One day, Shadowjack, an anime fan with almost no prior experience with Sailor Moon (limited to the first dozen episodes and knowledge of two jokes note about the English dub), started recapping the series episode by episode, similar in format to an Abridged Series in Script Fic form.
What followed... was a surprisingly original take on the source material, shining with appropriate humor and insight into the theme and characters. The recaps themselves started very short, but grew increasingly detailed and peppered with in-jokes as time went on. Furthermore, Shadowjack started with almost no knowledge of Sailor Moon canon or fanworks, and his interpretation is thus entirely free of the fanon that's been built up around the series — leaving him and the other RPG.net forumites free to come up with entirely new fanon, for example, Naru's mother being Queen Beryl.
One constant feature of this series have been periodic summary comics, in which the characters themselves comment on the events so far in a No Fourth Wall way. These, too, have been getting increasingly elaborate from season to season.
Shadowjack has completed season 4, SuperS.
An index for all episodes is maintained on this page, and can be read individually or following the threads and reading through everyone else's commentary and jokes. Yes, the threads are long. The episodes are also currently in the process of being rehosted on AO3, with the images restored.
Compare and contrast Vaguely Recalling JoJo.
Note to editors: Since the author himself or someone following the forum threads in a spoiler-free manner could be browsing this article, please spoiler-tag anything not yet revealed as of the latest recapped episode.
This abridged series... thingy provides examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: With heavy emphasis on the "affectionate."
- All Love Is Unrequited: Mina has an obvious love for Usagi, all tangled up with her sense of duty as a Senchi and loyal servant of the Moon Kingdom. Unfortunately, Usagi shows no signs of reciprocating, or even being aware her feelings go in that direction.
- All Just a Dream: Not JUST a dream, but the Dead Moon Circus arc takes place in an increasingly dreamy reality and, on being defeated, might have taken no time at all.
- All Women Are Lustful: The girls are bit more open about their interests than before.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: Frequently relies on this. Among other things, Ami is a Covert Pervert, Rei is a fiery Latina, Artemis is a Battle Butler, and Wiseman/DEATH PHANTOM is an over-the-top comic book super villain. Professor Souichi Tomoe is in it for the science, Eudial speaks like an advertising executive, and Mimette speaks entirely in textspeak and emoticons.
- Alternate Continuity: Kinda-sorta. It follows the anime closely overall, by nature of its format, but there are a few ultimately minor deviations.
- Animated Actors: Sometimes.
- As Long as There Is Evil: Beryl's reason for returning in the side story.
- Battle Butler: Artemis, with a hint of Stuffy Brit.
- Better than a Bare Bulb: Like any abridged series styled recap, much fun is had at pointing out the follies and Fridge Logic of the original.
- Brains and Bondage: Ami gives indications of this now and then.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall/No Fourth Wall: The characters are generally aware they're on an anime. They're not always aware they're in a text parody of an anime.
- Call-Back: All over the place, as Shadowjack's alternate continuity is remembered and expanded on by the characters.
- Cat What: In "Mister Tsukino Does His Taxes and the Household Budget" (see link below).
- These are commonly referred to as a "man what" when used by the girls.
- Check, Please!: Pluto says this when she appears in the S movie.
- The Commissioner Gordon: Detective Not-Appearing-In-This-Film eventually becomes this to the Sailor Team after he, you know, appears.
- Crossover Punchline: The panda from a first season episode is Genma Saotome.
- Curtain Fic: "Mister Tsukino Does His Taxes and the Household Budget" starts like this. Then it gets strange.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Happens both in-universe and for Shadowjack during the write-ups.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: The first recaps are very brief in comparison to later ones, each of which preserves almost all the scenes in the original episode (although often in heavily changed form).
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Koan has it for the purposes of a "kill da Wabbit" joke.
- Epileptic Trees: Shadowjack comes up with a number of theories (remember, he started with almost no knowledge of Sailor Moon canon).
- Everyone Is Bi: See this image◊.
- The Fair Folk: The Dark Kingdom are presented as Fae worshiping Cthulhu and living in Leng.
- Fanon: Invoked - the series creates it. In spades. (Most of the "traditional" SM fanon is, however, utterly disregarded - or even mocked.)
- Usagi discovers she has one for violin music. In a side comic this leads to her keeping violin CDs under her bed like a Porn Stash, including embarrassment when her mother discovered it.
- When Umino saves her in episode 32, Naru discovers she has one for "suicidal idiocy".
- First-Name Basis: Ami is on one with Stephen Hawking.
- Genre Savvy: The characters are all-around a bit more aware of the nature and tropes of their setting unless the plot requires them to be Genre Blind.
- Gratuitous Spanish: Rei drops this as part of her new Spanish heritage.
- In a World…: Defied in the R movie opening.Usagi: "…In a world—"Luna: "No 'in a world.'"Usagi: "Frell."
- In Love with Your Carnage: Usagi's reaction to Rei frying the zombie policemen in episode 13.Usagi: "I AM SO HOT FOR YOU RIGHT NOW."Rei /¿?
- Interactive Narrator/Medium Awareness: Now and again, the characters will read the narrative lines and react to it. Everyone hates seeing a 'SUDDENLY!"
- In the Name of the Moon: Naturally. Shadowjack's unique spin on it, however, starts in episode 14 and appears in every episode ever since: "I AM THE TERROR THAT TRIPS IN THE NIGHT!"
- In the R movie:Usagi /deep breath. "WHEN in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one magical entity to slice the vegetable bonds of another, and to assume among the powers of the STARS the totally sweet and awesome station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of lifekind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the seperation! Therefore, we hold these truths to be self-evident: that our hearts are young and eager to fly, that we want to give our hearts a try, that I'll take ROMANCE!
Usagi: "Wait, I messed that up. Whatever! ANYWAY: In the name of the Moon, I will punish you!"
- In the R movie:
- Living Forever Is Awesome: Future Ami seems to think so."Think about it: every single day, all over the Galaxy, something new is happening. Something new to see or do or learn or talk to. A thousand years hasn't been nearly enough."
- Micro Monarchy: Recurring to the point that they are just a feature of the setting. The consensus is that they're ancient Earth Kingdom nations reborn, but micro-sized because of population pressure, that recovered their memories and reformed after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
- Most Definitely Not a Villain: The hideouts of the villain's energy-draining schemes aren't quite as subtle. By the middle of the first season, the girls can see them coming a kilometer away.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: Jadeite is reinterpreted as some sort of Fae Nazi (from late in his ailing career: "I have absolute confidence that we can drive the Allies out of Berlin."), later explained as his prior experience with humanity consisting of "one highly amusing summer tour of the Third Reich".
- Nosebleed: Invoked during the R movie on Rei thanks to a Panty Shot from Minako.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In Universe. Apparently the Phantom Sister's accents are put on.
- Original Character: Detective Not-Appearing-In-This-Film, who was mostly created to humorously highlight situations where the events portrayed in the show should have caused legal ramifications. He actually appears in one of the summation comics, though.
- Painting the Medium: More serious events are done in a prose style. REALLY serious events are done as plays in Iambic Pentameter.
- Phrase Catcher: "Dammit V!"
- Police Are Useless:Makoto: Y'know, we really should try to stop [Minako] from leaving, one of these days.noteAmi: What will we do with her, tie her up at the Shrine?Usagi: We could give her to the police. Wait, no, how would they hold her?
- Precision F-Strike: When Artemis swears in the R movie, it's a sign on how bad things are.
- Race Lift: Rei was Japanese in canon, but she's a Latina here.
- Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Commented on how the show averts this trope:What I find fascinating about the series is that it really is girl power in action. It does not take traditionally "masculine" action tropes and simply gender swap them, no, and it does not deny or condemn the attraction of the pretty princess fantasy. Instead, it takes all the "feminine" girly stuff like frilly princess dresses and pink unicorns and makes them into implements of power. The hypothetical girl in the audience is being told that she can be as girly as she likes and still dream of growing up into power and responsibility. Feminine articles are not shackles or playthings to be eschewed, or tools good only for obtaining the approval of men — they are treated as cool and desirable things, in and of themselves.Boy craziness is even part of this, in the way they make the knightly romance fantasy an active one. The girls wanna be swept off their feet by a handsome knight, and, damn it, they're gonna go out there and find that handsome knight and make sure he does it.
- Restored My Faith in Humanity: Claimed by one poster after the finale comic for the first season.
- Running Gag:
- "TALKING CAT! TALKING CAT!" (Even Luna does it.)
Hotaru: Oh my gosh, a talking cat! So cute! May I pet you?Luna: …I LOVE YOU, HOTARU.
- Averted with Hotaru:
- Often whenever random civilians are cured of being brainwashed zombie minions to the villains, the first thing out of their lips is a confused, "...Wha' happen?"
- "Suddenly! Enter Tuxedo Mask, dramatically, armed with +3 blessed throwing roses." Later seasons have him upgrade his arsenal ("armed with +5 blessed heat seeking throwing roses") and having other characters enter dramatically in the same manner.
- "Tuxedo Mask wears glasses."
- First season villain locales being named "Ackbar's". note
- Ami attempting to beat the monster to death with her goddamn princess wand.
- Jhiday's comments for every S season episode: "The Other Four Sailor Soldiers Are Useless This Season."
- "Dammit V!"
- A weird attack hitting Usagi, trapping her "and creating a new fetish."
- "TALKING CAT! TALKING CAT!" (Even Luna does it.)
- Shout-Out: All over the place.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Yamandakka. Technically she never died on-screen in the anime either, but the recap latches onto this minor footnote and puts its own spin on it.
- Spicy Latina: Rei. For, as Shadowjack will happily proclaim, no reason at all.
- Spin-Off: "A Stormy Relationship", a series of comics that focus on the UST between Ami and Makoto. These versions of Ami and Makoto, anyway.
- Sudden Video-Game Moment: Characters refer to items drops, leveling up and other RPG touches in combat.
- The Tape Knew You Would Say That: One of his recap comics depicts a dull, possibly hung-over Esmeraude faced with a dutiful attendant, lost time and "You ordered me not to say, ma'am. When it gets to "You said you'd say that...", she gives up.
- Tap on the Head: Karate chops are sometimes used to knock out bystanders before transforming.
- Tempting Fate: Sometimes invoked to get the plot moving.
- Under the Truck: How Kamen Scooter evades the police.
- Very Special Episode: Defied in the episode 7 recap. "My name is Usagi Tsukino, and if it turns out to be a Very Special Episode of Sailor Moon, I'm gonna be pissed."
- Villainous Breakdown: Several villains more...unique behavior is retooled into this.
- Kunzite, Dumbest Man in All of Anime, gets this fairly tragically. His lover is killed by someone he's brainwashed to worship and obey, and he's being forced to work with the only other person he could find responsible. When he's not angrily drunk he's stoned out of his mind on self-medications, and it's pretty clear he's actively self-sabotaging as the only rebellion he can get in.
- Esmermaude is portrayed as a competent, dangerous general... who is off her meds, and slipping into mania and paranoia.
- What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Usagi's reaction to "Mister Tsukino Does His Taxes and Household Budget". Followed by preparation to cleanse the artist of evil influences.Usagi: What are you ON?!Shadowjack: Nothing? I'm always sober.*Beat**Usagi vanishes, then returns as Sailor Moon, winding up with the Goddam Princess Wand...*
- When All You Have Is a Hammer…Usagi: Well, I might as well try this sucker. Though goodness knows how I'm supposed to 'cleanse' a pile of rocks.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: One was drawn up for the end of the first season, speculating on how their lives might have gone if there hadn't been more.
- Who's Laughing Now?: The Professor does this over his superior coffee making method.
- Wrestling Monster: Yamandaka and one of the later season monsters go head to head for the finale of an episode, replacing the original fight. They are both called this by name.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Shadowjack's depiction of the manga version of Rei occasionally speaks like this. Or to put it another wayUsagi: "Rei speaketh liketh Frog"