’s tender moments but this scene seems plagued with inconsistent animation to me. I’ve not been one to complain about the animation in this series to date but after starting to feel like things were improving this episode in particular seemed like a disappointing step back. After this we get to meet Queen Metalia, the evil energy that is behind the Dark Kingdom, and we get a bit more back story for Queen Beryl. We unfortunately don’t get a good look at a normal woman in the North Pole discovering the Dark Kingdom like we do in the manga but the same story seems to be going on here.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Queen Metalia

As expected, the VHS tapes from the original story were not kept, but instead updated to DVDs. Really? No Blu-Rays in 2014? Regardless of the technology upgrade the story can’t help but feel a bit dated. Video rental stores are not what they used to be, and the idea of the youth of today not spending enough time at the arcade because they’re renting video only reminds us that arcades are also not close to as popular as they were in the 90s. This is why things like updating Crown from an arcade to a Karaoke bar made sense for the live action series, but that Sailor Moon Crystal being so faithfully adapted but still taking place in moderns times at times doesn’t make a ton of sense. Also, do these DVDs look like Kuri’s boobs?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Yumiko, Kuri and Naru renting antiquated DVDs

As technology goes, Ami’s computer has been replaced with a “FinePad” in this episode, an obvious take on the iPad. The icons in the background look like those on iOS though the windows and the red, yellow and green buttons on them are similar to Mac OS. This level of multitasking would be too convenient for an iPad.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Ami's FinePad

A funny scene in this episode shows us more of creepy, creepy Umino. Original manga and anime Umino was nerdy but pretty much harmless and non threatening but Sailor Moon Crystal Umino is downright creepy! Here he shows up to share that he’s looking for Sailor Moon, which makes sense as he’s been brainwashed along with everyone else into doing so, but we almost forget that this is part of the Dark Kingdom’s plot as this creepiness fits right in with his character! Not sure why he’s made to look like a Heartless from Kingdom Hearts. He also looks a bit like Professor Tomoe.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Creepy Umino looks like a heartless Heartless - Kingdom Hearts

This episode finally introduces us to two new charters, Artemis and Minako Aino as Sailor V and Sailor Venus. The first appearance of Sailor V in this episode is on Luna’s computer. In the manga when this conversation takes place you can see a bit of Minako’s bow but it’s not as obvious that this is Sailor V. Once the battle commences it’s Artemis, not Sailor Venus, that saves the day. We see the top of his head followed by him jumping and slashing Zoisite, who doesn’t die in this episode. Then we finally see both him and Sailor Venus together.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Artemis

The episode does an odd thing with Sailor Venus’s introduction. First we see her from behind, clearly wearing Sailor V’s outfit, but then when seen again from the front she’s clearly dressed as Sailor Venus. That’s a quick costume change!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Sailor V

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Sailor Venus

In two more weeks, October 18th, we’ll see Act 8, Minako – Sailor V. This one will be all about Sailor Venus. The team is finally all together!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 8 Preview - Sailor Venus

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

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Watch Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7, Mamoru Chiba – Tuxedo Mask, starting October 4th at 6am EST

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Usagi discovers Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask

The next episode of Sailor Moon Crystal will soon be available on Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. Act 7, Mamoru Chiba – Tuxedo Mask, will be available to stream starting at 7pm Japan Standard Time on Saturday October 4th. This is 6am Eastern Time and 3am Pacific Time. Usagi has just discovered that Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask! Where will their relationship go from here?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Mamoru Chiba - Tuxedo Mask

No doubt this episode will continue to follow the manga, as others have, but some things just might not be fitting to 2014. The manga story for this act has the Dark Kingdom using rented VHS tapes to brainwash people. People rented tapes in 1992 but this hasn’t been done in some time. The VHS tapes will need to be updated, but what will they be replaced with? DVDs and Blu-Rays are common but people don’t really rent videos in any format anymore. It’s tricky adapting an over 20 year old story so faithfully. This manga story also has Zoisite getting killed, though with none of the Shitennou having been killed yet this is unlikely to happen. Finally we will be seeing Sailor Venus show up at the end of this week’s episode. The whole gang will soon be together.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6, Tuxedo Mask, Review

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Shirtless Mamoru

The latest episode of Sailor Moon Crystal, Act 6 – Tuxedo Mask, is now available for viewing on
Crunchyroll, Hulu and Niconico. The episode was released on September 20th in Japan and worldwide. This week’s it’s all about Tuxedo Mask as we finally see Mamoru with his shirt off, just like we did in the manga and original anime. How does everyone like shirtless Mamoru in Sailor Moon Crystal?

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Shirtless Mamoru

One noticeable change in this episode is that the intro has been modified. Most of the changes are relatively minor, like changes to shading or colouring, but some are more significant such as Sailor Mars’s pose at the end of the intro or Queen Serenity’s hair and eye colour. In the original manga and anime Queen Serenity, Sailor Moon’s mother on the Moon, had white or silver hair. In the intro for streaming episodes 1 to 5 she has blonde hair. This has been updated, most likely because she will be appearing in the series soon and her hair colour will be white. With the DVD and Blu-Ray release coming up on October 15th it’s likely that this intro will be used for those, but we won’t know for sure for a few weeks.

Sailor Moon intro - Queen Serenity with white hair

There are minor changes in this episode compared to the manga. It was otherwise as always mostly faithful. When Luna explains the power of the Silver Crystal, she says it has the ability to destroy a planet while in the manga it has the ability to destroy a star. Did the Silver Crystal get a downgrade in power? It never really did either so perhaps it’s not that huge a deal. Tuxedo Mask has a great moment in this episode where he explains to Sailor Moon that her true power is about making her friends happy and bringing out the best in them. This has always been what I like about Sailor Moon. Her strength is her kindness and compassion, not in her sheer power to destroy a planet or star. Luna finally explains to the girls that she’s from the Moon, a shocking revaluation indeed. She also speaks of who she thinks the enemy is and we see and image of Queen Metalia, the evil energy which is controlling the Dark Kingdom. When the plot progresses Luna also shows the girls their awesome headquarters hidden under the Crown Game Center. Slightly more impressive than the Karaoke room from the live action series!

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Headquarters under the Crown Game Center

This episode has Mamoru asking the public to find the Silver Crystal, followed by Zoisite doing the same, but while dressed as a woman. It’s certainly nice to see this series showing someone cross dressing after last week’s episode. Usagi was meant to transform into a groom in act 5 but this sequence was removed from the series. When Zoisite appears on TV asking people to find the Silver Crystal it looked very similar to a scene in the live action Sailor Moon series in which reporters are urging people to tell them to look for the Crystal and the broadcast is similarly shown to a group of people on a large outdoor TV in downtown Tokyo. Unlike most scenes that have a similarity to the original anime or live action series, this one was not lifted from the manga as those TV broadcasts were only shown on small TVs.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Zoisite dressed as a woman

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

Sailor Moon finally gets to use her new Moon Stick in this episode, as she learns a lesson from the Sailor V game. While at the arcade she notices how Sailor V is using a weapon which bears a striking resemblance to her new Moon Stick. It’s by following what Sailor V does in the game that she is able to use her new attack Moon Healing Escalation which she uses to heal the town which has had it’s energy drained by Zoisite.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Moon Healing Escalation

On top of her appearance in the Sailor V game we also get a live look at Sailor V in this episode. The girls speculate a bit about who she might be, and if she has a civilian identity. We also see Artemis along with her. If the manga is any indication, and it has been to date, we should be seeing Sailor Venus at the end of the next episode.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 6 - Sailor V and Artemis

Act 7, Mamoru Chibi – Tuxedo Mask, will be available Saturday October 4th. We see a bit more of Mamoru in this episode as Usagi wakes up at his place and has learned that he’s Tuxedo Mask. In the original manga story the Dark Kingdom uses VHS tapes to brainwash the people of Tokyo. I have a feeling this might be updated for a 2014 audience just a little! Be sure to check that out in two weeks.

Sailor Moon Crystal Act 7 - Usagi discovers Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask

Keep reading for more screenshots from this episode.

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