Welcome to my filler reduced-viewing guide to Sailor Moon! Today I’m tackling the fourth season, Sailor Moon SuperS (pronounced like the plural word “supers”), and boy is this one a sharp contrast from its predecessor, Sailor Moon S.
If you’re new to my guides, the premise is this: Sailor Moon, despite being a highly influential staple of anime, is bogged down by a hefty amount of filler episodes. In an effort to help people get into the original Sailor Moon anime without it turning into an unreasonable time investment, I point out which episodes are required to follow the plot and which are filler, along which filler episodes are worth watching due to being entertaining or otherwise having notable value. Please remember, just because I mark an episode as “filler” does not necessarily make it a bad episode! It just means that it’s skippable if you don’t want to sit through time-consuming filler.
We’ve reached Sailor Moon SuperS, and I have to be upfront: this season isn’t great. While the prior seasons have each introduced important new characters or helped develop the world and lore of the series - which carry on into the season that follows - almost nothing of consequence happens in SuperS. It’s just another conflict that the Sailor Senshi have to help resolve. You could say SuperS is the closest thing the original anime comes to having an entire filler season, if it weren’t for the fact there are only 5 seasons to begin with.
This is particularly frustrating when this arc of the manga is full of really important developments. The continuation of the story of the Outer Senshi and Sailor Saturn is completely omitted from this season, instead being squished into the very beginning of season five. A hefty load of character development for Mamoru/Tuxedo Mask, along with better integration and explanation of what exactly his power is in comparison to the Sailor Senshi, is almost completely passed over - instead, it’s reduced down to a 5 minute scene towards the end, making me wonder why they didn’t just leave it out completely, since it adds very little at that point. And the Asteroid Senshi, Chibiusa’s Sailor Senshi team in the future, don’t make an appearance at all.
SuperS’s anime adaption took all those important elements out of the manga’s plot and replaced them with...... filler. Lots and lots of filler. God, the filler.
Pictured above: an awesome scene that does not happen in SuperS, because Toei hated us and wanted to sell toys instead.
Rumor has it that SuperS’s problem stems from a feud between Ikuhara and the suits at Toei about what kind of show Sailor Moon was going to be - dark, dramatic and thoughtful like season three was, or a funny child-friendly Saturday morning cartoon like seasons one and two. I’m not sure why it couldn’t be both, but either way, it’s probably no coincidence that SuperS is both the season that deviates most from the manga AND the season that Sailor Moon fans almost universally agree is the weakest.
Of course, it isn’t ALL bad. This is the season with the best animation and the greatest focus on comedy. You could say that Sailor Moon S took itself too seriously at times, and this season made the show fun again. And it is actually pretty funny, even if the plot is inferior and inconsequential.
I say all this because the purpose of these guides is to help people watch Sailor Moon without investing time in unnecessary filler episodes. And to be honest, you could skip this entire season and miss very little. If you’d like to do that, please see my guide for Sailor Stars!
Anyway, here’s my list of required, recommended and filler episodes for season 4. If any season is worth skipping the majority of, SuperS is it; the filler is very inconsistent in quality and greatly outnumbers the episodes where anything important happens. You may want to just stick to the required episodes this time.
✮The bare minimum “required” episodes:
128, 130, 133, 148-150, 158-166.
Total of 16 out of 39 episodes.
✮ Required + all potential recommended episodes:
128-130, 132-133, 135, 140-141, 147-154, 158-166.
Total of 25 out of 39 episodes.
Episodes 128-149: The Amazon Trio
Yes, this section is twenty-two episodes long. For most of SuperS’s first half, practically nothing happens. It’s almost all filler - even the first and second seasons were better about peppering important info here and there throughout the filler episodes, but in SuperS, we don’t even get those breadcrumbs. Some of the filler episodes are moderately funny and the villains are pretty entertaining, but plot-focused they are not.
✮ Episode 128: Required.
Episode 129: Recommended. This is a filler episode but it provides early characterization for the dynamic among the Amazon Trio.
✮ Episode 130: Required.
Episode 131: Filler.
Episode 132: Recommended. A classic, and one of the few episodes that tries to develop Usagi and Mamoru’s romance.
✮ Episode 133: Required.
Episode 134: Filler.
✮ Episode 135: Required.
Episode 136: Filler.
Episode 137: Filler.
Episode 138: Filler.
Episode 139: Filler.
Episode 140: Recommended. This is a classic episode and provides some important characterization for the villains.
Episode 141: Recommended. Like the previous episode, this one has great characterization for the (other two) Amazon Trio.
Episode 142: Filler.
Episode 143: Filler. In this episode, the Inner Senshi are powered up and get new transformations, but the episode is otherwise skippable.
Episode 144: Filler.
Episode 145: Filler.
Episode 146: Filler.
Episode 147: Recommended. This is filler, but it has a classic scene between Sailor Mercury and Sailor Jupiter. Watch it if you feel like Jupiter hasn’t got enough screen time lately!
✮ Episode 148: Required.
✮ Episode 149: Required.
Episodes 150-157: The Amazoness Quartet
The second half of SuperS dispenses with the Amazon Trio’s gender politics and sexual assault metaphors (perhaps the result of Toei putting a leash on Ikuhara), and thankfully starts to cuts back on the filler as well, as we head towards the end. The Amazoness Quartet is great fun in their own right too - and what do you know, the Inner Senshi are back! After the first half of this season, you may have forgot they existed.
✮ Episode 150: Required.
Episode 151: Recommended. This is a Sailor Mercury/Ami episode, and it starts a string of episodes where the senshi get new attacks. In prior seasons I recommended episodes like these be skipped, but because the other Senshi have had so little screen time up to this point, I’m gonna put them down for viewing.
Episode 152: Recommended. Sailor Mars/Rei focused.
Episode 153: Recommended. Despite being very silly, it’s actually pretty entertaining and continues to introduce us to the Quartet. (Also, this episode is based off a side-story from the manga, which is probably why it’s so good.)
Episode 154: Recommended. Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Venus focused.
Episode 155: Filler.
Episode 156: Filler.
Episode 157: Filler.
Episode 158-166: Pegasus
Finally we get to the end of the season, where all the plot is. These are all necessary for viewing, but even then, the actual plot development is pretty light and simplistic. Nevertheless, the early episodes in this section are funny and bring back that Sailor Moon magic in time for the finale.
✮ Episode 158: Required.
✮ Episode 159: Required.
✮ Episode 160: Required.
✮ Episode 161: Required.
✮ Episode 162: Required.
✮ Episode 163: Required.
✮ Episode 164: Required.
✮ Episode 165: Required.
✮ Episode 166: Required.
So there’re my guide for Sailor Moon SuperS! As usual, let’s review the watch list:
- The bare minimum “required” episodes: 128, 130, 133, 148-150, 158-166.
- Required + all potential recommended episodes: 128-130, 132-133, 135, 140-141, 147-154, 158-166.
If you decide to follow my recommended episode list, please leave a comment to tell me how it worked out for you, and whether there were any moments where you were confused because you felt like you missed something. The same goes for anyone familiar with the series who might disagree with me on any episodes. I am certainly open to any input or suggestions on how to make this viewing list better. You can leave me a comment here or at @lambdapower.
Once you’re done, check out my viewing guide for season 5!
I also did a episode-by-episode reaction/summary for Sailor Stars while it was airing on Hulu. You can check that out by heading over to this tag!
Screencaps are from mooncaps.