Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (美少女戦士セーラームーン Bishōjo Senshi Sērā Mūn?, often abbreviated to PGSM) is a tokusatsu television series in the Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon metaseries originally created by Naoko Takeuchi. It is produced by Toei, the same company that produces the Super Sentai Series and the Kamen Rider Series.
PGSM came out exclusively in Japan. It ran from October 4, 2003 to September 25, 2004, and was a retelling of Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon’s first major story arc, albeit with considerable plot divergences.
The theme music is called “Kirari*Sailor Dream!” (キラリ☆セーラードリーム! Kirari Sērā Dorīmu!?) and was performed by J-pop singer Nanami Yumihara under the name Sae (小枝?).
The series lasted 49 episodes (called “Acts”), and also included two separate made-for-DVD specials, for a total of 51 acts.
A great evil, consisting of Queen Beryl, her four generals, and an amorphous evil power named Queen Metaria attempt to steal energy so that Beryl can take over the world.
Standing in their way are the Sailor Senshi, five middle-school-aged girls: perky Usagi Tsukino, genius Ami Mizuno, paranormally gifted shrine maiden Rei Hino, tomboyish Makoto Kino, and J-pop idol Minako Aino; two beings that appear to be sentient stuffed cats (Luna and Artemis); and Tuxedo Mask, a jewel thief in search of a Silver Crystal.
Later in the series, Metaria and Sailor Moon each get too powerful to be reined in, and the conflict shifts to attempting to postpone the inevitable destruction of the planet Earth. (It looks like Earth is plunged into darkness and not actually destroyed per se, but the effect is the same.)
Changes to story
Although Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is a retelling of the first manga story arc, there are many differences that set it apart from the manga and anime. The storylines are more character-based and driven, focusing on the girls’ civilian lives and their connection to the past more than on action sequences. While the first few episodes seemed directly based on anime and manga story lines, by the time Sailor Jupiter had arrived the show was starting to spin off in its own direction. Additionally, Usagi and Rei’s relationship is closer in spirit to the manga; while they have their disagreements, it never gets to the heated level that it does in the anime.
One of the largest changes was to the character of Minako Aino, who, rather than being an ordinary girl among the other Senshi, is a famous pop idol. When introduced, she is fighting crime under the alias “Sailor V” (as in the other versions), and makes subtle reference to this double life in her music. Her most popular song, “C’est La Vie” (French for “That’s Life!”), is a Japanese pun. In Japanese, the pronunciation of “Sailor V” (セーラーV [seːɽaːbwiː]) is similar to the Japanese pronunciation of “C’est La Vie,” [seɽabwi]. The song has an insouciant and uplifting tone, while the real phrase is a reminder that life can be harsh. For more information, see Minako Aino – In the live-action series.
In addition to plotline changes, some updating has been done to minor elements of the series, making them more in line with modern culture. For example, in the original anime and manga, there were scenes involving Ami and a cassette tape. In the new version, the tape is replaced by a MiniDisc. Instead of a transformation pen and communicators, each Senshi is given a magical camera phone and bracelets. Also, their secret hideout is not hidden in a video arcade, but rather in a magic karaoke room.
With the new adaptation of the show, certain characters were modified to give it freshness and originality. New aspects and forms include Sailor Luna, Dark Sailor Mercury, and Princess Sailor Moon. A new antagonist, Mio Kuroki, is also introduced.
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Special Act
A sequel to the series, set four years later, that portrays the wedding of Mamoru Chiba and Tsukino Usagi (which, in the anime, is first shown in the Dark Moon arc of Sailor Moon R). Before their nuptials they must do battle with Mio Kuroki who has been resurrected and claims to be the new queen of the Dark Kingdom. She kidnaps Mamoru and Usagi and intends to force Mamoru to marry her. However, the Shitennou are revived and help their master to defeat Mio’s youma, Sword and Shield. Meanwhile, the Sailor Senshi, minus Sailor Mars who is hospitalized with injuries from battling Mio while in her civilian state, use the Moon Sword provided by Queen Serenity to restore their power, enabling them to transform and defeat Mio. The story ends with Usagi and Mamoru’s wedding, and Motoki and Makoto’s engagement. This act is an hour long, twice as long as all the other acts.
Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Act Zero
The last special made for the series is a prequel of sorts that leads directly to the first episode. In it we see how Minako Aino met Artemis and became Sailor V on Christmas. She must use her newfound powers to foil a stage magician/jewel thief called Q.T. Kenko and his Killer Girl assistants. Meanwhile Usagi and her friends decide to dress in their own homemade sailor fuku in order to scare the thieves away from the jewelry store owned by Naru Osaka’s mother, (Usagi as Sailor Rabbit, Naru as Sailor N, and their other friends, Kanami and Momoko as sailors K and M) only for Usagi to get kidnapped by Kenko. The actors who portray the Shitennou are featured as the inexperienced police officers group self-dubbed the “Police Shitennou” for comic relief: Captain Kuroi (Kunzite), Officer Akai (Nephrite), Officer Shiroi (Zoisite), and female Officer Hanako (Jadeite). The story ends with Luna coming to Earth, feeling the burn of hitting the atmosphere, in order to give Usagi her powers.
Act Zero also comes with two mini-episodes. Each one is approximately five minutes long and tells a quick short story. Hina Afterward shows what happened to Hina after breaking off her engagement with Mamoru Chiba. Tuxedo Mask’s Secret Birth shows the origin of the Tuxedo Mask persona. It includes a joke-henshin sequence in which, rather than transforming magically, he pulls his clothes on with dramatic flair.
Super Dance Lesson
A quick video hosted by Luna, Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Moon, that instructed the viewer how to perform the dances from different songs from PGSM. The dances included were for the songs “Romance” and “Here We Go! -Shinjiru Chikara-” (Here We Go!-信じるチカラ-?) Also demonstrated were “C’est La Vie ~ Watashi no Naka no Koi suru Bubun” (C’est la Vie〜私のなかの恋する部分 Seito ra Bui ~Watashi no Naka no Koi suru Bubun?) and “Kirari*Sailor Dream!” (キラリ☆セーラードリーム! Kirari Sērā Dorīmu!?) although no formal instructions were given on how to dance to them.
Kirari Super Live!
A Special Live Event occurred on May 2, 2004 at Yomiuri Hall. This Special Event was held for the 1,000 winners of the Sailormoon Campaign (a contest held earlier in the year, in which viewers had to send in UPC symbols to enter). The event combined musical performances, in which the cast members sang and danced to songs from the PGSM soundtrack, and a dramatic storyline with spoken dialogue, in which the Senshi had to stop the Shitennou from stealing the energy of the audience members. The show was recorded and released on DVD. The DVD also included bonus behind-the-scenes footage of the performance and interviews with the cast members.