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Sailor Moon SuperS (season four; 39 episodes)
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Dead Moon arc
So, this was the last season that was shown in the U.S., back in 2000. As such it was kind of the season I thought I'd remember best, when it came to Hulu in 2015. But even for this season, my memories are quite fuzzy. I should say, it kind of consists of two sub-arcs, one with villains called the "Amazon Trio," and one with villains called the "Amazoness Quartet." I gather there are some substantial differences between the anime and the original manga, but I don't really know any details of the manga version of the story. Anyway, both groups are part of the Dead Moon Circus (or "Dark Moon Circus," in the dub). Their leader is an old woman named Zirconia. (The internet tells me that in the dub, her gender was changed to male, but I have no recollection of that.) But she is actually working for someone named Queen Nehelenia (who considers herself the true moon queen, and who is trapped in a mirror), though we don't actually see her til the start of the Amazoness Quartet arc. Anyway, this season may be many fans' least favorite of the series, but I liked it just as much as any other season. Honestly, I don't see a real difference between any of the seasons, in terms of either tone or quality.

I think prior to re-watching the series on Hulu, the Amazon Trio were the villains I remembered best from any season of the series, but still... the memories were vague. The trio consists of Tiger's Eye, Hawk's Eye, and Fisheye. Also, the internet informs me that Fisheye's gender was male in the Japanese version, but changed to female in the English dub (as was the case with Zoisite in season one). Whereas Zoisite (IMO) definitely looks like an effeminate male, I always thought Fisheye looked actually and unmistakably like a woman. And prior to reading a bit online about this season, in the first week that it started airing on Hulu, I don't recall whether or not I'd ever heard that he was supposed to be male. (In fact, I do vaguely recall years and years ago hearing that one of the edits from the American version of the anime involved occasional scenes where Fisheye was topless, and the edited version avoided that. I think that back then, that made me kind of want to see an uncut version of the anime. It seems funny to me now to realize the reason for the cut was entirely different from what I thought it was.) I also wanted to mention that the Amazon Trio, who each work individually, spend their off hours hanging out together in a bar (which I think is at the Circus). They may bicker a bit, but unlike most of the villains from previous seasons, I don't get the impression that they actually dislike each other. They actually seem to be friends, whereas previous villains were as likely to betray or even kill each other as they were to be defeated by the Sailor Guardians. So this is a nice change of pace.

Anyway, the Dead Moon Circus wants to take over Earth, and to do that they first need to capture Pegasus. (The version of Pegasus in the anime is actually a winged unicorn, which is different from the mythological Pegasus, which is just a winged horse.) Pegasus can't spend much time in the real world, so he hides in the "beautiful dreams" of different people, apparently. Zirconia sends the Amazon Trio to find Pegasus, by looking in people's dreams. They do this by restraining their victim and causing a mirror to emerge from the victim's chest, which they stick their head through to look at their dreams. We don't actually see what they see, but it's clearly entertaining to the villain and traumatic to the victim. (It kind of reminds me of a "mind rape" that telepaths might do in sci-fi movies, or something.) When they don't find Pegasus, they decide they must kill the victim, so that Pegasus wouldn't be able to use their dreams in the future. However, of course the Sailor Guardians always show up and stop them from doing this. The Amazons all have monsters at their command, whom they summon from shadows to fight the Guardians. This season's monsters are called Lemures (or Remless, in the dub; incidentally, "Lemures" is both singular and plural). And during battles, Pegasus will show up and use his power to transform Sailor Moon into Super Sailor Moon, though the transformation works a bit differently from the Holy Grail transformation in season 3. (Oddly enough, the Amazons usually don't try to capture Pegasus when he appears to help the Guardians.) Pegasus transforms both Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon at the same time, and together they perform a new attack. (So they're not left weakened. Though the double transformation does end right after the Lemures is defeated.) Of course, like previous monsters, Lemures have a silly death cry when they're defeated. In this case, it's "Stage out!"

I also need to say that in the first episode, Chibi-Usa met Pegasus in a dream before any of the battles, but he told her to keep their meeting a secret. She keeps her promise, but seems a bit conflicted about it, thinking she might have valuable information that could help the Guardians figure out what's going on with the new enemy, or something. But it didn't seem to me that she knew anything important, so... I didn't think it mattered that she kept this secret from them, though I also didn't see the point of it. (Eventually it seemed that it was because Pegasus was hiding in Chibi-Usa's dreams, and he didn't want the enemy to discover this.) Anyway, in episode 3, Pegasus upgrades both Usagi and Chibi-Usa's transformation brooches, so they can transform into super mode without his presence, as well as giving Sailor Moon a new weapon, the Kaleidomoonscope, which allows her to perform a new attack, "Moon Gorgeous Meditation." Still, Sailor Chibi Moon will always end up calling for help from Pegasus during battles. (I guess he has to deliver the Kaleidomoonscope every time.)

In episode 6, a kitten named Diana shows up, claiming Artemis is her father. This results in everyone assuming Artemis had cheated on Luna, in spite of his claiming no knowledge of this kitten. It's really odd, because... in past seasons, we occasionally get the sense that Artemis has feelings for Luna, but certainly it never seems like she reciprocates those feelings. And at this point, they're definitely not a couple, so it makes no sense to call it "cheating" even if he did father a kitten with another cat. Of course, by the end of the episode, we learn that the kitten is from the future, and her parents are Artemis and Luna. (Which is a neat parallel to the situation with Usagi, Mamoru, and Chibi-Usa... and btw, Chibi-Usa was already friends with Diana, in the future.) In ep 16, Pegasus provides super transformations for Sailors Mars, Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter. In ep 22, Fisheye learns that Usagi is Sailor Moon, and that Pegasus is hiding in Chibi-Usa's dreams. However, the whole Amazon Trio then learns that Zirconia, fed up with their constant failures, plans to eliminate them. So they end up helping the Guardians, even though it seemingly leads to their own deaths. But then Pegasus resurrects them and bestows them with their own Dream Mirrors, and transports them to a safe place to live from now on.

In ep 23, the Amazoness Quartet (CereCere, PallaPalla, JunJun, and VesVes) make their first real appearance in the show. (They'd been seen in shadow, for the last couple of episodes.) And... now I kind of remembered them, from the first time I watched the series. Anyway, they're apparently more powerful than the Amazon Trio were, and more interested in playing than in doing their jobs. So at first, they challenge Zirconia, who barely manages to defeat the one who attacked her. (We hear her thinking that if all four attacked her, she'd be in trouble, but of course she doesn't tell them that. But she does later express concern to Queen Nehelenia, but the queen simply demands Zirconia follow her orders without question.) The Quartet also have a different way of extracting Dream Mirrors from victims than the Trio did. But they don't have to bother examining the dreams within them, as they've been instructed that they're looking for a golden mirror (because Pegasus's horn is golden), unlike the pink-framed mirrors seen in the Amazon Trio arc. (Of course, any of the mirrors they find will still be pink, since they're not the ones they're looking for.) Each Amazoness has an orb that gives her powers, and they also use the orbs like billiard balls, which they shoot at victims to knock out their Dream Mirrors. Like the Trio, the Quartet summon Lemures to fight the Guardians. Unlike the Trio, the Quartet instruct their Lemures to eat the Dream Mirrors, but once a Lemures is defeated by the Guardians, the Mirrors return to their owners. Eventually, Chibi-Usa learns that Pegasus is actually the astral projected form of a young man named Helios, who had been captured before the start of the season by Queen Nehelenia's minions. He's the protector of a Golden Crystal, which Nehelenia wants to use to escape from her mirror prison, where she was sealed away long ago by Queen Serenity. (Helios seems to become a potential love interest for Chibi-Usa, which seems inappropriate, since he's obviously too old for her. But I guess it's better than her being in love with a horse.) Anyway... Nehelenia eventually turns against the Amazoness Quartet, and they subsequently turn against her. But she does manage to escape from her prison, and nearly defeats the Sailor Guardians.

I think I read somewhere, around the time I started watching this season on Hulu, that the story arc wasn't completed this season, and continued next season. However, once I watched the final episode, it seemed to me as if the story arc was completed. Nehelenia was defeated, and returned to her mirror prison, and apparently returned to the Moon. Helios says his goodbyes to the Guardians and Mamoru, and returns to Elysion. (Oh... it was revealed near the end of the season that Elysion was the home of the Golden Kingdom of Earth, which is where Prince Endymion came from, during the time that Silver Millennium existed on the Moon.) We see the Amazoness Quartet watch the goodbyes from a distance, but decide not to say goodbye, themselves. Though they do think they might meet the Guardians again, someday. As for the story arc... it's actually not quite as complete as it seems....

There was also a movie, Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie, which I saw on Toonami in 2001, and watched again on DVD in 2015.

Continued in Sailor Moon Sailor Stars

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