“The Exhibition of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon” featured a massive collection showcasing two decades of Sailor Moon. This gallery showcased everything from the manga to the television series to the countless troves of merchandise. This was a wall-to-wall event located at the stunning Tokyo City View in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo.
In short, this exhibition was a paradise for any Sailor Moon fan, both young and old. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to see it for myself.
The following is my experience at such a one of a kind exhibit.
The Entrance Hall
The exhibition started off with a bang.
Before getting into the collection itself, let me begin by saying Tokyo City View is a breathtaking venue, one I hope to revisit someday. The event was held on City View’s Mori Tower’s 52nd floor in the heart of Roppongi Hills. From this vantage point, you could see many of Tokyo’s most famous landmarks, such as the iconic Tokyo Tower and the modern Tokyo Skytree. This sight made this already top-notch gallery even more impressive.
Walking into the exhibit, the entrance hall was a spectacle in every sense of the word. Along the upper windows were giant posters of all the Sailor Soldiers drawn in their original manga style. Unfortunately, there weren’t any replicas for sale, which was a bummer because I would’ve been all over that.
In this foyer were lifesize displays of the items Usagi used to transform herself into the titular Sailor Moon. These included the Moon Stick, the Cosmic Heart Compact, the Spiral Heart Moon Rod, the Cutie Moon Rod, and, of course, Usagi’s Transformation Broach.
Now, the real highlight of this area was its grand centerpiece. Here you could marvel at a wide assortment of Sailor Moon merchandise – manga, figurines, video games, and much, much more. This was also the place to have a commemorative photo opt with the five iconic Sailor Soldiers – Sailors Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus. On a side note: To the guy taking the pictures, kudos to you, good sir, you seemed to be having a lot of fun.
Sailor Moon Chronicles
Next came the entire time timeline of Sailor Moon, beginning from the birth of Princess Serenity to the defeat of Galaxia.
Usually, when I come to displays like this, I have a horrible habit of skipping right through them. Not here; not at this exhibition. I’m so glad I took the time to really look at this one.
And for those of you who might be wondering, yes, nearly the entire timeline was in Japanese. In fact, the whole gallery was. While I can read Japanese to a certain extent, the language barrier did add a challenge. However, it was a challenge I was happy to take on.
I’m aware the anime series didn’t include everything in the manga. Nevertheless, the two remained close, from what I can tell (even though the anime’s storyline ended long before the manga’s). Unsurprisingly, I’ve never read the comics, and, as I said, my Japanese isn’t great. Thus, I can’t tell you all the differences between the iterations.
Still, a few details did stick out to me. For instance, it would appear the Amazon Quartet, made up of VesVes, CereCere, JunJun, and PallaPalla, either went on to be or were destined to form a new Sailor Soldiers team, with Chibiusa as their leader.
Sailor Moon Volume One
This part was really cool. Although this area focused on the Sailor Moon manga, it was relatively easy to appreciate what was being shown.
The highlights of this area were the poster-size images of Sailor Moon Volume One. This display also marked the first time the original story was colorized. Thus, the pages were in the same vivid colors seen in the anime series.
Alongside this were the entire Sailor Moon manga collection and many other printed materials involving the series. As an added bonus, the gallery also included the whole library of Sailor Moon’s predecessor, Sailor V. If you don’t know, Sailor V chronicled the adventures of Minako Aino before she became the fifth member of the Sailor Soldiers.
Sailor Moon Escalation
If you were a kid growing up in the ’90s, you came across Sailor Moon in some shape or form. This series was everywhere, both in Japan and around the world. This area of the exhibition chronicled the vast amount of Sailor Moon merchandise that has gone on sale over the years. These included figurines, playhouses, capsule machines, and even one of those rides you sometimes see outside supermarkets.
While it was interesting to see the variety, this wasn’t what made this part of the gallery great. Plastered around the room was concept art for the anime series. Item, villains, side characters, it was all here. Additionally, there were recreations of many of the weapons wielded by the Sailor Soldiers, like Sailor Pluto’s Garnet Rod and Sailor Saturn’s Silence Glaive.
Since I’m only familiar with the anime, this was the section I was most excited to browse through.
Naoko Takeuchi’s Art Gallery
This part of the exhibition was a small art gallery of about thirty or so paintings. These were not stills or images from the franchise, but rather original works that were hand-selected, if not drawn by Sailor Moon’s creator Naoko Takeuchi.
When I think of the Sailor Moon anime, the animation style doesn’t immediately come to mind. It just wasn’t a highlight of the TV series. Granted, the budget constraints of season one are hard to forget.
However, the style of the show is not the style of the manga. I’m not sure how to describe it, but Ms. Takeuchi’s art and designs aren’t as solid as what can be seen in the show. The manga has a more lucid feel, a quality that translated beautifully into this gallery’s artwork.
Sailor Moon in the New Century
Rounding off the exhibition was a brief overview of what became of Sailor Moon following the end of the manga and anime.
It’s not much of a revelation that the series has continued to remain relevant in popular culture. This franchise’s influence has not gone away, particularly in Japan. This was evident by the many posters showcasing several live-action projects, including movies and TV shows, on display.
Finally, we got to see Sailor Moon as it is today. Specifically, the highlight was Sailor Moon’scurrent anime incarnation, Sailor Moon Crystal, a series I fully intend to cover someday.
“The Exhibition of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon” was a lot of fun. It was a fantastic and in-depth look at one of the most influential manga and anime series that has ever been created.
Before I end this, there’s still something I have not mentioned. The power of this exhibition didn’t come from the items on display. Instead, it came from the people in attendance.
I only got down to viewing the Sailor Moon anime recently (as of this post’s release). Despite enjoying the hell out of the show, it wasn’t something I watched when I was younger (I was more of a Dragon Ball guy). However, I cannot even begin to tell you how many people I heard reminiscing and recalling their nostalgia for this series. Whether it was a page from the manga, a still from the anime, or hearing the theme song again, Sailor Moon has been part of many people’s lives.
Not only were adults remembering a series they enjoyed as a kid, but many of those same adults were showing their children an unforgettable aspect of their past.