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Thereisnospoon303
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PostSubject: The Sailor Moon Anime Timeline   7th July 2011, 12:30 pm

I'm quite certain such a discussion has cropped up before, but since I have yet to come across a satisfactory answer, I'd like to pitch this to the rest of you.

It is my understanding that Sailor Moon takes place over the course of two years. While this might be more apparent in the manga (I have not read the entirety of the manga, so I cannot address it properly), the anime possesses an unusual timeline which makes discerning the actual passage of time extremely difficult---at least as I have racked my brain over it. I'll briefly go over what I think is the timeline in the anime and then present where the confusion takes hold. If I miss or neglect anything (and I most certainly will), then please, by all means, highlight it for the sake of the princess discussion.

As a disclaimer, several inferences are made based on the observable environment such as the seasonal cycle and attire. I might end up reading too deeply into it, and there is no guarantee the anime producers were aiming for chronological consistency.

1992
This is the year in which Sailor Moon begins. Usagi states that she is fourteen years old and is in eighth grade. So far, so good. We can presume the rest of the Inner Senshi are in the same boat---give or take a few months. From my recollection of the first season, everything here remains rather consistent. I don't think we can exactly discern when in 1992 the show begins, but it would have to be after June 30 given Usagi's birth date. Her clothing in the first episode---the long-sleeved school uniform---indicates that Luna likely visited her sometime in the late summer or early autumn season. Since Usagi isn't portrayed wearing heavy clothing in the first few episodes, it's unlikely that it was in late autumn or early winter.

1993
A school year has passed by episode 51 (A New Transformation! Usagi Powers Up). We know this due to the prominence of cherry blossoms in the episode, often associated with the beginning of a new school year which begins in early spring in Japan. Furthermore, cherry blossoms only bloom for several days at maximum, and only as late as early May. In all likelihood, this episode occurred in April.

But what's this? Episode 78 (Venus Minako's Nurse Mayhem), deeper in the R season, takes place around Christmas. Thus we have jumped about eight months from the first arc in R to the middle of the second arc.

Already this is nonsensical since Usagi's birthday would have passed in June, which means the birthday episode in Sailor Moon S---obviously after the events of the second season---would have to be her 16th birthday. That is most certainly not the case.

We do know the R season ends with warmer weather. This links seamlessly with the beginning of the third season which begins during the late spring and early summer. Furthermore, the girls are studying for their high school entrance exams, so now they are definitely in ninth grade. Then we have Usagi's 15th birthday on June 30th featured prominently. It's also summer given that Mamoru has a summer job in episode 105 (Wanting More Power! Mako's Lost Path).

Let's step back for a moment to review the progression we've used thus far:

Summer/Fall 1992 (Episode 1) ---> Spring 1993 (Episode 51) ---> December 1993 (Episode 78) ---> Spring 1994 (Episodes 88 and 90) ---> June 30, 1994 (Episodes 101-2)



Things make sense until Episode 78. Then, all of a sudden, the timeline begins to make unusual shifts which muddy the waters. Unfortunately, this is not the only time (Get it? Time? hyuck hyuck) this occurs.

We can observe through the S season a gradual seasonal shift. The girls go from wearing light summer clothing to jackets and scarfs. By episode 122 (Believe in Love! Ami, the Kind Hearted Senshi), it's snowing, so now the setting is probably winter (unless there was a very early snowfall in autumn). In episode 126, the scenery seems to indicate early spring as flowers are seen blooming and the ambiance highlights the new life of the season (which meshes with the new lives given to Hotaru and her father). This also flows with the majority of SuperS wherein the climate is warmer.

In fact, SuperS does indeed feature the summer season in episode 144 (Sparkling Summer Days! Ami, the Girl in the Ocean Breeze). Presumably, as SuperS progresses, it gets later in the year. The girls wear more appropriate clothing for cooler weather. The season has to finish in the early spring because the Senshi are on the cusp of entering high school.

Wait a moment. I see what you did there, Sailor Moon anime, and I don't like it one bit. If we just had yet another summer season, then the girls should already be in high school! Usagi should be sixteen and in tenth grade! Why? Because:

June 30, 1993 (Episodes 101-2) ---> Autumn/Winter 1993 (Episode 122) ---> Spring 1994 (Episode 126) ---> Summer 1994 (Episode 144) ---> Autumn (???) / Spring (???) 1994 (approx. 150-66)



Yet another reason to glare at SuperS with contempt as it passes you on the street.

1994

Things calm down by Stars. It must be, must be spring because the girls have just entered high school:



Note the cherry blossoms in the background as well.

And recall that in episode 167 (A Nightmare Scatters the Flowers! Return of the Dark Queen), Professor Tomoe and Hotaru are found underneath a sakura tree.

Actually, Stars offers the most consistent chronology of all the seasons as we can probably narrow down its events to the Spring and Summer of 1994. It doesn't suddenly snow, nor do we jump from summer to spring. We can all feel rather settled by the end of it.

But the lead in to Stars remains jumbled!

The only way I can think to wiggle out of this is to blame the villains (particularly in the S season) for extreme, inclement weather. Yet that cannot be substantiated. We also cannot blame the Black Moon Clan for making it Christmas in the middle of the second season. Well, we could, but Esmeraude trying to ruin Christmas with such an elaborate plot is just weird.

Realistically speaking, though this investigation was far from in depth, I think we can conclude that the anime producers weren't terribly attentive to the chronology and thus led to glaring inconsistencies which madden only the fans who try and figure it out.

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PostSubject: Re: The Sailor Moon Anime Timeline   7th July 2011, 12:44 pm

Actually Usagi met Mamoru and Luna in spring. Later we can clearly see it`s summer, and then Chibiusa comes from nowhere in autumn and it`s winter blah blah. In S Usagi is in ninth grade, and the girls started studying for entrance exams, but only in stars the start highschool. And that`s where you stop trying to figure it out lol Toei obviously messed up with the timeline in S in my opinion.
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PostSubject: Re: The Sailor Moon Anime Timeline   7th July 2011, 2:30 pm

You know, I read a very interesting argument on this. You see, when Usagi used the Ginzuishou at the end of season 1 to resurrect everyone, it's implied that her "last wish" was for them to repeat the year, as normal girls this time. Of course, that ended up not happening, but time was nevertheless set back a year.

I think this makes a lot of sense!

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PostSubject: Re: The Sailor Moon Anime Timeline   7th July 2011, 3:05 pm

Quote :
You know, I read a very interesting argument on this. You see, when
Usagi used the Ginzuishou at the end of season 1 to resurrect everyone,
it's implied that her "last wish" was for them to repeat the year, as
normal girls this time. Of course, that ended up not happening, but time
was nevertheless set back a year.

That is indeed interesting. I went to episode 46 to get a better understanding of the context, and an argument could be made for a time reversal. Usagi wishes specifically to go back to a normal life, and when she wakes up in the morning, it very much mimics the opening scenes from the first episode. This also includes the encounter with Mamoru, except Naru is with her because her mother hasn't been targeted by the Dark Kingdom.

With this in mind, and given Niveouslily's comments, the hypothetical "new" timeline would progress something along the lines of:

Spring/Summer 1992 (Makaiju Arc) ---> Fall/Winter/Spring 1992-3 (Black Moon Clan Arc) ---> Summer/Fall/Winter 1993 (Sailor Moon S) ---> Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter 1994 (SuperS) ---> Spring 1995 (Sailor Stars)

Niveouslily may be correct in highlighting S and, by extension, Super S as the problematic elements of the timeline. It's still a bit weird, though, because if the first season began in the Spring, wouldn't Usagi be 13 instead of 14? I guess it could have been early summer. In that case, June 30 would have already passed.

As an aside, Setsuna should still give Usagi a light bonk on the head with the Garnet Rod for screwing with time.

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PostSubject: Re: The Sailor Moon Anime Timeline   8th July 2011, 3:51 pm

I'm just going to warn you now that trying to get the anime timeline to make sense is futile and will only make your head hurt xD

Many people go by the time reversal theory for Classic and R and it does make the most sense, but there's still some giant holes that it just doesn't cover. Did everyone else in the world go back a year too, or does life go on seamlessly for everyone except the Senshi? Was it just memories being erased or was there actual time travel involved? Is everyone now in an alternate timeline? If it was memory erasure, did people seriously not notice that the entire world aged a year overnight? Why do some things stay consistent between the two seasons if they chronologically should never have happened (Yuuichirou working at the Shrine, Motoki's girlfriend staying in Africa)?

And even then, nothing seems to explain S and SuperS, which seem to take place over the course of two years but only acknowledges that one of them happened (what happened to studying for the Entrance Exams?!).

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PostSubject: Re: The Sailor Moon Anime Timeline   9th July 2011, 1:27 pm

in the manga Usagi stated that she met Mamoru in spring that year, and that about 3 months were passed if I`m not mistaken. She still introduced herself as a 14 year old girl in the first chapter/the info on Luna`s computer states that she`s 14... so I guess she turned 15 midway and no one told us.. lol
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PostSubject: Re: The Sailor Moon Anime Timeline   9th July 2011, 1:53 pm

Honestly, I've never bothered to look into the chronology of the anime. The time reversal is interesting.

It seems like they didn't really bother with these continuity issues simply due to maybe it didn't matter? Who knows. Maybe they thought no one would notice the random jump to christmas. lol

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PostSubject: Re: The Sailor Moon Anime Timeline   9th July 2011, 2:33 pm

I accidentally found this article about the timeline lol
http://www.genvid.com/lunarch/faqyou/continuity.html
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PostSubject: Re: The Sailor Moon Anime Timeline   9th July 2011, 11:39 pm

@Ella wrote:
I'm just going to warn you now that trying to get the anime timeline to make sense is futile and will only make your head hurt xD

Many people go by the time reversal theory for Classic and R and it does make the most sense, but there's still some giant holes that it just doesn't cover. Did everyone else in the world go back a year too, or does life go on seamlessly for everyone except the Senshi? Was it just memories being erased or was there actual time travel involved? Is everyone now in an alternate timeline? If it was memory erasure, did people seriously not notice that the entire world aged a year overnight? Why do some things stay consistent between the two seasons if they chronologically should never have happened (Yuuichirou working at the Shrine, Motoki's girlfriend staying in Africa)?

And even then, nothing seems to explain S and SuperS, which seem to take place over the course of two years but only acknowledges that one of them happened (what happened to studying for the Entrance Exams?!).

I was talking to my friend about the possibility of time skipping back a year in Sailor Moon Classic, and while it made some sense out of the anime continuity, we still ended up snickering about the first Superman film when he flies so fast around the Earth that time goes backwards. Similarly, it feels like an enormous cop out and unnecessary maneuver by the producers of the anime. If time did reverse, then it blows a giant hole of inconsistency into the Sailor Moon universe. The anime dances between wanting to acknowledge the passing of time and simply ignoring how much time has passed. It is, as you just indicated, frustrating.

And thank you for the link, Niveouslily. I'll have to look over that in the coming days.

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