Whether your Sailor Moon obsession peaked in the 90s, or you only recently got into Sailor Moon Crystal, the newest movie is perfect for new and old fans alike.
In Sailor Moon Eternal, Tokyo prepares to celebrate the largest Total Solar Eclipse of the century when a mysterious troupe called the Dead Moon Circus appears in town. It’s up to Sailor Moon and the Sailor Guardians to stop their nefarious plan to scatter nightmare incarnations across the planet and rule over the Earth, the moon, and the entire universe.
Sailor Moon Eternal the movie Parts I and II are headed to Netflix. Check out our review below.
Do I Need To Watch Sailor Moon Crystal First?
Officially, Sailor Moon Eternal serves as a “fourth season” to the recent anime, Sailor Moon Crystal. But good news—if you want a more self-contained dose of the Pretty Guardians in action, you can definitely get away with just watching SME. The general story here will be familiar to old fans of the manga and 90s anime, as it adapts the Dead Moon Circus arc. But you can also dive into this one with only a basic background on Sailor Moon and get the picture.
Probably the only important plot-related thing you should know concerns Sailor Saturn and the Outer Guardians. In the third season of Sailor Moon Crystal, Saturn sacrifices herself to save everyone and is reincarnated as a baby. The Outer Guardians (Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto) take her outside the city to raise her, so they are absent for Part I of SME. This is referenced in Part I, but not really expanded on until Part II. Still, it definitely won’t keep anyone from keeping up with the story.
Your Favorite Sailor Guardians, Back In Action!
As I mentioned before, Sailor Moon Eternal adapts a story arc that will be familiar to fans of the manga and older anime series. When the Amazoness Quartet rolls into town under the guise of setting up the Dead Moon Circus, the entire planet is endangered. And who better to go up against the powers of a Dark Moon than the embodiment of light, Sailor Moon herself?
Like all the best Sailor Moon stories, SME walks the tightrope between action-packed battles and fighting something much more debilitating inside yourself: your doubts, fears, and darkest emotions. This story sees the villains turn the Sailor Guardians’ darkest fears against them, one by one. It’s a great look inside the characters and their deeper feelings and motivations, while staying thematically relevant to the impending big battle. SME really explores the dynamics of the personalities and relationships in an impactful way.
And of course, the inner turmoil turns into real-world smackdowns once the Sailor Guardians realize they’re being manipulated! So you get to see everyone fight their inner demons, and then showcase their unique powers, too.
Plus, the movie’s Big Bad, Nehelenia, ties her evil ways back to the original Moon Kingdom. I always think diving into Usagi and Mamoru’s past lives brings a unique flair to the story. The past/present dynamic adds another level to the plot, and you feel even more invested in the fight of these characters that carries on for generations. (And speaking of Usagi and Mamoru… Yes, of course this movie has some cute moments from your favorite ship!)
The animation style in SME is the same as in Sailor Moon Crystal. And if you haven’t seen the newer anime, you’re in for a treat, because the art style looks great. It retains all the colorful joy that sets the positive tone for the series, but the style is more detailed and sophisticated. (One of the weirdly specific things I really enjoy is seeing everyone’s non-sailor-guardian outfits. They really bring out the characters’ personalities and the animators’ attention to detail.)
Overall, Sailor Moon Eternal has everything you want from a Sailor Moon story. All your favorite characters, coming together to thwart evil and darkness with the power of loyalty and love.
How Does Part I Compare To Part II?
While all encompassing one major story arc, Sailor Moon Eternal is officially split into two feature films. (Both run around 80 minutes each.) Both parts have magical transformations, villain battles, and good character development moments. That said, Part II of SME makes for a better movie, overall.
Part I is still plenty entertaining, and contains the necessary setup to drive the audience to the major villain battle in the finale. However, it’s much more obvious in Part I that SME is stitching together episodic moments into something larger. Part I sees each of the Inner Guardians face off against their inner fears, provoked by the Amazoness Quartet. In the manga/anime, each Sailor Guardian would do so in their own chapter/episode. When crushing each of these together into the same feature, it does start to feel more redundant.
Part II of SME flows and arcs much more naturally as its own feature. (Also, I’ve personally always liked the Outer Guardians, and they show up in Part II. So I’m admittedly a little biased in my favoritism.)
Watch Sailor Moon Eternal Now!
If for some reason you really need more convincing, this is your sign: Go watch Sailor Moon Eternal now! It has everything you love about the anime and will make you nostalgic in the best way. Plus, it never hurts to see kindness and love triumph over evil. Really, this is the ultimate feel-good movie.
Sailor Moon Eternal Parts I and II premieres on Netflix June 3.