A fan of the series since 1995, Koriander runs the popular Moon Sisters fan site and studies the Sailor Moon franchise closely.
A very new power
Somewhere after midnight on February 9, 2021, longtime fans of Sailor Moon were alerted to a new trailer for Sailor Moon Eternal Part 2, the fifth movie ever released for the franchise, and the second film to be part of the Sailor Moon Crystal manga-accurate anime reboot.
The new trailer showed part of the transformation sequences for Eternal Sailor Moon, Super Sailor Uranus, Super Sailor Neptune, Super Sailor Pluto and to the delight of many, Super Sailor Saturn.
While it is true that the super forms for the Outer Sailor Guardians never had proper transformation sequences in the 90s anime (and it was more of a shock to find that Sailor Pluto's base form never had a transformation sequence at all in Sailor Moon Crystal, despite having one in Sailor Moon S) it is not true that Sailor Saturn never had a transformation sequence at all.
And yet many longtime fans still are not aware of her previous sequences.
Sailor Saturn on Sega Saturn
A Transformation Fit For An OVA
Fans in Japan saw a trio of Sailor Moon SuperS fighting games in 1996 all with the same story. The Sailor Guardians are fighting each other over who should be the real leader of the team, and then the Outer Sailor Guardians join in on the fun, despite (in the anime canon) Pluto still being slightly dead (or at least, busy if you watch the SuperS movie) and Hotaru still being an infant. (She's allowed to go back to her normal 12-year-old body for this one occasion, if you follow the video games.)
The Super Famicom/Super Nintendo version was basically a clone of the previous Sailor Moon S fighting game (even down to the story) but with the addition of Pegasus, Sailor Saturn, and new sprites for Sailor Moon and Sailor Chibi Moon, while the PlayStation port holds the distinction for being very hard and having come out exactly 24 hours before the anime debut of Sailor Moon Sailor StarS.
Then on November 29th of that same year, Sega Saturn got a port of the PlayStation SuperS fighting game, this time under the title Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon SuperS: Various Emotion and with newly animated scenes from Toei Animation.
An animated story unfolds as you play through arcade mode, and each of the girls has a new transformation, including new solo transformations for Super Sailor Moon and Super Sailor Chibi Moon and at long last, Sailor Saturn's first ever transformation.
Lasting just a few seconds, the new transformation shares more in common with Tuxedo Mask's one-time transformation, in that you never see the costume forming onto Saturn's body the way you normally see with the other girls.
The animation style for this scene seems more in alignment with the animation style of Sailor Moon S than it does SuperS and it genuinely feels like this should have been a part of the 90s anime's third season.
Alas, if you didn't get the Japan-only Sega Saturn game, then your only chance in the late 90s to witness its glory, was to surf the internet for a fan-made, bootleg AVI video, and hope that your 26k modem didn't freeze, and that nobody called you while you're cruising through AOL Shareware. (Life before YouTube.)
An interesting side note, if you are able to watch all of the animated scenes from the aforementioned Sega Saturn game, you'll find the short could have worked on it's own as an OVA.
The events take place mostly before episode 161 as is evident by Pegasus still being around, but Pluto and Saturn only being here for a short time. The SuperS movie picks up after episode 166 where Pegasus is out of the picture, Pluto is back to normal and Chibiusa is able to use her mother's attack.
So, the video game combined with the movie could have easily been used to slide the story towards Hotaru's full revival in episode 167.
Evidence of this exists in SuperS merchandise that predates her return to the series, such as her curious Sailor Moon SuperS Excellent Team fashion doll, her inclusion in the SuperS musical stage plays and the image of Sailor Saturn popping up on officially licensed SuperS themed posters despite her otherwise being absent from the season, outside of the segments animated for this video game.
A Crystal Clear Destiny For Hotaru
On June 20th, 2016, fans were treated to a brand-new transformation sequence that fit seamlessly into the narrative of the episode.
As episode 38 of Sailor Moon Crystal opened, fans saw Mistress 9's true form. After she destroyed Hotaru's body, Mistress 9 sunk inside the gelatinous body of Master Pharaoh 90, who was at this point trying to absorb the city below. Super Sailor Moon dove into Master Pharaoh 90's body with The Holy Grail/Moon Chalice in hopes to unleash its maximum power inside of the beast, while Super Sailor Chibi Moon screamed, fearful of losing her future mother before she is ever born.
The sounds of Chibi Moon screaming, combined with Super Sailor Moon's near sacrifice, must have awakened the last of Hotaru's remains, because the monster that was Mistress 9 split open, and out came a fully resurrected Sailor Saturn, mid-transformation sequence.
As slowly as Sailor Moon and equally as graceful, Sailor Saturn floats across the screen as her gem flashes in white and purple, fusing both tiara colors from all of her manga appearances.
She skids into a classic pose in front of the planet Saturn, in the same tradition as Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune for this season.
To a little more than half of the original fan base, this segment is treated as Sailor Saturn's first cannon anime transformation, and it's certainly the first for the Crystal/Eternal series, while others were not sure if they could count it, because once again, Saturn is not seen putting on every inch of her outfit the way Sailor Moon does, instead appearing already fully clothed, just like Tuxedo Mask.
A Super Transformation
Rolling Out The Red Carpet For Super Sailor Saturn
Between the pre-movie trailer and the subsequent Netflix premier of Sailor Moon Eternal Part Two that followed, fans rejoiced, knowing that once and for all, Sailor Saturn had finally gotten her fair share of the sparkly transformation sequences.
Properly, her new transformation into Super Sailor Saturn debuted on theater screens in Japan, followed by a worldwide release on Netflix.
Also debuting in the same film were Hotaru's previously manga-only Eternal Sailor Saturn and Princess Saturn forms, giving the popular character a well-rounded Sailor Guardian portfolio, catching up to her best friend, Sailor Chibi Moon.
Hotaru Tomoe didn't just get a cannon transformation sequence, she got the full, red-carpet treatment, complete with new merchandise to compliment her new transformations.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Koriander Bullard