The original 1992 Sailor Moon series is still celebrated as one of the best Shoujo anime series in history. For many audiences of the younger Gen-X or older millennial age groups both in Japan and other nations, it was their gateway to not just anime but to sailor uniforms, Tokyo Tower, sweat drops, and all the tropes you tend to see in anime to this day. However, as you may have seen through 2014’s Sailor Moon Crystal, which is meant to be a more faithful adaptation to the original manga, you see how they differ. So, how do the 1992 series and original series by Naoko Takeuchi further differ? Read our Anime Vs. Manga to find out!
Usagi, Rei and Mamoru
One notable difference between the anime and manga is of course Rei and Usagi’s relationship. In the 1992 series, they’re always at each other’s throats, but in the manga, their relationship is rather casual and they never argue. Plus, the manga further expands on Rei’s background and reveals that her father is a politician. If you also recall in the 1992 anime, she and Mamoru briefly date, but they never dated in the manga nor did they show any romantic interest towards each other.
Another notable difference in the first season of the 1992 series and the manga is that Queen Beryl’s four generals: Jedite, Nephrite, Zoisite, and Kunzite, were originally Tuxedo Mask’s, or Prince Endymion’s generals who were then corrupted by Queen Beryl after the collapse of the Silver Millennium, while the 1992 anime doesn’t at all acknowledge this relationship. After they die in the manga, they become stones who enter the possession of Mamoru and he will talk to their spirits a handful of times later in the story. Lastly, as opposed to Sailor Moon killing Queen Beryl, it was Sailor Venus who killed her with a holy sword.
R/The Black Moon Arc
When the 1992 series transitions to R, the first story arc with Ali and En is entirely filler and never existed in the original manga. After the battle against Queen Beryl, Usagi/Sailor Moon never erased anyone’s memories so the Moonlight Knight never existed in the original manga either. When we get to the Black Moon arc, Usagi uses the Silver Crystal to turn the Ayakashi Sisters into good people. In the manga, she flats out kills them.
S/The Infinity Arc
One significant difference is in this part of the series is why Hotaru is frail. In both anime versions, Hotaru tends to be secluded for most of the series but has a friendship with Chiba Usa. In the manga, her seclusion is because she’s actually a cyborg due to an accident caused by her father when she was younger. As seen in the anime, she’s also turned back into a baby to prevent Mistress 9 from preventing havoc, and though her father survives in the anime, he dies in the manga.
SuperS/The Dream Arc
For SuperS, or the Dream arc in the manga, the most significant difference is the true identity of the Amazon Quartet. In the anime, they are purified to becoming good girls but in the manga, they’re actually Chibi Moon’s personal Sailor Senshi in the future, or the Sailor Quartet. As to how they become the Sailor Quartet is rather interesting since Hotaru, or Sailor Saturn, returns to a pre-teen form in this part of the story, and not at the beginning of Stars like in the anime, and she seeks the help of Neo Queen Serenity to make them the Sailor Quartet. For most of the SuperS anime, the Outer Senshi are largely non-existent, but in the manga, they play a significant role. Last, one major difference between the two is who had the Golden Crystal. In the anime, Eilos’ horn was the Golden Crystal while in the manga, Mamoru had it.
An overwhelming percentage of the differences happen in the Sailor Stars part of the series. Most notably with how the Starlights disguise themselves. In the anime, they are women who biologically disguise themselves as men, but in the manga, they’re always women who still try to pass themselves as a male idol group by dressing in men’s clothes. Takeuchi has actually publicly criticized this change by stating that only women can be Sailor Senshi. Another major difference is of course the use of Chibi Chibi. In the manga, she’s another Sailor Moon from the future, Sailor Cosmos, and she does get the assistance of Chibi Moon and the Sailor Quartet as the story progresses.
Like in the anime, most of the Sailor Senshi die during the fight against Galaxia and Chaos, but they die under different circumstances, and this is most emphatically seen with Michiru and Haruka’s death in both versions. The anime gives them a very touching death scene while in the manga, it’s just a footnote. Though the Starlights don’t die in the anime, they actually die in the manga and we don’t see what happens to them after everything is turned back to normal! Last, during the Galaxia and Chaos fight in the manga, the Sailor Senshi that died do come back as evil, and Sailor Moon has to fight them but this is omitted in the anime. In the end, we see everything turn back to normal in the anime but in the manga, you also see Mamoru and Usagi finally get married.
It is arguable that Naoko Takeuchi’s original work in terms of story and characterization may be superior, and when you get into the S, SuperS, and Stars seasons, the manga also diverges from there so you’re getting distinctively different stories. While a manga can tell a better story, the 1992 anime will forever be remembered for its iconic soundtrack and the masterful performances of the original seiyuu cast.