The Twelfth Day of Christmas – Sailor Moon Board Game

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas...

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas…

On the twelfth day of Christmas, we got the last – but absolutely not least – of the Sailor Moon toys from the early 1990s. Today, we’ll be taking a look at Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon R – Beautiful Battle! (美少女戦士セーラームーンR 華麗なる戦い!), a 2-in-1 board game released – judging by the screenshots used and the omission of Black Lady – mid-to-late season in the Sailor Moon R anime run. Despite being a board game meant for six year olds and older, the game includes a surprising amount of depth with tons of rules, cards, and power tokens. For those wishing for a faster and simpler game (or when you can’t get together a full Sailor Team, I suppose), they include a second game on the back of the board with a completely different rule set.

Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon R – Beautiful Battle!

Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon R – Beautiful Battle!

Let me just start off by saying that this game is absolutely massive in scale, both in the depth of the rules and in all the various little player pieces, cards, figures, spinners, and various parts necessary to get a game going. Putting your feelings for the game aside, it feels a lot like setting up for a game of Monopoly (which admittedly feels like a job in its own right – and I actually love Monopoly). Just take a look at this!

Each of the character cards are glossy and printed in full color and are absolutely beautiful. Though I wish they used custom art as opposed to pulling generic art used on other products or screen shots, they all fit in together thematically (i.e., all the Sailor Soldiers’ images are taken from their transformations or attack sequences), though the images used for the Black Moon family are a little more questionable. Considering the lack of source images for those characters, though, this is forgivable.

Each of the “good” characters (on the Sailor Team) has a corresponding character on the opposing team: Jupiter and Petz; Mars and Koan; Moon and Rubeus; Mercury and Berthier; Venus and Calaveras; and Tuxedo Mask and Wiseman. Each of these pairs also has another pair that they’re weak against (essentially, you can ignore the fact that each of the characters has an evil corresponding character – it’s not too important): Jupiter/Petz are Calaveras/Venus, Mars/Koan are weak to Mercury/Berthier, Moon/Rubeus are weak to Wiseman/Tuxedo Mask, Mercury/Berthier are weak to Jupiter/Petz, Venus/Calaveras are weak to Moon/Rubeus, and Tuxedo Mask/Wiseman are weak to Mars/Koan.

The instruction book is huge... and double-sided

The instruction book is huge… and double-sided

Are you still following me? No? Good. Don’t worry about it – until you play the game 2-3 times, it won’t make sense anyway. Between the 8-page instruction manual (which is surprisingly printed in multiple colors) and all the accompanying pieces, it’s quite a challenge to wrap your mind around it right away.

Moving on, you’ll see that the game also comes with actual figures for you to use on the board as game pieces. This is another place where the board game absolutely shines. Though the figures are only two tone (or, more accurately, made up of two different colors for their molded rubber parts – their bodies and their Sailor uniforms), they’re pretty impressive in their own right for just being player pieces. Their arms are all separate and can be (slightly) posed and the figures all stand up. Their tiaras are also separate. Even though it stands out to have a blue tiara, it’s nice to have it contrast with the character’s hair. It even blends in well with the hair line!

The board itself

The game board itself

And how is the game board itself? As you can see, it’s also absolutely beautiful, relying on screen shots from throughout the anime, though the majority of them seem to be taken from Sailor Moon R, appropriately enough. I would almost go so far as to say that all of the images are appropriately from the R season, but the screen shot of the Tsukino family home and the shot of Ms. Haruna seem suspiciously similar to those in episode one.

Covering how the game is played sadly is beyond the scope of this review (though I’d definitely like to at some point), but the basic summary is that you spin the spinner and move around the board, gaining and losing power tokens as you go. Each space that you land on has its own rules you have to follow (e.g., gaining and losing certain power tokens, spinning again, etc.) and even battles for you to play out, in the case of the droids and Ayakashi Sisters.

The abbreviated game

The abbreviated game

If you flip the board over, it gives you a different game board for only two players (the other side is for two to five players) with a completely different rule set to be played out mostly with just the roulette wheels. You put the power tokens on the wheel and shuffle up the character cards and play until each player loses all their tokens, with each player taken either the side of the Sailor Soldiers or the Black Moon Family.

I know I’ve already talked about it quite a bit, but I can’t reiterate enough just how much I love this game for the amount of depth they bothered to put into it, the detailed and high-quality art, and their taking the time to actually put a Sailor Moon feel into how the game is actually played out (having non-event turns ending at the Crown Game Center or Usagi’s house, for example).

You can tell that they put a lot of love into it in that they even provided contact information with the game and a price list in case you needed to order new pieces. Even if you lost a few cards, all was not lost since you could just order new ones rather than having to re-buy the whole game. Bandai took what could have been a simple licensed product and actually built a whole new game around it rather than simply putting a skin on top. It’s absolutely recommended, if you can get your hands on it!

The Eleventh Day of Christmas – Sailor Moon Kisekae Dress-Up Book

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas...

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas…

On the eleventh day of (Sailor Moon) Christmas, we have delivered unto us an actual kisekae paper doll dress-up book, dating back to the Sailor Moon S anime season. I know I must have mentioned earlier that I’ve covered a ton of variations on the dress up doll formula over the past week or so, but when you consider the theme of the series – a junior high school girl who uses the power of magic to transform her clothes into that of a sailor-suited warrior of justice – and the elementary school girl target audience, it’s a pretty obvious “toy” when you think about it. Kisekae also was (and still is) incredibly popular in Japan, eventually spreading out to the fledgling anime otaku community in the West through sites like OtakuWorld. So what does an actual, paper kiss doll look like?

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The Tenth Day of Christmas – Sailor Moon Picnic Set

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas...

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas…

On the tenth day of (Sailor Moon) Christmas, we have something a little bit more bizarre than what we’ve been looking at over the past nine days – a picnic / birthday party set dating back to the run of the Sailor Moon R anime. I know it may seem (… okay, it is) silly to get excited over party favors to be used at little kids’ birthday parties or at picnics nearly twenty-some-odd years later, but when you take a look at stuff like this and see the wide variety of products that the Sailor Moon branding machine ended up on, you start to realize just how deeply into Japanese society the series permeated. It wasn’t just one of many anime that appeared on TV, but a cultural phenomenon. Let’s take a look, shall we?

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The Ninth Day of Christmas – Early Sailor Moon Puzzle

On the Ninth Day of Christmas...

On the Ninth Day of Christmas…

On the ninth day of (Sailor Moon) Christmas, we were able to get our hands on an interesting little puzzle dating back to the really early days of the Sailor Moon series, and probably one of the first commercial products released early in the life of the soon-to-be massive hit. So what is it about the puzzle that makes it so noteworthy? Let’s take a look!

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The Eighth Day of Christmas – Pin the Tail on the Usagi

On the Eighth Day of Christmas...

On the Eighth Day of Christmas…

On the eighth day of (Sailor Moon) Christmas, we move a little away from Christmas and closer to New Years, with a game that should be familiar to most Japanese children – Fukuwarai (福笑い)!1 This was included together as a set with a simple Sailor Moon board game (more like a paper mat, but who’s counting?) starring the inner Sailor Soldier team. Judging by Sailor Moon’s design and the game itself, we can definitely say that this dates back to the time of Sailor Moon S. These were released by SEIKA Co., Ltd., a member of the Bandai/Namco group company and manufacturer of stationary supplies and various character-themed products for children. So, first off, let’s talk about this mysterious Fukuwarai game, shall we?

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The Seventh Day of Christmas – Sailor Moon Paper Playset

On the Seventh Day of Christmas...

On the Seventh Day of Christmas…

On the seventh day of (Sailor Moon) Christmas, we got this interesting little gem – a three-dimensional Sailor Moon R playset made entirely of cardboard and magnets. What makes this interesting, though, is not so much the construction, but rather the theme of it. How so? Well, let’s take a closer look!

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The Sixth Day of Christmas – Usagi Dress-Up Doll

On the Sixth Day of Christmas...

On the Sixth Day of Christmas…

On the sixth day of (Sailor Moon) Christmas, we got ourselves an interesting little piece of history that I desperately wish I was able to find in its complete original packaging (or at least with all its parts), but is a neat little toy all the same. This is a part of the “Sailor Fashion” shokugan (食玩; toy-and-candy)1 series that was released by Bandai throughout the life of the Sailor Moon series, though the dolls that it came with, their design, and their construction changed with each season. The one we’re showing off today is from the Sailor Moon S series and is a rubber variety, coming with hard plastic snap-on dresses. Unlike previous years, though, you can actually see which toy you’re getting before you buy!

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The Fifth Day of Christmas – Sailor Moon Cube Puzzle

On the Fifth Day of Christmas...

On the Fifth Day of Christmas…

On the fifth day of (Sailor Moon) Christmas, we have an interesting little rotating cube puzzle toy going back to (and marked as being from) the time of Sailor Moon R, though oddly enough all of the pictures – to the best of my knowledge – seem to date to the original anime season. Not that this would stop most companies from trying to turn a quick buck by re-branding their toy with each new successive season, but hey, I could at least hope, right?

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The Fourth Day of Christmas – Sailor Moon Sand Art

On the Fourth Day of Christmas...

On the Fourth Day of Christmas…

On the fourth day of (Sailor Moon) Christmas, we have something a little bit different, though interesting in its own right. This is not so much a product per se, as it is the result of one, or an event held back in the day. Unfortunately, I can’t say for sure and no amount of Googling has been able to answer the question for me. So what is it, you ask? Well, it’s a work of art1 using various colored sands to illustrate a scene from Sailor Moon R.

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The Third Day of Christmas – Sailor Moon Dress-Up Magnets

On the Third Day of Christmas...

On the Third Day of Christmas…

On the third day of (Sailor Moon) Christmas, we have an interesting variation on the kisekae paper dress-up dolls1 that uses magnets to hold the clothes in place rather than flimsy paper fold-over tags.

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