With three seasons under the belt of Sailor Moon Crystal, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie Part 1 and Part 2 serves a movie and an unofficial fourth season to the new anime series. Crystal has been pretty loyal to Naoko Takeuchi‘s original manga series, and Sailor Moon Eternal plays out the Dream art of the series. Having premiered earlier this year in Japan, international viewers can now watch Sailor Moon Eternal on Netflix!
The review below contains spoilers for Part 1 and Part 2 of Sailor Moon Eternal.
Sailor Moon Eternal picks up right where season three left off, with Usagi (Konoto Mitsuishi), Mamoru (Ryō Hirohashi), and Chibiusa (Misato Fukuen) looking up at a full solar eclipse on the day that Chibiusa is supposed to go back to the 30th Century. Of course, whenever there are major celestial events, you can bet that some kind of deep space shenanigans are about to go down. Meet the Dead Moon Circus, bent on disseminating nightmares, taking the Legendary Silver Crytal, and taking over the Earth and the Moon. At the same time, Chibiusa begins to experience dreams of a pegasus named Helios (Yoshitsugu Matsuoka) who calls for her help.
What follows is typical Sailor Moon fare, the Dead Moon Circus is the main antagonist group, complete with the evil Queen Nehellenia (Nanao) at the top, an old hag by the name of Zirconia (Naomi Watanabe), and then lower villains like the Amazon Trio and the Amazoness Quartet (who are revealed to be Senshi themselves). Part 1 walks us through each of the main senshi’s fears and insecurities as they unlock their own crystals. Although sometimes these one versus one fights can get a little repetitive, these fights actually reveal a little more about the senshi beyond just their friendship with Usagi.
Ami (Hisako Kanemoto) is insecure about being thought of as only a person who studies. There also seem to be some repressed fears about rejection, especially when her nightmares involve catching her mother with a boyfriend and being insulted by her, and being neglected by her painter father who has literally only sent her postcards for her birthday. Rei (Rina Satō) is insecure about not being as boy crazy as the rest of her friends and suffering under the social pressures of her peers who want to be married and be homemakers, as opposed to her own dreams of taking over her grandfather’s temple. Again, Rei is another Senshi to suffer from having terrible parents, in this case it’s also her dad who just abandoned her to pursue his career in politics.
Makoto (Ami Koshimizu) has dreams of being beautiful and strong, opening her own store, falling in love, but suffers from a fear of inadequacy. Out of the group, she lives completely alone after her parents died in a tragic plane accident. She might be the most self sufficient of the Senshis but that doesn’t stop her from being afraid of not being enough. Minako (Shizuka Itō) curiously struggles from an inability to transform into her Senshi form, which is a far more tangible fear than the others. It’s interesting that Minako views herself as the leader of the group, despite the fact that Usagi is Princess Serenity and she’s often the last mentioned in the group.
When confronted with these nightmares, each of the guardians find strength not only in their inner selves but also from the Outer Scouts (with the exception of Minako who finds it through Artemis?). Ami looks up to Setsuna (Ai Maeda), Rei looks up to Michiru (Sayaka Ohara), and Minako looks up to Haruka (Junko Minagawa). For Minako, Artemis even manages to transform into his human form to save her and give her her crystal. They all level up into their eternal forms with beautiful new attacks (matched with absurd word salad attack names), and breadcrumbs are laid as each of their inner voices refer to them as princesses of their own planets.
Meanwhile, Mamoru is struggling as he is plagued with the fear that he might not be enough for Usagi since his powers aren’t as strong. He begins distancing himself from Usagi after he develops a cough and the doctor tells him they’ve found a shadow in his chest. Part 1 serves mostly as a set up to Part 2, which ends on an incredible high note.
Part 2 cold opens with a glimpse at Michiru and Haruka back in the public’s eye. They’re both sporting promise rings, which leads the public to assume they’re more than just dating. Of course, show watchers will know that Sailor Moon Crystal officially made Haruka nonbinary much to the joy of the queer Sailor Moon fans. Sailor Moon Eternal double down on this when it’s revealed that the two of them and Setsuna are all raising Hotaru (Yukiyo Fujii) together. Hotaru even refers to Setsuna and Michiru as Mommy and Haruka as Daddy. Needless to say it’s precious and beautiful and I would watch ten episodes of just them being domestic.
But, with the Dead Moon Circus coming the wreck havoc, the Outer Scouts must also go back to help Usagi. Although they’ve been unable to transform since the day of the eclipse, they are able to now. Hotaru has also rapidly aged from baby to young adult in a matter of months. She sees visions of Helios and Chibiusa, an omen of the future. Hotaru is awakened and gives the three Outer Scouts their jewels and they rush to Usagi and the Senshi’s side. More Endymion lore is revealed as we learn that Mamoru has his own gold crystal to Usagi’s silver one and that Nehelenia was basically this universe’s Maleficent. She got left off of a party invite list and now wants to take over the worlds.
In the end, they defeat Nehelenia with the power of friendship and love and magic, but we also see the Senshi in their princess forms, which is massively exciting for any Sailor Moon fan. Even the Asteroid Sailor Scouts are freed from their imprisonment and revealed to be good and future guardians of Chibiusa.
At the end of the day Sailor Moon Eternal is a Sailor Moon movie through and through. It has all the hallmarks of a Sailor Moon story, with the lower level villains, the epic final fights, the dramatic transformations, the overflowing emotions of teenagers. The format of the movie helps string together some of the smaller scenes but it’s easy to see how this could have simply been another season of Sailor Moon Crystal. It was amazing to see the Outer Scouts again, who so often keep their distance from the Inner Scouts and Usagi due to their own missions. And it was great to see Hotaru take on a role other than world destroyer and actually save the Asteroid Sailor Scouts.
And while there are definitely still some questionable storylines, like the plot of Usagi being perpetually jealous of Chibiusa, who is literally her reincarnated daughter, or Chibiusa being jealous of Usagi and having a crush on Mamoru, her literal reincarnated father, Sailor Moon Eternal is a strong entry into the anime collection of this universe. I can’t wait to see how the Stars arc will be adapted, but it feels like it’s been years since I’ve seen an adaptation of the Dream arc that feels so close to the original manga. Seeing Queen Serenity again, seeing the Sailor Scouts as their own princesses, meeting Helios and the Asteroid Sailor Scouts, it all feels like a blast from the past. Any Sailor Moon fan is sure to love Sailor Moon Eternal.
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal is now streaming on Netflix.