Welcome to our Sailor Moon Crystal episode guide! Here you can learn everything about the show and watch Sailor Moon Crystal episodes while you’re at it. Now, on with the show…
Two years ago, Sailor Moon creator Naoko Takeuchi announced the development of a new Sailor Moon anime. Every snippit of news was scrutinized for whatever clues that could be found regarding the new series’ content, and desite a few delays, the hardcore Moonies never lost faith. Sailor Moon Crystal finally premiered on July 5th, 2014 as an online exclusive via streaming services such as Hulu, CrunchyRoll, and Niconico Douga, a Japanese streaming service offering subtitles for the series in ten languages. Viz Media acquired the North American distribution rights to the new series as well as the original anime from the ’90s and all ancillary properties including the movies and TV specials, and thus the content is also available through their streaming service, Neon Alley.
Unlike the first anime, which was a rather loose adaptation of Takeuchi’s manga in both style and substance, Sailor Moon Crystal cleaves much closer to its source material. Not only is the look of the series much closer to Takeuchi’s art style, the story has been adapted with painstaking fidelity. Every episode of the series is based upon a chapter of the manga, certain shots even echoing iconic panels.
While some liberties are taken, usually small touches to help grease the wheels, Crystal is more or less the original Sailor Moon manga brought to life on the screen, though it was more than happy to borrow the basic design of the Sailor Guardians’ transformation sequences from the first anime. Japanese Idol group Momoiro Clover Z performs both the blood-pumping prog metal opening theme “Moon Pride” as well as the soft rock closing theme “Moonbow.”
Crystal features an all-new voice cast with one very notable exception. Kotono Mitsuishi, who portrayed Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon herself has returned to reprise her iconic role. The rest of the casting info can be found here, and technical details here, because here at Den of Geek, we cover all things Sailor Moon Crystal. And hey, if you prefer your Sailor Moon in original flavor, we’ve got plenty of coverage on that too, ranging from episodic reviews of the original anime to essential viewing guides to news on Viz Media’s home releases.
With all of the Sailor Moon Crystal episodes available online, fans have more than enough content to get by until Sailor Moon Crystal season 2 happens…if that happens at all.
Click the episode titles to go to the full reviews!
We’ve even embedded the videos for each episode for your viewing pleasure!
Underachieving middle school student Usagi Tsukino finds her life turned upside down when she is approached by a talking cat named Luna. Before she can indulge herself by wondering whether or not she’s having some kind of psychotic break, Luna gifts her with a magical brooch which she uses to transform into Sailor Moon, the sailor-suited guardian of love and justice destined to fight the evil Dark Kingdom. And it’s none too soon, as Sailor Moon cuts her teeth by saving her best friend Naru from certain death.
Despite the significant bump in the animation budget, there’s not much that’s new about this premiere. Aside from the addition of some admittedly deft foreshadowing, it’s the same Sailor Moon premiere we’ve seen in nearly every iteration of the franchise. Though, to be fair, with an origin story this iconic, it’s probably best to leave well enough alone.
Usagi befriends Ami Mizuno, a classmate of hers whose intellect and introversion have rendered her quite the loner. Initially drawn to Ami with the hopes of some academic help, Usagi finds she genuinely likes her, not that it matters much to Luna who suspects Ami might be an agent of the Dark Kingdom. Turns out the weird vibes Luna is getting off Ami are from the instructor at her cram school, who actually is an agent of the Dark Kingdom. Ami comes very close to being sapped of her energy like the rest of her class when the sign of Mercury appears on her forehead, and she awakens as the Guardian of Water and Wisdom, Sailor Mercury.
Again, this is a classic Sailor Moon story we’ve all seen before. While there isn’t much new content, what there is does offer some rarely given insight into Ami’s perspective and her world.
Rei Hino, a miko at Hikawa Shrine, uses her powers of divination to seek out the cause of a rash of disappearances. She confronts Queen Beryl’s servant Jadeite only to end up captive in the Dark Kingdom with the rest of the abductees. It turns out Jadeite’s plan was to lure the Sailor Guardians to the Dark Kingdom, and it totally works. Sailor Moon and Sailor Mercury show up to confront him, but it’s Rei who truly saves the day once she awakens as the Guardian of Fire and Passion, Sailor Mars.
Like the two previous episodes, this one depicts an iconic Sailor Guardian intro we’ve seen in every version, but it deviates from the manga significantly by having Jadeite live to fight another day.
In probably the most practical use of the disguise pen ever, Usagi assumes the appearance of a princess to infiltrate a masquerade ball at which an actual princess will unveil her family’s secret treasure. Could it be the Silver Crystal? While on the clock, Usagi runs into Tuxedo Mask at the ball, the one place he blends in perfectly, and despite some Dark Kingdom hijinks, the evening ends with a kiss. Too bad Usagi is barely conscious for it. As in the manga, Nephrite is behind this scheme, but in this version, Jadeite is still very much alive, allowing all Four Kings to stand together at the end in a glorious villain shot at the end.
For the first time in Sailor Moon history that the full quartet presents itself to the Sailor Guardians as a unified threat, confirming that the Four Kings will be playing a bigger role in Crystal than in the manga.
Nephrite turns a bridal shop into a trap to drain energy from the people of Tokyo, but he picks the wrong target when he toys with the affections of Makoto Kino, a classmate of Usagi and Ami’s who recently transferred to Juuban Middle School amidst rumors of expulsion from her old school for fighting. While she is a sweet, romantic girl, Mako-chan proves to be quite the fighter, and she takes Nephrite to task both before and after she awakens to her powers as the Guardian of Thunder and Courage, Sailor Jupiter!
Unlike the other Sailor origins, Mako’s intro varies considerably from version to version. Crystal keeps it close to the manga with the whole bridal shop story, but adds the bonus of an actual verbal exchange between Mako and her infamous senpai. This episode also marks the debut of Sailor Moon’s signature weapon, the Moon Stick.
The plot thickens as Tuxedo Mask’s activities grow increasingly suspicious while at the same time Sailor Moon feels more drawn to him than ever. Zoisite tries his hand at fighting the Sailors, taking Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter on all at once and doing a pretty great job of fighting them off. Sailor Moon has doubts about how much she really contributes, not having any offensive powers like the others, but Tuxedo Mask inspires her to find her true gift, her ability to heal.
Using the Moon Stick, Sailor Moon drives the Dark Kingdom back, but exhausts herself in the process. After a few funky dreams, she wakes up in Mamoru Chiba’s apartment.
Indeed, Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask, and with their identities revealed to one another, there’s nothing left to do but share a little backstory. This episodes title is a misnomer as it focuses mostly on the villains. The Dark Kingdom’s great ruler Metalia is introduced, and we’re given the Beryl’s human backstory involving how she broke the seal on Metalia in this life, releasing her back into the world.
Zoisite hatches a plot of his own involving a DVD rental store, but everything naturally comes down to him throwing down with the Sailor Guardians. Just when things are looking bad for our heroes, the final Sailor Guardian, Sailor V, shows up.
We first meet Sailor V in uniform, then in her civilian guise of Minako Aino (as well as her cat guardian, Artemis). She reveals that she is the princess they’ve all been searching for and thanks them for all their struggle. And then, in the most radical departure from the manga yet, the episode proceeds to follow Minako, exploring her difficulty in making the adjustment to being a team player, having fought solo for so long.
In addition to that new content, we’re treated to Sailor V imploring Kunzite to remember who he truly is. The others show up, and Sailor Moon aims to take Kunzite on, but he gets the upper hand. She is saved at the last moment, however, by Tuxedo Mask, who is critically wounded in the process.
Upon seeing Tuxedo Mask horribly injured, memories flood back to Sailor Moon of actually being the Serenity, the Moon Princess, with Tuxedo Mask being her lover, the Earth Prince Endymion. As for Minako being the princess… psych! She’s just Sailor Venus!
Usagi has some expository flashback, Mamoru gets abducted, and the rest of the episode unfolds in a rather poorly paced and structured exploration of PTSD.
The Sailor Guardians head to the moon, into the Sea of Serenity, where they find the ruins of the Moon Kingdom. Once you get past all the logic holes in this story like NASA having never stumbled across the ruins of an ancient civilization and humans walking around on the moon without any kind of life support, this is an incredible episode.
There are flashbacks a-plenty (including one where we learn that Princess Serenity offed herself after witnessing her beloved’s murder), and the entire second act builds to a brand-spankin’-new confrontation between the Sailor Guardians and the Four Kings that Moonies have been waiting to see for decades, while Sailor Moon propels herself into orbit and gets her Moon Healing Escalation on. Solid. Oh, and if that weren’t enough, Beryl rouses Mamoru from his “healing,” now freshly brainwashed and out to find the Sailor Guardians. And kill them.
Haunted by the loss of Mamoru, Usagi’s better judgment goes out the window when he shows up at the arcade under a different name, brainwashed by the Dark Kingdom to hunt for Sailor Moon and the Silver Crystal. Usagi’s denial enables her self-destructive streak until her crush lays the smackdown on Luna, which gives Usagi the clarity she needs to take this evil Tuxedo Mask on.
Meanwhile, the girls get together at Ami’s apartment to figure out just what the story is with Venus’ magic sword.
The Sailor Senshi finally throw down with the evil queen of the Dark Kingdom. She seems unbeatable, but with some good, old-fashioned teamwork (Mercury analyzing her weak spot, and Venus going at her with the Holy Sword), Beryl is defeated and crumbles to dust as she laments her own personal tragedy. Endymion returns to the Dark Kingdom, but Sailor Moon follows him for a one-on-one confrontation.
The other Senshi, unable to follow them through the portal in time, take the long way around to the Dark Kingdom, encountering the Shitenou on their way in. No sooner do the Senshi awaken their past life lloves’ true personalities than Queen Metalia murders them, having no use for four human servants who are no longer evil. The Senshi power through their grief and join Sailor Moon and Endymion just in time to see Sailor Moon, having finally given up hope, kill Tuxedo Mask and repeat history by killing herself.
With Sailor Moon and Endymion down for the count, Queen Metalia swallows them whole (and thus the Silver Crystal within both of them) and uses that power to shroud the world in darkness. The remaining Sailor Senshi prove to be no match for Metalia, but upon sensing Usagi’s enduring life force, they give up their powers to buy her a chance.
Taking strength from their fallen friends, Sailor Moon and a freshly restored Tuxedo Mask stand against Queen Metalia for the titular final battle…which does not occur in this episode.
Sailor Moon takes her final stand against Metalia — you know, the one promised in the previous episode — and focuses for the mark between her eyes. And… it doesn’t work. She and Luna (whose human form is nice little addition here) throw a few prayers to the newly reformed crystal spire in the prayer room of the Moon Castle, and it does the trick.
Metalia is destroyed, but Usagi’s brooch is shattered in the process. Sensing the other Senshi are dead, Usagi heads up to the moon to make one last prayer in person.
This new “Chibi Usagi” proves to be a major pain in our heroine’s ass, hypnotizing her family, insinuating herself into her life, and just being an all-around brat. And the fact that she’s on the hunt for the Silver Crystal and triggers Mamoru’s freaky-deaky psychometry powers isn’t exactly disarming. Meanwhile, some new baddies also on the hunt for the good ol’ Ginzuishou have appeared. They’re the Black Moon family, led by the douchey and decadent Prince Demande.
For the time being, however, the pawns are in play, and so Koan, the youngest of the Spectre Sisters, infiltrates the fair at Rei’s school to recruit some followers, putting our girl Rei right at the epicenter of the new enemy’s first attack. Using her new enhanced powers, Sailor Mars takes on Koan and her Droids. The other Senshi arrive to provide some much needed back-up, but it’s not enough to keep Sailor Mars from getting abducted as her friends look on, helpless to stop it.
With Sailor Mars abducted by the Black Moon, Sailor Moon presses Chibi-Usa intel she doesn’t have. Mamoru grows rather protective of Chibi-Usa and learns a little more about her, the fact that her parents are in danger, and that they told her to seek out the legendary warrior Sailor Moon should anything bad ever happen to them.
Meanwhile, Ami reflects upon her parents’ divorce and her father’s absence in her life. These latent abandonment issues become fodder for the next of the Spectre Sisters, Berthier (pronounced BEAR-tyay, all French-like), who uses those issues to psych Ami out during a chess match that could very well win Sailor Mars back.
Two Sailor Senshi have been abducted by the Black Moon, two of the Spectre Sisters killed in exchange. This time around, Petz targets Sailor Jupiter, who it turns out is feeling a little under the weather. The Senshi deduce that Chibi-Usa is not in league with the Black Moon, but is very much at the heart of their arrival in this time, and they vow to protect her.
Meanwhile, Asanuma gets closer to the truth of all the strange occurrences surrounding him when his stalkerish obsession with Mamoru leads him to overhear a conversation between his senpai, Usagi, and Luna.
With three Senshi captive behind enemy lines, it’s down to Sailor Moon, Sailor Venus, and Tuxedo Mask to get them back and get to the bottom of all this Black Moon business. The last of the Spectre Sisters, Calaveras, uses her powers as a medium to draw the Senshi out so she can get a little revenge, and it’s up to Venus to take her on, since Chibi-Usa has swiped Usagi’s brooch.
Tuxedo Mask, feeling a little useless, uses his own psychic powers to have a chat with his fallen friends, the Shitenou. After a little pep talk, he looks within himself to discover a new attack of his own just in time to take on Rubeus. Venus manages to avoid abduction, and when the dust settles, Chibi-Usa finally reveals just where she and the Black Moon have come from: the future.
After Chibi-Usa gives our crew the skinny on where she’s from and why, the connection between her tragedy and the Black Moon combines her interests with our crew’s. It is promptly decided that they should accompany her back to the future in order to ascertain the full scope of the conflict and get some clues on how to proceed.
However, first they must pass through the forbidden Space-Time Door, guarded my mysterious lone guardian, Sailor Pluto.
Now safely inside the Crystal Palace, Sailor Moon, Sailor Venus, and Tuxedo Mask are brought up to speed by none other than King Endymion… Mamoru’s future self.
So everyone finally puts two and two together about exactly who Chibi-Usa is, we get some more background on Sailor Pluto, Usagi’s acknowledgement of how ridiculous and stupid she is for being jealous does nothing to mitigate the fact that she keeps doing it, and Esmeraude finally goes after Chibi-Usa directly.
It’s Sailor Moon’s turn to get abducted by the Black Moon, this time by Prince Demande himself. While Tuxedo Mask and company attempt to whip up some kind of strategy to rescue her, she squares off against Prince Demande who has sprung for her ticket to Creepy Town. Sadly, the power of the Malefic Black Crystal is neutralizing that of the Silver Crystal, and Usagi can’t transform back into Sailor Moon, so all she can really do is sit there and listen to Demande wax poetic about what an insane fuck he is.
There’s a little more backstory filled in, but it’s really just elaboration on stuff we already know. And then Chibi-Usa runs off, loses the time key, and while wandering through the void she runs into Wiseman. Also, Ami, Rei, and Mako-chan finally wake up, but they can’t transform either. Bummer.
Venus and the kitties get even more exposition on Nemesis and Death Phantom, but not soon enough to stop Tuxedo Mask from running into a time storm in the void, looking for Chibi-Usa who has unwittingly drunk Wiseman’s Kool-Aid and is being corrupted by his evil energy. Meanwhile, Usagi wanders the labyrinthine halls of the Black Moon Castle, only to happen upon the central reactor, where Saphir shows his true colors and attacks her.
At the eleventh hour, her connection to the Silver Crystal activates some kind of Avatar State defense mechanism where she channels her future self and allows her to transform again. It also wakes up Ami, Rei, and Makoto, who were trapped in what is revealed to pretty much be death’s waiting room. They break their captivity and transform into Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter, reuniting with Sailor Moon for a long overdue fight with the Black Moon Family that Rubeus does not survive.
With Pluto’s long distance help, the Sailor Senshi teleport off Nemesis and return to Crystal Tokyo. Unfortunately, the time storm caused by Chibi-Usa’s disappearance is still raging in the void, and Tuxedo Mask remains lost in it.
In the wake of the reactor’s explosion on Nemesis, both camps regroup. While Usagi shorts out due to an overwhelming surge of emotion – again – Demande and Saphir encounter Chibi-Usa’s new malevolent adult form, Black Lady. Black Lady leads the brothers to the heart of Nemesis, where the finally realize that Wiseman is not looking out for their best interests. However, no sooner do they speak out than he zaps them with some kind of zombification beam, turning them into compliant slaves to his will.
Meanwhile, Usagi has another bellyaching whimper fest, brought to an end that could not come quickly enough by the interchangeable platitudes provided by her friends, and back to the future they go to… not really do anything. Again.
Nemesis is finally bearing down on our heroes with a slow burn into Earth’s atmosphere, its evil energy destroying everything it touches, and it’s giving me Majora’s Mask flashbacks. While Wiseman reveals his true nature, the time has come for the Sailor Senshi to throw down with Black Lady, and she proves to be a formidable foe, not only in terms of raw power but psychological warfare, toting out a brainwashed Tuxedo Mask as her trophy dude, playing on all of Usagi’s insecurities. Demande and Saphir are also there in Wiseman’s service, but Demande reveals the ace up his sleeve: he was never brainwashed to begin with.
After dispatching his own brother (that’s some metal shit right there), he goes after both Silver Crystals and attempts to cause some serious destruction by touching them to one another, which is apparently like crossing the streams: to put it mildly… bad. No one is physically close enough to Demande to foil his attempt. Time has run out. If only our heroes knew someone who could fuck around with time…
Demande stands ready to tap the two Silver Crystals together, which will be … very, very bad. With the Senshi down for the count and no one else close enough to stop him, time has truly run out… which is why Sailor Pluto breaks the third taboo and stops it. Unfortunately, the cost of this Hail Mary is Pluto’s life. The impact of this pierces Black Lady’s heart, and she reverts to Chibi-Usa before transforming into the Sailor Senshi in training who will one day take up Sailor Moon’s mantle, Sailor Chibi Moon.
Wiseman, however, gives exactly zero fucks about this and reveals his true name, Death Phantom, as he draws everyone into the void for one final showdown.
The Sailor Senshi, Tuxedo Mask, and King Endymion face down Death Phantom in the void. Sailor Moon takes the lead, unleashes a can of Moon Princess Whoop-ass, and she and Death Phantom vanish, Tuxedo Mask following suit soon enough. The others are transported back to the palace grounds, where they are greeted by a newly awakened Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion.
After comforting their daughter and thanking Pluto for her sacrifice, they send Chibi-Usa to their past selves, so the three of them can square off with Death Phantom together. Chibi-Usa announces herself to the big bad as the Sailor Senshi in training, Sailor Chibi Moon, and joins Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask in the final showdown.