Having watched almost no previous Sailor Moon, I felt like I could go ahead and take on this challenge. I was wrong.
There’s not going to be a real summary section to this. I decided that my limited comprehension of what was going on is best represented by me drunkenly dictating my thoughts into my computer’s voice-to-text. I’m four shots in, and I have no f*cking idea what happened, but here’s what I remember.
It started off with a knock-off Rita Repulsa actually named Zirconia (Naomi Watanabe/Barbara Goodson), then there was an eclipse, a pegasus (but actually an alicorn) called Helios (Yoshitsugu Matsuoka/Brian Beacock), and an H.R. Geiger circus. I assumed this meant there would be xenomorph clowns or something coming, but fortunately it ended up mostly being girls in form-fitting outfits. Anyway, Tuxedo Mask/Mamoru (Kenji Nojima/Robbie Daymond), Sailor Moon/Usagi (Kotono Mitsuishi/Stephanie Sheh), and their time-travelling 900-year-old-but-somehow-still-five-years-old daughter Sailor Chibi Moon/Chibiusa (Misato Fukuen/Sandy Fox) are having a sleepover. Oh, and Chibiusa is hot for her dad, which is creepy on several levels, but I guess daddy issues are still a thing in the future.
Zirconia’s boss, Nehelenia (Nanao/Laura Post), orders her to attack the Sailor Scouts so she can get a crystal that I am guessing I should have known about from previous arcs. Zirconia passes the task to her minions, the Amazoness Quartet: JunJun, VesVes, CereCere, and PallaPalla (Yuko Hara/Erika Ishii, Rie Takahashi/Erica Lindbeck, Reina Ueda/Cassandra Lee Morris, Sumire Morohoshi/Xanthe Huynh). They have a tiger attack Usagi and Chibiusa and the girls almost die cuz they can’t transform but then they get an upgrade and the horse blesses them and then everything is back to normal. There are things called Lemures that the dub pronounces “lemurs,” and I wanted to break the f*cking TV every time they said it, that the Amazons from the creepy circus summon to trap people in nightmares, but the horse upgrade lets Sailor Moon and Mini Moon get rid of them. Then Mamoru gets lung cancer, but apparently it’s actually a flower? Modern medicine was not prepared for this.
The Amazon Quartet turn a fish, a tiger, and a bird into three members of a knockoff version of the Misfits. Not the real band, the ones from Jem and the Holograms. The three animals in human form try to trap Sailors Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter (Hisako Kanemoto/Kate Higgins, Rina Satō/Cristina Vee, Ami Koshimizu/Amanda C. Miller) in their own nightmares, but the scouts beat them really easily (though Mercury does it the easiest, because she’s the best). Sailor Venus (Shizuka Itō/Cherami Leigh), whose cat Artemis (Taishi Murata/Johnny Yong Bosch) has a boner for her, gets attacked by the circus’s knife throwers, but she ends up killing them before the Amazons capture all of the scouts aside from Usagi, who collapses from another flower in her lungs. Turns out that Helios is also a priest from the center of the Earth and that he has a black flower in his chest because he’s actually projecting from a cage in the center of the Earth. Then, weirdly, Sailor Saturn (Yukiyo Fujii/Christine Marie Cabanos) is shown reading W.B. Yeats as part one ends.
Part two starts with the reveal that Sailor Neptune (Sayaka Ohara/Lauren Landa) and Sailor Uranus (Junko Minagawa/Erica Mendez) are married now, and hopefully nobody tries to make them cousins again, because that’s f*cking weird. Or they’re not married but they wear matching rings along with Pluto? I’m hoping it’s a polycule, but I bet they wouldn’t allow that on television. Whatever, Neptune and Uranus are adorable together. Along with Sailor Pluto (Ai Maeda/Veronica Taylor), they are raising Sailor Saturn, who was apparently reborn as a kid? Anyway, Saturn gets her memory back of being a teen, then gives powers back to Sailors Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto. They go save the other non-Moon scouts, because they’re still trapped by plants somehow, and then Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon show up only to be injured. They get healed and there’s something about crystals that, again, is probably part of the mythology that I skipped by not watching Sailor Moon Crystal (oh, THAT’S why they call it that). Also, the horse dies, but death means less here than it does in a comic book, so he’ll be fine.
All of the scouts go to fight Nehelenia, whose backstory is revealed as basically Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, and they all get trapped until some power of love stuff. Sailor Moon gets another transformation sequence into Eternal Sailor Moon, and she fixes everything with the power of… moon love crystal stuff. The horse comes back to life (told you), and the Amazons are revealed to be asteroid scouts, because we’re out of other celestial bodies. Everyone lived happily ever after until next season, unless this is the finale.
It’s really funny that throughout most of this, it really hit me how much Sailor Moon is just Dragon Ball Z for girls. Death means nothing, time travel subplots abound, random villains show up that are somehow stronger than the last ones despite the last ones being “the strongest in the universe,” and the new bad guy is always beaten by some new transformation or technique pulled out at the very last minute. Given how much of my childhood I spent watching roided up people with spiky hair yelling at each other before firing beams, it’s not surprising that a lot of people spent theirs watching cute girls transform into superheroes and… well, still largely stand around yelling before firing beams. At least on Sailor Moon there are a lot of characters with varied personalities and a nice overlap between personal problems and superhero problems. The movie even drives this home by having the villains attack their insecurities more than attack their physical forms.
Overall, it’s a movie that’s designed for young girls, but I get why so many people love it. More power to you.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
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