Manga Unmasked: Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon WH

Welcome back to Manga Unmasked! In this series, we take a deep dive into the various manga series available in our collection. So, whether you're already a fan of manga or just a curious reader, we hope you might learn a little about your next potential reading obsession. In this edition, we're traveling past celestial bodies to Earth where certain girls awaken magical powers to protect a missing princess—Moon Prism Power, Make Up!  

You can check out our previous editions of Manga Unmasked here—Manga Unmasked: My Hero Academia and Manga Unmasked: Spy x Family.

Magical Girl Power

Usagi's Home

Sailor Moon—originally Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon or Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon—is a magical girl*, shoujo** manga series written and illustrated by Naoko Takeuchi. It was first serialized in Kodansha's Nakayoshi—a shoujo manga magazine—from 1991 to 1997. The 52 chapters were collected into 18 published first-edition volumes, then 12 rereleased second-edition volumes. 

* The magical girl (mahou shoujo or majokko) trope usually involves empowered young girl protagonists who have various powers and fight evil while looking cute, confronting gender norms, and trying to balance their school and personal lives. Sailor Moon was not the first magical girl manga, but the series popularized the trope in the 1990s and paved the way for more magical girl manga and anime. 

** Shoujo means "young woman/girl." For manga/anime, shoujo is the term used for stories generally marketed to a younger female audience, but it's a genre anyone can enjoy. 

Before Sailor Moon, Takeuchi wrote and illustrated Chocolate Christmas (1987-1988), Maria (1989-1990), The Cherry Project (1990-1991), and Codename: Sailor V (1991-1997). During and after Sailor Moon, Takeuchi wrote Miss Rain (1993), Prism Time (1996-1997), PQ Angels (1997), Princess Naoko Takeuchi's Return-to-Society Punch!! (1998-2004), Toki☆Meka! (one-shot, 2001), Love Witch (2002), and Toki☆Meca! (series, 2005-2006). 

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon premiered in Japan as an anime on March 7, 1992. The show grew in popularity with five seasons under slightly different names—Sailor MoonSailor Moon RSailor Moon SSailor Moon SuperS, and Sailor Moon Sailor Stars. During the original series run between 1992 and 1997, three movies were released—Sailor Moon R: The Movie (1993), Sailor Moon S: The Movie (1994), and Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie (1995). Then in July 2014, Sailor Moon Crystal aired for the first time as a new and closer adaptation of the manga. It ran for three seasons and has been followed by the two-part films Sailor Moon Eternal (2021) and Sailor Moon Cosmos (2023).

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon won the Kodansha Manga Award in 1993 for shoujo manga. 

Moon Prism Power, Make Up! 

A Dark Kingdom, a mysterious Silver Crystal, and a lost princess of the moon in need of protection... and that's just the start! 

With the help of guardian cats, Luna and Artemis, five teen girls are awakened to their unique celestial powers as Sailor Guardians. With magical items—tiaras, brooches, pretty pens, and hairpins—and their powers, these girls must transform and protect the citizens of Japan and Earth from the evil machinations of the Dark Kingdom, Queen Beryl, the Four Heavenly Kings, and their monstrous minions. 

The Stars of the Show

Usagi Tsukino
Sailor Moon

Usagi Tsukino, a.k.a. Sailor Moon

Usagi Tsukino is the protagonist of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. Usagi is—at the start of the series—a regular teen girl who enjoys spending time with her friends and hanging out at the arcade. She's a little bit emotional as a self-described crybaby, but ultimately kind and courageous. 

Usagi becomes the Sailor Guardian of Love and Justice, Sailor Moon, after meeting Luna, a talking black guardian cat with a moon mark on her head. She is tasked by Luna to find the Princess and fellow Guardians. Meanwhile, she must protect her friends and the people around her from enemies and monsters seeking a mysterious Silver Crystal. 

Sailor Mercury 1
Sailor Mercury 2

Ami Mizuno a.k.a. Sailor Mercury

Ami Mizuno is on the shy side and prefers to spend her time studying and reading. While some think her quiet personality makes her aloof, she is actually a sweet and loyal person. She dreams of becoming a doctor like her mother. After running into Ami and Luna, Usagi quickly bonds with Ami over the Sailor V arcade game.

Ami is the second of the Sailor Guardians—the Sailor Guardian for Love and Intelligence, Sailor Mercury—recruited by Luna. She has power over water and ice. 

Rei Hino
Sailor Mars

Rei Hino a.k.a. Sailor Mars

Rei Hino works as a Shrine Priestess and lives with her grandfather and pet crows Phobos and Deimos at Hikawa Shrine. 

Rei's personality differs depending on whether you read the manga or watch the anime. In the manga, she tends to be more serious and doesn't care for boys. In the anime, she is less serious and a bit boy-crazy. 

Rei becomes the third of the Sailor Guardians during a crisis. As the Pretty Guardian for Love and Passion, Sailor Mars has power over fire.  

Makoto Kino
Sailor Jupiter

Makoto Kino a.k.a. Sailor Jupiter

Makoto Kino is introduced after saving Usagi from being hit by a car. She is a new transfer student at Usagi's school, and other students are intimidated by her height and independent nature. 

Makoto tends to be a little boy crazy and dreams of marrying someone and opening a flower and cake shop. She also enjoys cooking! 

As the Pretty Guardian for Love and Courage, Sailor Jupiter is the fourth Sailor Guardian and has powers related to strength, storms, and plants. 

Minako Aino
Sailor Venus

Minako Aino a.k.a. Sailor Venus 

Originally, Minako Aino was the protagonist of Codename: Sailor V, a character that crosses over into Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon

Minako is athletic, active, and—like Usagi—a bit of a slacker in school. Also like Usagi, Minako became Sailor V after meeting a talking guardian cat with a moon mark—not Luna, but a white cat named Artemis. 

As the Pretty Guardian for Love and Beauty, Sailor Venus has powers related to love, beauty, light, and golden metal. 

Mamoru Chiba
Tuxedo Mask

Mamoru Chiba a.k.a. Tuxedo Mask 

Mamoru Chiba is a high school teen who lost his memories as a child and is Usagi's love interest. 

As Tuxedo Mask, he frequently runs into Sailor Moon in his search for the Silver Crystal, which he believes will help him regain his memories. He offers advice, rescues Sailor Moon on occasion, and generally acts dramatically mysterious and swoon-worthy for Usagi. 

(You might recognize him from the "My job here is done." "But you didn't do anything." *cape swish* meme.) 

Sailor Moon Volumes

**This list includes a brief summary of the events in each book. Here there be spoilers, so read the later summaries at your own risk. 

Sailor Moon Vol 1

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 1 by Naoko Takeuchi

Usagi Tsukino is a normal girl until she meets up with Luna, a talking cat, who tells her that she is Sailor Moon. As Sailor Moon, Usagi must fight evils and enforce justice, in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. She meets other girls destined to be Sailor Senshi (Sailor Scouts), and together, they fight the forces of evil!

Sailor Moon Vol 2

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 2 by Naoko Takeuchi

The mysterious Tuxedo Mask has revealed his identity, forcing Usagi to come to terms with her growing affections for the masked vigilante, all the while defending the people of Earth from renewed attacks by the sinister “enemy”. Everything threatens to overwhelm even Sailor Moon when suddenly a new Sailor Guardian appears. Could this new Guardian be the Moon Princess the Sailor Guardians are sworn to protect?

Sailor Moon Vol 3

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 3 by Naoko Takeuchi

Tuxedo Mask gone bad?! As more of her closest allies fall under the power of the evil Queen Beryl, Usagi comes closer to discovering the truth behind her past. The stage is set for an all-out battle for the fate of Earth between the Sailor Guardians and the forces of evil. But when the dust settles, a little girl calling herself “Usagi” falls from the sky and right into the arms of Mamoru. What is her connection to Sailor Moon and why does she want the Legendary Silver Crystal?

Sailor Moon Vol 4

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 4 by Naoko Takeuchi

A new group calling themselves Black Moon is after Usagi and the rest of the Sailor Guardians, wielding a new power known only as the Malefic Black Crystal. Chibi-Usa may be the key to it all, but to find the answers and rescue her kidnapped friends, Usagi will have to journey through time to the 30th century and discover what fate has in store.

Sailor Moon Vol 5

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 5 by Naoko Takeuchi

Chibi-Usa gets sucked into the far reaches of space-time and vanishes! It’s up to Tuxedo Mask to reach her and get her back safely while Sailor Moon and the others must escape Nemesis and the evil clutches of Wiseman and his cronies. But as Tuxedo Mask travels through the space-time storm, he encounters an ominous woman claiming to be his daughter! Who is this strange woman? Is she really Chibi-Usa?!

Sailor Moon Vol 6

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 6 by Naoko Takeuchi

Just when all seems well again in the world, another enemy appears! Two new figures from the private school, Mugen Academe, appear and take a special interest in Sailor Moon and company. Who are they, and do they have anything to do with the strange occurrences that are suddenly taking place? Meanwhile, the appearance of two new Guardians takes everyone by surprise as our favorite Sailor heroes must once again face off against new enemies to save the world!

Sailor Moon Vol 7

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 7 by Naoko Takeuchi

Old friends and new enemies lurk in the mysteries surrounding Mugen Academy. The Death Busters crave the Hoste, the human energies, of Sailor Moon and her friends—and they’ll prey on the girls’ dreams and weaknesses to get it! Furthermore, prophetic dreams hint at “talismans” that could awaken a “Deity of Destruction.” Could these things be connected to the guardians’ power? And are the Sailor Senshi capable of murdering the innocent to save the entire world?

Sailor Moon Vol 8

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 8 by Naoko Takeuchi

Chibi Usa’s sickly friend Hotaru isn’t just Sailor Saturn, Deity of Destruction. She’s also possessed by Master Pharaoh 90. Facing this cataclysmic power will be impossible—unless Sailor Moon can unite the powers of every Guardian of the Solar System.

Then, when the moon eclipses the sun, a mystical unicorn begs for help. An elaborate ship floats through the sky, and Usagi and Chibi-Usa have trouble seeing eye to eye...

Sailor Moon Vol 9

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 9 by Naoko Takeuchi

Amidst the chaos caused by Usagi and Chibi-Usa's body swap, courtesy of the Amazoness PallaPalla, the Sailor Guardians' primary concern remains Mamoru's illness and its possible link to the newcomers in town, the Dead Moon Circus. The Amazonesses and their circus animal lackeys go after the Guardians one by one, tempting them with false visions. However, each of the Guardians manages to defeat the enemy after their inner selves show them their individual heart crystals and new power. Meanwhile, it is still a toss-up who the "young maiden" is that Elysion priest Helios seeks: She who shall find and unlock the Golden Crystal that will save Earth, Elysion, and Mamoru!

Sailor Moon Vol 10

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 10 by Naoko Takeuchi

The threat of the Dead Moon Circus is so great that the outer planet Guardians return to fight alongside their compatriots. But with Usagi now coughing up black blood as well, are they too late?

And to make things worse, Queen Nehelenia's servant, Zirconia, casts another curse upon Usagi and Mamoru, sending them both back into childhood. However, Helios whisks away their spirits to Elysion, where they manage to break free and return to their true forms.

After they rejoin their companions, the final showdown against Queen Nehelenia herself begins! Will the Sailor Guardians and Tuxedo Mask manage to save Earth and Elysion before the Queen transforms them into eternal realms of nightmares?

Sailor Moon Vol 11

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 11 by Naoko Takeuchi

Mamoru is leaving to study in the US?! Even though Chibi Usa is back in the thirtieth century, fate won't leave Usagi lonely! An even younger pink-haired munchkin has arrived: Chibi Chibi, a mysterious little lady of few words. At the same time, three gorgeous pop stars enroll at Juban High School.

Sailor Moon Vol 12

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 12 by Naoko Takeuchi

Sailor Galaxia's power can melt cities and kill Sailor Senshi in a flash. Can Kaguya and the Sailor Stars help Sailor Moon defeat her? With her friends and allies vanishing around her, what will Usagi have left to fight for?

From the Page to the Screen, and Again

Sailor Moon Books Anime

Both the original 1990s Sailor Moon and the 2014 Sailor Moon Crystal anime series were produced by Tohei Animation.

The original Sailor Moon was directed by Junichi Satō (season one and season two's Makai Tree arc), Kunihiko Ikuhara (season two's Black Moon arc, season three, and season four), and Takuya Igarashi (fifth and final season).  

Sailor Moon Crystal was directed by Munehisa Sakai (season one and season two) and Chiaki Kon (season three). 

In addition to the five original seasons of Sailor Moon and the three seasons of Sailor Moon Crystal, three movies were released in 1993, 1994, and 1995. Then in January 2021, a sequel two-part film Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie premiered. Another sequel two-part film Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Cosmos will be released in June 2023!

Sailor Moon Anime (1992-1997)

**This list includes a brief summary of the events in each season. Here there be spoilers, so read the later summaries at your own risk. 

Sailor Moon (1992-1993)

Sailor Moon Season 1 Part 1
Sailor Moon Season 1 Part 2

Sailor Moon: Season One, Part One — Disc 1, Disc 2, Disc 3 

Usagi Tsukino is a cheerful fourteen-year-old schoolgirl who often finds herself in unwanted trouble. One day, she saves a talking cat named Luna from some mean kids, and her life is changed forever. Luna gives Usagi a magic brooch that transforms her into Sailor Moon, defender of love and justice! Now Usagi must work with Luna to find the other Sailor Guardians and the Moon Princess, whose Legendary Silver Crystal is Earth's only hope against the dark forces of the evil Queen Beryl!

Sailor Moon: Season One, Part Two  — Disc 1, Disc 2, Disc 3

Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury, and Sailor Mars continue their quest for the Legendary Silver Crystal as two new powerful allies join the fight. Sailor Jupiter is the tall and tough Guardian of Thunder, and Sailor Venus is the Guardian of Love and the most experienced member. Sailor Moon herself gets an impressive new power and learns more about the mysterious Tuxedo Mask. Could their distant past be intertwined, and does that have anything to do with the Moon Princess they seek?


Sailor Moon R (1993-1994) 

Sailor Moon Season 2 Part 1
Sailor Moon Season 2 Part 2

Sailor Moon R: Season Two, Part One  — Disc 1, Disc 2, Disc 3

After their epic battle, The Sailor Guardians are called back to action when some new and powerful enemies appear! Ail and An are alien siblings bound to the mysterious energy-devouring Makai Tree. And the Black Moon Clan, led by Prince Demande, has the power to destroy all of future Crystal Tokyo. Things get complicated when a mysterious pink-haired girl falls from the sky, demands the Legendary Silver Crystal, and claims Mamoru for her own!

Sailor Moon R: Season Two, Part Two  — Disc 1, Disc 2, Disc 3 

After the unexpected guest, Chibi-Usa falls from the sky and tries to claim the Silver Crystal as her own, Usagi quickly learns this cheeky little pink-haired girl is the least of her problems. The Black Moon Clan, in their unending quest to destroy Neo Crystal Tokyo and change the future, have come back in time to corrupt present-day Tokyo. Together the Guardians fight the Black Moon's dark forces but struggle to understand the truth behind their sinister plan.


Sailor Moon S (1994-1995) 

Sailor Moon Season 3 Part 1
Sailor Moon Season 3 Part 2

Sailor Moon S: Season Three, Part One  — Disc 1, Disc 2, Disc 3  

Usagi's friend Rei has been plagued by disturbing visions of the Apocalypse just as a new enemy, the Death Busters, led by Professor Tomoe, appears in the city. The Death Busters plan to rule the world by using the energy of three pure heart crystals and target innocent people in their search. Usagi and her friends, ready to confront this new foe, find two powerful new Sailor Guardians who are already seeking the crystals and have no interest in working with Sailor Moon and the other Guardians.

Sailor Moon S: Season Three, Part Two  — Disc 1, Disc 2, Disc 3 

The Sailor Guardians meet with tragedy when two of their own are targeted by the Death Busters in their hunt for talismans. Now it's a desperate race to prevent the group from capturing the Holy Grail. Then the Guardians confront the Witches 5, who are stealing pure hearts, and Sailor Moon must decide whether to sacrifice her power to save a friend.


Sailor Moon Super S (1995-1996)

Sailor Moon Season 4 Part 1
Sailor Moon Season 4 Part 2

Sailor Moon Super S: Season Four, Part One  — Disc 1, Disc 2, Disc 3  

A majestic pegasus with a golden horn has appeared in Chibi-Usa's dreams with a request; to help him and keep his presence a secret. This plea turns out to be more than a childish dream, for the fearsome Dead Moon Circus—led by the villainous Zirconia—arrive in town to draw out Pegasus by targeting people with beautiful dreams!

Sailor Moon Super S: Season Four, Part Two  — Disc 1, Disc 2, Disc 3  

The hunt for Pegasus heats up after the evil Zirconia enlists the help of the mischievous, but deadly, Amazoness Quartet to find the mystical creature and the Golden Crystal he possesses for their ruler, the beautiful Queen Nehelenia!



Sailor Moon Sailor Stars (1996-1997)

Sailor Moon Season 5 Part 1
Sailor Moon Season 5 Part 2

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars: Season Five, Part One — Disc 1, Disc 2, Disc 3   

Sailor Moon and the Sailor Guardians are about to face their greatest challenge yet, which is high school! But as the girls take their next big step in life and Chibi-Usa prepares to return to the future, a mysterious force frees the evil Queen Nehalennia! Who could be behind this new wave of evil? And why are the Star Lights resistant to working with Sailor Moon? Usagi has her hands full, but she'll always make time to write a love letter to her beloved Mamo.

Sailor Moon Sailor Stars: Season Five, Part Two — Disc 1, Disc 2, Disc 3    

Setsuna comes to take baby Hotaru from Professor Tomoe. Meanwhile, as Chibiusa prepares to go back to the future, a mysterious presence frees Nehelenia, who learns of Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi Moon's survival as she sends glass shards from her broken mirror to Earth. One of the broken shards falls in Mamoru's eye, while the disturbance interferes with Chibiusa's attempts to go back to the future. Meanwhile, Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus fight glass monsters.

Sailor Moon Crystal Anime (2014-2016)

**This list includes a brief summary of the events in each season. Here there be spoilers, so read the later summaries at your own risk. 

Sailor Moon Crystal (2014-2016) 

Sailor Moon Crystal Season 1

Sailor Moon Crystal: Season One — Disc 1, Disc 2 

Usagi Tsukino is a little clumsy and a crybaby, but she's also one spirited eighth-grader. One day she meets Luna, a black cat with a crescent moon mark on her forehead, and transforms into the pretty guardian of love and justice in a sailor suit, Sailor Moon! As a chosen guardian of justice, Usagi apparently has a mission to protect a princess and to find her fellow Guardians and the phantom Silver Crystal. Meanwhile, Queen Beryl of the Dark Kingdom sends her subordinates to the town where Usagi lives. They cause strange events to occur there, all in an effort to acquire the tremendously powerful Silver Crystal... Can Sailor Moon and the other Guardians successfully find the phantom crystal, and protect the princess...!?



Sailor Moon Crystal Season 2

Sailor Moon Crystal: Season Two — Disc 1, Disc 2

Sailor Moon and the other Guardians face a dangerous new foe...The Black Moon Clan! The Black Moon Clan hail from the mysterious Planet Nemesis and seek revenge on the Crystal Kingdom. Can Sailor Moon stop them? And just who is this mysterious pink-haired girl that also seeks the Legendary Silver Crystal?





Sailor Moon Crystal Season 3

Sailor Moon Crystal: Season Three — Disc 1, Disc 2

The end of the world has been foretold and only the Sailor Guardians can stop it! Sailor Moon, Naoko Takeuchi’s Guardian of Love and Justice, must stand against the greatest evil the world has ever seen. Rei has had a dark vision predicting the end… of everything! The arrival of the mysterious Mugen Academy appears to coincide with the appearance of deadly monsters called Daimons and questions are mounting. Where are they coming from, who are the Death Busters, and are the two new Sailor Guardians friend or foe? The path to the dark prophecy requires life energy and even the Sailor Guardians are in danger. Chibi-Usa may have to accelerate her training because the other Guardians will need all the help they can get.



Sailor Moon Movies

**This list includes a brief summary of the events in each movie. Here there be spoilers, so read the summaries at your own risk. 

Sailor Moon R Movie

Sailor Moon R: The Movie (1993) 

Long before Mamoru found his destiny with Usagi, he gave a single rose in thanks to a lonely boy who helped him recover from the crash that claimed his parents. This long-forgotten friend, Fiore, has been searching the galaxy for a flower worthy of that sweet gesture long ago. The mysterious flower he finds is beautiful, but has a dark side- it has the power to take over planets! To make matters worse, the strange plant is tied to an ominous new asteroid near Earth!

Sailor Moon S Movie

Sailor Moon S: The Movie (1994) 

A snowstorm has hit Tokyo, marking the arrival of the deadly alien Princess Snow Kaguya! She has a chilling plan to freeze the Earth, but it requires a single piece of her ice comet to be returned to her. After falling ill due to the cold, Luna is rescued by a handsome astronomer, Kakeru, who happens to have the remaining shard of the comet! Called into action to protect Luna and her newfound crush, Sailor Moon and the 8 Guardians are now the only hope the world has of avoiding an eternal winter!

Sailor Moon SuperS Movie

Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie (1995)

Around the world, children are disappearing, and the culprits are not of this world! The evil Queen Badianier plots to trap Earth in a dark energy field called the Black Dream Hole, powered by the sweet, sugar energy produced from the dreams of children. Meanwhile, Chibi-Usa befriends Perle, a new kid who seems to have grown fond of the town's warm and friendly atmosphere. Their peace is short-lived when they find the town's children suddenly start sleepwalking out of their homes.

If you plan to watch the series and movies, I suggest watching them in the following order:

  • Sailor Moon 
  • Sailor Moon R 
  • Sailor Moon R: The Movie 
  • Sailor Moon S
  • Sailor Moon S: The Movie 
  • Sailor Moon SuperS
  • Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie 
  • Sailor Moon Sailor Stars 
  •  Sailor Moon Crystal 
    • Season I: Dark Kingdom 
    • Season II: Black Moon 
    • Season III: Death Busters
  • Sailor Moon Eternal 
    • Part 1 
    • Part 2 
  • Sailor Moon Cosmos
    • Part 1 
    • Part 2 

Staff Reviews

Charissa: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sailor Moon was a show I grew up hearing about—and my college buddy really enjoyed it—but I hadn't actually given it a look. I tried watching Sailor Moon Crystal recently, but I'm not sure it's for me... yet. Reading the manga is a different story. The artwork is uniquely shoujo—cute, sparkly, dreamy—with interesting methods of scene transition and framing of the characters. It is very different from what I'm used to but super enjoyable. 

Samantha: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’m not what you would call a big fan of manga or anime, I like it, but I’ve never loved it, with one exception. Sailor Moon is my all-time favorite manga/anime series. I’ve been watching and reading it since the mid to late 1990s. For a country kid without cable, Sailor Moon was a beacon of all things pretty and mesmerizing. I remember falling in love with all the sparkle, glitz, and glam. Not to mention the romance, action, awesome poses, and friendships. Sailor Moon is this unique combination of a beautiful superhero and a bratty teenager. This may mean it isn’t for everyone, but I’m still a fan, some 20 years later.

On a total side note, I’ve done a few Sailor Moon cross-stitch patterns over the last 5 years. 

Descriptions adapted from the publisher.
By Charissa on May 22, 2023