“Sailor Moon” is an iconic anime and manga property, but the 200 episode length of the original series might deter new fans from engaging. So, here are four ways to become a Sailor Moon fan without setting aside 100 hours for viewing. There are a few minor spoilers, but I try to be as vague as possible. “Sailor Moon” is a fandom worth joining if you can.
By David F. Pendrys
Skip around the original anime series
A first option is to watch the original anime series, but skip around. The thing about “Sailor Moon” is there is a lot of filler, and these episodes are wonderful, but here are some shortcuts if you want to stick to the plot. You’re still looking at about 80 episodes to watch, but that’s a far cry from 200.
- In Season 1, episodes 1, 8, 10, 13, 14, 24, 25, and 33 will introduce you to the entire team of Inner Sailor Senshi led by Sailor Moon, their allies, and Queen Beryl’s villainous Dark Kingdom including mighty Jadeite, skeevy Nephrite, treacherous Zoisite and overconfident Kunzite. Episode 33 serves as a lead-in for the climactic episodes 34 and 35 where it gets real. Episodes 44-46 cover the final battle with Queen Beryl.
- In Season 2, “Sailor Moon R,” the first part is skippable but you need to watch episodes 47 and 48 to understand the full scope of the aftermath from episode 46. Episode 59 resolves the filler plot if you are interested in that, though you could even skip that episode. The plot resumes in episodes 60 and 61, and it gets to the showdown with the various Dark Moon villains in 68. You will want to settle in for 70-77, where many of the lingering plot threads are resolved and battles are fought. Episodes 82-88 result in the final conflict for the season and a change of scenery.
- Season 3, “Sailor Moon S,” is perhaps the best of the five seasons, starts up at episode 90 and you’ll want to watch through 93 to learn about new characters and the evil Death Busters. Episode 103 and then the 109-113 sequence advance the plot further. Episodes 119-127 come with a final set of revelations and a variety of climactic battles.
- Next comes Season 4, “Sailor Moon Super S,” and I’m going to suggest skipping all the way to 161-166, which is basically the entire season except for the boss fights against Queen Nehelenia and her crew. Keep going into Season 5, “Sailor Stars,” where the Season 4 plot will continue to episode 172. A new plot line begins as 173-178 will introduce new allies as well as Galaxia’s enemy army. As the series wraps up, 188-190 move things along as a prelude to the series finale conflict which takes place from 193-200.
- If you don’t want to go that heavy into the series, you could get by with just the Season 1 episodes, Season 3, and the end of Season 5. There are 3 movies that are also available, but they do not tie in to the plot. By all means watch them if you can, but just note they are not going to assist with plot development.
Watch “Sailor Moon Crystal” instead
Currently the series sits at 38 episodes, with more to come and has advanced through basically the first three seasons of the anime. The show is much more faithful to the manga, but in the first two seasons suffered from less effort put forth in the animation. Season 3 did much better in that regard. Nonetheless, the show is enjoyed by many in the “Sailor Moon” fandom and provides a faster introduction to the characters. Filler is nonexistent.
Read the manga series
Kodansha has condensed the volumes into 12, plus two short story books. There is also the two-volume “Codename Sailor V” manga which you should read before “Sailor Moon” to get insight into Sailor Venus. If you have the money for it or a way to read it through a library or borrowing from a friend, this is probably an even quicker way to engage with the fandom. It is worth reading no matter what because the art is gorgeous.
Check out the live action series
There is also a 51-episode live action series, “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon,” and ongoing musicals called “Sera Myu,” which I think you should watch too, but both can at times venture away from the source material and might cause confusion with the basic plot.
Now, you have options to become a Sailor Moon fan without giving up your entire life doing so!