The newest installment in the Sailormoon series is "Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon," a live-action series based on the original manga season. PGSM debuted in Japan on October 4, 2003 and ended on September 25, 2004. The show released 49 Acts, 1 "Making of" special, and 4 DVD releases including a "Special-Act" and an "Act Zero" which showed the future of the cast and the beginnings of SailorV respectively. PGSM basically follows the flow of the original manga with the fight against the "Dark Kingdom," but it does offer some twists which enhance the original storyline.
The storyline is the same: Tsukino Usagi is an average teenage girl who finds a talking cat that gives her the power to transform into Sailor Moon to fight against a revived enemy. Usagi is joined by four other soldiers who discover their mystical pasts. Now the differences:
The "Sailor Soldiers/Senshi" are now the "Sailor Guardians."
The new translation allows for a better understanding of duties of the characters to guard the princess and each other.
The Dark Kingdom has been somewhat reformed; the Dark Kingdom is more involved and intensive than ever. You'll be the most surprised by the "new look" and attitude of each villian. I really enjoyed these interpretations.
Queen of Darkness, Queenberyl
Ah, our tragic cursed sage. PGSM has transformed our Queen into a young and seductive power for the Dark Kingdom. No longer must we gaze at the old woman constantly waving around a crystal ball; now we see a "well-endowed" goddess dipping into the awesome power of darkness. QB even has the power of transform the Shintennou from stone to human at will! I must say, I like this "new" Beryl. She's quite empowering! The actress, Sugimoto Aya, has starred in numerous X-rated films and her experience can be seen in her portrayal of QB. Her voice is quite deep and her actions are much more sinister than before. I do like how she makes Beryl lustful and delirious for the Dark Power from Queen Metallia. A wonderful interpretation of the original.
General of the Far Eastern Division, Jadeite
A big change from the original version. PGSM's Jadeite is very young and more like Usagi in personality. He is still the first general, yes, but acts like a little child sometimes. I give credit to Masuo Jun for trying to atleast give Jadeite some personality and distinction, but a high voice and a childlike frustration were not the way to go. Nevertheless, Jadeite's look is probably the least surprising out of all the Shitennou. His hair is in a Mercury-curled fashion and is still blond. There's really something wrong with his teeth, but he doesn't smile that much so it's not that bad.
General of the North American Division, Nephrite
Nephrite has the most drastic and shocking changes to any character in the show! First off, he is much younger than expected and acts very capriciously (without thinking) - nothing at all like the sly, smooth-talking lover-boy we know! His mannerisms are remniscient of Jadeite's and he is much clumsier than I would've liked. I do admire how Matsumoto Hiroyuki plays on Nephrite's competition with Jadeite from the manga; he is always talking down on Jadeite's plans and telling QB that he could do better. But probably the biggest change is his hair! Aside from that, he and Ami from an odd relationship in the middle of the series ...
General of the European Division, Zoicite
PGSM's Zoicite is very mature and quite mysterious. He is introduced playing the piano in the Dark Kingdom, playing a song for the Moon Princess. His hair is silver with a short, loose cut. Although there still is a feminine quality to him, Zoicite acts more like Tuxedo Kamen in his attitude: his past is hidden, he has flashbacks and memories, and he is very devoted to his mission. Endou Yoshito plays Zoicite strongly and adds so much ambiguity to the role. His death is probably the most revealing and the most important to the flow of the storyline. PGSM gave him a bigger purpose and a much greater role towards the unveiling of the Prince and the Princess. Very nice change to an otherwise flamboyant character.
General of the Mid-Eastern Division, Kunzite
As the SEXIEST general out of all of them, Kunzite is the "bad boy" of the Dark Kingdom. He constantly goes against QB's wishes and even speaks out against her! His defiance makes him a very unpredictable character in the series. Kubodera Akira plays Kunzite with a maturity and sex appeal that sets him above the other Shitennou. I was very impressed with how well he made himself to be evil, good, and a little mix of both. Kunzite's look is different from the anime/manga but in a good way. His hair is black and is longer than before, almost in a hair style like Sailorpluto. He is the most powerful and effective general even persuading Ami to join his side for a time. It seems also that Kunzite can manipulate dark power for his own purposes. He is a threat to the Dark Kingdom, the Moon Kingdom. and the Earth Kingdom, but he is still so sexy!
You can imagine there would be many problems when making a live-action series based on a fantasy world with many magic powers, and PGSM really shows how hard it can be. First off, the transformation sequences have very little to them and include very little character movement and a lot of animation and "flash, flash!" And yes, many times the attacks looks very corny and badly executed, but that's a little understandable. Action scenes also have their problems; most of the unnecessary flips and jumps by the guardians are done by professionals and some animation sequences. I mean, you can really tell when they had to stop production and change the actresses. The acting is very different from what we would expect so it's generally considered "poor" or "bad" by most people. However, PGSM does make up its mistakes with a nice script, some interesting twists, and a good take on the BSSM series. It truly is an enjoyable show and a definite look for all Moon-fanatics!
1 PGSM General Show Information. Sailor Dream.