Sailor Moon S: The Movie
Alternative Title: The Beautiful Intimacy Betwixt Man and Cat
First Aired: 4th December 1994
Luna, ill with a cold, is saved by a frail astronomer Kakeru. Quickly becoming utterly beguiled by her rescuer, Luna’s feelings deepen. and as she feels increasingly frustrated by her cat’s body, Kakeru’s condition worsens, as it transpires that his health is being eroded by a mysterious woman from space with the power of ice, who has the sole ambition of making those from the Moon who locked her away a thousand years ago pay.
Sailor Moon S: The Movie opens where all films should open: in space. it’s actually a fairly dramatic opening, with an ice queen lady on an asteroid heading for Earth and threatening it vaguely. It’s looks cool (haha I made a pun), but I wonder if they’ve already shown their hand here.
By pushing Princess Snow Shits right up front, they detract a bit from the impact of her appearance later on. But this film really isn’t about the bad guy.
An astronomer spots the glacial meteorite… I don’t really like his design. He looks awfully… long. And boring. There’s nothing much inspired about his face. In time his personality will come to grate on me also… but let’s save that.
The credits begin with the classic Moonlight Densetsu, with all the girls in winter regalia out shopping, having fun, dressing up. I liked it, it was whimsical and got a smile, but nothing more than that. I felt that this was a little perfunctory. Still, it tells us that these people, uh, are friends I guess?
At least it starts better than Sailor Moon R: The Movie, which had a super-weird character introduction just in case you found yourself watching the Sailor Moon movie without knowing who the hell Sailor Moon was.
At the end of the credits, Haruka, Michiru and Setsuna bump into their future queen with shit all over her face. I have to smile here, although a larger question came to mind in the form of canon.
When does this take place? Sometime during Sailor Moon S undoubtedly. Setsuna is present, and the Outer Senshi all seem aware of the Inner Senshi’s identity, so it’s sometime in the latter half of the series…
…You know what? Forget it. This is an exercise in futility. All the film-makers want you to know is that you’re watching a fun movie where they’re gotten the whole gang together. Always dangerous when a film starts off with a message of “don’t think too much.”
It’s weird that we see the Outer Senshi here but don’t hear them talk for, well, quite a number of minutes.
First things first: Luna is sick. I’m not sure why, but her voice being all wavery and her face being cat-flushed (how does that work with fur?) and her widdle cute sneezes make me very sympathetic to the poor little thing. And kinda worried.
I’ve always hated seeing Luna ill or hurt. Something about cats I guess. Well, not Artemis, that butt-face can shove it. And apparently Luna agrees because she quite frankly refuses his offer to take her home and walks off by herself.
I’m already enjoying the fact that Luna is getting attention here. She’s been so neglected in the show.
When Luna faints in the street, with cars careening towards her (IT’S ALWAYS CARS), I genuinely felt a little scared for her. Sure I knew the outcome, but SHE’S SO WIDDLE, GUYS.
Then that goofy-looking boring man astronomer pulls a Mamoru (it’s somewhere in season 1) and barrel-rolls Luna to safety. I can’t blame him, I’d do it to save a cat too, but blimey he GOES for it.
Luna looks so frail in his arms it breaks my heart a little.
He takes Luna home to treat her and acts like she’s a goddamn baby. As would I.
Oh my God.
This man, this dweeb, this total boring ass…
THIS IS ME.
Boring Turd Man, after having saved a cat from getting him by a car, fulfils his role in the traditional “sick scene” of anime and stays up all night to, I dunno, sponge a cat. It’s sweet, I guess, but the pacing feels off here. It’s all so quick. We have no idea who this guy is yet, but Luna is all in by this point.
There’s no subtlty here, frankly. This isn’t going to win awards for writing. But there’s charm in how clumsy this is, how naive. I’m actually liking that this film is trying to develop Luna for once.
Everyone is a bit freaked out that Luna has gone missing the next day. I enjoyed everyone accusing Usagi of being such a dick to poor Luna that she ran away, to which Usagi points out all the horrible things Luna says to her.
We get a number of scenes of Luna with the as-of-yet unnamed male. She’s mewing A LOT, it’s quite cute hearing an actress say “meeoowww” repeatedly.
Sir Dudealot gets a visit from a fetching lady astronaut by the name of Himeko, who reveals that our weird gross intense friend is Kakeru. It’s rather cool to see a spunky lady astronaut. Not such a male-dominated job in the Sailor Moon universe?
Kakeru shows her a piece of the meteor that dropped to Earth, this crystal that looks like a snow flake. This thing is so clearly evil and will obviously take over his mind/suck his energy/convince him to eat a baby.
Apparently no one else believes Kakeru saw this meteor… and he gets super agitated. It’s kind of frightening. He looks unhinged. Poor Himeko points out that he’s fucking nuts, especially since he has previously gone on about there being a Goddess on the Moon.
His evidence? He “senses energy” from the Moon. Yep he’s a lunatic, in all senses of the word. This guy is meant to be a scientist.
I hate the fact that he’s correct about this by the end of the movie. I feel like reason and evidence are given a hard time. Emotions and leading by your gut are always seen as somehow more pure and truthful, but I defy anyone to give me an example where that truly is the case.
So we’re in the position where I hate this guy for being correct. Sorry dude, you’re fighting a losing battle. It’s a fascinating argument, but the film falls on the wrong side of the argument ultimately.
Himeko totally agrees. Kakeru has, like 5 doctorates and nothing to show for it because he’s a super-freak.
Poor astronaut lady is told to take a hike so that Kakeru can hold Luna like a baby. Biiiiiiiiit creepy. And cute too I suppose. He asks for her name and Luna almost gives it, so besotted by this guy who looks like a cross between a scruffy Haruka and a scruffier Professor Tomoe (AM I RIGHT OR WHAT?). Funny moment.
I don’t understand how, but he guesses out of the blue that her name is Luna. Not such a big leap, after all he’s obsessed with Moon Goddesses and she has a crescent Moon on her head, but still. Bit silly.
Reminded me of Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day.
Luna’s face when he guess correctly is amazing… this is so weird, right!? A cat who loves a human. It’s a bit heart-breaking actually.
Luna is 100% in love for the first time. And it’s not Artemis. Nor is it Rhett Butler, the poor bastard.
Round about here Princess Snow-Kaguya turns up and starts freezing everything, sending snow monsters “Snow Dancers” down to Earth. Dun dun duuuun.
Well all the lovely relationship stuff with Luna is kind of destroyed by this… it’s schlocky and hammy, and the music, this wailing, doesn’t do it any favours.
I believe this wailing music is the basis for a few motifs in the end of Sailor Moon SuperS as a matter of fact…
The first Snow Dancer lands, conveniently, right next to Usagi and Chibi-Usa and begins freezing people. WHAT ARE THE ODDS!? WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS? WHO CARES!?
I’ll say this now: every dramatic moment they spend with Luna is great. Every minute of action in this movie is hooooorible. And there’s more action than drama I’m afraid.
These Snow Dancers are pretty boring. Just a white design, nothing too great. Plus, they’re just snow, they’re disposable. Just like the flower things in the previous film, they’re just cannon fodder for the Sailor Senshi’s attacks.
When the Senshi do come in, their transformations are identical to that of the show. This, like the first film, is lazy. Come on, guys, give us something here. This is a 60 minute film and they’ve just killed 2 minutes with stock transformations and music we’ve seen so much already.
I did like how the Outer Senshi got pulled in: they’re just trying to have civilised tea. It strikes me that this is the first thing they even say in the movie: their transformations.
They get a SUUUPER bum rap in this film. They have nothing to do, which really sucks.
We get a couple of old favourites like Supreme Thunder and Crescent Beam (no new sequences). Bubble Spray returns but you all know how I feel about that.
All of this feels as though it takes so loooong.
Oh yeah, they give Chibi-Moon a full on transformation sequence here that I’m SO GLAD they never used again because it’s painfully bad.
By the time Sailor Moon is getting dizzy from twirling Snow Dancers, I’ve checked out.
But then Sailor Moon is saved by a rose… which looks like it’s been thrown by… Santa Claus…?
And I’m fully back in. This is so weird. So… Tuxedo Kamen dressed up as a Santa in a blimp? SO WEIRD.
“Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” is the officially the WEIRDEST FUCKING Tuxedo Kamen entrance you will ever see. I laughed rather hard here.
-BORING EXPOSITION INTERLUDE-
Princess Snow Kaguya spends the next 3 minutes explaining that Queen Serenity pissed her off and now she’s back for revenge. Well glad we got that plot line out of the way.
Luna finally decides to leave the house and find Usagi to, you know, tell her she isn’t dead, and everyone is instantly a little suspicious of the bold new ribbon she’s sporting.
Luna now spends the next few days avoiding everyone and lying to sneak off. Kinda like a drug addict actually. I liked this stuff quite a bit, Luna’s illicit love. She seems to know this isn’t going to work, but hey. we’re all stupid in love right?
Everyone else agrees that she’s shady as heck, mainly because Luna keeps going through medical textbooks trying to determine what illness seems to be hurting Kakeru, not realising that it’s the ugly gross shard of the meteorite that landed in the beginning of the movie.
Seeing how frantic she is is pretty tragic, especially when she realises how ineffectual she is as a cat.
When she sees Usagi emotionally blackmail Mamoru into giving her a smooch, it just hurts poor Luna more. Well actually it more looks like intense interest and envy. This is very strange, Luna has always been the teacher to Usagi, the leader, the guider, here it’s like she’s trying to pick up kissing techniques. It’s an interesting take on her character, and the pathos around her is growing, because this ain’t gonna end well for her.
This continues as Luna begins asking Usagi sheepishly what she talks about with Mamoru… and sniffing her a bit. Poor Luna seems a bit out of sorts here. Usagi with her hair down is always nice.
Usagi begins to talk about how he’s a lot smarter than her, but how sometimes they’ll begin snuggling up and… Luna thinks she’s going to go into juicy Sex and the City details about her smooching, but Usagi’s anti-climatic “And then he falls asleep on the sofa” is brilliant comic timing.
Just give me this material, no more action, and I’ll give this 5 stars.
Luna comes out and asks how it feels to kiss, and this is when you really get how it must be to be a cat in love with a man. This fundamental incompatibility between species. Great job with the romance here.
When Luna returns to Kakeru, we get the saddest thing I have ever seen. He passes out asleep, and Luna, thinking of Usagi talking about how cute Mamoru looked asleep, gets close to Kakeru and gives him a fuzzy whiskery kiss.
It’s cute, and heart-breaking. I would give my usual spiel about consent but I’m fairly certain a quick peck on the lips from a cat doesn’t count. Plus, the effect this has on her…
And you know this isn’t going to work.
I love how the Senshi all see how giddy Luna is. Their gossiping sounds like they think Luna got laid. Poor Artemis is obviously feeling crushed, but only Minako notices. Again, I like this little bond between them too.
Seriously, though. Artemis. There’s only one other talking cat in the universe and it’s one of the opposite sex with similar life experience to you, and she falls in love with someone of a different species. Now that’s gotta hurt. It’s the ultimate cock-block.
We’ve all been Artemis right?
There are some really nice background tunes here and there in this film, distinct from the show, and definitely better than the previous film. The composition is not bad, nice little tunes that fit the pathos quite well.
When Artemis meets Luna in the street, it’s a pretty brief moment, but I get all the feels. He’s just nice and supportive, and in pain, but Luna, looking guilty, just runs off. I felt bad for pretty much everyone here, and that’s decent writing. Not great, but it’s enough for this story.
Usagi stalks Luna (of course she does) back to Kakeru’s place, and finally realises she’s in love with a man… who is in turn in love with a woman, Himeko, who offers to retire just to look after him.
This is ridiculous, of course, and Kakeru tells her so… but he’s not so nice about it. I maintain that this guy is a tool.
Her rebuttal is heart-felt and ridiculous. There’s actually a line in there that goes “I know I don’t feel a mystical life energy from the moon that resembles Princess Kaguya, but…!” That’s honestly not where your problems lie, lady.
When Luna realises how in love Kakeru is with Himeko, Luna just goes outside to Usagi. Her speech here, filled with tears, is genuinely moving. I really, really, really feel her arc her. Great job with Luna’s character.
The cat hug at the end has so many feels.
And that’s literally it for me. If this were the end of the movie, that would be swell. But nope, it’s all downhill as soon as Princess Snow Kaguya enters Kakeru’s room.
She’s after that stupid snow crystal thing he found… wait what? Is that what she was after? I was not paying attention. So it was the McGuffin all along. Whoop-dee-doo.
It turns out the thing Kakeru was obsessed over is going to smash into Earth and freeze everything. Good judge of character there.
Now that SLOT A (Kaguya) has SLOT B (stupid ugly crystal), they can, you know, screw up some stuff.
Kakeru, despite having the ugly-ass crystal out of his house, is still struggling with its effects. Apparently he’ll be affected by it until it’s destroyed, but Luna comes up with a plan.
A terrible plan.
“If I could be a human girl, I could be Princess Kaguya for him, that could make him strong enough to fight the evil energy.”
Usagi obviously thinks she’s crazy as shit, and like me sees this as a rather desperate wish to be human so she can give Kakeru more fuzzy Eskimo kisses.
-SHIT’S COLD INTERLUDE-
The Outer Senshi fight for a bit, there’s absolutely nothing of note here. No one uses a new attack, it’s all just the same stuff from the show.
A couple of the dodges look cool, but they’re really just in there to break up the stock footage attacks.
Right about here the weird giggling from the Snow Dancers are really beginning to get on my nerves too. Not even the arrival of the rest of the Senshi, all fighting together, can get me back into this fight.
I really feel as though they’re attacking emptying mannequins. Which they are. There’s no sense of threat, no stakes here. Just noise.
Luna, meanwhile, realises that Kakeru has run out into the snow in his condition, all crazy and stuff. He seems intent on warning Himeko about Princess Snow Kaguya so that when she goes into space she won’t… uh… something? If anything she’ll be more safe up there than down on Earth, surely?
-EVERYONE GETS SLIGHTLY BEAT UP INTERLUDE-
This is actually, remarkably, making me long for the action of Sailor Moon R: The Movie, as terrible as it was. At least there we had that really quite disturbing position Sailor Moon found herself in, as the other Senshi were threatened with death.
Sailor Moon turns up to give a heartfelt speech about love. Not sure why this alien ice woman would give a shit, but it echoes the sad scenes of Luna finding Kakeru collapsed in the snow nicely. I guess.
This is where Sailor Moon remembers she can transform again, and we get Super Sailor Moon. Not sure even she can save this action but we’ll give it a shot.
Rainbow Moon Heartache comes out here and, well, wow, Super Sailor Moon is beaten. Isn’t she meant to be the premier force on Earth in this form?
Super Sailor Moon decides to use the Silver Crystal to seal Kaguya, like she did in the exact same was as the last movie. There we had a real sense of doom when she used it, since it usually ends in her death. Here, not so much. The other Senshi are all ready to protect her.
It’s pretty cool seeing all the Senshi glow, but gosh, we know where this is heading.
Kaguya is utterly overwhelmed by the Silver Crystal Power… and we get a very interesting scene of Usagi narrating over life on Earth in all its forms. And the Kaguya explodes.
I don’t really feel as though those two things went together personally. There’s a lot here crowbarred in at the last minute. The emotions aren’t working for me.
Here’s we we get a total Deus Ex Machina. Almost literally. Using the last of the Silver Crystal’s myriad and ever-changing powers, Sailor Moon makes one last wish, that Luna, for one night, gets turned into Princess Kaguya like she wished.
Sooooo this had to happen some how, right? It’s the big money shot of the film. I never really liked this conceptually, although I appreciate the sentiment.
Luna, in the street, is morphed into a human lady. A rather pretty human lady. It really is wonderful, actually. That old pathos is back, the fulfilment of her dream and all.
Luna tells Kakeru that she’s Princess Kaguya and… well… they fly about space for a while inside his head, since this was his dream long ago. Bit silly, yes.
And apparently this is actually happening, because Himeko, floating about in space, sees a golden streak – which she takes as confirmation of all Kakeru’s crazy bullshit. Ughhhhh maaan I really wanted her to remain skeptical and logical.
Luna tells Kakeru (I really like her design, although it’s still jarring to think that this out Luna) that he has to greet his real Princess Kaguya when she returns to Earth. Himeko literally means, after all, “princess”. Way to telegraph that one, Sailor Moon.
Poor Luna. She gets once smooch out of him before saying goodbye. I like that she put his well-being ahead of her own. She didn’t order him to “marry that cat you found the other day!”
So it took Kakeru kissing a cat-woman-goddess and having her order him to go and finally confront his feelings for a goddamn beautiful astronaut who was throwing herself at him. Tool.
Luna is sad but contented. As she walks away from seeing the couple reunite, Artemis sees her, smiles, and says “welcome home!”
This is sweet, but at the same time, I can’t help think that he’s telling her “I’M ALL YOU HAVE” and realising that she totally settled. On her only option.
Oh well, they’re happy enough I guess. Can’t help feel like Artemis is totally a kicking-bag here.
And that’s the end!
The credits actually have a rather nice song over them, Moonlight Destiny, which echoes up the emotional arc of this film. Not too memorable, but I thoroughly recommend a listen.
So! This wasn’t a bad watch, actually. Out of the three Sailor Moon films, I’m probably fairly unique in that I like it the best. There’s a lot wrong with it, but it never felt arduous like moments of Sailor Moon R: The Movie did.
They nail the pathos with Luna, the music fits really well, the artwork is generally decent, if not particularly spectacular, there are a few good laughs and it didn’t outstay its welcome.
It says something that, while the same length as Sailor Moon R: The Movie, I never checked my watch. It flowed organically.
Most of all, it made me feel. A little bit. Not too much, but enough for me to recommend this to any Sailor Moon fan. Probably not to anyone who hasn’t got deep affection for the series, this isn’t going to convert anyone, but if you’ve seen the show, hell yes watch this. You have the novel experience of seeing a human Luna for one thing.
In no way would this stand up as a feature film on its own. It’s not Cowboy Bebop: The Movie, but at least it’s not trying to be anything more than a supplement to a fantastic series.
Good job on a decently distracting 63 minutes, Sailor Moon team!
Score: 3/5 (It’s entertaining, it’s moving in places, and I would watch it again. Not for a while though…)
Best Moment: Luna giving her tearful speech to Usagi about love for someone who couldn’t love her back.
Worst Moment: Exploding snowmen. Rinse, repeat.