There’s a new magical girl in town and for some reason everyone is talking about how cool it is that her new music video is animated to look like Sailor Moon. There’s just one problem. It’s not.
It’s no secret that Dua Lipa is a bit of a nerd. In 2019 she released “Swan Song” for the soundtrack of ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ and in 2020 the official music video for ‘Hallucinate‘ was animated with clear inspiration from the Golden age of American animation. Now that we have a music video for ‘Levitating’ that is animated, it’s time to get excited and dig for the inspirations!
Music video in question below:
It was exciting to hear this video had a lot of references, and I had a lot of fun watching, trying to spot them all, but then the social media posts went from “this video has stuff clearly inspired by Sailor Moon” to “This video LOOKS like Sailor Moon!” …and I just can’t let that sit. That would be an injustice to the Magical Girls who came before her who are the clear inspiration for the animation style in this video.
If you really want to find the true inspiration of the animation style used for Levitation you need to look to 80’s anime and magical girls. There you will find a world of bright colours, pastels, rounded cute faces, thick chunky hair, and blue eye shadow. While ‘Magical Angel Creamy Mami‘ has remained fairly iconic (and the clear inspiration I know best), others like Magical Emi, and Minky Momo have quietly settled in the background, mostly only known in North America by magical girl fans who have dived into the history of the genre. You can also find similar styles in the animation of well known series like Dragon Ball, and Bubblegum Crisis.
When you really get down to it, the style of animation is simply out of the wrong era to resemble the animation of Sailor Moon. It’s so PERFECTLY 80’s.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t similarities, and references throughout. I would even argue that there might be some pull from iconic North American cartoons like ‘Barbie and the Rockers’, and ‘Jem and the Holograms’– also straight out of the 80’s. But the entire video is ABSOLUTELY overloaded in crescent and full moon imagery. Every time I re-watch or pause it I find something else I missed the previous watch around.
Edit: NOSTALOOK, who animated the music video, has commented saying they were inspired by 80’s anime!
Below are my favourite comparisons of potential references to Sailor Moon in the music video.
These ROHTO Lycee eye drops are formulated for fatigued, tired eyes and treat redness. As far as I can tell this particular design released in early 2020, but it’s not the first time ROHTO has collaborated with Sailor Moon. There are lots of unique bottle designs available. Unfortunately they are disposable, and not refillable. This product also expires, so be sure it isn’t expired if you intend on using it (bottom of the box).
The box for these eye drops is quite pretty. It’s a really nice pink and orange-y tone, but it’s also covered in a holographic film. There is also a transparent sticker on top with Luna and the product bottle featured on it. It also comes with the info pamphlet below.
The bottle is one of their standards for this line, only printed with a Sailor Moon silhouette, with a crescent moon sticker behind her. I thought it might be darker than the items on the website I linked above, but it appears to be a trick of the eye as the product is darker to match Sailor Moon better, and the sticker in the background is red.
That’s right. These eye drops are PINK. That is NOT the bottle. The bottle is clear.
I absolutely questioned this initially, so I dropped 1 drop of the product onto some white paper and sure enough, it dried pink even. I am not sure how pink eye drops clear up red eyes… but I can’t imagine they don’t work if they have a whole product line geared towards women and a collaboration with TOEI for Sailor Moon.
But folks, hold on to your hat. That’s not the only non-traditional feature of these eye drops.
These eye drops are actually rose scented. I popped mine open and it definitely smells floral, but a little sweeter than your typical natural floral. It’s actually pretty pleasant, but it seems weird to me that eyedrops might be scented. My eyes don’t smell. If they did, maybe I could provide you with a sample. When I opened the bottle for the colour test that single drop was strong enough for me to smell a whole foot from my face. It’s now dry and if I put my nose to the paper it still has a slight scent.
While I am sure these eye drops are safe I did not test them on myself.
Because of the medical nature of this item bootlegs do not currently exist and will likely not be produced. (May 18, 2021)
Overall these eye drops are not a requirement in your collection, but if you collect cosmetic items it might be a nice unique addition. I particularly appreciate it for it’s box, but alone it’s mostly a nice space filler item on my cosmetic items shelf.
Release Date: January 10, 2020 Manufacturer: Banpresto/Bandai Spirits Series: Girls Memories; 2 Shot Height: 25 cm (9.843″) MFC:Link
This plush was very difficult to track down information for. A lot of sales post incorrectly label the series as “2nd” Shot, but it’s actually “2 Shot.” This year has actually dragged on for so long I thought maybe she released several years ago and was shocked when I went onto the Girls Memories site to find that she only released in January.
There is a matching Artemis to Luna, but I have not yet purchased him. My Luna came from a Facebook Marketplace post for a price that was impossible to pass up, so Artemis will have to join her another day.
I currently do not own any advertising for this line. Below are official images released for the plushies.
I’m fairly certain this plush might have come wrapped in the plastic bag, but that the sticker is from Toreba and their online claw game website. On the Girls Memories website she is mentioned as being for sale there.
Lunas pose is not much different from most any plushies released in the 20th-25th Anniversary merchandise. It’s just a simple sitting pose. Because of how similar most of these plushies have been I haven’t been very interested in purchasing them, and I mostly snagged this one for the good deal. But she sits nicely on her own, and I like that her tail is sewn to sit to her side, and is not just straight. The curve makes her a little more interesting.
Embroidery, Accessories, & Stitching
Luna’s details are quite high quality. Her stitching is very strong, embroidery is VERY clean, and, unlike 90’s plushies, the details are sewn on instead of hot glued. I expect Luna will hold up for years with simple display, but will also be durable for a child to cuddle.
The hanging tag for this series is quite cute with artwork that looks almost water coloured, but might be digital air brushing instead. If I’m not mistaken, I think I’ve seen that line art brush used by artists who use Procreate.
Prize plushies are so different from the ones I am use to buying from the Sailor Moon franchise, or even seeing in North American crane machines. It’s a great different though, because the quality is ridiculously higher.
While for overall quality I highly recommend this Luna Plush, I suggest you look up the different variations. There are plenty of releases that look similar to her, and have a darker fur, or blue eyes. While she’s cute, the only thing vastly original about this release is her neck decoration of a flower and ribbon. Other releases include a pink ribbon, or a variety of ribbons, so if you just want one, there are plenty. If you are a completionist… uh… good luck distinguishing them all when you’re trying to remember what you own.
These magnets by Gordy Toy are basic, and mostly only good for display. I own them out of package as well and they’re very weak and don’t really hold any papers up well without help from other magnets. They’re fun to own for nostalgia value, and the packaging even has the phone number for signing up to the fan club!
It is very odd that Sailor Mars has the wrong colour skirt, and shoes when these are licensed magnets, but the actual product matches Sailor Jupiter’s skirt exactly. They also chose to eliminate the yellow of Sailor Moon’s hair instead of cutting it off, but left a triangle of yellow between her hair and ear. It’s safe to say these were made quickly and without much quality control just to get product out into the market.
These aren’t a must own product, but if you collect 90’s North American merch they’re fun. It’s not often I see them in package anymore.
Title: Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon Support: Nec PC Engine CD (TurboGrafx-CD) Format: Super CD-ROM² Publisher: Banpresto Genre: Adventure, Visual Novel Release: 1994 Status: Official Origin: Japan Original Price: 8,800 yen Paid: $20 CAD Purchased: NexWave Game Store; August 28, 2010 MFC:Here Fan Translation:Here
Warning. This entire post is going to have spoilers for the game.
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is for a system I don’t own, and does not have an official English release, but a fan translation finally DOES exists! I owned this game for 10 years and had no idea what it was about, so I was super excited to sit down and watch a play through following Usagi. At the beginning of the game you can select a character to play through, and I expect the full run of events would be different at certain points as you see different perspectives and go different places, only to meet near the end, but for the sake of over an hour… I’m going to stick to the Usagi playthrough I watched below.
Please Note: All screenshots were taken from this video from NintendoComplete on Youtube.
Full honesty, I JUST finished this and I am HAPPY. So if you don’t want spoilers scroll down until the big letters happen. I’m talking about this story start to finish.
The game appears to take place between Season 1, and a point in Season 2 when the Senshi have their memories restored, and there are no enemies. So perhaps after defeating Ali and En, but before Chibi Usa appears (yea, that could probably get a little messy).
Usagi and the girls are trying to skip out on a training session when they discover Usagi has dipped a toe into Naru and Umino’s love life. After berating her for setting up Naru for an unexpected visit from Umino after school they send her to check on them. Usagi finds them awkwardly doing alright, and parting ways. As she spends a moment drooling over thoughts of Mamoru and disappointed she didn’t catch Naru and Umino flirting NEPHRITE unexpectedly appears on the sidewalk near Naru seemingly in a lot of pain. Which makes a lot of sense, SINCE HE SHOULD BE DEAD ALREADY.
Turns out Nephrite is there to warn Usagi, Mamoru, and the Senshi that Beryl and the four Kings are back, and their goal is to revive the Dark Kingdom, but their real concern is Past Wiseman, who used the Bloody Opal to bring them back from the dead. Nephrite has returned with all of his past memories, and not only of the modern day, but his memories of his time serving under Prince Endymion have begun to trickle back.
In true nature of Sailor Moon, Nephrite is kidnapped by his teammates and brought back to Beryl where he is made to stand at her side again, only suspecting that he simply couldn’t resist seeing Naru again. From the inside he works to help the Senshi win.
When Beryl challenges the Senshi to a rematch the Senshi are sent on a mission to the 4 pillars to destroy the Emerald Gate and the boundary keeping the city trapped. While separated, Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask find themselves against Queen Beryl herself. While Tux fights, she concocts a plan to trick Beryl into leading her to Past Wiseman AND IT WORKS! At the same time, Jupiter is battling Nephrite, who reveals Past Wiseman is looking to resurrect Death Phantom.
After an epic Beryl and the Four Kings rematch you’re going to want to watch yourself we learn that Past Wiseman can reincarnate their souls from death in a painful, horrible way. Usagi speaks to Beryl with kindness, requesting that they be friends. She recalls their battle and regrets that she was not powerful enough to reincarnate them at the same time to live normal lives.
Tuxedo Mask makes his epic entrance in an effort to distract Beryl, Jadeite, Zoisite, and Kunzite, and allow the Senshi and Sailor Moon to escape.
Enter Nephrite with the Black Crystal, a Good replica of The Black Crystal which released Past Wiseman. He explains that like the Silver Crystal, the Black Crystal can be used for Good. That the crystal is meant for Tuxedo Mask in the same way the Silver Crystal is meant for Usagi. He calls upon the power of the Black Crystal to awaken the Four Kings memories of how they really came under Beryls control. The Black Crystal appears to Tuxedo Mask as the Kings call on him to defeat Past Wiseman and destroy the Bloody Opal. The Senshi call upon the power of their planets, paired with the help of their paired King, the entire group of 10 destroy Past Wiseman.
With only Queen Beryl left to defeat, Sailor Moon calls for friendship and is met with anger. During her attack though, Beryl collapses and dies in Usagi’s arms, ultimately while admitting she is afraid to like Usagi and forgive her for taking Endymion away from her.
Usagi uses her power to reincarnate Beryl and the Four Kings as regular humans with regular lives on Earth. A far better ending than the original Season 1.
The game ends with Naru teasing Usagi about Umino and owing her for being late again. She threatens to make Usagi split to buy him flowers to make up for it. Usagi closes it out teasing Naru for her feelings. Honestly… the cutest shit ever.
The story follows Usagi and the gang as they skip out on a training session just to goof around when an old friend warns them about Past Wiseman, a new enemy looking to steal the Silver Crystal. Usagi must figure out how to defeat the Bloody Opal and spark Naru and Umino’s relationship, all before supper time!
This game brought closure I didn’t know I needed, and a scary foreshadowing… or maybe an alternative timeline that avoids the main arc of Sailor Moon R entirely? Either way, it was new content (for me) that my soul NEEDED after not quite getting my fix on Crystal. I had forgotten how Sailor Moon made me feel. That I am not just a fan of the series because of the pretty art, and the wonderful collectibles. But because Usagi inspires the hope I need when things look tough.
Admittedly, I might be over selling it. Watching this game play out vs playing it out yourself will likely be a different experience, but aside from some choppy elements that come with playing a video game vs watching an episode I felt the story in this game nailed it as a part of the Sailor Moon franchise.
The packaging for this is really pretty and colourful. I had a lot of fun editing the scans. The pastel doily pattern is especially reminiscent of the manga art from Naoko Takeuchi.
Audio and Video
This game includes a mix of text, and voice clips. I’m no expert when it comes to audio quality, but for a game that’s nearly 30 years old I had zero issues with it. Honestly, I thought it sounded really good.
The graphics though, are beautiful. I’ve saved about 50 screenshots to edit into icons and graphics, and I won’t even pretend I’m not excited about it. I’ll provide a small gallery below, but first I want to talk about some of the character designs.
The game is so clearly well designed after the anime that I had moments in which I completely forgot I wasn’t watching an episode. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was also trying to follow along with the player and see what options they were provided I might have felt like it was an episode or a short movie.
The character screen shows the Senshi in a very stylized chibi design. Enjoy, becuase you’ll literally never see this character art again. I’m not sure why they made this choice, but the art is cute?
The save screen is yet another chibi art design that doesn’t appear anywhere else in the game. It also mimics the Sailor Moon R commercial bumpers (see here). Depending on who you play as a different Senshi appears in the spot light.
The colour palette is very colourful, nearly eliminating black from the story art. I really enjoyed this decision because it gives us a Rei/Sailor Mars with purple hair!
To be honest though, the best part of this game is that I could create an entire gallery of Usagi reaction faces.
Whoops! Guess I just did. XD
I love how simplistically the characters are drawn, but how true to the anime they are kept. As someone who did pixel art a lot in high school I’m mad at how simple this art is while executing the job near perfectly. Though there are some group scenes where I wish they had more space to work with better detail.
The real winner of Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon is Queen Beryl though. Her art is detailed and STUNNING. Some panels looked like full drawings it was so detailed.
Even when she’s angry she looks AMAZING.
It would be an absolute SHAME if I wrote this post and neglected to talk about scenes like this with limited colour palettes, yet are so striking, and beautifully created with so much texture. It’s the reflection of the sunrise in the store front, and the cold tones where there is shadow. The balance and technicality behind those details could have been skipped, but the artist took their knowledge of complimentary colours and nailed it.
Surprisingly the opening and ending sequences are original to the game and sung by the voice actresses for the game. The game itself features cute background music that was enjoyable, suited the moments they were featured in, and were wonderfully not horribly annoying given how much some of it repeated (in true fashion of these styles of games).
The opening is so good I’m looking to add it to my Sailor Moon library.
Given the exclusivity of the system this game is on, I would expect this translation to not get a physical release. Bootleg, official, or fan made.
This game is an excellent piece for the media collector. The casing displays well, if you can play it the story is great, the art is beautiful, and it really stays true to the original series. This translation and the work they put into fixing glitches and adding hidden content is amazing, even if I can’t access it myself at the moment.
And if you’re not a media collector, or at least, not media you simply can’t play, I at least highly recommend watching playthrough’s of this game. It filled a “new content” hole I’ve been feeling with the high expectations that came with Crystal, and the let downs that followed. I hope I can find the other Senshi play-throughs, or figure out how to work this myself.
Extra special thank you to the sources I linked above. Without them I wouldn’t have most of this post.
Published: H&S Media Release: 2000 Status: Unofficial Paid: $6
Pojo’s World, while once a published magazine, is now a website dedicated to card games. According to their website they’ve been around since 1998, but today they focus on the popular card game series, and their old skool message forum.
In 2000 they printed a Special Edition magazine dedicated to Sailor Moon. It features an overview of what Sailor Moon is, a look at some popular merchandise and the card sets, and an episode guide straight up to episode 120. It even mentions that there’s a 5th season titled “Sailor Moon Stars” but no hint towards whether they knew why the last season never made it here at the time.
Due to the size of the files I’ve uploaded scans on Google Drive to view. Click on the picture below to see them!
This post is “living” and will be updated as I purchase more pencil boards. When updates add up I’ll post an update summary letting you guys know what I’ve added.
Pencil boards, or Shitajiki are B4 sized boards used for writing on. They create a hard surface in note books or stacks of paper so that the writing doesn’t transfer below, or so that the surface is not too soft. They’re often made of thin plastic, or cardboard about 1-2mm thick, and printed with images from all sorts of locations, or for all sorts of media. Sailor Moon has a LOT of them and they’re highly collectable because quite a few of them are rare. As a useable item it wasn’t uncommon to accidentally destroy something like this, and then toss it, so that makes some designs rare to find. These are also more of a 90’s and early 00’s craze than they are today (2020).
Release Year: 2003 Specifications: ADV Films; 945 Minutes; Region 1. Contains uncut Japanese version with English subtitles. NO English language version. Release: Canada/USA Status: Official Paid: Gift
Like the Classic set, this set was released as the ultimate Sailor Moon Season 2 box set for the die hard anime fan in North America. It was released with the episodes uncut, with Japanese language only, and definitely less likely to appeal to fans who grew up with the DIC dub. Oddly, it’s also missing an episode, very sneakily hidden between the numbers on the ends of the box set.
Admittedly this post will parrot most of what I had to say about the season 1 set, but bear with me.
I don’t own any advertising for this set to my knowledge. I was only about 14 when it released, and I haven’t seen much more than some DVD advertisements in NewType magazine.
The packaging on this set is ICONIC. It features Japanese logos, high quality art, beautiful foil silhouettes of Sailor Moon and the Cutie Moon Rod, and matches the dark blue box merchandise also released in North America, but in a purple complimentary tone to the blue of season 1. Every single piece of the set is well thought out and clearly designed by a fan who understood the aesthetic. ADV put love into this packaging and it shows.
Like the season 1 box set, the bottom of the season 2 set has a foil Cutie Moon Rod that I absolutely love.
DVD Cases and DVDs
The DVD cases feature cute high quality art of Sailor Moon, Chibi Usa, Black Lady, and Neo Queen Serenity. The backs feature screen shots from each episode, and adorable character art of Usagi in her pajamas, and Chibi art of Sailor Pluto.
Notice how episode 67 is missing from the numbers between the sets. 47-66 and then 68-89.
The inside of the case is standard for a DVD set with multiple disks. It has a location for each disk, 4 disks per set, and an episode guide for each holder.
Ironically, this time I remembered to fix the DVD’s… but there’s no character print on them to show off.
The episode guides features art of Moonlight Night, and Sailor Pluto
Audio and Video
This set does NOT include the 90’s Dub.
Like season 1… that’s where the good ends. The audio and video on this set are comparable to old VHS. The only plus side to it is actually owning the entire first series unedited, uncut, and in Japanese with subtitles. I’ve included some unedited screenshots.
The infamous episode 67 isn’t just missing by accident on the text on the side of the box. It’s literally just missing from the entire box set. Conveniently, that is smack dab in the middle of the season, so it would have been just an easy typo, but unfortunately, that is not the case.
It was also missing from the 90’s Sailor Moon dub.
Turns out it seems TOEI and Naoko Takeuchi would not let the episode come to North America. The running theory on the internet and in some second-hand word from ADV is that the episode was deemed too much for the American market.
Bootlegs DO exist of this set, but at the time of writing this, they appear without the box, with the complete season in one of the DVD cases above.
Bootleg sets will likely not be region 1 and may contain other languages other than Japanese and English. If it includes Chinese it is definitely a bootleg copy.
As per season 1, I recommend this set for the completionist, or the fan who just wants to own the complete series in Japanese (minus episode 67). I do not recommend it for fans who are looking for high-quality releases. While the box set IS beautiful and a great shelf piece, the quality of the actual content is less than ideal. This is not a good set for someone looking to casually watch the series. Especially given how expensive it can be.