Sailor Moon Anime Review
Bishoujo Senshi Seiraa Muun
Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon (R/S/SuperS/Sailor Stars)
US Release By
Magical Girl Action-Drama-Romance-Comedy
200 25-minute episodes; 46 in 1st series, 43 in R, 38 in S, 39 in SuperS, 34 in Stars
1992-03-07 - 1993-02-27
1993-03-06 - 1994-03-12 (R)
1994-03-13 - 1995-02-25 (S)
1995-03-04 - 1996-03-02 (SuperS)
1996-03-09 - 1997-02-08 (Stars)
Sailor Moon is a story that focusses mostly around a young girl named Tsukino Usagi (I usually write last names first). It can be considered a partial romance, but is basically an action/comedy. There's also great character development and a really good storyline. Spanning at 200 episodes, it is a pretty long anime. It's about Sailor Senshi (soldiers) whose duty is to protect the Earth, and the Moon princess at all costs. But the story ends up going way beyond that, which I will explain in the review.
[Please note: this review covers the entire series, but includes several spoilers; if you're the type who really hates those, read with caution.]
Before I get started, I just want to first state that I am reviewing just the subs. This has nothing to do with the DiC/CWI dubs.
Sailor Moon spans over five seasons, and 200 episodes in all. I will give my opinion on each season.
Season 1: The Dark Kingdom saga
This is the season that starts it all. It was originally made to be a "magical girls show" made for young girls ages 4-12. The first season is very cute. It starts with Tsukino Usagi, a normal 14-year old girl who loves to eat, sleep, and totally hates everything to do with school. She meets a talking cat named Luna, who says that she is Sailor Moon, and that she has been sent to awake her because they must search for the Moon Princess, Princess Serenity, as well as the Silver Crystal. When Usagi first becomes Sailor Moon and fights her first few (well many) battles, she totally sucks and is basically not ready to face her destiny. More help is needed than just Sailor Moon, so other girls, chosen by destiny, are awakened as Sailor Soldiers and together, they all make the Sailor Team.
Now that the little introduction to the first season is complete, I can get more into detail. The first season starts out as a fun, cute, kiddy-ish show which is directed to young girls. At first sight, it revolves around looking for the Moon Princess and stopping Queen Beryl, but it goes much deeper than that. The story revolves a lot around friendship. Five girls, total strangers to each other, are brought together by destiny for a common cause. This is really where the story starts. Even though there's a lot of fighting the yomas from the dark kingdom, under all that there's a friendship brewing between the five girls.
If there's one thing that made Sailor Moon so popular in Japan (actually, it's considered one of the most popular anime of all time), is the outstanding character development. Sailor Moon features some of the best character development of all time, and the series is full of so many twists and turns that you always find yourself watching again. There's more than just friendship in this series though. That's when Mamoru comes in.
Chiba Maroru (Darien in the US) is a young man that Usagi finds herself constantly arguing and fighting with throughout the season. You later find out that Maroru is Tuxedo Mask, the mysterious man that always comes at the neck of time to help the soldiers. Usagi has a huge crush on him, which is funny because she also has a secret crush on Mamoru, who is Tuxedo Mask.
Not much is ever told about Mamoru throughout the series. His background is pretty mysterious until the middle of the series when you find out the secrets of his past. He is definitely one of the most tragic character throughout the series. He's what you can call a lone wolf. His only reason of life is to find his princess, and his past.
In the middle of the season, Usagi and Mamoru finally fall in love only for Mamoru to be taken away. Throughout the entire series, there is always something tragic happening between those two. This is when the series finally starts getting serious. Because Sailor Moon picked up such a huge audience of older viewers, it started turning towards more mature subjects.
Art and Animation
Now to the animation. The art is good, portraying realistic looking characters along with fantasy backgrounds. It is not very clean though. It's obvious this season didn't have a big budget, but the art and animation seems to fit in some way and won't turns most viewers off. The animation is pretty good, but still not the best I've ever seen. It too seems to fit, though.
The music and voice acting is pretty much constant throughout all the series, so I'll mention it at the very end of the review.
Sailor Moon R, Part I: Ail and Ann Saga
After the defeat of Queen Beryl, Usagi wishes upon the Silver Crystal that everything were as it was before Beryl arrived. Now starts the R season.
The R season is broken into two parts: The Ail and Ann saga, and the Dark Moon saga. I'll review both.
Q: what does "R" stand for?
I personally did not like the Ail and Ann series too much. Even though it's not bad, it hairs in comparison to the Dark Moon saga.
The series starts out with a strange seed that's flying through Tokyo. It crashes and everyone runs to the impact site to look at the crater it left. It just so happens that Usagi and the gang are there, as well as Mamoru. But because of the wish Usagi made on the Silver Crystal, they all lost there memories, including their friendship.
New enemies show up. They are two aliens who have come to earth to get energy for their tree. These aliens cannot survive without energy from the tree, so they must supply it with energy. They do this by the use of Cardians, monsters that form from cards. They send the monsters out to receive energy for the tree.
Without the Sailor Senshi, there is no stopping these monsters. Therefor, Luna once again awakens Sailor Moon by returning her memories. She defeats the first monster alone, but barely. Her alone is not strong enough, so the others are awakened also. The Sailor Wars have started again.
This series is basically fighting the monsters that Ail and Ann send forth. But of course, not without once again awesome character development. Ail and Ann enroll in Juuban Middle school as students as Seijuurou (Ail) and Natsumi (Ann). Seijuurou has a crush on Usagi, which really bothers Natsumi since they're supposed to be lovers (but are brother and sister in their "human" forms). Natsumi then forms a crush on Mamoru.
This saga is a bit sad due to everybody having their memories back except for Mamoru, and Usagi spends a lot of the saga attempting to restore them. It seems this time that Mamoru really does kinda like Usagi though, which is good.
A new character enters the scene. He is Tsukikage no knight (Moonlight Knight). He jumps in a battle at the neck of time with his trademark white rose. Who he is is mysterious throughout the saga, until the last episode. You also find out the mystery of the tree and Ail and Ann's past. Not too much in this saga. Oh yeah, and Mamoru gets his memories back at the end.
Sailor Moon R, Part II: Black Moon saga
The series starts with Usagi and Mamoru kissing, until a pink haired demon falls from the sky. Enter the Black Moon saga.
The Black Moon saga revolves around Usagi, Mamoru, and Chibi Usa. Who is Chibi Usa? She's a mysterious girl whose origin and purpose in unknown at first. She always has a floating cat head with her that she calls Luna-P (It looks just like Luna). With this ball, she can make or do what her mind desires. After watching this series, you would wish you had a Luna-P. She uses it to make Usagi's parents and brother, Shingo think she's her cousin. This of course makes the short-tempered Usagi angry, since she has no idea who the girl is.
Trust me, you will grow to hate Chibi Usa. It's inevitable, and sometimes you just wish you could spank her (Even though Usagi does it a few times). Besides her, though, the series gets very tragic. Mamoru has a dream that Usagi dies and tells her that they can no longer be together. Yes, you heard me. Mamoru dumps Usagi, leaving her crying in a phone booth. I really feel bad for Usagi in this series, since she is not very strong, and never gets over him breaking up with her. She's crying a lot for most of the series.
Besides that, there are (of course) new enemies, possibly the strongest yet. A man named Rubius is sending out his Droids to find Chibi Usa and also the Silver Crystal, as well as killing the Sailor Soldiers. Besides Rubius, there's also Esmeraude, The big boss, Diamondo, and his brother, Saffir. This is the one series where you actually like the enemies as much as the good guys. It's impossible not to like Saffir, or the four sisters. Also there's another enemy, Wiseman. He's Diamondo's apprentice you could say, Even though in reality, it's the other way around.
The Black Moon saga is probably one of the most tragic and heartwarming of all the series. It's one of my, and many others', personal favorite. Oh, and also you find out the mystery of Chibi Usa.
Art and Animation
It's definitely a step up from the first season, but still hairs in comparison to many other anime that were out in 1993. It still fits the show perfectly though. If there's one thing I love about Sailor Moon, there's always so much emotion portrayed in the character that it almost seems like these are real, living people. This saga is so emotional that you'll keep finding yourself coming back for more.
Sailor Moon S (Super):
This is probably the second best series, tied with R. It's one of my personal favorites next to Stars. Here's the Summary.
The season starts with a mysterious scientist making some kind of cell in his lab, that forms into an egg. This scientist is part of a group called the "Death Busters" content on awakening the Messiah of Silence and taking over the world. One of the things that makes this season one of the best is the introduction of the Outer Senshi: Sailor Uranus, Sailor Pluto, and Sailor Neptune. And you can include Sailor Saturn, but I'll save her for Stars.
The mad Scientist, makes eggs in his lab that have the capability of merging with a form of matter to create a Daimon. He uses the Daimon to capture people's crystal hearts. Three special pure hearts hold talismans. Once all the talismans are brought together, it will form the sacred cup, which holds infinite power. If it is used by the Messiah of silence, the world will be doomed.
This is where Sailor Uranus and Neptune come in (yes, they are lesbians). Out of all the senshi, the outers are my favorites, because they are the most serious and tragic out of them all. Sailor Uranus and Neptune (Their real names are Haruka and Michiru) have a mission, and that is to find the three talismans before the enemy does. If the true messiah gets her hands on the sacred cup, then she would have the power to destroy all evil. Throughout half of the series, is is questionable whether the two mysterious soldiers are allies or enemies, since they care only about their mission, and nothing else.
Chibi Usa has returned to the future (thank god), and the Sailor Senshi now have to fight another war. The Daimon prove to be too hard for them, even with the aid of Tuxedo Mask. It seems though that the Outers (Uranus and Neptune) come at the last minute and finish off the enemies in one move. But they only do this to see if the pure heart it captured was a talisman or not. If it isn't, then they would walk away, not bothering with the fellow soldiers.
Out of Usagi and Mamoru's love, Usagi learns a new move and transformation. They also have to fight against Witches 5, a group of female scientists who also belong to the Death Busters. This series also introduces who is probably the most tragic character in the series. Her name is Hotaru, and is the daughter of Professor Tomoe, the mad scientist, and leader of the death busters. Hotaru is extremely sweet, but has a dark side to her. She is, as a matter of fact, the messiah of silence. Yet, she also has one of the purest hearts of all the characters. How is this possible? I don't want to give too much of the story away, but she is definitely the most tragic character.
Also comes the return of Chibi Usa who is now a Sailor Senshi. She's Sailor Chibi Moon, and is incredibly weak. She is the weakest of the Sailor Senshi, and actually causes more trouble than she is helpful. She develops a liking to Hotaru, and they become best friends. As a matter of fact, Chibi Usa is probably one of Hotaru's only reasons for life. I feel bad for Hotaru throughout the series. Her sweetness makes her my favorite character.
This series has a lot of twists and turns and always keeps you at the edge of your seat. Even though it has a pathetic final battle, the great story and character development makes up for it. The Sister-sister relationship that forms between Haruka and Usagi is outstanding, as well as the friendship between Hotaru and Chibi Usa. Also the retelling of Michiru and Haruka's past is outstanding. This is definitely one of the best seasons.
Art and Animation
The art has improved drastically over the R season, as well as the animation. Is it top-notch? Definitely not, but it's pretty good compared to the earlier two seasons.
Sailor Moon SuperS: Dead Moon Circus saga
SuperS is definitely the worse of all the seasons, though not as bad as Ail and Ann. One reason is it doesn't have the Outer Senshi in any of the episodes. This is a big downfall, since the Outers were a favorite among most people.
This series revolves around Chibi Usa and Pegasus, a white unicorn with wings. One thing I can say about this season is it's incredibly slow moving. The relationship that forms slowly between Pegasus and Chibi Usa is what really keeps you watching. Is the series good? It's definitely much better than a lot of other anime series.
This series goes much more into fantasy than the previous series. It's basically about Zirconia looking for Pegasus. Pegasus's world (a world of dreams called Fantasia) was destroyed by the Dead Moon Circus and he escaped into the real world. He needs to be inside of a beautiful dream to survive, though, and Zirconia is looking for people with beautiful dreams so she can capture Pegasus and steal his golden crystal, that it strong enough to control the world if the owner wanted to. It just happened that the beautiful dream he was hiding in was Chibi Usa's.
With the aid of the Amazon Trio and the Amazon Quartet (Palla Palla's so cute), she's attacking people with beautiful dreams and looking into their dream mirrors to search for Pegasus.
Chibi Usa meets with Pegasus secretly at night, and over time, they fall in love. After watching this series, you may actually start liking the brat. The development between Chibi Usa and Pegasus is outstanding, as it usually is in Sailor Moon.
Also in this series, the Senshi get new transformations (at last) and new moves. They are now the Super Sailor Senshi, thanks to the power of Pegasus. At the end, you find out about Pegasus's past, and also who the real enemy is. There is no big battle at the end, but the ending is great and I don't want to give it away.
Overall, this season is average. The love that forms between Chibi Usa and Pegasus is beautiful, but the lack of the outers or at least new Senshi is the season's biggest downfall. Oh, and also there's a new guardian cat named Diana, the daughter of Luna and Artemis.
Art and Animation
All I could say is it's awesome. The art and animation is clean and smooth, but the background art still needs some work. This season is definitely eye candy compared to the previous ones. The animation is also smooth.
Sailor Moon Stars
This season is the best!!! If you could ask me what my favorite anime is, I'll definitely answer "Sailor Stars".
In the final season, there's a huge final battle with enough twists to turn you into a pretzel, as well as some great art and animation. Also, there are three new Sailor Senshi, as well as the return of the outers. Also, Saturn finally does something in this series.
The season starts out with Sailor Pluto (Setsuna) taking baby Hotaru away from her father (Yes, he is good now). Nehelenia, the big boss of the SuperS series is released from her seal by an unknown force, and is forced to take revenge on the Moon Princess, by killing everyone she loves. First, Nehelenia breaks a black mirror of dreams and shards of glass fall all over Tokyo, and just by chance, a shard of it gets stuck deep inside Mamoru's eye. His eye begins glowing gold.
Meanwhile, another shard of glass impales itself in Haruka's leg. Michiru sucks it out and throws it to the ground. A monster grows out of it. A new war has begun.
The stars season is broken into two parts, but they are linked together. They are the Nehelenia sage and the Galaxia saga. The Nehenia saga is really just a long fight to save Mamoru and the earth from Nehelenia's curse. Not too much happens in these episodes. The Galaxia saga is where the story is, so that's what I'll be concentrating on.
Mamoru is going to a college in America for at least a year. That means that Usagi is now alone without him. While in the airport, idol star, Kou Seiya sees Usagi, and it is love at first site. This is when things start heating up. Mamoru is gone, Usagi is lonely, and a famous idol is in love with her. Will she give in? Or will she loyal to her love, who is "gone".
Seiya belongs to a popular group called the "Three Lights", along with Kou Taiki, and Kou Yaten. Throughout the series, a relationship forms between Seiya and Usagi. There are many people that, after seeing the Stars season, dislike Mamoru. Seiya is definitely much sweeter and seems to confess himself more openly. I'm neutral on the subject, because basically, I do not know who I like better. Mamoru is usually to himself, and barely ever confesses his feelings, but I know he cares for Usagi, and I understand why he doesn't confess himself openly. It's understandable, considering his past.
But to get back onto the series, new enemies appear, and they too are Sailor Senshi. But there are also what seems to be new allies. They are called the Sailor Starlights. They wear much skimpier uniforms than the others, and are also extremely powerful. They are Sailor Star Fighter, Sailor Star Healer, and Sailor Star Maker.
The enemy is searching for star seeds with eternal shines. Once Galaxia has all the star seeds in the universe, she will be invincible. Once somebody's starseed is taken, they transform into a monster. Usagi can now transform into Eternal Sailor Moon, thanks to the power given to her by Sailor Saturn. With Sailor Moon's move, she turns the monsters back to normal.
The battles in Stars are very short and extremely easy. That is because the series focuses mainly on the incredible story. This season also introduces Chibi Chibi, who is by for the most adorable character ever put into an anime. Who she is is still a mystery to me to this day.
You be surprised to find out who the Starlights really are and for most of the season, most people don't like them. There's one thing I've got to mention, though. The final battle against Galaxia is amazing. It has so many twists, and is so emotional, you'll find yourself watching it over and over, and every time, it's like watching it for the first time. The battle drags on for several episodes and you'll find yourself practically screaming at the TV from the turn of event. Also, the death scene between Haruka and Michiru is probably the saddest thing I've ever seen in an anime in my life.
Overall, the Stars season is amazing.
The art is top-notch. It's definitely extremely pleasing for the eyes. Also, the animation is fairly good, but slacks here and there, but you have to be searching for it to notice it.
The music in Sailor Moon is a mixed package. None of it is really bad, but some of it is amazing. The Outer Senshi transformation and intro is amazing. It's some of the most beautiful violin playing I have ever heard. The starlights transformation music is also really well done. There's also this one background song on the beginning of episode 198. It's amazing, and unfortunately, that's the only time it's played in the entire series. Besides them, the music is average. The show may not have totally incredible music, but it totally fits the mood of the show, and you will find yourself not wanting it any different.
There are also a lot of vocal songs, and almost all of them are amazing. Some of my personal favorites in the series (I'm not talking about the CDs), are: The Sailor Stars opening theme, the first ending theme of SuperS, Tuxedo Mirage (the ending of the S series), Route Venus, and Ai no Senshi upon many others.
Sailor Moon [in Japanese] sports some the the best voice acting I have ever heard in a Japanese anime. It is unexplainable how much they bring the characters to life. I can't say which is the best, because they all are top-notch. You can't get any better.
Overall, Sailor Moon is a masterpiece. Do not get it fooled with the US version, which has taken a great shown, butchered it, ground it up, and feed it to the North American Audience. You can no longer find S and SuperS on tape subbed, but some time in 2001, Pioneer is releasing the two seasons in their subbed glory. I strongly recommend you buy them. The Stars season can still be found fansubbed, though. I strongly recommend you buy it while you still can. You can find it at VKLL.
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Notes and Trivia
Based on a lengthy manga series by Naoko Takeuchi.
US DVD Review
There are a number of different bilingual, uncut DVD releases, both on individual discs and box sets, mostly from Pioneer (Geneon), but also some from AD Vision. All are out of print as of this writing.
Depending on the season and whether it's the edited or uncut version, the content ranges from appropriate for most viewers with a bit of discretion and around the 13-up range.
Violence: 2 - Every episode has a battle theme and some episodes do contain human death. Not much blood.
Nudity: 2 - There is occasional frontal nudity. In episode 200, Usagi spends most of the episode nude.
Sex/Mature Themes: 2 - There's some kissing, and some mature humor, as well as occasional references to sex.
Language: 1 - Some mildly coarse language, but no serious profanity.
Staff & Cast
Original Japanese Cast
(Note: Senshi = First name then Last name, Seiyuu = Last name then First name)
Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon: Mitsuishi Kotono
Ami Mizunu/Sailor Mercury: Hisakawa Aya
Rei Hino/Sailor Mars: Tomizawa Michie
Makoto Kino/Sailor Jupiter: Shinohawa Emi
Minako Aino/Sailor Venus: Fukami Rica
Mamoru Chibi/Tuxedo Mask/Moonlight Knight: Furuya Tohru
Chibi Usa/Sailor Chibi Moon: Araki Kae
Michiru Kaiou/Sailor Neptune: Katsuki Masako
Haruka Tenou/Sailor Uranus: Ogata Megumi
Setsuna Meiou/Sailor Pluto: Kawashima Chiyoko
Hotaru Tomoe/Sailor Saturn: Minaguchi Yuko
Formerly available in North America on uncut bilingual DVD from Pioneer (Geneon), both as individual discs, "Signature Series" discs, and box sets. There are also a couple of uncut, Japanese-language box sets from ADV. Was also available on edited, dubbed VHS and some subtitled VHS. All are out of print as of this writing.