Luna’s human form.
SAILOR MOON S- THE MOVIE:
-So they released another one-hour feature after the end of Sailor Moon Super, and again, it’s out of continuity. Unusually, however, it’s based off of a manga story- a side-story Naoko Takeuchi did on larger paper in a “tankobon” (like a trade paperback for us). This movie’s ALSO about a Giant Space Meteor like Sailor Moon R was, with the magical Snow Princess Kaguya arriving on her icy meteorite to take over the planet and remake it in her own image. And HOLY CRAP is she “Image Comics” levels of naked. Like, she has to have invisible nipples or something, because her shirt covers almost nothing.
The gang gets a showcase at an outdoor market, giving us some fun shots of the group- and an iconic scene where they try a “Punch-Testing Machine” and Usagi scores 35 (and bonks herself with the punching bag), Minako 65, Rei 80, and Mako casually one-hands it and scores 100. Plus there’s Haruka, Michiru & Setsuna, meaning we get nine Sailors for this one!
More of the subplot sees a Japanese astronaut named Himeko (note: “Hime”, her nickname, means “Princess” in Japanese) getting a lot of public focus for an impending trip to the moon, Luna catching a cold, and an astronomer named Kakeru noticing Kaguya’s meteorite and picking up a crystal offshoot from it. The plot threads together when Luna’s nearly hit by a car and Kakeru saves her life. And it turns out he’s friends with Himeko, who lectures him about “romanticizing space too much”. In a fairly mature way, she chides a man of science for saying stuff like “there’s a Goddess living on the Moon!” and such. Anyways, it’s clear from their body language that she likes him but he seems oblivious, and now upset because she’s challenging his beliefs- he chases her off brusquely, but she overhears his confession about the romantic ideals of the Moon to Luna.
Upon hearing the man go on about always having feelings about the Moon ever since he read the old Japanese fairy tales about Kaguya (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tale_ … boo_Cutter), Luna is twisted up inside by newfound feelings of admiration for him- “what is this heartache I’m feeling?” she wonders. The girls all worry about a missing Luna the next day, but it turns into a childish argument IMMEDIATELY when Minako brings up the idea that maybe Usagi offended her and that’s why she ran off. Artemis thankfully snaps them out of it (kinda dumb and out of character for the girls to move so easily into arguing when a sick Luna is missing). But then Kaguya summons dozens of “Snow Dancers” that make winter everywhere they go- hey, this light blue lady making an eternal winter and summoning snow creatures is reminding me of something.
So the Snow Dancers lure in all the Sailors and oh my god have I missed the three Outer Sailors transformations- that damn song and their cooler “lip rods” and updated transformation animations- that’s epic. “World Shaking” shatters one, while all four Inners have to combine to take out theirs. The Usagis have trouble with a “Spinning Snow Dancer” illusion, but then SANTA CLAUS saves them… with a rose. Yup- it’s Tuxedo Mask in a weird disguise, soon whipping it off and throwing a DRIEDEL (!?!), allowing Sailor Moon to wipe out out with “Moon Spiral Heart Attack”. Then everyone’s thawed and they just go on with their day.
Luna has a nice bit where SHE actually asks USAGI for advice after seeing Himeko taking care of Kakeru, curious about what couples do together, and “what does a kiss taste like…?”, then it’s Kakeru explaining that his poor health cost him his dream of becoming an astronaut, too. He hopes to live to see Himeko carry on both their dreams… and Luna realizes that a lot of Usagi’s comments about relationships are accurate (like watching your man sleep). When the Sailors all figure out what’s going on with Luna, poor Artemis sulks in his own silent suffering way, which only Minako is savvy enough to clue in to. But then it turns out that Usagi’s the only person in the cast who HASN’T figured out that Artemis loves Luna (both Ami & Rei chide her cluelessness). But then Usagi follows Luna one day and they both watch Kakeru blow off Himeko’s “maybe we can be together after I’m done my mission” in a very drastic manner over how she just sees the Moon as an object floating in space (he starts out smiling in a confident, secure way but then just YELLS at her).
Luna figures out immediately what’s going on- Kakeru loves Himeko deeply, but refuses to let her know about his illness or his real feelings. And tearfully, she confesses this all to Usagi, crying about her own heartache and how “I’m not the person he was meant to be with after all” but how much she wishes she could be a human so she could be with him. It’s really good stuff. But then the conflict rears its ugly head- Kaguya comes for the crystal shard (which has been exacerbating Kakeru’s illness, absorbing his very life energy to empower itself), and when he names her, she formally adopts that name (oh, so she was just some nameless whatever beforehand, okay). And JUST THEN, Artemis remembers a “ancient manuscript” about an evil star that covered worlds in ice, but the power of love & friendship (oh, Sailor Moon) saved the day.
Kakeru’s still dying from the crystal’s existence, and Luna figures (kind of… oddly) that if she transforms into a “Princess Kaguya” for him, he can regain the strength to continue on. But it’s FIGHT TIME- the Sailors locate Kaguya’s base of operations as she covers the entire Earth in ice and snow, freezing nearly everyone alive. The Sailors fight and naturally are now AMAZING fighters against what is now an army of Snow Dancesr, with all their baseline attacks now counting as “Area Attacks”, but they slowly get overwhelmed in some dramatic fight animation that seems them all grabbed in mid-attack sequence or just buffetted from all directions. The Outer Sailors actually get SAVED by the Inners, but all are soon wiped out, leaving only a late arrival- Sailor Moon. Kaguya promises to remove all pain from the world as she freezes it eternally, but Sailor Moon gives one of those dramatic speeches about how sure, heartache and loneliness and unrequited love can keep you up at night, but those feelings are just part of what makes life great, and that thinking only of yourself means you’ll never love another and all that. She activates the “Crisis Make-Up!” part by unlocking the Holy Grail (from Sailor Moon S, naturally) and becoming Super Sailor Moon, but Kaguya overpowers her with one shot.
Sailor Moon risks her life by drawing out the Legendary Silver Crystal, but the other Sailors realize Artemis’s comments about “love and friendship” means they can all “Care Bear” that risk away- Tuxedo Mask arrives to take out the Snow Dancers while they encircle Usagi and let her power up. Though even the cynical-ass older Sailors doing it is terrific. Triumphant music plays as the Sailors funnel their light through Sailor Moon’s Silver Crystal, overpowering Kaguya in a scene right out of the first season’s destruction of Queen Metalia & Beryl (even the same angle- firing it diagonally upwards), vaporizing her, shattering her meteorite, and removing all the magical ice that’s covering the world.
And finally, in the movie’s iconic scene, Sailor Moon’s wish allows Luna to temporarily transform into a human girl- a distinctive-looking girl with long purple hair. The transformation sequence silhouette is, um, not leaving much to the imagination (they usually leave them “nude except for nipples”, but this time they LEFT THEM IN?), but a yellow dress soon covers her up. She takes Kakeru to see the sunrise from outer space, and even Himeko in space sees them fly across like a comet- stunned, she confesses “The Moon Goddess is real!?” Luna/Kaguya convinces Kakeru to live on, and to find “your true Kaguya on Earth”, which finally leads him into the arms of Himeko when she returns. Luna confesses she’s happy for them, gifting Himeko the candy that’s been a minor thing between her and Kakeru throughout the picture, saying “after all, I’m just a cat”, but finally she runs into Artemis when he happily arrives and says “I’ll always be by your side”- she gladly goes off with him, probably changed a fair bit. Naturally, as this is out of continuity, they have their own random thing in the Sailor Moon SuperS season.
That is a LOT of near-nudity, even for this show!
SNOW PRINCESS KAGUYA
-The primary antagonist of Sailor Moon S: The Movie, this INCREDIBLY-naked creature is a nameless entity that enters our solar system after millennia away- having been driven off by a “bright light” centuries ago, she returns with new vigor, and wishes to transform the entire Earth into an icy wasteland. She actually doesn’t get much play- she sends her Mooks to deal with the Sailors for the most part and talks a bit of smack, but that’s about it. Her meteorite home casts off a tiny comet that hits Earth, and is found by a human astronomer named Kakeru- he’s a born romantic who waxes poetic over the Moon, but it turns out the piece of comet he’s found is draining his own life-force, and empowers her to destroy the world. When he finds the character, he mistakes her for the fairy tale persona “Snow Princess Kaguya”- amused, she takes the name for herself, then leaves to commit Armageddon.
When the Sailors confront her, she amuses herself by sending Snow Dancers to fight them, then overpowers Sailor Moon with ease, even blocking her special “Rainbow Moon Heartache” power as Super Sailor Moon. When even the Holy Grail falters, Kaguya’s all “LOLZ I will turn the world into ice and it will be flawless forever”, but Sailor Moon does one of those “Sailor Says” speeches where she talks about how you have to take the bad because that’s what makes the good so GREAT, and all that jazz- then the Sailors recall a speech from Artemis about how she was stopped in the past: the power of love drives her away. And so Sailor Moon unleashes the Legendary Silver Crystal, which always kills her- Sailor Moon’s all “I’ll die to save the Earth” but then everyone makes a circle around her and HOLDS HANDS, which is like the MDK of the Sailor Moon Universe, and so they fire out an energy beam of love and friendship and disintegrate Kaguya forever- the resulting Care Bear Stare also flies out into space and detonates her meteor like a heat (… cold?)-seeking missile.
The character ends up being not very memorable- in a show that features THREE “All-Powerful Demon Queens” as Final Bosses, adding another one in a movie fails to really stand out. Her design is somewhat neat, but misses a lot of detail since she’s basically just a big naked lady with two strips of fabric over her breasts (which appear not to have nipples anyways) and a pre-Elsa icy dress. And her motivation is pretty dry- “I want to turn the world to ICE!” is not really the kind of thing that inspires greatness in villains, you know? The movie is primarily interested in getting over the love story of Luna with the human Kakeru, and his true destined romance with the scientific Himeko- Kaguya’s just the means to an end, and a distinctive, Elemental-themed threat.
So this overall was a pretty neat little story, though mostly for the relationships over the pretty generic “I want to freeze the Earth” one-note villain. Kaguya is one of the least-remembered movie foes for a reason. But Luna-As-Kaguya manages to be very memorable, and I loved the story with her, Kakeru, and Himeko. It was full of need, want, complexity and emotion- Luna’s scenes would have been silly in many other places, but here you genuinely felt for the cat that wanted to be with a human, and I liked how he kept trying to force Himeko away despite his own wants. The whole nature of him being annoyed by her lack of belief in a Moon Goddess came off a bit weird, though I guess you have to accept such things in a Sailor Moon universe (I mean, humans SHOULD know Magic is real by this point in the show). Artemis being in love with Luna and her being clueless to it was a neat sub-plot, and him being there for her when it was all over was neat, if a bit like Luna was “settling”.
The animation quality here was solid, but more “above-average episode” than game-changing, like the Sailor Moon R movie was- that movie had some TREMENDOUS, feature-film level animation, and this one was a lot moroe simple. Kaguya had white outlines for her body that didn’t really “work” so well, and none of the action scenes were as mind-blowing as the intial flower assault in the first one.
Continuity-wise, it doesn’t really “fit”, unless you assume that they’re between “Death Busters”-related stuff, as nobody is talking about the Silence. The Holy Grail is here like that’s still an issue, but Chibi-Moon is nowhere prominent, there’s no Hotaru anywhere, and the Inner Sailors are just kinda hanging around.