Sailor Moon- Series Overview

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Jabroniville
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Sailor Moon- Series Overview

Post by Jabroniville » Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:33 am

I just got the Sailor Moon Blu-Ray DVD Sets (okay, I got them over a year ago, but I'm reposting these here. I mean, who would ever want my thread to go OFF-TOPIC? Plus, it's easier to keep track of what I've posted over here)! Watching the series (a beloved one that sent me into my love of anime) from the beginning, there's some interesting things of note:

* The voice acting is all-new, and clearly of a more "professional" grade that what 1995's dubbing capabilities were like. Alas... it kind of loses something because of it. Instead of Molly/Naru having that over-the-top Brooklyn accent, she just sounds like a normal girl. In fact, the entire female cast in the early episodes pretty much sounds interchangeable.

* The original music is interesting to hear, but throws me completely- even the background music is different! I don't know why the first dub changed all of that, but it gave the show a whole different "feel". This one uses a lot of '90s-era Techno/Guitar riffs.

* The early Monster designs are hilariously-plain. Basically shapeshifting ugly chicks in big ponchos or dresses. And they use a lot of Mind Control.

* The Monsters are REALLY bad at fighting- some of them just miss an attack on an untrained Sailor Moon, and then stand there waiting for the Tiara to hit them. Naturally, they're easily-distracted by Tuxedo Mask, who usually throws a rose, gives Moon some advice, and then VANISHES before the fight is even finished!

* The translations of the opening & ending themes are 100% about romance. In the West, the opening is all about ass-kickery and defense. And names all of the Sailors immediately, spoiling FORTY EPISODES OF PLOT BUILDING. In Japan, you only see Mercury & Mars in the opening sequence at first, and they're not named.

* The animation looks ungodly horrible in points. Ah, the early '90s of animation- even the pros in Japan could get lazy. It's always bugged me that Usagi's hand goes RIGHT THROUGH HER HAIR when she uses Moon Tiara Action. It's not like that's a throwaway clip- she uses that Stock Animation in SIXTY-FIVE EPISODES. GET YOUR STOCK ANIMATION RIGHT!!

* Peculiarly, before Mars & Mercury show up, the show centers around Usagi's School Life, which at this point basically consists only of her bland Best Friend (Naru), and the nerdy boy who crushes on her (Umino). Plus their teacher, Ms. Haruna. There is literally never a point where another classmate or teacher becomes important in this series. Given that it's a bit of a School Life comic/show at first, it's a bit jarring. Though given that this is largely-unimportant once the other Sailors show up, it ends up mattering less.

* Queen Beryl spends more time talking to that peanut gallery of faceless minions in the background of "Negaverse" scenes- in the original dub, I only recall them speaking once (at Jadeite's death).

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Episode One: Heh- it's funny how quickly they just gloss over the main plot here, since we need to introduce Usagi, her mother, her classmates, Luna and the villains. Queen Beryl already mentions "our great master" right away (something I remember coming by surprise in the original dub), and Jadeite is pronounced "Jade-ite" in stead of "Jed-ite". Mamoru makes his debut as a random sarcastic rude guy, but isn't named, yet is clearly this "Tuxedo Mask" fellow that saves Sailor Moon's life in her first fight. Moon uses a weird "Sonic Cry Attack" that stuns the Monster and ALL of her controlled minions. And yeah, Usagi's mission is mentioned by Luna SO QUICKLY that it's easy to forget- "you must find the Princess". Luna doesn't even EXPLAIN WHAT THAT MEANS.

Naturally, Usagi is introduced as a clumsy, lazy idiot. I wonder how common this character archetype was in Japan at the time? I know in the West we had very few Klutzy Female Heroines at the time- most female stars were usually impeccably-kind and skilled.

(Monster Powers: Extending Limbs, Mind Control) (First Appearance: The Dark Kingdom, Queen Beryl, Jadeite, Usagi/Sailor Moon, Luna, Usagi's Mom & Brother, Naru, Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask, Umino, Ms. Haruna, Sailor V/Venus & Naru's Mom, Moon Tiara Action)

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Episode Two: Sure enough, we're right into the Standard Sailor Moon Plot- New Business opens up, is revealed to be Negaverse Energy-Sucking Plot. We meet Motoki, Usagi's first crush, in the meantime. Class Nerd Umino getting brain-controlled into being a flirtacious sex offender is pretty funny (he flips up THE TEACHER'S SKIRT!). I actually don't remember this one AT ALL.

(Monster Powers: Animated Hair/Extra Limbs with Claw Power, Mind Control via Fortune Cards) (First Appearance: Motoki)

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Episode Three: A new Popular Radio Show (hosted by "J. Daito") is draining lovelorn women's energy with a brooch they receive when they write in their love letters! A pretty easy plot to guess (especially since Haruna & Naru are immediately fatigued by them), but it DOES feature the first meeting between Sailor Moon and Jadeite. Hilariously, Sailor Moon defeats the Monster WITHOUT HELP, simply by barely-dodging attacks, throwing the Tiara (which misses), then REDIRECTING IT, tearing the Monster in half! Jadeite then casually drops the Tiara and avoids a physical attack, preparing to end the series by the third episode, but Tuxedo Mask's rose sends him off with a smirk... man, Jadeite got a HELL of a power showing there, but by just LEAVING when he could have finished Usagi, he looked like a cowardly idiot, even though he was chuckling as he teleported away. Heh- this episode makes it pretty clear that Usagi's mother has her husband COMPLETELY whipped.

(Monster Powers: Flight, Claws, Breath Weapon) (First Appearance: Moon Tiara Redirection, The Disguise Pen- used to get Usagi into the radio station)

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Episode Four: Ah, I remember this one quite well. See, back in the Before Time (in the Long, Long Ago), it was common to have to record things you didn't have time to watch on something called VIDEO TAPE. And since I was missing this episode, I had it taped, and for some reason, just kept going back to watch it, while the show was still ongoing. As a result, I probably saw it like 10 times or so. The new villain plot involves a Gym that's draining people's energy, while Usagi has weight issues. This one's notable for introducing a pair of girls that seem like they'd be "Part of Usagi's Group" characters (a skinny, lovelorn freckled girl and a chubby girl), but they never appear after this. Curiously, Jadeite is just using three mind-controlled Gym Rats as minions, and Sailor Moon actually KICKS SOME ASS, after Luna tells her she'll lose some weight if she fights them- she throws some good kicks and punches, then knocks their Mind Control Headbands off with her Tiara. Jadeite's plan is called "close to a success" by Queen Beryl for getting so much energy, but his plan ends after this. (Monster Powers: Being Ripped) (First Appearance: Those two loser girls who never appear again)

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Re: Sailor Moon- Series Overview

Post by Doctor Malsyn » Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:51 pm

Sailor Moon was probably the first anime I ever watched, back when I was real young. But it's been so long, and we never kept up with it that well, that the most I can really recall by this point is that I'm pretty sure the blue haired girl was my favourite. I wonder if I could survive the possible cringe of rewatching the series from scratch...
Am I dead? Am I alive? The answer may surprise you!

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Re: Sailor Moon- Series Overview

Post by Jabroniville » Sun Nov 06, 2016 10:56 am

Episode Five: Another one skipped in the original dub- Usagi's brother Shingo adopts a New Fad Pet that of course is a Dark Kingdom trick- soon he and tons of other kids are hypnotized by cute fuzzy rabbit-puppy things to get their energy absorbed. There's also a subplot about Shingo being terrified of Luna, who is now established as the family's adopted pet. The first mention of finding the Moon Princess since the opener, as well. The weirdest moment is Sailor Moon suddenly whipping out a new power as she nullifies the Mind Control of the animals by sprinkling Tiara Stardust on them- she also throws the Tiara from a position of being choked- the first time we see it out of the Stock Animation sequence. I don't remember a Stardust attack AT ALL- this is an anime-only attack and the only time she's ever used it. (Monster Powers: Super-Strong chesty lizard monster with giant prehensile tail) (First Appearance: Moon Tiara Stardust, Mika Kayama- a little girl Shingo likes that only appears once more)

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Episode Six: ANOTHER one left out of the original dub. Hey- the girls appear behind the veils in the opening- in full Sailor regalia and everything! This opening stays until the 27th episode. In this episode, we get our first Sailors Meet Someone Who Is a Victim Later, in an older jazz musician who can't tell a co-worker he loves her. Jadeite's plan in this one is to put a subliminal energy-draining casette tape (and there's a CD in this ep, too- making it one of the few things I've seen to feature BOTH) into music recordings, and his minion is this Bat creature with giant fingernails. Usagi sneaks into a jazz club by dressing as "a hot musician" that would get kicked out of The Holograms for being too garish. In a very strange situation, Usagi OUTSMARTS the villain, using a live mic to reflect Ultrasonic Blasts back at the monster- she then kills it WITHOUT TUXEDO MASK EVER SHOWING UP. This is two in a row he's missed. (Monster Powers: Energy-Draining Bat Swarm, Giant Fingernails, Flight, Ultrasonic Blasts)

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Episode Seven: One I barely remember, it involves the villains coming up with a Fake Talent Show using an Idol Singer that the Monster imitates. It's REALLY bad, though- featuring amateur-hour variety acts that aren't even really "Funny-Bad", they're just "Bad'. The final battle is weird, because it's just a standard 100% all-Monster ass-kicking, then it's Tuxedo Distraction and Dead Monster in like five seconds. The moral: Don't obsess over becoming famous. Weak. (Monster Powers: Suffocating Snare)

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Episode Eight: Thank GOD- we finally get another Sailor. I guess seven episodes with only one isn't THAT bad, but considering the point of the show is that it's an ensemble cast all Sentai-like, you can easily see why the dub team just axed three episodes out of this pit of nothing. We also finally get a bit more to the Myth Arc, as Luna discusses strategy with the Crown Game Center Machine, and explains to Usagi thateven SHE doesn't really know what their threat represents- the Machine would be used for exposition quite a bit before we realize that it's her teammate Artemis behind the screen.

The dub includes an unfunny gag about the new genius student Ami's IQ- it's 300 originally, but Umino makes an "Over 9000!" joke that falls flat because he doesn't even bother to scream it- he just says it slightly louder in a nerd voice. Hey, we see the Short Fat Girl again! And she SAYS SOMETHING! Bizarre.

We finally get an inkling as to Usagi's better nature (shown only in the Pilot so far, when she saves Luna from abusive little boys), as she tries to be Ami's friend, even while the other kids assume she's stuck-up because she keeps to herself. And Ami gets a bit of backstory, living with her Doctor mother. Ami's voice sounds familiar to me- it's a distinctly-nasal little-girl sounding voice. Hah, no wonder I recognized it- Kate Higgins, the actor, plays Frankie Stein in Monster High!

Hah- giant 1990s Computers. And comments about how "in this age, everyone should know how to use a computer". Totally dated.

(Monster Powers: Axe Hand, Throws Paper Blasts) (First Appearance: Sailor Mercury/Ami, Sabao Spray/Bubbles Attack, The Crown Game Center Machine)

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* Observation: "Meatball-Head" is a much better joke-nickname than "Bun-Head"- Mamoru should have totally kept calling her that. Dub Accuracy be damned.

* Yeah, if you look away from the screen, it can be hard to tell Usagi, Ami, Luna & Naru apart. Very annoying- they should really have used some different-sounding voices. They're more polished and professional than the old cast, but I still miss Brooklyn Molly and Usagi/Serena's squeaky Canadian voice actress, and at least everyone was distinct. Jadeite & Tuxedo Mask feel largely the same.

* God every time I want to call characters Serena & Molly. Lita is going to mess with me, too. At least Rei & Amy sound mostly the same.

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Re: Sailor Moon- Series Overview

Post by Jabroniville » Wed Nov 09, 2016 11:12 am

Episode Nine: The only episode to feature the Moon/Mercury tandem by themselves, this one is a bit weird- the big Evil Plan is to drain energy by using clocks that make everyone impatient, so their manic energy hits a peak. Once Usagi starts getting to school EARLY, Luna knows something's up. Mercury's personal computer is actually remarkably-similar to an iPad, considering this episode is from like 1993. The Monster easily defeats both girls, but Tuxedo Mask breaks the Magic Clock leading to the time-altering world, and it's Bubble Spray/Tiara Action for the win.

(Monster Powers: Goes into a weird Salvador Dali clock-world that can speed up & reverse time. Sharp Scythe, Paralyzing Blast)

(First Appearance: Mercury's Detecting Visor & Personal Computer)

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Episode Ten: Finally, ten episodes into the show, we have our Official Trio, in the form they'd keep for a long while. A series of buses are disappearing on the route to the local Shinto Temple, and the unfortunate Shrine Maiden there, Rei Hino, is quite distressed. Queen Beryl finally names their group The Dark Kingdom, and points out how many times Jadeite's F'd up so far. Rei is a bit forceful and grouchy (funny how in Japan, it's considered pretty normal for girls to blush at how pretty other girls are- this is Usagi & Naru's reaction to meeting Rei for the first time), nearly chasing Usagi away permanently after she gets too nosy about the disappearing buses. Sailor Moon debuts a weird technique when the monster grabs her Tiara- the thing expands and contracts around her body! Rei transforms (after initially wonder why the hell a CAT just talked to her- something Ami never did), becomes Sailor Mars, and immediately immolates the monster with "Fire Soul". Jadeite wusses out despite being all "Next time I'll CRUSH you!" and having vast powers and all, and we have our mouthy, contrary, grouchy Sailor, which means that all's right with the world.

(Monsters Powers: Claws, I guess. She doesn't get an attack off)

(First Appearance: Rei/Sailor Mars, Fire Soul attack, The Shinto Paper Attack, Moon Tiara Snare, Rei's Grandpa, The Furkawa Shrine)

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Re: Sailor Moon- Series Overview

Post by Jetstream » Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:40 am

Oh yeah I forgot there was a new dub I wonder how mu...


merciful Christ, that's 90s pricing. Nope. Not worth it for a half season :P

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Re: Sailor Moon- Series Overview

Post by Jabroniville » Sat Nov 12, 2016 9:21 am

Episode Eleven: It's another "New Thing Turns Out To Be Evil Plot" episode, with a Dream Land amusement park being the source of Jadeite's scheme now. Rei is right into character immediately, arguing with and taunting Usagi, leaving poor Ami & Luna as the "Straight Men". The Animatronic Animals in this place are WAY too advanced- they're just walking around TALKING to people. Rei & Mamoru meet and hit it off calling Usagi "Bun-Head" (though he's STILL just "that guy!"). Sailor Mars being a bossy, derogatory bitch is pretty funny once she IMMEDIATELY goes chasing after Tuxedo Mask like a goofy schoolgirl when the creepy Puppet Princess starts up with her illusions.

It's actually a very long, involved monster fight, as the Illusions keep coming- soon, all three Sailors team up to beat the Puppet. And we see one of those things routinely cut from the first dub- as we get a HUGE upskirt shot of Sailor Mars. Funny how in Japan, they usually throw in Fanservice for the opposite gender of the intended audience, just to double-up on potential fans... Also, Mars is supposed to be like 14. Not that she looks it.

(Monster Powers: Illusions, Energy-Draining Apple)

(First Appearance: Fire Soul/Tiara Combined Attack, Mars Panty-Shot)

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Episode Twelve: The best one yet- Jadeite is losing it over all these failures (maybe if the dumbass STAYED TO FIGHT he might be over this already- it's well-established that Sailor Moon can't take him), but Queen Beryl's "Personal Attendant" Thetys arrives with a plot to drain lovers' energy on a Romantic Cruise. Naturally the Sailors show up- they're not even genre savvy by this point- they just wanna show up. Rei debuts her Catholic Schoolgirl Outfit, which is INSANELY-pervy for a school uniform. It's basically a grey top with a TINY miniskirt and knee-length stockings- the thing is a Fetish Bomb and she's like FOURTEEN.

Something skipped in the first dub is that Thetys is TOTALLY hungry for some of that hot, hunky Jadeite, but he's all serious and ignores her. Also the part where Rei (annoyed because everyone on board is in a couple) decides that she's just going to wait for couples to fight and then scoop up the guys who've just been dumped. When that fails, she decides to just pig out and clear the buffet table. Rei is awesome. Thetys reveals the best villain design in the series to this point, and then summons Water Monsters (Rei CUTS ONE IN HALF with a folding chair). We get some pretty good 1994-era Fight Animation, Thetys nearly finishes Sailor Moon by wrecking half the ship with water attacks, and the girls finally form a triple-attack to finish her- the Sailors are really stepping up their fighting skills. Jadeite is ready for a brawl, but he's Teleported away by a pissed-off Beryl, enraged over the death of Thetys. He's on borrowed time now...

(Monster Powers: Regenerating Shapeshifting Water Man Summoning, Water Control, Makes a Run-Down Ship Look Like a Romantic Cruise-Liner, Extendable Limbs, Leaping)

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* It's astonishing how much better the show got with Sailor Mars on it. It's something I've noticed with a lot of shows lately (especially ones centred around female casts)- everyone getting along is boring; you need a real bitch to shake things up. Better still if she's a raven-tressed sexpot at the same time, too. The jokes get a lot funnier when its about bickering and nastiness instead of Usagi falling down and crying.

* I dig Sailor Mars' Voice Actress in this- distinct from the others (with a more dry, husky voice), but retaining Mars' arrogance and nasty attitude.

* One thing I've noticed is the "lazy" backgrounds- basically they just do sketchy outlines of buildings and even backdrops or items on the scene, and then just do a blotchy "watercolor" over everything, often making the entire background one color. It's distinctive, but comes off like they just ran out of money.

* Also: The music is much better in the original dub. Even "Subbies" (do they still use that term in anime fandoms now?) usually admit that they added some bitchin' music to the first dub. The washed-out violins and weak guitars are pretty poor here. And I can't believe we're gonna miss out on the awesomeness that is Carry On.

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Re: Sailor Moon- Series Overview

Post by Jabroniville » Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:26 am

Episode Thirteen: The end of an era, as Jadeite gets one last chance- and right from the beginning, there's no scheme- he just calls out the Sailors and it's go-time. Hey- it's Usagi's Fat Friend again! Poor thing doesn't even have a NAME- she's just short and squat! Jadeite seemingly-kills Tuxedo Mask under the ocean waters, then animates AIRPLANES to crush the Sailors- using power displays not shown by ANY other General in the show! Only a careful team-up involving the Bubbles (damn things ARE useful, no matter how much fun you can make), the Death Paper (which draws the planes towards Jadeite) and a dodged Tiara shot can save the girls, and soon Jadeite's crushed beneath the wheels of a 747 and frozen in "Eternal Sleep" by Queen Beryl. Also doubles as a Female Empowerment thing as Jadeite decides out of nowhere that he's a sexist pig who hates girls, and the Sailors start preaching against discrimination (actual Japanese dialogue, too!).

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Episode Fourteen:
Nephrite makes his proper debut, lacking the BOSS deep voice he had in the original dub- he sounds a bit like a pretentious, wealthy patrician here, which I'm not sure I like. But he's definitely a much bigger threat than Jadeite. Nice to see another General show up early, in Zoisite- I kind of like seeing the whole stable out like that. And yes, Zoisite is now clearly an effeminate male. Nephrite's plan is much better than the usual "Open a new shop, that is SECRETLY EVIL" plans Jadeite always came up with- he focuses on the energy of ONE person, which is something the show would come back to again and again in later Seasons- with stuff like Dream Mirrors and Soul Crystals and whatever. It allows for a much more-focused story.

The focus here is on Rui, a girl whom Naru treats like a "big sister" (of course we'll never see her again- it's like those sitcoms which introduce "my old friend" who disappears thereafter), and is a tennis expert whose energy is reaching its peak. We also get our first mention of the enemies' name- The Dark Kingdom. Which is pretty generic, really. Usagi & Naru investigate, which leads to a solo fight against a monster that houses her, but is taken down by Tuxedo Mask, debuting the fact that his cane can project itself like a Blast, but after a slightly-prolonged battle for the guy, he ends up shaking due to some mysterious force.

(Monster Powers: Turns Sailor Moon into a bouncing tennis ball, Multiattack Fireballs)

(First Appearance: Zoisite, Tuxedo Mask's Extendable Cane)

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Episode Fifteen:
We get another major plot upgrade, as we're FINALLY given the name of Mamoru Chiba (aka the guy who's been pestering Usagi for weeks), and Rei immediately decides to latch her claws into him, upon discovering he's a college student from a rich family. Rei's clumsy and desperate attempts to hit on him, combined with his mortal terror when she starts hanging off of him, is pretty hilarious. Our Civilian Victim is a gardener in a big park that's been sold to a business developer- using Nephrite's enhancements, he can control animals to stop the project from demolishing the park. It's a pretty minor backstory, because the Rei/Mamoru thing is key.

Mercury uses her Bubble Spray to "slow down" all the animals (they pass out), Mamoru goes into convulsions when danger hits (I'd like to think even the really dumb kids had figured it out by this point- Rei actually suspects here), and a Plant Monster fights the girls.

(Monster Powers: Squirrel Control, Butterfly Control, Vine Snares)

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Episode Sixteen: We actually meet ANOTHER TEACHER AT THE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL OMG!!! Their Home Ec. teacher is getting married, but is obsessing over making her own wedding dress for a contest, thus becoming our Civilian Victim. The monster brawl is like five seconds long, and the main story is about their teacher marrying some dumpy little guy (she's 35, you see, which is like an old crone by the standards of getting married in Japan).

(Monster Powers: Spider-Crawling, Web Snare; the Teacher uses Visual Contact-based Sleep on a roomful of people)

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Re: Sailor Moon- Series Overview

Post by Jabroniville » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:11 am

Episode Seventeen: Our Civilian Victim: A kid photographer who's now pretty famous because he won a contest. His career means that Usagi is now obsessed with becoming a model, naturally- along with all the other girls in Japan. And Ms. Haruna. And OH MY GOD MS. HARUNA IS WEARING A BIKINI!! And... woah, they definitely let the male animators go to town on this one. I actually remember the bit where she stands up and snaps her "whale tail" bikini bottom while complaining about her weight. Damn, bikinis really make it clear just how insanely-long the women's legs are drawn in this series. Oddly, Usagi transforms RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CIVILIAN (I guess they lose their memory post-defeat, though). The Monster actually kicks some serious ass, trapping Luna, Mars & Mercury in photographs using her creepy "Eye-in-the-Hand Camera". Sailor Moon is alone and pretty screwed, but she figures out the "Mirror Trick" with vision-based characters and saves the day. The monster even friggin' STARTS MELTING, and her eye-hand explodes! Gory stuff, and the Tiara finishes her. The Moral of the Story: Inner Beauty is more important.

(Monster Powers: Teleport Attack)

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Episode Eighteen: We see Shingo & his girlfriend Mika again- this time she's our Civilian Victim, as a doll-making little girl who soon grows obsessed with making them. We start off with Shingo looking like a MAJOR douche, breaking one of her dolls after the other boys at school make fun of him for being close with her. That's actually pretty heart-wrenching, and more true-to-life than a lot of the exaggerated gags you see in this show, actually. And yes, now we have EVIL, MIND-CONTROLLING DOLLS to contend with, because that's not creepy as balls or anything. The monster looks like a huge ventriloquist's dummy that can control her limbs independently. AGH THE DOLLS NOW HAVE SHARP TEETH AND CAN FLY OH SCREW YOU TO HELL SAILOR MOON WRITERS. Mercury's Visor hits the Monster's weak point after a Tuxedo Distraction, killing it.

(Monster Powers: Evil Doll Control, Super-Strength, Separate Hands to Choke, Regrowing Limbs, Arm Blast)

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Episode Nineteen:
Nephrite, feeling pressure from Beryl & Zoisite to defeat the Sailors, comes up with the plan to use their affection for Tuxedo Mask against them. So he sends love letters to every girl in town to lure them in... and then, when confronted by Naru, he BLATANTLY HITS ON HER IN PUBLIC. AHAHAHAH HOLY CRAP!!! He's like twice her freaking age! He mistakes her for Sailor Moon, and lures her into giving up her energy. Sailor Moon attacks anyways, and we get our 100% confirmation that Mamoru IS Tuxedo Mask (he collapses and transforms on-camera). Nephrite summons Leo to fight the two of them, but it disappears after about two seconds, with Sailor Moon & Tuxedo Mask trapped in an Ingenious Supervillainous Deathtrap (a falling elevator shaft). They nearly die, but then Mars & Mercury show up to save them... so did Nephrite just LEAVE? Queen Beryl is pissed at his failure, but decides that the huge Love Energy he drained from Naru is so promising, that he gets a reprieve.

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Episode Twenty:
A random "filler" episode, and one of the few I recall specifically being left out of the American translation the first time-around (it was rather infamous on Fansites). It's a "Beach Episode", which is/was very common in anime series: basically an excuse for the animators to draw the girls in sexy bikinis (Rei, who is supposed to be fourteen years old, is drawn in such a manner as to make any heterosexual male the prey of Chris Hansen). Here, the girls are supposed to be doing "Sailor Guardian Training", but instead get roped into a Ghost Story at a beach house way out in the boonies of Japan. Turns out some old douche is forcing his young daughter to practice her psychic powers, which leads to a Psychic Monster getting out of control. Naturally, the father immediately repents as soon as this happens, begs for forgiveness, and the little girl forces the monster back. Obvious filler, with no hint of the show's enemies.

(Monster Powers: Flight, Wind Area Effect, Psychokinesis, Insubstantial 4, Affects Corporeal on Everything- pretty cheeseball, really)

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Re: Sailor Moon- Series Overview

Post by Jabroniville » Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:03 pm

Episode Twenty-One: A classic "Fourth-Wall Breaking" one, as anime production is the focus- a ton of women are working on a Sailor V anime (Usagi: "Why can't *I* have my own anime?" Luna: "I'd like to meet the character dumb enough to make a show about YOU!"). Two of them are close friends and confidantes, but one is twisted by Nephrite into overdoing it out of a competitive streak. She acts more and more harshly, and finally turns on everyone. The girls reveal their anime nerd streak (Rei is of course "above it all"... until her bag rips open, revealing tons of autograph boards)- the girls at the animation studio are so distinctly-designed that I just HAVE to believe they're pulling a "Simpsons", and just drawing themselves as the backgrounders. Nephrite declares the twin monsters Castor & Pollux to be his very best, but after mimicking the girls' moves, they start fighting over who gets to finish the Guardians off, and declare their friendship "over!", and the girls just kill them. Well THAT was dumb- the heroes barely even had to DO anything to defeat Nephrite's supposedly-awesome fighters.

(Monster Powers: Long Tails, Fire Soul attack, Bubble Spray attack)

Episode Twenty-Two: "The Kingdom of Diamonds" is hosting a ball in Japan, and Luna thinks their Princess might be the mythical Princess they're looking for (wondered when they were gonna pick that plot thread back up). Zoisite mopes over STILL not being allowed to take charge (giving us our first shot of his lover, Kunzite), but Nephrite's been trying Beryl's patience too much, and is getting desperate. He possesses Naru, who then transfers the possession to Princess Diamond, who nearly throws the "Secret Treasure" to Nephrite- everyone things this Treasure may be the "Silver Crystal"- even Tuxedo Mask, who dances romantically with our heroine for one of the series' first big "romantic" moments. We get some really big hints as to the characters' backstory, with Tuxedo Mask & Sailor Moon recalling dancing together and kissing "long ago".

(Monster Powers: Mind Control, Cone of Sleep/Wind, Flight)

(First Appearance: Kunzite, Flashbacks to the Moon Kingdom)

Episode Twenty-Three: The last on this DVD set, and it's an odd one to end it (basically, since the first season is 46 episodes, it makes sense to split it in twain). Nephrite basically bails on Queen Beryl in order to bogart Zoisite's attempt at gaining the Silver Crystal, creating the Dark Crystal (with some of the show's best effects so far) in order to do so. Zoisite & Kunzite plot to murder him and steal the Crystal, and Usagi finally warns Naru about Masato Sanjoin being evil... by spurting all of the information out rapid-fire, then running off. Luna of course points out how stupid this is, and Naru ends up running off with Masato/Nephrite. Things turn into a massive fight, with the Sailors versus Nephrite, and they damn near kill him (he gets distracted by Naru), but NARU JUMPS IN THE WAY, saving his life! Sailor Moon has to pull back her Tiara in order to avoid skewering her poor, lovesick friend. Nephrite returns the favor when Zoisite's Monster attacks- throwing her into the air, allowing Sailor Moon to vaporize her.

(First Appearance: The Dark Crystal)

Jabroniville
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Re: Sailor Moon- Series Overview

Post by Jabroniville » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:20 am

Overall, it's fun to re-watch the old series. But... it's really hard to get around the fact that they take ALL GODDAMN YEAR to get to the POINT, and the show suffers greatly for it in the early going. The parts where it's JUST Sailor Moon as the only main character are pretty painful, and it's ten episodes until they get the trio that makes up the early part of the show. And we don't even get Sailors Jupiter & Venus in this DVD set at ALL! It's kind of weird, because if one of those was your favorite, you'd essentially miss out on them for a full TV show season (22 episodes is the American norm). And given that even 23 episodes in, we're only getting vague bits about the backstory, and tiny hints about "oh hey there's some Princess we're searching for", it comes off a bit like clumsy storytelling. I forget how much the manga explained early on, but it was definitely more-quickly paced (often to its detriment- it plowed through the villains like they weren't even there).

The music is AMAZINGLY-bad almost all the way through. Apparently the early '90s in Japan were like America's 1970s, with weird synth-noise going on all the time. For someone who recalls reading ENDLESS diatribes online about how awful the American Dub was, it's quite amusing to see how bad some of the original stuff could be like that.

I do like the villains, though. The Voice Acting is okay- nothing mind-blowing, and I miss some of the originals (Brooklyn Molly/Naru and Rei's old VA, mostly). I'd complain about how whiny Stephanie Sheh is as Sailor Moon, but watching the "un-dubbed" version makes it clear that she's LESS annoying than the JAPANESE V.A. Queen Beryl also sounds very young in the original. That's pretty common for anime though- Japan is notorious for favoring youth super-heavily, thus ensuring that most actresses sound young.

-------------------------

Episode Twenty-Four: The final episode featuring Nephrite starts off the new DVD set (kind of a weird point in the story, actually. I know it's the half-way point, but you'd think using it for the last set would be smarter). Nephrite "confesses" to Naru that he feels her love, and wants to join Sailor Moon against The Dark Kingdom, which leads Usagi right into a trap. Unfortunately, Zoisite has set a trap of his own for NEPHRITE, and three of his agents kidnap Naru. This causes him to abandon the fight against Sailor Moon & Tuxedo Mask (he tears up half the street trying to get her).

Nephrite comes to rescue Naru, and in a great scene, he just ANNIHILATES the three girls holding her captive, dropping two with punches to the gut, while another nearly gets her throat cut by a sword he can apparently just create from nothing. He & Naru have a chat, and her head-over-heels crush on him is SOOOOO WRONG yet so perfectly-innocent here, where she's all confessing that she'll be happy to be with him, even after he confesses he's just a liar and will always lie to her. And then the bitches arrive and SHOVE A TREE THROUGH HIS TORSO, in a move I'm still shocked passed the American censors the first time around. Seriously, he's blood's green, but it's spraying everywhere! Then Naru tries to yank the giant thorns out, causing her no end of pain.

The Sailors arrive and kill all three girls at once with a Triple-Attack, but that's not enough for Nephrite, who slowly fades away into nothing, leaving only the bandage Naru made for him. Her anguished cries are pretty good in every version (even the original dub).

(Monster Powers: All have Flight. Exploding Balls; Mist/Vertigo Effect; Extendable Tree Arm With Energy-Sucking Thorns)

Jabroniville
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Re: Sailor Moon- Series Overview

Post by Jabroniville » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:36 am

Episode Twenty-Five: This episode basically starts off a whole new era in the show- the last General is dead, Zoisite takes over, we get a new "Maguffin Hunt" going, and we're introduced to more of the greater story, as the ruler of the Dark Kingdom is revealed.

Finally, we get to Sailor Jupiter! The girls meet Makoto Kino, and Usagi shows her one good quality- her ability to make friends with outsiders, as this "Giant Schoolgirl" (a titanic, amazonian... 5'7" Oh, Asia...) was kicked out of her last school for fighting, has curly hair (a sign of hooliganism in girls, don't you know), and is stuck in her old school uniform. Usagi still makes friends, and we discover that this big, tough chick also has a feminine side- she's an amazing cook, and she develops crushes quickly. And she's so kick-ass that she KICKS ASS while in her CIVILIAN form, punching Zoisite square in his stupid face! Awesome! Losing Susan Roman as her Voice Actress sucks, though the new chick seems to be trying to sound like a more naturalistic version of that.

We also get our first sight of Queen Metalia, the ACTUAL ruler of The Dark Kingdom- a malevolent giant head-thing, she's awakened with an influx of energy. And we get more backstory- there are Seven Legendary Monsters trapped in the bodies of humans with the Seven Rainbow Crystals inside of them- it's these CRYSTALS that will form the Legendary Silver Crystal. And Beryl acts like she's known this the entire time! Even though everyone had been searching for ONE Crystal before!

Huh- "Joe the Crane Game Troll" is just a hoarder of stuffed dolls from the crane games here- in the original dub, there was dialogue that pointed out "he gives them to POOR kids!" And naturally Mako is all ga-ga for him ("he's just like him... my first love..."- her official Running Gag). Joe is WAY more of a dick that he was in the first dub (and this is a proper translation), going on about how "Giant girls like her aren't my type!", which is what Mako's first love said to her all that time ago! Joe gets his Crystal taken out, turning him into "Gamecen", but Makoto starts kicking his ass ANYWAYS, letting Luna realize that she's Sailor Jupiter! One transformation later (with all the boob and butt outlines intact), and she Supreme Thunders Gamecen, and Luna yanks ANOTHER thing out of her ass, giving Sailor Moon the "Moon Stick" that lets her use "Moon Healing Escalation" on the enemy, turning him back to a human.

(First Appearance: Makoto Kino, Sailor Jupiter, The Seven Rainbow Crystals, Queen Metalia, The Moon Stick, Moon Healing Escalation) (Monster Powers: Snare- at least two, Long-Handled Hammer)

Hell of a pair of episodes, really. Nephrite dies a hero, we get one of the first "oh crap, this is actually pretty damn serious" moments, and then there's a fourth Sailor Guardian in Jupiter the Giantess Ass-Kicker.

Jabroniville
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Re: Sailor Moon- Series Overview

Post by Jabroniville » Thu Dec 08, 2016 6:18 am

* Oh hey- new Opening Sequence. VERY NICE- much more dynamic and exciting than the boring first one. Also shows all five Sailors (including Venus, who wasn't a thing yet), and features animation so fast you'd have to watch it stop-motion style to pick up half of the details.

Episode #26: We deal with the repurcussions of Nephrite's death, as poor Naru has missed a week of school and is unable to come to terms with it. Meanwhile, Luna explains to the Sailors the deal with the Rainbow Crystals and the Seven Deadly Warriors- it's explained that she's done research into it. It's kind of a funny thing with this show- Luna's meant to give exposition, but even SHE'S clueless as to what's going on half the time. They keep harping about "The Princess" and there's barely any explanation as to what she's supposed to DO.

Also, this one kind of skips over introducing Sailor Jupiter to the others- Ami & Rei met Makoto last episode, but only for like a second. So we never saw Mars & Mercury realize that we had another Sailor- an odd thing to skip, given how much "Filler" this show utilizes (for example, the Seven Rainbow Crystal arc isn't even a part of the manga at all!). There's a nice bit with a pastor consoling Naru over Nephrite's death, but of course he's our Civilian Victim, and ends up being transformed... into a bird-footed winged Boxer who shouts out "Lovely Punch!" repeatedly? God this show can be weird sometimes (and we're not even into the REALLY weird seasons yet!). Tuxedo Mask and "Boxii" cancel each other out, UMINO of all people saves Naru (setting us up for their relationship later on), and Sailor Jupiter sets him up for Moon Healing Escalation.

A minor plot point that becomes bigger later on: Sailor Moon picks up a mysterious locket that Tuxedo Mask has dropped. And HE takes the Rainbow Crystal, leaving him and Zoisite with one each, and setting off their future rivalry. And then Tuxedo Mask transforms back to Mamoru, confirming to himself his double life! Jesus, this last batch is CRAZY into keeping the narrative moving along!

(Monster Powers: Boxing Glove Blast- Multiattack)

(First Appearance: The Star Locket)

Episode #27: One that obsessed me a lot as a teen, because it seemed to expand the cast, and give more facets to a major character- Ami gets an admirer in Ryu Urawa (aka "Greg" in the original dub), a boy in her class with the same level of genius, and the ability to see the future! Naturally, he's also our Civilian Victim and a Crystal Carrier. I REALLY liked the idea that each girl would have this admirer/love interest, and wanted the show to expand on that more (Chad/Yuuichiro & Jupiter's Platonic Male Best Friend "Ken"), but alas, it was never to be. These were all ANIME-created characters, expanding upon the manga's story, and so they were never "real" characters. All of the Sailors were more or less sexless, chaste entities after a point in the manga, to the point where I think that's a big negative. Somewhat to that point, Rei & Mamoru are on a date again, with Rei basically desperate to jump his bones, and the dick ignoring her completely. This subplot is amusing, but also kind of weird.

In any case, Ryo has apparently been stalking Ami for a while now, but believes he's destined to fight her- he begs her to kill him when he transforms (and GOOD GRAVY!! His future vision shows the monster's Scissor Attack ripping off all of Mercury's clothes! The image switches literally an INSTANT before you'd have to increase the rating on the DVD set! Obviously they edited THAT out over here the first time around!), but thanks to her pep-talk, he's able to CONTROL himself in monster form, and attacks Zoisite- he drops his Crystal into Mercury's hands! The Dark Crystal makes "Bunboo" (dumb name) grow to larger size, and he assaults Mercury, resulting in the first time we see all four Guardians fighting a Monster at once.

Poor Ryo has to move away again at the end, but he & Ami make good and promise to meet up in the future. I actually remember a LOT of the animation in this one quite specifically, from the way certain characters smile, to how they react. Keep in mind this is about sixteen years since I last saw it. And hey! We get a new ending sequence (in the original dub, we were stuck with the exact same opening and ending for the entire first run), with a silhouetted Usagi with her distinctive hair & Moon Princess dress still in colour.

(Monster Powers: Turns Large, Throws Various Metallic Objects From Swiss Army-Knife Arms)

(First Appearance: Ryo Urawa)

Jabroniville
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Re: Sailor Moon- Series Overview

Post by Jabroniville » Sat Dec 10, 2016 4:56 am

Episode #28: Our Civilian Victim is a famous Painter using a pseudonym to hide her plain appearance- her paintings include various images that resemble the old Moon Kingdom, which causes Usagi to get oddly nostalgic (ie: this one actually matters to the overall plot). Usagi & Mamoru get roped into posing for her, and spend time arguing (Mamoru being particularly-harsh for no reason), BUT he feels the same emotions Usagi does about the paintings. Her Monster Form has a good design (an Angel-like girl), and starts tossing rocks at the Sailors, but the real "money" fight is Tuxedo Mask/Zoisite, as they continue their feud. Zoisite throws out Distracting Flowers and a big spike, but Sailor Moon saves TUXEDO MASK for once, and Zoisite flees (man, Nephrite is the only one of the three so far who wasn't a coward). They both realize they're searching for the Moon Princess, but TM declares that when it comes to the Rainbow Crystals, he'll steal the Sailors' if he has to. Jupiter seems to be the best fighter in these episodes, doing the most damage- she blows off one of "Veena's" wings!

(Monster Powers: Wings, Feathers That Draw Stuff like Falling Boulders & Snakes)

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Episode #29: Our Crystal Carrier is Reika, the long-term girlfriend of... Motoki! Hah- this whole time, Usagi's been crushing on him (though he really doesn't show up as often as I remember him doing), and he had a girlfriend! He's a pretty bland character anyways. In any case, Reika is a big-time college student, trying to decide on whether or not to study abroad, thus leaving Motoki. The Mamoru/Motoki relationship is actually pretty cool here, as it's the only time Mamoru acts like a fully-realized person (usually he's either intense, or bugging Usagi), and they tease each other a lot. Hilariously, Motoki IS aware of how Usagi feels about him, but acknowledges that he wants the girls to come over with a "They're so cute!" Mamoru calls him out on it while he's mooning over Reika, but Motoki's all "No, I think of them as younger sisters" (he actually says "if I had a younger sister", even though a season later we'd find out he DID) and expects a platonic good time- Mamoru's like "he can't possibly be that dense, can he?" Fun stuff.

The girls mutually decide to "attack" Motoki anyways, even after finding out he's taken, and Mamoru interjects and makes fun of them for it (though calling Mako a "giant"- "Bigfoot" in the dub- is pushing it- all the male characters besides Umino are MUCH taller than Mako is). However, Motoki runs off to meet Reika, who's decided on leaving (spurred on by Makoto, who somewhat cruelly gets in her face about "you're not SERIOUS about your education if you're thinking about staying!"- naturally, she wants Reika to leave). Then we all of a sudden realize this isn't just a High School Romance Story, because the VILLAINS show up (Kunzite even teases his beloved Zoisite about Reika being beautiful!), Reika becomes a chick with a half-shaved head, and it's fight time.

Ya know... for all people make fun of Mercury's "Bubble Spray" attack, it's like the 100% most-useful thing in the show. Seriously EVERY TIME SHE DOES IT, it's instrumental to the villain being defeated. The distractions always leave them vulnerable. At the episode's end, Reika leaves, Usagi's ready to give up on Motoki... but Mako's all "HAHAH WHAT IF REIKA HOOKS UP IN AFRICA!" and the fight's back on.

Some interesting stuff: Seeing Mamoru & Motoki acting as pals for an extended conversation is interesting and unique (previously, they just say one or two things to each other). The repeated arguments are funny, the relationship stuff is interesting, and Reika is for some reason drawn as a glamorous woman in her 30s, despite being a college student. I still remember the one major Sailor Moon fan on the 'net back in the late '90s, who was upset over the Dub making her name "Rita", because her main rival in love was named LITA, and that's something writers should generally avoid.

(Monster Powers: Exploding Flasks, Spore-Summoning Flasks, Deflection Flask- reverses Supreme Thunder)

Jabroniville
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Re: Sailor Moon- Series Overview

Post by Jabroniville » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:41 pm

Episode #30: Another big one for me as a young fan, because it's a REI-centric episode (that really hasn't happened since the first one), and it debuts the guy who was once named "Chad"- a hobo-looking kid named Yuichiro who ends up working at the Hikawa Shrine. He spots Rei for the first time, and INSTANTLY falls in love (well, who wouldn't, really? A grouchy, bossy brunette? Sign me the hell up), and asks to become Grandpa's apprentice. However, Grandpa's going through mood swings after he gets attacked by Zoisite- the old bastard uses strength of will and CHI to fight him off the first time, but in the second, he gets transformed into a bug-eyed Oni thing, then chases people around the shrine for a while. Despite easily overpowering Rei & Yuichiro, the monster doesn't get up to much- all of these "Seven Deadly Warriors" have been no stronger than the REGULAR Monsters the Dark Kingdom uses! Rei kisses Yuichiro without thinking at the episode's end, gets made fun of for it, and Grandpa attacks Yuichiro for the suggestion that he & Rei be married. Episodes that let Mars scream her head off at people are always fun. And peculiarly, despite this being her "Focus Episode" of the "Seven Crystals" arc, she doesn't transform!

(Monster Powers: Strength, Claws, Breath Weapon- Cone or Line) (First Appearance: Yuichiro)

Episode #31: A pretty comedy-centric episode, which I thought was hilarious back in the day. Luna is attacked by an army of alley cats, but a GIGANTICALLY-fat feline named "Rhett Butler" saves her (complete with "Tuxedo Mask" Music). The Sailors & Zoisite all think his owner (a little girl) is the final Crystal Carrier, but in a twist, it turns out to be THE CAT! Luna & Rhett run off, and it's clear the fatso has a thing for her. The Sailors trying to fight Zoisite in a tiny alleyway is pretty funny (Mercury falls on her face and Jupiter stares pretty much RIGHT at her crotch/ass for half a minute, then Jupiter nearly tries Supreme Thunder with the others RIGHT BESIDE HER), as is Zoisite having a freak-out because he's in a sewer and being chased by an army of rats (the scene where he leans against the wall, only to find the wall "warm... and MOVING" under his hand will freak the shit out of anyone who's afraid of rodents.

The Cat turns into a HUGE Cat-Monster with a CRAZY-awesome design! He's still in control of himself, however- rescuing a fallen Luna (this is odd, because Rei's GRANDFATHER of all people couldn't maintain control over his Monster Form, but Ryo and THE CAT can!). Sailor Mars being moved to tears by their "Kitty Love" is hilarious, especially because Luna keeps denying it and getting angrier with each moment.

(Monster Powers: Probably some Cat Stuff)

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Re: Sailor Moon- Series Overview

Post by Jabroniville » Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:56 am

Episode #32: Another comedy episode centered around a Sentai-like hero getting zapped by Zoisite and turning into an algae-blasting monster, while Umino tries to impress Naru by becoming "Tuxedo Umino Mask" (I prefer the dub's "Tuxedo Melvin"- rolls off the tongue better)... except it's actually really important to the overall plot! Luna discovers from the sentient computer she talks to that "soon the Five Guardians" will be united, and gets Luna to tell the girls MORE of the story. See, it turns out she's FROM THE MOON, and the Princess they've been searching for is from the Moon KINGDOM! I didn't actually realize they hadn't dealt with this yet.

Zoisite gives the Dark Crystal the ability to turn regular humans into monsters, but is spooked from zapping Naru by Umino, mistaking him for Tuxedo Mask! Okay, that's pretty funny. So this "Redman" theme park mascot gets zapped the NEXT time Zoisite tries to use the thing, and starts suffocating people in algae balls (which I guess are a popular treat in Japan). Umino saves the girls by drawing aggro and getting his ass kicked (impressing Naru), and Sailor Moon stuns the monster with her Tiara (which oddly isn't energized- it simply turns into a normal tiara in mid-spin and knocks him over), then changes him back. Zoisite looks like a bit of a tool, but DOES manage to steal Sailor Moon's Rainbow Crystal- now FIVE are in control of the Dark Kingdom! But at least Naru/Umino is totes a thing now.

(Monster Powers: Big & Strong, Multiattack Suffocating Snare Balls) (First Appearance: Humans-To-Monsters Attack of the Dark Crystal)

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Episode #33: And FINALLY, we come to the introduction of the last of the five Sailor Guardians! But first, Zoisite is planning to lure out Tuxedo Mask by pretending to be Sailor Moon (in a costume that really can't fool anyone... could he just not FIND red boots & bows? What's with the purple?). The imposter's kidnapping is staged, and Kunzite introduces himself to the group, then immediately houses them by trapping them in a Giant Energy Dome (!!) and starts dropping exploding balls onto them. Meanwhile, Zoisite stabs Tuxedo Mask in the shoulder, and reveals himself as the imposter (that's... obviously some kind of Magical Morph power, there), but he's saved by the intervention of SAILOR VENUS, who then zaps KUNZITE as well, saving everyone.

In a move that the first dub skipped, the Sailors actually go "HEY WAIT A MINUTE- You're SAILOR V!" It bugged the hell out of me that this omnipresent background concept in the early part of the series (the Sailor V series of games, movies & cartoons) was basically completely glossed over when the REAL character actually showed up. Here they at least acknowlege that "no, Sailor V is actually just an identity of Sailor Venus". She and her cat Artemis both arrive, but Queen Beryl intervenes before things go too much further- she recognizes the face of Tuxedo Mask from somewhere!

The episode is odd- it doesn't follow the show's Template, and Sailor Venus doesn't even get any characterization at first- the previous introductions spent entire episodes on their characters before we saw them transform into Sailors! Here, we don't even learn her name (or why there's another cat there who Luna ALSO recognizes). The art in this one is pretty bad, with a lot of weird faces throughout.

(First Appearance: Sailor Venus, Crescent Beam attack, Artemis)

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